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The King by J.R. Ward Read Online (FREE)

The King by J.R. Ward Read Online

Read The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1) by J.R. Ward AKA Jessica Bird full novel online for free here.

PROLOGUE

SEVENTEENTH CENTURY, OLD COUNTRY

 

“Long live the King.”

At the sound of the deep, grave voice, Wrath, son of Wrath, had an instinct to look around for his father … a spark of hope that the death had not occurred and the great ruler was as yet still with them.

But of course, his beloved sire remained gone unto the Fade.

How long would this sad searching last? he wondered. It was such useless folly, especially as the sacred vestments of the vampire King were upon himself, the bejeweled sashes and silken coat and ceremonial daggers adorning his own body. His mind cared naught for such proof of his recent coronation, however … or mayhap it was his heart that remained unswayed by all that now defined him.

Dearest Virgin Scribe, without his father, he was so alone, even as he was surrounded by people who served him.

“My lord?”

Composing his visage, he turned around. Standing in the doorway of the royal receiving chambers, his closest adviser was like a column of smoke, long and thin, draped in dark robes.

“My honor to greet you,” the male murmured, bending low. “Are you ready to receive the female?”

No. “Indeed.”

“Shall we initiate the procession.”

“Yes.”

As his adviser bowed again and backed out, Wrath paced across the oak-paneled room. Candles wafted in the drafts that somehow infiltrated the castle’s stone walls, and the roaring fire in the chest-high hearth seemed to offer only light, not warmth.

In truth, he had no desire for a shellan—or rather, a mate, as it inevitably was going to be. Love was required for the former, and he had none to offer a soul.

From out of the corner of his eye, he caught a flash of brilliance, and to pass the time before this dreaded meeting occurred, he went over and regarded the sets of gems that had been displayed upon the carved desk. Diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, pearls … nature’s beauty captured and anchored by hammered gold.

The most valuable were the rubies.

Reaching out to touch the bloodred stones, he thought, It was too early for all of this. His being King, this mating arrangement, the thousand different demands he now bore and yet understood too little of.

He needed more time to learn from his father—

The first of three pounding knocks reverberated through the room, and Wrath was grateful that no one was about to see him flinch.

The second was just as loud.

The third was going to require his response.

Closing his eyes, he found it hard to breathe through the pain in his chest. He wanted his father with him—this should be happening later, when he was older, and not guided by a courtier, but his own sire. Fate, however, had robbed the great male of years that were his due, and in turn, subscribed the son to a sort of drowning even though there was air about him to breathe.