Heart of the Dragon Preview

Copyright © 2021 by T.J. Quinn

One

 Fallon

A loud wheeze disturbed the surrounding silence.

It was so powerful, so strong, it startled every single creature nearby. The birds fled in flocks, squirrels rushed to hide, the rabbits disappeared into their burrows, and the few leaves left on the trees trembled.

I could swear I felt its warmth caress my skin, but that was impossible. No creature could do that. And yet, I was sure of what I had heard, of what I had felt. 

Something was wrong. No one had seen enormous creatures around these woods in years. They had been hunted down by my people in the first years after the attack. The scarcity of food and the toxicity of the water had killed those that escaped us. 

These days, we were lucky to find a few rabbits or some skinny deer. But this was definitely coming from a giant beast. 

With my heart thundering in my chest, I took a few steps towards the clearing from where the sound had come, debating if it was best to turn around and run as fast as I could or to see whatever caused such a disturbance. I wasn’t the most courageous person around, but I had to admit I was probably the most curious, so the result of that debate wasn’t that hard to guess. 

A few more steps took me closer to the clearing, and it happened again. This time I was so close I was able to smell ashes and char in the air, and my heart stopped for a moment, my worst nightmares coming to life. Fueled by the urge to know the truth, I took the few steps that separated me from the edge of the clearing, as silently as possible, considering I was stepping on the fresh snow. 

My hands covered my mouth just in time to silence the cry of despair that struggled to burst out of my suddenly dry lips. 

How was this possible? Why was he here? They had never strayed from the cities before… at least, not as far as we knew. But there was no doubt. My eyes weren’t fooling me; I didn’t imagine things. 

There was a dragon in the woods. A black dragon, none the less… one of the most vicious ones… 

Frantic, I slowly stepped back as soundless as possible, doing my best not to awake the beast so that I could run back to the mountain and warn the others. 

My booted feet stepped on a twig, and the sound of it breaking resonated throughout the barren woods as if it was a shot, and I cursed my luck. 

Freezing in place, I waited, praying to all Gods above to hide me from the creature. 

But I wasn’t so lucky. The beast lazily raised his enormous head, sniffing the air, looking for whatever disturbed his sleep. A second later, his red eyes were fixed on me, and his entire body stiffened. 

I crouched into a still ball and waited, hoping I would become invisible in the white snow around me, with the white clothes we wore to blend with the snow in the woods. 

The sound of the gigantic beast getting up told me I had failed miserably. 

I choked on a cry, knowing I was as good as dead. But I wasn’t ready to go down without a fight. Where he was big and powerful, I was slim and fast. He couldn’t follow me through the trees, at least, not fast enough, and though he would be able to see me while flying above the trees, he wouldn’t be able to capture me. Not if I stayed under the trees, and hopefully, not before I found a burrow big enough for me to hide on it. 

He spread his wings and roared. 

The bloodcurdling sound prompted me forward, and I started running, as fast as I could and as far as possible from the creature, never looking back. My heart thundered in my chest so loud, I barely heard anything else. 

He tried to follow me. I heard the trees being ripped out of the ground and the howl of the small creatures as he crashed through in his attempt to follow me, but I never stopped. Not even when he set the trees behind me on fire with his powerful breath. My only chance to survive this encounter was to keep running and stay under the trees, taking him as far away as possible from the mountain where we lived. 

My foot slid under an exposed root, and I fell flat on the ground, hitting my chin against a buried rock. The crisp snow was instantly covered with my red blood, and I sobbed. 

The excruciating pain took my breath away for a couple of seconds, time enough for the dragon to find me and swirl a few times over the trees that stopped him from reaching me. 

His victorious roar churned my stomach, and bile reached the back of my mouth. For a moment, I thought he was going to roast me alive, right there and then, but for whatever reason, he didn’t. 

Gathering all the strength I had left, I jumped up and kept running, still not ready to give up. I had no idea where I was or where I was going, but I didn’t care. All I wanted was to escape. 

I heard his raging roar, but I ignored it while I ran through the woods, dodging trees and bushes, my hands and face scratched all over, my feet hurting like hell from the unwonted effort, but nothing mattered. Only getting to a safe place if there was one. 

Images of my family and friends rushed through my mind, and I sobbed but didn’t slow down. I fell a couple more times, but I got back on my feet and kept running, his enormous shadow and the flip flapping of his wings letting me know he was still after me. He hadn’t given up. 

When I started to lose the battle, I finally saw what I had been looking for a big burrow dug into a small hill. It was probably used as a lair by wild animals, but right now, my biggest threat was the gigantic dragon following me around. 

Pushing myself harder, I ran faster, and a few moments later, I was entering the burrow, going as far away as possible from the entrance until I hit a rocky wall. There was no way out. 

Breathless, I allowed my wobbling legs to buckle, sitting me down hard on the dirty ground. 

A loud thud and the crumbling of small rocks and dirt warned me the dragon had landed on the top of the hill. I was trapped. 

His frustrated roar echoed around me, and I wrapped my arms around my legs, my heart still frantically drumming in my chest. 

Two

All I had to do was wait for him to leave. With luck, he would get tired soon, or a bigger prey would lure him away, allowing me to go back home. 

A heartfelt sob ripped through my shuddering body, and I struggled to keep my tears at bay. I was not safe yet and probably wouldn’t make it out of this burrow alive, but at least I had led the beast away from the mountain where my people lived. 

I prayed the guards had heard his roars and had warned the others there was a dragon nearby. In the ten years since the aliens arrived at our planet, the dragons had never wandered into the woods. This was unheard of, and its implications were too dreadful for me to even consider at this moment. 

Rumors spread that the aliens were running out of human hosts for their parasite forms. If that was true, it could explain why this dragon was so far away from the nearest town. They were expanding their hunting grounds. 

Another roar boomed through the woods, and I trembled harder. He was still there, waiting. 

I ran my fingers through my tangled hair. It used to be golden, but with barely any water, bathing was a luxury few could afford. There were no rivers, streams, or lakes nearby, just a measly water spring that kept us alive but not much more. We had tried to melt the snow, but soon we realized it had an irritant substance that caused severe skin rashes. It happened the same with the rain, probably because of the toxic smoke from the apocalyptic fires that destroyed most of the cities around the world. 

