Book 2 in the award-winning Dragon Kin series!
Talaith's life has never been easy. A goddess has forced her into servitude. Her husband despises her. And all those in her tiny village fear her. But just when she doesn't think her life can get any worse, she's pulled from her bed one morning to be burned at the stake for being a witch. What she never counted on was a terrifying silver dragon deciding to rescue her.
Briec the Mighty didn't really know what to do with a human female. Especially this one. Chatty and a bit of a complainer, he doesn't understand why she can't simply admit to herself that she wants him. Who wouldn't? He was Briec the Mighty after all. Females fought to spend the night in his arms. But this one tiny woman with her many secrets and her annoying habit of referring to him as "arrogant" has turned his simple dragon life upside down.
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1 . aikens at her best!
Posted July 10, 2011 by sb , sch hI loved this book and found myself unable to put it down. I love that Talaith is loves her daughter above all else, I also love that she in unwilling to give up and no matter what her life throws at her she won't stop, I know this is a romance book but I found the love that she felt for her daughter more compelling.
November 07, 2008
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Excerpt from About A Dragon by G.A. Aiken
"Come with me," he ordered.
Big brown eyes slowly looked up at him in surprise. Then she muttered, almost to herself, "Good gods, the trees have started moving on their own."
"Nothing. Just referring to your rather...unholy size."
He glanced down at his human body. He actually found it small, almost puny...like most humans. And he found her downright tiny.
Shaking his head, he decided to figure all that out later.
"Come with me." He smiled. "I desire to have you."
How could he not? She was beautiful. Clearly from Alsandair, her soft brown skin told him of many ancestors living under the hot desert suns. Her hair, though, was darker than the few desert people he'd seen over his long lifetime. Almost black and a riot of soft, silky curls, reaching down her back and swaying against what he considered an amazing ass.
"That's...uh...charming. But I'm almost positive my husband would have a problem with that." She tried to walk around him, but he stepped in front of her.
"The slow-witted one that's been following you? I thought he was your servant."
She snorted, then quickly looked down at the ground. Covering her mouth with one small hand, she remained silent for several seconds. Finally, she focused on him again, but he could see the laughter in her eyes. "Yes. That's the one. But he is my husband. Not my servant. Although some days..." He expected her to be insulted for her mate. She wasn't. Good. It gave him hope.
"Well, you deserve better than that. You deserve me. So come with me."
Her smile was slow in coming, but once it turned into a full grin, he thought his weak human knees would give out. He'd never seen anything so beautiful before.
"My, my. That's a lot of arrogance you have in that very large body. How do you fit your head through doors?"
"I'm arrogant because I know I can offer you more than that rodent? Is that arrogance or honesty?"
She shook her head. "Who are you?"
"Come with me and find out."
"No. No. I'll not be traipsing off with any strange knights this day. Although I appreciate the offer."
She walked around him, muttering to herself, "I'll have to write this day down in my diary."
He could let her go. Any other human female he would have. But he found her absolutely fascinating. Maybe it was the way she snarled at the baker who initially refused to serve her. She'd been getting similar treatment all over the market. They all seemed to fear her, but he wasn't sure why. Magick surrounded her, but it was untapped--almost stagnant. Something a typical human peasant would never know or see. Nor was she marked as a witch like his sister and so many other females with power. Nothing marred that beautiful face. So why they all seemed to hate her, he had no idea.
She stopped and turned to face him. "Yes?"
"You're not safe here."
"Well that's a new approach."
"I'm not joking. Do you not see it?" He glanced around at the vendors watching them. "They despise you. They fear you."
He knew fear like that. He saw it every time he flew over a town or spotted a battalion too close to his territory. To be quite honest...he loved that fear.
Her smile faded and she pulled the worn cloak she'd recently put on tighter around her. She deserved better than those ugly clothes. She deserved the finest silks and wool to drape that body.
"You think I don't already know that? You think you're telling me something new and shocking?"
"Then why do you stay?"
He saw it. In her eyes. A deep weariness, coupled with fear. "Because I have no choice."
"You always have a choice."
"Perhaps knights such as yourself do. But I am not that lucky."
The one she called husband walked out of the local tavern and glared at the pair of them. "Come on," he barked at her.
