Is the woman never silent? Briec the Mighty knew the moment he laid eyes on Talaith that she would be his, but he'd counted on tongue-lashings of an altogether different sort. It's embarrassing, really, that it isn't this outspoken female's magicks that have the realm's greatest dragon in her thrall. No, Briec has been spellbound by something altogether different--and if he doesn't tread carefully, what he doesn't know about human women could well be the undoing of his entire race. . .
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About A Dragon
By G.A. AIKEN
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2006 Shelly Laurenston
All rights reserved.
"Come with me," he ordered.
Big brown eyes slowly looked up at him in surprise. Then she muttered, almost to herself, "Good gods, the trees have started moving on their own."
"Nothing. Just referring to your rather ... unholy size."
He glanced down at his human body. He actually found it small, almost puny ... like most humans. And he found her downright tiny.
Shaking his head, he decided to figure all that out later.
"Come with me." He smiled. "I desire to have you."
How could he not? She was beautiful. Clearly from Alsandair, her soft brown skin told him of many ancestors living under the hot desert suns. Her hair, though, was darker than the few desert people he'd seen over his long lifetime. Almost black and a riot of soft, silky curls, reaching down her back and swaying against what he considered an amazing ass.
"That's ... uh ... charming. But I'm almost positive my husband would have a problem with that." She tried to walk around him, but he stepped in front of her.
"The slow-witted one that's been following you? I thought he was your servant."
She snorted, then quickly looked down at the ground. Covering her mouth with one small hand, she remained silent for several seconds. Finally, she focused on him again, but he could see the laughter in her eyes. "Yes. That's the one. But he is my husband. Not my servant. Although some days ..." He expected her to be insulted for her mate. She wasn't. Good. It gave him hope.
"Well, you deserve better than that. You deserve me. So come with me."
Her smile was slow in coming, but once it turned into a full grin, he thought his weak human knees would give out. He'd never seen anything so beautiful before.
"My, my. That's a lot of arrogance you have in that very large body. How do you fit your head through doors?"
"I'm arrogant because I know I can offer you more than that rodent? Is that arrogance or honesty?"
She shook her head. "Who are you?"
"Come with me and find out."
"No. No. I'll not be traipsing off with any strange knights this day. Although I appreciate the offer."
She walked around him, muttering to herself, "I'll have to write this day down in my diary."
He could let her go. Any other human female he would have. But he found her absolutely fascinating. Maybe it was the way she snarled at the baker who initially refused to serve her. She'd been getting similar treatment all over the market. They all seemed to fear her, but he wasn't sure why. Magick surrounded her, but it was untapped — almost stagnant. Something a typical human peasant would never know or see. Nor was she marked as a witch like his sister and so many other females with power. Nothing marred that beautiful face. So why they all seemed to hate her, he had no idea.
She stopped and turned to face him. "Yes?"
"You're not safe here."
"Well, that's a new approach."
"I'm not joking. Do you not see it?" He glanced around at the vendors watching them. "They despise you. They fear you."
He knew fear like that. He saw it every time he flew over a town or spotted a battalion too close to his territory. To be quite honest ... he loved that fear.
Her smile faded and she pulled the worn cloak she'd recently put on tighter around her. She deserved better than those ugly clothes. She deserved the finest silks and wool to drape that body.
"You think I don't already know that? You think you're telling me something new and shocking?"
"Then why do you stay?"
He saw it. In her eyes. A deep weariness, coupled with fear. "Because I have no choice."
"You always have a choice."
"Perhaps knights such as yourself do. But I am not that lucky."
The one she called husband walked out of the local tavern and glared at the pair of them. "Come on," he barked at her.
"Aye," she called back. She looked at Briec and smiled. "I've enjoyed our conversation, knight. It's been nice talking to someone who can —"
"Create full and complete sentences?"
That grin returned and, for a moment, his heart actually stopped beating. "No. It was nice to finally meet someone whose arrogance is only rivaled by the arrogance of the gods. Now, if you'll excuse me" — she leaned in and whispered good-naturedly — "my servant awaits."
She winked at him and walked away. And he knew right then it didn't matter who she bound herself to, he'd have her ... at least until he was done with her.
