The Forsaken Series Book 2
The flame within a dragon warrior's heart awakens Arianna's passion as she begins a journey in which she will discover she's something more than she ever imagined possible.
The realm of the dragons is a world of magic, danger, and mystery. For centuries they’ve been at war with the vampires, but now the two enemies must work together to save all immortals, and the mortals they co-exist with, from an ancient evil. In order to do so, they need the help of the Forsaken, descendants of immortals who were cast out into the human realm, their memories wiped clean of their true heritage.
Clayne MacDagon is a powerful dragon warrior who is sent on a mission to find one of the Forsaken. Although he’s told that this woman is his fated mate, he can’t believe it could possibly be true. Arianna Mergliano possesses both dragon and vampire blood, and Clayne has an intense hatred for anything even remotely related to vampires, the evil beings whowere responsible for his beloved twin’s death.
When Arianna meets Clayne, she’s convinced that the man is insane, or maybe he’s a warlock or even the devil himself, but whichever it is, she wants nothing to do with him. Clayne knows he can’t fail at his mission. And once he meets Arianna he also knows that what he’s been told is true—she is, ironically, his intended mate.
Convincing her to accept him is only the beginning. He has to protect her from those who might want her dead. Together, they must face the shadows and evil that have long plagued the immortal realms and find a way to survive the coming war.
The polished marble floors shimmered like diamonds, their radiance nearly blinding. Majestic chandeliers hung from high ceilings, bejeweled with precious emeralds crafted by a master artisan troll. Each stone held within it the essence of dragon, making them priceless and giving them mystical qualities.
King Aerouant strode down the corridor, his gaze on the fine mosaic tiles telling his kind’s history. This was the stronghold of the realm of dragons, Ejdeha Dragoni.
Tonight his dragons celebrated. After years of conflict and war between themselves and the fierce vampires, the changes in Earth’s seasons were great reasons to make merry. With wine and food,they rejoiced in this season of renewal, human’s spring.
“King Arach Aerouant, please honor us with a toast of beginnings,” a boisterous warrior shouted, standing with his cup in hand.
“Yes, I shall offer a proper toast.” A joyous smile was plastered on Arach’s face as he raised his cup high. His gaze swept over the fifty gathered warriors. “My friends, loyal subjects, let’s offer thanks to Mother Earth for her bounty. We dragons owe Mother Earth our devotion as we are her servants.”
“Well, well, well, Arach,” a sensual feminine voice chimed in from behind his chair. “What about thanking me, your beloved goddess? I too have given much to your kind.” A silver-haired beauty sashayed her lovely figure to stand next to the king, one finger pointed to the valley between her abundant breasts. “Well, mighty king of the dragons, have you forgotten me so soon?” Her musical laughter filled the air.
The men fidgeted in their seats. Shivers of desire raced up Arach’s spine. His muscles tensed as he studied the beautiful goddess. He fought his body’s betrayal, all too aware his fellow comrades felt the same sexual pull. Amuliana was nothing if not seductive.
“When last have you had a celebration in my honor? I surely wasn’t invited.” The goddess pouted, one hand on her curvaceous hip.
The king bowed low. “Goddess, how could we ever forget your loveliness? We’re forever grateful for your many blessings.”
Amuliana appraised the room, the obviousness of it enough for Arach to grind his teeth. “Is the handsome boy hiding from me?” She sipped her wine, her lashes lowered to half-mast.
“He was pardoned from attending this celebration. He’s sparring with his men. He’s always training to ensure his legion is the best. Shall we fetch him?” KingArach waved a young lad forward.
Amuliana placed her hand on Arach’s arm. “He always was one for all work and no play. One must strive to alter that.” She shook her head, her mass of curls tumbling over her shoulders. “Clayne’s disposition will have to change. He’ll no longer have the ability to immerse himself in play fighting.” Amuliana tasted the pheasant in front of her. “Mmm. You always have such succulent food, Arach. I do love good food too. Despite the fact I’m a powerful goddess, I like to partake in all pleasurable things.” She surveyed the table. “Luscious males and succulent food, what must I do?” She shrugged her lovely shoulders, her cleavage emphasized. “I’ve forgotten how much I love to visit this realm. I shall have to try not to forget. I expect more invites. Do you understand?”
“Of course, goddess. You are always welcome.” Arach wondered if she’d noticed how forced his smile was. He was eager to be rid of her. “These blessings are why we offer our tribute to Mother Earth, she continues to bless us. As do you, goddess,” Arach added, nodding his head toward her.
“Yes, I do.”
He shuddered at the hardening of her voice, the crackle of anger beneath the sweet dulcet tone. “Goddess, please tell us what involves my loyal warrior and nephew, Clayne MacDagon?”
“It has unfortunately come to pass that the prison gates holding Saltar have been weakened.” Amuliana sighed, her very air one of distress, yet he caught the twinkle in her eyes.
“What!” A combined gasp swept the room, the men awakened from their lust-induced trances. “How did this come to be?” Arach shuddered, panic rolling through him as heat rippled up his body. Every sense was alert to the danger.
