At twenty-two, Keira Carver needs to find a husband, but the prospects in her small medieval village are not pretty slim. So when Aaron Drake, a handsome stranger, takes up residence at Storbrook Castle, set deep in the surrounding mountains, Keira takes notice.
Just as interesting is the fact that a fire-breathing dragon has also moved into the neighborhood, and is rumored to live in caves beneath the mountain fortress.
What exactly is the connection between Aaron Drake and the dragon? And when the dragon rescues her from the unwanted attentions of some village boys, who will set out to rescue her from the huge, scaly, fire-breathing monster?
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Excerpt Bound by a Dragon:
Keira watched as the great beast circled slowly through the sky, blocking the sunlight for a few seconds on each turn. Fire spewed occasionally from its mouth, dissipating in the cool air before it could set anything alight. All around her people were shouting, grabbing their children and running for their homes, slamming the doors shut behind them before barring them from the inside. Keira shook her head in amusement. A mere door wouldn’t stop a dragon – it could just burn the house down! Anna was tugging on her arm, shouting at her to come, but Keira shrugged her off.
The dragon had taken up residence in the mountains some six months back, and although it was regularly seen soaring above the village, it had yet to kidnap and devour a single innocent maiden. And there were no reports of girls snatched from the other villages, either. Keira knew the stories about the last dragon that had lived in the area. For many years it had peacefully inhabited its mountain lair, until one day it had suddenly turned on the village, burning down half the homes before being killed by some brave soul. But the only questionable thing this dragon had done was to take a few head of cattle and a couple of sheep. And since the dragon always left some form of payment for the animal taken – a small bag of gold, a few precious stones – the villagers didn’t complain too loudly. These payments always far exceeded the worth of the animal. But still, stories about dragons abounded, and the villagers were convinced that it was just a matter of time before the dragon set the village alight and snatched the village girls.
“Come on, Keira.” Anna’s words broke through Keira’s thoughts, reminding her that her parents shared the same fears as the other villagers. “Mother will be furious if we don’t get back to the house now.”
“Stop pulling me. I’m coming!” was Keira’s annoyed response. She glanced back at the sky one more time, admiring the way the scales of the dragon caught the light, throwing back a thousand rainbows against the sky. The dragon was heading away from the village, but before Keira looked away, it turned its head and seemed to look straight at her. Pulling her arm out of Anna’s, she drew herself upright and stared straight back, meeting the golden eye of the dragon before it turned its enormous body in a slow, fluid motion and lazily flew towards the mountains.
Pursued by a Dragon The Dragon Archives Book II
Cathryn Forrester is a medieval business woman, the daughter of a successful wool merchant. She has been groomed from a young age to take over the family business, and has been quite content to let her personal life be directed by what is best for the business – including whom she will marry. And as a calmly pragmatic, infuriatingly stubborn and altogether practical young woman, this suits her just fine. She does not believe in love, after all.
So when Cathryn meets Favian Drake, a man who knows that love is worth pursuing, her ideas about love and marriage are put to the test. But Cathryn faces her greatest challenge when she discovers that Favian is not exactly who – or what – he appears to be. Can she learn to trust her heart and allow herself to love a dragon?
Excerpt Pursued by a Dragon:
“You have to come meet this most interesting man,” Peggy said softly, pulling Cathryn into the circle. “He has just returned from travels abroad, and has been entertaining us with some stories.” The bustle of Cathryn’s arrival in the group attracted the attention of the man seated in the center, and he paused to glance up at the newcomer. As Cathryn turned to look at the stranger, dark blue eyes met hers, sparkling with amusement; she felt her eyes widen in surprise.
“Cathryn, this is Favian Drake,” announced Peggy. “Master Drake,” she said, turning to Favian, “this is Mistress Cathryn Forrester.” Cathryn stared at the man sitting before her, the color rushing to her cheeks as Favian’s mouth stretched into a slow smile. Pushing himself to his feet, he made a small bow in Cathryn’s direction before turning to the people around him.
“Mistress Cathryn and I are already acquainted,” he announced to the circle. “In fact,” he added mischievously, casting a quick glance in Cathryn’s direction, “we became quite well acquainted when I rescued her, uh, derriere, from becoming too familiar with the mud!”
There was a ripple of laughter through the group as Cathryn fought the blush that rose to her cheeks.
“Really?” Peggy said, laughing. “You didn’t tell me, Cathryn!”
“There wasn’t really anything to tell,” Cathryn said with an airy wave of her hand. “The incident was barely worth remembering. My packages were quite ruined, so everything else was forgotten.”
Turning to Favian, she gave him a sly look. “So it was you who was my rescuer, Master, er, Drake? My apologies, I had quite forgotten.” She grinned as Favian gave a mocking salute of defeat. “Now if you will excuse me, I am in desperate need of some libation.” Turning on her heel, Cathryn walked away, her hands trembling slightly as she tried to calm her chaotic thoughts. Behind her she could hear her friends laughing, while someone chaffed Favian at his put-down.
