Book one of The Chattanooga Supernaturals, paranormal romance with claws...
Aaron Drake is nine thousand years old and one of the last remaining European were-dragons. With no female Dragons, his only hope of children lies in his grandmother's dying words. "The Swan Princesses may be the Dragons' only hope."
Sophia Siyanko is the first Swan Princess without at least one brother to take the throne in Aaron's long memory. However, her father chooses her husband when she’s twelve, and sets the date for her twenty-fifth birthday. She is sequestered in her father's mansion, raised by governesses and tutors to be the future King’s arm candy, and Aaron’s options are limited.
But then Sophia escapes her father’s compound a few weeks before her twenty-fifth birthday. Determined to escape or die trying, she comes to Aaron for help.
To protect her, he’ll have to fight every Swan and Eagle on the planet, most of the Wolves, and all of Faerie.
Word Count: 98,000
“Do you think it has anything to do with true-love’s kiss?”
He shook his head. “No.”
I took a breath and asked before I could chicken out. “Could you kiss me anyway, just in case?”
Aaron’s gaze felt as if it penetrated my soul. “Do you know what you’re asking, Soph? I was prepared to give you a few days to get used to me touching your hand, your back, your face, before I tried to venture farther. You froze last night when I touched your back. I assume I’m going to be your first romantic kiss?”
I nodded, unable to talk, and he said, “You stole my heart at three, but I think I fell the rest of the way in love with you when I threw you in the river. It wasn’t a romantic love then, but it will be, now.” He shook his head and said, “It is, now.”
“I was seven!” I finally found my voice, and it came out in almost a shout.
“I know.” His smile was gentle, as if he was afraid of spooking me. “If I kiss you, it won’t be to test out your theory.” His eyes were intense. Dark. “We need to get to know one another better as adults, and have a lot of discussions about consequences and repercussions before we…” He stood, stepped to me, and pulled me from my chair, drawing me into the warmth of his arms. No one had ever held me like this, enveloping me, surrounding me, and I had to think about breathing as his heat and power surrounded me and threatened to overwhelm me. Holding onto my reactions was hopeless now, but this was Aaron and he’d never expected me to be someone I’m not.
“Not saying no, Princess. I’m giving you a chance to decide for sure, though.”
I leaned my head against the hard wall of his chest as I tried to get my heart to slow down. “Don’t call me Princess.”
“Deal with it.” No apologies. His voice was a rough scrape over my skin, but I understood. He wanted me to consider the ramifications of kissing him — and doing more than kissing — as not only Sophia, but also the Princess who might want to try to hold the reins as Queen, one day.
I needed to know more about him, about us, before I could decide. “You made this house, in this cave, to hide me.”
He stilled, frozen in time for a brief second, and then caressed my back. “To hide supernaturals, Soph. Every way into the cave has a body of water you must cross, and the air is sucked into the earth in this cave system and rarely blows out. The crystal formations in the area help camouflage both of our magical signatures, and with no ley lines close, not even the Fae have a hope of finding us.”
“Not many supernaturals have occasion to need to hide from the Fae.”
He chuckled and kissed the top of my head. I liked this, being so close to him, feeling the vibrations of his chest as I heard him laugh. His lips on top of my head, if only for a brief second, set my insides on fire.
“More of us need to hide from the Fae than you might think,” he said. “In my business, when someone comes to me needing protection it’s always good to have options.” His sigh told me he’d given up on me deciding whether I wanted a kiss, but when he tried to pull away, I held on. He relaxed and snuggled me back into him. “I’d given up on any hope of the swans providing an answer, and then had to feel guilty when your mother died and the news came that there was one viable egg, and the Fae announced you were a girl. I felt grief for your father, and heartache for the child who would be born without a mother to raise her, but at the same time I felt a spark of hope. And then I got to know you, came to adore you, and later came to love you. Part of me wants to spirit you away to an island that shows up on no maps, and is out of bounds so the Fae can’t get to it from the Summerlands. I would make you fall in love with me, and try to figure out how to make it work…but I care too much about you. You’ve been locked away all your life, and if it kills me, or kills both of us, I’m going to do everything in my power to give you your freedom.”
I gave in to the sensory input snowballing in my brain. For the first time I my life I didn’t have to worry about revealing my body’s reactions, so I looked up, caught his gaze, and said, “Kiss me, Aaron. I don’t want to wait.”
His face came towards mine, slow, as if he were giving me a chance to change my mind. He ran his lips across mine, fast, hot. He paused, pulled back a few millimeters, and then touched his mouth to mine again, so languorous, delicate, and sensually slow my lips opened to him without my realizing it. I closed my eyes, relaxed into his arms, and let him have my mouth, let him do whatever he wanted with it.
His tongue encouraged mine to move, to do a kind of dance with his, and once I relaxed into the kiss, my lower body came to life in a way I’d never experienced and I pressed my thighs together, alarmed he’d smell what he was doing to me.
The kiss grew from a slow, relaxed caress to an urgent, demanding, hungry claim. I felt as if he branded me, owned me, and if he hadn’t ended it I’m not sure I’d have been able to. I was breathless and speechless as I opened my eyes to see him watching me, and all I could do was smile, close my eyes, and rest my face against his chest. The quick fantasies I’d allowed myself while swimming laps in the pool, or while showering — places no one was likely to smell the scent of arousal — were nothing compared to the larger-than-life reality of Aaron Drake in person.
“If that wasn’t true love’s kiss then the real thing might be enough to give someone a heart attack,” I said into his chest. “I had no idea, Aaron. Is it always like that?”
He kissed the top of my head and his voice rumbled on my cheek through his chest. “No, that was an exceptionally good kiss. We have chemistry, Soph. I knew we would, but it’s nice to have reality live up to what I’d hoped for.”
This book was added to our catalog on Thursday 19 March, 2015.