Ashera is a queen in a world of kings. She took her crown and has paid for it in blood. Not everyone is willing to let her rule in peace, however, especially not the neighboring kingdoms for whom human slavery is still very much in practice.
Ashera continues to bleed for her crown while showing each kingdom that men aren’t the only ones who can rule. But when a resistance against Ashera’s rule grows, she’s forced to realize that she can’t create widespread change on her own. She’ll need to win the hearts of the men who rule alongside her if she’s to crush the resistance and free all of humanity.
Seducing them is easy, she’s a succubus with lithe curves and a wicked tongue. It’s getting them to change their minds that is the challenge. Especially when she’s faced with an unruly and violent Vampire Prince, an over the top dramatic Fae Prince, an Angelic king, and a Demonic assassin. They’re all alpha males in their own right, each one thinking they know what’s best for their queen.
Unfortunately for them, she has no intention of listening.
BLOOD CROWN, the first full-length novel in the Freedom’s Harem series by reverse harem paranormal romance authors Elizabeth Brown & Torri Heat. This is a fast burn story.
About the Book
Blood Crown by Elizabeth Brown & Torri Heat
Series Freedom’s Harem | Genre Adult Reverse Harem Paranormal Romance
Publisher Independent | Publication Date June 15, 2021
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A Freedom’s Harem Novel
© 2021 Elizabeth Brown & Torri Heat
I stood in front of the floor-to-ceiling mirror carefully inspecting myself. I needed to dress the part for my visitors’ arrival. As a succubus queen, I intended to portray power and lust. Two things no man could ignore. My dress was constructed from a sheer, golden fabric that was held together at my shoulders by a series of small black pearls. It cascaded down my body in two small panels just big enough to cover most of my breasts but still allowed a shadow of my nipples to show. An intricately beaded belt was slung low on my hips, below which the dress fell to the floor in a single sweep of fabric. I looked very much like the succubus I was. The pearls at my shoulders formed small caps that clinked lightly when I walked. It felt like armor, all the while looking like a trick.
My biceps were adorned by three blood-red bands, a clear showing to the other royals of my skill on the battlefield. Most of them had never seen action in real life. Most had been handed a crown because they had been born to the right parents. I had earned my place spilling the blood of men like them.
The most important item on my body was the small golden circlet that graced my brow. I refused to wear something so ostentatious as the disgrace worn by Shaytan’s previous ruler. His head now swayed on a pike on the main bridge leading to the palace, along with the other nobility that refused to free their slaves. The monstrosity he wore had already been melted down to create my circlet. That didn’t mean I wasn’t one for dramatics. My thighs were encircled with diamond garters that held two forearm-length daggers. My plaited hair had gold, diamond, and ruby beads woven into it. I appeared much like any other deadly creature — stunning enough to draw you in without realizing the danger.
I knew the envoys would be composed mostly of princes or the kings themselves. Whether they openly presented themselves as such was another matter entirely. I’d learned much about their kingdoms during my preparation to seize control of the demon’s territory. Going into a coup of a kingdom as extensive as Shaytan would have been a suicide mission without adequate knowledge of everything that went into keeping the people inside the borders alive, and more importantly — free. Besides, I had ample time to prepare.
From whispers in the castle, I’d heard the other rulers weren’t pleased a woman now sat on the throne, and they certainly weren’t happy I’d freed all the slaves in Shaytan. They knew well enough that single act could cause rebellion in their own kingdoms. I hoped it did. And maybe one day, if their people didn’t do it on their own, I’d give them a hand. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what bothered the kings more, but I had a sneaking suspicion it was the lack of cock between my legs that was most unsettling.
Heavy footsteps echoed in the chamber around me, and I knew who it was without having to look. Malachi — my top general and closest friend. He’d been with me since the beginning. As an elite assassin in the former king’s army, he’d surprised me when he drunkenly confessed he didn’t agree with the slave trade either. Many in the king’s army didn’t. In fact, it appeared that only the nobility in Shaytan had wanted the practice to continue. I needed help, and he needed a push.
I glanced over as he moved into the room. He walked with the grace of a man who knew the best ways to kill you, and it had always stirred my succubus. It didn’t hurt that he was gorgeous. At a little over seven feet, he was the tallest male I knew. He had muscles for days and large bat-like wings topped with wickedly sharp talons. His dark olive skin tone always made me think of summer days, and that one time we’d gone skinny dipping before we’d started our army. His honey-colored eyes warmed as he looked me over, and I licked my lips, his gaze tracking the motion like a predator stalking its prey. Large horns flowed seamlessly from his hairline and curved down toward his ears before arching back up into deadly points. His hair was tied back in a messy bun, making my fingers itch to pull the strands loose. He always looked better when he was a little messy.
“Ashera.” His low timbre had heat pooling between my legs. “Not covered in blood, I see.”