She placed the food in front of her husband, and turned to walk away. But he grabbed hold of her wrist and dragged her to his lap. She didn't fight him. She knew she didn't have to.
His lips touched her neck and she forced the repulsion back. She decided to think about other things to distract her and immediately, strange violet eyes came to mind. She didn't know they'd built men that size in these insignificant little Northern towns. For sixteen years she'd lived here and it seemed like any man taller than her left the village to become a soldier or a castle guard. The remainder were not very tall nor very handsome.
Ah, but that knight ... by the gods, he was absolutely magnificent. Covered from head to toe in that expensive black cape, all she could see were those beautiful violet eyes and that face. Gods, that face!
Outrageously arrogant, too. But it amused her. Mostly because she didn't have to live with that every day. If she did, she might kill him in his sleep — once she was done with him, of course.
Still, she should have never spoken to him. Strangers didn't come through this little village often and it had gotten worse in the last three years. Even with one of the main travel roads cutting close by, less than a day's foot travel away, the traders and travelers who once came often, came no more.
Those in the village recently started to blame her for the lack of outsider gold. Of course, lately they'd been blaming her for everything. A cow died ... her fault. A child caught the brain fever ... her fault. One of the village women twisted an ankle ...
Apparently everything was her fault. My, she never knew she had such awesome powers.
Aye, their lack of kindness made speaking to the strange knight from parts unknown easy, but a dangerous chance to take. He would feel no need to protect her or respect the bonds of her marriage bed. Yet, she simply couldn't help herself. He'd been so outrageously ridiculous he made her smile. And, the gods knew, she didn't smile often.
She doubted she'd see him again, but he would be a nice memory to hold on to.
Finally, her husband pushed her away with an angry snarl.
"Evil bitch, what have you done to me?"
She strained herself trying not to sigh in annoyance. This conversation had become tiresome ten years ago, now it neared intolerable.
"I know not of what you speak, husband."
He stood, knocking the chair over in the process. "Lying bitch! You've hexed me or something! I get near you and ..." He gritted his teeth and glanced down at his groin.
"I don't understand, husband." She barely reined in her sarcasm. Barely. "From what I understand many of the ladies have been lucky enough to find out what a steed you are in bed. I assumed you'd merely tired of me."
Then he was there, his hand raised. She didn't flinch, which is what he wanted. But she knew he'd never follow through. He'd only hit her once and quickly learned never to do it again. Of course, since then, he'd looked at her like a demon incarnate.
Just like now.
Unwilling to take the risk, he turned over the dining table and stormed out into the night. Tomorrow, he'd return with muttered apologies and it would all start once more in a month or two.
For sixteen years this had been her life and it would continue to be her life until told otherwise.
With a sigh, she righted the table, cleaned up the mess, ate a little of her own dinner — without the herbs she'd put in her husband's meal — cleaned the grime of the day off her body, put on her white nightdress — after securing the dagger tied to her thigh — and finally crawled into bed.
As she drifted to sleep she thought of violet eyes and arrogant men in chainmail.CHAPTER 2
They dragged her from bed before the two suns even rose over the Caffyn Mountains. She fought as best she could, but the noose they'd wrapped around her throat cut off her ability to breathe, weakening her. And they bound her hands tightly with coarse rope because they feared she'd cast a spell on them. She had none to cast, but what really annoyed her was her inability to get the dagger still tied to her thigh.
Of course, only she would get an entire town to try and kill her. Nice one, idiot.
Strong men threw the end of the rope over a sturdy branch and slowly pulled her off her feet. They didn't want her to die too quickly. They wanted to watch her hang for awhile, and it looked like they'd prepared a pyre for a good, old-fashioned witch burning.
The man she called husband screamed at her. He screamed how she was a witch. How she was evil. How they all knew the truth about her and now she would pay. If she weren't fighting for her life, she'd roll her eyes in annoyance.
But what truly galled her ... what set her teeth absolutely on edge — other than choking to death — was that the goddess who sent her here all those years ago was the same one leaving her to die.
She thought the evil bitch would at least protect her until she finally accomplished what she needed her to do. What she'd been training to do since she was sixteen.
