A Dragon’s Treasure is the third installment in Lorelei Moone’s brand new fantasy romance series, Shifters of Black Isle. Shifters, magic and relatable characters; set in a mysterious, distant land, where anything seems possible, and yet all its inhabitants hold dear could be destroyed in an instant.
Release Date: November 20th, 2018
I’m a warrior. No one will tame me, except…
Rhea’s new position as general of Black Isle’s armies brings with it a whole host of challenges. The enemy is at the gates, and he’s furious. Black Isle’s defenses are weaker than she would like, so she sees only one solution: to summon their secret weapon. A creature so untamed and powerful, he has been banished to the depths of the dungeons, only to be let out in the direst of need. To ensure his cooperation, she will need to rely on more than just her combat skills…
The harder she makes it, the sweeter my victory when I claim her.
Saras has been asleep for generations. When a female voice wakes him from his slumber, he knows there’s only one way to avoid the disaster that led him to be confined to the dungeons in the first place. But she’s unwilling and instead hopes to use his considerable powers in battle against Black Isle’s enemy. But a dragon has needs and ignoring them will only end in tears; or in this case, in flames.
No matter how hard Rhea tries to deny it, the attraction between them is hard to ignore. But with the future of the Black Isles on the line, this is hardly the time for romance. Or is it? That’s the thing about playing with dragon fire; sooner or later you’re going to get burned.
EXCLUSIVE RELEASE EXCERPT
"I've been expecting you."
Rhea had already been holding her breath, or else it would have been taken away by the sheer majesty of the dragon's voice. Behind her and Kelly, the door creaked yet again as the fearful guard secured it behind them.
"I am General Rhea, commander of the armies of Black Isle. I'm here to offer you your freedom, in exchange for your help in defeating our common enemy, King Weiland of the Deep."
The voice laughed. "I have but one enemy, and he's already in here with me inside this cell."
Rhea's heart started to pound and grabbed for the sword on her hip. Oh hell, he thinks we're a threat.
Kelly, on the other hand, did not flinch at all. She took a step forward, even.
"This is your queen speaking. Why don't you come into the light so we can speak properly?"
Rhea shot a surprised look in her direction. She had some guts, this witch.
"Be careful, Broc will never forgive me if you get burned to a crisp on my watch," Rhea warned.
Kelly turned and smiled briefly as her presence entered Rhea’s mind. I'm not sensing any hostility. Treating him as an enemy will only make this negotiation harder.
Rhea grudgingly remembered the discussion they'd had about her so-called leadership style. She wasn't about to let Kelly's opinions change how she dealt with her soldiers, but this was uncharted territory. Nobody alive today had ever interacted with a dragon before, and Kelly's powers did provide certain insights Rhea did not have.
Laughter erupted from the darkness. "Well, that's a relief."
Rhea's fears turned to frustration. Kelly might not have sensed hostility, but Rhea did not need mind reading skills to pick up on the arrogance in the dragon's words.
Still, they’d made progress. There was movement in the shadows.
Rhea held her breath as she waited for the dragon to reveal himself.
What she saw shocked her greatly. She had expected scales and talons and a pair of great big wings. But she saw none of that. In front of the two women stood an ordinary man.
Well, perhaps not entirely ordinary.
He had been down here in this dark hole, asleep, for hundreds of years; even the Elders could not be sure exactly how long. Without reprise, without even nourishment. And yet, before them stood a young man in excellent physical shape.
His features were flawless, even boyish. His body… it rivalled even the fittest fighters on the Isles, with one major difference. There was not a single mark, not even a smudge of dirt on him.
He was perfect.
Rhea couldn't stop staring at him, until she realized he was smirking at her.
"I must have been asleep a long time," Saras spoke. "I see they have girl soldiers now. Interesting."
The mockery in his tone pissed Rhea off immediately.
"A little respect would be nice. After all, we're offering to let you out of here," she hissed.
Saras laughed again. He was even more gorgeous now, infuriatingly so.
"If I wanted out of here, I would have left a long time ago, dear."
Rhea stepped forward, her hand still gripping the General's Sword. "You'll address me as General Rhea. Not dear, darling, sweetheart, or any other such nonsense."
Kelly's mind infiltrated Rhea's again for a moment.
It might be best to play along with his game, Kelly suggested.
Rhea frowned. What game is that?
He's been down here on his own a long time. Plus, he's from a different time. We can't expect him to know the rules as they are now. If he wants to play, let him.
Rhea folded her arms and sighed. So her esteemed queen wanted her to allow him to treat her as a mere piece of meat. Charming. She preferred to try a different tactic. "Here's the thing. We're at war and our weapons alone cannot defeat the enemy."
Saras took a couple of steps forward, until he was standing right in front of Rhea. He gazed down into her eyes for a moment.
"So? What does that have to do with me?"
