Cover & Excerpt
Dragons, and those who care for them, are in peril. The great book of dragon lore holds the key, and it’s up to Ceri and Leif to find a way to keep them all safe.
In Wales, Ceridwyn takes up her inherited duty to care for the dragons in the mountains. Awed by them and the huge book about them, she is determined to prove her worth.
Far away in Norway, Leif has growing concerns for his sick dragon. He discovers only one cure will stop his dragon’s suffering. The mighty Herensuge must journey to find his bonded mate.
When they meet, Ceri and Leif make combined efforts to aid the dragons and discover an astonishing surprise. The great lore book each of them protects tells they have a responsibility to the future. At this rare and magical time, not only the dragon pairing must occur.
Join Ceri and Leif as they work to keep the sworn silence and keep the dragons safe. Friendship is growing between them, but will it be enough? Can love blossom between two chosen to serve the serpent?
Genre: Fantasy RomancePurchase link(s): LSB Amazon ARe iTunes Kobo B&N
Content/Theme(s): Dragons, Wales, Sweet
Release Date: November 23, 2015
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Excerpt & More
“I’m not in the mood for music, boy,” Heren snapped. “Olaf, he knew what he was doing. I wouldn’t be feeling like this if Olaf were still Derskijoar here.”
“Look, it’s no good going on about it. My uncle Olaf’s been gone these three years. I’m sick of you talking about it. Olaf left, it was his time to do so, and he’d probably had enough of you. Listen to the music. It’s meant to soothe and calm you down.” Leif pressed the button on his black machine, and the music with its rhythmic beat pounded in the cave.
Herensuge flopped down so hard the sandy floor juddered. He curled his upper lip above his longest tooth and sucked in a deep breath. Dissatisfaction poured through every one of his ruffled scales. “I wish you could read faster, boy.”
“Do you know how hard it is reading Old Norse? There are no helpful little translations in here. I don’t know which bit of the manuscript deals with this particular problem.” The lad sat cross-legged some way off, the huge leather-bound book across his knees, well out of reach of the splashes of the water cascading down over the circular hole in the limestone roof of the cave. “I’m sorry, Heren,” Leif said. “I’m doing my best. I swear to you. I don’t want you to get ill. Here, have a cloudberry.” He flipped one over.
Mollified more by the use of his close name than the small berry he snapped up, Heren eyed the lad. “I apologize too. I know you’re working hard to find the answer. If only I could recall the cure. But it’s all so long ago, lad. Centuries of dreaming, and the world is a far different place.”
Leif nodded. “I know. Now, you relax, listen to the music, and I’ll keep reading. Try to stay calm. The last thing we need is a big burn-up.”
Resigned to the music and his continued suffering, Herensuge lounged. He tapped a claw in time to the drums and watched his diamond and gold claw ring send brilliant sparkles of light dancing on the cave walls. All very well, but the tingling remained. The uncomfortable itching got worse every day and forced him to roll and writhe against the thick rock pillars or lie with his belly submerged in the cool of the turquoise water, and yet even the icy chill of the pool didn’t soothe the heat. A fresh rumbling growl rose from his stomach.
Leif glanced up from the book. “Not again.”
“Sorry.” A cloud of smoke wafted from Heren’s open mouth, followed by a flash of red fire that licked toward the youth. The lad yanked the book away and grabbed the fire extinguisher he’d insisted on bringing into the cave for the last month.
“Loki’s balls! Please, Heren, I want to keep mine. Breathe the other way if you must flame.”
A wave of despair hit. Miserable, he shook his head, slithered so his hindquarters and the long length of his tail lay in the pool, turned his head away, and closed his eyes. If it weren’t for the terrible, dreadful urge to burn, the savage discomfort caused by all the itching, he’d have been singing with Leif or perhaps they might have enjoyed a game of chess. Oh, this was truly a cruelty inflicted by the gods. He’d do anything to end the suffering. Slowly, like a winter icicle melting under the first rays of the spring sun, the answer bloomed in his mind. Drip by drip, as the waters from the roof cascaded into the pool, cooling his heat, memories surfaced.
“I think I have the answer, boy,” he said turning back toward Leif.
“So do I.” Eyes, so rich a blue they rivaled the northern skies, widened with discovery and stared back.
“Tell me?” Heren asked.
“It describes the symptoms here in great detail. You’re going to get worse, much worse if we can’t find the cure.”
“Sweet Eir, healing goddess, hear my plea,” he prayed.
Leif shook his head. “No, Heren, you don’t understand. You’re not sick. I was wrong. It’s not an illness.”