But Talaith, Daughter of Haldane, had learned long ago that no one was to be trusted. No one would ever protect her. No one would ever do anything but use her. Eventually she'd learned to trust no one but herself.
Of course a few allies might have helped you this day, Talaith.
She coughed and squirmed in her bonds, praying her neck would finally just break. She would definitely rather not die by burning. Talaith never considered flame a witch's best friend.
As she wondered what it would take to snap her neck using her own body weight, she saw him.
He stood out like a jewel among pigs. Her arrogant, handsome knight, still in his chainmail with the bright red surcoat over it, but without the black cape he wore that shielded part of his face and hair from her sight. She wasn't sure if it were her imagination or if her impending death had made her sight untrustworthy, but he had — silver? — yes. He had glossy silver hair that reached past his knees. But it wasn't the silver hair of an old man. This beauty couldn't be more than thirty winters. At most.
Gods, and he was a beauty. The most beautiful thing Talaith had ever seen. Well, at least she'd leave this world with something pretty for her last vision.
He walked up to one of the townsfolk and motioned toward her.
"She is a witch, m'lord!" a woman — whose child Talaith saved from a poisonous snakebite the year before — screamed. "She's in league with demons and the dark gods."
She wished. At least the dark gods protected their own.
The knight stared at her for several moments. If she could, she wouldn't have been too proud to beg for mercy. But, even if she could speak, she wouldn't bother. Those cold violet eyes of his told her it would have done no good anyway.
If only you'd fucked him like you wanted to, he might feel slightly obligated to help you. But you had to be a hard bitch.
Of course, according to her husband, she was always a hard bitch.
With a bored sigh, her knight turned and walked away, disappearing into the surrounding woods.
Typical. Even a brave knight wouldn't help her. Every day her life grew more and more pathetic.
"Die, witch! Die!" How lovely. Her own "dear" husband started up that endearing chant. The bastard. She'd meet him on the other side when his time came and she'd make sure he suffered for eternity.
The noose tightened a bit and she felt more of her life slip away while they continued to pile extra wood around the stake.
Funny how one's mind plays tricks when so close to dying.
For instance, if she didn't know better, she'd swear that was a giant silver dragon ambling out of the forest. An enormous, amazing creature, with a silver mane of hair that gleamed in the morning sunshine and nearly swept the shaking ground at its feet. Two massive white horns sat atop its head and a long tail, with what looked to be a dagger-sharp tip, swung lazily behind him.
Silently, he stood behind the townspeople. So focused on her, they were completely unaware of his presence. Who knew I could be so fascinating as to distract an entire town? Of course, they could also be ignoring the dragon because it was simply a figment of her imagination. A dream of a grand rescue that would never come.
Her fantasy dragon leaned forward and nudged Julius the baker with the tip of his snout. Julius glanced behind him, nodded and turned back to her. Then he froze where he stood ... just before he pissed himself. That's when his wife glanced at him and behind him. She screamed, grabbed her son, who had been seconds away from throwing a rather large rock at Talaith, and ran. Soon after, the rest of the townsfolk caught sight of her fantasy dragon, screamed and bolted away.
She frowned. Perhaps she still had enough of her power so she could conjure the image of the beast, but somehow she doubted it.
The dragon shot out a few flames at the retreating humans, but nothing to do any real harm. Finally, it stared at her for several moments, turned and walked off.
Unbelievable. Even my rescue fantasies are disasters.
But as she wondered if her afterlife would be as pathetic as her current life, the dragon's tail whipped out. The tip cut through the rope that hung her from the tree, and she dropped.
Expecting her ass to hit the unforgiving ground at any moment, she tensed in surprise as the tail wrapped itself around her body and held her.
Now that the noose was not so tight, her senses slowly came back to her. That's when she realized a tail really did have her. A tail attached to an enormous dragon casually walking through the forest. She tried to move out of its grasp, but the tail pinned her arms — with her still bound wrists — against her body. And her noose still tight enough she couldn't call for help.
Of course, who would she call? Her husband? Probably not. Lord Hamish, ruler of these lands? If she had the strength, she would have laughed at that.
No. It looked as if she was going to be the breakfast of a monster.
As the dragon made it into a clearing and suddenly took to the air — with her still wrapped up in its tail — Talaith had only one thought ...
