Monday, August 15, 2011

Update from the Shelly Laurenston Newsletter

As we are all well aware, I love Shelly Laurenston and reread her books with an almost fanatical devotion to her characters. They make me THAT happy and folks, sometimes it's the little things that get you through the day.

In her latest newsletter she included an excerpt from her upcoming dragon series addition, The Dragon Who Loved Me. As usual it's pretty spiffy so I thought I'd pass it along in the hopes that it can make your Monday as bearable as it has made mine. 

EXCERPT: (Unedited/Unproofed)
From Kensington
Coming September 6, 2011!

They ended up taking several breaks because of Ren during the next day of travel. Whatever Magicks the Eastlander was doing were quite strong and Rhona began to worry about him.

While Keita took a quick nap by the base of a tree a few feet away, Rhona crouched beside Ren. They'd shifted to their human forms and dressed in case any true humans stumbled upon them. The land path they were flying above was often busy this time of year, and Rhona had no desire to kill some human because he simply stumbled into the midst of dragons and felt the need to warn his neighbors.

"What can I do for you, old friend?" Rhona asked.

Ren smiled at her. "Nothing. I'm fine."

"You don't look fine. You look like you've been out drinking with my cousins."

"Gods, do I really look that bad?" He grinned and Rhona felt better for seeing it. "I'm fine," he insisted. "Really. Exhausted, but fine. Once I get the children into the Eastlands, my father's strength and the power of my parents' home will get me back to my old self. I promise."

"Is there anything you need now?"

"Any food left?"

Her eyes crossed. "That barbarian's eaten what we've brought with us. He just sucks up all the food around him without caring about anyone else."

Ren chuckled. "It could be worse. He could be chatty."

"Good point. You know how I hate chatty." Rhona stood. "Let me see if I can track something down for you. I'll even roast it for you."

"That would be perfect. Thank you."

"Anything for you, Ren of the Chosen."

"Really? And why's that then?"

"Because you manage to control Keita and keep her relatively safe. For that alone -- the entire Clan owes you."

Rhona lifted her head, sniffed the air. "Deer," she said and went after it.


Vigholf caught the deer by its throat and slammed it into a tree, snapping its neck, and tossed the carcass to the ground. His stomach grumbled and he reached for the animal, planning to tear it open and enjoy its still-warm insides.

But before his fingers could touch the animal's soft pelt, a blast of flame singed his human fingers.

"Gods-damnit! What was that for?"

"You have to be the most selfish dragon I've ever met," Rhona accused. "And considering my kin -- that's truly saying something."

"What did I do now?"

"Ren needs to eat."

"So? Let him eat."

"You've devoured all the dried beef and bread we had. You haven't even asked any of us if we're hungry or not."

Vigholf shrugged. "I asked Keita. But she -- "

"Keita? You asked Keita? Keita who's not doing any Magicks to protect her nieces and nephew? Keita who's not protecting anyone? Keita who's done nothing but talk about all the bloody dresses she plans to get -- not buy mind, but get -- when she arrives in Dark Plains? That's the one you're making sure is fed?"

Vigholf cleared his throat, scratched the back of his neck. "Well...yeah."

Rhona's eyes narrowed and she shoved him back from the carcass. "I'm giving this to Ren. You can bring your precious Keita something else that you caught or killed."

"That deer wasn't for her. It was for me. I'm hungry."

"Again?" Rhona gawked up at him. "How can you be hungry again? You've done nothing but eat all day. Now that I think about it, I've never seen a dragon eat while flying."

"Then clearly you're not putting in enough effort." Rhona's eyes narrowed again and Vigholf, in no mood to fight with her, quickly put his hands up. "There's more deer over in that glen. I'll grab one of those."


Rhona crouched beside the carcass and proceeded to skin it.

Vigholf watched her for a time until he asked, "How's the Eastlander doing anyway?"

"He's tired. To his bones tired."

"You're worried about him."

"Aye. I am."

"You two seem...close."

Rhona gave a good yank and removed the deer's pelt with her bare hands. "Aye. I guess we are."

"How close?"

She tossed the pelt aside and looked up at Vigholf. "What?"

"How close are you to the one your sisters refer to as the 'handsome foreigner'?"

"Why are you asking?"

"Why won't you tell me?"

"Because it's none of your business?"

"And what exactly is none of my business? What are you hiding from me?"

Rhona stood, flicking the deer blood and pulp from her hands. "I hide nothing from you, but my business and my personal life are my own. Even my mother doesn't ask me these sorts of questions."

"I'm not your mother."

"No. So you have even less right."

"Then answer me this," he quickly said before she could walk off. "Are you two...attached?"

She snorted a small laugh. "No. Not like that. We're...old friends."


"Unattached old friends. So leave it be."

Except Vigholf wasn't sure he could.


Rhona blasted the deer with her flame, using the power of it to turn the carcass over and over until it was wonderfully roasted on all sides. She reached for it and lifted it onto her shoulder. That's when Vigholf asked, "Do you want to be attached?"

Rhona froze. All these questions were beginning to get strange. Then again, the barbarian was strange.

"Attached to what?"

"A mate of your own."

"Guess I hadn't thought much about it. Why?"

"No reason."

"How could you have no reason to ask me that?" Rhona snapped.

"Because I don't."

"Well you don't have to snarl!" She turned away from him.

"But," he said to her back, "you're not against having a mate?"

Rhona faced him again. "Why are you asking me these questions?"

"Because I'm curious."

"Well, be curious with another female."

"Why? What's wrong with you?"

"Nothing's wrong with me except that I'd never settle for a male who wouldn't fight with me in battle."

"I've been fighting with you in battle for five years."

"Not willingly."

"That's ox shit. When have I ever said -- "

"'Females...fighting by my side?'" Rhona imitated in her low, making-fun-of-Vigholf voice that she used to entertain the triplets. " ‘When did the hells come to earth?'"

He blinked. "Oh. All right. I may have said those words before but -- "

"But what?"'

"But not when it's been you. I've never said those words about you. You've impressed me from the beginning."

"How very big of you," she snipped, again turning away from him. "You lunkhead."

Rhona took a few steps but Vigholf cut in front of her. "I'll admit that my opinion of female fighters was that there were none. But," he quickly added when she hissed, "you and your sisters have changed my opinion on that belief. Shame I can't say the same about you believing all Northlanders are barbarians."

"You are all barbarians."

"Even Ragnar?"

" But he's different. Special."

Vigholf's left eye twitched and she suddenly felt in fear for Ragnar's safety. But, after a moment, Vigholf went on. "And has any of my brethren tried kidnapping one of you, forcing you into a Claiming?"

Rhona rolled her eyes. "No."

He took a step toward her, closing the gap between them. "Have some of us not proven ourselves to be excellent strategists in battle rather than berserkers you need to leash between fights?"

"I guess."

Another step. "Haven't we been polite and considerate to all the female warriors even when they're throwing ale, starting fights, and generally being a bit unstable?"

She let out a breath. "Most of you, yes."

"Then how about giving us a break? Giving me a break?" Another step. "Since we're all doing so well that is."

They were nearly touching now, his grey eyes gazing down at her.

"I have to get this meat to Ren," she said. "He needs to eat before we can return to the skies."

"All right."

But he didn't move or stop looking at her that way. She couldn't explain what that way was -- but it was that way. So Rhona forced herself to walk around him and slowly headed back to her cousin and friend.

Although to be honest, she really wanted to make a run for it. She just didn't know why.

Copyright © Shelly Laurenston 2011