"Steamy, sensual, and dangerous...Dark and delicious."—Fresh Fiction on The Goblin King
In a Faraway Land...
There lived a man who was trapped—his only companions a horde of goblins consumed by their lust for gold. He thought he was lost forever, thought that no one would ever remember he'd been noble.
A Fearless Warrior.
Now he has been thrust into the human world once again, but so much has changed. How can he ever be rid of the darkness after so long in the Shadowlands?
It Starts with Dreams of a Castle...
And a woman who takes his breath away and makes him forget the pain of his past. He knows he must protecet her at all costs. And perhaps in saving her, he can finally learn to love again.
Praise for The Goblin King:
"Shona Husk put together an amazing story about loss, love, redemption, and discovery."—Night Owl Reviews Top Pick
"A wonderfully dark and sensual fairy tale."—Jessa Slade, author of Seduced by Shadows
About the Author
A civil designer by day and an author by night, Shona Husk lives in Western Australia at the edge of the Indian Ocean. Drawing on history, myth, and imagination, she writes about heroes who are armed and dangerous but have a heart of goldsometimes literally.
Read an Excerpt
What was it about the full moon that turned the emergency room into an overfull level of Hell? This was madness.
Already Nadine was dreaming of the end of her shift and going for a run. Running was her escape. In that hour, she was free, and all she had to do was breathe. For half a second, she let herself drift away from the chaos.
A nurse tapped her on the arm. "Nadine, you're wanted in triage."
Nadine frowned. She didn't work the front counter. "Why?"
"Dunno, I was just told to find you." The nurse was already moving away, leaving Nadine with no choice but to see why she'd been requested.
When she saw the cop, her stomach tightened. Police never brought good news. What had her father done now? He'd barely been out of prison for two weeks. She crossed her fingers by her side and sent up a prayer.
She gave the cop a tight smile and forced herself to be professional. She wasn't five, and she had nothing that could be taken away. "How can I help you?"
"I've got a man with a head injury who doesn't seem to speak English." The officer gave her a quick glance. "Can you help?"
Nadine looked past the cop to his partner, standing next to a sitting man who looked like he'd crawled out of a third-world jail. Blood ran down the side of his face and stuck in his shaggy hair. He was covered in dust or ash, almost as if he'd been pulled from a collapsed building. His loose-fitting tunic was worn with age, as were his pants and boots. But the cut was somehow wrong, as if he were wearing castoffs from another age. His gaze was firmly fixed on the floor, shoulders slumped as if defeated by whatever struggle he was facing.
"He's having some kind of episode. Freaked out when we brought him in."
"What did he do?" She had no intention of being attacked by a psychiatric patient, yet he didn't seem dangerous...just lost, locked in his own world. She'd seen that look before on a returned soldier who wasn't coping.
"He was being a nuisance." The cop paused, then leaned a little closer.
"And?" Nadine prompted.
"Waving a sword," the officer said quietly.
Right. A sword, of course. She glanced at the man, but he hadn't moved. "How'd he get hurt?"
"No idea. He speaks gibberish. Look, I don't want to take him down to the station. He needs medical attention. Can you get him a psych consult and help with his injuries?"
"Are you going to charge him?"
"He's been no trouble since we picked him up. He's unarmed. Will you at least check out his head and make sure it isn't serious, and see if you can make sense of what he's saying?"
If she said no, the scruffy man would spend the night in lockup with real criminals and be back on the street by morning no better off.
"I'll have a look at the wound, but unless he speaks French"-Nadine doubted he spoke her father's Sudanese language of Nuer, so she didn't mention it-"he'll have to wait until we can get a proper translator in." A serious head injury could explain his lack of proper speech.
Yeah, off the cop's hands and into hers. If the man needed admitting, they'd have to make room for him and that would take some rearranging. "Will you wait while I examine him?"
Nadine grabbed a pair of gloves, went through the security door and into the waiting room. She cast her gaze over the people waiting to be seen. Some looked fine. Some were ill but having to wait their turn. Bleeders got seen fairly quickly-even if it was their own fault.
Prospective patients watched her. Even with the police officer at her side, she didn't feel safe. Despite the warning posters that violence toward staff wouldn't be tolerated, people did strange things when they were desperate. This was why she didn't like working at the triage counter. All she had to do was assess the man and decide if he needed to be moved to the ward-her ward.
The second cop pulled the scruffy man up from his hunched-over position. The man's gray eyes focused on her. Shadows she didn't understand gave him a haunted look, as if he'd seen too much. She couldn't leave him in the care of the police; he was already traumatized.
The man spoke, but his words were unintelligible. Fast and fluent. Definitely not gibberish. It had the rhythm of language. Just not one she'd ever heard.
Nadine bent down so she was at eye level, but far enough back to be out of range if he lashed out with his feet. His hands were cuffed behind his back-even though the cops claimed he wasn't a threat. Still, she had to try something even if she didn't get a response.