Briec the Mighty, second oldest in the House of Gwalchmai fab Gwyar, second in line to the throne of the White Dragon Queen, Shield Hero of the Dragon Wars, Lord Defender of the Dragon Queen's Throne and, as far as he was concerned, the only sane one of his kin, headed to a nice, quiet spot. Some place by water would be nice. It would be at least two days before he made it back to his den, but he wanted to take a good look at his prize. Preferably without the puffiness that comes with being hung from a noose.
True, his sister awaited the information he had about Lord Hamish, which wasn't much. But when he decided to stay in the village, he'd passed the minute bit of information on to one of the Garbhán Isle soldiers waiting outside Madron lands. As it was, Briec couldn't believe he'd run an "errand." For his brother's bitch, no less. She'd actually sent him to find out if Hamish was preparing to make a move on Garbhán Isle. From what Briec could tell, Hamish wasn't planning anything. Still, he was Briec the Mighty sent to do this menial task. Really he should have killed the woman when he had the chance. But his brother Fearghus seemed so fond of her. Although for the life of him he couldn't understand why.
Scarred and insane that one, and Briec would rather spend his long years with a nest of vipers.
Yet, he'd never seen his brother so ... well ... happy. The crazy cow made him smile. Cranky, unfriendly, "kill you as soon as look at you" Fearghus the Destroyer smiling. It confused Briec.
Briec himself wasn't unhappy. But he wasn't that happy either. And lately he'd been wondering how one achieved that level of happiness. He wondered if it had to do with Fearghus's human female and if the same would work for him.
When he saw his dark beauty in the village, Briec thought, Why the hell not?
He'd returned to the village early that morning to sniff her out, destroy her husband if he interfered and take her home with him. But Briec never expected to find the entire town trying to execute her while turning the event into a family gathering.
And they called dragons "monsters."
Besides, he'd reminded himself at the time, if you rescue her she'll be grateful. According to his younger brother Gwenvael there was nothing more accommodating than a grateful human female.
Excerpted from About A Dragon by G.A. AIKEN. Copyright © 2006 Shelly Laurenston. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is Book 2 in the Dragon Kin series. Things you should know about this series: it is utterly ridiculous, laugh out loud funny... it is pure absurdity... and it is fabulous. Bloodthirsty, sexy, and funny! Oh! My! How can you not laugh out loud at a stuffy, stuck up, arrogant dragon, who in one scene begins talking to his "member" (then makes said member answer him back by knodding)? I swear I had to hush some of my laughs so that people didn't begin looking at me strangly. This second book in the series is wonderful. The characters are bloodthirsty, sarcastic, sexy,---I can go on and on, but really, you'd just get bored--and funny as heck! This series could easily be called "Arrogant Dragons and the Shrews who Love them". As you can guess the humor is rife, but the sex is hot as only love with a fire breathing dragon can be. If you love shapeshifters, hunky heroes, irrepressible woman and a good hearty laugh, I highly recommend the Dragon Kin series.
I really enjoyed reading this story. This book has me hooked on dragons. The characters are all strong, sweet, vulnerable and believable (even if they are dragons). If you enjoy Shelly Laurenstons wolf series you will enjoy this!
A good dragon is hard to find. Fortunatly this book delivers. I recommend this book to anyone who wanted their own "Puff" when they were small.
This is the second book by G.A. Aiken that I've read. Enjoyed the reading and would definately read another.
this to be honest was my second romance novel I have ever read! and let me tell you i was not dissapointed, from begining to end you will be wrapped up in the plot and the relationship of the main characters, you will also love the other characters that are part of brice's family, this is a great book to cozy up with and read straight through. There is romance, action, and adventure in this book from beginning to end. I will recommend this to everyone i know. cant wait till the third installment to this book. Dont for get to check out the first book in this series as well.
For over a decade and a half, powerful Nolwenn witch Talaith has tolerated marriage in order to keep her beloved daughter Izzy safe from harm. The goddess Arzhela has held Izzy captive using her as a pawn to insure Talaith cooperates when the time is right to use the witch's skills; hence the marriage of convenience for her.
