Dragon’s Kiss has a new blurb and a new sample!
Her kiss could be his doom…
When dragon-shifter Kristofer feels his firestorm ignite, he eagerly follows its spark to his destined mate. To his surprise, the sparks lead not to a mortal human but to a Valkyrie intent on claiming his soul. Even so, Kristofer has never met a woman as alluring as the fierce warrior before him. Trusting in the firestorm, he must convince her to fight with him instead of against him.
Trading the life of a dragon shifter for that of her sister Valkyrie is an easy choice for Bree… until she meets Kristofer. Experience taught her that dragons are evil, but in him she sees a bold and noble warrior. Finding his confidence as irresistible as his touch, Bree begins to question if she has been beguiled by his charm. How can she take his life when his very presence makes her burn with desire?
Forced to join forces, Kristofer seize the chance to convince Bree of the promise of partnership. Yet as a sinister plan unfolds, an ancient dragon is roused from his slumber. With danger closing in, can Kristofer convince Bree to surrender her immortality for their forbidden love? Or will Bree’s fears of all dragons prove justified?
Coming December 10, 2019
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An excerpt from Dragon’s Kiss
A life for a life.
It seemed like a comparatively fair deal, especially as it had been offered by the Dark Queen of the Fae. Bree had to wonder if there was a catch.
But then, it didn’t really matter how fair it was. She’d hated dragons for as long as she could remember, so one less in the world was all good—even if he was a dragon shifter. The details were unimportant.
As she waited to see whether her prey would take the bait, Bree told herself that it didn’t even matter if he led all of his kind into danger. A world without dragons would be good. And winning the release of her sister from captivity was more than worth any price.
Bree simmered in the darkness, feeling the effects of Maeve’s fake firestorm. It simmered and burned. It flushed her skin and ran like liquid fire through her veins, turning her thoughts to the pursuit of pleasure and sexual satisfaction. In a way, it fed her base instincts, fostered her need for a man’s touch, and drove her thoughts from everything else. She liked sex just fine, but she didn’t want to obsess about it.
She didn’t want to burn with need for it.
And she didn’t want to desire the hot dragon shifter touched by the firestorm’s light. She wasn’t going to be fooled by a spell’s effect or seduced by smoking hot good looks—he was tall, blond, ripped and gorgeous in his human form, a man she would have noticed even without the influence of magick.
But he was a means to an end.
She’d never have him.
She shouldn’t even want him.
Even if she did. Maeve had neglected to mention that the firestorm would also affect Bree, and she guessed the omission hadn’t been an accident.
She clenched her fists and reminded herself that Kara’s release was the point.
Then her heart stopped as she saw the dragon come through the portal.
Her prey entered Maeve’s realm by choice.
Bree had tempted him, but he’d taken the bait with predictable enthusiasm. His choice proved that dragon shifters were driven by their base instincts, just like the dragons she’d hunted in the past: the fake firestorm’s light made this Pyr believe he was going to get lucky.
Little did he know he’d just abandoned every scrap of luck he’d ever had.
She saw the dragonfire spark in the darkness high above her, then a dragon roared loud enough to shake her bones. He soared into the inky darkness of Fae, a massive and magnificent beast with glittering scales. His huge wings sent him shooting into Maeve’s realm with a single beat. From this angle, she could see that his belly was golden-yellow, like gold armor, but probably not as soft.
Bree stared in awe, despite herself. This dragon’s scales were pale green, like peridots, and they shone with the clarity of fine gems. Each one was edged in brilliant gold, and the scales on his chest were all gold. His nails were gold, too, and the firestorm’s light caressed him like the marvel he was. He might have been a magnificent treasure come to life.
She felt admiration, which was both unwelcome and unnecessary.
The dragon she’d hunted centuries before had been black and a brute beast, with a heart so dark that it might have been made of coal. He’d been more savage than a wild animal and less noble, incapable of prompting any admiration.
But this Pyr was majestic. He flew with measured power, his dark wings stretched wide as they beat slowly. His tail trailed behind him, and he made flight look effortless and easy, despite his size. The sight of him lifted her heart with unexpected joy.
Bree wondered what it would be like to fly with him.
No, her urge was to ride him, to ride him into war. She thought they’d be a hell of a team, then caught herself.
Kara’s survival relied upon the entrapment of this dragon.
She had to finish what she’d started, whether he was gorgeous or not.
Bree let herself fall, even though she was uncertain how far it would be to the ground. She stayed in her human form, letting her prey underestimate her. She flailed her arms and shouted, trying to sound desperate and feeble. Didn’t dragons like damsels in distress? She could work with that, even if it was another reason to despise them.
The false firestorm sparked around her, touching her with golden light. She felt warm and aroused, which might have been pleasurable if she hadn’t been trying to ignore it. Even this fake firestorm undermined her resolve and made her thoughts turn to sensual pleasure. Was that how dragon shifters got what they wanted? They just overwhelmed their mate’s objections with pulsing desire?
The glow was becoming a darker hue of orange as the distance between them increased.
“Help! Help me!” she cried, then screamed as if terrified.
She watched the dragon pivot in the air high overhead and look down for her. His eyes glittered suddenly and Bree knew he’d spotted her. His nostrils flared and his tail slashed through the air. With astonishing speed and accuracy, he dove toward her, talons outstretched and wings beating hard. Bree’s throat tightened despite herself and her heart leaped with anticipation. Gods, but it should be forbidden for any creature to be so beautiful. The golden glow of the firestorm brightened as he drew closer, the sparks flying with greater speed between them. The light washed over him lovingly, making him look his best.
