Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dragon Queen: Book 2 is Available!!

DRAGON DANCE now available!

Click to purchase!

Dragon Dance

Self-preservation, not cowaradice, drove Cora Phillips to run from the supernatural intrigues surrounding Salim Aridi, Greg Cho, and their respective dragon aspects. She spent a year rebuilding a sense of normalcy, and she learned to cope with the residual nightmares that followed her brief collision with modern myth.

The moment Salim loses control, however, the dragons demonstrate just how meaningless human distance really is, and return to remind Cora that dragon ties are not so easily broken.

Now available for download!

If you haven't read MATING CALL, the first book in the Dragon Queen trilogy, you can read an excerpt and download here!

MATING CALL and DRAGON DANCE receive 5 Champagne Flutes from Cocktail Reviews

"I LOVE these two books." - Wilga Hill Boomerang of Cocktail Reviews

Monday, May 28, 2007

Excerpt from SECOND SIGHT

Excerpt from Second Sight
Copyright Debbie Mumford 2007
Publisher: Freya's Bower

Zach strode through the door the next morning and Jenny’s determination stumbled.

“Good morning, Jenny.”

His predatory gaze traveled the length of her body and her heart raced, excitedly rushing blood through her veins. Her skin tingled and her face flamed. Selfless service to mankind sounded great—when she was alone. Her mind understood the fine distinction between love and lust, but her body quivered in anticipation of his touch.

Zach prowled around her office like a big cat. Lithe and powerful, he brimmed with constrained sensuality. Her knees weakened and resolve liquefied. The man reeked masculinity. A primeval god returned to life to sport with mortal women once more. And he’d chosen her.

She sighed, the rush of breath echoing the rush of blood through her veins. Mere mortals didn’t demand love from a god. A mortal woman accepted his favor, drank every drop of exhilaration and subsisted on its sustaining energy for the rest of her life.

He didn’t love her, still clung to Angie. So be it. He wanted her. Lust might not provide the nourishment her soul required to flourish, but she would survive. She’d savor the ecstasy of his passion and treasure the memory for eternity.

“Come away with me, Jenny.”

His softly spoken words echoed her fantasy so closely she wondered if she’d imagined them.

“What?” She stared at him, her face hot with embarrassment. She must look like a frightened fawn. She wanted to appear serene, a woman of the world.

He leaned closer and she inhaled the heady combination of spicy aftershave and musky male. “Come away with me,” he whispered again. “Things are too complicated here. I want you to myself, at least for the weekend.”

She licked her lips, worked to push air past frozen vocal chords. “What…what about the police? Your investigation?”

A hint of annoyance flickered across his features. “I’ll deal with all that, but I need a reason to bother. You haven’t said you’ll come.”

Jenny stared into the chocolate pools of his eyes. Warm, liquid depths enticed her to take the plunge, to join him.

“Of course, I’ll come,” she said. As if she’d had a choice.

She broke the seductive eye contact. He reached out and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. He straightened, his manner suddenly brisk.

“Good. I’ll make all the arrangements. We’ll have dinner in town and then drive out to the coast. Can you be ready by six?”

Jenny nodded, unable to resist the gale force of his masculinity. Why would she want to resist when those winds were blowing her to a romantic weekend with the man she’d dreamed of all her life?

She stood, walked around her desk and said, “I’ll be ready.”

I’ll always be ready, she thought, standing on tiptoe to kiss his provocative mouth.

She’d intended to give him a soft peck on the lips, but his growl of desire, the swift heat of his mouth opening to devour hers, the steel of his arms embracing her, turned her intentions upside down. A momentary instinct to struggle died under an avalanche of pleasure. Jenny pressed herself against Zach and gave in to the sensory overload of passion. Sensations too numerous to catalog rushed to seal a bargain for intoxicating adventure.

Zach released her lips suddenly and pushed her away, but continued to hold her arms in a vise-like grip. A very good thing. His kiss had turned her legs to rubber and she needed his support to stay upright.

“I’ve got to go.” He said the words, but his body stayed rooted to the floor. His hands continued to grasp her arms. He shuddered, released her and dropped his hands to his sides. After a moment, he strode to the door where he turned and studied her a final time.

“I’ll see you tonight,” he said.