Even the water from the spring had to be boiled, filtered, boiled again, and filtered a second time before we could drink it. 

Laying my head on my knees, in sheer exhaustion, I remembered the night our lives changed forever. 

We were celebrating Christmas. Our little town was lit with all the Christmas lights adorning people’s houses, and the air was crisp, predicting a white Christmas. 

I was only twelve, and the idea thrilled me like few things did back then. My younger sister and I were walking home hand in hand from the neighborhood church. I chanted my favorite carols, while Janis tried to guess what Santa Claus would bring us that year. I already knew the truth about Santa, of course, but I kept the illusion for my younger siblings. 

There was nothing more precious than the Christmas magic, or so I thought. We were about to enter the house when bright balls of fire lit the night skies, and hell was set free. 

My father rushed us into the house. We had a concrete underground basement, and we figured we would be safe there until this, whatever it was, ended. The loud roars and shrieks kept us all awake. not knowing what was happening seemed to make things even worse. 

My father had a small radio in the basement, but no matter what station he tuned in, all we got was static.

It was the worst night of my life. I don’t remember ever feeling so much fear as I did that night. It felt like the end of the world, and unfortunately, that assumption hadn’t been so far from the truth. 

Our house trembled and creaked as if the most powerful tornado had just hit, and there were moments where we feared we would be buried alive. Heavy stomps rushed through the house and down the street, but we remained safely in the basement. 

Morning light came with a thick, sinister silence. Against my mother’s wishes, my father went up to see what had happened. Opening the trap door that led to the outside was more difficult than expected, and my mother and I had to help him. 

When we finally pushed away whatever obstructed the door, we couldn’t believe our eyes. My siblings were still asleep, oblivious of the disaster, and that was probably for the best. 

Our small town was up in flames. houses on our street were still burning or destroyed. It looked as if smashed by something that demolished everything roof, walls, windows, furniture, all were gone. The cars parked on the streets or in the driveways had been smashed so thin, you couldn’t tell one from the other. It was horrifying. 

I will never forget it. Especially the moment when I realized Maya’s house was up in flames, completely destroyed. Desperate to find my best friend, I let go of my father’s hand and rushed to the burning wreckage, crying out her name. The neighbor next door stopped me just in time, wrapping her arms around me. 

“She’s gone, baby… they’re all gone,” she had murmured, while I cried incessantly, calling her out. 

By the end of the day, we had a pretty good idea of what had happened during the night. 

A horde of flying creatures had attacked our country, destroying everything in their path. Most of the town’s inhabitants had been either killed or taken prisoners, in what many people called spaceships. but it was hard to know what had really happened. 

There was no power, no cell phone service, no internet, no means to communicate with the rest of the world, nothing. No one knew exactly what was going on, and each rumor that reached us was worse than the last one. We were in shock.

Tales of vicious dragons and powerful aliens taking over the world sounded impossible, taken out of a sci-fi movie, but soon we realized they were quite real. 

Somehow, we managed to survive those first days after the attack, in town, hiding in our basement and gathering as much food and bottled water as we could. 

Massive smoke and ash columns from all the fires worldwide formed dark clouds that covered the skies, hiding the sun. Breathing the toxic air was hard and later proven lethal, so we had to improvise masks to filter the air we breathed as much as possible. 

As soon as my father considered it was safe enough, we left with the few survivors from our town and headed to the mountains. 

Dad was an ex-military, and he knew of an abandoned bunker hidden in the mountains a few miles from our town. He convinced people we would be safe there until things calmed down, and after they gathered all they could carry, we left. 

There was nothing left for us back in town, and we all knew it. 

On our way to the mountains, we met other survivors. Some asked to join us, but others had succumbed to fear and paranoia and preferred to go their own way. 

People were scared, afraid of their own shadow, and with all the rumors running around, it was easy to understand them.

According to the reliable information, we had gathered so far, the aliens were parasites that couldn’t live long without a host. Humans were their new hosts, and the gigantic dragons were their warriors and hunters. No one was safe, mainly because, at first, it was hard to tell the infected people from those who weren’t. 

People started to kill each other, desperate to stay safe at all costs, and chaos spread faster than the aliens and their dragons. 

Like a true parasite, the aliens consumed their human hosts, so their need for humans never ceased. It became easier to identify those infected, and soon people knew that killing the host killed the alien. 

Unfortunately, nothing seemed to kill the dragons. They were impervious to human attacks. Despite their size, they were fast and lithe, capable of dodging whatever missile was sent their way.

A single dragon could set an entire city up in flames, especially if it was a black one. Those quickly became famous for their cruelty and viciousness. 

After a while, our group started avoiding the towns and cities on our way, trying to stay safe. 

And now, I had a dragon guarding the cave I was in. How lucky can one be?

Another loud thud echoed in the burrow, along with the crashing of trees and bushes, and I pushed myself against the rocky wall. 

What the hell was he doing? Why was he still here? I was too small to feed him properly… so what did he want from me? To take me back to the aliens? Was I worth the trouble? 

Apparently, yes, because he started hitting the burrow, digging his way up to where I was. The surrounding walls began to crumble, and I freaked out. If he persisted, he would kill me. 

“Stop!” I yelled, covering my head with my arms, in a vain attempt to protect me. “You’ll kill me,” I insisted. 

Clearly, I was losing my mind. Dragons didn’t speak, and if they did, I doubt they understood English, but I was so terrified, I had to try, right? 

He didn’t stop; if anything, he started digging harder and faster. 

I couldn’t believe I had run so hard just to die in a crumbling burrow. It was so unfair. Desperate, I delved around, trying to find a place to hide, or at least, to cover myself from all the dirt and rocks falling all over the place. There was nothing as far as I could see, so I went for the bold move. 

Perhaps I could walk by him while he was distracted, destroying the burrow. I just had to be extra careful with the rocks and dirt falling all over, but it was that or wait for a bigger to rock to crush me to death. My chances were dreadful, either way, so I started moving around the burrow, always glued to the wall, looking for the exit. 

