Excerpt & Character Interview: Hatchling's Mate (Dragshi Chronicles #3) by Helen B. Henderson
From their birth, it was expected that the only two children born to the dragon shifters would marry. Unlike his female counterpart, no dragons sang a welcome at Talann’s birth. Now years later, even though Lexii’s dragon twin had awakened, there was still no sign of Talann’s.
Haldric hated all shifters but one—the Lady Lexii Beylnea. He had one tool to achieve both his goals of destroying all those with a twinned dragon soul and having Lexii for his own. His uncle, known to his followers as the Parant, possessed the ability to turn men and women into his willing slaves. Or Haldric vowed, Lexii to his will.
Pledged to protect Lexii until the dragon lord’s intended mate appears, duty requires Glyn not only risks her life, but her one chance at love in the name of duty. A task complicated with the need to keep a secret no one could never learn and the price when the betrayal is discovered.
Love and desire, honor and duty clash in this action-filled novel in the world of the dragshi.
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To set the scene, Glyn, Talann, and his bodyguard are in a pub when someone obsessed with Lexii sends a bully over to beat up Talann. The reason? To remove the competition.
Pushing open the inn’s heavy door, Glyn’s quick glance showed Talann and Kynan at a corner table. Stopping the serving girl, Glyn dropped a coin on the tray and nodded toward the corner “A round for me and my two friends.” Quick steps and Glyn joined the two men. She gestured to the near-empty mugs. “Another round will be here shortly. That is if the server doesn’t get waylaid.” Light conversation alternated with scans of the room. Glyn tracked the serving girl’s progress across the room. “Sorry for the delay,” the girl said, arriving at the table. “I think all of Selbair is here tonight.” With a quick curtsey that sent an errant curl into her face, the girl set the tray on the table. Glyn handed two copper coins. “One for the ales, the other for you.” Dimples showed in the young girls cheeks. “Thank you, kind sir. If you need anything, just whistle.” Winking, she turned to answer another customer’s call. Kynan elbowed Glyn and pointed toward the swinging backside of the departing server. “She looks like she would warm a man’s bed at night.” Taking Glyn’s lack of response as hesitation, Kynan added. “She’s interested.” <Doesn’t Glyn like girls?> Shock rocked Glyn. While Talann’s thoughts always came in clear when he sent them, the question was obviously not intended to be heard. Surprise added thickness to her tone. “If you like her so much, Kynan, why don’t you bed her?” Glyn said in a low growl. “Because the wench didn’t wink at me,” Kynan laughed. “But we are not here for trouble, but to toast a friend.” Smiling, he raised his mug and clinked it against Talann’s. “That woman is mine,” a deep voice said from behind Kynan’s shoulder. Glyn looked up into the angry visage of the man she had marked earlier as a bully. “By law and custom, a woman is free to make her own choice.” Although she knew it would start a fight, she could not resist adding, “Though why one would choose you eludes me?” Redness colored the skin beneath the man’s beard. “You must like boys. After all you ride a mare. No self-respecting man would ride a woman’s horse.” The reality of the Buar’s heritage broadened Glyn’s smile. Despite her gender, the mare’s fine lines and implied strength brought out a primitive reaction in most men. Most could not resist stroking the soft neck, even if they didn’t know Buar was a seidheirn. “A good horse is a good horse, no matter whether mare or stallion,” Glyn said. A shrug and she added, “I’ll stand Buar against a stallion who’s muscled, but has no brain.” “Mares, like girls, are good for one thing,” the bully said. His grin left little to the imagination nor did his hand gesture implying the act of a stallion mounting a mare. Across the table, Kynan dropped a hand to the dagger in his boot. Talann gathered his feet beneath him. <This could be fun.> For the second time that night, Talann’s uncensored thoughts reached Glyn and she made a mental note. I will have to speak to Lady Anastasia about what is happening. If a dragon twin is awakening and Talann is starting to go through his First Change, there are none of the usual signs. But in the meantime, a little exercise never hurt anyone. And Lexii did say to enjoy myself. Standing, Glyn raked the bully from head to foot. Her lips twitched in a grin. “Since you don’t appreciate fine horseflesh, what do you ride? A dog?”
What are you lying to yourself about? To others?
I cannot admit even to myself, what I feel about Talann. He is the son of Lady Anastasia Jessian and Lord BraninLlewlyn, dragon lords of Cloud Eyrie. It is expected that Talann will marry the only other unattached dragon lord. And it is not me.
What are you keeping a secret?
Due to an oath sworn by my kin and later when I came of ageaffirmed by me , I am pledged to guard the newest dragon lord, Lexii. Among my responsibilities is to shield her against men’s advances. Which means I must hide my true gender from any and all, including my friends.
What are you most afraid of?
Failure. I am sworn to protect Lexii at all costs, up to and including my life. Besides the fact that protecting her is my duty, Lexii is my friend, one of only a few people I call that. Beyond Lexii, there is pretty much only Talann and his bodyguard/companion, Kynan.I am terrified of what Talann and Kye’s reactions will be when they learn that I have hid a secret from them. We have trusted each other with our lives and I have betrayed them.
What’s your greatest source of joy?
Riding through the countryside. The seidheirn possess an earth magic that allows them to travel faster than a normal horse. Their stolid personalities make them a great source of comfort to their riders. A close second is taking out a bully. They discover that while I may be shorter and not as broad-shouldered as my companions, even without a sword in my hand I am not helpless.
What are you especially proud of in your life?
Not everyone knows that the seidheirn choose their rider and are very selective about their friends. I am so proud that one selected me. Not only that, but Talann’s mount, Ohlmar, calls me friend. Ohlmar is not an ordinary seidheirn. He is the son of the head stallion of the Cloud Eyrie herd.
What are your goals in life?
To survive long enough to see Talann’s dragon soul awaken so that he comes into his own as a dragon lord. As Lexii’s intended mate, he will take over her protection, freeing me from my oath. At that point, my plan is to leave Cloud Eyrie and bid farewell to the dragon lords.
A former feature-story writer and correspondent, Henderson has also written fiction as long as she could remember. Her heritage reflects the contrasts of her Gemini sign. This dichotomy shows in her writing which crosses genres from historical adventures and westerns to science fiction and fantasy. In the world of fantasy romance, she is the author of the Dragshi Chronicles and The Windmaster Novels. Her stand-alone novels include the dragon magic fantasy, Fire and Amulet, and the dark fantasy, Imprisoned in Stone.
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Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.com/e/B001HPM2XK
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