“I’ll be ready,” she repeated, her fingers tracing the imprint of his mouth on her lips. She laughed.

Who am I kidding? she thought with giddy embarrassment. I’m ready right now!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

New Paperback Books from Tawny

Tawny Taylor is pleased to announce the release of two new paperback books!

Master of Secret Desires is a multi-author anthology with Scott Carpenter and Elizabeth Jewell. Tawny's story in the anthology is Dragons and Dungeons, an erotic dragon shapeshifter story.

Review Quotes:

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys tales of sexy alpha men and the women who love them. 5 cups! (Susan, Coffeetime Romance)

I want more, more, more! More bondage, more hot dragon sex, I want more!
(Annabelle Andrews, Joyfully Reviewed)

And the second book is all Tawny. Animal Urges is a two-in-one containing two shapeshifter stories. Both are set in Alaska, and the two are tied tightly together with a plot that continues from one story into the other. The individual titles of the ebooks are Mark of the Beast and Touch of the Beast.

Review Quotes:

"Tawny Taylor has done a marvelous job of penning a tale of excitement and passion that readers won’t soon forget." (Angel, Romance Junkies)

"I hope this is only the beginning of a concept that has so many possibilities it would be almost criminal not to explore them further." 5 Angels! (Rachelle, FAR)

The Mark of the Beast is a HOT romance filled with lots of sizzling sex and witty repertoire. The action is fast-paced; I couldn't put it down! Thumbs up to Ms. Taylor. I loved this book. 5 Kisses (Nonny, Romance Divas)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

"Spinning Wildly" by Elle Fredrix

Spinning Wildly
by Elle Fredrix

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Purchase Here


Although Megan Dempsey hates amusement parks, she hates disappointing her 12-year old son even more. So when his plans with a friend fall through, he ropes her into going along. Things go downhill from there. First, an incident with a mustard-oozing hotdog paints her breast golden. Then running into-literally-Mitchell Carter, a man who has stirred her emotions for more than year, mortifies her even more. When their paths repeatedly cross, she recognizes interest in Mitch's gaze. Megan's day is about to get a whole lot better!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

4 Star Review from Affaire de Coeur!!

I can't believe it!! Marci sent Second Sight to Affaire de Coeur for a review ... and they liked it!!

Since it's a print mag, I can't give you a link, so I'm going to print the whole thing here:

Psychic Investigator Zach Douglas and his partner Angie Sutcliffe are called out to solve a case of ritual murder in which a Celtic grimoire is implicated. Calling on the assistance of Jenny Murdoch to get the grimoire translated, they get a bit more than they bargained for. Jenny has spent years suppressing what she believes killed her parents, an inner “Tiger” that she is very much afraid of. As she learns that the Tiger can be trusted and the translation goes on, she is suspected of the murders and must prove her innocence.

This was an absorbing paranormal tale filled with suspense and passion. The characters were strong and well developed. I found the “Tiger” to be a new and interesting twist in the paranormal world and hope to find that this author goes on to others with the same theory. Mumford is a new voice to paranormal erotica and does a great job of pulling heavy romance and steamy scenes to the story while remaining tasteful and true to the story. Paranormal and erotica readers alike will not be able to put this one down.

---Reviewed by Inez Daylong (May, 2007 issue)

OMG!!!! I wrote "an absorbing paranormal tale filled with suspense and passion"!!! And my characters were "strong and well developed" ... who knew? *giggles madly*

And I even came up with a "new and interesting twist in the paranormal world" ... WOW!

*Extreme Happy Dancing*

Okay, I'm calm now. NOT! *g*

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Excerpt from DRAGONS’ CHOICE: Sorcha's Children Book 1

This is an excerpt from my first sequel to Sorcha's Heart!

Here is the blurb to help orient you for the excerpt:

Sorcha and Caedyrn's love has created a new breed of beings. Neither wholly dragon nor fully human, Sorcha's children shapeshift at will. The six fledglings have been raised as dragons, but the time has come to explore their human heritage. Aislinn and Taran are the first to leave the ice aerie for the world of men.

Aislinn discovers the lure of sexuality amidst the intrigues of King Leofric's court, while Taran learns the source of his debilitating malady. Both siblings face danger and prejudice among their mother's kin, but they discover love as well. Dragons mate for life, forcing the young shifters to make a choice.