In a few minutes, I was closer to the entrance, and I could see and hear the beast, as he tried to make the burrow bigger so he could reach in for me. Was he that hungry that he would go this far just to get me? It didn’t make any sense. Besides, no one knew for sure dragons ate humans, which made this hunt even more incomprehensible. 

I scurried a bit further out and examined my chances. The dragon was focused on crashing the top of the burrow, and he was doing a hell of a job of it, so I should be able to slide past him. 

The major problem was all the rocks and dirt falling all around. I could get hurt by them, but I was ready to take my chances. Going back was not an option. 

Taking a deep breath, I walked towards the exit, dodging the debris, and I was almost out when a rock hit me in the leg. I covered my mouth to muffle the cry of pain and prayed he hadn’t heard anything. Blood quickly soaked my white pants, and I whimpered in silence. 

This was terrible. 

The beast slowed his moves but didn’t stop, so I felt safe enough to try to make a run for it, despite the pain in my leg and the blood sliding down. 

It was now or never, so I started running, as fast as I could, even when I heard him sniff the air loudly and stop whatever he was doing. 

He was on to me. 

That certainty washed over me at the same time, his claw trapped me. 

I sobbed and closed my eyes, waiting for the worst. 

Slowly, he pulled me up and sniffed me one more time. I could feel his warm breath all around me, and I prayed he would finish me quickly and painlessly. 

His victorious roar shook every bone of my body, and the monstrous creature flapped his wings and flew away, still holding me close to his chest in a tight grip. 

I couldn’t see where he was taking me, nor was I sure I wanted to see. I had never flown in my life, and I sure as hell had never dreamt my first time would be on a dragon’s claw. 

After a few minutes, he circled over someplace and finally landed on the top of a barren cliff, in something that looked a lot like a massive nest, made not of twigs and leaves but of tree trunks entangled weirdly. It was the perfect prison. The only way out was up. 

As far as I could see, there were no trees, no bushes, no big rocks around, which probably gave the beast a perfect view of the hill. No one would come or go unnoticed. Any attempt to escape would be rapidly spotted. 

That was probably the reason why he let me go, before he stood on his four legs, folding his vast wings on  his back. I had no way out. 

Trembling, I took a few steps away from him, but he snarled at me in a clear warning. 

“Yeah… I get it… I’m not going anywhere…” I mumbled as I fell on my knees, my legs too wobbly to support me. “What the hell do you want from me? Why did you go after me?” I asked though I had no hopes of ever getting an answer. 

His huge red eyes were locked on me, and he followed every move I made. but there was something strange about the way he was acting. 

From time to time, he would shake his massive head, side to side, as if he was trying to clear his mind. Which was absurd, of course, but for some obscure reason, I couldn’t shake that feeling entirely. 

It was then when I noticed it—The white scales on his forehead, forming something like a four-point star. 

I had seen that before. Frowning, I looked at him thoroughly, trying to figure out where I had seen him before. As far as I remembered, I hadn’t seen a dragon before. One didn’t usually survive a meeting with a dragon, and that simple fact only made it even more unlikely. 

However, I could swear I had seen him before. He was Not just a black dragon, this dragon. He tilted his huge head while sniffing the air. and it was then when I remembered. 

It had been the night of the attack. As fireballs started crossing the skies, my father had rushed us to the house and down to the basement. But I had stayed behind, looking for my cat, Miss Lolla. I hadn’t seen her when we entered the house, and I couldn’t go downstairs without her. 

The sounds coming from outside were bloodcurdling, but I had ignored them all, while I called my cat, desperate to find her. Our house had crumbled, and for a moment, I had thought I would be crushed to death underneath the debris falling around me. 

Something ripped the ceiling from over my head, and I let out a terrified cry as I stared up through the hole. A black dragon was staring back at me, one with a white four-point star on his forehead. 

His red eyes were locked on mine, and for a moment, it felt as if we were the only creatures left in the entire world. 

My father had shown up in that very moment, snapping me out of my trance and dragging me downstairs to the basement. Miss Lolla was there waiting for me, and for some reason, I had buried that memory in the back of my head. 

A stab of pain rushed up from my leg, and I whimpered, shaking my head, as I crashed back to the dreadful reality around me. 

Though it was probably not a good idea, I needed to tend to my leg. It was hurting a lot, and the blood hadn’t stopped flowing. 

I was probably wasting my time since the beast would probably eat me at some point, but I needed to do something other than wait for him to attack. 

Carefully, I removed the leather strap that served as the pants seam and exposed the wound. It was worse than I thought. I looked around, wishing I had something to clean it, but other than tree trunks, rocks, and hay, there was nothing there. 

The minute I exposed the wound, the dragon sniffed the air and roared, almost blowing up my eardrums. 

“Damn it! You’ll make me deaf,” I protested, bracing myself for what was coming. 

Yes, it had been a bad idea to expose the wound. The smell of blood seemed to stir something in him, and now he was stretching his long, scaly neck to reach me. 

Up close, his huge face seemed scarier, with the sharp scales all over him, the lethal teeth, the pointy ears, and the two sets of obsidian horns that adorned his forehead, a pair longer than the other, but both equally destructive, with their slashing edges from the tip down. 

I closed my green eyes for a moment, refraining my desire to get up and run. There was nowhere I could run to. I was trapped against the tree trunks that formed the nest. 

His warm breath washed over me, and I trembled, waiting for him to bite my head off. 

But that never happened. Instead, I felt something harsh and wet, thoroughly licking my wound. 

Startled, I opened my eyes and watched him run his tongue a few times over my wound, cleaning it and miraculously, closing the wound and stopping the bleeding. 

“What the hell…?” I mumbled, looking up and meeting his enormous red eyes. 

I would have sworn he was in rapture… as if the taste of my blood was somehow unique, inebriant. 

The dragon stepped back and spread his wings, roaring his pleasure before he lifted off, straight up, so high I could barely see him before he came back down in a frantic spiral. 

I was so amazed, I failed to move, my eyes following the strange dance the creature was performing in midair. It was as if he was high… intoxicated by my blood. 

I had never heard anything about it, but the truth was we knew very little about the dragons or the aliens they protected and helped.

