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Bonded to the Dragon – authors rough cut serial is no longer available

Bonded to the Dragon has been released into Amazon Kindle Unlimited, which means that if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free!.

According to Amazon exclusivity rules, I can’t leave the serialized version up.

The first chapter of BONDED TO THE DRAGON is still available here as an excerpt.

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.

So I made it a bonus for newsletter subscribers 🙂

BONDED TO THE DRAGON - BONUS EPILOGUE - Available only to newsletter subscribers!

If you get the final version of BONDED TO THE DRAGON on Amazon, there’s a special link in the back of the book that will enable you to get Val and Grant’s free BONUS EPILOGUE!

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 —


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Read the first books in the Dragon Lovers series! Available on Kindle Unlimited!

Bonded to the Dragon: Chapter 1 – authors rough cut serial

Bonded to the Dragon has been released into Amazon Kindle Unlimited.

And according to Amazon exclusivity rules, I can’t leave the serialized version up.

But I am allowed to show you the first chapter! (And this is the FINAL, version!)

Chapter 1

Light flared above us. A fireball the size of a bus shot toward me.

I 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.

The fireball splashed against an invisible bubble barrier, surrounding us with light.

“We’re all going to die!” a woman screamed in panic. “Get back!”

I 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.

Residual memories of cold dark tentacles slithered into my ears, stabbing cold needles of possession into my mind.

I 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.

A 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.

A 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.

A 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.”

Titania 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.

He kissed her hand. “Do the right thing, please, Your Majesty.”

Titania sighed.

The fire tornado outside swirled and coalesced around a pillar of white fire reaching skyward.

Out of the inferno walked a man in a white suit.

The 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.

Then without further fanfare, sound, or fury, Titania’s shield was gone. There was nothing left to stop him.

What the hell? He wasn’t just wearing white but a formal white suit. Were we being sieged by a wedding party?

It 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.

“He’s 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.

Though 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.

If I were lucky, he really would have a death gaze and kill her for me right there and I’d be free.

No such luck, of course.

He strode across the carefully manicured grass with the stance of a conqueror.

Titania 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.

And now, we were all likely to die.

I smiled.

The dragon stood beneath Titania on the dais, looking up at her, yet it was clear that he had all the power.

Titania 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.”

Rory was his sister?

I 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.

Of 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.

What had happened that night?

I closed my eyes, trying to remember. Heat, smoke, the lack of breath.

Something shattering. A snarl. And then darkness.

A needle shoved its way into my skull.

I opened my eyes and saw Titania glancing at me with her calculating eyes.

Had she planned this?

That fucking bitch.

I touched my head. This time she let me.

Had she been interfering with my memories too?

I turned back to the man in white. Dragonfire was what I needed, Aurora had said, to get what I needed.

An end to this fucking imprisonment disguised as a second life.

And 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.

“Dragon!” 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—”

The invisible hand of Titania’s magic clamped over my mouth.

I tried to kick out and scream, but Titania’s magic locked down on my limbs like iron chains.

Sense 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.

“Let her speak,” the dragon said.

“Do it,” said Titania.

A hard shove made me stumble closer.

“Take 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 with that.

The dragon stared at me with his golden eyes, evaluating, measuring, contemplating.

My chances were slipping.

Desperate 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.”

“That’s enough,” said Titania, chopping at the air. Strong arms yanked me back.

“This spirit is bound to me, dragon,” said Titania. “The time and effort in the making of her was dear.”

“Give her to me, and I will go,” said the dragon.

Titania’s 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?”

Something odd stirred inside me. Something I had never felt before, something startlingly alive, and yet…

“Tanya,” said the dark-skinned man, placing his hand on her arm. “Balance. His sister was taken from your protection. You owe him something.”

The strange pressure welled up inside me, with a buzzing prickle I had learned to recognize was magic.

Did I have magic?

It moved again inside me.

Titania frowned.

It was magic. I had magic.

The whole world went still at that moment.

She took something off her finger and flicked it to the dragon.

My freedom!

I 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.

I struggled with my magic, trying to get to the sliver of metal that was my fate, my future, my freedom.

Titania’s invisible shackles twisted, and in a blink my potential freedom was gone.

No, not again!

The dragon closed a large fist around it in midair, capturing the ring that bound me to life.

Instantly, I was covered with heat, with his scent and fire.

Before I realized it, I could smell the ash in my chest, feel the weight of gravity in my flesh.

Flesh? I was back in the flesh!

“She’s an onryo,” said Titania.

His 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 Japanese.”

Titania 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.”

“How do I know that this isn’t one of those double-edged fairy gifts?” asked the dragon.

“This isn’t a gift,” said Titania. “It’s balance.”

I should have been angry. But instead, I was just cold. Life was slavery. Death was the only true escape.

Fire 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.”

Titania glanced at the guard holding me.

I was thrown forward until I sprawled before him on my knees.

I 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.

Something clattered on the stones next to me.

A diamond-tipped golden spear.

“You know what this is.” Titania smiled, a pointed-tooth smile, the kind she rarely revealed in her true form.


