Out now with Amira Press
Dragons and spellcasters mate for life. The connections they form are beyond the physical. Kestrel had such a bond and lost it. For five hundred years, she had been alone. Then she meets Andrik, the dark, brooding prince. Drawn to him like no other, she isn’t sure how he will react if she confides in him about her sordid history.
Andrik feels the same pull toward Kestrel, but can’t reconcile his past. Torn between his duties and his feelings, he defies the king to tell her the truth. Together they embark on a harrowing quest to save the kingdom and themselves.
He cupped her cheek. His warm palm felt good. The human contact felt wonderful. She turned her cheek into it and breathed in the deep musk of his skin. The draw she felt between them was irresistible. He pulled her closer until they were inches apart. He wound his fingers through her hair.
“The only way I know how is by touching another person. Talking to them. Letting them in.”
Kestrel nodded. She heard what he said, but it didn’t matter. Her mouth met his, and it was softer than she imagined. Andrik pressed his body to hers. His was hard and tense. The solidness of his muscles reminded her he was real. None of the men she had been with in the past were so dense. And yet he made no other move on her. She wrapped her arms around his neck and sank into the moment. He kissed her lightly and then pulled away. It seemed he was as breathless as she.
“I shouldn’t have kissed you. I’m sorry.”
He smiled. “Did you want to?”
“Then you already took the first step back to yourself. Come on. I’m sure you’re tired. I’ll take you back to your room. I made arrangements for better accommodations for you.”
Neither of them moved. “Why are you doing this?”
“I’m not doing anything.”
“Then why do I feel this way?”
Kestrel slid her hand along his neck. Her finger shook as it traced the line of his jaw. The fire inside of her wound along her veins, and it seemed she would combust from the inside out. “Like I’m going to burn up. That I see you and want you, but I don’t know you.”
“Haven’t you felt that way with someone else you’re attracted to? It’s the primal instinct of dragons when we want to mate.”
“So my attraction for you is just a mating impulse to fuck you? It isn’t something more?”
He gave her a half-crooked smile. “It could be. Although I was hoping for something else.”
“What was that?”
He kissed her quickly and ran his nose along the side of her neck. His other hand slipped around her waist and settled on the small of her back. His palm was barely on her skin, but heat twisted along her spine. He ran his lips along the side of her throat, following the same line with his tongue. She groaned. When he breathed on the wet trail, she clutched his toned arms. Kestrel squeezed her eyes shut, trying to contain the passions inflaming her.
“Gods, you smell more like us now than before. I first noticed it when you were in my arms in the crypt.” He nipped the side of her throat. She wound her hand into his ebony hair, trailing it through the silky strands.
“I guess it’s that part Cas gave to me. I assume you enjoy it.”
He nibbled her a little harder. “You have no idea. I can sense your desire for me. It tastes like cloves on your skin. I know, in human terms, this is too sudden, this attraction. I shouldn’t want you. Whether it’s the component of you that’s dragon or the piece of me that recognizes that or something else completely different, I have no idea. I want to take this slow with you. I don’t want to scare you. Hurt you. The urge to taste all of you and drink in your warmth is driving me mad.” Andrik captured her lips again and crushed her to him.
His hard erection pressed against her stomach. He ran his tongue across her lips. She yearned to taste and to have him. He’s right. This is too soon. I’ve never had this happen before, but I want him, too. When he pulled away, she could breathe.
“What does that mean?” she asked.
“I keep forgetting you’re not dragonkin. When we make love in human form, we share each other’s power. It’s a bonding so we don’t forget what we are. It was a gift given to us from the first pair of our kind. Even if we’re not mates, the sharing can happen.”
This time she was the one who stepped back, breaking the contact between them. What am I doing? I’ve never wanted any man more than I desire him, but I’m not going to fall prey to some animal instinct inside of me. She closed her eyes and drew in a long breath. The fire inside of her blazed higher the longer she was around him. Kestrel didn’t know what would happen to her if she gave herself over to those yearnings. I can’t do this now. I have to get my bearings and figure this all out. If they can show me how to use this power, then maybe I can think about having a relationship with him.
“I think it’s a good idea to go back to my room. I . . .” She looked down at her feet, not able to meet his gaze.
He lifted her chin. The understanding in his eyes was clear. “It’s okay. Come on.” He offered her his hand. She entwined her fingers through his and smiled. The closeness made her feel secure and even human.
He’s right. I have to embrace my life. I have to start living now and not in the past. After all these years, someone sees me for me and not a pariah.
He led her to her door and stopped. Andrik took their combined hands and brought them to his lips. He kissed the back of her hand and then released her. “I’ll let you sleep. I’ll speak to Ralag about coming to see you tomorrow. He wants to talk to you, and you need things to wear. We shall get you all settled. You never have to worry about anyone ever calling you an outcast again. You belong here with us.”