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By Jade Lee. Expert blend of a star-crossed relationship, superb world building, and riveting suspense. By payment of required fees, you have been granted the non -exclusive, non -transferable right to access and read the text of this eBook.

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials.

Your support of the author's rights is appreciated. Kiril slipped through the lakeside foliage, his grip tightening on his dagger as he studied the boy and wordlessly cursed what he had to do.

The blond youth—Huet was his name—was about seventeen years old with the kind of face girls lined up to kiss. A smile at the right moment and this boy could have whatever he wanted. Many times at court Kiril had wished for a face like this.

Kiril shifted. Huet hadn't moved in twenty beats time but sat staring resolutely at the fire. Was he listening to dragonspeak? Dreaming dragon thoughts? It didn't matter. Kiril couldn't wait any longer. He had hoped to do this the easy way, but he couldn't stand it any longer. He had to finish this now. He dove forward. Gripping Huet about a surprisingly muscular chest, Kiril pressed the dagger against the boy's slender neck.

Do you know who I am? Kiril tightened his grip, pressing down on the blade. A thin line of red appeared on the boy's creamy skin. I am Kiril, the king's dragon-hunter. I spare no one who congresses with dragons. The unfortunate truth. But I am tired tonight. Give me the egg and you will live.

Still no response from the boy. For someone so young, this one had nerves of steel. Was it possible? Had Kiril been lied to? There was something very wrong—. Faster than humanly possible, Huet swung around. Kiril had been prepared, and yet he still couldn't match the boy's speed. The youth shoved Kiril's dagger aside, spun past his campfire and grabbed a large and obviously ancient sword. Kiril barely had time to draw his own sword before his foe was upon him. Extraordinary speed.

Lightning-fast reflexes. And d'greth, power in his stroke. Huet had a killing strike with his blade. It's not an egg anymore, is it? Dag Racho had sworn the demon spawn wouldn't hatch for another week at least.

Where is it, boy? Huet wouldn't answer. He couldn't. He was dragonborn now. Huet—or Dag Huet now that he was joined mind to mind with his serpent beast—was losing his humanity by the second. His thoughts were completely consumed by dragon hunger, dragon power, dragon evil. There would be no sparing him now. Assuming Kiril won this fight. He swung his blade, parrying for all he was worth. The boy was in the prime of his physical abilities; Kiril was old by warrior standards.

Old enough to wish he'd never picked up a blade at any rate—dagger, sword or otherwise. Then it happened. He heard the sound. Dragons were agile and deadly; they were not silent. He heard the wings flap, felt the breeze on his back. Kiril wanted to turn and face the real threat, but Dag Huet attacked with renewed ferocity. The boy's blade had the speed of the wind. Thankfully, Dag Huet and his dragon were both young, newly dragonborn. That made Huet's movements jerky, his swings badly timed.

It gave Kiril time to find an opening, some way to—. Too late. Dragon claws bit hard into his back, cutting through his leather and wire loga as if it were butter. The beast tried to pick Kiril up, but fortunately was too small to manage a man's weight. Dag Huet had the opportunity to slice off Kiril's head, but the boy was too new to being dragonborn to function as both man and dragon. He could be a dragon or he could be a man. Right now, it was the dragon's turn.

Kiril twisted, sliced his dagger across the dragon claws that held him. The skin was young and very soft. He felt the spurt of black blood, and the wyrm's scream echoed through the small lakeside clearing. The claws straightened reflexively and Kiril was released—but not before he was thrown high into the air, across a jut of the lake. He bounced and rolled, his body slamming painfully into a tree.

At least he'd landed far away from his foe, he thought, grimacing. Bloody claw, what was he going to do now? He tried to move, but nothing responded. He was paralyzed. He looked up at the tree above him and realized with a distracted kind of fatalism that he was about to die. Here he was, Kiril, famous dragon-killer, lying like a discarded doll against a tree, numb from the neck down.

Well, perhaps not totally numb. His hands had started to tingle and his legs were beginning to burn. Glancing around, he wondered how much time he had left to categorize body parts before he died.

Dag Huet was the lesser threat. The boy had begun the long trek around the lake. Not even bothering to jog, the new dragonborn was moving deliberately, no doubt trying to remember how to walk. It would take him a while to get here. The Sapphire dragon, on the other hand, was an immediate problem. It lived only to kill.

That now its essence had a human component mattered only because it made the beast harder to destroy. Both dragon and Huet had to die at once. A hoarse cry split the air, guttural and terrifying. From Kiril's crumpled position it was impossible to tell if the sound came from dragon or man, but it gave him hope nevertheless.

The cry of a mature dragon settled deep into a man's bones, stealing the strength from limbs and reason from even the most seasoned of warriors. A dragon in its prime was impossible to kill; a man was defeated by sound long before the beast drew near. But this cry had been loud and grating at best. This dragon was still immature.

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Dragonborn (The Jade Lee Romantic Fantasies, Book 1)





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