Monday, December 01, 2008

Dragon's Devotion by Willa Okati

Dragon's Devotion
by Willa Okati

Cover art by ReneƩ George
ISBN (13): 978-1-59596-856-2
Genre(s): Futuristic, Paranormal
Theme(s): Shapeshifters, Elves, Dragons & Magical Creatures, Gay and Lesbian
Series: Dragons
Length: Novella


Like other former soldiers before him, Kenth has led those eager to escape the cities out to uncharted lands to find new lives. Though happy in his new life, he misses seeing the beautiful dragons flying through the clouds. When an accident with a hunting snare captures a dragon the color of flame, and when that dragon takes on the shape of a man, Kenth falls head over heels in love.
Baen’s never met a human, and as a wary, watchful dragon who’s always kept himself to himself, he’s not inclined to like the exuberant frontiersmen and women. Still, he cannot deny his instant connection with Kenth.
Kenth’s devotion tempts Baen to stay with this group of pioneers and to create a new life of his own. It’s a hard choice for a loner who’s never known love before, and the decision will change his life forever…


This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

“D’you want me to walk the perimeter with you, then?”
“‘Perimeter’.” Kenth wrinkled his nose and jostled his walking companion, Paddy. “That sounds a bit military, don’t you think? Puts me in mind of the days when I wore a uniform, and couldn’t wait to walk free again. Do you miss your army days, old man?”
“I’ll old man you, you whippersnapper.” Paddy knotted one wiry, knobby-knuckled fist. Tough as shoe leather and lords only knew how old, Kenth was sure he could follow through on the threat, if he weren’t in jest.
“Another day,” Kenth said, sparing Paddy’s pride and making peace with two words.
“Your military experience is good for more than one thing, and I’ll tell you that for free,” Paddy said after they’d traveled a few more paces, working their way in a rough circle around their people’s encampment in a nearby cave.
“How so?”
“The armies make a man tough, but if he’s a man of sense he’ll find home all the more precious afterward, and the safety of his people his life’s mission.” Paddy nodded gruffly. “You’re a fine boy to lead us all out of the cities, and we’re smart as tacks to come along.”
“You know, I thought you were. All of you took quite the chance on me.”
“It was our only chance, but without you there wouldn’t have been neither chance nor choice of any sort.” Paddy shrugged. “The cities will all be gone, soon, and there’ll only be us out here in the empty lands to keep the world alive.”
“That’s gloomy, grandfather,” Kenth said, using the title as a gesture of respect. Paddy didn’t have any blood family, as far as Kenth knew. Most of the others didn’t, except for a few babes in arms.
“That’s truth and nothing but.” Paddy stopped and gazed at the horizon. “There was a lad once, a year or so before I met you. Alan, he was called. He went the other way, up and over.” Paddy sketched the direction in the air. “Toward the seas. Said he’d come back, and I still think he will. Hope he’s happy in the meantime.”
Kenth watched Paddy curiously. He’d never heard of anyone successfully breaking free before and might be tempted to anger that this information hadn’t yet been shared, but Paddy spoke in his own time. “Why didn’t you go with him? You were eager enough to come with me.” And glad he was of having the clever old man along to help him manage the settlers.
“Because you were a second chance, lad, and the first chance I got, I was too stupid to take. There! That’s a life lesson for you. Now, I’m back for the cave. Too cold out here for old bones.”
“As if you couldn’t run a mile uphill both ways and come out smiling.”
“Bah.” Paddy waved Kenth off. “Save the sugar for one of the pretty ladies in our company, or one of the handsome young men,” he said slyly. “There’s plenty as would be happy to spend time with you.”
Kenth sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. “Not yet.”
“When, then?”
“When the time’s right, you old busybody!” Kenth deliberately aimed to miss a playful cuff at Paddy. “Weren’t you saying something about going back to the warm cave?”
Paddy elbowed him and patted his shoulder, then left. Kenth watched him go, being sure the elderly man was safe, toughness notwithstanding, before changing his focus. He squinted at the winter sun setting over the horizon, its light reflecting off fallen snow only two inches deep -- so far. They’d had a good warm day, one of the last for the year if he guessed right, and most of the snow had melted from the peculiarly beautiful twisted trees that grew in arcs and spikes.
Hah. That’s odd.
Kenth put his hand over his eyes and worked to see past the setting sun. He thought he’d spotted something where there should be nothing, something moving deep within the trees where they grew so thickly among the hills and hummocks they could almost be called a forest.
Could be nothing… or could be oncoming danger. Kenth took seriously the task of keeping his frontiersmen and frontierswomen safe. They’d traveled thousands of kilometers by his judging, which some hadn’t thought nearly far enough, to find a good safe place. No looting, no gangs, no shortage of food if you knew where to look, and a warm, homey place to bunk down through the snows.
And, the only thing lacking, no dragons swooping in their strange, beautiful arcs through the skies above. Kenth missed them, though he’d never tell. He suspected many of the group he led were still fearful of them, though they had the good sense not to trust tall tales.
All the same, he did still wish he could get one more good look at one of the flying beauties who shone fit to rival the sun.
Were they frightening? Without a doubt. But they were also beautiful, and every time Kenth had caught sight of one he’d stopped to watch it soar above him, holding his breath in fascinated admiration. People there tended to look at Kenth strangely when he spoke of that and he had the welfare of men and women and children, families and orphans all, to keep watch over out here, so he kept his odd interest in the dragons to himself.
If only they could see the beauty for themselves…
And then there were stories, of how dragons and men mated. How beautiful it must be…
Kenth had not had a lover for a long time, and only of late realized it was because when he looked to the skies and saw the dragons flying in intricate patterns, he craved one of them and no other.
If only, if only…

No comments:

Post a Comment