He wants her for his bride to end the dragons’ curse but his love for her is ruining his plans.
In the aftermath of a senseless war that claimed many lives, the gods have punished the dragons for causing the conflict. The next generation will not hatch until Prince Shurik finds a human female willing to put aside generations of animosity to become his bride.
Yolette goes to sleep on the side of a mountain, the odd woman out on a couples’ camping trip, and awakes in a field outside the home of a dragon. Transported to an unknown world very different from her own, she must depend on Shurik for shelter and guidance.
Shurik doesn’t anticipate his growing feelings for Yolette, making the task of proposing that much harder. Danger looms from those who want the punishment ended and from those who want it to continue until the last dragon is gone. Shurik must decide whether he will save his people or his love and pray to the gods his choice is the right one.
“Man, I hope this is a natural formation. Or else, I’d hate to meet the thing that dug this,” Yolette said, scanning the flashlight above her head so she could see the ceiling. It was well over fifty feet high. It looked too smooth to be natural, though. Maybe it was a man-made tunnel and they’d stopped construction for some reason.
She brought the flashlight down so it pointed in front of her. Her steps came to an abrupt halt when the light flashed across a clawed foot. The claw was as big as she was. It was made of some sort of black, polished stone.
The claw was attached to a leg. Yolette swept the flashlight up the leg to see the rest of the statue. The leg connected to a chest and that chest connected to a long neck, which ended in a head—a head that was two feet in front of Yolette. If she had kept walking, she would have run into it.
“Somebody has way too much free time on their hands. I mean, who would put such a big statue in the middle of this cave?” she asked aloud. She scanned over the statue—an exquisite and very detailed black dragon—with interest. Every scale was carved as an individual piece of the whole. Some had little scratches, as though the dragon might have brushed up against something.
“You’re a very pretty statue,” Yolette said, moving a little closer.
“Thank you,” the statue said.
“You’re welcome.” She realized the statue had spoken two seconds after her reply left her mouth. She frowned. “I have got to be going crazy.” She reached out to touch it. “You didn’t talk, did you?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!” Yolette yanked her hand away and stepped back. For safety’s sake, she took two more.
The head followed her, though its body didn’t move. “I am none of those people and know none of them. Are you lost, human?”
She nodded then shook her head. Her voice was dazed when she said, “I gotta go now. Bye.” She didn’t run. She turned around and walked back the way she had come. She was five steps away when she returned to the dragon. “You’re a dragon, right?”
“That’s what I thought.” She nodded and then walked away again. She said to herself, “That’s it, I’m dreaming. And, if I’m not dreaming, I’ve officially lost my mind. I’m going to assume I’m dreaming first, though. That makes more sense.” She nodded again. “Dreaming.” To test her theory, she pinched her cheek.
It hurt, and she was still in a cave—she glanced over her shoulder—and she was still walking away from a dragon.
A soft sliding sound made Yolette stop and look behind her again. The dragon was closer than he had been a few seconds ago. He was following her but had stopped when she stopped. She frowned at him and opened her mouth to say something then changed her mind. She shook her head and continued on her way. “Dreaming. That’s all there is to it.”
The sliding sound restarted. Yolette stopped and the sound stopped. She wondered why she couldn’t hear footsteps. Something that large should make a lot of noise when it walked. She looked back again.
“Stop following me. Go away.” She made a shooing motion with her hand. The dragon stood and stared at her. “This is so bad,” she said as she turned and continued toward the mouth of the cave.
She smiled when she caught sight of her bag. It was still there. So was her walking companion.
“Just ignore him. Once you leave the cave, reality will right itself and everything will be okay,” she whispered. That got another nod as she stashed her flashlight away. She shrugged into her backpack straps and started out of the cave.
Maybe the dragon wanted to make sure she left. It made sense. So did a psychotic break after being picked with one too many times. But if she wasn’t dreaming and wasn’t crazy, then she had trespassed. The dragon would stop following her once she was gone.
The dragon continued trailing her down the hill. She glanced over her shoulder every few feet and he was there. “Maybe I’m not far enough away yet.”
It was another five minutes of walking before she got sick of being followed, and her feet hurt too much to keep going. She stopped and confronted the dragon. “Why are you following me? I left the cave. Go away.”