Father of Dragons [Ballot's Keep Book 1]
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by Emily Veinglory
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica
Description: One grieving man is forced to uphold an ancient bargain--by giving birth to a dragon. If only life were that simple. Book 1 of the Ballot's Keep series. After his lover is executed for the simple crime of being a commoner, Xeras, a young nobleman of Tirrin, turns his back on his life of privilege and flees into the wilderness. Weighed down with grief, exhaustion and hunger, Xeras awakens from one confusing night in the forest with the ghostly voice of his lover in his head--and the embryo of a dragon implanted in his side. When Xeras encounters Carly, the charming Duke of Ballot's Keep, he is far from ready to fall in love again. Still grieving, and angry about the predicament into which he's been forced, Xeras accepts an opportunity to go after the dragons who have been making life difficult for the people of the local towns. But there is sinister magic behind the machinations of the dragons, magic that emanates from Xeras's distant home island of Tirrin. Magic that puts the lives of both Carly and the tiny infant dragon in danger. Xeras finds that he can't turn his back on either of them. For their sake he must face down his own countrymen and somehow thwart the Tirrin mages' evil plans. Warning, this title contains the following: Some M/M sex, some dragons, even some sex with dragons.
eBook Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd., 2007 2007
eBookwise Release Date: June 2009
31 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [297 KB]
Reading time: 177-248 min.
Time flowed by, slow as cold syrup.
Xeras ... Xeras.
Xeras moaned and tried to block out the sound, raising his hands clumsily. Grit beneath his body coated a surface of uneven rock. Loose pebbles ground beneath his fingers as he turned on his side. Sensations fell in veils, stale smoke and faint light flickering through the dust thick in the air. The open expanse of the cave dropped away in front of the broad ledge he lay upon. The air tepid and fading towards cool ... a nagging itch in his side made his skin twitch. Reaching down, he felt a great insect bite on his side.
I don't think you should wait for her to come back, lover boy.
A very different voice answered Drin. Low and booming, but human enough that Xeras looked around expecting to see a man standing in the shadows, but no one was there.
"She won't be coming back."
Xeras shivered. More voices, just what he needed. A formation of rocks in the centre of the cave ... he did not recall it being there before, but he hadn't really been cataloging the cave's features and furnishings at the time. The outcropping crumpled and moved, resolving into a great shape, almost lost in the gloom but for its crested spine. Another dragon, larger ... a male perhaps. Hopefully not one given to jealousy. Xeras's memories of the previous night were thin and gaped with tears and holes. At least this dragon spoke a human tongue; it was hard to imagine it considered humans merely as prey.
"But that was not last night," the dragon said. "Some time has passed. Plegura left you almost immediately, females are often like that. So I stepped in to ensure the opportunity was not lost."
The giant form of the dragon arose from the ground. With each movement its form became easier to discern. In appearance almost exactly like stone, limbs looking like rough-hewn rock beneath folds and shards of armor, great spines and thick neck with loose skin that hung in ragged, pocked folds. Great wide jaws dominated the dragon's broad head, with tiny eyes barely discernable except when it blinked. Its entire form was rough and foursquare, in stark contrast to the female's sinuous curves.
"Oh yes. There are so few of us left and situations amenable to breeding are infrequent. Come with me, child. I will explain as much as I may. It is quite the task that has been set before you."
With heavy steps the behemoth lumbered away through a giant gash in the rock that led outside. Xeras curled his legs and pushed himself up. His outstretched arms looked thinner even than he remembered, and with a tickle, his hair fell forward, down almost as far as his elbow. But he felt ... better, actually--quite strong. He clambered slowly down to the even dirt of the cave floor, not seeing the remnants of his clothing anywhere. Dim light beckoned from across the cavern.
You might as well see what the dragon has to say.
"Ah yes, Drin. Of course, because following your advice has worked well for me so far."
Not that his own influence on Drin's life could be called ... constructive, on the whole. And besides, there was just one obvious way out and little point in cowering naked in the darkness like a rat in its hole. Xeras's feet felt strangely soft as he walked tentatively through the debris of the cave and along a rift that gradually showed daylight overhead and then spilt out of the hill into a meadow.
The bright sunlight revealed swaying grasses speckled with seed heads and surrounded on all sides by leafless trees. It was as if the lingering summer had died overnight into early winter. His first thought was that the field was broken by a great outcropping of stone about the size of a two-storey house. Then the dragon swung its head towards him, blinking its tiny black eyes blearily and he saw he had been fooled again.
"Every dragon is different," it said. "Plegura is a swift flier; her flaming breath charred this whole valley. She is, as you remarked, most beautiful--but not, it must be said, much of a conversationalist. We are shaped by each of our parents..." The dragon seemed to muse on that a while. Falling into its most unlifelike stillness as if it truly were more stone than flesh.
Xeras waited, feeling terrified and foolish in equal measure as he stood there grimy, naked and listening to the discourse of a dragon--albeit a dragon that seemed to be most amiable and wise and not currently inclined to consider humans a finger food. Xeras scratched his side where the bite continued to itch.
The dragon's wide brow crumbled into a massive frown. "I really wish you wouldn't do that."
Xeras froze. "Do, ah, what?"
"Just stand still while I explain ... Now where was I? Ah, our parents, the parent of a new dragon get, I mean. They consist of the dragon female, the dragon male and the human. And how exactly the human became involved in the process is a long, long tale. One I hope to eventually tell you, for I believe it would be of interest to you. But for now, it is enough to know that you are the father of a dragon."
A shiver of shock and revulsion ran through him. "This Ple--whatsit. She's pregnant?"
"No, dear boy. You are."