Excerpt from DRAGONS’ CHOICE: Sorcha's Children Book 1
Copyright: Debbie Mumford 2007
Publisher: Freya’s Bower

Aislinn soared through the midday sky. Warm sunlight and cool wind caressed her scaly hide. The nictitating membranes protected tender eyes and added a unique shimmer to her vision. She scanned the horizon and an excited bubble of anticipation inflated at the sight of the towering cliffs. She arrowed toward an assignation with destiny. Her mate waited atop that rocky sentinel. Her mate.

She tasted the words and acknowledged their truthfulness. Prince Ewan would be her mate. She’d always assumed she would bond within the flight, had anticipated the wild elation of leading her chosen male on a death-defying race through the heavens. She’d expected to allow the male to catch her only after they had attained sufficient height to complete the sex act before gravity dashed them upon the rocks of the canyon. How could mating with a flightless human compare?

Her dragon instincts wrenched. If she followed through on the course her human soul had set in motion, she would severe herself forever from the possibility of a dragon bonding. What was she thinking?

She banked and circled the meadow at the cliff edge. The prince stood in the center of the greensward, shielding his eyes and following her progress. Puny and flightless, like all of his kind. She could crush him with a flick of her tail. The men who guarded the path to the cliffs, his sworn protectors, would be helpless against her.

And yet, even in dragon form, she felt an irresistible pull. This earth-bound human held her heart in his hands.

Almost, she could see the strands of her life diverging from the rocky outcropping: remain in the sky, ignore the crawling mortal, return to the flight to bond with a true-born dragon and clutch many eggs to enrich the aerie; or land and follow her destiny in the arms of Ewan of Rossal.

Her resolve faltered, and she glanced north toward the windswept mountains and the hidden ice aerie of her youth…but her human half shoved a memory to the front. Ewan’s mouth on hers last night at the ball, liquid fire smoldering in her veins while absolute conviction of her destiny in his arms blazed in her soul.

She swooped low and landed on the sparse grass at the cliff-edge.

He approached, uncertainty evident on his face. “You circled so many times,” he said. “I thought you’d changed your mind.”

She lowered her head and studied him, her wings still widespread, ready for flight. “I’m not sure I haven’t,” she said. “Give me a reason to stay, Ewan.”

He sank to one knee and bowed before her.

“I’m not sure what I have to offer a dragon,” he said, but when he raised his gaze to meet hers Aislinn found all the reason she needed shining in his eyes. He loved her. Even now, when she appeared in dragon form, his eyes proclaimed understanding and steadfast devotion. Here was a male who would accept her no matter the skin she wore.

She folded her wings, shimmered from blue-scaled dragon to soft-fleshed woman, and launched herself into his arms.

Friday, May 18, 2007

From the Ashes ~ Aurelia Abbott

From the Ashes is now available at Twilight Fantasies Publications.

FROM THE ASHES is the story of Hannah Reed, a mortal in love with Will Caldwell, a pyreweld demon. Hannah and Will make a sexual commitment to one another only to have Will leave when another pyreweld—a female—passes through town.

Two years pass and Hannah is haunted by her unresolved feelings for Will. Just when she believes she is capable of entering into a new relationship with Michael Parker, Will returns to Jasper—alone. The pressure of Will’s return and his eagerness to pick things up where they left off, as well as her confusion about her feelings toward Michael, causes Hannah to leave Jasper in the hopes of achieving some much needed mental clarity.

Read an excerpt here.

Friday, May 11, 2007

WILD NIGHTS by Tawny Taylor

If you could be kidnapped by any man...who would it be?

Tawny Taylor new series, Passion Unbound, explores this question. The Passion Unbound series is about women who are kidnapped by the heroes in their favorite erotic romance novels.

Wouldn't that be wicked-fun?

Tawny came up with the idea after reading some posts on a reader's loop. So many readers develop feelings for the characters in their fave books. They fall in love with the heroes. They see themselves in the heroines. She wondered what it might be like to make those figurative connections real--to watch someone actually live within her favorite book, to face the heroine's struggles and pain, to fall in love.

Anyway, here's the blurb for the first story, Wild Nights. Note: this book is a menage a trois romance with m/m/f and m/f/m sex scenes.