She didn't want it to, but his presence shook her. He was within her reach. She would just need to reach out for him. Smooth, sculpted flesh, a feast for the eyes, and so much more.
And his eyes… For a body so young in appearance, his eyes reflected the sorrow of a thousand lifetimes. She couldn't stand looking at them for too long.
"Your powers could turn the tide for us. If you'll help us," Rhea spoke. Her voice sounded just a bit thinner and breathier than she would have wanted it to.
"And what's in it for me?" he asked. The corner of his mouth rose in a subtle grin as he glanced down at her lips.
"Your freedom. A full pardon from the king," Rhea said.
Saras shook his head. "You said that already. Plus, the king isn't here. Why should I trust a word you speak?"
Saras glanced over at the queen, then back at Rhea, his expression thoughtful. Then he abruptly turned away and slowly walked back toward the darkest part of the cell again. "I'm not interested. This isn't my war."
Rhea couldn't believe his reaction. "Like it or not, you live on these Isles just as we do. If Black Mountain falls…" Rhea couldn't bring herself to complete that thought. It wasn't a matter of if but rather, when.
When Black Mountain falls…
Saras paused with his back turned. "Let them come. It makes no difference to me. Their weapons couldn't even scratch me if they tried."
Just like that, Rhea was furious again. "There must be something. Something that'll change your mind?" Rhea called after him.
"Now that you mention it." He looked over his shoulder back at her. "I might do it for a kiss from you, beautiful."
Rhea was aghast. "How dare you speak to me like that! I've fought men bigger and stronger than you for less!"
Saras chuckled, then vanished into the darkness. "I very much doubt that. Good luck, General Rhea. With the war, and everything."
Rhea shook with anger. She ought to go after him, teach him a lesson. Kelly placed her hand on Rhea's arm, which infuriated her further, so she shook it off.
Uri said it wouldn't be easy, didn't he? Let's give him some time to think it over. Another day in the hole might make him see the benefits of what we're offering, Kelly suggested.
Rhea scowled. "Guard, open the door! We're leaving."
"Farewell, Rhea and Kelly of Black Mountain," Saras spoke.
Rhea shook her head in frustration as the two of them left in silence. Through the iron door and the brass covered door, as well as the gate.
"That went relatively well," Kelly mumbled.
Rhea shot her a furious look. "How on earth did that go well?"
Kelly shrugged. "At least he didn't attack us. It was a discourse, not a fight."
Rhea scoffed. "If you say so."
"So what are you going to do?" Kelly asked. "Will you consider his demand?"
Rhea just stared at her blankly. How presumptuous of Kelly to assume that she'd discuss her strategy with a witch. Especially when it concerned something so personal and intimate.
"That's none of your business."
Curious… When the door to his cell opened, Saras had not been sure if he was waking or dreaming. He wasn't even sure what had woken him up, except a persistent feeling that it was time.
And boy, had he been rewarded for his efforts.
No, it was the other one. Rhea. She'd said she was the General of Black Isles’ armies. Whether he believed that, he wasn't sure. Maybe things had changed a lot since he had gone underground.
Back in the day, females were not enlisted in the army.
Why any man would stand by and watch the fairer sex get slain in battle, he did not know. He wasn't noble or chivalrous, but even he would lay down his own life in her stead.
Rhea. Dressed in a tight armored bodice and knee high boots. Her outfit was clearly designed to allow for maximum movement and flexibility. It left little to the imagination; still, his imagination was working harder than ever.
She would fuel many a dream. In fact, ever since she had unexpectedly stumbled into his cell, Saras couldn't think of anyone else. Not even his love, Gillian. Was Rhea to be his new love? Was this finally a sign from the Gods that his crimes had been forgiven and he was offered a second chance?
Of course he hadn't accepted her terms. He was least interested in fighting a war.
Perhaps it was a mistake to dismiss her so quickly. If she was going to be his redemption, he couldn't make use of it down here. All he could do here was drift in and out of consciousness, dreaming now of a new woman.
The trouble with dreams
But it so very easily could, though. If he wasn't careful, he could hurt her, even kill her too.
And then what? Dream of the event for eons to come, full of regret over yet another senseless death? Like he had been doing all this time for Gillian?
Perhaps it was better to stay here. The dreams would come and torment him, of course. But they were just dreams in this case. She would be safe from him as long as he was here.
Saras reasoned and argued with himself on this. Round and round in circles, his mind went. And it kept on arriving at the same two conclusions: as long as he was locked up, she was safe from him. And yet, he wanted her. He yearned for her so badly it made his bones hurt.
About the author:
Lorelei Moone is an author of paranormal / fantasy romance based in London. A lover of all things sweet, and caffeinated, when she’s not writing about sexy bear shifters and their strong-willed curvaceous love interests, Lorelei can be found baking cookies or cakes for her family.