Taming the King

I swore nothing would screw up the alliance I’d finally forged with the king of the Fae.
Then I was captured by his mortal enemy.

❤️ : It’s Complicated.

Marrying the brutally gorgeous, fiercely proud, and irredeemably arrogant High King of the Fae wasn’t on my punch list a few weeks ago, but it was the fastest way to keep my people safe.

Then the Fae’s ancient enemies strike. The darkly twisted ruler of the Fomorians rips me into his underworld prison…and tells me I’m now his bride, too.

Even worse? Once my beautiful Fae king learns how I’ve unwittingly betrayed him, his only solution is war.

To stop the bloody battle that will destroy two of the most powerful races in all the realms—and take down Earth’s witches too—I’ve got to call in every favor and squeeze every last drop of magic I can from my Hogan blood. It still might not be enough.

Because witches’ hearts are meant for breaking, traitors hide around every corner, and when it comes to Fae, Fomorian, and especially witchling magic—nothing is as it seems.

Taming the King is a slow-burn rejected mate Fae kidnap fantasy romance, and book 3 of 3 in the Witchling Academy series.

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~ Belle ~

“I need a wife.”

The words rang in my ears, panic knifing through my stomach as the scents of spices and ocean water, cool night air, and jasmine swirled around me. I stared at the obscenely gorgeous and, hello, damned near naked guy in front of me who’d uttered them, knowing for a stone-cold fact I couldn’t trust my eyes or my nose in this place. So why did I think I could trust my ears?

This dickhead had stolen me out of the human realm, straight-up sending an army of slithering goop creatures to pull me down into this goddess-forsaken hole of a prison realm. He’d forged some sort of unholy alliance with the coven who had betrayed my family hundreds of years ago and who were still betraying me today. And now I was his prisoner.

A scant few weeks ago, none of this had been on my calendar. All I’d wanted to do was run my tavern, provide safe passage for those who needed refuge, and—eventually—break free of the contract that had bound the witches of the Hogan family to the Fae. Instead, I’d been found by my family’s mortal enemy and swept into the Fae realm, I’d reopened the ancient academy of witchling magic my grandmother had left behind under extreme duress, and…well, I’d married the High King. 

It’d been a busy week. 

But while I didn’t have time to ring up my therapist just yet to work through all that, I did know that what I was seeing in this hellhole was not real. In the current glamour he was rocking, this leader of the slime pack could have chosen to show up as man, a Fae, or a Marvel superhero. All I knew for sure was that he wasn’t showing up in his true form, the oily, dripping creature I’d come to know as a Fomorian.

I needed to remember that.

As if he could hear my thoughts, the asshat on the dais inclined his head, a hard smile curving his lips. Illusion or not, the guy was hot as hell. Big as a linebacker, tautly muscled, with a rugged, iron-jawed face, brilliant teal-green eyes, and thick, white-blond hair spilling over his shoulders beneath his steely spiked crown, he stared at me with a palpable rage that seemed barely kept in check. He wore nothing but a thick black drape over his lap, though I was pretty sure he was showing off that particular glamour just to shock me.

It didn’t shock me, but the only thing more obvious than his twelve-pack abs was that whoever or whatever this guy was, he belonged on top of that dais, seated on a throne. This was a king. He might be king of the bottom-feeder eels, but that didn’t change his royal station.

“It’s Lyric,” he said abruptly. “My name. King Lyric. You’ll want to remember it.”

“I’ll be sure to alert the media.” As I took a cautious step back, King Lyric leaned forward, eliminating the space I’d barely created between us.

“You think you know so much,” he sneered. “Relying on the stories that have been fed to you, the illusions that were allowed to reach your feeble eyes and mind. You know nothing.”

“Yeah, well, I know enough that every time I see you guys, you look like filthy slimeball creatures from the Black Lagoon,” I said, conjuring up the image for him because I knew he was tracking my thoughts. “Even when I wasn’t facing you directly, I could see that through a portal or across a field. That’s some pretty impressive magic for none of it to be true.”

Lyric’s bite of laughter was sharp. “Be glad you will never see how you are presented to us,” he assured me coolly, his tone sly enough that I was caught between wondering if we appeared like quivering bug larvae, barely able to move on our own, or simply as we were—naked, fresh meat thrown before a hungry rabble. I knew he wanted me to wonder, and I stiffened, trying to force my mind to go blank.

“But it can’t go blank, Belle Hogan,” Lyric purred, his mouth twisting into a mocking grin as his teal-green eyes glinted with satisfaction. “That is the greatest distinction between humans and Fae. You can no more school your thoughts into obedience than you can fly. When it all could be…so much easier.”

He lifted a hand almost lazily, and I bit off a squeak as I lost the sensation of the floor beneath me. I drifted up a good two feet from the ground, my hands awkwardly shooting out to either side as if I could flap my way to safety. I tipped my head back, trying desperately to hold myself in place—and realized another weight had left me too. The spelled emerald crown and shackles of my service to the king of the Fae, my grandmother’s invisible jewels that I’d willingly donned to enhance my magic and make Aiden stronger…had been ripped away from me. They’d never been visible since the moment I’d slipped them on in the Fae realm, but now the crown no longer pressed down on my forehead, the shackles no longer gripped my wrists. 

How was that possible?

The king’s quiet laugh curdled through me, too amused, apparently, to be tracking my thoughts for the moment. “Your chin is so high in the air, it’s the only thing keeping you counterbalanced. But good for you. Most of your kind would already be spinning in somersaults, huddled and crying.”

“You spend a lot of time torturing humans?” I asked, keeping my arms rigid at a forty-five degree angle from my body, my fists clenched, and resolutely not thinking about the fact that I was hovering a couple of feet off the floor. 

Instead of answering me, the king sat back in his obsidian throne, extending one foot indolently. With the crook of his finger, he gestured me forward—pulled me forward, really. I had no control over my own body except for my fists, which I held tight, forcing my muscles to stay rigid. It was the smallest freedom, but it was mine. I held on to it as I drifted forward to rest about six feet in front of Lyric, our eyes level by virtue of the fact that I was floating well above the floor.

He smiled, his sinfully beautiful lips curving into a sneer that still somehow looked good on him. “I didn’t bring you here to scare you, Witch Hogan. I could have done that easily enough by haunting your dreams. The dark of night is our province. It has always been. We hunt in the shadows, and in those shadows, there is subtlety and nuance when we choose it. There is also sickness and fear.”

Monster Hunter Academy Series