“Mal,” I responded with a smile. He grinned back at me as he took me in again, arching a dark brow as he examined my outfit. “I didn’t have time this morning.”
“So you’re going to try to kill them?”
I laughed, smoothing out my dress. “What makes you say that?” I glanced at myself again in the mirror. “This is perfectly acceptable for a succubus queen.”
I didn’t miss the eye roll. “For a succubus, I swear…” Mal chuckled and shook his head. “Don’t let them rattle you.”
I searched his gaze before I nodded. “I won’t.”
“Good. I’ll be monitoring who is coming and going.” Mal nodded his head and turned to leave, stopping at the doorway. “Are you keeping your glamor up?”
I shrugged. “For now. What they don’t know won’t hurt them.” The glamor he was referring to hid my wings and horns — signs of a truly powerful succubus. I preferred to keep any signs that I might be different under wraps and use that to my advantage.
Mal pressed his lips together tightly, and walked out the door, muttering about blood flow to different body parts regardless of the glamor. He was older than me, but not by much — 450 years to my 325. But sometimes he acted as though it was a millennium.
I sighed. Mal had always kept our relationship distant and friendly, much to my annoyance. But it felt good to know that he had my back today. I knew, without a doubt, that he would kill anyone who dared hurt me. He certainly wouldn’t allow any of the envoys to try anything stupid while they were here.
“My queen.” A servant entered my bedchamber, breaking me from my thoughts. She held her head high, and her eyes met mine. A flush of pride soared through me at the sight. Before me, before my rule, a servant would’ve been killed for merely lifting their gaze off the floor. “The first envoy is here.”
“I’ll be down shortly. Have them shown to the throne room.” She bowed her head in acknowledgment and left.
She was one of the many slaves I’d freed immediately upon gaining control of the kingdom. They had been given the choice to work under better conditions in the same job they’d had, paid of course, or find a new position that suited them better. Grateful, most of them remained in the castle. Thank the gods for that. Even growing up working at one of the small manor houses, I would have never known where to begin in taking care of an entire castle. I was better at delegating. Divvying up jobs, and making sure people were in the roles they were most successful at. In a few words, I was born to be a queen.
The kingdom still needed individuals to work, but I refused to allow any more slaves to wither away in chains. All because they were mortal. Dunya, our realm, functioned based on the separation of the two factions. On the one side were beings like me — the immortals. Fae, shifters, vampires, angels, witches, and demons. We all lived in our own separate kingdoms, and all used different kinds of the same magic. We could all perform basic magic as well as our own unique magic based on our species. And on the other side, you had the mortals — humans. The beings the immortals enslaved to do the dirty work they didn’t want to do themselves or the work they couldn’t do with magic.
I was disgusted by the thought. Just because my kind and those of the nobility and royalty of the other kingdoms could live for centuries without aging and humans could not did not mean mortals’ lives held less value. If anything, they lived life with far more passion than our kind could ever muster. Less time to live meant more desire to make each moment count. One day, when I had a moment or two to breathe, I hoped to experience that kind of passion in my own life.
I took one last look at myself in the mirror, a pleased grin spreading across my face. The envoys, all men, would see a partially naked woman on the throne. It was a big part of why I was keeping the glamor up — I wanted them to underestimate me. I wanted them to assume I’d merely slept my way to the front of the coup despite the bands on my arm. I would relish the looks on their faces when I proved just how wrong they were.
I walked through my palace, the usual contradiction of feelings rushing through me. The palace of Shaytan was beautiful, done up in the styles of the old world. But the memories of who built it — maintained it, were ones I’d like to forget.
The floors were a bright white marble, reflecting the smooth golden walls on their surface. All the doors were a rich wood — carved from the Forest of the Void that bordered our kingdom — and ornately carved with the history of Shaytan. Wood that had been carved by slaves — from wood hewn by slaves and depicting the history of slavery as something to be celebrated. They were next on my list to burn. Unlike most palaces, we had no ornaments on display. When our coup was successful, I had given those pieces of gold and silver to my men to do with as they pleased. Some brought them home to their mates as trophies. Others used them as target practice.
My footsteps were silent as I made my way to the throne room, my bare feet allowing me to move around the palace like a ghost. Demons typically needed skin-to-skin contact to receive or give power, which meant most of us walked around mostly fully clothed. Succubi and incubi in particular used touch to feed off sexual energy and restore our magical stores. We didn’t want anyone siphoning our power without permission. My outfit had a dual purpose — seduction and a blatant invitation to attempt to take my power. I’d like to see them fucking try.
I stopped in front of the throne room — this door depicting one of the old lords on the throne as a young slave placed a crown atop his head. Another servant stood just outside, proud and at attention. I turned to face the young man. “Do you know which envoy has arrived?” I asked.
