I’m a big fan of writing historical romance. I love all the attention to details, the planning, the backdrop history lends to a story. Sometimes, writing within the confines of historical romance means just that—restrictions. No electricity. No technological gadgets we’ve become dependent on. No ease-of-access clothing. No indoor plumbing. That’s pretty much what I wanted for my upcoming release Dragons at Dawn. It’s the third book in the Eight Realms line and even though my hero, Braeden, is a very plugged-in kinda guy, I wanted him to be so thrown off his game he’d have to readjust his priorities. What better way to do that then drop him in a world that is only advances are comparable to Regency England circa 1820?
The other thing I love to do is blend genres, which is exactly what happened in Dragons at Dawn. On top of the historical aspect, it’s also a paranormal romance. Why? The hero is a dragon (who you met during Vegetarian at Midnight). The heroine is also a dragon, but she doesn’t know it for awhile. Not only does the leading couple need to cope with historical shock, they’ll need to come to terms with their paranormal sides. It makes for some great conflict.
I’m excited for this book to be released and hope you’ll check it out!
When fear and extinction threaten life, the only way to survive is to change…or fight back.
Mona Moussai is on the run—from her family, from a dragon and from herself. She wants nothing more than to stay in the Mortal Realm and live a normal live, yet when she tangles with a shape-shifting attorney bent on her capture, instinct demands she hide. However, the secrets buried deep inside could have deadly consequences.
Braeden Hollister has long ago made peace with his dragon heritage but he refuses to live it. He’s a man with many vices, always living for himself, and when the opportunity to drag Mona to the Moussai Realm for a bounty presents itself, he can’t resist the glitter of gold.
What happens next is a foray into a backward realm circa the 1820s where dragons not only exist but they’re intent on ruling the realm and restoring power. Personal agendas are forgotten, battle lines are drawn in a world where familial ties strangle and old foes resurface. Political angst explodes all around them. In the end, only the strong will survive to live, and love, another day.
Excerpt from Chapter One (unedited)
“What the hell do you mean you started the rumor?”
The roar that accompanied the bellow sent chills over her skin. Fear unfurled in the pit of her stomach like a rolled tea leaf in hot water, expanding, filling her insides until a quick shot of adrenaline sent her into action. She darted through the Portal, and upon leaving the Mortal Realm, tripped over its threshold and tumbled to the ground. Landing on her hands and knees, she wrinkled her nose against the sharp smell of dirt.
She couldn’t afford another stupid mistake. Not now. Now with him close on her heels and problems multiplying with the speed of copulating rabbits.
Mona Moussai, missing daughter of the First Family of the Moussai Realm, jumped to her feet as her heart hammered through her chest like a freight engine. Risking a quick glance over her shoulder, she saw the dragon bearing down on her as he stepped from the Portal, a string of curses issuing from him that would make a sailor blush. At least he hadn’t shifted into dragon form. No amount of positive thinking could make her forget the acid green belly scales or the darkly black scales on the remainder of his body that she’d seen the night before.
“Damn it, Mona, I order you to stop!”
She was sick of being commanded to do things. No more.
Ignoring him, she ran as if death would claim her if she were caught. Maybe it would since Braeden Hollister was a bad-ass attorney with a large appetite for fine food and fast women. Unfortunately, until she could fix her current problem, she was also bound to him. Thanks to one regrettable incident a day ago when she’d picked his pocket and stole a pair of rings that worked as supernatural handcuffs, once she’d slipped a ring on and he did the same, she’d become a prisoner.
No time for regret.
Mona’s pulse pounded loud in her ears. With every ragged breath, her lungs burned as they struggled to pull oxygen into her body. Barely aware of the nighttime world around her, she ran indiscriminately through a heavily wooded area. A crash and subsequent cursing from somewhere behind let her know Braeden hadn’t given up the chase.
Fear knotted her insides and bile rose in her throat. She pushed on, stumbling over twigs and forest debris while her soft wool sweater snagged on pine trees. Straggly branches reached out to snarl in her hair. Tears prickled her eyes but she didn’t stop. She couldn’t. Of all the places in the Eight Realms she didn’t want to be, it was here.