“I dabbled a bit with something else, and noted only afterward that the bonds were weaker. Calm yourself, my dragon king. I prefer the heat of your sexual passion to this heat wave.” Amuliana fanned herself, and then twirled her hair between her fingers. “This happens when one plays with the fabric of time. He is still imprisoned, but the locks need a bit of shoring up.” She batted her lashes at the king. “As much as I loathe asking for your assistance, I must. To ensure our continued existence, our safety, I must impose upon you. Saltar is a dangerous vampire as well as insanely angry.”
“Yes, he’s one pissed off fucking bloodsucker. Can’t you fix this? You are a goddess.” Arach raised his right brow, idly playing with his glass of wine. “Indeed, why were you dabbling with time’s fabric?”
Amuliana rose, her chair skittering across the floor. A servant rushed to right her chair. “How dare you question me.” Narrowed, her eyes bore into him with a look of utter disgust and fury. “I can make you sorry for such insolence. Yes, I can fix this. I’m here to get what I need to fix this. I need Clayne MacDagon.”
“Yes, I have no doubt you can make me sorry, my goddess, but wouldn’t you rather I come to your assistance to fix your blunder?” Arach leaned closer to her.
Amuliana’s beautiful features contorted. “I suppose.” She shrugged, twirling her hair around one finger. “But don’t call it a blunder. It’s such a common word.” The goddess lounged in her righted chair, legs crossed. Her gown slipped, revealing the long expanse of her leg. “I suppose I shall need your cooperation in this. You honor me, King Dragon, by taking this mission.”
“What is it my loyal warrior Clayne can provide?”
“He will do as bid, but I wonder what else you need of him?”
“Simply do as I ask, see to it your warrior nephew is cooperative.” The cunning goddess’s voice deepened. “Clayne is a male of many talents. It should be easy for him to find a mortal female and persuade her to do his bidding. He must seduce her then bring her here to me. He needs to capture her heart, but she must surrender it freely. I’m sure this female will weaken to his male talents. Send him to seek the Forsaken who bares the mark of wings of a dragon on her right shoulder. This female’s important to us, she possesses the royal tiara along with the ring of Queen Maudhnait, King Hema’s assassinated wife. She can wield their powers.”
“We’re fully aware who Queen Maudhnait was. She was kin, needlessly murdered by bloodsuckers.”
“Yes, the point exactly. She possessed dragon and vampire blood. A vessel of peace between your races, a symbol of unity, wife to a vampire supreme leader. Lord Saltar destroyed the peace when he destroyed her. That was his objective, you know.” Amuliana’s voice was harsh. The faint buzz of arousal was easily crushed as Arach watched the goddess spin her web. Deceitful, cruel, she was not one to be trusted.
“Yes, our kind recalls the history very well. You need not remind us.” Running a hand through his hair, he struggled to regain control.
“She too possesses dragon’s blood mixed with vampire blood.”
“There are others of this unusual mix?” Arach sat his glass down a bit too hard.
“Of course there are others, you ignorant man.” Amuliana’s voice rose with her anger, her eyes narrowed and darkened.
Arach fisted his hands but held his tongue. The temperature in the room soared as his emotions churned.
“In times past, your males would eagerly lay with vampire women. Do you not recall this fact? Vampire women are sensual, seductive, despite their habit of consuming blood. These affairs produced children of mixed genetics.” Amuliana looked around at the men. Many cast their eyes down or away. “These children were raised as vampires, often never knowing the truth. Yet the dragon blood has never diminished within their veins. It has passed from one generation to the next. Such is the great power of your kind.”
“I do know that many of my dragon males enjoyed the beds of vampire vixens.” Arach shook his head, snarling.
“Yes, they did.” Amuliana touched Arach’s hand, trailing her fingers over his. “I can understand why the vampire women desired your males. I also enjoy a dragon’s cock.”
Arach pulled his hand away. “I’m mated, my lovely goddess.”
“Yes, yes, how boring.” Amuliana rolled her eyes. “Anyway, the jewels were hidden away with this girl’s family. She possesses dragon’s blood, and the treasure of which I seek. Like all of Saltar’s followers, her line was cast out. Why the jewels have been kept safe for so long is because none know of her yet.” Amuliana took a sip of her wine. “This female dracvipen, one of mixed vampire and dragon blood, holds the key to defeating Saltar once again.”
“He must find the dracvipen with the jewels. It is my belief that Clayne alone can make things right. He is the one who can find her. Then he must use his innate charms upon this female dracvipen to bring her to me, to this realm.”
“Clayne’s hatred for all vampires will hinder his ability to do this. I should send another warrior.”
“No.” Amuliana slammed her fist down, making the entire table shake. Her fair complexion turned black as night, and her eyes shinned silver. “No, it has to be Clayne MacDagon. Did you not hear me? I know what needs to be done! He must find the Forsaken female. Do as I command! King Aerouant, you will see to it this is done. Clayne must obey. Is that understood?”
Before Arach could answer, Goddess Amuliana vanished in a puff of black smoke. With her departure, his men shifted, waking from the spell she’d cast.
Arach leaned forward, fury lashing through him at the high-handed treatment of one they hadn’t seen in decades. “There is much to this we have not been told.” Glancing at his squire, he waved him closer. “Find Clayne, bring him to me.”
“Right away, sire.”
Arach leaned back in his seat, watching the young dragon hurry from the room.
(c) Copyright 2012 by Ciara Lake. All Rights Reserved.