To be honest, I think the fully edited version of this story is a thousand times better than this version.
And it’s longer.
In addition to more random details at various points, there are two additional chapters in the final version (in which Val finds up what’s up with Sophie’s red barn).
And Grant’s reaction to Sophie’s apparent death? It’s completely different from the draft version presented here.
What’s more, in the final chapter we get to visit Grant’s secret place, find out what keeps his nightmares at bay (hint, it may not be what you think), and see Val coming to terms with what she is…in Val’s sort of way.
What’s more, if you sign up for my mailing list at the special link at the back of the Amazon version of BONDED TO THE DRAGON, you’ll automatically get the special BONUS EPILOGUE.
It’s a hot sexy interlude that just didn’t quite fit at the end of BONDED TO THE DRAGON.
Here’s an exclusive excerpt from the BONUS EPILOGUE!
My mouth tasted like perfumed smoke and incense. My tongue felt big, strange, swollen.
“Val?” said Grant’s voice. “Are you all right?”
“Give me a moment.” My voice sounded strange as if it were underwater. I was slowly getting used to this disorientation of my senses.
It came with what I was: a chaperone or guide to one’s final end (as opposed to the temporary end I had been in when I originally died). Sometimes, I found myself in that place in between, called by a soul who didn’t quite know where to go. I helped them figure out their path. Doing it made me feel good, gave me a purpose. It made me feel right.
The problem was that when I came back from the threshold of death, my senses often were temporarily mixed up. It wasn’t uncommon for me to see smells like chocolate (which looked like red velvet in light oddly enough) or hear bright lights that tinkled like bells.
I opened my eyes, and saw Grant staring at me, as if I were a stranger. This was a little odd. Usually when I came back to myself, he was ready with a cup of tea and even sweets.
My eyes sharpened. Whoah, had the colors on the rug always been so vividly burnt red and blue? I blinked and realized Grant was still looking at me strangely.
“What? What’s wrong?”
He spoke as if to himself. “It is you, Val. Your scent hasn’t changed, and neither has your internal fire within.” He was always referring to the fire or magical something that connected us.
“But… You look different.”
“What?” Sometimes words were hard.
I looked down at myself. And saw —
Don’t worry, you should feel free to unsubscribe after you subscribe to get the Bonus Epilogue. (But there are additional fun sexy side stories for being on my mailing list, AND I’ll be sending out more fun little stories in the coming months!)
flared above us. A fireball the size of a bus shot toward me.
folded my arms. I knew better than to get my hopes up. Life, Part Two, was
turning out to be an awful lot like Life, Part One.
fireball splashed against an invisible bubble barrier, surrounding us with
all going to die!” a woman screamed in panic. “Get back!”
tried to respond, but my legs wouldn’t move—not out of fear, but because I was
still fucking bound to this bitch fairy queen.
memories of cold dark tentacles slithered into my ears, stabbing cold needles
of possession into my mind.
squeezed my eyes shut, determined not to let the stupid fear take me. The
Devourer wasn’t in this place, I reminded myself. There was nothing left to be
afraid of. I had already died. I had even come to terms with never being able
to make things right, being betrayed by the man I’d thought I loved, and you
know what? I was okay with all that unfinished business. But Titania, the
fucking bitch, had decided that of all the recently deceased human souls in the
existence, she wanted mine to be her slave.
monstrous roar ripped through my thoughts; instinctively, my flesh body tried
to cower, needing a place to run and hide, even as I realized that this could
be the solution to all my problems.
I had nothing to do with it!” Titania said, her voice echoing with magic.
massive scaled white claw scraped against the protective bubble arcing over us.