"Aye," she called back. She looked at Briec and smiled. "I've enjoyed our conversation, knight. It's been nice talking to someone who can--"
"Create full and complete sentences?"
That grin returned and, for a moment, his heart actually stopped beating. "No, it was nice to finally meet someone whose arrogance is only rivaled by the arrogance of the gods. Now, if you'll excuse me..." she leaned in and whispered good-naturedly, "...my servant awaits."
She winked at him and walked away. And he knew right then it didn't matter who she bound herself to, he'd have her...at least until he was done with her.
* * *
She placed the food in front of her husband, and turned to walk away. But he grabbed hold of her wrist and dragged her to his lap. She didn't fight him. She knew she didn't have to.
His lips touched her neck and she forced the repulsion back. She decided to think about other things to distract her and immediately, strange violet eyes came to mind. She didn't know they'd built men that size in these insignificant little Northern towns. For sixteen years she'd lived here and it seemed like any man taller than her left the village to become a soldier or a castle guard. The remainder were not very tall nor very handsome.
Ah, but that knight...by the gods, he was absolutely magnificent. Covered from head to toe in that expensive black cape, all she could see were those beautiful violet eyes and that face. Gods, that face!
Outrageously arrogant, too. But it amused her. Mostly because she didn't have to live with that every day. If she did, she might kill him in his sleep--once she was done with him, of course.
Still, she should have never spoken to him. Strangers didn't come through this little village often and it had gotten worse in the last three years. Even with one of the main travel roads cutting close by, less than a day's foot travel away, the traders and travelers who once came often, came no more.
Those in the village recently started to blame her for the lack of outsider gold. Of course, lately they'd been blaming her for everything. A cow died...her fault. A child caught the brain fever...her fault. One of the village women twisted an ankle...
Apparently everything was her fault. My, she never knew she had such awesome powers.
Aye, their lack of kindness made speaking to the strange knight from parts unknown easy, but a dangerous chance to take. He would feel no need to protect her or respect the bonds of her marriage bed. Yet, she simply couldn't help herself. He'd been so outrageously ridiculous he made her smile. And, the gods knew, she didn't smile often.
She doubted she'd see him again, but he would be a nice memory to hold on to.
Finally, her husband pushed her away with an angry snarl.
"Evil bitch, what have you done to me?"
She strained herself trying not to sigh in annoyance. This conversation had become tiresome ten years ago, now it neared intolerable.
"I know not of what you speak, husband."
He stood, knocking the chair over in the process. "Lying bitch! You've hexed me or something! I get near you and..." He gritted his teeth and glanced down at his groin.
"I don't understand, husband." She barely reined in her sarcasm. Barely. "From what I understand many of the ladies have been lucky enough to find out what a steed you are in bed. I assumed you'd merely tired of me."
Then he was there, his hand raised. She didn't flinch, which is what he wanted. But she knew he'd never follow through. He'd only hit her once and quickly learned never to do it again. Of course, since then, he'd looked at her like a demon incarnate.
Just like now.
Unwilling to take the risk, he turned over the dining table and stormed out into the night. Tomorrow, he'd return with muttered apologizes and it would all start once more in a month or two.
For sixteen years this had been her life and it would continue to be her life until told otherwise.
With a sigh, she righted the table, cleaned up the mess, ate a little of her own dinner--without the herbs she'd put in her husband's meal--cleaned the grime of the day off her body, put on her white nightdress--after securing the dagger tied to her thigh--and finally crawled into bed.
As she drifted to sleep she thought of violet eyes and arrogant men in chainmail.
They dragged her from bed before the two suns even rose over the Caffyn Mountains. She fought as best she could, but the noose they'd wrapped around her throat cut off her ability to breathe, weakening her. And they bound her hands tightly with coarse rope because they feared she'd cast a spell on them. She had none to cast, but what really annoyed her was her inability to get the dagger still tied to her thigh.
Of course, only she would get an entire town to try and kill her. Nice one, idiot.
Strong men threw the end of the rope over a sturdy branch and slowly pulled her off her feet. They didn't want her to die too quickly. They wanted to watch her hang for a while, and it looked like they'd prepared a pyre for a good, old-fashioned witch burning.
