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Dragon Song: Dawn of the Dragon Queen, #1
Dragon Song: Dawn of the Dragon Queen, #1
Dragon Song: Dawn of the Dragon Queen, #1
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Dragon Song: Dawn of the Dragon Queen, #1

Автор Tara West

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Duncan MacQuoid, dragonslayer, is no more. In his place is a tortured man seeking solace for his sins. One fateful night he finds a woman he believes will be his salvation. Little does he know, his love for her could be his final undoing.

Fiona Firesblood, dragon-shifter and noble queen, will stop at nothing to protect her child, even if it means she must sever the bond with her mate, Duncan MacQuoid, the one man she loves above all others, and the one man whose past could destroy them all.

Safina Firesblood, daughter of a cursed union between dragon and dragonslayer, has grown into a young woman, a powerful dragon princess in her own right. She's given one chance at true love; will she risk the dragon queen's wrath or resign herself to an eternity of sorrow?

Дата выпуска20 янв. 2016 г.
Dragon Song: Dawn of the Dragon Queen, #1
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Tara West

A former high school English teacher, I now work from home as a full-time novelist and graphic designer. I love dragons, handsome heroes, and chocolate. I'm willing to share my dragons and heroes. Keep your hands off my chocolate!

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    Dragon Song - Tara West

    Dragon Song

    Dawn of the Dragon Queen, Book One

    Tara West

    Copyright © 2015 by Tara West

    Published by Shifting Sands Publishing

    First edition, published October, 2015

    Second edition, published November, 2018

    All rights reserved.

    This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or other unauthorized use of the material or artwork herein is prohibited.

    This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogues are products of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real.

    Edited by Theo Fenraven

    Art by Maiarcita at http://maiarcita.deviantart.com/

    Cover design by Renée Barratt at http://www.thecovercounts.com/

    Dragon Song Sample

    WINNER OF THE GRAVE Ellis Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite Fantasy Romance.

    For fans of Diana Gabaldon and historical fantasy romance, this spell-binding tale of star-crossed love and epic adventure will have you turning the pages late into the night.

    A brave but troubled dragonslayer searching for peace and a beautiful, spirited dragonshifter seeking revenge. One grievous night of passion alters the course of their lives. Will five centuries of penance be enough to change their hearts, or will their love perish in a tempest of bitterness and betrayal?

    MURDERER! SHE SHOVED him back with such force, he toppled from the bed in a tangle of furs.  

    Fiona, ’tis me, Duncan, he cried as he struggled to stand.

    What had come over her? One moment they were caressing beneath the warm furs, and the next she had sprung from his bed, screaming like a banshee.

    I know who you are, MacQuoid. Dragonslayer! She ended on a shrill sob before covering her face with her hands.

    Duncan kicked the furs to the side and reached for her. I am a dragonslayer no more, Fiona.

    Why did you make love to me? You should have killed me like you did the rest of my kind. She rushed through the flap of his tiny hut into the cool morning air.

    Swearing under his breath, Duncan wrapped a fur around his waist and chased after her. 

    Surely they had both gone mad.

    The morning was exceptionally cold, and Fiona wore not a stitch of clothes. A chill wind from the north whipped the heavy branches overhead into a frenzy. Autumn leaves danced around Fiona’s feet as she wept, kneeling beside a fallen oak. 

    The sharp edge of her suffering pierced the cavity of Duncan’s chest. He still did not understand how her emotions had been tethered to his own, but he did feel her pain, so keen he thought his heart would break from it.   

    Fiona, you are mistaken. Come inside where ’tis warm, he pleaded.

    She looked up at him through tear-soaked eyes. You killed my mother! Her body shook with violent tremors. You struck her with a spear, and she had never sought to harm mankind. Never!

    Duncan’s head spun and he felt weightless. Mouth agape, he stared at her, hoping his senses would return. And then the words from the she-dragon reverberated through his skull.

    I have never sought to harm mankind. Never!

    "’Twas a dragon I speared, not a human." But even as he said the words, he knew ’twas a lie. That dragon had been no dumb beast. She was something more.

    She was my mother! Fiona wailed. She was kind and good and all I had left in the world.

    Fiona, Duncan struggled for words, knowing nothing he could say would ever bring back her mother. Forgive me. Stepping forward, he reached out, needing to touch her and soothe her pain.

    "Do not touch me! Do not ever touch me!"

    What happened next Duncan would not have believed had he not seen the she-dragon transform into a beautiful woman each night in his dreams.

    But those were dreams, and the dragon hovering above him now was no fantasy, though just a moment before she had been his beautiful lass.