Were-dragon Briec the Mighty sees Talaith and decides he wants her sexually (not as a snack). When he rescues her from an angry mob, he expects gratitude and sex. Instead he receives constant verbal tiradea ripping his scales off. In fact her chatter is giving him a headache whether he is in human or dragon form. Talaith makes it abundantly clear no sex without rescuing her daughter although she silently keeps to herself she would not mind riding this steed. As they argue for who is on top, neither is aware there is a dangerous scenario coming their way, which could prove fatal to both of them and much of the realm.
Returning to the Dragon Kin fantasy realm (see DRAGON ACTUALLY), G.A. Aiken provides another engaging humorous medieval paranormal romantic thriller. The jocular story line is fast-paced from the moment Briec and Talaith define tongue exchange 180 degrees differently and never slows down from one verbal battle to another. However, even with the gender war on-going, there remains a critical subplot filled with action especially deadly battles. Although Zebra states ABOUT A DRAGON was previously published as THE DISTRESSING DAMSEL, sub-genre readers will enjoy the war of words between the dragon and the witch as the foreplay of a lethal background.
If you've been dying to read Distressing Damsel by Shelly Laurenston (a G.I. Aiken alter ego), but just couldn't see laying out the cash for this hard to find older release, here's your chance. About a Dragon is a rerelease of that second book in the Dragon Kin series. The first story, Dragon Actually, and two prequel 'shorts' -- previously only epublished --were released in print for the first time earlier this fall. About a Dragon follows human-shifting dragon `Briec the Mighty', as he becomes intrigued by the beautiful peasant Talaith. Talaith rejects the initial advance of the oddly beautiful `Knight' but is kidnapped by Briec in dragon form just as she is about to be both hanged and burned as a witch by her fellow villagers - with her husband fanning the flames. Talaith is pretty freaked by the dragon, but doesn't remained cowed for long. Talaith has a wickedly acidic tongue and employs it almost continuously, but of course being a dragon, Talaith's sarcasm and need to constantly be picking a fight only makes Briec want her more. And though Briec initially just wanted to bed the witch, he finds himself wanting to keep her for a few hundred years. But Talaith can't allow herself to get close to anyone - she has some deep dark secrets and her life is not her own - but as hard as she tries to resist the arrogant Briec, she can't help but fall and fall hard for the sexy beast. Laurenston's medieval dragonshifters and their deadly mates are every bit as wickedly funny and sexy as the contemporary shifters in her Pride books. Apart from the way Laurenston delivers a steaming hot - I suppose with dragonshifters that should be flaming hot - offbeat romance, what makes Laurenston's books so much fun is all of the wacky supporting characters and their interactions. Back from Dragon Actually are the starring pair Fearghus and Annwyl, along with Briec and Fearghus' other siblings, witch Morfyd - whose pursuit by her love interest suffers from continuous inlaw/sibling-interruptus - and their other brothers, the slutty and clueless Gwenvael and the sweet `baby' brother Eibhear. Add Talaith's irrepressible long lost daughter and a dragon-God into the mix and you have the recipe for at least four or five more fun books. Oh now, I'm squealing like a fan girl - sorry. I really do enjoy these, even with a minor language nit ( there are fair number of usages of few of my un-favorite words). Oh, if you have a problem with violence, Annwyl is back and her nickname is `Annwyl the Bloody' for good reason and heads do roll, so be forewarned. Still I can't wait for the next one. If you haven't read Dragon Actually, do yourself a favor and read it first. About a Dragon relies on good deal of setup and a fair number of character introductions from the previous book, so you'll enjoy this one so much more if you do.
GA has a way of making me giggle for 400 pages! The conversations these arrogant, yet flighty dragons have with "cattled" humans, is hilarious! And leaves both parties walking away thinking, "What did we just talk about?" But as readers we get all sides and it's great! I'm so glad I stumbled upon this series. It's truly one of my favorites!!!
Very well written. The plot moved along nicely, the characters are well developed, and very funny. This is the first book by this author I have read, but I will be reading the rest.
I would reommend this book because it had a little of everything, humor, romance and action.
I've totally enjoyed this series! I loved the characters, got totally involved in the story, and found myself laughing out loud at the wit and charm. Defininately read these in order. Recommend: Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series; Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series; J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series; and Jennifer Cruisie's Agnus and the Hitman.