A long passage ran down the length of the hall, leading to the kitchens at the back of the house. There were numerous doorways between the passage and hall, and it was to one of these that Cathryn made her way now, cup of wine in hand, as she sought a moment’s privacy to regain her composure. She had just stepped into the passage when she felt warm fingers curl around her arm. Startled, she glanced around, relaxing only slightly when she saw who it was tugging her towards a small nook in the passage.
“Oh, it’s you,” she said.
“Yes, you do remember me, don’t you?” Favian asked. The passage was dingy, with the light from the hall providing the only illumination, but even so, she could see the flash of his eyes as he spoke. They seemed to be glowing with a faint yellow light, and she stared up at him, fascinated. His hand was still on her arm, and he gently stroked her skin, his warmth spreading through her at his touch. Glancing down, he circled his other hand around her wrist below the bangle, before meeting her gaze once more.
“You were very rude,” she whispered.
“Yes,” he said, “I was. I was curious to see whether you would deny knowing me yet again. I was sure you would, and as it turned out, I was correct.” He trailed his finger around her wrist, and she shivered. “I have a theory as to why you keep denying me,” he said. His eyes seemed to glow even more as he leaned closer to her, the heat from his body touching hers. Her back was against the wall, and she pushed herself against the cool surface, trying to create some distance between them, but he followed her, bending his mouth towards her ear.
“I think it is a futile attempt to put me out of your mind,” he said softly. “I think the memory of me pursues you at every turn, just as yours does me. Am I right?”
No, Cathryn wanted to scream, but she could not make the falsehood form on her lips. Instead she stared at him mutely as he watched her.
“I thought so,” he said, with a note of satisfaction. He pulled back to gaze into her eyes for another brief moment before turning away and walking back to the hall. Leaning back against the wall, she closed her eyes, drawing in deep breaths in an effort to still her racing heart. The man is relentless, she thought. If he would just leave her alone, she could push him from her mind and forget about him. She took a deep gulp of wine before turning back towards the room.
Loved by a Dragon The Dragon Archives Book III
Love is the only thing Aaron, Dragon Master, truly fears. And when a scaly, fire-breathing monster loves a frail human being, matters become even more complicated. As Aaron faces a rogue dragon who is terrorizing the city, he and Keira must face their deepest fears about each other and themselves.
But danger is always just around the corner, and Anna, Keira’s sister, is not immune. Insecure, immature, and only seventeen, Anna has her own issues to deal with – especially when she meets Max, Aaron’s clansman. Her response to him in immediate, intense and irrational.
Will her insecurities lead her to a life of misery, or can she grow up enough to face what she really feels.
Excerpt Loved by a Dragon:
As Anna neared the room, she could hear Aaron and Keira’s voices through the door, but a third voice made her pause. It was a man’s voice, but not Thomas. A visitor, maybe? The door was slightly ajar, and pushing it open with her hand, she entered the room, pausing once more when she saw the stranger sitting in a chair directly across from the doorway. She barely heard Aaron speaking as she stared at the man slowly rising to his feet, his gaze locked on hers. A slight smile played around his mouth, while his eyes held a challenge that Anna could not decipher. Perhaps it was the bold stare, or the challenging smile, or the graceful way he pulled himself up to his full height, but whatever it was, Anna felt a wave of dislike for this stranger sweep over her. She stared back at him, her eyes narrowing as his smile grew wider, taunting her, as though he were fully aware of the immediate, intense and irrational reaction towards him. The smile was meant just for her, she knew that straight away, a silent communication between them, and she disliked him even more for it. And she knew, with unerring instinct, that despite his appearance of youth, this was no inexperienced boy who could easily be dismissed. This person standing before her was the fulfillment of her deepest fears. A man who could easily gain mastery and control over any woman he chose. This knowledge was based on intuition, rather than rational thought – all she knew in that moment was that she hated him.
As though speaking from far away, Aaron’s voice addressed her.
“Anna, this is Max.”
“Max?” With an effort Anna pulled her gaze away from the man standing before her, but not before she saw his lips twist with arrogant humor.
“Yes. Max Brant. He will be staying at Storbrook as our guest.”
“I see.” Anna nodded as she turned back to the guest. “Max.”
“Anna.” He was still staring at her, and she dragged her eyes away, biting her lip. Her name rolled off his tongue with an air of familiarity which she immediately resented, but before she could think of an adequate retort, he was speaking again. “I saw you playing in the snow earlier today,” he said. His words made her glance back at him. Was he laughing at her?
“Yes,” she said. She sat down on one of the chairs near Keira, who was watching their exchange in silence.
“You looked like you were having fun.” This time she met his gaze with narrowed eyes. He was definitely taunting her.
