No Dragon, No Problem
WTF Dragon, Book 1
by Dawn Montgomery
eBook BIN: 05669-01816
The Twist: Dash Ryan has a few secrets of his own. Secrets he’s more than willing to exploit for just a taste of the princess’s sexual awakening. But will one taste be enough?
One Deviant to Another
Tasminia fled down the corridor ignoring her stepmother’s shocked cry. She gripped the gaudy material of her wedding dress in white-knuckled fists, barely able to lift the horrid thing off the ground. “A dress fitting, indeed.” The princess was pissed. Furious. The latest attempt of her stepmother’s matchmaking involved the slimy Baron Winterwood — as her surprise groom.
Surprise only to her, apparently.
She refused to let tears fall. Princesses do not cry over political agenda, no matter how well intentioned or infuriating it might be. They even the playing field, and that left her only one option.
She raised her chin.
Run for her life.
She bypassed her rooms in favor of the secret corridor to the lost wing of Werthing Ton Fallorian’s Northern Keep. Where the heart of the kingdom was rumored to beat. Or so the ancient rhyme went.
Tasminia knew it for what it was… superstitious nonsense. The lost wing was a fortuitous accident caused by a jinxed wizard hundreds of years ago. He was supposed to reinforce the walls. Instead he hid the wing inside the walls. The possibilities were mind-boggling. All Tasminia knew was that it used to be her mother’s favorite hiding place, and had become her own sanctuary from the pressures of political intrigue.
Her stepmother’s voice traveled through the halls. “How far do you think you can go? I just have to follow your train, silly girl.”
Her stepmother would have never tried this had the princess’s father and brother not been out on quest. The queen was so worried that Tasminia would never settle down, but why do people think marriage would do it?
Tasminia raced to the giant mirror at the end of the corridor, ignoring the ornate, unflattering, and damned annoying amount of lace and poofs in her would-be wedding dress. Whispering the secret words to open the door, she touched the hidden latches on the mirror frame.
The mirror shimmered. Tasminia’s reflection faded until she could see a dark, ancient corridor. She picked up her dress, stepped over the bottom of the frame, and hauled the material with her. With a touch of her fingers against mirrored hidden latches, and words whispered in reverse, the door closed, cutting her train off. She could barely make out the shimmering fabric as it floated to the ground on the other side.
Tasminia sighed in sudden relief. The fabric had weighed down her head until she thought her neck would snap. Her stepmother would be furious at the train’s destruction. The mirror shimmered, growing opaque until her reflection stared back at her. She looked like a washed out twitter bug. Tasminia turned back to the dark corridor, yanking the ornamental piece off her head as she stormed down the hallway. It tore loose with a few strands of her hair. If she didn’t know any better, she’d swear her stepmother had chosen the fabric to keep her weighted down at the altar.
A flash of something caught her eye, and she jerked to a stop. Fifty layers of material continued the forward momentum, nearly knocking her on her royal rump.
With monumental effort she turned, kicking layers of fabric out of her way. First order of business was to get out of this feminine nightmare.
She trekked back, realizing a new room had appeared. Tasminia ran her fingers along the brick edges. It was smooth and worn as though it had stood forever. Until this moment, she’d never seen it. Was it an illusion? A temporary portal?
She hesitated. Stray magic should be left alone. Most princesses would choose a safer route, especially when it involved hidden rooms. One had to be careful to not be caught in one. “I ran out on a wedding I didn’t plan or want. I’m in a magic corridor of a wing that doesn’t exist. A new door opens.” She shrugged. What was the worst that could happen?
Tasminia pushed through the doorway to the darkness beyond.
Torches flared, and Tasminia winced. She put a hand up to shade the glare. Her first impression was a room. Her second impression was like a windstorm whipping through her body. Chained in the center of the room was a man. His arms were bound above his body. He was huge. Far taller than her. She swallowed. He was quite a man. Quite a naked man. His head was bowed, leaving his face in shadow. Long sable hair flowed down his chest and back like a silk cloak.
A surge of heat filled her. Her gaze traveled down the length of him. Sun-kissed skin. Broad shoulders. This was a man to star in her countless midnight fantasies. Carved by the gods, shaped by a woman’s deepest desires. Her mouth grew dry at the length of his cock. Tasminia knew what happened between a man and woman. She’d watched enough interludes in her life to realize this man was well endowed.
He raised his head, and she clenched a fist at her chest. This was no smooth-faced prince. His face was arresting. Too rugged to be beautiful, but stunning nonetheless. The curve of his lips drew the eye, as did the jade green eyes glaring at her. Her back straightened instantly.
