Stolen Dragons

Title: Stolen Dragons
Series: Fire Dragons of Grieghern #3
Published by: Amber Jantine
Release Date: March 3, 2018
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Pages: 106

The youngest Grieghern dragon has disappeared and his brother Tyndarr is on the trail. As he searches, he encounters the beautiful ice-dragon, Aldriss. Upon learning that she is also looking for a missing youngling, the two team up to continue the quest for answers.

Aldriss has a damaged wing and leg from an 'accident' caused by one of her own and is no longer able to fly. Well aware of the fire-dragon's family connections, she knows that he can never belong to a low-born and crippled orphan like herself. But neither she nor Tyndarr can deny the instant, attraction that flares up between them.

Tyndarr is fascinated by the sensual beauty and soon becomes determined to make her his mate. She insists that their affair must end once the missing dragons are found. Magic, treachery, and an unexpected enemy threaten their lives but the greatest test of all may be for Aldriss to learn to trust again.

And to let herself open her icy heart to a fire-breather...

Tyndarr circled over the mountain paths once more. His younger brother's trail had gone cold and as a fire dragon, it wasn't a term that he used lightly. Anything associated with ice and snow had the worst of meanings for his kind.

Jyned had disappeared two days before. At first, everyone had assumed it was a prank. But then he had missed a meal. Followed by a second. As a rapidly growing youngling, a dragon on the verge of sprouting his mature flying wings, he would be constantly hungry but would not yet be able to hunt his own prey.

That was when the alarm had been raised, though their parents had still tried to have the situation handled as discreetly as possible. They thought that if it became known that they had lost one of their sons in this way, it would undermine their power.

At least, that was the excuse they had given to the family.

It was why he and his brothers were the only ones doing the searching, without the aid of their servants or courtiers.

He sniffed the air, wincing slightly as the icy breeze hit the inside of his nose. He and his brothers had drawn lots in order to determine who would search in which direction, and he'd drawn the losing mark. Tasked with flying over and beyond the northern borders of his family's lands. The most uncomfortable region for a fire dragon to be.

Despite the sting, he picked up an intriguing scent.

A dragon. Not one of his own kind, but a female.

Something inside him stirred, nearly distracting him from his quest. He had been waiting a long time to find a mate, since his parents felt that they had not received an adequate offer from anyone of sufficient status and influence. Human, dragon, or otherwise. And he had needs...

None of which mattered now.

Then he caught a glimpse of her.

On the ground.

Not where he had expected. One of her wings was noticeably smaller than the other and there was an odd hitch to her gait as well. What could an injured dragon be doing in a place like this? And alone?

And yet he caught no scent of pain from her, only the natural and enticing fragrances of a mature female.

She turned her head upward as if she'd heard the sound of his wings, but did not appear too startled by his appearance. Greetings, fire-breather. What brings you into this realm?

I am searching for my youngest brother. He has not been seen in two days.

She seemed to be taken aback, her shock evident in her scent. I am in search of a missing youngling as well. She disappeared two days ago.

That is when my brother vanished. Tyndarr landed a respectful distance from the she-dragon and folded his wings against his sides. Inclined his head. Tyndarr Grieghern, at your service, my lady.

I am called Aldriss. There was something a little odd about her manner of speaking. Something a little less smooth and polished than what he was used to hearing at his family's court. Yet despite her obvious physical limitations, she was one of the most strikingly beautiful dragons that he had ever seen, with her silvery scales and pale blue eyes. You say your brother has gone missing, my lord? Interesting coincidence. Is it not?

I do not believe in those sorts of coincidences. For what were the odds that two younglings from separate dragon clans would go missing at the same time, and in much the same way?

I suspect it is not a coincidence, either. Aldriss sighed and there was a flash of fear in her scent, as well as in her eyes. But why would anyone steal younglings?

I do not know. But perhaps if we can locate them, we will find out.

Are you suggesting that we work together, my lord?

If he didn't know how serious this situation was, he'd think that her tone had almost been... flirtatious. Or maybe she was responding to him instinctively, just as he was responding to her. I think it likely that we are looking for the same thing, so it would make sense if we can divide the burden. I will take the sky and you can see if there is any trace of their scent on the ground.

She stiffened. Just because you can fly and I cannot, that does not make you better than me.

I did not mean it that way.

She hesitated, then made the slightest shake of her head. Forgive me, my lord? I find being polite much more difficult these days.

He wondered if her injuries were related to the youngling's disappearance. Whether they were or not, they still appeared to be fresh and relatively new, for a dragon could normally heal even some of the most grievous of injuries in a matter of days.

Though that did not explain the lack of pain in her scent. Or rather, it’s diminished presence. Something so serious should have been accompanied by a much stronger odor of injury.

Still, it would be a difficult thing for her to adjust to now. Being forced to stay on the ground.

Even temporarily.

Tyndarr studied her more closely, trying to get a better assessment of this strange dragon. She appeared to be quite young. Now that he looked at her wings, it appeared that one might still be caught in the middle of its transformation to its full growth. Yet her voice had not been one of an adolescent, but of a fully mature female.

As was her scent.

You are staring at me, my lord.

Forgive me. It seems that I have forgotten my manners as well.

She laughed, the sound distinctly musical even inside his head. Then perhaps it is truly best for us to work together. We need to find our missing younglings before we end up offending many others with our lack of decorum.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, he could not help laughing as well. He was finding this ice-dragon completely enchanting.

And that was dangerous. He was meant to be with... he didn't know who, yet, but he was certain that his parents would never approve of her. Her manners were not exactly those of a higher-born dragon and the way she persisted on addressing him as 'my lord' reinforced that impression. Her physical limitations would also be a decided disqualifier, in his parents' eyes. They were nearly as stringent in their ideals with regards to physical perfection as they were about social rank.

Which was why they had nearly refused his brother Jodan’s match at first. But Queen Kyra’s blindness had been caused by a curse, rather than some other defect. And of course, being a monarch in her own right had made up for much, as far as his parents were concerned.

What was he thinking? He was supposed to be focused on finding his brother. And nothing else. I assume that you must know these northern lands better than I do. Any ideas on just where we should search?

I will continue north. There was another hint of a smile in her voice again, though she did not burst into full laughter again. I sense that it may be rather uncomfortable for you to head that way, as a fire-breather.

True.

I believe that the other ice dragons have searched much of the area to the west of here. Perhaps you can head east?

I will. He hesitated, unwilling to leave her presence, though he knew he needed to. Shall we meet up again when the sun sets? To exchange information?

Very well. Good luck, fire-breather.

He had been dismissed. There was nothing left for him to do, but soar into the air and hope that the ever-cooling wind would help to diminish this improper fire in his blood.


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