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The Midsummer Bride
Author: Kati Wilde





The Midsummer Bride




Elina the Cursed


Warrick the Chained


Elina the Breathless


Warrick the Overturned


Elina the Betrayed


Warrick the Trusted


Elina the Wedded


Warrick the Bedded


Elina the Heartless


Warrick the Glowing


Elina the Widow


Warrick the Ghost


Elina the Strong


Warrick the Radiant





Author’s Note


Also by Kati Wilde





The Midsummer Bride



A Dead Lands Fantasy Romance



A Barbarian Who Must Lie



When a prideful queen comes to his prison cell with an unbelievable proposal of marriage, Warrick of the Dead Lands is quick to accept … but not merely to secure his freedom. Because he recognizes the powerful jewels the queen wears — jewels pilfered from the temple of a goddess, who unleashed her wrath upon a kingdom. His plan? Pretend to go along with Queen Elina until he can steal the jewels back, then use them to lift the goddess’s curse.

Except the queen isn’t who Warrick assumes she is at first glance, and his deception might cost him everything…

A Queen Who Must Die



Betrayed by everyone she’s ever loved, trusting no one, Elina has spent years searching for the warrior prophesied to overthrow the sorcerer who stole her throne … and Warrick is the one warrior she’s found whose description matches the prophecy. She doesn’t want to marry a barbarian, but she’s running out of time — the sickness ravaging her body means she’ll be dead long before she sees home. Only the enchanted jewels she wears give her the strength to continue on … and her new husband’s touch offers the only pleasure she’s ever known.

But after a life spent running from those who betrayed her, Elina doesn't know whether to trust Warrick with her kingdom … or her heart.

The Midsummer Bride is part of the Dead Lands series but can completely stand alone. For content warnings: swipe or scroll back to the copyright page.



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Elina the Cursed



Here we are again, weaving tales of barbarians and queens, picking up a thread spoken of long ago during a midwinter celebration. But the seasons have turned—so quickly, too quickly—and midsummer is finally here. In the days between, we have told stories of a kind queen, an ironskin queen, a champion queen, and a stonehearted queen.

Now comes a dying queen.

The time is anotherwhen, a date unknown but on the cusp of a curse’s end. The place is anotherwhere, a world unnamed but too near our queen’s destined grave. And this story begins, as many stories do, when all hope is nearly gone—

But, no. No time do we have for another rambling start! Quickly, let us begin. For we know that love is the most powerful of all true magics…but what use is love if she is dead? Hurry now, turn the page.

It might already be too late.




“The queen’s face is cracking,” said Chardryn after bustling into the royal tent and getting her first look at Elina in her finery. The old nurse clucked her tongue and continued, “Not even the promise of freedom will tempt an imprisoned barbarian to follow her if that is the visage he lays eyes upon.”

Dara’s narrow shoulders hunched slightly, but her steady strokes never faltered as she brushed gold paint onto Elina’s chin.

The maid did not come to her own defense. So Elina did.

“The mask is too old, Chardryn.” So thick and heavy as it dried that Elina dared not make more than the smallest movement of her lips to speak. “It was but a lump of paste in the bottom of the jar when Dara began. She salvaged what she could with the oils at hand.”

The nurse nodded in resigned understanding. “Those at hand are not as refined as Aleron oils, I suppose.”

Aleron. A pang of longing struck Elina’s heart, as it did every time someone spoke the name of her kingdom. It had been far too many years since she’d left home. Since she’d fled from home, in truth—pursued by assassins sent by Soren, her sorcerer of an uncle.

“Well, no use fretting over what we can’t change.” Brusquely Chardryn set down her apothecary chest on the end of Elina’s curtained bed. She opened the lid and fished out an assortment of herbs and powders. “No more of the queen’s face can be procured until—”

“—we all return home,” Dara finished with a wistful sigh. Abruptly her dark eyes widened and shot to Elina’s. “Forgive me, Your Highness! I didn’t mean to speak of—”

With her naked fingers, Elina gently touched the wrist that hovered near her cheek, the steady brushstrokes interrupted by the maid’s dismay. “You’ve said nothing to forgive. The illness my uncle cursed me with will probably kill me before I return home. This we all know, and we need not pretend otherwise. But you will return, Dara. You will see your family again.” Pulling back her hand, Elina smiled—though the stiffness of the paint only allowed a faint curve of her mouth. “Soon, if this barbarian is the warrior we seek.”

If the barbarian was not, Elina might take him anyway. She had no more time to search for the warrior spoken of in the witch’s prophecy. Better to return to Aleron with any warrior at her side than die far from home, having never attempted to remove her uncle from his ill-begotten throne or free her people from his tyrannical rule.

“Best not do more of that, Your Highness. Talking,” Chardryn clarified when Elina gave her a questioning glance. “Smiling, too. Your face cracks all the more when you do.”

“What of frowning, Nanny Char?” she teased the old nurse. “Or scowling? Yes, exactly in that way,” Elina said when Chardryn demonstrated the same scowl that she’d often worn when Elina was a child, during those early mischievous years in the palace. Just as in those days, the nurse turned away to hide her smile, all the while muttering about disobedient and unruly charges.

“Once I’m outside, I’ll not be able to help squinting under the bright sun,” Elina added, only partially teasing now. Midsummer in the kingdom of Torrath brought with it a blinding heat.

“You’ll not see a hint of the sun, child. We’ll not let one ray touch the queen’s face, lest it melt away. Here, now. Drink your tonic before she paints your lips.”

Elina took the small cup, thinking that if not for the two attendants waving their enormous feathered fans to circulate air within the tent, the paint would have already melted away…and, weak as she was, Elina might have melted away with it. But the nurse’s medicinal restorative would hold her together for a little while longer.

Though never long enough.

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