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by Savannah Reardon
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: Determined to avenge the deaths of her father and brothers, Kiana slips into the dragon Ranehz's lair with the intent to kill...and instead becomes his own. The dragon's brand drives Kiana mad with desire, and she soon discovers she's unable to resist him--more so in his handsome human form. Lonely Ranehz has longed for a companion, and when Kiana enters his lair he can't believe his good fortune. Yet, once his branding wears off will she run or grow to love him for who he is?
eBook Publisher: Phaze, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: May 2009
147 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [68 KB]
Reading time: 38-54 min.
Bones littered the path leading up to the dark maw. While some were yellowed with age, others were disturbingly fresh. Various pieces of armor and weaponry lay upon the dirt--a few glinted in the sun, others showed rust from seasons of rain and snow. In the aftermath of such carnage, it surprised her to realize the only thing she smelled was the sweet aroma of blooming flowers.
Kiana approached the cave, her shield shaking in front of her body. As she drew closer to the entrance, a bright flash caught her eye. She dropped to the ground in front of a starburst shield. Dropping her own, she pulled it to her breast and cradled it gently. "Oh, Papa..." Tears ran down her cheeks as she acknowledged the fate she had long known. The shield's presence in the debris drove the knowledge deep into her soul.
The gentle breeze carried a sound to her ears, bringing her out of the grieving trance. Reverently, she laid her father's shield back upon the damp ground and took up her own. Anguish sliced through her heart as her gaze swept over the blue moon and silver-starred shields of her brothers upon the rocks near the cave's entrance.
Unnatural silence surrounded the cave. The only sounds she heard were the babbling of a nearby brook which had brought her out of her reverie and the crunching of bones beneath her feet. Even though birds perched within the branches of the trees, none sang as she approached the entrance.
Her heart thudded as she trod around the bones lining the floor. Inky darkness met her eyes when she gazed inside. The spring sun didn't penetrate the lair, and a shiver raced down her spine. Heaviness pressed upon her, and she drew a shaky breath as she stepped further inside.
She heard a clicking sound and threw up her shield as a ring of fire curled around the room, licking over the earthy walls and lighting torches. A warm rush of wind buffeted Kiana and she struggled to remain upright. It wasn't until he spoke that she realized the wind was the sighing of the dragon.
"Another human." The deep voice rumbled so soft that it almost seemed Kiana heard it in her mind instead of her ears. "Do you creatures never tire of dying?"
Kiana didn't bother answering. She didn't think the monster would understand honor and vengeance. Instead, she held her sword in front of her and charged. As his tail knocked her to the side, she noticed his scales shone the color of the great ocean. Wait, that's not right, she thought before cursing herself for becoming distracted while death stared her in the face.
She scrambled to her feet, her movements hampered by the weight of her armaments. His tail swept her back onto the ground the minute she'd risen. All the false confidence she'd gained during the long winter spent training for this moment fled. Trying a different tactic, she rolled to the side, avoiding the next tail swipe before struggling to her feet. She heard the dragon draw a breath. Quickly, she pulled her shield in front of her and set her body, blocking the fiery plume that shot from his snout.
The moment the hot trail subsided, Kiana sprang forward. The heavy sword glinted in the torchlight as she advanced on the beast. She focused so on her rush, she forgot about his tail. With one quick flick, her sword clattered across the stone floor. She scrambled after it, but the massive tail swung around and blocked her.
In desperation, she grabbed a torch from the niche in the wall and held it out. Booming laughter echoed loud in the chamber. "You think that's going to scare me?"
He drew a great breath and once again she braced herself. She thought about running, but knew she'd be cinders the moment she turned around.
It was only a matter of time before she lost the strength to protect herself from his flames. Out of frustration, she decided not to prolong matters. With a lunge, she threw the heavy shield, but the dragon merely swatted it away. With nothing left to throw, Kiana reached for her helmet. As he drew in a breath to fry her, she yanked it from her head and threw it.
Squeezing her eyes shut, she waited for the hot kiss of death. Instead, she heard a hissing sound and felt a scaly claw wrap around her body and lift her from the ground. "A female? They sent a female to fight me?"
"No one sent me," Kiana whispered as he brought her up to his face. His liquid silver eyes were mesmerizing and she shook her head violently to keep from losing her thoughts. "I came because you killed my father ... and my brothers."
Kiana gasped in surprise when he set her gently back on the ground. "Go back to your mother."
Later, she realized if she had simply obeyed his command, she would have been free. Instead, she murmured, "My mother's dead."
She trembled as he bent forward and stared into her eyes. "That changes things entirely."