Open Season | Amber Heat | February 2012 | Genre: Erotic Paranormal | ISBN-13: 978-1-61124-252-2
A submissive-in-training, Season knows the boundaries, but that doesn’t stop her from crossing them, or from falling in love with her master and wanting more. When the ban against life-mating between humans and Dragonkind is lifted, she jumps at the chance to enter the ritual hunt and claim her master as mate. Despite the dangers and risks, she knows their love is worth it, even if her masterful dragon doesn’t.
Quinn knew accepting the position as General of the Dragon Army came with risks and that his enemies would look for any weakness they could use against him. But he never realized how fast lust could turn to love, or desire to need.
When an old foe from the war notices Quinn’s growing attraction and deeper involvement with Season, Quinn is caught between two difficult choices—pretend indifference to the woman he’s grown to love, or enter the Solstice Hunt and risk everything to claim his human mate.
“MAGNIFICENT! This was a great story. Cassandra Curtis created a wonderful world. The length of the story (Only 72 pages) while short leaves you wanting to know more about the characters and the minor characters that appear in the book. This could very easily become a series. The author does a marvelous job of balancing heat, sex, and BDSM elements without sacrificing the story line in the process.” -Melissa, BDSM Book Reviews
The constant, overwhelming drive to claim and mark her as a mate had been the impetus causing him to withdraw, at least temporarily, from her company. Season’s eagerness to please made her an excellent bottom, but she was human and he knew better than to take her fully in the ways of his kind. She wouldn’t understand what claiming meant to him and what it would mean for her—not that the dragon council of elders would allow a human to enter the sacred mating hunt.
Besides, a solitary existence had served him well over the years. If, at odd times, he ached for the closeness of a life mate, he hid it, scorning the emotion and the temptation. Seeking out submissive humans, playing D/s games, and telling himself he was satisfied had become routine.
He stood on the warehouse roof across the street and watched Season exit the building alone. Stupid girl! Why hadn’t she waited for Nalita? Didn’t she understand her very tempting and precarious situation? The warehouse district was a rough area, despite the cops who made the circuit, driving past in their police cruisers. A woman needed protection, some deterrent for the thieves and thugs prowling the streets at night.
Season wore an impossibly short bronze miniskirt and chocolate leather ankle boots, her hips swaying the slightest bit as she made her way to her car, stepping over the slushy puddles left from a recent snowstorm. Her long blond hair was tied in a ponytail, her shimmery brown sweater dipped low, exposing the creamy curves of her breasts. She’d come to Nalita’s ready to play—without him.
What did you expect? Season is a submissive-in-training. It wasn’t her place to call and invite him. That wasn’t how their arrangement worked. He was the one in control. If he’d wanted to go with her to Nalita’s party, he should have called her and told her. That was the problem. She expected more from their relationship, and he’d become the nervous fawn. How could he call himself a Dom and yet be—? No, he wouldn’t even say it. He wasn’t…afraid.
“Master Dragonairre, a word with you, sir.”
Startled from his thoughts, Quinn turned to see his second, Jace, standing behind him. The roar of an engine divided his attention. Season drove away. “What?” He replied, his tone brusque.
“Sir, the guild asked to speak with you regarding the upcoming solstice festivities.” His second stood firm despite the withering glance Quinn cast his way.
“What do they want now?”
“I believe it has something to do with the official hunt, sir.”
“Very well. Perhaps they’ve come to their senses.”
“I hope so, sir. Our war with the humans is ancient history. The guild should allow them to enter the hunt.”
“Jace, for those of us who lived through that dark time, the bitterness still lingers in our memories. We have to move past it in order to secure our future, yes, but it’ll take time for the clans who fought so hard and lost so much.” Damn, that sounded like part of a campaign speech, even though it was true. Bad enough his position granted him a vote. He despised most of the supercilious bastards on the guild’s council. The politicians chose to ignore him when it suited them, but all too often, it was his vote that was the deciding factor.
Whether the humans only acted as observers, or full participants in the hunt, he knew the decision would mean sweeping changes to his people’s way of life…and his own. The opportunity to call Season his life mate should be worth any price—except her safety. He’d do anything, including push her away, to keep her safe from harm.
If he showed too much care for her welfare, or treated her any differently than other fawns he’d trained in the past, his enemies would know. The war had already placed a high a burden on him, and cost him dearly. Ignoring Season pained him, but losing her through an act of revenge or retribution for something he’d done in the war, twisted his guts in knots.
Quinn stretched, back arched, his shoulders pulled forward in preparation for the change. Dense connective tissue twined together, forming elongated fingers on the underside of his arms. Leathery crimson membrane grew between the new cartilage and bone. Stretched from wing tip to tip, the span neared twenty feet long.
He lowered onto his haunches and gazed one last time at the building across the street. Smoke unfurled from his flared nostrils as he saw Nalita lock the heavy double doors and chain them tight. She turned, a stun-stick in her hand. Good girl. The weapon was a nasty piece of work, hard to obtain unless you had connections inside the police force or within the upper echelon of black marketers—both of which Nalita had.
“I take it we’re not driving?” Jace dropped to his knees, as similar bat-like wings sprouted from his back. His clothes dissolved beneath shiny blue and gold scales, absorbed into his very DNA matrix.
“Not this time. We fly!” Quinn stepped off the roof and soared into the emerging dawn of an amethyst streaked sky.