Waking the Dragon
Vale of Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Date of Publication: June 9, 2015
Number of pages: 288
Cover Artist: Valerie Tibbs
The Gladium Province is on the verge of civil unrest as humans and Morgons, the dragon-hybrid race, clash once more. But amid disorder can also arise passion…
When the bodies of three human women are discovered in Morgon territory—with the DNA of several Morgon men on the victims—it’s just a matter of time before civil unrest hits the Province. But for ambitious reporter Moira Cade, it’s more than just a story, and it may mean risking her own life.
Descending into the dark underworld of Morgon society, Moira is paired with Kol Moonring, Captain of the Morgon Guard, for her protection. Fiercely independent, Moira bristles at his dominance, and defies his will at every turn. Yet resistance proves futile when passion flares between them, awakening powerful emotions within both, body and soul. But as the killings continue, can their fiery newfound bond survive an even greater evil—one that threatens all of humanity, Morgonkind, and Moira’s very soul?...
The beautiful blonde froze.
She peered down the darkened corridor of the cellar beneath the Vaengar Stadium. No one.
The Morgon with black hair and black eyes at the bar had told her the restroom was this way. The only sound was the wafting crackle of the torches. The only sight was long shadows cast by flickering flame. An eerie tendril of fear snaked up her spine. Even half-drunk, something primitive warned her of danger, like the innate foreboding a deer senses when the tiger stalks unseen from the trees.
She shook it off, flipped her long hair over one shoulder, and walked on, knowing the restroom must be just around the bend up ahead.
She stopped again and spun around, unable to tell from which direction the sound came.
“Bennett? Is that you?” A hollow echo of her voice reverberated down the empty corridor. “Stop it! You’re scaring me.” The last came out a faint whisper. A presence—corporeal, malevolent, and drawing closer—plunged her into icy fear. Her pulse quickened. A hiss of wind pressed the thin fabric of her mini-dress to her thighs. The flame on the wall guttered to nothing, then relit anew.
Directly behind her. She whirled and stared up at a massive Morgon man who stood only feet away. A behemoth silhouetted by the flambeau. His pointed wings, half-open and huge, kept the rest of him in shadow, as if the light itself repelled him. She could see nothing but his eyes—amber orbs with serpentine slits, bright as the torch-flame. Her breath hitched in her throat. She fell back against cold stone, scraping her bare shoulders against the rough cavern wall.
He passed near a sconce, the light illuminating hard, angular planes, the ancestral lines of the dragon sculpting his face in stark relief—more beast than man. Her heart thrashed against her ribcage.
“I—I lost my way, I think. I should go.” She gestured in the direction she had come, inching along the wall.
He moved with lethal grace, angling closer in slow, even steps.
Her gaze dropped to his large hand. Claw-tipped fingers spread wide, the sharp nail of the index tapping the stone. She bolted left, only to find a wall of six Morgon men blocking her exit. They’d materialized out of the shadows in silent stealth. Unmoving, watching. Backing against the wall, she swiveled her head from those blocking her path to their master stalking closer.
“What—what do you want from me?” Her voice cracked, primal fear ripping through her gut.
By now, she’d reached the pinnacle of terror, petrified in place. Tangible evil seeped into her skin as the sinister creature loomed, enveloping her in his shadow. Something screamed for her to run, while a compelling power rolling from the beast kept her pinned in place. It was as if his very presence demanded obedience, subservience.
The beast braced one arm next to her head, her panic filling up the confines of their space. He inhaled a deep breath, drinking her fear in like the sweetest nectar.
“Will she serve, my lord?” A voice of authority from one of the Morgons in shadow—sultry but edged like a razor.
Her chest rose and fell, drawing the beast’s gaze. He leaned closer, trailing one claw lightly over her swelling breasts. Viper-swift, he clamped her mouth with his other hand, stifling her screams, and continued his exploration of her naked skin with the blade-like nail. Her rapid pulse beat frantically at the base of her neck.
“Perhaps.” One word, grating and broken. The voice of a monster.
He snaked his claw across the bottom of her throat, then down the line of her cleavage, pressing just enough to scrape the skin, a thin line of red rushing to the surface. Keeping her immobile with his crushing weight, he scraped a drop of blood from her breasts. He opened his mouth, revealing a row of sharpened teeth, the canines most prominent. Reeking of menace and power, he licked the tip of his claw.
His voice fell to a raspy whisper. A rumbling growl rattled her bones. A flash of flame and shadow and all was black.
Right off the bat I’m going to tell you—if you haven’t yet started reading any of Juliette Cross’ books set in the Morgon world, you need to immediately go one-click all of them. Yes, I’m serious…that’s how good these stories are. And even though you can read Waking the Dragon without reading the other books first, I would highly recommend reading Soulfire and Windburn beforehand as they will give you a great introduction and backstory which will enrich your reading experience.
The author is quite talented at injecting the story with an air of excitement right from the start. It draws you in, keeping you in a constant state of suspense-the hallmark of an unputdownable read. There are plenty of highly intense and highly emotional scenes that contribute to the overall spellbinding tale that unfolds, and for me this has been the most captivating tale based in the Morgon world that I have read from the author so far.
The world the Morgon stories take place in is fantastically built and vibrantly painted by the author. The story is completely mesmerizing to the point that the reader wishes this world was a real place…which if it was, I’d be heading there in a heartbeat.
Filled with complex characters with such depth that they make the story even more profound and rich, Waking the Dragon gives us familiar, well-loved characters from the Nightwing series as well as introduces us to many new ones that offer so many more opportunities for stories in this world. I was particularly moved by the character of Gaius. The main characters, Kol and Moira, play off of each other quite well, making a perfect match. They’ve got some great dialogue between them, and the sexual tension has things sizzling throughout the story thanks to their scorching chemistry. Moira has great drive and ambition, a great complement to Kol’s exceedingly strong alpha male character.
This is a magnificent story that will capture your imagination and set it on fire. A top recommendation for sure, I give Waking the Dragon 5 electrifying stars. Recommended for 18+.
About the Author
Juliette calls lush, moss-laden Louisiana home where the landscape curls into her imagination, creating mystical settings for her stories. She has a B.A. in creative writing from Louisiana State University, a M.Ed. in gifted education, and was privileged to study under the award-winning author Ernest J. Gaines in grad school. Her love of mythology, legends, and art serve as constant inspiration for her works. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance--brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.
Juliette is a multi-published author, including her Nightwing series with Kensington Publishing and The Vessel Trilogy with Samhain Publishing.
$20 Amazon GC
2 bundles of Soulfire and Windburn, books 1 and 2 in the Nightwing Series