“Tell me,” she said, “how long will you be visiting Storbrook?”
Once again Max grinned at her, but it was Aaron who answered.
“As long as he wishes.”
“I see.” Anna turned to Keira. “When do you wish to start decorating?” she asked. Keira opened her mouth to respond, but before she said anything, Max was speaking again.
“Why do I get the feeling you wish me gone, Anna?” he asked. Out the corner of her eye, Anna could see both Keira and Aaron look at Max in surprise.
“I have no idea,” she said. “Just stay well away from me, and I’m sure we will get along famously!”
Beside her Keira gasped softly.
Max’s smile widened as he considered Anna. “Well, that shouldn’t be a problem. I have no desire to keep company with a shrew!”
Anna’s eyes narrowed again as she rose to her feet. “And I don’t fancy being burned by a dragon!”
Max took a few steps forward, closing the distance between them until he stood right before her. “Perhaps, darling, a little burning is exactly what you need! You might even enjoy it!”
Anna’s pulled her hand back, and it flew through the air to land on Max’s cheek with a resounding slap. He didn’t move, but his expression turned mocking.
“Is that all you’ve got?”
Anna gasped, and spinning on her heel, walked away from him and towards the doorway. She had only gone a few steps when she paused, then turning, stalked back to Max, stopping a few inches away as she poked her finger into his chest.
“Don’t ever calling me ‘darling’ again,” she ground out, then turning once more, marched out of the room. Her legs were trembling as she walked, while her hands shook with rage. The arrogance! The insolence!
Dance with a Dragon The Dragon Archives Book IV
When Max flew away from Anna in a blazing stream of flame, she was determined to forget the shape-shifting, fire-breathing dragon. But five years have passed, and still his memory leaves an ache in her heart. A memory that Garrick Flynn, her childhood friend, would love to erase. When given the chance to travel to the city, the center of medieval life, Anna jumps at the opportunity. But danger and intrigue are never far away as she joins the royal court and serves as companion to the queen.
Is it possible to have a second chance at the deep and passionate love she once scorned?
Excerpt Dance with a Dragon:
Anna was nearing the stairs when a voice made her glance around. Max was in the midst of a small group of women, Jane among them, laughing at some joke. Changing direction, she headed his way.
“Master Brant, I would have a word with you,” she said, stopping behind Max’s back. She saw one of the women raise her eyebrows, while another whispered something to Jane. Max stared at Jane for a long moment, before turning slowly from the group and looking Anna up and down. He turned back to the women.
“Ladies,” he said, “will you please excuse me. It would appear that I am wanted.” He grinned at Anna, who scowled back. He followed her as she walked away from the group, stopping when she turned to face him.
“Did you speak to the king?” she demanded.
Max’s smile vanished as he glanced at the group of women watching them curiously, then taking her by the arm, led her to the far wall.
“I did,” he said.
“Why? Because the prince wants you in his bed, and will coerce you into accepting. How did you think he would react when you didn’t show up in his apartments this evening? Do you really think Rupert is the kind of man to take ‘no’ for an answer? He would have forced you to do his will one way or another.”
“I would not have allowed him to! I would have made sure I was never alone with him.”
“Anna,” Max said, a note of impatience creeping into his voice, “You live under the same roof as him. Would you have avoided the hall? And the passages? You enjoy roaming the gardens and the wilderness. Would you have been content to remain indoors? And even if you did manage to avoid seeing him, there are plenty of people at the palace prepared to do his bidding. Your lack of willingness to do as he wished would only have added to the thrill of the chase.”
“Well, now he intends to make me pay. The king threatened him with exile, and he is not happy.”
“Exile, hmm? The king must have a lot of respect – or fear – for Aaron if he is willing to go that far.” Anna lifted her eyebrows in unspoken question. “I reminded him that you are under Aaron’s protection, and it might be in his best interests to keep his brother’s behavior in check.”
“You should have left it alone,” she said. “Your interference has made things worse.” Max leaned closer, and she could smell the fire emanating from him.
“My interference,” he said through clenched teeth, “has saved you the anguish of being forced against your will.”
“You are so arrogant,” she hissed. “I never asked for your protection. You should have left well alone.”
“I’m being arrogant? You haven’t changed at all, Anna! Still the same foolish little girl you always were. I have saved you more times than I can remember, and you continue to look at me with disdain.” He glared down at her, and she could see the flames growing at the back of his eyes. With a low growl, he pushed himself away from the wall, and turning his back to her, strode away, flinging the door that led to the courtyard open with a hand clenched into a fist.
About the Author:
Linda K. Hopkins lives in Calgary, Canada, in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, with her husband and two daughters, but originally hails from South Africa, and also spent a few years living in England. Linda loves reading, dark chocolate, coffee and travel. Sometimes she even tinkers on the piano, but sadly, her teenage daughter is the better musician!
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