Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dragos 2: Scorched by Amber Kallyn

Dragos 2: Scorched

by Amber Kallyn

Cover art: Karen Fox

ISBN: 978-1-60521-509-9
Genre(s): Paranormal

Theme(s): Interracial, Shapeshifters, Elves, Dragons & Magical Creatures

Series: Dragos

Length: Novel
A rare Argentinean dragon shifter, Cynthianna "Anna" Hernandez has never known trust, peace or safety, not even by fleeing to the deepest wilds of Canada. When bounty hunter Garreth Dragos shows up during a blizzard, things get complicated as their inner dragons decide they're perfect for each other. Things get worse when the dark mage hunting Anna finds them, sending his creatures to return her to his evil clutches. He's willing to sacrifice anything and anybody to further his quest for power. Together, Anna and Garreth must trust in each other or all will be lost to evil.
Dragos: Scorched

Amber Kallyn

All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2011 Amber Kallyn

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.

Snow. Everywhere. Garreth Dragos pushed through the clingy, freezing stuff. The ground had become hard-packed, knee-high drifts. Softer, yet still icy, flakes swirled in the air, unceasingly falling from a hidden sky.
Minutes, maybe hours ago, he'd lost the leather lace holding his hair tied back. Icy black strands tangled in his face, slapping his eyes.

His body had long ceased shivering, but still he moved forward, uncaring. There was a job to do. A traitorous criminal to bring in. She would face the council for unforgivable crimes.

Garreth clenched his fists, trying to push back the painful memories of his past. Of the people who'd committed similar crimes against his family. And like the one responsible for his personal pain, this traitor would be sentenced to a well-deserved death.

He inched through the whiteness, an ache spreading deep in his chest. Only a month ago he'd captured the one responsible for causing his family such agony. Now, that man was dead. Garreth refused to think about the fact that at one time, the man had been his eldest brother.

Those bonds were broken the moment the man killed their mother and used her magic and blood for dark purposes.

Shaking his head, he plowed on through the snow. His feet, freezing and wet, no longer burned. His chest expanded and a puff of smoke drifted from his nostrils. He was so cold he couldn't even shift into his dragon form.

Not that it was an option anyway. She would sense such a thing. The traitor was near. She must be. Garreth had it on good authority -- a snitch he could trust. At least, as far as someone living in a shady area of the law could be trusted. So he was doomed to continue walking through this frackin cold hell until he found her hideout.

Something buried in the snow caught his boot. Unbalanced, he fell forward, inhaling a mouthful of ice. He pushed up from the depression his body made, crawling to the surface and flipped onto his back.

Ice breached his thick, fur-lined jacket. Breathing heavy, Garreth stared into the moving whiteness. Snowflakes landed on his face and he tried blinking them out of his eyes.

In a minute, he would go on. But for now, he needed to catch his breath. It occurred to him that he should probably get up immediately. Being lethargic wasn't like him. But even his dragon, seeming far away and untouchable, only wanted to sleep for a while.

In the distance came a howl. More echoed around him. Wolves. They wouldn't dare approach, not once they caught his predatory scent. Assuming it reached them through the bitter air before they decided to take a bite.

* * *

Cynthianna Hernandez stared at the growling wolf on her cabin porch, his eyes flashing as he crouched for attack. "Silencio," she commanded.

Wolf whimpered, turning to stare at the trees around them, one paw on the wood, the other poised to dash out into the blizzard.

She sensed the presence of someone here as well as her companion did. That didn't mean she would foolishly dart out into the storm -- quickly becoming the promised blizzard -- to go find out who, or what, had come to the forest.

Anna clasped the oval locket dangling from the gold chain around her neck. She didn't have to open it to remember what her beloved padre looked like. Or his final words to her.

"Run. The master is after you."

Well, she'd done so. How much farther could a dragon run than the coldest reaches of Canada? At least here, the chances of bumping into his creatures were slim.

She hadn't even seen another dragon during her time wandering this cold, frozen place. Then again, dragons were creatures of heat. The cold hindered their abilities. Only the blood of her mama -- a rare Argentinean dragon, more magic than fire -- helped her function in this weather. Anna could call on those inherent abilities to protect her from the cold.

Most dragons were of European descent. Over the centuries, their magic faded, while their fire increased.

She had the best of both worlds.

And if a dragon would be hard pressed to survive, anyone estupido to be caught out in the fast approaching storm would soon be dead.

Howls erupted in the forest, less than a mile from her hidden cabin. Wolf whimpered again, inching forward. "You won't stand a chance against a pack," Anna replied, staring out into the white nothingness. "And anyone out there is none of our concern."

But a pang of worry crept into her chest. Could she really stand by and let someone die? Clutching her jacket tighter, she mumbled, "I'm el stupido."

Wolf yelped and trotted into the snow. Anna followed. He ranged ahead, doubling back every few minutes to point her the right way. Ten minutes later, the cold had bitten deep, crawling beneath her jacket trying to freeze her. She called to her dragon magic. Soon, warmth surrounded her, pushing back the cold.

The wind shifted, opening a slim curtain in the white. In front of her, Wolf stood over a body-shaped lump. He growled, snapping at three mangy, starved wolves. Their eyes glowed yellow, reflecting moonlight.

"Regresar," Anna commanded the wild beasts to leave. The three strange wolves turned their glares to her. "Regresar," she repeated, a low growl of her own escaping with the word.

One wolf barked, then as one, they turned and fled. Anna's wolf faced her, tongue lolling from the side of his sly grin. Then he began digging snow from the body.

"Whoever it is, they're surely dead by now." But she knelt down and pushed a thin layer of snow from the person's face.

Only to catch her breath. The hard, chiseled face seemed familiar. Black eyebrows framed slightly tilted eyes. She dusted off his tangled black hair, then moved to his broad chest. He breathed. Surprise almost made her jerk away.

Brushing a strand of her long, dark hair from her eyes, she stared at his wide mouth, the square jaw, the dimple in his chin. This couldn't be... No. Not her dream warrior. Just because he looked so like the few flashes she'd seen didn't mean anything. Her dream warrior was merely a figment of her imagination. This man was real.

And yet, heat spread through her body as she remembered her dream from the night before. How her warrior had loved her. Her gaze kept drawing to this man's mouth. Her breasts ached, wanting his touch.

With a snort, Anna ignored her growing desire for the half-dead stranger. At least he wasn't the master. Then again, if she ever caught that bastardo in such a vulnerable position, she'd be able to finish him off for good.

But neither was this man human. She bent near his ear, sniffing deeply. Shock coursed through her and she jerked back. Dragon. What was a dragon doing here?

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