“Then, by the Wivere, what is making me feel like this?”
“Oh no.” He shook his head. “I know it. Oh, by Odin’s gray beard, the great gods help me.”
Leif stared, his expression full of sorrow. “You need a mate.”
Heren studied the boy, and slowly he nodded. Full understanding of his danger ripped through him. The heat thumped in his blood, as though now that he’d recognized the cause of his discomfort the symptoms had multiplied a hundredfold. The urge to find the cure for his ailments called up images he’d all but forgotten.
“If we can’t find you a mate, you might…” Leif said and glanced down to the page of the book. The lad bit at his lower lip.
“I know,” Heren whimpered. “I remember the old ones’ warnings.”
“We have to do something about this and act fast. You’ve been ill for over two months. It says here by the fourth month you’ll have to be nesting with your mate or you’ll…”
“Thor, help me. Don’t be afraid to say it, boy. I know what comes next. If I can’t find my she to bond with, I’ll combust.” He ducked his head into the frigid water and shuddered at the very thought of the dreadful agony of bursting into one huge fireball, his flesh incinerated in a mass of agonized longing.
Gods help me.
Heren dragged his head up from the water. “Leif, my Derskijoar, your oath is that of all your ancestors, to serve me, to aid and succor me in return for the gold you take from my treasure.”
“I know it.” Leif put the book down, mashed his spiky fair hair down on his head, and stood in the formal pose of attention. He placed his hand over his heart. “I have sworn to serve the great Herensuge. If, by my life or death, I can give you the aid you need, you have my oath it will be yours.”
A choke rattled at the back of Heren’s throat. This young stripling would aid him. They’d been together for such a short time. He liked the lad well enough, but if Olaf had been here, this sudden threat wouldn’t have held so much power and made him quake. Olaf would have laughed and told him a bawdy joke. The old Derskijoar, he’d have known exactly what to do. Hiding his fears, he spoke to the youth.
“You have sworn to honor your word, and I thank you, boy. We will begin the search tomorrow. Go home now and prepare for a journey. We must cross the northern waters, for my bonded mate does not live in this land of ours.”
Leif flashed him a mischievous grin. “You don’t look very pleased about the situation, my lord. I would have thought you might be.”
Heren shook his head. “No, boy, for if the search for her is unsuccessful, my life may well be forfeit, and it is many years since my mate’s scent wound its way to me. I may well be alone, the last of my kind. My mate…” Ah, his mate…A fresh-risen memory crept over him, and sorrowful, he let out a loud sigh. Dark cloudy smoke rings issued from his lips and swirled up toward the roof of the cavern.
“Oh, great Odin, help me,” Leif said. He pressed a button and stopped the music from his machine. “Tell you what, Heren, why don’t you make up a real sad song about it all? Maybe something like the lonely dragon blues?”
“Impertinent brat! Olaf would never have suggested such a thing.”
“Yeah, but my uncle had no ear for music.”
He frowned. “Are you suggesting my melodies are lacking in subtly? Do my compositions not please the ear?”
Leif shook his head as he packed the priceless Derskijoar book into its casing. “No, no,” he said. “I’d say the last time you actually studied any tunes it must have been some time about the 1450s. Music has moved on since then. You liked the blues when I played you the Robert Johnson recordings. I thought it would be good for you to make a song of your own. You know something like, times is hard when you ain’t got no dragon gal.”
“Facetious, ridiculous lout. My life is endangered by this appalling pairing fervor, and all you can think of is such nonsense. Go, now. Be here tomorrow in the dawn. We will consult the maps, the tide and wind charts, and moon phases too. Time is of the essence.” Heren hauled the rest of his body out of the water, stretched a little, and shivered his wing mounts. He'd not unfurl his great wings in the confines of the cave, but tomorrow he’d make sure Leif checked the leathery skin thoroughly. The journey across the northern water was a long flight, and to tumble from the sky into the ocean for the sake of a small tear in one of his wing membranes would be nearly as bad as becoming charcoal and cinders to be blown by the winds from the beginning of the circle and back to its end.
“You’ll be all right tonight?”
“The book says you’ve still got time. I think we’ve probably got about six weeks.”
“Oh, say no more.”
“Don’t go all melodramatic. There’s no need. I’ll be here before cockcrow in the morning. You could be snuggling with your she-dragon by this time tomorrow.”
Heren narrowed his eyes and pursed his lips. “Those of my genus do not snuggle.”
Leif laughed softly and strolled to the entrance to the cave system. “Well, my lord, maybe it’s time you started. See you tomorrow,” he called back.
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