The black talons broke through the bubble. The resulting blast of air, stinking
of smoke, ignited the leaves and trees nearest the break.
thickly muscled black man, with only a hint of salt and pepper in his hair to
betray his age, leaned toward the queen. “You have to get him to stop, Your Majesty.”
gritted her teeth, and for a moment, it looked as if the flowers in her hair
had turned into thorns. “What. Does. It. Look. Like. I’m. Doing? None of your
human weaponry will work on this one. This is why I needed that thing,” she said, glaring at me, as if I
could do something.
kissed her hand. “Do the right thing, please, Your Majesty.”
fire tornado outside swirled and coalesced around a pillar of white fire reaching
of the inferno walked a man in a white suit.
man placed a glowing hand on Titania’s bubble. Electric sparks crackled blue,
and the air grew heavy with the scent of ozone and ash. There was an intense
pressure as if my ears were going to pop.
without further fanfare, sound, or fury, Titania’s shield was gone. There was
nothing left to stop him.
the hell? He wasn’t just wearing white but a formal white suit. Were we being
sieged by a wedding party?
was pristine, as if he had just put it on, rather than having spent the last
hour or so launching bolts of acidic fire at Titania’s magic shield. The formal
jacket was open, revealing a white shirt underneath that was unbuttoned at the
throat. The only bits of color were the strip of black belt at his waist and
what looked like spotless black Italian leather shoes.
not in dragon form. He’s not even wearing his armor,” gasped one of Titania’s flower-covered
lady/maidens/whatever the fuck they were.
his clothing was far from serious, his shockingly handsome face was flat and emotionless.
His shoulders were back, his head held high, his gaze trained in on Titania,
with only one thing clear on his mind.
I were lucky, he really would have a death gaze and kill her for me right there
and I’d be free.
such luck, of course.
strode across the carefully manicured grass with the stance of a conqueror.
sat on her throne, the expression on her face unimpressed, but the stiffness of
her posture betrayed her underlying emotion. I had been eavesdropping as her
harem guard reported the dragon’s progress. They had begged her to let them go
up against the dragon, but she had forbidden every one of them, choosing
instead to rely on her own magic.
now, we were all likely to die.
dragon stood beneath Titania on the dais, looking up at her, yet it was clear
that he had all the power.
sneered. “How long have you been searching for the Angel of Death? Attempt it,
dragon, and you’ll never find him, or your sister, Aurora.”
was his sister?
realized why Titania had ordered me here. I had been there that night, when
Aurora—or Rory, as she insisted, I call her—a visitor to Titania’s court, had
been abducted from the library by a winged man.
all the people in Titania’s court, only Rory had shown me kindness, had been
the only one to tell me what I was to help me adjust to my new situation of
being brought back from the dead and enslaved to a fairy queen.
had happened that night?
closed my eyes, trying to remember. Heat, smoke, the lack of breath.
shattering. A snarl. And then darkness.
needle shoved its way into my skull.
opened my eyes and saw Titania glancing at me with her calculating eyes.
she planned this?
touched my head. This time she let me.
she been interfering with my memories too?
turned back to the man in white. Dragonfire was what I needed, Aurora had said,
to get what I needed.
end to this fucking imprisonment disguised as a second life.
any chance of getting what I wanted would be far better with him than being
stuck for eternity in this perfumed bitch’s playland as her slave.
I said, my voice as loud as I could make it. My words sounded terribly squeaky,
not at all like I had intended. Wait, Titania was letting me move? Fuck. This was a part of some plan of hers. It was
too late for me to back down now. “I was there the night the Angel of Death
came for your sister. I can help you—”
invisible hand of Titania’s magic clamped over my mouth.
tried to kick out and scream, but Titania’s magic locked down on my limbs like
memories tickled in the back of my mind. Once they would have driven me to
despair and more drugs, but now, with the distance of death, my old life was
more like a movie I had been forced to watch and remember.
her speak,” the dragon said.
it,” said Titania.
hard shove made me stumble closer.
me! And I will help you find her!” I yelled, as if the volume of my voice could
hide the fact that I was lying. I had no idea how to find her. I just wanted
him to blow his dragonfire on me and end my useless existence. I had to think
of him as a mark, only he didn’t want sex. He wanted vengeance. I could work
dragon stared at me with his golden eyes, evaluating, measuring, contemplating.
chances were slipping.
words spurted out of me like arterial blood. “Your sister told me I was a vengeance
demon, a wronged human resurrected to wreck revenge. If you are hunting the
Angel of Death, you need me.”
enough,” said Titania, chopping at the air. Strong arms yanked me back.
spirit is bound to me, dragon,” said Titania. “The time and effort in the
making of her was dear.”
her to me, and I will go,” said the dragon.
eyes narrowed. An odd pressure filled my ears. Magic surged from her, the scent
of flowers intensifying. “You think to take my vengeance from me?”
odd stirred inside me. Something I had never felt before, something startlingly
alive, and yet…
said the dark-skinned man, placing his hand on her arm. “Balance. His sister
was taken from your protection. You owe him something.”
strange pressure welled up inside me, with a buzzing prickle I had learned to
recognize was magic.
