One young woman could be the miracle that heals a dying dragon--and unites a family with her love.
I Dream of Dragons I
Lucia, born a lady in a foreign land, now waits tables for her keep. When she sees Sir Reynor wasting away, she storms the Castle Lair seeking help for the dying dragon. What she finds is a dashing rogue, a mighty dragoness, and a contrite knight who blames himself for his dragon partner's injury.
Marcus is enchanted by the foreign beauty and intrigued by her mission. Few women will go near dragons and fewer still can communicate with them. Marcus recognizes Lucia for the treasure she is and knows she is meant for him...and for Kaden.
Kaden is wracked with guilt over the injury that has grounded the dragon--possibly forever. He knows Lucia is special, and he wants her. Lucia just might be the missing piece they all need to form a family. But with Reynor unable to fly, how can any of them be happy?
To make this family whole, they need a miracle. And love--the greatest miracle of all.
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January 01, 2010
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Excerpt from Wings of Change by Bianca D'Arc
Lucia had never ridden on a dragon's back before. Today was indeed a day of firsts. Linea flew beautifully and if not for the dire situation, Lucia would have enjoyed her first flight immensely. The dragon was poetry in motion beneath her, and the strong man holding her by the waist made her feel warm and cared for in a way she hadn't experienced since losing her family all those years ago.
They set down in the tavern yard, the pale green dragon followed closely by the stunning silver beast named Tor. Everyone had heard tales about the royal Ice Dragon who'd been raised by the queen. Lucia strongly suspected the lovely woman riding on the silver dragon was the queen herself.
Jumping down from the dragon's back into Marcus's strong arms, Lucia tried to suppress the little thrill of attraction she felt for the handsome knight. This was no time to start dreaming impossible dreams. Reynor had to come first. His life was at stake here. She led the way into the large tavern--empty now, so early in the day. Part of the old city, the main room had been built on a scale to hold two or three dragons, if they wished to hear some music and join in the merriment of an evening with their knights.
But for the past few days, Reynor had become a full-time resident. Nobody questioned it at first, though they saw to it he had plenty of water. Dragons could go a few days without eating, but everyone knew they enjoyed sweets like melons and bushels of apples, so he had all he could want within easy reach.
Only Lucia would dare go close enough to serve the dragons. She liked them a great deal and had no fear of them, so whenever a dragon deigned to visit the tavern, Lucia was elected to serve them. She didn't mind it at all. In fact, she looked forward to such occasions.
"Lucy, what have you done?" Rey's deep voice shivered through her mind.
"I did what I had to do. I brought help." She stood before the shimmering blue dragon, unafraid, with her hands perched on her hips, as if daring him to argue. When he only sighed in defeat and lowered his head to the ground, she walked forward and crouched beside him. "I don't want to see you crippled...or dead, Rey. You're too special for me to allow it. Please forgive me."
"There is nothing to forgive. You have a good heart, Lucy."
The queen went immediately to the dragon's left wing. The area near the joint had swollen to three times its normal size and the wound was badly inflamed. Reynor spread his wing at the queen's gentle urging, though not without a great deal of pain. Lucia stayed by his head, stroking his scales soothingly while the other woman worked.
A man she'd seen only a few times before crouched down next to the dragon on the other side, touching the scaled head and looking deep into Reynor's jeweled eyes. Remorse shone clearly on the knight's face. Remorse, fear...and love. Lucia backed off, seeing the two reunited as they should be.
As she moved back, she faltered, but strong arms caught her against a hard chest. Sir Marcus held her waist, tucking her under his chin, her back to his warm, hard front. He gentled her when she would have struggled out of his hold.
"Be at ease, little dragon tamer." His words whispered over her hair. "You've done a beautiful thing by bringing us here. It is a debt we can never repay."
She settled back against him. Sir Kaden lay on the floor, hugging the dragon's neck hard as the queen set about her work. The glow of magic in the air was undeniable. Lucia hadn't seen it since she was a child, but she recognized the subtle scent of ozone and the tingle of strong magic.