Passion Unbound

And thus it was from the beginning of time. Two knights. One bride. They whispered their story to The Chosen, a human endowed with the gift of Hearing... The Chosen wrote the story and released it into the human world.

The bait was set. The spell was cast. And then they waited...
(An excerpt from the Ierd Kimeno, the sacred text of the Twelfth Knight Brotherhood)

Wild Nights

Secretary Maggie Dunning loves her romance novels. Her favorite -- Conquered by the Knight, the story of two dominant, sexy shapeshifters, Xander and Bastien. To be possessed by two powerful Masters? Heavy, happy, lust-filled sigh!

But that’s just fantasy. It could never happen in real life... right?

Little did she know that a paper cut and a few muttered words would make all her fantasies come to life, including the hunky Xander and Bastien. One minute she’s cozy in bed sleeping, the next she’s dragged into a world she’d thought only existed in her imagination, to face her most secret desires... and her worst fears.

Bastien and Xander have their own challenges to face -- a crime to investigate and a dangerous threat to the Twelfth Night Brotherhood to uncover. But they won't let that stop them from seizing their fascinating new bride and introducing her to the ecstasy of complete surrender.

Buy Wild Nights HERE

Now, what's your answer? If you could be kidnapped by any romance hero, could actually live your favorite romance story, which one would it be? Tawny would love to hear your answers! Feel free to post them on her blog.

Vampilicious Erotic Romance
Sassy, Sexy Romance

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A Cassidy Kent Novella Anthology!

ONE WICKED WINTER is now available!

It's a three novella anthology...

Published By: Amber Quill Press
Release Date: April 2007
Written as: Cassidy Kent

A sexy first date, an unexpected encounter, and a torrid reunion. Three smoldering stories of reckless passion stoke the fires of one very wicked winter…

Dear John

In her last year of high school, Dane Harley, a foster kid with no direction, met John Stratton, a Pittsburgh rich kid with a penchant for trouble. She visits him a decade after disappearing from his life, only to discover he’s moved on. Their subsequent affair speaks of the torrent of passion and love that still binds them.

Santa’s Helper

CEO Noel grants a boy’s Christmas wish by escorting sexy single mother Maura around Manhattan on Christmas Eve. The spark between them is immediate, but the distance between Park Avenue and the Jersey suburbs is immense. Are their worlds too dissimilar to merge or can they bridge the distance with love?

What Lies in Winter

Workaholic Hayley vacations in the mountains and meets author, Nicholas. He might be a solitary beast but Hayley is hell-bent on disrupting his peaceful balance. A blizzard makes them share quarters and their fiery personalities melt the ice caps off the mountains.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Big News for "Spying in High Heels"

I heard the BEST news today! My friend Gemma Halliday's double RITA nominated novel, Spying in High Heels, is in development for a television series on the USA Network!!! It’s currently one of five new shows being developed for their fall 2007/2008 season.

Spying in High Heels follows shoe designer Maddie Springer, who in an effort to track down her missing boyfriend, realizes that her knack for fashion also serves another purpose: it makes her a great detective. Maddie's uniquely female perspective helps her pick up clues, using her designer's eye to discern tell tale shapes, colors and patterns, among other things. Along with her best friend Dana, an out-of-work actress, Maddie decides to open a detective agency operating out of her stepfather's hair salon.

Not all shows in development make it to the air, but this one should! If you want to see Maddie and Ramirez on the small screen, write to the USA Network and tell them you heard about SPYING IN HIGH HEELS and can’t wait to watch it. Or, if you’ve read the book and liked it, tell them that, too! Contact the programming department at the USA

In the meantime, read up on Gemma's books, including Undercover in High Heels & Killer in High Heels.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Tara's Upcoming Release

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Oasis of My Heart

by Tara S Nichols

Release Date May 25th 2007

Sadie Davies is running away for the second time in her life. The first time she wanted stardom. This time she is running from it. Intending to keep a low profile she sets up for a solitary life, but with sexy, know-it-all, neighbour Dustin Reed she finds it rather difficult. Moving in next door to playboy Dustin Reed wasn’t Sadie Davies idea of keeping a low profile. With ex-manager Horace Bigelow hunting her down the last thing Sadie wants is a distraction.
Now she has to decide whether to let this lady-killer into her life for fear of attracting a real killer.
Available May 25th from Cobblestone Press!