Three

The dragon finally landed in the nest, not far from where I was, making the whole hill shake under his heavyweight. With one last roar, he locked his eyes on me. and then… the most shocking thing happened. 

Throughout the day, I had been surprised more times than I could count, but this was completely different. Not even in my wildest dreams nightmares, more likely could I have imagined this. 

The dragon disappeared, giving way to a man. Not a human man, clearly, but a male humanoid. 

Overwhelmed, I did what most sensible women would do: I passed out. 

***

Adruz

I shook my head and stretched my sore muscles. It felt as if it had been a while since I had assumed my humanoid form, which was strange. We only took our dragon form when in combat. Had we been at war? Why didn’t I have any recollections of that? 

Confused, I looked around, looking for a familiar sight, but other than the dragon nest I was in, nothing rang a bell. 

My eyes finally landed on the person lying on the ground a few feet away from me, a female, judging by her size and frailness. I didn’t have to look at her face to know she was not one of my people. 

Her scent, though… it was alluring, inebriant… but also unfamiliar, nothing I had ever sensed before, and yet, its pull on me was undeniable. 

Running my hands through my long dark hair, I slowly walked to where she was. Along with her scent, I could smell blood, and surprisingly, I was almost sure I had tasted it. 

Kneeling next to her still body, I slowly reached out to her and turned her around so that I could see her face. I felt a glimpse of recognition, but I could have sworn I had never seen her before. Nor her species, for that matter. 

Curious, I examined her thoroughly. her tangled dark blond hair, hidden under the hood of her white coat, her long, dark eyelashes rested against her fair skin. She’d wrapped her petite figure in clothes, probably a couple of sizes bigger than necessary. She was beautiful, a delicate flower in a harsh place—The opposite of the Draccurian females, as strong and powerful as any male. And yet, I was drawn to her irresistibly.  

My eyes were drawn to a fresh wound in her leg, and after I scrutinized it, I knew why I had tasted her blood. I had licked her wound to heal it. Instead of a bleeding wound, all she had now was a few red scratches that would fade in a matter of hours, thanks to the healing elements of the dragon’s saliva. 

She moaned and whimpered, moving her head slowly. 

“I must be losing my mind…” she mumbled before she opened her incredibly green eyes. 

Her language was strange, unlike others I spoke, but I seemed to have enough data to understand her words, though I wasn’t sure I would be able to speak it. 

“Damn… damn… this is a freaking nightmare…” she grumbled, crawling away from me, her eyes locked on me as if she expected me to attack her. “Who the hell are you? And where’s the dragon? What did you do to him?” she asked when her back hit the logs that formed the nest. 

She had nowhere else to go.  

“Adruz…” I tried to answer one of her questions, unsure if I was pronouncing it well. 

“Adruz? What’s that? Your name?” she asked, pushing her hair away from her face. 

“Name… Adruz,” I confirmed, absorbing her words. “Your name?” I asked, curious.  

She looked at me with suspicion, as if questioning my intentions. “I’m Fallon.” 

“Fallon…” I savored the name on my lips, more and more intrigued with her, wishing I could talk freely with her. 

I had way too many questions. 

There was something special about her, but I still couldn’t figure what it was. I was still feeling too confused… as if I had stayed in my dragon form for decades. That usually bewildered us, but I had never felt like this before. 

She moved further away from me, her back still glued to the trunk’s wall. “Where’s the dragon, Adruz?” she asked me, in a slow tone. 

“Adruz dragon,” I replied, signaling my naked chest.

“You own the dragon? Good for you… but, where is he?” she insisted. 

I shook my head, smiling, allowing her to see my sharp fangs. “Adruz dragon,” I repeated. 

“You’re the dragon? I didn’t imagine it? Shit… shit…” she said, jumping to her feet, as she looked around, probably looking for a way out. I got up and took two steps towards her. “No… no… please, just stay where you are, will you? Stay away!” she begged, in a frantic tone that stopped me faster than any weapon could have. She was afraid. 

***

Fallon

This couldn’t be happening. Why had no one ever heard of this? Dragons were just dragons… not… not… this… I was astounded and somehow freaked out, totally at a loss, unsure what I should do. 

With my hand over my chest, stupidly trying to calm its thundering beat, I let my eyes stroll over him once more. 

I could tell he wasn’t human at first sight. Taller and sturdier than most men, he stood out. His dark, long hair fell almost to his waist, covering most of the dark scales tattoos that went down his neck, covered his shoulders, and apparently, most of his back and hips. 

But his eyes were the definite clue. Black and shiny as two slivers of obsidian, with no pupils and no whites. Just this almond-shaped dark pool that seemed able to bore into my soul. 

Shaking my head, I clung to my self-control and tried to find a way out of this ordeal. Though in his humanoid form, Adruz was still a lot stronger than me. judging by the way he was looking at me, I doubted he would simply let me go. 

His speech was faltering as if he knew little of my language, but then again, people thought they were irrational creatures. That they could speak was mind-blowing. However, he seemed to understand my words well enough. 

I might be able to use that to escape. I just had to convince him to leave me alone. With enough time, I was sure I could find my way out of this nest. 

“Away…” he repeated, stopping. 

I sighed, rubbing my forehead with a shaky hand before I gave him my best smile. “I’m thirsty… can you get me some water?” I asked, with little hope he would leave. 

“Water?” he asked, cocking one of his eyebrows, drawing my attention to the four horns that barely protruded from his black hair. 

I remembered them from his dragon form, and I wondered if they were retractable. 

“Yes… to drink…” I tried to explain mimicking. 

With no warning, he shifted into his dragon form, displaying his dark, leathery wings, crowned with sharp claws, and stomped across the nest to grab me with his lethal foot. A second later, we were up in the skies. 

Scolding myself for the stupid idea, I grasped the creature’s claw and held on tight, afraid he would let me fall, not daring to look around while he flew, looking for the water I foolishly had asked of him. 

He flew for a few minutes, audibly sniffing the air here and there as if looking for something until he finally dived down.  

Scared by the sudden move, I opened my eyes to see where he was taking me. We were up on a mountain, covered in snow, with a vast lake of crystalline waters on top of it. White steam came out of the waters, and I wondered if he had taken me to the crater of an inactive volcano, which meant the water was probably acidic. 