"Monsieur, parlez vous francais?" She smiled encouragingly while she held his gaze and studied his eyes. The pupils were even and they weren't dilated.
The man's eyes darted between Nadine and the cops. His forehead furrowed, as if he were trying to make sense of her words.
His voice was quiet but strong as he spoke again. This time in a different language.
"Pardon?" Nadine moved closer as she listened.
He inclined his head at a crying baby and repeated the same words more slowly, as if she were simple.
She glanced at the baby and then at the man. He was talking about the crying child. Infans. It was only a small jump to English infant. But what was he saying? And in what language?
Nadine pointed to the shaggy man's bleeding head. "You're bleeding."
That he seemed to understand, but he shook his head, spoke, and looked at the baby, adding extra sentences filled with force. Yet his words were formal and he stumbled over some, as if it wasn't his first language. It was no one's language anymore. The realization rocked her back on her heels, and yet she was willing to bet all of tonight's pay he was speaking Latin.
She straightened up and looked at the cops. One raised his eyebrows as if expecting a miracle. She was fresh out of them, and all she had was a puzzle. The cops weren't going to like her answer-how were they supposed to get a translator for a dead language? Who was this man? "I think he's speaking Latin." As she said it aloud, it didn't seem possible. Maybe she was wrong and he was speaking an obscure dialect of...of what? Not Italian. Breton? She glanced at the dust-covered man again.
"Who the hell speaks Latin?"
"No one." Nadine frowned. He must have studied it at school and somehow the knock on his head bought it forth. "It's a dead language." And the man speaking it looked like he should be dead but had refused to quit. Yet he must have been someone once to be educated in Latin.
His gaze lingered on her, gray and endless. There was something about him...a half hidden nightmare glided through the back of her mind. The child nearby began wailing in a higher pitch. The noise cut through Nadine's thoughts. The man shook as if he couldn't bear the sound. Tears pooled in his eyes, and he hung his head as if to hide them, repeating the same line about the baby over and over.
She wasn't going to get anywhere with the man while the baby was crying.
"The baby." She turned to the cop who had come up to the counter. "Take the woman and baby up to triage and get them seen faster. The crying is making him worse...and it's a baby. She shouldn't be waiting."
She hated seeing children in distress. It brought back too many memories of her own childhood and the other foster children who'd been in and out of the homes she had lived in. Some of them made her odd habits seem normal, and that was saying a lot.
Nadine touched the man's shoulder to get his attention. He lifted his head as if expecting reproach. She smiled and softened her voice from the orders she'd given the cop.
"Look, the baby is getting help." She pointed at the mother and child, now getting fast-tracked through emergency. "Can I take a look at your head?" She pointed to his head, not sure how much he was understanding. But he didn't seem disorientated or confused. He just didn't understand the language.
He stared at her for a moment, then watched the woman with the baby as she was taken behind the doors. He blinked, but his tears had already tracked a line through the gray dust coating his face. Once the woman and child were gone, he nodded.
She brushed aside his hair to get a better look at the wound-and him. It was impossible to tell his age. While his skin was covered in dust, his hair was full of the gray powder and it clumped together in uneven chunks. Even his beard was full of it. Is that why his eyes had been watering? Was it concrete powder? She looked closer at his skin but saw no evidence of chemical burns where his tears had mixed with the dust.
"Where did you find him?" Nadine asked the cop.
She nodded. There were lots of luxury apartments being built down at the east end of Perth. "Construction site?"
"No. On the street."
"What's he covered in?"
The head injury didn't look too bad. His skull seemed undamaged, but she couldn't ask if he'd lost consciousness. For all she knew, his brain was bleeding and swelling. He should get a scan or be admitted for observation at a minimum. She covered his eyes with her hand, then removed it and watched to make sure his pupils reacted evenly to the light. They did. He didn't appear drug affected, and he didn't smell of alcohol. He smelled of nothing. Which was odd. Everyone had a smell, and given his appearance and well-worn clothes, he should have at least smelled unwashed. She sniffed again to be sure, but there wasn't even the scent of skin. Odd.
If he spoke no English, or remembered none, it was no wonder he was having an episode when the cops dragged him in. He had no idea what they were saying or where they were taking him. Yet he'd had enough compassion to ask that the baby be seen first. That said more about the man than anything else.
"Uncuff him and I'll bring him through to the ward for a proper examination." The cop gave a visible sigh and freed the man. For a heartbeat, the two cops and Nadine all waited to see what he'd do. He looked at her, smiled, and said something that had the tone of gratitude. He might not speak the language, but he understood some of what was going on.
He rubbed his wrists and she noted the fresh grazes and cuts, but they didn't bother her as much as the gray coating and possible damage to his eyes, or his lack of regular language. He was obviously educated. So what had happened to him to bring him here in such a state?
