Separated and abused by the magi, twins Laine and Baine each swore to do whatever it took to break free and save the other. But when Baine arrives at the werewolf village prepared to rescue Laine and return home triumphant, he soon learns that any plan involving a dragon and a werewolf is bound to go awry.
This short novella is full of fantasy elements, a bit of mystery, a dash of suspense, and some romance… all good things, which the author blended well. I enjoy Mell Eight’s writing style and overall voice.
However, I hadn’t read book one yet and felt a bit like I’d been dropped into the middle of a more complex story I didn’t quite understand. It’s definitely not written in a way where it can be a stand alone.
The writing itself was fantastic, even if, at times, having two central couples in the story made it feel a bit jarring. I think I’d have enjoyed it more if the relationships the twins developed had been told in two separate tales.
If you like dragons and shifters, as well as LGBTQ romance, then this series will definitely entertain you.
*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Will war tear their family and their country apart?
Ignius Lockden and their companion Kathely are ready for adventure. Joining Far Patrol was only going to be the beginning—they were right, but in all the wrong ways. Suddenly, there’s a war on the horizon and the two of them are stuck in the middle. Ignius wants to do what’s right, but it isn’t easy to tell what actions will lead to the correct ending. How is one young dragon supposed to change the course of history?
The first thing the dragon remembered seeing was the golden light right beyond the shell in front of them, flickering and lighting up tiny red and silver specks on the surface of their chamber.
It must be time, then.
They scrabbled at the curved inside of the shell, scratching away and scoring the surface. They felt the little nubs of their claws catch on the roughened inner surface. The dragon stopped, waiting to regain their strength. It was tiring work, and presently, the dragon fell asleep again.
They repeated this cycle in longer and longer increments, scratching away at the inside of their chamber. Waiting was over for them, and it was time to emerge. Sleep, wake, sleep.
Again, the light woke them, brighter this time. There were voices outside, and with some excitement, the dragon heard the voice. The one was here. It was definitely time now, and the dragon would stop at nothing to finally greet that voice.
It was a high voice, and it penetrated the shell unlike all the other voices outside. The dragon didn’t care about those ones. They needed to reach the one. Kathely.
The one. Their one.
That voice had started coming a long time since. The moon had cycled countless times, and the dragon knew it well, the voice of the one who spoke to them from outside. That one whispered things to them, told them all about life on the outside. The dragon liked these stories, and even though they couldn’t yet make complete sense of them, the outside called. Kathely was calling, right now.
The dragon rocked against the wall of their chamber, pushing as hard as they could. The shell, weakened by their earlier efforts, gave a little under their struggles. It was tiring, but Kathely was there, calling.
“Ignius, you have been Named. It is time to come forth.”
Ignius coiled their tail, lashing it against the weak spot of the shell. Then they struck again as they felt the shell fracture above them. The spikes on their tail made short work of breaking through, and once again, Ignius clawed at the shell, finding the opening. They forced it farther open, lifting their snout to the hole in the shell, taking their first deep breath of air.
They couldn’t see yet, but after a few sneezes to clear their lungs of fluid, they could smell those around them. The nearest person was Kathely, and their one smelled divine, like home.
Alex is an author of LGBTQ+ romance. They live in northern Canada where it snows six months of the year. Currently, they are pursuing a PhD in English, but that won’t stop them from writing about space vampires or cyberpunk hackers or whatever else pops into their head. Mostly a SFF writer, Alex sometimes dabbles in other genres including contemporary romance.
When Prince Leon disappears, his people turn to the dragons for help. Nyle is the unlucky dragon tasked with finding Leon, a duty he dreads as it forces him into the confounding human world and far away from his collection of pretties.
Locating a missing prince should be a simple matter, but if Nyle has learned anything about humans since being forced among them, it’s that they needlessly complicate everything. When he finally locates the errant prince, however, what Nyle finds is a treasure worth all the complications—and worth protecting at any cost.
Nyle walked through the crowded bazaar with an eye on his coin purse. He had heard stories of humans who stole such things and did not wish to be the first of his kind to experience such ill luck.
He also kept an eye on the crowds. He doubted he would locate his quarry on his first foray into the human market, but there were clues he could find by simply being aware.
For example, the way the fishmonger in the corner stall blatantly gripped his meat cleaver as a group of ragged children exited an alleyway and dispersed into the bustle was probably a good indicator. Nyle would keep an eye on those children—they might have something to do with the disappearances of purses—but the man at the fish stall might have some interesting information. Nyle decided to head there first.
Someone jostled Nyle on their way toward a dour woman selling ribbons and beads across the way. He grimaced and held back a growl. They were humans, creatures clearly not versed in the niceties of society, and while their ignorance didn’t excuse them, it did allow Nyle to rationalize not taking the oafs who rudely bumped him to task. He had a job, and giving in to the urge to roar and breathe flames was not conducive to completing his task.
Nyle was dressed like a human. A loose pair of pants and a shirt that laced up the front comprised his costume, and if the fabric was of a tighter weave than the rest of the local class of humans, at least he looked the part.
“I’m searching for a young man,” Nyle said when he reached the wooden stall covered in fish. The fishmonger had known which children to watch. Perhaps he would also know Nyle’s target.
“Yeah?” the man asked. “Well, I haven’t seen any men around today.” He looked straight at Nyle, a male and only one of dozens who frequented the market, as he spoke.
Nyle guessed that was what humans called digging for incentives. His own kind didn’t much care for the art of blackmail.
Nyle reached into his carefully guarded purse and brought out two uncut copper coins, each enough to buy a small fish. He flashed the coins at the man and leaned forward.
“A tall man with very long black hair and blue eyes,” Nyle said as he pressed one coin to the wood surface of the stall.
The coin vanished into a gut-stained hand. “I seen him two days ago,” the man replied, eyes fixed greedily on the coin Nyle still held. “Not since then.”
Nyle set the second coin on the stall, but kept a finger on it. “Any idea where he could have gone? Or who else I could ask?”
The man tensed and kept his gaze fixed on the second coin as if he knew not to look into Nyle’s gold-colored eyes. Nyle slowly dragged the coin away from the man.
“The red-light district,” the man gasped out as if forced, his eyes stuck on the shiny coin. “You ask round there.”
Nyle released the coin, and the copper flashed in the late-morning sun. The fish man’s eyes remained riveted for another second before he shook himself free of the compulsion. The second coin vanished as quickly as the first, and the man looked up and caught Nyle’s eyes.
A mistake, but Nyle would use the fish man’s ignorance to his advantage.
“That boy ain’t right,” the man slurred, caught in the golden shine that filled the eyes of all Nyle’s kind. “Wild,” he continued, spilling everything he knew to the sheen in Nyle’s eyes, “as if a beast were trying to break free and fly away.”
Nyle blinked and looked away as the man sagged behind his booth. Nyle wasn’t feeling in top form either now. Catching someone with his eyes was more effective than using copper, but it cost him so much more magic. Nyle decided to return home for some rest before heading to the red-light district. Besides, he had heard humans preferred the nighttime for such activities.
Nyle didn’t really understand humans, but he was still young and would learn all there was to know eventually.
When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.