I was raised for battle. And as the first daughter of a warrior family, I've earned my reputation the hard way. Yet now I fight alongside uncivilized male Northland dragons who think a female is only good for breeding and waiting back home in the cave. But it's the foolish and foolhardy who would try to stop me, Rhona the Fearless, from doing what I do best-destroying the enemies of my kind.
So the smartest thing wily barbarian Vigholf the Abhorrent can do for me is stay out of my way as we risk all on a deadly mission in enemy territory. I don't care if he's fascinated by me, even though he is as attractive as he is resourceful. He's having far too much fun putting me in difficult situations and testing my sense of duty to the limit. And I'm going to enjoy challenging his insufferable confidence, outwitting his schemes, and making him surrender in the wildest ways. . .
"Sexy and outrageous humor." --Romantic Times
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September 05, 2011
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Excerpt from The Dragon Who Loved Me by G.A. Aiken
The girl slept. Not hard, though. She no longer slept hard--or without a weapon. Too many times there were attacks on their camp in the middle of the night. Too many times she'd found fellow soldiers trying to sneak into her bed, hoping to get out of her what they couldn't afford to buy from the camp girls. Those who survived were usually sent back to their homes. Not because of what they'd done, but because the body parts they were now missing made it impossible to expect much out of them during battle.
Yet she'd never be able to say whether it was her light sleeping or her much-more-honed instincts that told her she needed to be awake and moving. Silently stepping past the other sleeping squires, she eased into the night and followed where her instincts led, to a copse of trees right outside the camp. That's where she found her. The woman sneaking out of the camp without her guards, troops, or horse, carrying only one travel bag, her two swords strapped to her back. Going alone. Because she was brave. Because she was desperate. Because, on a good day, she was more than a little crazy.
Without saying a word, the girl ran back to her tent and grabbed her own travel pack, her own sword and battle-ax, her warmest boots and cape. She returned to the woman's side, smiled.
"You didn't think I'd let you go without me, did you?
My place is by your side."
"And your death may well be by my side if you come with me. I can't allow it."
"You leave without me--and in seconds rather than days everyone in this camp will know that you're gone."
Bright green eyes glared and, after five long years of seeing that look on a daily basis, the girl no longer recoiled in fear. Then again, over the many years this war had been going on, she'd learned how far she could push--and how far she couldn't.
"I'll not be responsible for you, little girl. You'll have to keep up."
"When don't I?" the girl lashed back.
"And watch your tone. I'm still your queen."
"Which is why you need me. No war queen should be without her squire."
"Squire? When was the last time you washed my horse?"
"When I couldn't get anyone else to do it for me."
The queen grinned, the scar she'd received in battle four years ago crinkling across her face. It went from her right temple, down across her forehead, the bridge of her nose, her cheek, finally slicing into her neck. The blade had missed major arteries and, with stitches, had healed well enough. But the scar remained and the queen left it there. To the enemy, it seemed to suggest that the rumors of her being the undead were true--for how could someone survive such a cut? As for how the queen felt about her scar . . . well, she never looked in a mirror that much anyway.
"Let's be off then, squire, before they realize we've gone."
They headed deeper into the forest surrounding their camp, but were forced to stop after a few minutes when they found the human body of a young dragoness passed out in front of them, the victim of too much drink.
"What should we do with her?" the queen asked. "Can't just leave her here. Besides, it would be good to have a dragon by our side should we need one."
"Good point." They picked the dragoness up, let her vomit up whatever she'd drunk, then began walking with her until she could walk on her own.
After some time, the dragoness asked, "Where are we going?"
"Into the west," the queen answered.
"Our enemies are in the west."
"They'll kill us all if they find us."
"But torture us first."
"So I'm guessing you have a plan."
The dragoness let out a sigh. "I kind of knew I'd regret drinking with the Eighteenth Battalion tonight--I just had no idea how much."
"Don't worry. We'll either stop this war in its tracks or become martyrs to it."
"I'm a dragon, my lady. Dragons don't become martyrs. We create them."
"Well then . . ." Annwyl, the Mad Queen of Garbh�n Isle, patted the She-dragon on her back as they headed farther into the west. ". . . now you have a goal."