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Her kiss will shatter realms…
Dragon shifter and artisan blacksmith Hadrian is determined to strengthen his fellow Pyr warriors in the battle against the Fae by forging them talons of steel. He won’t be seduced by the sensual promise of a firestorm that has to be a spell—even to help a beautiful warrior escape the clutches of the Fae Queen.
Rania is a swan-maiden and Fae assassin, who has made a deal with the Dark Queen’s will to break the curse over her brothers. All she needs to do is kill Hadrian, but this dragon shifter won’t die easily. It’s more than dragon vitality that helps him survive her lethal kiss, but Rania refuses surrender to his potent touch for any price when so much hangs in the balance.
But the Dark Queen’s betrayal compels Rania to ally with the vital dragon shifter in a last-chance effort to save her brothers and herself. Can Hadrian unfurl the painful secrets of Rania’s past to give them a future? Can Rania help Hadrian to realize the power of his own legacy to defeat the Fae? When barriers between realms are destroyed, can love conquer the obstacles between these destined mates—and create a new world for their unborn son?
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An excerpt from Dragon’s Mate:
“What’s your name, swan-maiden?” Hadrian whispered, his voice husky. “You have to know that we’re both on her list of intended victims.”
“Speak for yourself,” Rania said, pulling back a bit. She was alarmed that she was so susceptible to him and this firestorm.
He frowned. “What do you mean?”
“I don’t have to tell you anything more. I’ve told you too much already.”
Hadrian smiled crookedly at her and the sight was enough to make her stare. Had she ever seen a more attractive man? “It’s like you want to talk,” he murmured. Before she could argue, he flattened his hand and slid his palm down the length of her, the warm weight of his hand easing beneath the waistband of her tights. Rania knew his destination and couldn’t bring herself to evade his caress. He met her gaze, waiting and watching, but she swallowed and stayed put.
Just one touch.
Then she’d finish him.
When Hadrian caressed her, Rania knew she’d never felt anything better. She arched her back and gasped. He stole a kiss and she was unwilling to deny herself the pleasure he offered. His fingers were gentle and strong, just like him, and he touched her with a surety that brought her blood to a boil.
Just a little bit more. Just a little indulgence…
“You have told me a lot,” he agreed in a whisper, his lips against her ear. Rania shivered with pleasure. “Maybe you need to confess your secrets.”
“Or maybe I’m beguiled.” The possibility was a reminder that made Rania pull away slightly.
Hadrian shook his head emphatically. “I’m not beguiling you.”
“As if I would believe you.”
“You should. It’s true. There would be flames in my eyes if I was beguiling.”
Rania looked. There were no flames. Was he telling the truth?
He nodded as if he’d guessed her thoughts. “I am. What if we make a deal?” he suggested, his gaze hot. “What if we satisfy the firestorm before you kill me? I’ll make it worth your while.”
Rania stared at him in astonishment. “You want me to have your son?”
Hadrian nodded, resolute. “You’re making thirteen assassinations to free your brothers. Although I don’t love your choice, I can respect your loyalty to your family. I think we have similar ideas about defending what’s important.”
“And what’s important to you is the firestorm?”
“Right.” He grinned at her. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to have a son. How could I turn my back on that? It’s a legacy.”
“Nothing says you have to fulfill it.”
“But I should. It’s an obligation and an opportunity.”
“It doesn’t sound like much of an opportunity to me.”
“But what if we made that deal? What if we surrendered to the firestorm, and then I made it easy for you to kill me?”
Rania couldn’t believe it but Hadrian was serious.
“You’d let your assassin have your son?”
He chuckled. “I’d let my destined mate have my son.”
Rania opened her mouth to argue but Hadrian captured her mouth with his, slowly and decisively, and she forgot whatever she was going to say. He was going to win his argument with sensation and she couldn’t think of a reason to protest. She already guessed that it would be great. There was something deeply satisfying about his obvious desire. It made her aware of every pleasure she’d denied herself during these centuries in Maeve’s service.
It made her consider his suggestion.
Even, potentially, at the price of bringing a Pyr son into the world.
“What do you know about the firestorm?” Hadrian whispered in her ear long moments later.
Rania was trying to catch her breath and gather her thoughts, without success on either front. “As much as I need to,” she replied. “I’m not going to have a Pyr son.”
Hadrian smiled with that dragon confidence that made her want to get naked with him. “I might convince you.”
“Good luck,” she replied, her heart leaping at the possibility.
“I like a challenge.” His lashes swept down and he smiled, the combination making him look mysterious and potent. “Maybe you’ll find me persuasive,” he said so softly that his words were a rumble she felt against her chest.
Maybe she would.
He bent and kissed her ear again, his fingers working their magic against her. His breath gave her shivers. His touch made her gasp. Rania didn’t know whether she’d be able to stop their embrace. She was pretty sure she didn’t want to. Her leg was already locking around his, as if her body had a will of its own, and she was breathless as she stared into his eyes. They were so green. His mouth was so firm. He was taking his time, tormenting her with temptation, willing her to agree.
Rania could have disappeared.
She could have shifted shape.
But being the woman Hadrian was determined to seduce suited her just fine.
What if she made love to him—or let him make love to her? It might be kind to let him satisfy the firestorm as his last living act.
Although kindness had never been on her agenda before.
She was hesitating again, doubting her path, which wasn’t like her at all. Maybe this firestorm was changing her somehow.
Maybe a certain dragon shifter was.
Hadrian brushed his mouth across hers again, a caress as gentle as the touch of butterfly wings, and Rania didn’t want to think about anything anymore.
Strategically, sex might lead to a weak moment, one in which she could easily overwhelm this powerful dragon shifter.
Nothing said they had to complete the act. She just needed to catch him by surprise.
When Hadrian leaned closer, eyes gleaming, she reached to meet him halfway. She sighed with satisfaction when he slanted his mouth over hers, claiming her with his touch, then speared her fingers into his hair, drawing him closer.
This might be his last hour. She should make sure it was worth dying for.
An excerpt from Dragon’s Mate
Copyright ©2020 Deborah A. Cooke