The man she called husband screamed at her. He screamed how she was a witch. How she was evil. How they all knew the truth about her and now she would pay. If she weren't fighting for her life, she'd roll her eyes in annoyance.
But what truly galled her...what set her teeth absolutely on edge--other than choking to death--was that the goddess who sent her here all those years ago was the same one leaving her to die.
She thought the evil bitch would at least protect her until she finally accomplished what she needed her to do. What she'd been training to do since she was sixteen.
But Talaith, Daughter of Haldane, had learned long ago that no one was to be trusted. No one would ever protect her. No one would ever do anything but use her. Eventually she'd learned to trust no one but herself.
Of course a few allies might have helped you this day, Talaith.
She coughed and squirmed in her bonds, praying her neck would finally just break. She would definitely rather not die by burning. Talaith never considered flame a witch's best friend.
As she wondered what it would take to snap her neck using her own body weight, she saw him.
He stood out like a jewel among pigs. Her arrogant, handsome knight, still in his chainmail with the bright red surcoat over it, but without the black cape he wore that shielded part of his face and hair from her sight. She wasn't sure if it were her imagination or if her impending death had made her sight untrustworthy, but he had--silver? --yes. He had glossy silver hair that reached past his knees. But it wasn't the silver hair of an old man. This beauty couldn't be more than thirty winters. At most.
Gods, and he was a beauty. The most beautiful thing Talaith had ever seen. Well, at least she'd leave this world with something pretty for her last vision.
He walked up to one of the townsfolk and motioned toward her.
"She is a witch, m'lord!" a woman--whose child Talaith saved from a poisonous snakebite the year before--screamed. "She's in league with demons and the dark gods."
She wished. At least the dark gods protected their own.
The knight stared at her for several moments. If she could, she wouldn't have been too proud to beg for mercy. But, even if she could speak, she wouldn't bother. Those cold violet eyes of his told her it would have done no good anyway.
If only you'd fucked him like you wanted to, he might feel slightly obligated to help you. But you had to be a hard bitch.
Of course, according to her husband, she was always a hard bitch.
With a bored sigh, her knight turned and walked away, disappearing into the surrounding woods.
Typical. Even a brave knight wouldn't help her. Every day her life got more and more pathetic.
"Die, witch! Die!" How lovely. Her own "dear" husband started up that endearing chant. The bastard. She'd meet him on the other side when his time came and she'd make sure he suffered for eternity.
The noose tightened a bit and she felt more of her life slip away while they continued to pile extra wood around the stake.
Funny how one's mind plays tricks on them when so close to dying.
For instance, if she didn't know better, she'd swear that was a giant silver dragon ambling out of the forest. An enormous, amazing creature, with a silver mane of hair that gleamed in the morning sunshine and nearly swept the shaking ground at its feet. Two massive white horns sat atop its head and a long tail, with what looked to be a dagger-sharp tip, swung lazily behind him.
Silently, he stood behind the townspeople. So focused on her, they were completely unaware of his presence. Who knew I could be so fascinating as to distract an entire town? Of course, they could also be ignoring the dragon because it was simply a figment of her imagination. A dream of a grand rescue that would never come.
Her fantasy dragon leaned forward and nudged Julius the baker with the tip of his snout. Julius glanced behind him, nodded and turned back to her. Then he froze where he stood...just before he pissed himself. That's when his wife glanced at him and behind him. She screamed, grabbed her son, who had been seconds away from throwing a rather large rock at Talaith, and ran. Soon after, the rest of the townsfolk caught sight of her fantasy dragon, screamed and bolted away.
She frowned. Perhaps she still had enough of her power so she could conjure the image of the beast, but somehow she doubted it.
The dragon shot out a few flames at the retreating humans, but nothing to do any real harm. Finally, it stared at her for several moments, turned and walked off.
Unbelievable. Even my rescue fantasies are disasters.
But as she wondered if her afterlife would be as pathetic as her current life, the dragon's tail whipped out. The tip cut through the rope that hung her from the tree, and she dropped.
Expecting her ass to hit the unforgiving ground at any moment, she tensed in surprise as the tail wrapped itself around her body and held her.
Now that the noose was not so tight, her senses slowly came back to her. That's when she realized a tail really did have her. A tail attached to an enormous dragon casually walking through the forest. She tried to move out of its grasp, but the tail pinned her arms--with her still bound wrists--against her body. And her noose still tight enough she couldn't call for help.