“Masas, my queen.” He gave me a soft smile. Masas. I thought back to my research. From what I could remember, Masas was ruled by an ancient vampire — one of the first. Tomas, I believed his name was. I would expect him to go for the power, rather than the seduction. I straightened my shoulders. Let’s see this old vamp try to touch me.
My back was straight, and my head held high as my name was announced and the doors slowly opened. The new nobility I’d handpicked to help me lead this kingdom into a new era were stationed around the room. They bowed their heads as I entered. I tried telling them it wasn’t necessary, but it was of no use. Today, it worked to my advantage. My people respected me. I walked toward my throne, elegant and simple in the ornate room. I had burned the original throne, not wanting to sit in the same place as slaveholders. In front of my throne, back to me, stood Tomas. His black cloak was long and oddly simple. I had thought the vampires were lavish in their clothing. I kept my eyes forward, and sat on my throne, draping the pieces of my dress around me. Then I forced a sensual smile on my face and finally looked at the vampire waiting for my acknowledgment. I wouldn’t give it before I was ready. I needed Masas on my side because they ruled with both money and an iron fist.
I nearly choked. In front of me was not the decrepit, wrinkly creature I was expecting. Instead stood one of the most beautiful creatures I had ever seen. His skin was the purest ivory, like the first snowfall of winter. His black hair was thick and lush, curling softly around his neck and ears. He was easily over six feet tall, but his frame was heavily muscled. While not nearly as tall as Malachi, the vampire had just as many delicious muscles. I could feel myself wanting to drool, a familiar ache creeping between my legs. Focus, Ashera, focus. And then my gaze met his eyes.
A pair of blood-red, cold eyes stared back at me. There was no warmth in his gaze, and no sense of welcome radiated. I wasn’t sure if he wanted to kill me or eat me. Maybe both… The image of him feasting between my thighs, blood trickling out of the corner of his mouth sharpened the ache between my legs.
I forced myself to remain in control. I hadn’t taken over a whole godsdamn kingdom of demons to be shaken by a vamp. “Where is Tomas?”
The vampire’s expression didn’t shift. “Tomas is too sickly to travel. He sent me in his place.”
I sighed, trying not to let the annoyance show on my face. A straight answer, was that really too much to ask for? “And you are?” My mask of cool, detached sensuality slipped with my desperation to know who this handsome stranger — staring at me with such hatred — was. The succubus in me was already stirring, that cold, hate-filled stare made me want to fuck the hate right out of him.
“Ambrose.” His voice was a low rumble, each syllable sending a shockwave of desire to my core. The Crown Prince of Masas. Obviously, it had been too long since my last fling. With the war going on, my desires had taken a backseat. Which was difficult for a succubus, as we thrived off touch and connection. Sex. My mouth watered as I imagined the rush of power that would flood my body with another’s release. What would a vampire feel like? I wanted to know. I needed to know…
I allowed my power to flood me, releasing pheromones into the room. All the unmated males leaned in. I knew the moment Ambrose felt my energy, watching the pupils of his red eyes dilate. But he didn’t move or allow himself to give in to the feelings I knew had to be coursing through his body. What the hell?He had shaken me, and while I wanted nothing more than to ride him on this very throne, I needed to regain some control.
I let my hands slide down my body as I leaned forward, maintaining eye contact with the arrogant vampire. His eyes flicked from my hands back to my eyes almost faster than I could track. A slow seductive smile curled my lips, and I flicked my tongue out to drag along my full bottom lip.
“Ambrose.” My voice was a husky purr, everything about me now meant to seduce. Tempt. Torture. I stood, making my way over to him with rolling hips and swaying limbs. “It’s certainly a pleasure to have you in my kingdom, and I’m so glad you provided your name.” I trailed my fingers down his chest as I stepped in close. “It would be a terrible shame if a nameless vampire were to go missing in my kingdom.”
When I’d heard a woman had staged a successful coup against the king of Shaytan, I’d laughed. I was sure the other princes and kings laughed as well. In my 400 plus years, a woman had never ruled — they’d never been powerful enough. Whoever was spreading rumors like that was bored out of their mind.
But then, to my shock and horror, the rumors turned out to be true. I needed to see her for myself. Surely, she had been a concubine who had gotten lucky enough to murder the former ruler in his sleep. She’d be weak and easily manipulated or overthrown. Either way, it would be a significant gain for Masas when I returned with the queen under my thumb.
My father was nearing the end of his exceptionally long life, thank the gods, and wanted nothing to do with the typical diplomatic envoy that was sent after a transfer of power. I could have sent trusted men in my stead, but I was too curious. I needed to go myself. It was possible I’d be able to drain the new queen dry while I fucked her, get a mild power boost from her blood, and then be on my way home. Not to kill though, no. It would be easier to rule through the queen.