Before I could say anything, the dragon opened his claw, and despite my efforts, I fell into the lake. 

My cry of despair echoed around us, but I had no time for anything. Before I knew, I was in the warm water, bracing myself for excruciating pain and horrible death. 

That never happened. The water was warm, not hot, and not acidic… not even an irritant. Just warm water, like the bathwater I remembered from our home, back in town, before the dragons’ attack. 

The planet was slowly recovering from all the destruction, but this was the first time I encountered clean water. 

Delighted, I pushed myself up to the surface, struggling with the extra weight of the wet clothes, and swam to shore. He was there, waiting for me, back on his humanoid form, with a wide smile. 

I opened my mouth to scold him and rant a little, but I decided against it while watching him enter the water with me. I couldn’t forget he was a dragon. Even in this form, I was sure he would have no trouble killing me. He probably kept some of his dragon strength. 

Mumbling to myself, I started unbuttoning my jacket. Since I was here, I’d better take advantage of it and bathe properly. 

“Help?” he asked, moving next to me, smiling as if he had given me the world. 

‘Arrogant prick!’ I murmured. “I don’t need your help, thank you,” I assured him, as I took a step back and sat on a rock to get rid of my pants. 

Underneath it, I was wearing a thin t-shirt and shorts from my old life that had seen better times, but they would do fine for a swim in this lake. 

I was about to go back into the water, shuddering due to the chilly breeze, when he grabbed my arm. 

“Clothes,” he said, pointing what I still had on. 

“That’s ok. I’m not getting naked in front of you,” I grumbled, pulling my arm to no avail. 

“Clothes,” he insisted, pulling me closer to him, his hand tightening its grasp around my arm, his black claws pinching me, reminding me of what he was. 

“No,” still, I persisted, but he didn’t listen. 

Before I could do or say anything else, he was tearing my t-shirt into shreds with his sharp claws. They cut through the fabric so quickly, my blood froze in my veins. 

My shorts had the same fate, and in a matter of seconds, I was standing in front of him completely naked, trying to cover myself.

Proud of his job, he finally released me, surprising me, so I lost my footing and fell on my ass into the lake. 

“Damn it!” I protested, crawling away from him, deeper into the lake, to cover my shuddering body with the warm water. “Just stay away, will you? Since you threw me in the water, against my will, the least you can do, is let me enjoy my bath.” 

“You asked water,” he pointed out, starting to sound more articulated. 

“Drinking water, asshole, not a lake full with warm water,” I grumbled, not really for his ears, but he heard me anyway. 

“Asshole?” he asked, cocking his eyebrow, intrigued. 

“Never mind,” I spurted before I swam away, relishing on the feeling of the warm water as I tried to overcome the fact that I was swimming naked with a man-dragon.

He followed me around but keeping what I considered a safe distance. I wished I had soap or shampoo here to properly wash my short hair, but the water was enough for now. 

When my skin started to wrinkle, I decided it was time to swim back to the shore. With no towel to dry me up, and my clothes soaked and dirty, I wasn’t very eager to put them back on, but it was too cold and too dangerous to stay naked. 

Shivering, I left the water and walked to where I had left my clothes. Sitting on a submerged rock, I tried to wash some of the dried blood and dirt from my clothes, wishing I had something else to put on. 

“Clothes wet,” he said as he approached me. 

“No, kidding! You did this,” I grumbled. “If you hadn’t thrown me into the lake, they would be dry.” 

“I dry clothes,” he offered, smiling. 

I looked at him, curious, my eyes getting caught on his magnificent naked body. So far, I had done my best not to look beneath his waistline. Nothing good could come from that, so why look for trouble, right? 

But, this time, it was impossible. sitting on a rock, his waistline was above my eye level, and I was confronted with his massive appendage. 

‘Dear God! Was that for real?’ I asked myself, as my eyes delved on the long, thick shaft that hung between his legs. As if size and girth weren’t enough, the damn thing was covered in perfectly round ridges. My very core clenched on itself, and I felt heat coloring my cheeks. 

Gulping, I looked away, trying to remember what he had said. 

If you liked this preview, get your copy of Heart of the Dragon

Conqueror Gets New Cover and Title

After a couple of false starts I gave Alpha Conqueror a new title and new cover.

When I went to advertise the book on Amazon, I learned that books with Alpha in the title could not be advertised in Amazon. In some cases, Alpha is used in references to BDSM erotica. That is not the case with this Alpha Conqueror. He is an alien shifter who out-alphas the Earth alphas.

Yes, there are steamy scenes between consenting adults, but no BDSM. And there is a happy ending.

New Release

Pre Order Alpha Conquerers for release on Feb. 14th

Descended from a race of wolfen shifters from another world, Danielle was an omega, born to alpha parents. Because they were embarrassed, they’d produced an omega, they sent her away to boarding schools. Her parents have it all planned right down to the alpha they plan for her to marry and claim so none of their kind will know she was and omega and their offspring.

On her way to spend some time at her cousin’s cabin, Danielle gets lost in the mountain forest, frightened by the legendary werewolf monster reputed to roam there. About to go into heat, her scent has lured him to her. As she is fleeing, she falls and hits her head Azan rescues her and takes her back to his cabin.

For reason’s she can’t explain, she is not afraid of this alien werewolf shifter. She is in heat and needs relief only he can give her by making love to her again and again.

And then he is gone…

Read Sample Chapters Here
Pre order your copy at amazon

Rok: Alien Mail Order Bride (Galactic Brides Book 3)

A reluctant Mail Order Bride accepts her fate as her family struggles to survive the fall of civilization on Earth. Food, medicine, and water are scarce. Her family’s only hope is the dowry they will receive from Trixie’s future alien husband. She agrees to be a Mail Order Bride without knowing what kind of humanoid he will be…

Rox is not exactly humanoid… he looks more beast than human. Worse, he paid for a bride during a drunken spree and then forgot about her. He doesn’t even show up for her arrival. Rox takes his friend’s advice, decides to enjoy his bride in every way until he can break the contract. Rox never expected she would be so beautiful, or that she would stir such desire in him.