Second Sight earned a fabulous review in the May, 2007 issue of Affaire de Coeur. Since it's only available in print, I'll give you the entire review:

Psychic Investigator Zach Douglas and his partner Angie Sutcliffe are called out to solve a case of ritual murder in which a Celtic grimoire is implicated. Calling on the assistance of Jenny Murdoch to get the grimoire translated, they get a bit more than they bargained for. Jenny has spent years suppressing what she believes killed her parents, an inner “Tiger” that she is very much afraid of. As she learns that the Tiger can be trusted and the translation goes on, she is suspected of the murders and must prove her innocence.

This was an absorbing paranormal tale filled with suspense and passion. The characters were strong and well developed. I found the “Tiger” to be a new and interesting twist in the paranormal world and hope to find that this author goes on to others with the same theory. Mumford is a new voice to paranormal erotica and does a great job of pulling heavy romance and steamy scenes to the story while remaining tasteful and true to the story. Paranormal and erotica readers alike will not be able to put this one down.

4 Stars from Inez Daylong
Reviewer for Affaire de Coeur


White Russian of Cocktail Reviews also loved Second Sight! Here's an excerpt from her 5 Champagne Flute review:

A riveting read where the first sentence packs a punch and delivers the hook that had me gripped until the end. Some superb delivery lurks within the pages of Second Sight ... My eyes tumbled over the sentences in a bid to read as quickly as I could ... Buy it and love it ... A solid and delightful read.

Read the entire review here.


Second Sight is available from Freya's Bower.

A mysterious grimoire of Celtic origins has been linked to two murders. To break the case, psychic investigator Zach Douglass seeks the assistance of a gifted translator, beautiful Jenny Murdoch. But Jenny has a dark secret. She's spent years repressing a potent psychic talent: her 'tiger', which she believes killed her parents. Jenny will crack the grimoire and learn to trust her tiger, but she'll fall under suspicion for the murders. And one of the victim's was Zach's fiancée.

Rating: Tangy
Book Length: Category Novel
Price: $5.25
Genre: Paranormal/Contemporary Romance

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Michelle's New Release

Love's Blessings by M.G. Braden
- Now available from By Grace Publishing

Love's Blessings CoverJanelle Trent has been desperately trying to have a baby. Can she surrender to God when the treatments don't work?

Kevin Trent loves his wife, baby or not. Can he show his wife that they already are a family? Or, will he walk away, taking with him all their hopes and dreams?

Can two people in love move past heartache to find each other, and possibly a miracle, again? Sometimes we search so hard but are unable to see that we already have Love's Blessings.

Given 4.5 Hearts from The Romance Studio - you can buy Love's Blessings today from By Grace Publishing

Sorcha's Heart ~ Excerpt #2

Excerpt from Sorcha's Heart
Copyright Debbie Mumford 2006
Publisher: Freya's Bower

The moon, a slender curve of light, rose to its apex and began to decline before Sorcha stirred from her solitary vigil on the heights. She made her way back to her lair in a trance of melancholy sleepiness. Passing the great gallery, she came within range of a heated discussion. Caedyrn and the Rex, not expecting any listeners at this dark hour, raged at each other without bothering to keep their link private.

“You must back away from this female, Caedyrn,” said the Rex, his words rife with command.

“A rex cannot bond. You have waited this long. Let this infatuation pass.”

“I haven’t bonded, not out of desire to be rex,” came Caedyrn’s reply, “but because no female has tempted me. You have no right to deny me a bond-mate if I choose to seek one.”

Caedyrn wanted to bond? The thought cut Sorcha’s heart, and she stumbled back the way she’d come, pulling her thoughts away from the vibrant thread of communication. Blindly, she wandered the corridors until fate brought her back to her own empty nest. If she lost Caedyrn, if he bonded with a female… She didn’t know if she could bear the loneliness. Dry eyed and silent, her heart cried her to sleep.

The next morning, she watched the unbonded females with predatory interest. Which had caught his eye? The golden beauty two maturation groups above Morna? Perhaps the sleek, doe-eyed green that chatted with Etna. No, more likely the terra cotta lovely who instructed Sabia in healing. Yes, that one had a regal bearing that would attract a virile male like Caedyrn.
Sorcha’s soul shriveled as she imagined Caedyrn’s glistening black scales curled around her red-brown glow in the privacy of a bonded pair’s nest.