The 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.”

Win the first book of this series by entering my Amazon giveaway here! (US only)

Are you in the UK? Do you have AMAZON PRIME UK?

Amazon PRIME UK Members, get BETROTHED TO THE DRAGON now for FREE!

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? ?

Betrothed to the Dragon – Limited Time FREE Serial – Part I

*NOTE ADDED JUNE 17, 2018* Please note that this serial is no longer available to new mailing list subscribers. BETROTHED TO THE DRAGON has been released here and according to the Terms of Service with Amazon Kindle Unlimited, I cannot make it available anywhere else. 

However, I do have some alternatives for you in appreciation for stopping by; just click on the image below:

Into the Dragonfire by Kara LockharteThe Boy Who Came Back a Wolf



Do you like free fiction?

I’ve been serializing the author’s cut of my upcoming release to my newsletter subscribers in weekly installments.  That’s right, if you’re on my newsletter, you get the

the whole story



If you’re curious, I’ve included Part I which was sent out a few weeks ago. There’s still time to sign up and you’ll get links to all the subsequent pieces of the story.

It is the COMPLETE story, however:

-It is the UNEDITED, UNPROOFED draft that I just sent to my editor. You get it as raw as I wrote it.

-To comply with laws in various countries aimed at restricting access to mature content from minors, NO sexy time scenes will be included in this newsletter serial. (you’ll have to buy the book for those).

-Since this is the UNEDITED version, obviously it will not have any additional scenes that my editor tells me that I need to include.

Again, because this is a serial, you will receive an email from me every week until it is complete. You can choose to unsubscribe afterward or remain on my 2-3x a month mailing list.

Note: Please don’t post or upload this anywhere. If you have friends who you think would like this story, just ask them to sign up for my newsletter at this special link and they can get it for free too.

Here’s PART I.

Hope you enjoy!



“What do you mean I’m betrothed in an arranged marriage?”

I glanced at my phone, and saw all the connection bars filled, indicating full service. Still I must have heard her wrong, because it was the kind of statement I would have expected from a movie about some third world country where women weren’t allowed to drive or own property. Not from my Chanel-suited, pearl-necklaced, bitcoin gambling grandmother.

“Let me call you back,” I said. I teetered on the stupid heels I had bought for today, dancing around a pile of dusty books resting on the floor, and carefully navigated around the cubicle maze. The museum, built in the early twentieth century was gorgeous in its details from the hand carved woodwork windows, Italian marble floors, but sadly, lacking in space particularly in the room where us doctoral students shared desks. Grandma was known for playing games, but still, I didn’t fancy Josh from Etruscan pottery listening in on my conversation.

I hurried out of the museum, my heels clicking on the floors, nodded to Mohammed, the guard manning the metal detector and made my way through the crowds to the stone steps in the front of the museum. I could have gone to one of the side entrances for privacy, but I had learned that sometimes, the best kept secrets were those told in crowds.

Fat gray pigeons glared at me, barely dodging my footsteps as I made my way down the great expanse of stone steps. Grandma loved playing games. Once she had played politics with the fate of empires and now she channeled that love into stocks and virtual currency. I hit redial on my phone and she picked up almost immediately. “You lost a bet right? You know, I’m pretty sure it’s not legal to put up your grand daughter’s hand in marriage as stakes.”

Next to me, Chinese tourists were having a heated discussion about the best pizza places in SoMa. Grandma exhaled. “No Sophie. I made the deal so that we would be allowed to come to this country. It was a different time.”

I had tried to assimilate and adapt to human life in America, with blue jeans, chicken nuggets and a PhD in Museum Conservation. All of it was because it was easier than remembering what I truly was: the reason why my entire family had died.

I paced back and forth trying to release the nervous energy of an all too familiar tense frustration. “I wasn’t even a year old. There’s no way that will hold up in court.”

Grandma’s voice had that particular kind of calm she always had when she was trying to explain something she knew I didn’t like, but needed me to understand, like when I was six, and released my pet parakeet to give it fresh air, and expected it to come back. “Not legal by human standards, no. But by that of our people, yes.”

As much as we pretended to be human, ultimately we were not.

Shit. My new shoes rubbed and pinched my feet. Grandma’s timing for this news was of course, impeccable. “That’s barbaric. We just elected a woman president. Six of the nine justices on the Supreme Court are women. I’m not going to agree to marry someone I don’t even know on the basis of —“

Grandma made that harrumphing barking cough she always made when she was done listening to me whine. “Sophie, I’ve tried to let you live a life of freedom and to make your own choices as much as you could. But my ability to protect you is fading. I need to know you are safe. And marriage into his family will protect you.”

Grandma didn’t say anymore. She didn’t need to. I had to be protected. I couldn’t do it myself. Unlike my grandmother, my mother and my father before me, I had no magic.

I stopped pacing, and squeezed my eyes shut.

“You are the last of our line.” Her voice hardened. “Even if your power hasn’t manifested, the potential of your blood is still there. This is the only way to keep you safe.”

