Favored Dragon's Release (MF)
[BookStrand Fantasy Romance, dragons, HEA]
In the aftermath of a senseless war that claimed many lives, the gods have punished the dragons for causing the conflict. The next generation will not hatch until Prince Shurik finds a human female willing to put aside generations of animosity to become his bride.
Yolette goes to sleep on the side of a mountain, the odd woman out on a couples' camping trip, and awakes in a field outside the home of a dragon. Transported to an unknown world very different from her own, she must depend on Shurik for shelter and guidance.
Shurik doesn't anticipate his growing feelings for Yolette, making the task of proposing that much harder. Danger looms from those who want the punishment ended and from those who want it to continue until the last dragon is gone. Shurik must decide whether he will save his people or his love and pray to the gods his choice is the right one.
Note: This book contains adult language used as profanity.
A BookStrand Mainstream Romance
“You mentioned food. All this philosophizing is making me hungry.”
“Rather than having me guess, what would you like?”
“Did I say something funny?”
“You are so enthusiastic.”
She mumbled, “It was good.”
He walked back to the spot where they had entered and reached toward the darkness. Yolette wasn’t sure what he was doing until he pulled out a large platter and a cup. He returned to the water’s edge where he placed the platter and the cup on the ground. In the middle of the platter was a loaf of sliced bread. Around the bread were meats and cheeses and small pots of what looked like jellies.
Shurik gestured to the food.
Yolette wasn’t sure where to start. She grabbed a piece of bread, tore off a chunk, and reached for the nearest small jar. It contained honey. She was almost sure it was honey. A taste test would prove it. She dipped the bread and then popped the piece in her mouth.
She closed her eyes as the honey exploded over her senses in a rush of sweetness, the likes of which she’d never tasted. Slowly she chewed, savoring every single bit of the bread and actually chewing the requisite twenty times—possibly more—before swallowing.
“I think I just tasted heaven,” she whispered.
“This honey is a delicacy. No human has tasted it before.”
“I’m honored then. It’s positively decadent.” She dipped another piece of bread into the honey and ate it, savoring it as she did the first. It was the slowest she’d ever eaten anything.
Shurik said, “The bees of dragon territory are unique, and thus their honey is unique.”
“I’ll say. It literally is liquid gold for the eyes and senses.” She sighed as she licked a bit of the honey off of her fingers. If nirvana had a flavor, it would have been that honey.
It took a bit of doing, but she managed to make herself eat something else besides the honey. Shurik poured a drink for her from his cup. They ate and drank in silence. She indulged one last bite of honey and bread before her stomach declared maximum occupancy had been reached.
Shurik asked, “Full?”
“Very.” She patted her stomach. “You ate more this time.”
“Your appetite is infectious.” He returned the platter to the shadowed area, placed it inside, and then returned. “What do you wish to do this day?”
Yolette stared at Shurik while she contemplated his question. He watched her without saying a word. Her gaze strayed to his wings. “Flying lessons.”
Shurik’s smile dropped.
“Don’t look like that. I’m not going to get used to how you fly if we never go flying.”
“That is true,” he said in a hesitant manner.
“Besides, I was fine last time. You caught me like you said you would.”
She stood and clapped her hands together. “Flying lessons.”
Shurik sighed. “Flying lessons.”
She walked over and patted his side. “If it makes you feel better, I’m afraid of heights. So, in a way, I’m showing a lot of trust by even suggesting this.”
He looked at her in surprise. “You did not mention such a fear yesterday.”
“I was too upset about not being able to go home to really register that I was up in the air until after we landed.” She shrugged. “I figured mentioning it now might help somehow. I guess. I don’t know.”
He nodded. “You have nothing to fear while flying with me.”
“Good. Now the only issue is keeping hold of you. You may not realize, but you’re slippery.”
“Not in a slimy way. I mean, because your scales are smooth, they are hard to hold.”
She sighed, happy he hadn’t taken her words the wrong way.
He said, “Perhaps a rope.”
“You could use it as a harness.”
“No. It just seems demeaning somehow.”
“I suggested it, therefore I don’t find it demeaning.”
“And how would the rope be attached? Not around your neck, I know. And tying it around one of your spines is useless since it would slip off after a while.”
She made a thinking noise, but it was for show only. She had no other alternatives to offer.
Shurik said, “A rope is still a viable option so long as it stays attached, correct?”
“I don’t like it.” She sounded like she was pouting, even to her own ears. “What if—no. Never mind.”
“You could carry me. In your hand, I mean. Like when you lift me up to the table or the bed.”
Shurik looked at his hands.
She followed his gaze and then met his eyes when he looked at her. “No?”
“Your idea is sound but not viable for the long term. I cannot always carry you in such a way. I would fear hurting you.”
“I’m sure you wouldn’t.”
“How can you trust me so completely when we have not known each other long?”
She cocked her head to the side. “You’re nice. I’m usually a pretty good judge of character. I have to trust someone on this new planet. I’ll start with you.”
Shurik blinked at her a few times. He lowered his hand, palm up, and waited.