@GoddessFish, @debbiereadsbook, @DavdBurnett
As the third daughter of a third daughter, dragon-shifter Christine Drachen must mate with a human.
Not all human males are genetically compatible with dragon shifters, and suitable matches are rare in old Charleston. Christine, though, has identified James to be an appropriate match. Even humans who acknowledge the possibility of dragons cannot believe that one can be both a dragon and a human, shifting between the two. As a result, Christine must attract James without fully revealing her true, shifting nature until he has committed to mate.
James gradually discovers what Christine is. She shows him the gold dragon she always wears around her neck. He notices the prints, statues, and tapestries of dragons that decorate her family’s home. Strange noises emanate from behind the Drachens’ house during a party, and James believes he actually sees a dragon, one wearing a necklace like Christine’s. Christine’s last name, Drachen, means “dragon,” and, while she jokes her entire family is composed of the creatures, James begins to suspect there is more to what she says than a simple attempt at humor.
Finally, though, he sees her shift.
To protect their species from persecution, dragon-shifters silence any human who sees one of them shift, and the most practical method is generally death. The rule is absolute. But Christine has fallen in love with James. How can she protect her family without killing the boy she loves?
Dragon Mist is a story of boy-meets-girl, with a few non-human characters, high stakes, a bit of magic, a little humor, and an abundance of romance.
As Bing struggles for release, I inspect him like an insect under a microscope. Then I growl and I bare my teeth.
“Help me. Help me. Oh God, help me.”
I had never noticed Bing to be particularly religious, but his prayer sounds more sincere than most of those I’d heard intoned in church.
Truly, nothing other than God can save him now because, at this point, my human self has lost control.
Five claws project from each of my hands, two sets of five blades, each as sharp as a diamond saw, able to cut through any substance. I raise my right hand and pause as my eyes make a final pass down his body. Bing’s shriek surely frightens ghosts in the nearby cemetery.
God elects not to intervene, and my right hand sweeps across Bing’s legs, both the right and left splintering as my claw passes through each in turn. My hand falls like a guillotine, twice, and his arms snap off. Finally, not certain he is dead, and not wanting him to linger, I strike the side of his neck, each claw passing through in turn. His body falls to the ground, covering his other parts, and I drop his head on top.
I feel as if I am still standing far out in the Bay, watching as someone else cuts Bing into pieces. His limbs fall to earth, blood covers them and pools on the ground.
I feel as if I’m viewing a horror movie, the type of motion picture that draws teenagers by the score. They stream into the theater and watch monsters, human or otherwise, murder and mayhem, blood and gore. The girls scream and hide their eyes, burying their heads in their boyfriends’ arms, but they peek so they miss none of the action, comforted by the knowledge it is all make-believe.
But Bing’s death is not make-believe, and I find myself a foot away, gazing down at him, my hand covered in his blood.
My head swivels as I check for witnesses. As Bing had died, screams had ricocheted across the park. But no one has appeared. They must lie behind trees and crouch behind shrubs.
What kind of people are these? No one ventured out when I screamed for help. No one rushed to save Bing when he cried in terror. I ought to scour the area and dispatch all of them.
I search, but I find no one…
A single man stands at the payphone under the streetlight at the edge of the park. I take a step in his direction and his squeal breaks the silence. He gestures wildly, pointing toward me, as if the person to whom he speaks can follow his visual directions. He no doubt has called the police, and I must weigh the danger of having my presence reported and the attack described by a group of acid-heads against the time it will take for a search-and-destroy mission and the possibility I will be seen by a surviving, credible witness.
My eyes narrow, I’ll take them all, starting with the one I see. I can cover the distance in five seconds, I think as I take two quick steps.
Then, human rationality reasserts itself.
I need to protect myself, and I opt to allow the witnesses to live, confident their reports will be written off as drug-induced hallucinations.
3 out of 5 (good)
Dragon Mist is a tale set in the time of the Summer of Love in San Francisco. It doesn't stay there though, as the Lady Dragon goes back home.
This is a very different take on dragons, or drache, as they are known in here. There is a big group of characters, both main and supporting, who help the story to move along. Some of the characters you will like, some you won't. The characters stay the same throughout, so no worries about a friend becoming an enemy. The closest you get is someone who she was friendly with.
The story is mainly comprised of Chrissie's 'courting' of James as a potential mate, but you also get her recent past catching up with her, rejected suitors, possible blackmail, and the like.
Although this is described as a paranormal romance, I found the romance to be slightly lacking. There was no connection between Chrissie and James to be seen, just what we are told.
All in all, this was an enjoyable read set in a different time.
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
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I live near Charleston, South Carolina, where I walk the beaches, eat fresh seafood, and photograph the ocean, the birds, and the beautiful sunsets. Seven of my nine novels have been set in Charleston, but Dragon Mist is the first to explore the lives of the non-human residents of the “holy city.”
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