I was a black belt in Krav Maga. I had had extensive firearms training from a grizzled old ex-Army Ranger sniper who said I had potential.

None of it mattered.

“Why didn’t you ever tell me this before?” I clenched the phone in my hand tighter.

“I had been hoping that some of the plans I made, the champions I sent against the monster would succeed before it would come to this.” There was a note of sadness in her voice. “But each time it fights, it learns. And every day it grows more and more powerful.”

My phone’s alarm vibrated, startling me into dropping my phone. I tried to catch it as it fell from my hand, but it was too late. When I picked it up, there was a hairline crack on the screen. Wonderful.

I picked up the phone turned on the speaker, hardened my voice. “Grandma, I have to get ready for my talk.”

“Good luck on your talk, Sophie.” She hung up, because she knew I was in no mood to say goodbye. The picture of Grandma and me appeared on my phone.

We looked so different, her and I. Grandma with her white skin, straight hair, and me with my dark skin and wavy hair. The only thing we shared was our eye-shape that humans called Asian. In school, I always I had checked off whatever box felt more convenient at the time. African, Asian, Caucasian, Hispanic, I had convincingly claimed them all. Grandma scoffed at the idea of labeling ourselves according to human ideas of ethnicity. “Our family spans the earth,” she had said. “A shen does not identify themselves by the tribal groupings of humans anymore then a lion distinguishes itself by the particulars of ant kingdoms.”

As much as I spent my life pretending I wasn’t, I was shen. We were the first intelligent life forms on this planet and connected to the deep magical nodes of the earth. Humans had many names for us: fae, yokai, rakshasas, gods, demons and monsters, but ultimately, we were shen. But years and years of intermingling with humans had dissipated most of the legendary shen magic.

And for the remaining shen with magic? None of it was enough to fight the Devourer when it entered this world, seeking new victims.

Including my parents.

They had died to save me, not knowing how they had thrown their lives away, because as a shen I was unforgivably flawed.

I had no magic.

My phone buzzed again, the alarm I had set to prepare for the one event I had been dreading and anticipating for the last six months.

My post-dissertation fellowship talk on religious motifs in East and Near Eastern art at the museum.



For some reason, giving the public lecture as required by my fellowship, put worms in my stomach so more than actually defending the actual dissertation itself in front of a panel of peers and experts. I had to simplify things, touch upon other areas that weren’t necessarily my specialty and make the topic more appealing to the general public because even I could admit that a discussion over the proper application of persimmon juice in scrollwork conservation could get pretty dry, so to speak.

I swiped at the tablet in my arm, changing the slide display. A collage of a Tlingit wooden carving of a woman with closed eyes, surrounded by mouths and dripping with blood was juxtaposed with that of a Heian Japanese scroll painting.

“And as you can see, in particular, the image of the Devourer is one that is found across several cultures from ancient Rome to Heian Japan to the totemic carvings of the Tlingit peoples of the First Nations of Canada.”

I clicked through the slides, kept moving, kept talking, even as I tried to ignore the striking gaze of the man in the back of the room. He had entered about five minutes into my talk and I couldn’t figure out why I was so aware of him.

It was foolish of me to include the Devourer. But I had felt a strange streak of defiance that Grandma had said was the lot of the young and reckless.

And yet she had, oddly enough given her blessing for me to speak of the monster.

Little fox, as difficult as things are, I want you to bloom as you can, not in fear.”.

He couldn’t be working for the Devourer could he?

Once upon a time, there was good reason for people to say that one should not call the names of gods or monsters in vain. In a sense, I was doing that here.

I walked across the stage, my heels clicking loudly across the floor.

“Of course, it is not only the only common motif across cultures. Dragons are another common motif…”

Of course, the fear all came to naught, because for all my painful anticipation and worry, it ended rather quickly. At end of the talk, I was congratulated by my future boss, the assistant curator of highly regarded Manhattan museum. She spoke at length on things I honestly should have been paying more close attention to.

But through it all, I was strikingly aware of the tall broad shouldered man in the crowd. He looked a bit out of place in his well-tailored business suit, but the open collar, loose tie spoke of a man who had decided to take a lunch break at the museum, which wasn’t all that uncommon.

When the crowd dissipated, I felt my heart speed up as he approached me.

“Hi.” My voice came out higher pitched than I intended and looked up at him. “Did you have any questions about the talk?”

He looked at me with golden light brown eyes. I had the strangest feeling that his gaze was stripping me, not just of my clothes, but to some hidden inner invisible core. My muscles felt unreasonably tense, ready to fight or flee, maybe both at the same time.

His smooth bass voice rolled across my skin like a caress. “I have many questions. But none of which I have time to ask.”

“Well, umm, there’s going to be another talk in, umm,” I glanced at her watch, even though she knew precisely when the next talk would be. “About an hour?” Dammit, why did I make that sound like a question?

The corner of those full lips quirked up into a smile. “Will you be leading it?”


“A shame.” He turned, stopped and nodded his head at me. “I enjoyed listening to you.”

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