Queen of Dragons
The Drákon Series, Book 3
ISBN-10: 0553588060 ISBN-13: 978-0553588064
fell asleep as the moonlight shortened into a slit along
the raw silk curtains, dreaming of fire and boiling
water, of the sun reflecting off the sea.
he woke a few hours later, something had changed.
felt different, charged somehow, a heaviness eating
down through his bones, crackling the hair on his arms
and legs. He lay very still a moment, breathing slowly,
the sheets at his waist, smelling and tasting and measuring
that subtle, smoking sting like gunpowder lingering
at the back of his throat.
were still open, the night was still sweltering, but
that wasn’t it.
was here in the mansion. Someone new, someone with power.
Someone he had never felt before.
folding back the sheets, his toes pressing the warm
maple floor. He wouldn’t Turn—too obvious—but he could
hunt without Turning. In the quiet, in the heat, in
storm or total blindness, Kimber knew he could hunt.
drawers and bare feet, his hair a heated weight down
his neck, he padded to the door of his chamber, pushed
it ajar. A breath of more temperate air washed along
the length of his body, cooling the moisture on his
skin. The beast within him stretched into sinew and
blood, eager to surface.
Manor had been built with an eye for grace and updated
for luxury, another cunning ruse in his family’s presentation
of itself to the world. The main hallway of the upper
level yawned wide and open, floored with checkered stone
tiles; skylights of clean, polished glass illumed the
corridor and allowed in the night. Kim avoided the brighter
patches. He stole through shadows to the grand staircase,
pausing to listen, but heard nothing beyond the usual
background of distant snores, and the creaks and groans
of timber beams cooling with the dark.
was not mistaken. Despite his guards, despite his vigilance,
Chasen had been breached.
murmured the dragon, flexing, growing. Danger. Destroy
utterly without noise. His foot found the first step
down the white marble stairs, and then the next. He
reached the base swiftly and fell again into shadow.
the rippling of fresh power, was coming from the music
briefly where Rhys was, why he hadn’t sensed the threat
as well, but there was no time to wake him. The stinging
charge was nearly electric at this point, the friction
of thunderheads against ether, remarkably strong. He
approached the open doors and, his back to the wood,
moonlight still rinsed through these windows, tracing
black and blue and charcoal across the furnishings.
Frozen elegance, the drapes and rug and cream agate
mantel framing the hearth, the pianoforte—the chamber
appeared empty. The fire was feathered ash; there weren’t
even any dust motes to settle with a draft. The only
sound to be heard was the bracket clock ticking, very
loudly, atop the cabinet in the corner, its grinning
cherubs just visible in a gleam of dull metallic blue.
was oppressive. The heat, the living friction, the sting
against his skin. He was burning inside, expanding:
the dragon writhed to be free, to taste blood.
stood motionless. He waited.
the blackest of the corners he saw at last the something
he had sensed, a slight, languorous movement that seemed
almost joined with the night, just as sultry and silky
slow. It resolved to become a shoulder, a bare pale
arm. The curve of a neck and cheekbones and lips; a
wash of moonlit hair; dark-lashed, amazing clear eyes—eyes
like water, like the light—watching him without blinking.
the dragon became an exhalation, hissed hard between
God, what the hell—
who you are,” said the woman in French. Her voice was
soft, melodious; it sent fresh shivers across his skin.
She hesitated, then walked closer. Against the rigidly
polished lines of the pianoforte, he realized she wore
no clothing at all. “Do you know me, Lord Kimber of
an involuntary step forward. A thousand stories raced
through his mind, explanations, excuses. There could
be only one answer here, only one female in the world
who could steal into his home undetected—
one hand, her fist closed. Without looking away from
him, her fingers opened, and she inverted her palm.
Twin flashes of metal fell to the rug, bounced against
the woven flowers with a muffled tattoo before rolling
dropped rings, a pair of them. Signet rings.
rings. Exactly like the ones worn by Jeffery and Luke
his eyes back to hers.
brought you a gift, as you can see.” The Princess Maricara
gave a small, chilly smile. “But perhaps we might make
this an exchange instead. Is there something you wish
to tell me?”
Excerpted from QUEEN OF
DRAGONS by Shana Abé. Copyright © 2008 by Shana
Abé. Excerpted by permission of Bantam Books, a division
of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of
this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without
permission in writing from the publisher.