Updated: Jan 21
by Jennifer L Armentrout
Published by Evil Eye Concepts, Incorporated
The King must have his Queen....
Bestowed the forbidden Summer’s Kiss by the King of the Summer fae, Brighton Jussier is no longer just human. What she is, what she will become, no one knows for sure, but that isn’t her biggest concern at the moment. Now Caden, the King, refuses to let her go, even at the cost of his Court. When the doorway to the Otherworld is breached, both Brighton and Caden must do the unthinkable—not just to survive themselves, but also to save mankind from the evil that threatens the world.
**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy New Adult Exciting
The Queen by Jennifer L. Armentrout is the third novella in the Wicked series, and continues immediately after The King left off, continuing Brighton's, and Caden's story.
I loved The Queen. I love all three of the novella's that have come out in the Wicked series, actually. The story is original, intriguing, and action packed. With a dash of humor, and a sprinkling of romance and sex, The Queen is an awesome addition to the series. I think my only issue, is the story feels incomplete. It ends very open ended. We could be left to form our own conclusions, or, Jennifer has another set of novellas planned (as The Queen is the final book in The Summer King Novellas)
The Queen's core characters have remained consistent throughout the series. This novella covers a very short span. Maybe two weeks, so there isn't much to look at for character growth, except perhaps them all learning a lesson on honesty. Brighton and Caden's relationship remains one of my favorite couples from Jennifer's work. Brighton's sweet and kind persona, mixed with her courage and strength, is a wonderful match to how Caden acts when he is King, and when he is only with her. He is kind, and fair, but is brutal when he has to be. Very much like Brighton. We get way more Tink in The Queen, which is great, considering we barely saw him in The King. We get a little bit on Ren and Ivy, and in the epilogue, which I assume is around two years in the future, we get an update on our favorite couples from this series that puts a smile on your face.
Ultimately, whether The Queen was the end for the series as a whole (PLEASE, JENNIFER, NO. I NEED MORE TINK!), it is a great addition to Wicked's universe, and an excellent ending for Brighton and Caden's story. I am left hoping for more stories ... maybe with Fabian and Tink? Maybe with the newest character introduced in the epilogue? That would be pretty cool! Just saying <3
Click below to enter Jennifer's Giveaway for the Summer King Bundle!
Caden holding Brighton and waking her up from her nightmare.
Tink and Brighton's reunion
Brighton telling Tink she is pregnant
Tink being real super honest with Brighton about Caden
Caden and Brighton telling each other how they feel for one another, and Brighton accepted Caden's proposal
Brighton confronting the fae responsible for her kidnapping and poisoning
Caden and Brighton making up
The. Epilogue. From Caden's POV. Loved. It.
Where to Preorder:
Kindle (The Queen only)
Kindle (The Summer King Bundle)
Paperback (Amazon, The Summer King Bundle)
Luce: "A child of a King would be incredibly strong, even at this stage and inside a human incubator."
Brighton: "Human incubator? Can you please never refer to be as that again?"
Luce: "You're his mortuus."
Brighton: "Why would you say that?"
Luce: "It's the only reason he would be willing to forsake his entire Court. That goes beyond love, beyond what most of us can even fathom. It's a connection of two souls and two hearts. It's rare for any fae to find their mortuus, but to do so with a human? I ... No one can know what you are to him. That kind of information is far too dangerous. You're safe here, but if it were to get out -"
Brighton: "I know."
Luce: "Fate can be so cruel sometimes."
Brighton: "It really can."
Luce: "You've survived what I am sure many have succumbed to - too many to count. And to put my people before your own needs, to sacrifice what you must feel for the King for people who will never know what you were willing to give up? That makes you as brave as any warrior, if not more."
Luce: "I don't know if it will be enough. I feat that what is done is done."
Brighton: "What do you mean?"
Luce: "I don't think you'll be able to walk away from the king. That there will be anything that you can do to cause him to choose a Queen that is not you. You're his mortuus, the other half of his soul, his heart. And it is very unlikely that he'll give you up. Ever."
Caden: "It's okay. I'm here. I've got you. I've always got you."
Caden: "Your name is Brighton Jussier. Your friends sometimes call you Bri. Tink calls you Lite Bright. I call you my sunshine. Do you know why? It's because I saw you smile once, and it was like the sun finally rising after centuries of nothing but night."
Caden: "I missed that little catch in your breath. I missed the taste of you on my tongue."