“What are you supposed to be with that dust mop of a dress? I don’t recall requesting a room cleaning.”
Tasminia stamped down her irritation at his accurate description. “I can see you’re not one of the good behavior type of prisoners.”
His jaw opened in apparent shock.
“What? You don’t expect women to hold their own when you insult them?”
His eyes flashed to an eerie green that had the hair on the back of her neck standing on end. “You can see me.” It was a quiet statement. No emotion.
Tasminia sighed. He was completely off his rocker. “Of course I can see you. How long have you been trapped here?”
“Too long.” His lips tightened, but his eyes still gleamed with something she recognized as hunger. A twitch in her peripheral vision had her looking down. His incredible cock was hardening. Goodness. Her pussy clenched and pulses of something new, something downright delicious began to coalesce in her nether region.
She cleared her throat and looked down at her dress. With surprise she noted she still held the remnant of her train. His cock was entirely too distracting for her peace of mind.
She tore the material loose from the headpiece and walked to the captive. No matter what the man had done to earn this kind of entrapment, he deserved to at least be clothed.
“What are you doing?”
Tasminia’s cheeks burned with embarrassment. “You’re naked.”
His lips twitched in the making of a smile. “You noticed?”
Tasminia licked her lips. “I’m observant like that.” She also noted that he was almost fully erect. She closed her eyes wishing the ground would just swallow her up. Why did she come into this side room? She opened her eyes. His expression had turned to something darker, something that had moisture slicking her thighs. “I’m just going to tie this around your waist. Okay?”
The prisoner blinked slowly, and smiled. Tasminia froze. His smile transformed his face to something breathtaking. There was no way he was real. “Dash Ryan.”
Tasminia blinked. “Excuse me?”
He inclined his head. “My name is Dash Ryan. Unless the culture has significantly changed since my imprisonment, it’s normal procedure for you to reply with your name.”
Get a hold of yourself, Tasminia. You’re a princess for goodness sake. “Tasminia deSoto.” She curtsied as well as she could in the monstrosity of a dress. “Pleased to meet you.”
“DeSoto. Interesting.” His eyes turned to that intense green again, and Tasminia wondered if she’d done something she shouldn’t have.
“Nothing interesting about it.”
He smiled again, and Tasminia’s knees nearly gave out. “Since we have now had introductions, you are welcome to cover my body as you see fit.”
Tasminia stamped down all the naughty thoughts that statement created. She took a slow breath and walked forward, stretching out the train. The opaque material was just long enough to go around his waist. She was close enough to see faint scars along his side and shoulders. One in particular caught her eye. The weapon struck close to his heart. He was lucky to be alive with a wound like that. Her fingers touched it, and Dash sucked in a breath. Dark, oppressive sickness enveloped her. Her stomach threatened to rebel. “A magic weapon caused this?” Its jagged line made her skin crawl. She’d always been sensitive to magic, and the taste of this was pure evil.
“Yes.” His voice was husky, and Tasminia felt his breath brush her cheek. “How did you know?”
Tasminia shook her head. How did he have such minty breath if he was trapped here? As far as she knew, she was the only one with access anymore. Questions jumped around in her mind. Questions she shouldn’t be asking. One never messed with unfamiliar magic. “Family trait.” Her finger slid to his skin above the scar and a spark of magic lit within her. She jerked her hand away. That touch was like nothing she’d ever felt before.
“What is it?”
“Nothing.” She made quick work of the makeshift sarong. Tasminia inhaled his scent, surprised at the difference. He smelled of rain with a strong touch of lightning. A thunderstorm. The warmth of his skin was a temptation. She knotted the silky material and glanced up at Dash. His incredible eyes watched her.
“You know what the worst part about this is?” Dash’s lips twitched.
“Only one of us is naked.”
Her eyes widened, and she felt hot and cold all at once. She patted the knot, ignoring the way that statement made her tingle all over. “There.” A quick step back and she could finally breathe again.
It showed a great deal of his thigh but mostly hid the bulging erection. Sort of. The fabric tented around his erection, drawing her eye even more.
“I don’t think this is quite what you had in mind.” His quiet humor made her skin tingle.
She wanted to die of embarrassment. Tasminia picked up the shreds of her dignity and folded her hands. “It’s all I have unless you want leagues of ivory lace and other itchy materials close to your nethers.”
His laughter took her by surprise. It was damn near musical. “My nethers?”
Tasminia rolled her eyes. “What else do you want me to call it?”