Passion brings them together while stubborn pride threatens to tear them apart. Will they overcome the obstacles to their happiness or go their separate ways?

Available in Kindle Unlimited

Elmina’s Cyborgs: A Science Fiction Reverse Harem Romance Book (Galactic Reverse Harem 2)

Cyborgs invaded her world and captured her heart. 

A female warrior, four male cyborg and the chance to change a world. 

A military coup ripped Elmina’s mother from the throne and made Elmina an outcast. Now, she leads a rebel group hidden out in the woods, fighting for justice and to reinstall her mother.

She wasn’t prepared for the four male strangers who invaded her world. Nor was she prepared for the storm of feelings and pleasure they brought into her life. 

Elmina must choose between duty and love. 

Available in Kindle Unlimited

Luciana’s Warriors: A Science Fiction Reverse Harem Romance Book (Galactic Reverse Harem 1)

Four Mandalarian warriors are captured by a race of ……..
Milk them of their seed so the women can procreate….

Some of them liked the processed it too much…

The Anuit leader needs to get rid of the men quickly… Selling them as slaves…

Luciana Jarcor is the first child of a cyborg/human coupling ever

Trained as a warrior, starship captain Luciana has made it her mission to free slaves everywhere she can…

Her mission to free the Mandalarians takes an unexpected turn …

She told the Anuit leader she was buying them for her harem…

But first, she had to prove she handle being sexually dominated and even punished by four gorgeous men …

She doesn’t know the experience will change her life forever…

Available in Kindle Unlimited

A J Daniels

Alien Bride: An Alien Mates Adventure SFR (Taron Invasion Series Book 1)

Nick
Captured by aliens, one Navy Seal earns his Trident by fighting the big blue freaks every step of the way back to Earth. Watching them conquer one planet after another, and enslaving the inhabitants sparks a white hot fury deep in his gut. Vowing to take them down at any cost, he formulates a plan. It may not be a particularly good one, but it’s the best of very limited options.
Spending years aboard the alien vessel, Nick slowly gathers intel on the enemy, catalogues every minor weakness, and convinces many of his fellow slaves to revolt. Will his best effort be enough to turn the tides once the fleet of alien ships stop in a holding pattern just outside Earth’s orbit?

Acacia
On an alien vessel were women are scarce and their company is considered a gift from the gods, one woman stands alone. Despised by her masters because of her mixed heritage, she has always been marginalized and insulted. Fellow slaves see her as a reminder that one in their midst opened herself to an overlord. It makes them uncomfortable. None wish to share their bed or protection with such a blatant reminder of their oppression.
Stowing away on a Taron scout ship, she hopes to slip away unnoticed. Instead she is snared by yet another being wishing to own her mind, body and soul. In the blink of eye, her life changes when Nicholas Blake walks into the room. He’s the kind of male, she always dreamed of meeting; kind, protective, and so incredibly handsome. She wonders if he can see her as a potential mate, or must she resign herself to suffering unrequited feelings for him from afar.

 

Taron Invasion: An Alien Mates Adventure SFR (Taron Invasion Series Book 2)

Tham
Born and raised aboard a Taron mother ship, Tham burns for the freedom he’s never known. Walking with his feet planted on the ground, a breeze blowing gently through his hair and his little one free of the alien slave collar around her neck. That was a dream worth surviving the dark times to see. Freedom for his little one was even worth dying for, in Tham’s humble opinion. Waiting for months, he bided his time. When the resistance gave the signal for them to move, his small resistance cell made their escape to the world below. Earth was a strange name for such a beautiful world, where the sky was blue, the oceans lapped against the shore and beautiful women lined up to feed the Vampiere. It was so strange that he couldn’t quite get his mind around it. Nor did he have to worry about such things, for the Taron invasion fleet was at their backs.

Charlene
Pulling core samples in the Painted Desert, Charlene saw what appeared to be a meteor going down in the distance. Intrigued, she raced to the crash site, only to discover it wasn’t a meteor. It looked like some sort of strange shuttle craft. The creatures hiding nearby, we nothing like what she expected aliens to be. Their pointed ears and sharp incisors were a mystery. Discovering they subsisted on blood promptly solved the mystery. To discover they were actually Earth’s allies in a coming war of biblical proportions, was almost more than even her scientific mind could process in one day. Can they warn Earth’s governments in time to mount a defense? Charlene finds herself wondering if they can mount an effective defense against technologically superior alien invaders. What she does know is, compassion is multiplying in her heart for the survivors who’ve endured years of slavery and abuse at the hands of the Taron. Maybe, she can least protect these few. Little does she know, the desperate slaves will rain down in numbers no one is expecting.

 

Andrew
Alone in the world with his two small daughters, Andrew never thought he would face prosecution for something that is considered commonplace for his kind on every world spinning. Every world, except Earth, that is. Only when law enforcement forced the door of his private residence open and unthinkable happens does it become real for him. Locked behind bars in a human jail for a crime he didn’t commit is nothing short of infuriating. Seeing no way out, the fury slowly turns to hopelessness.

Danielle
All young, hungry attorneys are looking to make a name for themselves. None more fiercely than the woman who’s thrown herself, full force into the alien rights movement. Bumping headlong in the opportunity of a lifetime, she eagerly steps up. Her firm is intent on grabbing their fair share of glory at the epicenter of the alien rights movement. Their combined ambitions are huge. We want to go down in human history as the people who took the bull by the horns and wrestled this issue to the ground. Racing the clock to litigate this ground breaking case; Danielle can’t afford to let any distractions get in the way, especially not her irresistible sexy client.

 

Vampire Brotherhood: a Prequel (The Dark World Series Book 1)

Short Introduction to the Dark Worlds Series
Read 10,000 words of epic world building!
Squeaky and Alex are just two out of thousands of aliens who ended up on earth after the Alien Wars. One is a vampire prime who landed on his feet, was awarded war honors and earned a place in human society. His wealthy, privileged life is turned upside down when he’s abducted in broad daylight.
Squeaky was not so fortunate. Growing up on an alien slave ship, he suffered starvation. His smaller body and delicate features mark him out as weak among his vampire brethren. He’s had to scrape and claw a meager existence out on a world bursting with excess. When his employer demands he abduct a fellow vampire, it weighs heavy on his conscious. Yet, how can he refuse knowing his innocent new bride will pay the price for his refusal?
Enter Dakota Davenport. She’s one of the nation’s most prominent hunters and she’s been retained to find Alex at all costs. What nobody knows, is that a crazed killer harboring a genuine hatred against aliens is intent on killing him in the slowest and most painful way possible.