This was a great book. I loved the characters in the book, and I love how she makes them unique, funny and personable. Aiken adds dimension to her characters, and makes you want to know more! I kept finding myself laughing out loud while reading this book. I was engaged with the story and characters from beginning to end!
This book is wonderful, about a dragon is a sequel to Dragon Actually. A Must read and full of action and humor. Who would have known a book about magical dragons could be so goooooooooood. loved it.
I really loved this book and I really love this series. I would read everything this author writes.
A keeper. Hilarious and sweet.
All right this book was funnier than the first one. Obviously Ms. Aiken found her stride. While both characters were a little unlikeable at the beginning of the story they grew on me quickly and I enjoyed them ver much at the end. I like that there is an ongoing story that moves through this book and the first one. I also enjoyed seeing so many of the characters from the first story show up in this story as well. I love the names that Ms. Aiken has come up with for all her characters they remind me of ancient names that elves or dragons might have used. This is a definite recommend.
Briec the Mighty was also Briec the Confused, the Arrogant, the Lustful. Talaith is beautiful, a witch forced to live among humans for the past sixteen years to keep her daughter safe. They meet in the market square of her little peasent town, flirt a bit and go their separate ways. The next meeting is a bit more serious: She is being hung as a witch by her husband and the townspeople when she is rescued by a huge, silver-maned dragon.Amazingly, she is not that afraid of him but is definitely ready to go up against him any way possible. In this hysterically humorous book, Briec and Talaith rub each other all the wrong ways (and some of the right ways as well) while trying to establish just who is in charge. His brothers are no help at all, constantly commenting "She is going to make his life hell" at every turn. They're right!They irritate the hell out of each other. Hourly. The arguments make them want each other all the more but neither will make the first move. Talaith begins to like Briec more and more - and hates him for that as well.Then - disaster strikes. Talaith's mother, Haldane - a horrid witch in her own right - calls upon Talaith do to that for which she has been trained. Kill Annwyl the Blood Queen and Haldane will keep her daughter safe from Hamish who wants to bed her at 16. Problem? Annywl is married to Fearghus, Briec's brother, NOT a dragon to be tampered with. (See Dragon Actually)Follow along as Talaith may have met her match Briec, his brothers and in Annwyl. Will she finally see her daughter? Will you laugh yourself out of your chair as you read this book? I hope this is not the last we see of the House of Gwalchmai fab Gwyar Dragons because these books are wonderful!
G.A. Aiken's Dragon Kin series is both funny and sexy; two things that are actually very hard to do well together! These first two books are actually reprints of her original Samhain Publishing books. I had read the originals in e-book format, but was thrilled when I found out they were releasing them in mass market paperback so I could add them to my print library! (Cause I obviously don't already have enough books!) Laurenston's humor is sardonic and witty...and rather earthy and gritty too, so if that's off putting for you, don't read these. I myself end up laughing out loud, but that's just my sense of humor!This is the story of Briec the Mighty and Talaith, a witch tied to a bad goddess. Talaith isn't exactly a typical heroine. She's mouthy, bad-tempered, and a trained assassin. She's also being blackmailed by a nasty goddess who took her baby daughter to force Talaith to do her bidding. When Talaith's is rescued from a witch burning by a dragon, she's pretty sure the only reason is that maybe this dragon likes his meals rare rather than well done! But as she spends time with Briec in his human form, it becomes more and more difficult for her to resist him. If only she were free to be happy with Briec...but she has a daughter to find...and a goddess to outwit.Briec isn't sure what it is about the puny human that he likes. It's certainly not her pleasant personality, nor the fact that she keeps trying to run away! He was sure that after he saved her she would drop to her knees and gladly 'service' him in gratitude...after all he IS Briec the Mighty!These two will have you in stitches with all their insults and bickering. I was even more thrilled to find out that Laurentston has more books in this series upcoming with the next due out in September of 2009. I'm having a hard time deciding which character's story I want next!
Thanks for your fun book!
10 stars deep complex plot lines lovable charactes and great sex
Great series. Never read G. A. Aiken till the last book of this Series then HAD to back track and get them ALL Love it