Courts, queens, and sexy dragons with wings…
Viola Pierce has never had particularly great luck with guys. That is, until the day she shifts into a glorious, deadly, three-headed dragon. As it turns out, Viola is a dragon Queen. But when she’s abducted by a greedy dragon who wants to breed with her, Viola begins to realize the dragon world is filled with betrayal, deception, intrigue, and danger…
As a rule, Sergei hates Queens, but Viola’s beauty and humanity reach something deep within him. Something he should not be feeling. When she names him her protector and consort—quite by accident—Sergei has no choice but to accept. Now they are bonded for life…with a growing attraction neither of them could have imagined.
But the dragon court is ruthless…and what doesn’t kill Viola will only make her more dangerous.
It was chilly standing in line to get into Yarn Barn Crafts. Viola stamped her feet to get some feeling back into them. She was bundled up like that kid in Christmas story, only she could move her arms.
“This is ridiculous,” Sergei bitched in her ear.
“You are a dragon Queen. If you only let me, I would have had the store open hours ago for a private viewing. Hell, you could just tell me what you want and would buy it for you and to hell with the price.”
Sergei looked around, probably to make sure no one was eavesdropping on their conversation. He made her go all the way to upstate New York to make sure no one would recognize them. The paperwork alone to allow her to enter Queen Arianna’s state was nauseating and she had to knit her a scarf for tribute. That part wasn’t so bad, and she made Justice do the paperwork.
“I could probably buy you the entire store.”
Viola huffed out a breath of white smoke. Since she didn’t have a breath weapon, having her words condense into fog was the closest she got. “What’s the fun in that?”
“What’s the fun of this?” He indicated the sleepy shoppers, sipping coffee from Thermoses and leaning against the building.
“Can’t you feel the anticipation building?” she asked, looking up to the sky. Maybe it would start snowing. She was feeling homesick for Greenland, of all places.
“Well trust me, it is.” At his sour face, Viola continued. “It’s either this or we go out looking for Queens in trouble.”
“They come to you. You don’t have to go looking for them.” He frowned down at her stomach. “Are the babies cold?”
“No.” She shook her head. “They’re nice and toasty and will be for the next four months, so don’t try using my pregnancy as an excuse.”
Sergei looked around. “I don’t want to have to kill anyone today.” He forgot to lower his voice. Or did he? A few customers backed away from them.
“It’s good to have daily goals,” Viola said, patting his arm. “Here, hold my coupons while I look at the flyer again.”
He stifled a groan. “Don’t you have that thing memorized yet?”
“I want to make sure we get all the door stopper deals.” She rattled the paper at him.
Just then, the doors opened and the crowd pushed forward.
“Don’t get separated from me,” Sergei warned, tugged the knitted hat she made him over his ears.
“Keep up,” she said, stuffing the ad in her pocket so she had both hands free to stock up on yarn.
Bypassing the line that formed for the free doughnuts and coffee, Viola eyeballed the mini doughnut maker on the way by. “We should get that.”
Sergei grunted and used his height advantage to snatch one off the top shelf over the heads of the customers looking to get it off the display table. When he thought she wasn’t looking, Viola saw him grab a couple of bags of chocolate candy melts. She liked where his head was at. That would make a nice coating for the mini doughnuts.
But what she was really here for was the large bumps of yarn whose strands were as thick as a garden hose. There! Up ahead. Picking up speed, she dodged the Christmas ribbon people and managed to snag her hair on a plastic bird. Not bothering to stop, she took it with her.
“Your hair is a bird’s nest,” Sergei said from behind her. She felt him try to gently detangle it.
“I need ten bumps of the camel and ten of the buffalo.”
“Are we talking about livestock?”
“Go get a carriage or hold out your hands.” Viola dug through the big shelving box of yarn.
“I’m not leaving you.” Sergei managed to pry the bird free from her hair. “You’re covered in glitter,” he said.
“I like the glitter.”
“Figured as much,” he said and audibly stifled a sigh.
She tossed nine of the big bumps of yarn at him. “I need one more buffalo.”
Sergei had four under each of his arms and one under a chin. “Hey lady,” he asked a woman looking at the candle making supplies. She looked up, noticed that the big biker dude was looking at her and forced a smile.
“I’ll give you fifty bucks for that carriage.”
Apparently she got over her fear of tattooed men in leather and hustled the cart over to him. Sergei unloaded the large skeins of yarn and peeled off a hundred dollar bill and handed it to her. “Keep the change,” he said.
“Bless you.” The woman stood on her tiptoes to kiss his cheek and practically skipped to the front of the store.
“That was so nice.” Viola hugged him.
“My arms were getting tired. Don’t read anything into it.” He crossed his arms.
“I’m short a buffalo and three camels.” Viola sighed in frustration.
“What are you planning on making?”
“I was going to knit you a sweater.”
Sergei looked in the cart. “Why do you need twenty skeins?”
“For your dragon form, silly. I guess we’ll just have to hit another store. There’s one in Albany. We can fly there if you’d rather not drive.”
“I’m not carrying shopping bags in my talons,” he gritted out, pushing the carriage to the long line. It was fifteen people deep. “Oh for fu—”
Viola clamped a hand over his mouth. “There are children present.”
Sergei rolled his eyes. “I’ve got twenty bucks for everyone who lets us go ahead of them,” he shouted when she removed her hand.
He had a few takers.
“Stop bribing people. It’s embarrassing,” Viola whispered as they jumped line.
“You don’t have to knit me a sweater. Dragons don’t wear sweaters,” he whispered back. “Make a blanket instead. That’s enough yarn.”
“Blasphemer. There is never enough yarn.” Viola didn’t like the calculating look in his eyes. It meant he was thinking up something devious and probably irresistible.
“Why don’t you knit me a bike cozy for my new Hayabusa?”
She put her hand to her chest in shock. “I didn’t know you even knew the word cozy.”
“Do we have a deal? You knit me a cover for my bike. We don’t go to anymore stores today.”
Viola wasn’t born yesterday. “What’s in it for me?” She crossed her arms over her chest.
“I’ll buy you a Hayabusa of your own and we can take a road trip to all the Fiber Festivals next year.”
They shook on it.
Meet Jamie Schmidt!
Jamie Kleinkauf-Schmidt has over thirty short stories published in small press and ezines. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz in Secondary Education English, which is a fancy way of saying she went to college to teach high school English. When that didn’t pan out, she worked as a call center manager, a Tupperware consultant, a paralegal, and finally a technical writer for a major conglomerate company. She is an active member in the Romance Writers of America (RWA), serving as the PRO liaison for her local chapter Connecticut Romance Writers of America (CTRWA).
When not writing, Jamie relaxes with a mug of hot tea and knits or makes beaded jewelry. She sells her handcrafted items at The Dudley Farm during the summer. A voracious reader, Jamie has a Kindle and is not afraid to use it.
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