Flawless and stunning - Empress of Storms has put Nicola M. Cameron on my must-read list.
I'll admit, this story has many of my favorite elements: royal marriage of convenience, unrequited love that ends up being ...well, requited, politics, magic, and enough heat to steam up the room. However, Cameron ties it all together with wit, humor, a supporting cast that just won't quit, and a pair of main characters I can really get behind.
Danae is wonderful - she's strong, good at what she does (being queen), but she's also not afraid to be loving and vulnerable. She never fell into the "too strong to be intelligent" trap and almost always acted with grace.
As for Matthias, I'm never sure about older men, especially the ones who are still heartbroken over their dead wives, but Cameron managed to put a spin on the situation which both made his persistent heartbreak make sense, but also didn't detract from his love for his previous queen. None of that "well, I didn't truly love her after all even though I've been moping for the last however long".
Add in a fascinating world with intriguing magical elements and I'm hooked. I can't wait to see if there's a sequel for Empress of Storms (c'mon, we can't stop here).
A king who must offer himself as royal consort to fulfill a treaty. A young queen and mage, unexpectedly married to the man she's loved since childhood. Two countries, divided by geography and united by a political marriage, are poised on the brink of a golden age. But will vicious magic and unexpected betrayal tear both the royal couple and their kingdoms apart?
When King Matthias of Ypres has to fulfill a treaty and provide a royal consort for young Queen Danaë of Hellas, the only royal available for marriage is ... him. Can he risk letting a blue-haired witch queen into his heart?
From political necessity, Queen Danaë finds herself marrying the man she secretly loves. Now she must win the heart of a king, prove herself as a mage, and defeat the enemies that threaten them both.