Brighton: "Please come in."
The door didn't open. Confused, I looked at Caden, who sighed.
Caden: "It's okay. You may come in, Tanner."
My brows lifted
Caden: "I'm the King."
Brighton: "I don't recall asking you to stay with me or giving you permission."
Caden: "I don't recall needing either of those things."
Brighton: "Are you serious? Of course, you need my permission to stay at my house."
He glared up at me
Caden: "Under normal circumstances, yes. But when it's to keep you out of harm's way, I don't."
Brighton: "Yeah, that's not some unspoken law or something. And even if it were, I don't need to follow it. I'm not fae. You're not my king."
Caden: "I know exactly what I am to you. This isn't up for discussion."
Brighton: "That we can agree on, because you're not staying with me."
His smile was slow, predatory.
Caden: "Then you're staying with me."
Brighton: "No, I'm not! I'm staying here until I can go home at the end of the week and sleep in my own bed -"
Caden: "I like where this is heading."
Tanner made a choking sound
I stepped forward
Brighton: "By myself. I'm going home at the end of the week. By myself."
He quirked a brow.
Caden: "We'll see."
Tanner: "Aric is dead, and if what he said was true, which is unlikely, no Summer fae would seek to harm her, especially not here."
Caden: "I will rip the skin from any fae who even has the smallest inkling of looking at her in a way I do not like."
My eyes widened
Brighton: "That's a bit excessive."
Caden didn't take his gaze from me.
Caden: "That's your opinion."
Brighton: "That's a mentally healthy opinion."
Caden: "You know damn well that it's not excessive."
Caden: "And that is why we need to be extra cautious. I will not allow harm to come to you. Not again. Never again."
Brighton: "I can protect myself, Caden."
Caden: "Didn't say you couldn't, but why should you have to do that by yourself?"
Brighton: "Because I always have."
Caden: "But things are different. You have me now. You have all of me."
Tink: "I could've done something. I could've looked for you. I could've found -"
Brighton: "No one was able to find me. Not even the King until ... until he did. You would've just been worrying and -"
Tink: "And that's what I should've been doing. You're my Lite Bright. I'm your Tink. I should've known. And I may or may not punch Ivy when I see her."
Brighton: "Don't punch Ivy."
Tink: "Not even a little?"
Tink: "How about a love tap?'
A sob settled in the back of my throat as I shook my head no.
Tink: "What about when I'm tiny Tink-sized with teeny-tiny fists?"
I choked on a laugh
Brighton: "Ren would still skewer you with a toothpick."
Tink: "I'd punch him first. He had it coming since I had to unexpectedly see his junk in Ivy's kitchen."
Brighton: "I've missed you."
Tink: "Of course, you did. I'm awesome."
Tink: "He said you killed him. Aric?"
Brighton: "I did."
Tink: "Is there anything left of his body?"
Brighton: "Um, no. He sort of just disintegrated, like most Ancients."
Tink: "Not even ashes?"
Brighton: "I don't think so."
Tink: "I'll ask the King."
Tink: "Because I want to take a shit on his remains."
Brighton: "Oh my God. That is so disgusting."
I laughed again.
Tink: "I know. It's the most disrespectful thing I can think of."
Tink: "It could be that post-traumatic syndrome thing that sometimes causes people to hoard things in their houses."
I arched a brow
Brighton: "You watch way too much television."
Tink: "But I could be right. You experienced some trauma. Hearing voices, reliving the events is pretty common afterwards, according to Dr. Phil."
I stared at him.
Tink: "After I saw Ren's junk, I kept seeing it. Sometimes, it would talk to me -"
Brighton: "You're a mess."
Tink: "You have the love and devotion of a King. Granted, he's not human, but who in their right mind would swipe left on him?"
Tink: "I'm offended."
Brighton: "Are you now?"
Tink: "Yes. I'm Tink. We're roomies. We have joint custody of Dixon."
My brows puckered
Brighton: "We do not have joint custody of your cat."
Tink: "Not true. He sleeps in your bed. That means we have joint custody whether you're aware of it or not."
Brighton: "I'm pregnant."
Tink blinked slowly
Tink: "With a baby?"
Brighton: "What other thing would I be pregnant with?"
Tink: "I'm going to be the godfather."
Kalen: "Thoughts and prayers for that child."
He leaned in, resting his forehead against mine.
Tink: "You know what I think?"