    Panting like a wounded animal, she singed his hair with her fiery breath.  

    Duncan did not cower. He did not fear. They had shared a connection when he loved her beneath the light of the full moon. She would not harm him now.  

    He looked up into her amber eyes, which were the same as yesternight, only larger, sadder. ’Twas then he knew neither of them would come away from this unscathed. For her heart was shattered, and he did not know how he could live without her forgiveness.  

    A message from Tara West...

    Dear readers, I hope you enjoy my new fantasy series. If so, would you please be kind enough to leave a review where you purchased it and tell all your friends about my books? Indie authors like me depend on readers to spread the word. It’s how we can afford to quit our day jobs and keep writing. ;)

    I have a lot more romance in store for you, so please subscribe to my newsletter for updates, and as a thank you, I will send you a selection of free ebooks.

    You can find my mailing list at www.tarawest.com .

    If you are interested in joining my street team, please go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/1593339097598084/



    To my husband, my real-life hero and soulmate. I will love you forever.

    Special thanks to...

    Thank you, Theo, God of Grammar, for making my manuscript shine.

    Curtis, Ginelle, Kelly, Sheri, and Suanne, I thank you immensely for your amazing beta skills!

    Renée Barratt, wow! There are no words to do your artistic vision justice. You knew what this cover needed to make it sparkle. Thank you! 

    Chapter One


    FIONA KNEW NOT WHAT had happened, only that she felt her mother’s pain and cry for help, and had flown swiftly to her aid.

    She found the dragon queen’s body by the sea on a rocky precipice which towered above the violent waves beneath. It had been a cold morn, made even colder by the icy terror which settled in Fiona’s chest.

    Landing with haste, she nearly lost her footing as an avalanche of rocks and debris slipped from beneath her talons and into the water below.

    She approached her mother cautiously, pinning her wings behind her as she nudged the queen with her snout.

    Mother! she cried. 

    The queen did not answer.

    Mother, do you not hear me? She nudged harder, and the queen rolled onto her side.

    ’Twas then Fiona noticed the spear lodged in Mother’s chest.

    Fiona tried to save her. She showered Mother with her healing fires until she fell over from exhaustion.

    Overcome with despair, she sobbed until her body ached and shook with jarring tremors. Then her breathing slowed, stilled, and she wished she would die beside her mother. 

    Mortal voices carried from afar. Find the dragonslayer! There’s another!

    I think it’s dead. He killed two dragons!

    Nay, keep your distance. I was witness. MacQuoid killed only one.

    Aye, but it looks dead. Mayhap he returned and killed this one.

    Fiona lay quiet, stifling her sobs. Let them fetch the dragonslayer, MacQuoid. Let them bring him to her, so she could have her revenge!

    Other villagers came, though they were wise enough to keep their distance. One brave fool poked and prodded her scales. She sensed the wild pounding of his heart as shrill laughter erupted from his throat.

    Fiona repressed the urge to rear up and burn him on the spot. Nay, she would wait for MacQuoid. 

    But he never came. He’d ridden on to slay more monsters, no doubt. Mayhap he was looking for her in the hills where she and Mother had hunted wild game.

    He would not find her. Fiona would make sure of it.

    She would find him. She would come to him as a woman, seduce him, lure him away.

    And then.... Fiona swore with every fiery breath in her body, she would not rest until her mother’s death was avenged.


    WHY HAVE YOU DONE THIS to me, knight? What crime have I committed? I have never sought to harm mankind. Never!

    Duncan came up for breath, wiping water from his eyes. He moved to the river’s edge, gliding with the flow as if he, too, was a thread of water. Pulling himself onto a dry slab of rock, he gazed intently into the clear depths beneath him.

    ’Twas no pattern in the way the river moved—no assurance that one current would resemble the next, yet the water kept flowing.

    ’Twould have been so easy if he could have said the same about his life. But over the past five summers, life had become stale, stagnant, unbearable. 

    He had no reprieve from the image of the dying beast while she lay there crying—the anguish in her features, in her voice, before she’d breathed her last breath.

    Her pain had been all too real.

    Too mortal.

    ’Twas not a dragon Duncan had slain but something more.

    Because of his nightmares, the life he now led was a shell of the one he’d left behind. Duncan MacQuoid, dragonslayer, was no more.

    In his place was a tortured man who could not erase the memories no matter how hard he tried.

    He did try, though each night he was awakened by the same dream. In the dream he had slain the dragon, but a woman had taken her place, a beautiful woman with flame red hair and a spear protruding from her chest.

    Why have you done this? she’d cried in the same voice the dragon had used that fateful morning.

