When Scotland fell to English rule
The Highland dragons took a vow:
Freedom at any price.
The war for Scottish independence rages on, but it’s only a matter of time before England is victorious. Exhausted and battle-weary, Highland dragon Erik MacAlasdair will face unknown seas to seek the Templar stronghold and claim a power so great it could free his beloved homeland forever.
If only that kind of power didn’t come with such a terrible price.
Daughter of a mortal woman and an ancient dragon, Toinette has never forgotten the proud Scot who once stole her young heart—she’ll gladly fight at his side. But when dark forces leave them stranded on a cursed island, it will take everything they have to defy their fate…and trust the passion that burns within the heart of every dragon.
It had been decades since Toinette had fought with another dragon-blooded. She’d forgotten how appealing it was: as heady and easy to lose herself as in any life-or-death battle, but without the risk of death for her men, and with no need at all to hold back. When Erik staggered from her kick to the knee, she grinned.
Toinette didn’t stop when he recovered himself and used his angle to land an excellent upward punch to her stomach. Though the blow knocked the breath out of her, there was a satisfaction in the impact—even in the pain. This was real. This was solid. She could feel it, with nothing ephemeral or confusing, and she could hit back.
She did. A fist to the jaw left Erik shaking his head. Toinette tried to follow up by sweeping a foot at his ankles, but he pivoted away, stepping nimbly over a fallen branch, and then used the momentum to come back at her with a boot to the thigh.
That one might bruise. She almost laughed aloud. Then she darted back into the fray, throwing an uppercut that landed on Erik’s shoulder.
Before she could pull back, though, he grabbed her wrist, then turned his body with a fluid strength that Toinette admired even as it pulled her weight off-center. Mortal bones might have broken; hers held, but she went flying over Erik’s head to land in a patch of grass, tucking her head just in time to miss a tree trunk.
Erik followed up swiftly. Before Toinette could get to her feet, he was kneeling above her, one broad hand holding down each of her shoulders. He was smiling too. One lip was bloody from her fist, but that only made him look wilder—and more handsome. “One fall for you,” he growled. “Surrender?”
“Piss off,” said Toinette, and whipped her head upward toward his nose.
Erik dodged just in time, but the effort of doing so shifted his weight. Toinette shoved him off and backward; twigs snapped beneath his body. She rolled up to her feet, shifted to fighting stance, and waited.
As she’d thought he might, Erik charged her, shoulder first. If he’d taken Toinette square on, he might have won then—he weighed more, in human form, and was at least somewhat stronger—but she sidestepped neatly, grabbed the hair at the back of his head, and yanked. At the same time, she slammed her lower leg into the backs of his knees. The combination took him over backward.
It was her turn to pin him, and she didn’t bugger about with hands on shoulders. She dropped to her knees on Erik’s chest, sending the air out of him for a change. “Second,” she hissed, “goes to me.”
“Pulling hair,” he said, gasping to get his breath back. “Typical woman. Scratch my face next?”
“If I was truly being womanly, you’d have had a knee in your stones by now.”
“Aye,” he said, and smiled again. “You’ve aged past that, have you not?”
“No,” said Toinette. Looking down into his eyes, feeling the muscles in his chest straining under her palms, smelling his clean masculine sweat, she knew why she hadn’t gone near his groin. It would have been her second target in any other fight—second only because men were quick to defend that location, unless she distracted them with pain elsewhere first—but she’d wanted Erik uninjured in that regard.
She lunged forward. He raised his head at the same moment, and their mouths met with heat and force. All the vital energy of their fight changed in an instant, finding different channels, but the transformation was incomplete. Still they struggled against each other, warring for control with lips and tongues.
Toinette stretched herself out atop the hard length of Erik’s tall body. Her breasts flattened against his chest with exquisite friction. The pressure bordered on pain; she welcomed the bright heat of that edge, the clarity of the sensation. A knee on either side of Erik’s hips held her stable and let her feel his cock hardening between them, tenting the cloth of his hose and pushing against her mound.
Clothing was a very stupid idea.
She would have done something about it, but that would have meant releasing Erik, and she didn’t trust him not to take advantage of that. As she’d shifted position, he’d snaked a hand up and around her neck, his fingers long, forceful, and nearer her jugular than Toinette would have permitted from anyone else, particularly anyone whose nails could become claws with a thought.
With Erik, the contact sent tendrils of humming desire down through her body, hardening her nipples and spiraling inward to her sex. She made no move to shake his hand away. When he pressed her head down, crushing her mouth against his, the hint of pain only went well with the pleasure, a sharp wine with a rich meal.
Yet she had no wish to surrender. The fight was half the fun.
Toinette dug her fingers into Erik’s shoulders, hard enough for him to feel the nails even through his shirt. At the same time, she pulled back: not enough to stop kissing him—she didn’t want to do that—but far enough to bite his lower lip. She did no damage, but she wasn’t entirely gentle either.
The sound he made was as close to a growl as human lungs could manage. Erik’s hips flexed upward, hard and sudden and involuntary, driving his erection between his stomach and Toinette’s. As the heat in her own sex spread outward, she wondered if she could drive him over the edge still clothed. The thought made her pulse with arousal—and, at the same time, chuckle low in her throat.
Erik was the one to pull back this time. “Oh no, lass,” he said hoarsely. Sweat was beginning to glisten at his temples, darkening his golden hair, and his eyes were almost all pupil, but he had enough confidence to smile up at her again. “You’re not winning this one.”
Then, with a quick twist of his arms, he rolled them both over.