Of course, who would she call? Her husband? Probably not? Lord Hamish, ruler of these lands? If she had the strength, she would have laughed at that.
No. It looked as if she was going to be the breakfast of a monster.
As the dragon made it into a clearing and suddenly took to the air--with her still wrapped up in its tail--Talaith had only one thought...
* * *
Briec the Mighty, second oldest in the House of Gwalchmai fab Gwyar, second in line to the throne of the White Dragon Queen, Shield Hero of the Dragon Wars, Lord Defender of the Dragon Queen's Throne and, as far as he was concerned, the only sane one of his kin, headed to a nice, quiet spot. Some place by water would be nice. It would be at least two days before he made it back to his den, but he wanted to take a good look at his prize. Preferably without the puffiness that comes with being hung from a noose.
True, his sister awaited the information he had about Lord Hamish, which wasn't much. But when he decided to stay in the village, he passed the minute bit of information on to one of the Garbh�n Isle soldiers waiting outside Madron lands. As it was, Briec couldn't believe he'd run an "errand". For his brother's bitch, no less. She'd actually sent him to find out if Hamish was preparing to make a move on Garbh�n Isle. From what Briec could tell, Hamish wasn't planning anything. Still, he was Briec the Mighty sent to do this menial task. Really he should have killed the woman when he had the chance. But his brother Fearghus seemed so fond of her. Although for the life of him he couldn't understand why.
Scarred and insane that one, and Briec would rather spend his long years with a nest of vipers.
Yet, he'd never seen his brother so...well...happy. The crazy cow made him smile. Cranky, unfriendly, "kill you as soon as look at you" Fearghus the Destroyer smiling. It confused Briec.
Briec himself wasn't unhappy. But he wasn't that happy either. And lately he'd been wondering how one achieved that level of happiness. He wondered if it had to do with Fearghus' human female and if the same would work for him.
When he saw his dark beauty in the village, Briec thought, Why the hell not?
He'd returned to the village early that morning to sniff her out, destroy her husband if he interfered and take her home with him. But Briec never expected to find the entire town trying to execute her while turning the event into a family gathering.
And they called dragons "monsters".
Besides, he'd reminded himself at the time, if you rescue her she'll be grateful. According to his younger brother Gwenvael there was nothing more accommodating than a grateful human female.
Briec looked down, the two suns glinting off a large lake catching his eye. A perfect place for taking a little break and getting to know his new human.
They landed by the water's edge and Briec immediately released her from his tail. As he expected, she pulled herself into a tight ball. Her eyes tightly closed, her entire body shaking. Dragonfear. No, Briec didn't understand it, but he respected it. Dragons were awesome beings, so humans should quake in fear. At least for a little while.
Briec yawned and glanced around the dark bit of forest he discovered. It was nice. Shame a cave wasn't nearby. Although he hated the thought of moving. After two hundred and sixty two years, he'd collected quite a lot of treasure. Besides, he liked his den.
As he was wondering how long before the dragonfear might take to wear off, Briec saw movement out of the corner of his eye. Turning his head slowly, he watched the human, her hands still bound but hurriedly pushing her fingers between the noose and her throat, scrambling up to her feet. As she moved toward the trees, Briec whipped his tail out, slamming the tip into the ground right in front of her. She reared back and fell on her adorable ass.
"Going somewhere, little human?"
* * *
Talaith stared at the silver spike planted in front of her. That silver spike a mere tip to the longest tail she'd ever seen. Slowly, she looked over her shoulder at the dragon.
By the gods--he's huge! She felt the panic again. The dragonfear. One of the most unpleasant feelings she'd ever experienced. It dug deep into her gut and spread out, immobilizing her limbs, her ability to speak and think. All she wanted to do was scream and cry and beg for eternal darkness so she didn't have to look at it anymore.
"Take deep slow breaths," it told her. "It will calm you."
Calm her? Slow breaths? Instead she sucked in a breath to tell it to go to hell, but ended up sending her late-night snack spewing across the dragon's foot.
Staring down, it muttered, "Oh, that's just vile."
Talaith's eyes narrowed and suddenly she found her voice. "And yet, I feel remarkably better," she sneered.
