House of Curses – Royal Houses Read Online K.A. Linde

Categories Genre: Fantasy/Sci-fi, Suspense Tags Authors:
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Total pages in book: 134
Estimated words: 127026 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 635(@200wpm)___ 508(@250wpm)___ 423(@300wpm)
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USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde returns to the Royal Houses series with House of Curses: the story of Kerrigan Argon, a half-Fae, half-human as she seeks her place in an unforgiving world filled with magic, mayhem, and romance. Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Holly Black, and V.E. Schwab.

Against all odds, Kerrigan Argon passed her dragon training. She’s now an official member of the Society. Everything should be well. But somehow, nothing is.

Her dark prince, Fordham Ollivier, has disappeared in hopes to beak his curse.

An unwanted wedding looms in her future.

And the council election draws ever nearer. An election that she’s been unceremoniously nominated for.

If all of that wasn’t enough, the Red Masks, an anti-half Fae, anti-human terrorist organization, are gaining ground. All because they have a spy inside the mountain, inside the Society itself.

Someone is leading these monsters.

And Kerrigan is determined to stop them at all costs.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************

1

THE WEDDING

The mirror revealed a distorted reflection.

“You look lovely,” Audria said from her left.

Darby nodded eagerly. “Stunning. You will be the prettiest bride of the entire Season.”

Bride.

That word hadn’t sunk in yet.

Even though Kerrigan was standing in a lush white gown—the most stunning her designer, Parris, had ever created for her—it didn’t feel real. None of this felt real. And how could it after everything she had gone through to get here?

“You don’t have to do this,” Darby whispered, glancing nervously at Audria.

“Yes, she does,” Audria said with a sigh. “There is no way that March will let her out of this.”

She was right.

Audria was always right. She had been Kerrigan’s closest friend as a child before she disappeared into the House of Dragons—a feeder program for wayward youth to join a tribe. And while Darby might be Bryonican now, she had been Kerrigan’s roommate when they both were Dragon Blessed nobodies.

“We can get her out of here,” Darby argued.

“To what end?” Audria asked. She plucked at her navy-blue sleeve—the color of the Bryonican tribe. “If she doesn’t show, the House of Medallion will crush the House of Cruse.”

Kerrigan winced. The House of Cruse were her people. She might have been thrown out like the trash, but the people had always hoped for her return. They were innocent in this.

Two weeks ago, she’d been kicked out of the Society, lost her dragon, and incited a riot against the same organization. Then, war broke out. She was called to the battlefield to fight the recently released House of Shadows. They’d succeeded in stopping their advance, and she had been given her much coveted spot as a dragon rider, but she had to release her affiliation to the traitorous court, only to regain the mantle she had shed at five years old—a Bryonican princess. Felicity Kerrigan Argon, First of the House of Cruse of Bryonica.

Now, to save her people, she was set to marry her enemy. No pretty dress could make marrying Ashby March any better. If she didn’t marry him, he would destroy her house. He wanted to be king too much to not follow through on his threat. He might have changed his tune after the battle when he deigned to see her as an equal, but love wouldn’t stay his hand.

“But …” Darby argued.

“Stop,” Kerrigan said with a sigh. “I’ve already made my choice. I was betrothed to March at birth. The documents were signed long ago. Legally, I could snub him and walk away from this marriage before the king and queen. The consequences though …”

Her friends looked up at her in dismay. They all knew there was no other choice.

A knock sounded at the door. Mistress Hellina—First of the House of Stoirm, her mentor and surrogate mother—peeked her head inside. “Are you ready?”

“Helly,” Kerrigan whispered.

She took Kerrigan’s hands. “Chin up, my dear. You can get through this.”

Helly had her back. She would still live in the mountain after this. She would still be a Society member. March would get his throne, but he would never have her heart. Never.

“I’m ready.”

Audria and Darby took up the long train of her dress as Helly led the way to the palace throne room. Belcourt Palace was at the heart of the Bryonican capital, Rosemont. The venue was a true honor bestowed upon them by the crown. It helped that March’s great-aunt was the queen. That their union would likely mean they would ascend to the coveted royal position. Fae were long-lived, but after one to two thousand years, their will to continue faded, and thus, they moved on. Many believed the king would enter the abyss as soon as a replacement was clear.

“Breathe,” Helly reminded her.

Then, she disappeared to her seat inside.

Littlings scattered the golden sunflower petals that bloomed all over Rosemont during the summer. A string quartet played the opening notes to the famous wedding tune. The double doors opened to reveal Kerrigan in all of her splendor, and the crowd rose to their feet, facing her with awe on their faces.

The awe was warranted. Her dress was a delight. Layer upon layer of white fabric gave her an impressive empire waist with a full skirt to the floor and a train that cascaded behind her. The bodice fit her like a glove with careful boning to hold it up, a V in the front and back, and a bow wrapping tight around her waist. The sleeves fell off her shoulders, revealing her pronounced décolleté. But the mesmerizing thing about the entire ensemble was the magic threaded through the dress. It had no ornament. No diamonds or rubies or sapphires to make it glow. The dress shimmered from top to bottom, as if pixie lights danced under the surface. Parris had imbued it with so much of his magic that it dazzled. Every person in attendance was going to want a gown from his commission. All those years of not paying for dresses and calling it advertising was finally paying off.


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