Bow Before Your Queen Or Bleed Before Her…
We have a treat for you! I little sneak peek at The Crown of Gilded Bones, Book 3 in the Blood & Ash series from Jennifer L. Armentrout! We love this series so much… enjoy!
THE CROWN OF GILDED BONES
What a pretty little flower.
What a pretty poppy.
Pick it and watch it bleed.
Not so pretty any longer.
I came to, gulping in a deep breath of air that smelled of damp soil and old decay. The horrible rhyme echoed in my aching head as I opened my eyes and gasped, choking on a scream. Dark, empty eye sockets stared back at me from a dusty, dirty skull.
Heart slamming against my ribs, I shot upright and scuttled back. I made it about a foot when something tightened painfully, sharply jerking my arms and legs. I ground my teeth, stifling a whimper as the skin of my wrists and below my knees burned. Someone had removed my sweater and left me in only the too-thin slip I’d worn under the top. Any concern I might’ve felt over where my sweater and pants had gone, or how the cinched bodice of the slip did very little to hide anything, fell away as I stared at my hands.
Bones… Polished, ivory bones were twisted around my wrists. Bones and…and vines. And some part of them dug into my skin. I carefully drew up one leg, chest rising and falling rapidly as I saw the same just below my knees. Upon closer inspection, I saw that they weren’t vines. They appeared to be some kind of root. Dried blood streaked my calves as I reached for the manacle—
Fiery pain branded my wrists, stopping me. “Gods,” I hissed through my teeth as I carefully leaned back against something hard, damp, and cold. A wall?
Throat dry, my gaze followed the twist of bone and roots to where it connected with the wall. My breath came out in short, uneven pants as I glanced back at the…the thing beside me. Patches of thin, stringy, blond hair hung in clumps from the skull. Only pieces of tattered clothing remained, darkened by age and dirt. I had no idea if it had been male or female, but it had clearly been here for decades—maybe even centuries. Some kind of spear rested against the corpse’s chest, the blade a chalky black. Ice drenched my entire being as I saw the same knotted bones and roots encircling its wrists and ankles. Air lodged in my throat as my gaze lifted to what sat on the other side of the body. More remains, bound in the same manner. And there was another, and another—propped against the entire length of the wall—dozens of them.
My wide gaze darted wildly around. Torches jutted out from gray-black columns in the center of the space and farther back, casting an orange glow across…
Horror filled me as I saw several raised stone slabs—long and square boxes situated between two rows of pillars. Oh, gods. I knew what they were. Sarcophagi. Sarcophagi smothered by coiled bone and root chain, the bindings draped over each one.
I was in a crypt.
And it was clear that I wasn’t the first to be held here.
Panic crept up my throat, making it even harder to breathe in the cold, dank air. My pulse pounded sickeningly fast. Nausea rose, cramping my stomach as I searched the shadows beyond the sarcophagi and pillars. I had no recollection of how I’d arrived here or how long I’d— Casteel.
An image of him formed in my mind, reaching for me as his skin turned gray and hardened. Pressure clamped down on my chest, grinding my heart. I squeezed my eyes shut against the rush of dampness rising, but it was no use. I still saw him, his back arched and body contorted, his eyes dulling, his gaze fixing. He couldn’t be gone. Neither could Kieran or Jasper. They had to be fine. I just needed to get out of here and find them.
The Crown of Gilded Bones
She’s been the victim and the survivor…
Poppy never dreamed she would find the love she’s found with Prince Casteel. She wants to revel in her happiness but first they must free his brother and find hers. It’s a dangerous mission and one with far-reaching consequences neither dreamed of. Because Poppy is the Chosen, the Blessed. The true ruler of Atlantia. She carries the blood of the King of Gods within her. By right the crown and the kingdom are hers.
The enemy and the warrior…
Poppy has only ever wanted to control her own life, not the lives of others, but now she must choose to either forsake her birthright or seize the gilded crown and become the Queen of Flesh and Fire. But as the kingdoms’ dark sins and blood-drenched secrets finally unravel, a long-forgotten power rises to pose a genuine threat. And they will stop at nothing to ensure that the crown never sits upon Poppy’s head.
A lover and heartmate…
But the greatest threat to them and to Atlantia is what awaits in the far west, where the Queen of Blood and Ash has her own plans, ones she has waited hundreds of years to carry out. Poppy and Casteel must consider the impossible—travel to the Lands of the Gods and wake the King himself. And as shocking secrets and the harshest betrayals come to light, and enemies emerge to threaten everything Poppy and Casteel have fought for, they will discover just how far they are willing to go for their people—and each other.
And now she will become Queen…
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# 1 NEW YORK TIMES, # 1 International, and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in West Virginia. She also writes under the name J. Lynn. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write. She shares her home with her husband, his K-9 partner named Diesel and her hyper Border Jack Apollo, and a slew of farm animals that include alpacas, goats, and sheep.
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