Ah, and look...she'd found her stupidity, too. You're mouthing off to a dragon, Talaith. Well, she never could curb her tongue.
Although, she wasn't lying. She actually did feel better. Perhaps getting sick relieved the tension the dragonfear caused. She didn't know, but when the dragon's violet eyes settled on her, she was grateful she hadn't had a big snack the night before.
"Hhhmm. A sense of humor." He cocked his head to the side. "That actually might annoy me."
She frowned, ignoring the teasing sound to that oh-so-low voice and, with heavy sarcasm answered, "Oh, well, that'll keep me up nights."
Had she lost her mind? What was she doing? Her husband always said she had the most vicious tongue he'd ever come across. But she couldn't help herself. Some days it was her only defense.
"Seems the dragonfear is wearing off, little human."
"So it would seem, enormous dragon." She cringed when he showed rows and rows of large fangs. Good gods is that his smile?
"Well, we can't stand here all day marinating in your sick."
Sitting back on her heels, her stomach finally settling, she said, "Sorry. Does the smell ruin a good meal for you?"
"As a matter of fact, it does."
"Well isn't that just too--Aiyee!"
The dragon's tail wrapped around her waist, lifting her off the ground. "So perhaps we should get you clean then, eh?" Then the bastard flung her into the lake.
She screamed until she hit the water and went under. Forcing herself not to panic or drink too much of the lake, Talaith kicked her legs hard trying to get back to the surface. As she broke through, she saw the dragon glide into the water, his head and body disappearing from her sight.
He was coming to eat her! Her lust for survival swept through her, knocking out any fear, and she turned and did her best to swim to the other side with her hands still bound.
She knew she didn't have a chance, though, and wasn't surprised when he grabbed hold of her waist. That's when she started fighting, kicking and thrashing. He would still make her his morning meal, but she'd make sure she didn't go down easy.
"Calm yourself, woman."
"Let me go!"
"I said calm down!" He yanked her to him and Talaith immediately froze. That did not feel like any dragon.
She looked down and saw an arm wrapped around her waist. Although it was the biggest arm she'd ever seen in her entire existence, it was still not the forearm of a dragon. It was human.
Terrified of what she'd find holding her, Talaith turned her head and peered behind her.
"Feeling calmer now, m'lady?" he asked while grinning.
Talaith took a deep breath as she stared at her beautiful knight. "As a matter of fact...no. I'm not." Then she growled, "So get your bloody hands off me."
"But I like having you in my arms."
That did it. She couldn't take anymore. Not another second. This was all simply too much for one woman to take. With a feral snarl she swung her bound hands at his face. He roared in anger, but released her to cover his right eye. She took her chance and swam toward the shore. She'd just dragged herself out of the water when he came charging up behind her.
Talaith got as far as the line of trees before she felt his hands, still human thankfully, on her. They grabbed hold and yanked her back. She slid, hitting the ground, her knees scraping across rocky dirt. She tried to pull away again, but his firm hold merely tightened, then he flipped her over. She tried kicking him, but he pinned her down with his own body. As human, the man was simply enormous.
He grabbed her bound wrists and pushed them above her head, keeping her in place.
"Stop fighting me!"
"Not in this lifetime!"
He gave a short roar and Talaith froze. She closed her eyes, the dragonfear making a sudden and rather unpleasant return. Yet it didn't last this time. Going as quickly as it came.
Once gone, she opened her eyes and looked at the dragon hovering over her in human form.
Oh, he's absolutely perfect. Talaith blinked. Nice one, Talaith. Any other frightening thoughts about the dragon's perfect body before he has you for dinner?
Yet she simply couldn't help herself. He truly was perfect. His long silver hair framed a ruggedly sculpted face. A hard, square jaw with high cheekbones and a long nose that had clearly been broken before. He had a full bottom lip she could see herself spending hours sucking on and matched with his thinner top lip, she knew with all her heart it would feel absolutely wonderful having him kiss every inch of her. Add in those nothing-but-trouble violet eyes and Talaith felt herself slipping into a very dangerous place.
She fought for control. "Let me go!"
He stared down at her for several moments. Then he took his free hand and felt the not-even-swelling right side of his face, by his eye. "You hurt me."
"Are you supposed to hurt the one who saves your life?"
