As the 10th stop in the Name That Dragon Blog Hunt, this post contains the answer to the last post. It is your job, as the reader, to find it. Please remember your answer to this puzzle, as well as any past and future ones within this tour. You will need to know ALL the answers to enter for the chance to win the Grand Prize of a sterling silver Celtic triquetra on a 16in chain and a pre-order code.” Also, be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for an awesome giveaway!
My theme is literary heroines and there have been a plethora of them. One of the main things that attract me to a book is a strong lead character, especially if that main character is a female because us girls have to stick together. It's all about girl power! In years past, we've admired heroines from memorable stories such as The Scarlet Letter, Gone with the Wind, and Much Ado About Nothing. In more recent years we have had some ladies that truly kick some ass such as Hermoine Granger from the Harry Potter series and Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games. All of these women have demonstrated strength and determination even when it seemed as though there was no hope and all was lost. Whether they are fighting a war against evil or just standing up for their man, literary heroines have kept us turning the pages and will continue to do so for years to come.
Cait, our current leading lady from Fire of Stars and Dragons, is a force to be reckoned with. This strong, independent female stands on her own even when outnumbered by many supernatural men. She still has an innocence about her but strongly believes that she should be treated as an equal and demands respect. Her snarky attitude adds to her appeal. “The Dracopraesi often turn to their Lord Regent, Agtos, when they need advice.” She is used to having choices and doesn't want them to be taken away from her but when she is told she must choose a husband in seven days... not really the type of choices she was hoping for.
Check out this exclusive excerpt from the story!
FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS Excerpt
(Chapter 2, Cait’s POV)
“No. She. Is. Mine.”
Those words ring in my ears. I want them and fear them. He’s a dragon. What that means in this situation, I’m not even sure. Do dragons marry? I can’t say with certainty his claim implied marriage. He did promise to protect me. It occurs to me my hand is still on his, contact I initiated just before his declaration. I move it to my lap, and his retreats to the back of my chair, but there’s a definitive sense of disconnection, touching him appealing to my body with as much natural ease as breathing.
For the first time, Dante speaks, voice smooth, a softened Scottish lilt dripping off his every word. “Perhaps this would be an excellent time to offer a relatively neutral solution to our conundrum over Caitriona’s situation.” He said nothing during court, sitting, absorbing everything, a picturesque view on the dais, flawless fair complexion, dark as night hair, and striking blue eyes.
Dante is every bit his goddess mother’s son, the epitome of beauty.
Cedric leans forward in his chair, hands folded together on the table. “What did you have in mind?” If I had to guess, I would say he sounds relieved Dante offers another option. I suppose a dragon eating his son isn’t a pleasant idea.
The demigod stands and paces in a small circle, brows knit together in contemplative focus, coming to an abrupt halt, turning and meeting my eyes. He says nothing, staring, and the entire room buzzes, strange electricity in the air.
His gaze rises, beyond me. “I will marry her, Theo.” And I’m certain my heart stops. “You trust me, do you not?”
“Are you all insane?” I scream, slamming my hands on the table, jumping out of my seat. So much for remaining quiet. “I refuse to sit here feeling like I’m being auctioned off to the highest bidder.” I sure as Hades do not want to deal with Neglected Dependent Services, but this is ridiculous. Why the king involves himself on a personal level in my situation is beyond comprehension.
King Corrin glares daggers at me, or past me to Theo, but I’m damned sure he’s not happy about a woman rebuking anything he says. However, Dante smirks as he watches my outburst. Behind me, the dragon clears his throat.
“I do believe Miss Hayden makes a valid point to be considered.” He places his hand on my shoulder, encouraging me to sit again, and I do so, grudgingly. Across the table, the king’s brother buries his face in his hands, but he’s not laughing. “While it is understandable the monarchy cannot abide by the breaking of sovereign laws, Miss Hayden is indeed a woman of means. At our ages, it is quite conceivable to liken her wealth and social stature to noble ladies of eras past, one whose suitors would vie for her affections, for the right to win her hand in marriage.”
While I’m somehow seeing this whole situation going in reverse, dragging me into the damned dark ages worse than society already, there might be a light at the end of the tunnel this dragon walks through. Choices. Women of means had choices back then. I for one would like them back.
“A duel?” The monarch’s eyes brighten, displaying his fangs in a Cheshire grin.
Sir Oliver grimaces. “I doubt a duel is quite the answer, Sire. Regardless of your expertise as a swordsman, even my skill is negligible over Theo’s.”
The room quiets until Evan sits back in his chair, its squeaking breaking the silence. “I suggest vying for her affections in the most literal sense. I’ve said before I disagree with arranged marriages, but if she must choose amongst you then at the very least, allow she find the most happiness.” He plays with the wedding band on his finger. “Is it asking too much she have the opportunity to perhaps marry out of some measure of love?”
Whether his concerns fall to his brother trapped in a loveless marriage or my best interests, I don’t venture guesses, but I appreciate his disapproval.
“Would it most please Miss Hayden, I am agreeable to such a compromise,” states Theo, though his tone declares him anything other than agreeable.
Dante nods, remaining in his apparent standard state of existence, thoughtful and contemplative. “As am I.”
With an irritated huff, King Corrin drops back into his chair. “Fine. It is agreed.” His icy stare stays on me as he speaks. “But she must be moved to a secure location where she remains of equal accessibility. Aside from her safety quite lacking, from this point forward, regardless of who ultimately gains victory, I declare her status as betrothed and under the protection of the clan. Should Miss Hayden be incapable of making this decision for herself within seven days, sovereign law prevails, and I shall either choose her husband or relinquish her to NDS.”
“Seven days! What? And you expect me to leave my home? No! Not in Hades’ name will I do any such thing.” Refraining from calling the king insane, out of his mind, or gone mad, I’m adamant in this, but Theo rests one hand on my shoulder calming me, his touch desirable in its soothing effect. My request to live as an independent woman was a long shot, to say the least. … And NDS is a worst-case scenario for someone in my position. This … I release a quiet exhale and nod in compliance. This is better than the alternatives. None of these men need the wealth or power of Hayden Holdings. I’m not a wrung in their social ladder. Choosing between the king, Dante, and Theo Pendragon … I should be thankful, not insolent. Most women would kill to be in my designer shoes.
Melissa A. Petreshock is a full-time writer and member of the Romance Writers of America with past experience in the medical and educational fields, though she has primarily devoted her adult life to raising a family. Born and raised in Kentucky, Melissa spent a number of years in Massachusetts, living outside Boston and in Springfield before returning to her home state where she now resides on a small farm. She enjoys quiet married life and the silliness of her three children, indulging hobbies of music, Zumba, and a minor television addiction in what little free time she finds. Melissa’s interests include causes demanding social change such as mental health awareness and teen suicide prevention. FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS is her debut NA Fantasy Romance novel.
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