Tink: "I think you'll make a good mom. After all, I'm one hell of a test run."
Ivy: "Are Fabian and Tink still out in the courtyard?"
Ren: "Yeah, I have no idea what they're doing. I should probably go annoy them."
Tink turned on what had to be his favorite movie, oblivious to Fabian's long-siffering sigh, Twilight.
Tink: "Do you ever wonder why Bella couldn't just have both Jacob and Edward?"
Tink: "I mean, Edward has been alive for a while, so he's gotta get bored with the same old, same old. And Jacob is a wolf. I'm sure both have seen and done stranger things. Plus, sharing is caring."
I stared at him and then gave a shake of my head.
Brighton: "No, I've never thought about that."
Tink: "You have boring thoughts then."
Tink: "I'm about to be even more honest. Like really super honest. The realest real kind of honesty."
Brighton: "I think I get it."
Tink: "But you don't. I get why you're doing what you are. I do. You want to save the world and some shit. Honorable. I'm not going to mess up your need to martyr your warm and fuzzies."
Brighton: "It's not my need -"
Tink: "But it's become clear to me that you really are delusional."
Tink: "Why else would you think your idea to hide with your baby daddy's brother in a community of fae was good enough to interrupt Eclipse? But it's more than that. Do you honestly think Caden is going to marry someone else even if he believes you don't want him?"
Brighton: "He has to."
Tink: "He doesn't have to do jack shit, Lite Bright. I feel like everyone, including Tanner and Faye, is forgetting that. He didn't want to be King in the first place, and the last I checked, he's a grown-ass adult. Besides in the highly unlikely event he's going to be like 'YOLO, let me pick a fae queen now,' do you really think he's just going to let you walk away? Not fight for you? And I don't mean that in a creepy, super-possessive way either, but in a way we all would want someone we cared about to fight for us. But I have a really important question for you. One you need to think about long and hard before answered. Do you honestly thing you're going to be able to shut down the way you feel about him? You're going to be able to stand by and watch him to be with someone else? You're going to be able to resist him - resist what you want - when he does fight for you?"
Caden: "I will be fine, with or without the throne. But I won't be fine without you."
Caden: "I'm going to ask you something, Brighton, and I want you to be honest. I need you to be honest. Do you love me?"
Brighton: "I love you, Caden. I think ... I think I fell in love with you the moment you walked into Flux and let me pretend I was under the glamour of a fae. I know that sounds weird, but I've always been able to tell you thinks I couldn't share with anyone else. As crazy as this sounds, I'm comfortable with you in a way I've never been with any guy, even though you're freaking perfect, and I'm the exact opposite of that. You're smart. You're funny, even when you're annoying the ever-loving crap out of me. You're sensitive in a way I don't think many people would ever expect you to be. So, yes, I love you, Caden."
Caden: "Do you know that the fae believe that a piece of their soul is released upon birth and finds a home in their soulmate? I found that piece of my soul in Siobhan. When she was killed, I didn't believe that I would ever find it again, even though the fae believe that upon death that piece of the soul is once more released. You see, I was lucky when I found Siobhan. Not all fae find the missing piece of their soul. It doesn't mean that their love for another is any less real. It's just that two souls being connected is more intense and immediate. It c an happen with just one look."
He pressed his palm against his chest.
Caden: "What is in here recognizes what belongs. The joining of two souls is an unbreakable bond. I saw you before the night the gateways to the Otherworld were sealed. Just brief glimpses, but each time, I felt this throbbing in my chest. It had been so long since I'd felt anything like it that I wasn't sure what I was feeling. But that night when you helped my brother ... I knew that somehow, someway, the part of my soul that had been released had found another home. I never would've dared to hope I'd find you, the one who held a piece of my soul, but I did. I tried to stay away then. I could sense your fear and distrust of the fae, and when I realized that you could be used against me like Siobhan had been, I tried to distance myself from you. Both were mistakes, ones I will spend an eternity to make up for."
A breath seemed to shudder out of him
Caden: "I love you, Brighton. I know I fell in love with you before we even spoke to one another. That love only deepened when I saw how strong and resilient you became. When I learned how incredibly intelligent and generous you are. My love for you grew each time you pushed back at me, showing me you weren't afraid, and I knew the reason why you became my mortuus when you were willing to look past who I was and saw beyond what I'd done under the Queen's spell. You are my sun, Brighton. I loved you before I found you in that club, even before I gave you the Summer Kiss."
