One kiss can change the course of destiny…
When ace accountant Sara Keegan decides to settle down and run her quirky aunt’s New Age bookstore, she’s not looking for adventure. She doesn’t believe in fate or the magic of tarot cards, but when she’s saved from a vicious attack by a man who has the ability to turn into a fire-breathing dragon, she questions whether she’s losing her mind – or about to lose her heart.
Self-reliant loner Quinn Tyrrell has long been distrustful of his fellow Pyr. When he feels the firestorm that signals his destined mate, he’s determined to protect and possess Sara, regardless of the cost. Then Sara’s true destiny is revealed and Quinn realizes he must risk everything – even Sara’s love – to fulfill their entwined fates.
“Wow, what an innovative and dazzling world Ms. Cooke has built with this new Dragonfire series. Her smooth and precise writing quickly draws the reader in and has you believing it could almost be real. . . . I can’t wait for the next two books.”—Fresh Fiction
2008 Best Paranormal,
Time Travel, Futuristic or Fantasy Romance
Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence
An excerpt from Kiss of Fire:
The reckoning had begun.
All around the world, gazes turned skyward for the total lunar eclipse. Not everyone realized that it was the first eclipse of a new cycle, that it was the beginning of an age of reconcilation and reckoning.
There were thirteen who knew.
No sooner had the shadow of the earth passed over the full moon than the first six met in the quiet reaches of southern Libya. The moon glowed red and unnatural, as unnatural as many might have found the sight of the dragons circling out of the darkened sky. The dragons gathered silently, as prearranged, honoring custom. They landed unobserved beneath the path of the eclipse.
There was no need for conversation: the process of ordination had taught them their responsibility, though none had known whether they would be summoned until now. Dread and anticipation mingled in one of the eldest, Donovan, as he watched his fellows arrive. He didn’t like foretold events, didn’t like the sense they always gave him that there was more controlling his future than his own will. Heat rose from the sand underfoot and the sky appeared to be stained with blood.
Erik arrived last, his onyx and pewter figure casting an erie shadow as he wheeled with confidence out of the sky. He carried a black velvet sack, moving as if it weighed nothing. Donovan knew that sack’s contents and the weight of the burden Erik carried.
The blessing was murmured in old-speak by all of them, even skeptical Donovan. The bag’s cord was loosed to reveal the treasure of their kind, still nestled in the shadowed interior. The Dragon’s Egg was as dark as night, as fathomless as obsidian, and the surface of the stone gleamed as if wet.
The sight of it gave Donovan the creeps.
“It’s not working,” Niall said with alarm. He was young, and more inclined to panic.
“Nonsense. It must taste the moon’s light,” Erik said, impatient with doubt. “Give it room.” The others withdrew slightly and Donovan restrained the urge to destroy the sacred relic. It was older than any of them, mysterious and potent, and to his thinking, it brought more trouble than it solved.
Erik spun the Dragon’s Egg three times, requested an augury of the Great Wyvern, and released it. The stone spun like a top across the hot sand. When it came to a halt, the six clustered closer, as close as Erik would permit.
For a long moment, only the reflection of the moon’s red glow was visible in the orb. The eclipse was already progressing – if Erik felt the press of time passing, he gave no outward sign. Their leader was as cool and composed as always, as confident as Donovan had always known him to be.
Donovan was impatient and inclined to prod the stone. Before he could move, though, the orb sparkled, as if lit from the inside. Lines of gold appeared in the darkness, running across and around its surface.
“First it traces the planet,” Rafferty said, for those who had not witnessed the marvel before. The outline of continents appeared, as if drawn in gold by a frantic mapsmith.
“North America,” said Donovan, recognizing the shape of the continent displayed on the top. He sighed. “It figures. Why can’t we ever be dispatched to Italy, where the women are gorgeous, or some South Sea island where they’re naked?”
“Silence!” Erik commanded.
Nothing happened after the continents were drawn although the shadow of the earth moved relentlessly across the full moon.
Then suddenly finer hairlines appeared on the Dragon’s Egg, straight lines of force, and the six exhaled in relief. The leylines could have been lines of longitude and latitude, because they triangulated a precise location. What they really marked was lines of energy, earth energy, energy that might as well have been Roman roads for the readiness with which Donovan and his kind could follow them.
The lines targeted the nexus where the next firestorm would begin. The leylines glowed briefly as they made a conjunction and the six leaned closer, anxious to read the location before the gleaming lines faded to darkness.
“Ann Arbor,” Erik murmured, his old-speak echoing in the thoughts of his fellows with authority. “I will go.”
“I will be your second, if you wish it,” Donovan said, speaking out of some impulse he could not name.
“You will all second me,” Erik declared and Donovan felt a frisson of alarm pass through the group. He exchanged a glance of understanding with Rafferty, knowing that the old prophecy must be correct for Erik to make such a demand.
The final battle had come.
And the world would ever be the same again.
©2006 Claire Delacroix, Inc.
The next Dragonfire novel is Kiss of Fury.