THE SAMPLING: Royal Orchid—The Crystal Continent

By Denika Mead

Denika Mead brings us the final title in The Crystal Continent series. After defeating the Ghost Warriors, Ivy is now Queen of the Crystal People. But peace doesn’t last for long when a dragon hatches in the Kingdom. Flicker’s birth brings vengeful dragons out of a deep slumber, determined to hunt the hatchling down and destroy her and anyone that stands in their way. Ivy and her friends flee Vanda Orchid to the Land of Kingdoms in search of an army of pixies and humans strong enough to battle their new enemies. Can Ivy raise an army before the dragons attack? Or will everything she loves be destroyed?


A talon burst through the ice. Sapphire eyes snapped open for the first time in years.

The frozen earth shuddered, cracking and splintering. Snow erupted into the air. The creature clawed his way up to the ice, gasping, air filling his lungs. He shook the snow from his body. His scales, once the brightest blue, were faded and brittle.

He scanned the icy wasteland, his sharp gaze missing nothing. The spell holding him frozen had broken. That could only mean one thing.

His fellow dragons’ bodies were embedded deep in the ice—a frozen tomb. He breathed a sigh of relief, though it was only a matter of time before they too thawed and clawed their way out. One of the fire-breather’s talons twitched under the ice. He didn’t have long.

A tug deep within his mind pulled at his consciousness, calling him. A crackle reverberated through his skull, sparking through his scaly body. It had started. A low growl rumbled through him.

He stretched his wings, easing the stiffness. The sun rebounded off his hard scales, warming him for the first time in years. He drew a breath of fresh air and lifted into the sky, soaring toward the glassy sea. His tail lashed, his powerful wings beating faster, until he was racing across the ocean. Ever closer to his hatchling.

Chapter 1: He’s Alive

Wish stuffed her self-pity down deep as she strode to Kaya’s cell. She’d finally dragged herself back from the forest. Everyone would be wondering where she’d gone, but the memories of Leor, her dead uncle, had been too strong at Ivy’s coronation. There wasn’t a breath of wind—as if the land were holding its breath, waiting.

She wouldn’t have minded staying in the forest forever, but it was her turn to feed the prisoner. A grimace twisted her mouth. The thin strips of beef on the tin plate weren’t very appealing. Wish’s last meal hadn’t been much better. At least we have food, she reminded herself. The Ghost Warriors could have done worse if their rampage through Earth and the Kingdom hadn’t been stopped.

Wish had thought she would feel free with Leor dead. She’d had her revenge, so why couldn’t she move on? Why couldn’t she forget her uncle’s betrayal?

The jail hunkered far from the busy center of the Crystal Kingdom, the ugly slate-gray walls in stark contrast to the rest of the land. Leor showing his true colors.

She scowled, ignoring the guard as he unlocked the jail door and shoved it open.

The jail was dim, the only light coming from a narrow window in the ceiling. Wish shivered in the sudden cold. The cells lining the walls were empty. She had to go right to the back to reach Kaya’s. The light faded the deeper she went, until she was walking in murky gloom.

Kaya was leaning against the rear stone wall. The bench beside her was so rickety, it could collapse at any moment. “Come to join me, Wish?”

Wish didn’t answer. She pushed the meal under the bars, the plate grating on the stone.

Kaya straightened. A smile played across her lips. “I know that look,” she said. “And I know how you feel. He took things from me, too.”

Wish scowled. “Who did?” But she knew.

“Leor ruined both our lives. He tore my family apart when he sent my brother to Earth.” Kaya brushed a tangled lock of hair out of her face. She stared at Wish, her gaze intense. “My parents are dead because of that man.” Kaya prowled to the bars. “I think you have some experience with that.”

“I’m not like you.” Wish strode back to the jail door, her footsteps echoing.

“He’s alive.”

Wish froze, one hand clenched on the handle.

“I heard the guards celebrating.” Bitterness twisted Kaya’s voice. “He’s here. In the Kingdom.”

Wish’s heart thumped. “You’re lying. My uncle is dead.” She wrenched the jail door open and stalked outside, slamming it behind her.

This extract has been reproduced with permission.

The Royal Orchid—The Crystal Continent

By Denika Mead

RRP $20.00

Available from the author’s website