I was sure the other kingdoms would be sending their kings or princes hidden within their envoys as well. I wasn’t the only one who would want to put an end to the queen’s rule before she’d even really begun. I would need to connect with Masas’s allies because it would be easier to kill her if one of us could get between her thighs. Preferably, me.
I’d already been on the road when word reached me that the new queen, Ashera, had freed all the slaves in Shaytan. What the hell was she thinking? My gaze had bounced to all the slaves traveling with me and my men. They were blood slaves, and we needed them for our power. We could feed off each other, or even other species — if we wanted a more powerful boost — but the act of giving and taking blood was something only done between trusted individuals or on the battlefield.
Disgust filled me at the thought of freeing our blood slaves — any of our slaves for that matter. How this queen thought she could keep an entire country running without the labor baffled me. Pathetic. Not only could this cause a widespread economic collapse, if word spread about her freed slaves, it could prove ruinous for the other kingdoms. There would be countless rebellions to quell.
We were shown to a large suite of rooms when we finally arrived at the Shaytan palace. I was surprised to see people still running the place. Had she really not freed her slaves? Upon closer examination, I discovered that they no longer wore the collar that symbolized their status. My eyes narrowed in thought. How the fuck had she gotten them to stay?
Not bothering to dress in accordance with my station to confuse the little queen, I donned a simple black cloak over my black slacks and shirt. I instructed my men to stay in the suite while I went to meet with the queen. No need for us all to suffer.
I was shown to the throne room and made to wait with the new nobility of Shaytan. While I’d never been particularly friendly with anyone from this kingdom, I knew a few faces from court. Most now lined the bridge into the palace, along with the former king and his consorts. Such a waste of blood. There were a few still here I recognized, so she hadn’t cleaned house entirely it seemed.
When her presence was finally announced, I turned my back, a clear display of disrespect. I made her wait for my full attention. Curiosity, however, won the day. When I saw her sitting upon her throne my breath stilled in my lungs, my cock hardened, and I felt a savage urge to mark that unblemished flesh with my fangs. I immediately hated her for the response she ripped out of my body.
And yet… I couldn’t tear my eyes away. She was a goddess in gold. Her garment — if you could even call it that — played to her succubus heritage, showing off supple curves, generous breasts, and smooth golden skin that seemed to shimmer against the fabric she wore. Her bright green eyes betrayed her surprise as she looked at me before they heated to reveal her hunger.
Gods be damned… My cock hardened further as we continued to gaze at one another.
“Where is Tomas?” Even her voice was seductive. Just hearing it made me want to see those lush, full lips wrapped around me as she sucked me dry.
I remained outwardly stoic, even as my mind rebelled, and desire weighed heavy in my veins. “Tomas is too sickly to travel. He sent me in his place.”
The sigh that left her lips had me biting back a smirk. She didn’t like that I hadn’t told her who I was. She didn’t like that Tomas wasn’t in attendance. Best of all, she had no idea who she was dealing with.
“And you are?” Your fucking master, little queen. She just didn’t know it yet.
“Ambrose.” I inhaled and the scent of her blood and arousal had my fangs dropping in my mouth. I wanted to sink my fangs into one of those lush thighs before I buried my tongue in her sweet pussy. I’d make her beg for release.
Suddenly, her power washed over me as she released pheromones into the room. Fuck me sideways. I forced myself to remain still as every instinct screamed to wrap my hand around her slender throat as I buried myself inside her, pinning her to the wall. Better yet, I’d take her in front of all these other assholes. It would certainly show them that she belonged to me.
Something fierce and feral rose within me, snarling and snapping to be unleashed. I’d never had quite this strong of a reaction to a woman before. It was possible I’d gone too long between fucks. Even other succubi had never had this sort of impact on me, but this little queen… I wanted to own her.
She drifted her hands down her body, bringing my attention to her full breasts and erect nipples before I dragged my gaze back to her face. That feral beast within me fought to surface, needing to bend her over my knee and redden her ass for teasing me.
“Ambrose.” Her voice was low and husky, making my cock twitch. She stood and made her way to me, her every step causing her hips and breasts to sway enticingly. “It’s certainly a pleasure to have you in my kingdom. I’m so glad you provided your name.” She trailed her fingers down my chest light as a whisper. “It would be a terrible shame if a nameless vampire were to go missing in my kingdom.”
I let a dark chuckle rumble through my chest. In a flash, I had my hand wrapped around the back of her neck, and I pulled her flush against me. I tightened my fingers possessively around her. I could feel everyone around us stiffen in shock, but it didn’t faze me. “It’s not wise to threaten me.”
The little queen’s eyes darkened with desire, but she didn’t pull away or fight my hold. She also didn’t attempt to siphon any of my power where our skin touched. She was either too weak to do so, or too cocky. Either was a mistake. “And it’s not wise to underestimate me…
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