She rolled her eyes. Am I actually having this conversation? "Probably not." He raised one dark silver brow in question and she growled in annoyance. "You can't be serious."
"Of course I am."
She glared at him, but said nothing.
Dammit. If she didn't say anything, he'd keep her like this for ages. And having this fiend so close to her barely clothed body was making her extremely uncomfortable. Finally, she spit out, "I'm sorry if I hurt you."
"That was...better. I suppose. And yet--"
He settled down against her and that was when Talaith realized he'd placed himself between her legs. The only thing between them at the moment was her very thin and worn nightdress.
"I don't feel you really mean it."
"You say the words, but you don't mean the words."
"Really? Well I mean these...get the bloody hell off me!"
"Yes. Those I do feel you mean."
"What do you want from me?" He looked down at her face and that's when she felt his oh-so-human erection pulsating hot and powerful against her sex. "Oh, not in this lifetime, dragon!"
"Perhaps. And yet--" He sniffed the air. "It smells as if your body has other ideas."
"What you smell is fear."
"No. I know fear. It has a subtle difference, a little more tangy. What I smell at the moment, however, is anything but fear. No, m'lady. I smell lust."
"You do not!"
He leaned in closer, his nose brushing against her jaw, her cheek, the side of her neck. He took another deep breath, letting it out on a groan.
"Sorry, little human. But I most certainly do."
Talaith closed her eyes again. She got the feeling she could yell at this dragon until the end of time, and he would still do what he wanted with her. So, she put her pride away and gave one last ditch effort.
Softly, she asked, "Please. Please get off me."
Instantly, the dragon's expression changed from laughing amusement to deep concern. He moved away from her, releasing her wrists.
Fighting back tears she would never allow to come, Talaith awkwardly pulled herself to a comfortable sitting position. Her arms hugging her knees tight, her wrists still bound. That's when the dragon finally removed the noose from her neck and the rope from her wrists.
"I should have taken these off sooner."
Startled, she looked up to see him toss the rope away before grasping her wrists and gently massaging them. I guess I could pretend that's an apology. Although from what she knew of dragons...not likely.
"And remind me to put something on your throat, or that rope burn will hurt something horrible come tomorrow, if not sometime tonight." He tilted her head back with his forefinger under her chin, examining her wounded neck closely. "It still may scar, though."
It amazed her exactly how beautiful this man was. From his extremely long body rippling with well-defined muscles under smooth tan skin to his excessively wide shoulders and back tapering into a narrow waist. All of it the definition of male perfection.
Talaith's eyes traveled farther down. She couldn't help herself. And once she saw it, his erection, she couldn't tear her eyes away. She couldn't even be bothered to study those massive thighs of his.
He cleared his throat and her gaze snapped back to his face. His grin had returned, more powerful than the last time. Because now he caught her looking. "Like what you see apparently."
That wasn't a question.
She'd always heard dragons were arrogant, but she didn't realize to what extent until this particular dragon. And she had to admit it annoyed the living hell out of her.
In answer to his question, she shrugged and lied, "I've seen better."
Now both eyebrows peaked in surprise, but he still said, "Liar."
Oh, and she was. A big, fat, dirty liar.
"If that will help you sleep tonight, dragon."
"Actually, m'lady, you'd--"
She cut him off as soon as she realized where the conversation was leading, "Don't say it."
He nodded. "As you wish."
Carefully she pulled her hands away from him and again wrapped her arms tight around her knees. "What do you want from me, dragon? Honestly. No more games."
The dragon stretched that long, magnificent body out on the ground beside her, resting on his side. He didn't bother covering himself up, and she realized he probably wasn't aware exactly how naked he truly was in human terms. Dragons may lay around naked, but not humans.
"I've never been with a human before. I've been with dragon females who were human at the time. But never a full human."
She scratched her head in confusion. "Why would dragons...uh...be with each other as human?"
"We find it entertaining."
Talaith nodded in understanding, then she realized exactly what the dragon was telling her. On occasion she could be a tad slow catching on to things.
"Are you saying..." She cleared her throat, but it didn't help. That was panic choking her at the moment. Nothing to really do about panic. "You want to bed...me?"
"We can do it in a bed, if you wish. I told you all this yesterday."
