Cover & Excerpt Reveal
First it was pythons in the Everglades. Now it’s dragons.
Laura Chambers considers her life well-ordered and unremarkable. Her idea of a pleasant evening consists of dinner at home with her cats, then turning in early with a hot new romance novel. Inviting the ruggedly handsome stranger she found asleep on her porch to join her for breakfast should have been out of the question—even if he did have gorgeous green eyes and call her Milady.
With his charming brogue and courtly manners, Robert of Starhollow could be a British tourist hitch-hiking across Florida in search of a mysterious individual named Shakagwa Dun, but Laura soon learns she’ll be asked to believe more than a few impossible things this day before breakfast.
Robby is a wizard from a parallel world where magic still exists, and he’s hot on the trail of a dragon, a particularly nasty creature who’s picked the Florida Everglades as a likely spot to set up housekeeping and raise a brood of dragonlings. If the sexy young wizard can’t convince the dragon to return to their world, he may have no choice but to slay it, and Laura is determined to not let him face that danger alone.
If they don’t succeed, Florida could soon find itself hip deep in dragons.
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy RomancePurchase links: Taliesin Amazon ARe Smashwords Kobo B&N
Content/Theme(s): Paranormal, Dragons, Shifters, Wizards, Cats, Magic
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Taliesin Publishing
I zoomed in with my camera to get a closer look. The accumulation of reeds, twigs, and mud reminded me of an alligator’s nest, although much, much larger. Like the native reptile, the dragon probably used the heat generated by the decay of vegetation to incubate its eggs.
Through the lens, the pallid fragments strewn across the base of the nest resolved into a scattering of bones. I picked out the long sinuous curve of vertebra and ribs of a large snake, and then the camera swept past a pale, rounded dome. I jerked back to it.
A human skull.
An icy blade of fear pierced my chest. I staggered, almost dropping the camera. It couldn’t be him. Not Robby.
I steeled myself for a second look. Picked clean, and weathered to a dirty ivory, the skull appeared weeks old. I noticed scraps of faded, checkered cloth, like a flannel shirt, and recalled a story of a hiker reported missing north of Alligator Alley.
A hawk’s sharp whistle cut off, and the buzzing gossip of insects vanished. Into that stillness came the faint sound of immense wings, beating and gliding. I scampered back among the palmettoes and crouched, my lungs laboring in quick, shallow breaths. The dark shape soared overhead and I got my first look at a real dragon.
Shakagwa Dun was no friendly, animated beast or the jerky stop-motion monster of a Ray Harryhausen film. It was the spawn of the Loch Ness monster and a vampire bat, a nightmare H. P. Lovecraft might have dreamed up after an all-night bender. Thick, bony ridges covered its back, colored a blotchy green and black for camouflage in a marshland. The sides and belly looked no less impervious, armored in thick gray-green scales. A pair of powerful hind legs, tucked up under the body, clutched a large python in obsidian claws.
At first, I thought the dragon’s front limbs had evolved into wings, like a bird, but as it landed and began to move about the nest, I noticed clawed hands midway down the appendages. The scientist in me analyzed this adaption almost dispassionately. The outside digit had elongated to provide support for the wing, much in the fashion of some of the flying dinosaurs, the pterosaurs.
I wondered if that’s what dragons were—dinosaurs that hadn’t gone extinct. Perhaps, Mycon hadn’t been struck by the meteorite that had brought the Cretaceous Era to such a thunderous close in this world. I could be looking at a living dinosaur. I remembered I had a camera, rose, and began snapping pictures.
The dragon shuffled about on all four limbs, its shorter front legs forcing it to move in an odd, hopping gait that parodied a kangaroo. Folded up, its wings rose behind its back in twin spires. It settled on it haunches, tearing the snake into chunks and bolting them down with a quick toss of its head.
Through the lens, I locked gazes with Shakagwa Dun. In my excitement to get a better picture, I’d crept into the open, in full sight of the dragon. The cold yellow eyes studied me and then narrowed in hunger. It crouched, sliding first one foot and then the other forward, stalking me like a cinematic velociraptor, but this was all too real. I staggered, and the movement triggered the dragon’s hunting instinct. It opened its bloody maw to reveal a set of serrated teeth that would look at home in a great white’s mouth. It hissed with the sound of a thousand tea kettles boiling at once, and a cloud of greenish vapor sprayed from its mouth.
The dragon attacked...
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