    For the monster had spoken after he plunged his spear into her chest.

    Let the world think him mad. He had heard her speak, though her fanged jowls did not move. Her voice had been in his head, as she pierced his soul with the pained gaze of her jade-green eyes.

    That dragon had been no dumb beast.

    And as long as Duncan had breath in his body, he would never forgive himself for killing her. 

    Scotland – 1429

    DRAGONSLAYER? THE knight tilted back his head and laughed.

    Anger flushed Fiona’s chest and infused her cheeks. He thought her mad, just like all the other knights. Amazing how quickly these mortals were inclined to forget that beasties and monsters had ruled the earth only a few centuries past.

    Stroking his bushy black beard with grimy fingers, he looked down at her with a condescending smile. Why would a pretty wench worry herself over dragons? ’Tis stuff of fantasy. Then his eyes darkened as he leaned closer, latching onto her wrist with a meaty claw. If ye need someone to chase away yer nightmares—his garbled voice dropped to a hoarse whisper—I  could warm yer bed tonight.

    Fiona nearly gagged from the stench of stale brew on his breath. Jerking her arm free, she narrowed her eyes to slits. Nay, knight, go warm another pint of ale instead.

    Raucous laughter erupted directly behind her.

    Fiona’s attention snapped to the knight’s companions. She had thought there were two of them, but their numbers had swelled to five. And they no longer huddled in the darkened corner of the smoky tavern but swarmed around her like bees to a hive. 

    An involuntary shiver coursed through her. She did not like the feral gleam in their eyes or the strong scent of lust radiating off them.

    Instinctively, Fiona’s lips curled back in a snarl. 

    They laughed harder, their flesh now pulsating with need.

    Fiona knew they planned to use her, whether she were willing or not. She cursed herself a fool for coming to the tavern this night, but she was hoping one among their number would have claimed to be the dragonslayer.

    But these were just drunk fools bent on one sordid purpose.

    For six years she had struggled to keep her true form a secret. Although she would feel no remorse in ripping these men to shreds, she did not want to expose herself now.

    The dragonslayer was near. She knew it. She could feel it in the marrow of her bones.

    Come now, wench. The tallest of the knights, with a long, thin white beard and a gaunt face, leaned over Fiona. Twisting a wad of her skirt in his hand, he spoke against her cheek with stale, hot breath. I be not a dragonslayer, but I pack a big spear if ye like.  

    Leave me before I hurt you, Fiona spoke on a growl.

    He laughed, though his sunken orbs darkened with forewarning of foul deeds.  Still clutching the fabric of her skirt, he yanked Fiona off her stool.

    The air whooshed from her lungs as she slammed against his chest. Grasping his lean, taut shoulders, Fiona fought the panic that tied a knot in her throat. She had to find another means of escape. She’d come too far to reveal her secret, but she knew not how to escape these men in her mortal body. She’d only had to rely on her human form for persuasion. Why fight as a girl when a dragon was so much more powerful?

    With no other options before her, Fiona resorted to the only means available to a weak female. Please let me go, she pleaded, batting long lashes at her brutish captor.

    A low, ominous rumble broke from his chest. I will when we’re finished with ye, wench. Digging his hooks into her slender forearms, the knight pulled her up the length of his chest, and in the next second, his hard mouth came crashing down on hers. 

    She tried to scream, but his suffocating kiss would not give her breath to make a sound.

    She knew she’d run out of options. 

    Heart beating wildly, she braced herself for the change. Beneath her flesh, muscles coiled, bones ached, as she prepared to break free of her mortal skin.

    ’Twas when her body was on the precipice of transformation that a booming command shook the stagnant air of the small tavern.  Leave her be!

    The knight broke the kiss in an instant, dropping Fiona as if she were no more than a discarded ragdoll. She stumbled back, nearly falling on her backside, but she was caught by firm hands that captured her waist.

    Gasping for breath, Fiona was momentarily disoriented.

    When the strong hands holding her roved to her breasts, she elbowed the man in the ribcage. Howling, he released her, but she escaped that captor only to be caught in the grip of another drunken knight.

    She hadn’t seen her rescuer come to her aid until she was shoved onto a table. Fiona came to her knees, bracing herself for another attack, but the offending knights were now in the midst of a brawl.

    Against one man.

    Jaw dropping, Fiona watched with amazement as the man wielded a sword with all the skill of a seasoned knight, although his tattered woolen tunic and mud-stained trews indicated he was most likely a farmer. 