The thought spurred her onward. Her feet ached. The muscles in her legs screamed for a reprieve. A second wind brought a burst of speed and she shot forward over the semi-damp ground. Just being back in the Realm that bore her name made her physically ill. She’d worked hard to create a new life, far away from the drama that belonged to her family. Her efforts were for naught.
A clearing loomed close, frosted from the light of the full moon high overhead. She set her sights on it to get her bearings, reaching the edge of the grassy patch. For two seconds she paused, turning slightly toward him before Braeden tackled her. Mona’s back smacked against the earth. His weight on top of her drove the air from her lungs.
“What part of stop did you not understand?” His deep voice rumbled near her ear and his breath warmed her cheek. “Running is stupid. You already know you can’t move farther than twenty feet from me at any given time.”
She did know and had tested the boundary more than a few times since she’d slipped the damn ring on her finger last night. Unfortunately, it was a cold, hard fact. Any attempt at breaking the twenty foot mark resulted in a sudden migraine and terrible stomach cramps.
Mona struggled, desperate to be out from under him. “Get off me.” She pushed at his broad shoulders. His muscles flexed beneath her fingertips. “I mean it. I won’t stand for this sort of treatment.”
“Considering that you’re not standing at all, I don’t see how it’s an issue.”
“Semantics.” She beat on his chest with her fists, huffing out her irritation when he didn’t budge. “In case you haven’t noticed, you’re not in a courtroom anymore.”
“That may be true, but I still wield the power.” Instead of doing as she asked, he shifted his weight and held her captive with a palm to the ground on each side of her head, his face close to hers. “Until I deliver you back to your family, you will do as I say.”
Her heart pounded and little shivers raced up and down her spine as much from his touch as his close proximity. The moonlight gilded him with silver light, highlighting dark hair, coiffed and gelled in the style of a New York morning news show anchor. His lips could charm any woman’s heart if he would ever give a genuine smile. Braeden Hollister could potentially be a huge threat to her peace of mind.
Lucky for her, she loathed him too much to be affected.
“You realize I’m going to fight you every step of the way. I refuse to go back. I don’t want to have anything to do with that way of life anymore.” She renewed her escape attempt but the dragon pressed his hard body against her softer one, pinning her to the ground. “I won’t go.”
His breath warmed her lips. “Do you really think your opinion matters to me?” Green lightning flashed in his eyes. “I work for whoever offers me the highest bid, and right now, your family wants you the most.”
“My family.” Her laugh sounded bitter to her own ears. Unable to stand the intense scrutiny in his gaze, she looked over his left shoulder at the darkened tree tops. “My family doesn’t want me. They want what I can supposedly give to the country.”
“What does that mean?”
“Nothing.” She shook her head, secretly pleased that the great Braeden Hollister didn’t know every little fact about her. “It means absolutely nothing. Forget I said anything.” At all costs, she had to keep that secret to herself.
Awareness of him crept into her brain. He’d removed his suit jacket some time ago while they answered innumerable questions in the Bureau of Realm Travel. Now, the heat from his skin radiated through the grey silk button-down shirt to warm her chest. The pungent scent of pine needles and soil mixed with his spicy, citrus cologne, confusing her brain.
When she moved her head and met his gaze once more, she shivered at the open animosity she found there. “I’ll ask you once more, let me up.”
“Why, so you can attempt to run again? Go ahead and try.” Braeden’s deep, rich laugh reverberated in her chest. “You put the restrictions on yourself once you slipped on that ring.” In one fluid movement, he stood, pulling her up with him. “It suits my purposes nicely.”
“I don’t care what you do. I’m not leaving this area.”
Dragons at Dawn will release on April 8th, 2011 from Eirelander Publishing (http://www.eirelander-publishing.com), but will also be available at Amazon and All Romance e-books.
In the meanwhile, I invite you to visit my website (http://www.sandrasookoo.com) to keep current about book releases, reviews or just browse books currently available. You can also connect with me on Twitter (http://twitter.com/SandraSookooo) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/sandra.sookoo).