"No." This couldn't be happening. No, no, no.
Think, Talaith. "Well, first off I'm bound to another."
"Ah, yes. To the man who tried to kill you."
"Let's see..." He laid out flat on the ground, his big hands behind his big, fat head. "What were his exact words again? Ah, yes. 'Kill the witch. Burn the witch.' Didn't he hand a child a rather large stone?"
"All right. All right." Bastard. "Forget that."
"In the end, I am human. And you," she looked at him from the top of his beautiful head to the bottom of his gargantuan feet, "are clearly not human."
"So? I can shift into human, as I've done here. And you seem quite pleased with my form."
"It was one look."
"Yes. But it spoke volumes, m'lady."
Talaith ran her hands through her wet, tangled mass of curls. She'd give anything to have a comb or brush. She'd give anything to be dry. "I am not a lady."
"Perhaps. But you're no mere peasant either."
Working hard to keep her face neutral, she said, "Why would you say that?"
He shrugged nonchalantly as he stared up at the two suns. "I can just tell." He sighed in boredom. "I don't want to talk anymore."
Good. His voice had begun to drive her mad with wanting. "Fine."
He looked over at her. "Come." He motioned to his throbbing hard shaft, currently pointing at the suns and, if she was not mistaken, calling her name. "Ride me."
Yes, m'Lord! "What? No!"
"Are you going to be this difficult all the way back to my den?"
Uh-oh. "Why are we going to your den?"
"That's where you'll live, of course. You know, until I'm done with you."
Finally, all fear--and lust--of the dragon left her, and Talaith's mouth dropped open in shock at his pure arrogance.
"You rude, arrogant bastard!"
She pushed herself to her feet. "You heard me. I haven't survived sixteen years with that idiot, simply to become the plaything of a monster."
"I am not a monster. I'm a dragon. You humans should be worshipping us."
"Shame it's more fun to hunt your kind then, isn't it?"
The dragon sprung to his feet. "That is not something I'd joke about if I were you, little human."
"I won't stay."
"You will. Whether you bed with me or not. You will stay. You're mine by dragon law."
"I am not governed by dragon law."
He grabbed her arm and yanked her over to him. Talaith rose up on her toes, forced to by the way he pulled her.
"Now that I've saved your life, little human, it belongs to me. And that means you are governed by the laws of my people."
Because she didn't know what to say about that, Talaith said the first thing that came to mind.
"I hate you."
He snorted a laugh. "Hate is a human emotion. It means nothing to me."
The dragon released her by pushing her away from him.
"I'll go find us some breakfast. Try and leave, m'lady, and I'll make sure you regret it when I find you." His eyes narrowed. "And I will find you."
Then he stalked off into the woods, leaving Talaith alone.
Good. Now I can panic in peace.
* * *
Was it really supposed to be this hard? Did his brother have to fight this hard to get his human mate to submit? Of course, Briec wasn't Fearghus. His brother probably seduced the crazy female. Briec didn't waste time with seduction. Why bother? Either she wanted to be with him or she didn't.
Simple. Logical. Of course, humans didn't strike him as the most logical of beings.
He stopped by a tree, putting his hand against the rough bark so he could lean against it. Glancing down, he willed his human cock to behave. Unruly thing. Especially around this particular female.
He wished it was simply because she was gorgeous, even when heaving her meal on his talons. Unfortunately, it was more than that. He found her mean and funny and very smart. A potent mix for his lust.
Still, she hated him. Her exact words. For humans, apparently, that was quite important. As was love. Both of those emotions so foreign to Briec, he'd never actually used the words in a sentence.
It bothered him he should care whether this woman wanted him or not. He was Briec the Mighty. Females clamored for his attention. No one had ever dismissed him so quickly or eagerly before. And no one had ever outright rejected him. How dare a human reject him. If he thought it would bother her, he'd go back and destroy her entire village. But he knew better. She wouldn't care. She didn't belong there and they both knew it. Why she stayed there for so long, he would find out. He intended on finding out everything about this difficult, mean-spirited, beautiful woman.
Briec's hand dug into the tree, tearing the bark from it as a large jackrabbit raced past him. He stared at it for several seconds then shot a ball of flame, roasting it on the spot.
It gave him small satisfaction, but it would do for now.