She noticed a gold broach holding the cloak over his shoulders. It was a beautiful piece, two wolves chasing each other in an endless circle. If he'd been living on the streets, that would've been stolen. And he'd been picked up carrying a sword. Nothing about this man was adding up.
She shook her head. "Who are you?"
What People are Saying About This
"A great combination of romance and page turning twists" - Grand Rapids Book Examiner
"Very original... captivating. " - Romance Book Junkies
"A tender and heartfelt story..." - The Bibliophilic Book Blog
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Maybe love does conquer all! Meryn, a Celtic warrior, lost to a curse for 2000 years that had turned him into a goblin warrior, finds himself, once again human and is tossed into the 21st century, lost, alone and being taken to a hospital emergency room by two police men. Unable to communicate with anyone, he is placed in the compassionate care of Nadine Gilbert, a nurse with an emotionally damaged past. There is something that draws these two to each other. Both are hiding deep pains from their pasts. Both are trying to keep their secrets, one does not feel worthy of love, one is afraid to love. As time progresses, it is obvious they need each other and belong together. This is most definitely a love story, the central focus is on Meryn and Nadine. As each of their stories unfold, they find that their paths have crossed before, and it is the strength they draw from each other that can make them whole again. This is a well-told story that jerks at your heart hearing about what they have suffered through in their pasts and how they have learned to forgive, trust and love again. This book was provided by NetGalley and Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review.
Second chances are hard to come by, but Nadine may just be his. This is a hauntingly beautiful tale of second chances and true love. This series continues to amaze me with its beautiful settings and engrossing characters. Meryn longs to make Nadine his and make a future together, but his tragic past could cause a rift between them that may never be breeched. The story was heartwarming and highly engaging. There were some great action scenes and a good number of sweet moments between Meryn and Nadine. Nadine is a beautiful woman inside and out. I would be proud to have someone like her as a friend. She is reliable and kindhearted, but she cannot forget the atrocities from her past. She is drawn to Meryn, but is also very scared. She grows to learn that you cannot change the past, but you can’t let it rule your life either. Meryn just wants to move on, but his past keeps coming back to haunt him. His is a great man who deserves happiness and being with Nadine helps to heal him. I loved getting to know more about this scarred warrior and seeing him falling in love with Nadine. He was a courageous and memorable character that I grew to love. This is a beautiful read that you won’t want to miss!
Meryn is now my favorite goblin....I thought for sure Dai had it all in the Kiss of a Goblin Prince , damn if Meryn didn't steal my heart! Meryn as a character has it all that any woman wants in a lost puppy....shows up lost and lonely..then turns loyal and true. Not to mention that he is really cute! He really had me when he tried to survive without the help of his family afraid that his past would equal betrayal in this new world as well. It wasn't until he really needed the help that he accepted it and then he still took it upon himself to strive to learn more...I totally respected him for that. The story itself blew me away...grant you I had trouble sleeping....I mean crap, things coming out of the shadowlands...that's not suppose to freaking happen...and I totally HATE spiders!!! CREEPY!!!! I was so glad that Meryn could find solace in Nadine. She was a rather different kind of character. Broken yet when face with everyday still willing to go beyond the normal. A nurse dealing with creepy people at night isn't a usual job. Then Falling for Meryn and then the secrets she has combined with his.....what else is there to say, but...WHOLLY BOOGERS!!! Loved every page (aside for the spider).
Oooh. Goblins are my new favorite. I love this authors imagination and style of writing. Great description without losing sight of the point. The story stays in focus. No endless rambling. I want more from this author.
Husk drew me into the Shadowlands with Roan in The Goblin King and again with Dai in Kiss of a Goblin Prince. Now, she's done it again with Meryn, capturing my heart in this steamy novel. In this third installment of the Shadowlands trilogy, my sympathy went to the lost, lonely, tormented Meryn. After centuries of being trapped in the Shadowlands, existing as little more than a beast, fighting hunger and nightmarish creatures just to survive, Meryn suddenly finds himself thrust into the 21st century. As if that isn't bad enough, he has nothing other than a little gold in his pocket, the clothes on his back, and the sword in his hand. Add to that the fact that he still mourns his deceased family, the Shadowlands still haunt even his waking moments, and he is completely out of his element, and this reader fell in love at first sight (or paragraph). I even developed a girl-crush fro the heroine, Nadine. With her tragic past and deeply-hidden pain, she still finds a way to be compassionate and caring, especially towards Meryn, who doesn't even know her language. It's obvious he needs her help, yet the barrier between communication proves a difficult start to their relationship. But love always finds a way and this book is no exception. It is an emotional , heartwarming story about love, loss, tragedy and trust that is sure to tug at your heartstrings and make you laugh and cry but leave you with warm fuzzies at the end. Definitely worth the read!!!
Wow! This was an awesome book! It draws you in. This is the last book in the trilogy. After this i had to read book 1 & 2!
This was my favorite of the Shadowlands series. I loved Meryn! Great series.
how i would love to have a goblin lover.