“You’re very intent, this morning.” Caedyrn’s voice sounded in her mind as his snout nudged her shoulder. “Are you thinking of joining Sabia for healing lessons?”

Gods and goddesses! She’d been so lost in murderous thoughts she hadn’t heard him coming. Thankfully, her thoughts had been firmly lodged in the most private portion of her mind.

“No,” she said truthfully, “though I practiced healing as a wizard.” Without giving herself time to think about it, she plunged into the subject that obsessed her thoughts. “No one has explained the bonding process to me,” she said bluntly. “How do dragons choose their mates?”

He looked startled, even took a step backward before he stopped himself. “Well, when a couple is attracted, they spend time together, get to know each other, and then, well, they bond.” He turned and headed for the passage that led to the flight cliff. “Aren’t you supposed to be with Lorcan? My flight group should be assembled by now.”

“That was a non-answer,” she said, following him out of the great gallery. “How do dragons bond?”

He picked up his pace and pulled ahead of her. “I’m late, Sorcha. My students are expecting me. Besides,” he cast a glance over his shoulder as he reached a turn in the corridor, “that is a question for Etna, not me.” He disappeared around the bend and his words faded as well.

“Coward,” she thought after him.

Later, Etna refused to expand on Caedyrn’s answer, so Sorcha sought out a sure source of information, if not knowledge.

“May I join you?” she asked as she peered into the entrance of Morna’s lair.

“Of course,” said Morna.

“Definitely,” chorused Oona, Nuala and Sabia.

“We thought you’d never ask,” said Keeva.

She stepped inside the round room carved long ago by dragon magic. The nests of the young females’ lined the walls, and were satisfyingly scrunchy masses of limbs, river rocks and the occasional precious stone. The center of the chamber, where the females gathered to groom and chat, was bare, polished ice.

Keeva and Sabia reclined on their nests while Oona and Morna burnished Nuala’s scales with alternating puffs of steam and fingers of fire. Nuala basked in the attention.

“My mentors have been avoiding my questions today,” Sorcha said. “I wondered if you could answer them for me.”

The three in the center froze, while the two on their nests quickly sat up.

Morna recovered first. “You asked a question they wouldn’t answer?”

Sorcha nodded and the others encouraged her into the center of the room.

“Ooooo,” said Keeva. “It must have been really bad! Elders are bound to answer our questions.”

Oona nudged Keeva aside. “Don’t mind her,” she said, her voice dripping smug superiority. “Keeva just loves juicy gossip.”

“As if you don’t,” cried Keeva.

Sabia pushed between the snorting blue and mauve. “Peace, friends. Let’s hear the question!”

“Yes,” said Nuala, the usually shy dragon’s eyes shone with excitement. “What did you ask?”

“Well, I didn’t think it was forbidden or anything,” said Sorcha, beginning to worry that she might offend the young females. “I just asked how dragons bond. Um, I mean, how you choose your bond-mate. Though, I must admit, I’m curious about the actual mating, too.”

“And they wouldn’t tell you?” Morna looked appalled. “There’s nothing secret or offensive about that.”

Sorcha looked around the circle and saw multicolored expressions droop with disappointment. All but one, Oona looked thoughtful.

“What is it, Oona?” she asked.

“Well, it’s probably nothing, but…” She stopped and her lair mates butted her with noses and triangular tails. “Okay. I heard the Rex telling Lorcan and Etna that Sorcha isn’t to be allowed to rise.”


“You must have misunderstood.”

“They wouldn’t do that.”

Oona nodded wisely. “It’s because she’s human,” she said, giving Sorcha an apologetic glance. “The Rex doesn’t want her joining the flight, because he isn’t sure what she is.”

A cold lump formed in the pit of Sorcha’s stomach. If she couldn’t be a human, and the dragons didn’t want her, what would she do? She pushed the thought away and concentrated on a more tangible question.

“What do you mean, I’m not to be allowed to rise? Does he mean politically?”

Five pairs of eyes stared at her blankly. Finally Morna blinked. “Politically?” she asked.
Sabia laughed. “No, Sorcha. He means he doesn’t want you to mate. Once a year, all the eligible females rise for their mating flight. Those of us who fly high enough have the opportunity to bond during that flight.”