Brighton: "You ... you want to marry me?"
His lips twitched
Caden: "To make you my Queen, I would have to marry you."
Brighton: "Is this a proposal?"
He grinned then, somehow looking boyish
Caden: "I had planed on doing something more romantic."
Brighton: "You're not lying to me now, right?"
Caden: "I would not lie about this. I would never lie to you about how I feel or out future. Never again, Sunshine."
Caden: "Are you sure? Because we can do everything, or we don't have to do anything. I would be happy to just hold you, to just kiss and play, Brighton. I'm satisfied with you being in my arms."
Brighton: "That is why I'm sure. I need you, Caden. Make love to me. Please?"
Caden: "You never have to say please. Ever. All that I am, all that I have. It's yours. I'm yours."
Caden: "I waited several lifetimes for you. I would wait several more if I had to."
Brighton: "You don't. You don't have to wait anymore. I don't have to wait."
Caden's body shifted, and I felt him pressing against me. I lifted my hips, and my breath caught and then held. His gaze snared mine.
Caden: "This feels like a dream. If it is, I don't ever want to wake..."
His voice choked off as he thrust in, fully seating himself. The pressure and fullness was unbelievable, and the small but of discomfort faded as he made a sound, a velvety growl.
Brighton: "I've seen some really grotesque interrogations carried out by the order, Caden, but you're right. What we are about to do will be a hell of a lot easier than what we just did."
Tink: "And what you guys just did was very loud and seemed very active."
A voice came from the doorway - the open doorway. I turned, finding Tink standing there.
Tink: "I definitely think Brighton is physically ready ... for just about anything."
Oh my God.
Tink: "Dixon got scared. He's hiding out under the coffee table right now. Traumatized by all the sexing going on."
I had no words.
Tink: "By the way, you guys left the door open. I was kind of worried at first. The sounds were interesting."
Tink grinned as my eyes widened.
Tink: "Shouting. Crying. Moaning. A totally different kind of crying -"
Brighton: "Oh my God, Tink. You can stop now. Seriously."
Tink: "What? I'm just happy you finally got some -"
Tink shouted as I picked up my flip-flop and winged it at his head.
I nodded. I glanced back at Tink.
Tink: "Why, thanks for asking. I am ready for some answers to the questions that have been burning up inside, but with my dark hair comes great responsibility, and a newfound maturity."
Brighton: "We need to focus on what's important."
Caden: "I am."
Brighton: "Benji and finding out where they're getting the Devil's Breath is important."
Caden: "It is. But you're more important to me. You will always be the most important thing."
Brighton: "You ... I wish we had time for me to tell and show you how perfect I think you are."
Caden: "I'm not perfect. But I don't have a problem with you showing me later how much you think I'm perfect."
Caden: "How can you answer to someone you've never met?"
Benji: "She will rip out your entrails and feast upon them."
Caden: "Sounds delightful, but you didn't answer my question, and my patience is already running thin."
Benji: "It doesn't matter if I've seen her. She will be freed, and you will bow to her. You will serve her."
Brighton: "Thought she was going to rip out your entrails."
Benji: "She'll flaw the skin from your bones, you stupid, fucking cattle. She'll -"
Benji's threats ended in a choking sound as Caden shot forward, clamping his hand down on the youngling's throat.
Caden: My patience ended right there."
Caden: "If I had known, I would've made sure you weren't given something that could've killed our child."
Brighton: "How? Are you going to taste everything I eat and drink?"
Caden: "Fuck, yes! I would taste everything that wasn't prepared by my hands."
Caden: "If I hadn't told you that you being with me wouldn't be a risk, when were you going to tell me?"
Brighton: "I planned on telling you as soon as you were married -"
Caden: "So, you were going to wait until I did what? Moved on from you? Picked a fae? Did you really believe that I would just choose to be with someone else when I knew that you love me? That I would've just walked away?"
Brighton: "Before I knew that I could be with you, that's what I'd hoped you would do. I wouldn't have liked it. I would've hated it - loathed every second of it - but it was the right -"
Caden: "You can believe all you want that it was the right thing to do. Maybe on a superficial level, it was, but out child changes that. Keeping that knowledge from me was never the right thing. Not when you love me. Not when you know I love you. And the worst part of this is the fact that you really believed I would move on. That I could just happily go and marry someone else."
Brighton: "I didn't think you'd do that happily."
Brighton: "What I was trying to do doesn't change that I love you, Caden."
