Return to the Empire and the land of the Prophecy of Fire and Light in this fourth installment of The Empire Saga, The Dark Queen by M. Dalto. We are so pleased to reveal the cover for this upcoming New Adult fantasy epic! Dive into a familiar cast of characters as they tackle problems that were never foretold in the prophesy that gripped their land. Will the young rulers band together for the good of all the realm? Or will differences divide them until it is too late?
Anticipate the glittering fantasy world that author M. Dalto has created in The Dark Queen (The Empire Saga, #4), coming to bookstores November 02, 2021! Preorder your copy TODAY!
For centuries, the Empire has been enslaved to an infallible, revered Prophecy—one that controlled their every thought and action, banishing those who questioned its integrity while promising to bring a time of peace and tranquility to those who followed blindly and believed unconditionally.
But the Prophecy is flawed.
Amid broken promises and mournful lamentations, fates are changed and dreams are destroyed.
When an ancient force resurfaces and threatens to destroy all they know, new alliances are formed as the heirs to the Empire’s throne struggle to put aside personal differences for the good of their realm.
Before it’s too late.
Welcome back, Empress.
Alexstrayna felt cold.
It wasn’t like when she’d been outside for too long without an overcoat or a cape. Or as if she were caught out in the rain without an umbrella and the chill of the evening air had penetrated through her clothes until it reached through to her bones.
No, it was the feeling of waking up in the middle of the night after a nightmare, body slick with sweat and heart racing.
This was the chill of fear.
Wherever she was, it was dark. She sensed the cool smoothness of stone around her like a room, yet casting her arms out she couldn’t feel any walls where she assumed they would be. But from the smell of damp rock she knew they were there.
And they were cold.
And the cold was paralyzing. Instead of running, or trying to find a way out, she wrapped her arms around herself as if to retain whatever last bit of inner warmth she possessed. Huddled within those cold, stone confines, she tried to keep her teeth from chattering and her body from seizing.
Where was she? And how did she get there in the first place?
She had just watched the others after they had packed and off on their trek towards the Borderlands. She and Jamison remained, and as they were returning to the palace…
She approached with no limp, no hobble, with no of any outward injuries whatsoever. In fact, in the way she had approached her in the palace gardens, completely unawares, it was as though she hadn’t been in the infirmary just moments before, allegedly healing from the wounds inflicted upon her by Lexan.
She remembered seeing Jamison in the distance, sprawled on the ground, immobile. And that man…
She had never met him before, but those eyes—they bore into her soul as if she should have recognized him.
A sob choked in her throat as her head throbbed with pain.
Despite the ache, Alex’s head whipped upward and she stared desperately into the gloom. Sarayna? What was she doing there?
She tried to gather her legs underneath her, but they felt like lead. And the pounding in her head—it was getting worse. But she had to warn her daughter. And in doing so, then maybe Sarayna could tell Reylor and Treyan…
Her name echoed off the chilling stones as if someone were there with her, watching her all along.
“Who’s there?” she rasped; her throat was raw as if she had been screaming. Had she? She couldn’t remember anything since her path crossed Crystal’s in the gardens.
A smooth, feminine chuckle resounded around her. “Oh, we are going to have a fine time together, you and I.”
“Who are you?” Alex demanded, her voice growing louder. She finally regained her footing and pushed herself up into a standing position.
The pain within Alex’s skull was almost unbearable, but her eyes began adjusting slowly, taking in what was, indeed, a room surrounding her. The moss-covered walls confirmed the smell of dampness and the sound of trickling water could be heard from within them. There was a brightening light from above, shining through the darkness from a window she hadn’t noticed was there. It was as if the suns were rising on a new day—like a dawning ray of hope that she was going to escape this hell.
Wherever it was.
Every muscle in her body was tense, as if that cold was eating away at her from the inside out, but still she moved towards the light.
But that voice, it was all around her.
“Until we meet again, Empress,” it said, just as that light exploded within the room.
For a moment, illuminated by the flash, Alex swore she saw a throne—a black marble chaise carved into the wall. And upon that throne, there was a female clad in black.
A woman wearing her face.
Before she could make an inquiry, or take a step closer to investigate, that light exploded not only in that dark, cold room but also inside her head. The brightness intermingled with the pain that had been building between her eyes, bursting like a million pins and needles through every pore of her body.
And Alex screamed.