I have magic?
moved again inside me.
was magic. I had magic.
whole world went still at that moment.
took something off her finger and flicked it to the dragon.
pulled at the magic inside me, trying to take hold of it, use it, make it obey
me somehow, but I didn’t have the faintest clue how. It was like discovering
newly attached wings that you didn’t even know how to flap.
struggled with my magic, trying to get to the sliver of metal that was my fate,
my future, my freedom.
invisible shackles twisted, and in a blink my potential freedom was gone.
dragon closed a large fist around it in midair, capturing the ring that bound
me to life.
I was covered with heat, with his scent and fire.
I realized it, I could smell the ash in my chest, feel the weight of gravity in
I was back in the flesh!
an onryo,” said Titania.
gaze slid over me, and my skin flushed hot. It must have been the magic because
I was used to being looked over like a piece of meat. “She doesn’t look
waved condescendingly and sneered. “It’s a human word for a human thing, I
can’t be expected to keep all the different languages of Man straight. The need
for vengeance is universal. Beware of what you ask for, dragon. This one has
not quite adjusted to her situation.” Titania chuckled, reminding me of the
cheerleading bitches in high school who laughed at me behind my back and turned
my mother’s country into an epithet with the words “Mexico girl.”
do I know that this isn’t one of those double-edged fairy gifts?” asked the dragon.
isn’t a gift,” said Titania. “It’s balance.”
should have been angry. But instead, I was just cold. Life was slavery. Death
was the only true escape.
licked and curled around his suit. The air became strangely hard to breathe as
a strange pressure filled the air and the scent of burnt things returned. His
voice was a frigid contrast to the living inferno his magic promised. “Nothing
can balance your failure to protect my sister, a guest you were honor-bound to defend
in your domain.”
glanced at the guard holding me.
was thrown forward until I sprawled before him on my knees.
saw him glance at me, his expression unchanged before resuming his death gaze
at Titania. Wow. He was good-looking even close up. But I knew without a doubt
that it was a mask for the monster he truly was.
clattered on the stones next to me.
diamond-tipped golden spear.
know what this is.” Titania smiled, a pointed-tooth smile, the kind she rarely
revealed in her true form.
fairy bitch had planned this whole
thing. What the fuck?
Titania’s voice was as queenly and smug as ever. “The weapon and this
spirit will be more than enough balance. Now go! And get off my lands.”
Amazon UK has just placed the VERY first Dragon Lovers book, into the PRIME reading program! (Sorry US readers, Amazon Prime reading is an invite only and Amazon US hasn’t invited the Dragon Lovers to be a part of US PRIME Reading….yet!) So if you have Amazon PRIME in the UK, you can read BETROTHED TO THE DRAGON for FREE!
You deserve a reading escape because you work hard. Isn’t it about time you indulged yourself with a ripped, hot, bulging new…book? ?
*I don’t need a man. Especially that dude over there who’s so jacked and hot it’s a crime. Oh crap he’s looking at me!
*Maybe I do need some help. But not you Mr. / Dr. / Lord / Prince Hotness!
*I am not someone you can just seduce into doing what you want with your arrogance and muscles.
* Ohhhhhh. But still not gonna…ohhh mmph…we’ll see…
*What do you mean people are gonna die if we don’t work together…and screw…a lot…ok I guess.
*Angst angst angst.
*MORE EXPLOSIONS or SCARY MONSTERS or BOTH
*Oh crap, I don’t just like him, I love him. We can’t possibly be together because REASONS.
*Ooo more Sexy times.
*Even worse, he loves me too!
* We’re all going to die!
* OMG we/he saved us / everyone / the world / the universe.
* Hero groveling.
* Yes! Forever Yes!