Caden: "But you didn't love me enough to fight for me, did you? You didn't love me enough to trust that things would be okay. And you sure as fuck didn't respect me enough to tell me about our child."
Tink: "Whatever fae is working with the Winter Court could've followed you, or it could be someone else."
Brighton: "Then that would mean we have not one but two fae we need to locate."
Tink: "And that Caden is definitely going to kill."
I coughed out a humorless laugh
Brighton: "I'm going to kill the sons of bitches."
Luce: "That sounds like blackmail."
Brighton: "More like presenting you with options."
One side of her lips curved up
Luce: "Uh-huh. I doubt you'll have any problems assuming the role of our Queen."
Brighton: "You ... you're the reason Aric came for me? You knew that he had me alive? That he was keeping me there, torturing -?"
Tanner: "I thought he would kill you. I didn't know he'd keep you alive."
Brighton: "You thought ... he would kill me. As if that makes a difference, makes it better."
Kalen: "Tanner. Our King will kill you."
Brighton: "No, he won't. Because I'm going to kill him first."
I took a step forward.
Tanner: "That won't be necessary."
Tanner's back hit the wall as his tear stricken pale gaze met mine.
Tanner: "Neal has left the city. I know you have no reason to believe me, but I have nothing to gain by lying. Neal is gone. Aric didn't tell me you were the King's mortuus, but he knows you're the King's greatest weakness. And he would've told others. They'll come for you, thinking they can use you to control the King. Do what I failed to do. Protect the King and the future of my Court. Never let your guard down."
It happened so fast.
Tanner jerked his hand back, then plunged it toward his chest.
I stumbled back in shock, knocking into the bed.
Brighton: "What ...?"
Tanner: "I'm sorry."
Brighton: "I don't want to keep messing up and making the wrong choices. I love you, Caden. I want this baby. I want us to be together. I don't know if I'll make a good Queen. Honestly, I'll probably suck at it, but I don't care. I want to be your Queen. I know you're mad at me -"
Caden: "I'm not mad at you, Brighton."
Brighton: "Really? You sure you don't want to rethink that answer?"
Caden: "I don't need to think about it. I'm not mad. Even when I'm furious with something you've done, I'm never angry with you."
Caden: "Tanner was wrong."
Brighton: "I think there are a lot of things he was wrong about."
Caden: "Yes, but there was something he was very wrong about. You're not my weakness."
Caden: "I was disappointed and overwhelmed. Of all the ways I'd thought to find out I was going to be a father, this wasn't one of them. It was a lot to process, but what you said earlier? About not wanting to keep making the wrong choices? I agree. What Tanner did is nothing like us, but we both thought we were doing the right thing. I should've told you. You should've told me. We both messed up."
Brighton: "We did."
Caden: "I think we're going to messy up again, sunshine. It's bound to happen, especially since we're going to be raising a child. I imagine we're going to mess up a lot with that, too, but you know what that doesn't change, right?"
Brighton: "That ... that we love each other?"
Caden: "Right. You hold a part of my soul, Brighton. You are my everything. Nothing will change that. Ever."
Brighton: "I love you."
Ending the kiss, he rested his forehead against mine as he slid a hand down my arm, to the curve of my hip and then to my lower stomach.
Caden: "We are going to have a baby."
I smiled widely, blinking back tears - happy ones as I placed my hand over his.
Brighton: "We are."
Caden: "I haven't even thought about having a child, sunshine. But from the moment I learned that you were pregnant, even with everything going on, I knew in that moment that I wanted to be a father."
Brighton: "I know the feeling. It was a shock, but I knew immediately that I wanted this child."
A bolt of pure, complete, and absolute lust pounded through me. The corner of my lips tipped up as I watched the breeze lift and ruffle the panels of the dress, playing peekaboo with her legs. It reminded me of this morning when I woke, starving for her, and saw the curve of one exposed thigh. Her flesh had looked oh so lonely, peeking out from between the sheets, and I'd been more than happy to reintroduce the lovely expanse of skin to my hand and then my lips. I'd reached the junction of her thighs by the time she woke.
She was the best breakfast I'd ever eaten.
Content despite what we may one day face, I refused to borrow from tomorrow's problems. No one could live like that.
Not even a King.
So I watched what was most important to me. Right here, a handful of feel away, was my entire world.
Well, minus the brownie.
Although, his babysitting skills were incomparable.
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