The Hunt for a Vampire: An Alien Vampire Romance (The Dark World Series Book 2)

Dakota is wealthy, famous and adored hunter. She is also lonely, driven and tortured by memories of the people she wasn’t able to save. Hunting as a profession slowly evolved from the concept of private investigators as the needs of the citizenry outstripped the capacity of public law enforcement’s ability to solve crimes. Over the last ten years tremendous increases in crimes related to the manufacture and sell of designer drugs brought every major law enforcement agency to its knees. The devastating effects of theses potent illicit drugs on the general population outweighed almost every other consideration for law enforcement agencies.

Dakota’s specialty is finding missing persons and she hunts them with a passion. Her success rate is the highest in the country making her name and face one of the most recognizable in the field. Her services were in high demand but rather than prioritizing the rich and famous she tends to take cases for the most vulnerable such as children and newcomers because they were the ones least likely to be found through more tradition methods.

She quickly becomes engulfed in the toughest case of her career when a wealthy local area businessman is abducted. Alek Sharden is the owner of a large tech firm and leads a quiet nondescript life revolving around the care of his two adolescent daughters. Now it’s a race against the clock to bring one vampire back to his family before his precious life gets snuffed out.

Bloodlust: An Alien Vampire Romance (The Dark World Series Book 3)

Being forced to give up her baby was one of the most heart wrenching experiences of Dakota’s life. After hunting for years, her dreams come true when she discovers him in a children’s home. Only he’s had a rough start in life and trouble trusting in her love.
Finally finding her true love and her son should make her the happiest woman in the world. It would have, only now an unseen danger is lurking in the darkness, threatening all that she loves.
They’ll have to stick together and pool their resources if they want to win the only battle that really matters in live, the one to keep her family together

Bloodline: An Alien Vampire Romance (The Dark World Series Book 4)

Being forced to give up her baby was one of the most heart wrenching experiences of Dakota’s life. After hunting for years, her dreams come true when she discovers him in a children’s home. Only he’s had a rough start in life and trouble trusting in her love.
Finally finding her true love and her son should make her the happiest woman in the world. It would have, only now an unseen danger is lurking in the darkness, threatening all that she loves.
They’ll have to stick together and pool their resources if they want to win the only battle that really matters in live, the one to keep her family together

 

 

Clarissa Lake

He comes to Alexa in her dreams, a lover whose face she never sees, in a place she has never been. Chaytok is forced to land his star ship in the secluded forest near Alexa’s home. He comes to her rescue after her horse shies and throws her. Thus their bond is forged but their new love is threatened by a man from her past… and her reluctance to leave Earth forever to be with him.The odds seem astronomical that Chaytok would be forced to land where he would find his true mate. When Chaytok goes the repair the failing part in his star drive that forced him to land there, he begins to suspect sabotage and who is behind it.   AMAZON
The United Alliance of Worlds has been protecting and visiting Earth for centuries. Star ship Raptor One carries a crew of humans and feline humanoids. The Narovian felines can and have interbred with humans during all that time. Many felines have found their true mates among the Earthers. Immediately on recognition, the felines give off pheromones that cause their true mates to desire them sexually so intensely that they must mate almost immediately.Once Narovians started finding their meomee or true mates there a savvy businessman found away to profit from it. The Narovian Genetic Matchmaking Agency has set up shop on Earth, under the guise of genetic testing for ancestral origins and genetic markers for disease. This brings a new set of challenges to the crew of Raptor One under feline Captain Dargan Merrek as they protect Earth from alien hostiles amid sexy encounters with true mates.   AMAZON
..Kidnapped by aliens who sell her into sex slavery to a hideously ugly alien of another species, Jenna Harper is sure her life is over. Enter freighter Captain Farzeke Be’Kal maneuvered by Alliance to rescue Jenna and five other women stolen from Earth. Captain Be’Kal and Jenna Harper are chagrined to learn they are biological fated mates for life.Neither one feels ready to make that life time commitment, but it’s already too late.
Once Jenna is exposed to his pheomones she must have sex with the feline humanoid or risk death in a matter of days. Is she now doomed to sexual slavery of another kind?Sexually explicit HEA ending. No cliffhangers.   AMAZON

 

 

Renan Garr, a wealthy Narovian trader paid the match making service to find his genetic mate on Earth. Alien pirates illegally obtained a list of some of these Earther matches and kidnapped them, holding them for ransom to there Narovian mates. After Alliance Law Enforcement rescued them, the Earther matches had the choice whether to meet their genetic mates. Kelly Richards met Renan on a com connection but wasn’t sure she wanted to be mated to a man who wanted her to live on Narova. When she didn’t respond after a few weeks, Renan takes matters into his own hands. AMAZON
While they were fighting the Consortium’s war against the Sargus Empire far from their home world, the Sargus Empire attacked Farseek, leaving mass destruction in its wake. Those not killed were taken to become slaves of the Empire. As the story opens, Commander General Zared Maktu has found the piles of wreckage that is all that’s left of his family’s neighborhood.. Time for the company of Farseek Dreadnought One to make a new plan. They must find those who were taken alive and bring them home. They take a job to rescue a governor’s daughter stolen to be sold into slavery.

Commander Maktu doesn’t just rescue the Governor’s daughter and her companion. He takes all the 100 abductees from the auction house. One of them is his fated mate Harper Avery. Things heat up from there.

