Series: Once Upon A Time...
Release date: May 2014
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A dark and sinister fallen angel, Kyane is condemned to travelling the world in search of redemption. Fighting evil everywhere he goes, hardened warrior Kyane is drawn to the Kingdom of the Dragon where he finds a princess trapped by her dragon keeper.
Kyane learns that every suitor who wins the princess's hand is found dead by the morning after their wedding night, and his suspicions grow when he discovers that the princess is still a virgin, and happy to remain so. Is there more than one enemy within the palace walls for Kyane to fight?
Too long without sex was like too long without water. It killed, just as slow, just as sure. He'd reined in, distracted by a musical laugh, to find it came from a girl swimming naked in the rock pool far below the forest trail along which he was riding. The pale sylph was playing tag with an otter, and was home in the water as he was on a horse. A battle always left him with a lust for life, along with the urge to celebrate yet another victory over evil by slaking his hunger, long and hard within the tight, welcoming warmth of a woman. But the girl was young. Too young for him to slake his lust on, maybe…
Dragging his gaze away, he exclaimed as an elderly poacher stepped out of the undergrowth. Bringing his startled warhorse under control, he blocked the path. Throwing down his bloodstained sack, the poacher dropped to his knees and begged for mercy. Cowering back, the old man covered his face at the sight of the mighty warrior seated on a stamping stallion coated with the dust and stain of war. Hearing the old man's strangled cry, the young girl flung herself from the pool and was quickly lost to sight, swallowed up in a shaft of moonlight the exact same silver as her slender form and hair.
"Curse you, old man!" He scanned the clustering trees in the forest far below. Too late. The girl had vanished.
"I am already cursed, Sire."
While Kyane doubted his own sanity. Wiping his eyes with the back of his hand, he wondered if he had imagined the girl. Was magic at work here? Was she a wood nymph who could disappear at will? Could Naiads even exist in a land that reeked of evil? Young female spirits known as Naiads generally gathered around fresh water and were essentially good and playful, and drawn to the light, though he had heard of shape-shifters amongst them -
Was that her?
He tracked the ribbon of light as it whipped a confident path through the forest. What intrigued him was not the speed with which the light moved, but the way it moved. No human could run like that. The movement reminded him of the undulating stride of a young horse at full tilt. He waited until the light had reached the towering walls of the palace where it disappeared before turning to the old man.
"Explain yourself, grandfather."
"Master." The poacher was quaking with fear as he knelt with his face in the mud.
'Get up old man.' Kyane commanded. He waited as the poacher scrambled to his feet before asking his next question. 'Will I find hot food and a warm bed for the night inside those palace walls?"
"You will find death there," the old man's voice shook with terror.
Then why had light sought refuge in such a place? The girl - if it was the girl he'd seen in some other form- had seemed to be rushing headlong towards her fate.
"You have entered the Kingdom of the Dragon," the old man told him. "No one leaves here alive. Take what you want from my sack and let me go," he begged. "And be sure to get well away from here before you light your cooking fire."
"Or the dragon will find me?" Kyane's stern mouth twitched in a smile. The old man was talking to a warrior who had battled Satan and survived. Kyane's most recent battle had been with the snake-haired Medusa's of the north. Their fetid blood still clung to his legs and battle kilt. There was nothing on this earth left to frighten him.
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