His laughter died, and tension sizzled between them. “I prefer cock, but then again, I’m the rogue in chains here.”
So do I. She cleared her throat, and cursed the way her face grew warm. This was the first time in her life she couldn’t keep her emotions in check, and it was damned frustrating. “Your word preferences make no difference to me.” She paused, realizing there was no food or anything. “Is there something I can get you?”
“Freedom would be nice.” His expression turned wistful.
“I have no idea why you were imprisoned in the first place. Why would I set you free?”
“Would you believe I was the one done wrong?”
Tasminia looked at him.
He raised his eyebrows.
She turned with great effort and began trekking back to the main corridor.
“Wait!” His desperate cry stopped her in her tracks. The swish of her dress was the only sound she could hear over her heartbeat. “Don’t go. Please.”
Tasminia turned. In his eyes she could see the same desperation that had her running away from a surprise wedding. She could feel cracks forming in her armor.
“It’s been so long since I actually interacted with anyone. If you won’t free me, will you at least give me the pleasure of your company?”
Tasminia stared at him. “You want to talk to me?”
A flash of humor brightened his eyes. “Of course. You are fun to spar with, and easy on the eyes. That’s a win in my book.”
Tasminia didn’t know what to say. A man interested in her thoughts? Her father and brother were constantly silencing her. The baron had sneered at her when she refused the marriage. A man. Wanting to know her thoughts? Something warm and inviting spread in her chest.
Tasminia stepped closer. “How long have you been here?”
“Too long.” He tilted his head. “Fashion is far more ornate than I remember.”
“This?” Tasminia moved her hips so that the dress would sway. “This is my stepmother’s cure for my willful behavior.”
“A fluffy dress?”
“No. A straight-laced groom and surprise wedding.”
“You ran away from your wedding?”
“How do you have a surprise wedding?”
“You go in for a dress fitting, and then step out into the event.”
He winced. “Ouch. Things are definitely different than I remember.” Strands of his hair fell, covering his face.
It was nothing for Tasminia to step up and brush the silky threads behind his ear. The touch of his hair was like the smoothest satin. Magic flared again, and his eyes grew intense. The hair at his temples changed colors right before her eyes. Emerald green, intense, and all the way down to the hair in her hands. She recognized the magic as the same from his skin. It was unique, and specific to this man.
“What is this?” She spread his hair over her palm and looked at him. Really looked at him. His irises were oblong instead of round. If she looked deep enough, she could almost see a spark of fae magic in their depths. She shivered. He wasn’t quite human. “Why is your hair turning this color?”
“It doesn’t all turn. Just bits and pieces.”
Okay, so no answer there. “How long have you been here?”
“How long has this part of the castle been created?”
Tasminia made a face. “You can’t be serious. Over five hundred years ago.”
His breath released in a quiet sigh. “Over five hundred years, then.”
Impossible. “What did you do to get trapped here?”
His humor vanished. “I trusted the wrong wizard.” His eyes moved as though he was searching her face. “You are one of the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen.”
Tasminia sucked in a breath. She wanted to deny how the compliment warmed her insides, but her body had a wicked mind of its own. Humor sprung up to save her from a blubbering naive comment. “I think you need to get out more.”
“Will you come closer?” His question was soft-spoken. Like he expected her refusal.
“You have the most incredible scent.” His eyes were glowing again. “Please allow me these simple pleasures, lady.”
He was definitely crazy. Perhaps he was one of those fae hybrid-types. All sex appeal with nothing upstairs. She stepped closer, ignoring the voice in her head that told her she was crazy too.
“Back in my day, a woman didn’t need to run away from marriage. There were so many other options.”
He pricked her curiosity. “Like what?”
“War. Famine. Dragons.”
“Dragons?” She covered her mouth to stifle a laugh. “How did dragons keep women from marrying?”
He arched an eyebrow. “Sacrifice, of course.”
“You’re joking. Sacrifice themselves for what? Dinner?”
His grin was wicked. “Something like that.”
She sighed. “Well, we don’t have dragons anymore. The WTF kingdom is in the middle of a hundred years of peace. So war and famine are out too. Not that I’d want the last two, mind you.”
“So dragons are okay, then?”
Tasminia shrugged her shoulders. “I suppose so. As long as none of my people were injured.”
“That kind of defeats the purpose of terrorizing with a dragon, my lady.”
Tasminia clenched her hands in her dress to keep from touching his face, and tracing the soft curve of his lips. “Well, what of the dragon’s honor? If we struck a bargain, wouldn’t the beast have to keep it?”