Varied pieces of information suddenly formed a recognizable picture. Caedyrn saying her odd color was exotic and attractive—his angry reaction to the young males’ comments—the Rex arguing with him about bonding. Realization hit Sorcha like a breaker pounding the beach. If she’d still had a human body, the psychic blow might have knocked her off her feet. Caedyrn and the Rex had been arguing about her. Caedyrn wanted to mate with her, a human wizard turned to dragon by a magical talisman. Joy filled her soul and tingled down to her toes and tail. Maybe spending the rest of her life as a dragon wouldn’t be so bad after all. If only she could bond with Caedyrn…

“Sorcha? Are you alright?” Sabia sounded worried, and when Sorcha glanced up, she found all five of the young females watching her closely.

She shook herself, a massive, body-wide shiver, and said, “Yes, I’m fine. It’s okay. The Rex probably thinks I’m too inexperienced for such things. And he’s right. I’ve still got so much to learn about being a dragon.”

This statement eased the tension in the room. The lair-mates burst into excited speculation about which males might make good bond-mates, and Sorcha relaxed to listen and think.

A mating flight. Suddenly the comments she’d overheard from the group of males had meaning. Her first flight. They hadn’t meant the first time she flew; they’d meant the first time she would participate in the mating ritual. Her mind whirled with the implications. She had suitors. Charcoal Goban, scarlet Toal and malachite Heber had been making seemingly good-natured comments to her about practicing her flying and improving her wind ever since that first encounter. Her human side groaned as she remembered the many times she’d answered that she loved to fly! Gods and goddesses, she’d been making sexually suggestive remarks without even knowing it. Those young males probably thought she was interested in them.

Another question lit her mind, and Sorcha blurted out, “Do dragons ever engage in sex without bonding?”

All chatter stopped. The group’s attention centered on Sorcha and silence reigned.

At last, Morna answered. “Humans must be very strange creatures,” she said. “We females rise once a year, and if we mate and bear a clutch, we don’t feel the urge to rise again until the hatchlings have graduated to dragonets. Why would we squander such a precious moment on males unworthy of forming a lifelong bond?”

“No, Sorcha,” Sabia said quietly. “As young unbondeds, we participate in the flight and try to fly high enough to qualify for a bond-mate. But there’s more to it than flying. Once we’re mature enough to reach mating height, we’ve already chosen the males we’ll allow to catch us.”

“It’s a race,” said Oona, “and it’s exhilarating, but it’s not random.”

“Yeah,” said Keeva, her eyes glowing with excitement, “and if an unbonded male gets excited and tries to catch a female who hasn’t consented, she’s allowed to attack him!”

“Only if her rightful male doesn’t scorch him first,” added Nuala, thumping her tail in emphasis.

“So, there aren’t ever any bonding mistakes? No rogue males ravish unwilling females? No female says ‘yes’ to one male and then changes her mind mid-flight and allows another to catch her?”

The atmosphere in the room grew heavy, and the lair mates shifted positions uneasily.

“Well, yes,” said Morna. “We’ve heard whispers of such things.”

“But they’re not common,” said Sabia.

“And dragons that commit such crimes are banished from the flight,” said Oona with a prim little sniff. “We don’t tolerate such misbehavior.”

“Of course,” added Nuala, “a female is free to change her mind until she bonds, as are the males.”

“But I’ve never heard of anyone changing their choice during the mating flight,” said Morna. “Like Sabia said, there’s more to it than the excitement of the moment.”

“I’m sorry,” Sorcha said, wishing to dispel the serious mood. “I hope I didn’t offend.”

“Don’t worry,” Sabia said. “You can’t learn if you don’t ask questions. I can’t believe the elders wouldn’t discuss these things with you.”



“Completely irresponsible.”

And the group slid into a rousing chat about how they’d be more responsive to the needs of the young when they became elders. In the midst of covering laughter and unflattering comments about their teachers, Sorcha made her way to the corridor. She needed peace and quiet to sort through the evening’s information.

“Good night, Sorcha.” Morna’s voice sounded quietly in her mind. “Come and join us anytime.”

She smiled to herself and continued toward her solitary lair. “Good night, ladies.”