AMAZON

Farseek Mercenaries #2 Lieutenant Commander Pyrron Advantu, right hand man and friend to Commander General Maktu of the Farseek Brigade is a man used to getting what he wants.  Until their world was left in ruin they were the Transtellar Consortium’s most formidable warriors. Each of their ten dreadnaught starships carried a dual force of star warriors and ground fighters.Pyrr never expected to find his soulmate among the women they rescued first. Although the timing was all wrong, nothing had ever felt so right. With the mission they had sworn to complete, would they live to return to Farseek to make a home with the woman who claimed his heart and soul? Or were these blissful times in her arms all they would ever have?   AMAZON
Sahvin Kazza, a Narovian feline humanoid was an alien undercover on Earth when he was kidnapped by alien slavers thinking he was human. He was sold into slavery and sent to the mines on Breskaa where he thought his life would end.Enter the Farseek Mercenaries, who are traveling through the Sargus Empire, searching for their stolen people who were kidnapped from Farseek and sold into slavery throughout the Empire. The mercenaries hate slavers and slavery, so while they are freeing their enslaved people, they free all the slaves on Breskaa. Savin readily agrees to go with them.

Nora Reed has also been kidnapped from Earth by Alien Slavers and now she is working for the mercenaries recording the refugees as they come aboard Dreadnaught One. Known for the irresistible pheromones felines give off when they find their soulmates, Nora is stunned when Sahvin’s innocent touch sets off an uncontrollable urge to mate with him. From there things heat up.

Contains explicit mature scenes. AMAZON

 

 

Argen Trematu was home on leave at Farseek Brigade when the Sargan’s attacked his home world. With Farseek in ruins, Argen was captured and sold into slavery. Lieutenant Commander Trematu didn’t make such a good slave and landed him on the Julconi prison planet fighting in the pit. He thinks his life is over until he learns the Farseek Mercenaries were on the way to the rescue. Argen never thought landing on the prison world would be his lucky break.
…. Then me meets her on the rescue ship.
Zoey Addison was kidnapped from Earth and rescued by the Farseek Mercenaries. She joined the Mercenaries with her three friends because she had nowhere else to go. Her friends all found their soul mates among the crew and Zoey was feeling left out.
….Until … Dressed in rags and so dirty she could barely discern what color he was, Argen walks up to her table and takes her hand. The attraction between them all most crackles.…  AMAZON

 

 

Tyema Reznar, a Narovian feline was kidnapped from Earth and sold into slavery in Sargus Empire. A Narovian agent stationed on Earth by the Alliance to fight human trafficking by alien slavers, she is not about to accept her fate without a fight. That fight lands her on the prison planet Julconi where she believes she is going to die the first day. On Julconi there are no guards and no rules just imates who rule by suvival of the fitest. Though a trained warrior, Tyema is only on woman.Then she picks up a scent that stuns her. There is a man in that fearsome crowd around the landing pad who is her meomee, her soulmate. He is Lieutenant Commander Faigon Nesgatu, a Farseek Mercenary sent to Julconi to locate people who were taken from his world by the Sargan’s. Tyema is his solmatu, the Uatu equivalent of soulmate. Normally a joyous event, this couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

Faigon and his team are busy infiltrating the prison population to locate their people and any others worthy of assylum on Farseek. But now he is overcome by Tyema’s feline pheromones and must mate with her frequently to quiet them, and time is running out to complete the mission. AMAZON

Zara Maples wants to escape her lackluster life and find her soulmate, so she applies to the interstellar Narovian Matchmaking Service which finds people’s soulmates based on genetics. Korjh a Narovian cyborg retired from battle, once a full human, longs a family of his own like the one he lost as a boy in an alien invasion.Retired to a backwater colony of Modonne where he can’t get a date because he is cyborg, he applies to the Matchmaking service to find his genetic complement, his soulmate, because unlike Narovian felines he cannot recognize his fated mate. After two years they find him a mate on that “dirt” planet recently that recently joined the Alliance.

Cyborgs are dangerous, aren’t they? Only an ignorant human from a planet called Earth (translated as dirt) would come across two sectors to Modonne to mate with a cyborg. But to her he seems warm and caring and so attractive as they correspond. Of course, it can’t be quite that easy. While Korjh can be sweet and considerate, he can also be scary and aggressive.
Was he the man of her dreams or nightmares?  AMAZON

 

 

Skye Carter’s life changed abruptly when the Drayids attacked Earth and cut a one-mile section out of a dozen cities all over the world. The hole they cut in Washington, D.C. took out the bookstore/internet café business that she had worked five years to build. It was all gone, leaving her a mountain of debt. She decided to sell her house and look for a job to pay for her losses. Then she found an ad for the Narovian Interstellar Matchmaking Service. It promised a ninety-nine percent guaranteed her match would be her soulmate.
Rader Knight was a cyborg warrior in the Alliance Defense Force, retired after thirty years’ service to a backwater colony with a shortage of females. He applies to the service hoping they will find him a soul mate. After two years, they found Sky Carter, and she was willing to make a leap of faith and accept his proposal and take a three-month space journey to be his mate.
Did Skye Carter really know what she was getting herself into?   AMAZON
Darwick “Wick” McKell is looking for revenge for the murder of his brother Camron by Vargan Rode. He slips into the Lake Clans village of Diamond Bay but Vargan is nowhere to be found. Wick finds Vargan’s betrothed Lora Sandgren and decides to kill her instead. However his instant attraction to her quickly changes to lust for her instead of revenge.What better revenge than to take Vargan’s woman and seduce her? Initially Wick kidnaps he kicking and screaming. He ties her up to keep her subdued and impulsively kisses her before putting her on his horse. Then, Wick knows the attraction is mutual and presses his advantage to make her his. But what happens when he takes her back to Blue Summit?

Wicked Ways is based on the Aledan Series novel Oltarin: The Horse Clans Colony by Christine Myers. Wicked Ways is set on Oltarin, 300 years prior to the events portrayed in Oltarin. The preface and introduction are written by Christine Myers.
Sizzling love scenes.  AMAZON

 

Kael’s Quest: A Paranormal SciFi Alien Romance (New Earth Book 1)

Kael left Zuvrak for planet Earth with a few of his friends to search for their soulmates. When they were about to reach the planet, they were thrown into a black hole that destroyed their vessel and forced to leave it in escape pods.
Kael soon realized this planet wasn’t the Earth his mother had described to him. People barely had any technology, and demons were hunting them, killing the men and stealing the women.Though at first Kael had no intention of intervening, he soon changed his mind, because the woman he was falling in love with was in danger.