Dash tilted his head in a pose of amused consideration. “A dragon never goes back on his word, but I think dragons and humans might have different definitions of honor.”
“This conversation is completely meaningless.” Tasminia tossed up her hands in annoyance. “Where would I get a dragon?”
“You’re looking at him.”
She arched an eyebrow. “Aren’t you a little small to be a dragon?”
He mimicked her expression.
“You are completely mad.”
He watched her with searing intensity. “Do you need a real dragon?”
Tasminia shrugged. “I would just need a real threat.” Would rumors work? She shook her head. No one would believe the fairytale. This was the real world, after all.
“What if I could make one appear?”
Her thoughts came to a sudden halt. “What do you mean?”
“Forgive me. I should have given my full introduction. I am Dash Ryan, master illusionist.”
“Master illusionist?” She crossed her arms. “I’ve never heard of you.”
He pushed his head forward as far as it could go. Close enough that she could see gold flecks in the green depths of his eyes. His muscles corded with strength, and she knew he was furious. Hellfire. She would be too, if she’d been locked in a cage. It’s why she stormed away from her ridiculous wedding.
“I wasn’t put in here naked, my lady. The clothes have become dust. My boots were cracked and shredded. I think my fame would have been way before your time.”
She snorted in disbelief. “You couldn’t possibly be that old.” Could he?
“Really? Every day I was here, I watched what I’d been clothed in disintegrate. No food. No water. My body hasn’t needed nourishment in this magic cage, but I’ve craved rich meats and cheeses. The warmth of a woman’s body against mine. Father Night, I’ve missed sitting down. It’s enough to drive a man mad.”
Crazy or not, he was definitely convincing. She brushed a stray lock of her hair behind her ear, and cleared her throat. “Where are the remnants of your things?”
“Gone. Like everything else in this cursed place. They fall from my body and disappear at dawn.” He pulled away, resting his head against the inside of an arm. “What difference does it make? Once you leave this room, it’ll be closed again, and I won’t be seen or heard for hundreds of years more.”
Tasminia would have gone insane with no one to talk to. The idea of no food? She shuddered. “I don’t want to get married. You want out of this cage. You’re sure this dragon illusion will work?”
“It’s one of the best I’ve ever performed.” Some of the cockiness was back in his smirk.
“I hesitate to trust you, Dash Ryan.”
“I feel the same way about you, Tasminia.”
She liked the way her name rolled off his tongue. “Well, at least we settled that. Now what?”
“You put your hands on my chest.”
Tasminia couldn’t hide her irritation.
He grinned. “The spell was cast above my heart.”
Oh. What she knew about magic was limited… mostly because she ignored her studies. She cast a prayer to the heavens that her ignorance wouldn’t bite her in the royal rump, hesitated a moment, and then pressed her palms against his chest. His breath caught, and her heart pounded like thunder through her veins. Dash’s skin was smooth and warm. She wanted to run her nails against it and see if it reacted the way her arms did when she accidentally tickled them.
Magic wound around her fingers, making them tingle. It froze her against him in shock. She wished she could see it, but only her mother had that ability, and it had died with her. Tasminia had resigned herself to the touch of magic, which was sending her body into a riot of new sensations she wasn’t ready to deal with.
His heart beat steady against her palms. It soothed her nerves but did something else entirely to the core of her womanhood. She found herself synchronizing her breaths with his. Years of magic study and muscle memory came to her aid, brushing away the new and wondrous feelings this prisoner was creating. What had he done to warrant such a punishment?
“When you touch me, it’s like you’re dipping into the soul of what I am.” The quiet words were spoken in an unusual rhythm, which left her trembling.
She chose to keep her mouth shut, and pretend she didn’t want to curl around him like a little sex kitten. It took all her courage to look him in the eyes. Once she did, he ensnared her with their bright green glow. “Now what?” She hardly recognized her own voice.
“Now you say the words you spoke to close the mirror on this side.” That strange cadence continued. His head lowered toward her.
She wanted to ask him how he knew about the mirror. How he knew she’d closed it. Her lips spoke the words without conscious thought, whispering them against his skin in the same lilting tone he’d used. He was so close she could steal the kiss she’d wanted since he’d been found.
His lips skimmed hers. Soft, enticing. She pressed the same pattern on his chest that the mirror required, and in a heartbeat, the magic whipped through him to the cuffs. A resounding click jerked her away from him.
The fog of his spell cleared from her mind, and she realized two very important facts at once.
One, he was very big. Very. Big. Her gaze dropped to the tented material covering his cock. And so was that.
Two, no one else would hear her scream.