His dragon eyes glinted with intelligence and understanding—not raw hunger, like the brute dragon she’d hunted so long ago—and Bree’s doubt grew. Was he smiling? If so, it wasn’t a hungry smile. It was one filled with anticipation, as if he liked the look of her. The glow in his eyes took her breath away—and his proximity made her burn with desire. She felt like a treasure he was about to claim, one he’d cherish. She closed her eyes, telling herself she had to protect her eyes against the brilliance of the light. She reminded herself that all males were charming when they hunted.
Still, she was thrilled.
And that was before he snatched her out of the air, cradling her in one claw, and soared upward again. The wind whipped Bree’s hair around her face, but she was safe in his grasp. He cupped his claw against his chest, protecting her, and she got a close look at his scales. They were large and hard, with sharp edges: they shone so brightly that they might have been polished. Maybe they were. Bree had no idea what dragons did in their spare time. Maybe they buffed and waxed their scales. They were gold, but warm—she knew because she reached out and ran her hand over one.
They were smooth and elegantly shaped, like armor made by a talented artisan.
Actually, she caressed it.
But this was his hide, and he growled low in his chest with pleasure at her touch. Bree felt the vibration of his voice and it made her body hum in response. Her heart skipped and she wondered how mortal women, inherently weaker than Valkyries, even survived a real firestorm.
Good thing she knew it was all a lie—and the sooner she got down to business, the better. Bree surreptitiously pulled her dagger, taking one last moment to savor the sensual power of the firestorm. She was hot and bothered, aroused and tingling. She felt good, even more invincible than ever, but she had a job to do. She’d get her satisfaction later.
Bree’s blade shone in the golden light of Maeve’s spell. She hesitated only a moment, then lifted the scale on his chest right in front of her and plunged the blade into his exposed flesh.
Red blood spurted and he gave a cry that was more of surprise than pain. Comparatively, the blade was small, but the wound would still hurt. She expected him to shred her and braced herself to fight. He sent a plume of dragonfire into the air and loosened his grip on her slightly. He swirled around and bent his head, lifting his claw, obviously intending to have a good look at her.
Bree took advantage of the opportunity to shift shape and slip between his talons, soaring high above him on her own wings. He stared at her in astonishment. She was much smaller than he was, and surprise was the only asset on her side. She had to attack his most vulnerable points. His eyes. She heard him exhale and then he reached for her, his slow smile of admiration doing nothing to bolster her resolve.
“A Valkyrie,” he saw with an awe that matched her own and Bree was the one surprised.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” she protested.
“Oh, but I do,” he said and his eyes glowed with pleasure. “What a worthy mate. What a gift unforeseen.” His satisfaction with the situation explained why he didn’t breathe fire.
Bree wasn’t going to be charmed. Not by a dragon. Not even by one who knew and respected what she was. She dove down at his golden talons, sliced at one of them but missed because he moved. He snatched at her, but she evaded him, slashing with her blade twice more and missing both times.
Infuriating, agile, majestic dragon! He dodged every blow and never retaliated. If he intended to tire her out, he’d wait a while. He seemed to want to study her. They flew in tight circles around each other, but no matter how often she stabbed, he slipped out of range. It was strange how certain she was that he wouldn’t hurt her, but she wasn’t going to be trapped and held captive all the same.
“How can this be?” he murmured, almost to himself, and she feared he would figure out that the firestorm wasn’t real. Dragons were supposed to be good at solving riddles. Something about the firestorm wasn’t adding up to him—he’d recognized what she was, so he must know more than the name of her kind.
She had to finish her task before he realized the firestorm was fake.
Bree ducked beneath his wings, flying so closely around him that her wings brushed against his scales. He spun in place, trying to keep her in sight, looking amused and intrigued. She ducked under his tail. He grabbed and she slipped through his talons again, then raced away from him. She flew as quickly as she could, beating her wings hard, knowing that he had the advantage of size.
She needed a place to take a stand, to compel him to fight. She needed a place to defeat him, and he was more agile than she’d expected in the air. If he’d just fight, she could injure him and Maeve’s warriors could imprison him.
The light of the firestorm faded with distance, letting Bree survey the landscape of Fae in its own endless twilight. There was a shimmer on the horizon, as if the sun had just set, but Bree knew there would be no stars overhead. No moon. No dawn. Fae was trapped forever in the gloaming.
She spotted a hill in the distance. Perfect! There had to be a Fae court beneath it, maybe the royal court. Bree headed for it with purpose. Her dragon gave chase, a flurry of sparks telling her that he was gaining on her. Bree looked back to find him perilously close behind her. He was breathing smoke and his eyes shone with intent. He reached out a claw and a spark flew between them, making her cry out when it touched her chest. Raw desire flowed through her veins, making her simmer so that she had a hard time thinking of anything other than seduction.
What would it be like? Her curiosity was perfectly natural.
She watched the dragon smile slowly, as if he knew exactly what he’d done. She hoped she won this fight, otherwise he’d seduce her thoroughly. Under the influence of the firestorm, Bree had a hard time seeing that as a problem, but she knew that she had to remember her goal.
She had to defeat him to save Kara.
Magick wasn’t going to help her now.
And neither, she suspected, would Maeve.
Excerpt from Dragon’s Kiss Copyright ©2019 Deborah A. Cooke