    The barmaid stood behind the barkeep, screaming, while he swung open the heavy wooden door of the front entrance. A rush of cool night air ruffled Fiona’s hair and chilled the nape of her neck. The door thudded closed behind them, and Fiona turned her attention back to the brawl.

    Two men were down. Another staggered in front of her before falling on top of the table, his face buried in her skirt. Fiona grabbed a tankard and banged it across his skull. He slipped to the floor with a satisfying thud.

    She inwardly smiled at the weapon in her hand─leverage to assist her weak human body. Jumping to her feet, she managed to steady herself while smashing the tankard across the head of another knight. Though she heard the crack of bone, Fiona briefly wondered if she’d done any harm at all. The knight simply walked to the other side of the room, weaving between tables before he reached the back wall.

    Clutching tightly to her weapon, Fiona’s chest swelled with pride as she watched the knight slowly slide down the wall.

    The farmer still battled the two big knights who’d first accosted her. She had not seen the farmer strike, but the white haired-knight dropped his sword, clutching his chest as blood seeped from between his fingers.

    The other knight fell against her table, grasping a bleeding wound at his throat. The structure wobbled beneath her. She heard the sound of wood splitting and screamed as she flew into the air. 

    Then she landed in a strong embrace. Instinctively, she clenched her fingers, but when her nails pierced the flesh of her palm, her throat tightened at the realization she’d lost her tankard.

    Balling hands into fists, she prepared to strike the man holding her.

    Only then did she look at him—into eyes paler than the summer sky.

    Are ye hurt? His voice was strong with a gentle edge.

    A tremor shot to her core, and she swallowed the lump in her throat. Nay, are you?

    One corner of his mouth hitched up in a slight smile. I am well, but I think we should go before the magistrate arrives. His brogue was not thick like the other villagers she’d encountered this day. Are ye able to stand?

    ’Twas then Fiona realized the farmer was still holding her. But how could she have forgotten? Her mind was so muddled at the moment, she could hardly muster a coherent thought.

    A-Aye, she stammered.

    Slowly, and ever so gently, the man placed her on her feet. Fiona sighed when he released her. For a moment, she thought she missed the warmth of his touch. She shook her head, trying to clear her brain of such foolish notions.

    She’d vowed long ago never to lose her heart to a man. Men brought only heartache. She’d learned that from her sire. 

    Fool that she was, the breath was stolen from her lungs when she looked into his face again. The lines around his pale eyes suggested his age, mayhap thirty-five summers or more. But he was far more handsome than any young mortal she’d ever known. Perhaps ’twas the compassion she’d read beneath his soft gaze.

    His warm hand still clutched hers, and though she knew she ought to pull free, she made no attempt to let go. He opened the heavy door and led her into the crisp night air.

    Still clutching his hand, Fiona followed without care or thought for anything save her blue-eyed swordsman. A voice flickered through the recesses of her mind, warning her ’twas folly to become smitten over a man. ’Twas her mother’s voice, she was sure. But her mother had been dead six autumns, and Fiona’s hand cradled in his was so welcoming. Fiona realized she’d been alone far too long.

    I’ve not seen ye before, lass. Where is yer home? His deep voice pulled her out of her trance. 

    Home. She mouthed the words, slightly stunned by the hollow sound of her own voice.

    They’d come to a halt. Fiona looked up, into the intensity of his gaze as he stared at her in silence. Still clutching his hand, she spun a half-circle, surveying her surroundings. She had not realized he’d led her off the cobblestone path and into the dense forest, illuminated only by the pale light of the full moon.

    I think I should escort ye home. The pad of his thumb traced gentle circles along the tender cup of her hand.

    Fiona’s knees weakened, and her legs wobbled like jelly. Instinctively, she leaned into him, craving the warmth radiating off his broad frame.

    I have no home, she spoke on an exhale while resting her cheek against the cradle of his chest.

    His arm came around her and settled on the small of her back. Then he stroked up the length of her spine until his thick fingers threaded through her riotous curls. Tucking several strands of hair behind her ear, he spoke in a throaty whisper. Ye may stay with me if ye like.

    Chapter Two

    FIONA BARELY REMEMBERED the journey to the stranger’s small, dark hut. Her dragon-touched eyes normally took in every nuance of her surroundings, but she’d been blinded by a pair of handsome, pale eyes and a warm, seductive smile.

    After he’d hung her shawl beside the hearth, he bade her sit on a low wooden stool and handed her a heavy goblet filled with swirling amber liquid. She smiled into the mead, discreetly admiring his finely sculpted form while he stoked the embers of the fire. Though the man seemed to have entranced her, she had enough sense to know what would become of her that night. He would caress, kiss, and toy with her, making her as

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