When she'd realized how badly Rey was hurt, Lucia had been tempted to try to use the magic talisman given to her when she escaped her homeland all those years ago, but she was too afraid. For one thing, the precious gift was only to be used in the most dire of circumstances, when all other hopes had failed. Such was the credo of her line. For another, Lucia had never used magic before, though she knew some of her family had once been potent healers. They'd been killed before she could learn or even discover if she had the ability.
Still, Reynor was a special being and she'd felt desperate as she watched him grow weaker. Unable to stand by and watch him die, she'd done what was necessary to get help for him. The queen was reputed to be a strong dragon healer, though Lucia could see Reynor's eyes cloud with agony as the woman worked. He twitched with pain, but his knight held him and comforted him as best he could.
"I only wish I'd gone to the castle sooner." Her words whispered out on a tragic sigh. She became aware of the green dragon's head looming next to them. Linea, it seemed, refused to be left outside.
"Will he be all right? Marcus, do you know?" In her agitation, the female dragon was broadcasting her worries to Lucia as well.
"The queen has said nothing yet, but she doesn't look too worried to me," Marcus replied. "Judging from her expression I'd say he'll live, though whether he'll ever fly properly again is in the hands of the Mother, I'll wager."
"It always was," Linea answered. "The injury was bad enough in the first place, but now those two fools have let it get out of hand!" The dragon seemed infuriated if the twitching of her tail was any indication.
"May I ask..." Lucia's words were a hesitant whisper. "How did it happen?"
"It was stupid, really." Marcus's hands tightened on her waist, fingers digging into her hips before he seemed to realize what he was doing and released her. "Have you heard about the fighting on the border?" When she nodded, he continued, "We were involved in a skirmish the last time out. Sometimes with these kinds of engagements, you get caught low, within range of ground weapons. It happens." He shrugged. "I saw Rey dodge an arrow. He lost altitude and came within sword distance of a group of cavalry. In such instances, the knight can engage with his own weapons, which Kaden did--and very well too--until one got past his guard and a wild swing took a chunk out of Reynor's wing, down near the joint. It's one of the few places not well protected by scale--it needs to be flexible, you see. A freak of luck for the adversary, though Rey's blast of flame took care of him and his horse soon enough. Still, Rey barely stayed aloft and we had to practically tow him back here. The queen saw to him that night, but the kind of healing he needs is tricky. It's not simply a matter of sewing together something that was torn. A wedge of his wing was actually cut out."
Tears flowed down Lucia's face as she heard the tale, watching the beautiful young queen try to banish the raging infection. Turning in Marcus's loose embrace, Lucia sobbed against the man's chest. She knew she was overreacting, but she couldn't help herself. Rey was so special. He was such a good and kind dragon. She couldn't imagine him crippled for life. It was too painful to contemplate.
"I'm sorry." She sniffled as strong arms settled around her. She wasn't above accepting comfort from Sir Marcus. Men of his station never looked twice at her now that she was a serving wench, though once upon a time...
But fairy tales wouldn't put food in her belly. She'd learned that the hard way when all she'd ever known was cruelly ripped from her grasp. She didn't have much faith in people, but the knights she'd seen in Draconia had begun to make her think maybe?ojust maybe?othere were a few good men left in the world. It was her friendship with the dragons that started her thinking about the men they chose as partners. Surely such noble, magical creatures could see into the hearts of the men they chose to fight alongside.
Lucia dried her tears and cautioned herself to restrain her emotions. Coming apart at the seams did nobody any good. She straightened away from the knight, averting her eyes in embarrassment.
"I'm sorry, Sir Marcus. Please excuse my behavior."
He tipped her chin up until her eyes met his. She was mortified. She just knew her face was blotchy and her eyes were probably red. Oh, why did she have to look like a watery hag when faced with masculine perfection given life?
"You are a puzzle, madam. You look like a tavern girl, but you speak like a lady."
She read curiosity in his lovely eyes. Curiosity and a flicker of interest? Surely not.
"The riddle is easily solved, sir. I am a tavern girl now, but I was once a lady."