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Livia didn’t know why it was so, only that all the married knights were parts of trios. Happy trios, to be sure. She’d seen a few of the Lair women shopping in the square from time to time, and they all seemed happy enough. Nobody ever claimed the knights were bad husbands. Quite the contrary. But for some reason, not many of the men who lived alongside the dragons up on the cliffs were married. There were few Lair wives and, because of that, few children. Occasionally, a knight would form a liaison with a town woman, but nobody had become a Lair wife from the town in recent memory. The affairs seemed merely to be of convenience, not love everlasting. “Mates, their dragon partners, and eventually children,” Hrardorr seemed to answer her question. “Little dragonettes and tiny human babies, with two dragon parents and three human parents.” “All of them?” Livia asked, intrigued by the concept. “Of course,” Hrardorr said. “That is the family unit of the Lair. They all share in the parenting of any offspring, dragon and human alike. It is the way we have always done it, since the first fighting dragon partnered with the first knight.” “I had no idea. I mean, I’d heard things, but nothing like this. It sounds kind of…nice.” She marveled at the idea of a baby dragon being raised equally by humans and dragons, or a baby human calling a dragon papa. “Do you have children, Sir Hrardorr?” The dragon’s mouth tightened. “No. And now, I never will.” “Never is a very long time,” she said softly, wanting to offer comfort. “Don’t I know it.” His tone was bitter. “Being blind isn’t the end of the world,” she said, confronting his depression head on. His great head reared back as if she’d struck him. “You know I’m blind?” “I figured it out. A few of my father’s people do business at the Lair, and they bring back news of new arrivals. I assumed you’re the new dragon that has come here to recuperate. Am I wrong?” A sigh gusted out of Hrardorr’s mouth, filling her sails for a brief moment. She had to change tack to get back to him, but he didn’t seem to notice. “No, milady. You’re not wrong. I’m the damaged dragon who can’t even fend for himself anymore.” “Seems to me you just bagged a menacing shark all by yourself and chomped him to little pieces without any help at all,” she mused. “You’re not helpless. Hopeless, maybe…and that can be changed.” “You’re a strange female,” Hrardorr said, making her bark a laugh she hadn’t expected. “You’re not the first person to tell me that,” she allowed, smiling. “I’m not a person. I’m a dragon.” He bared his pointy teeth, as if grinning at her. “Point taken, Sir Dragon.” She regarded him for a moment, searching for the right words, but she couldn’t find them. “I like fishing. I do it most days when my father is away. Maybe you’d like to meet me here again sometime? I mean, I need protection from the circling sharks, and I suppose you could make yourself useful in lowering their numbers before someone from the town ends up maimed or dead. The fishermen would be grateful, I’m sure, as would most of the townsfolk.” “You don’t say.” Hrardorr looked as if he was thinking over her words. “I like to swim. And I also like the taste of shark.” “Really? What does it taste like to you?” “Like victory.”
About Bianca D’Arc:
Bianca D’Arc is the USA Today bestselling author of over 50 romance novels. She has twice won EPPIE Awards for her work, along with the Australian Romance Readers Favorite Erotic Romance eBook of 2008 for her first werewolf romance, Lords of the Were. She is a native New Yorker who worked as an executive on Wall Street during the summer of 2001. She changed careers after the tragic attacks of 9/11 and started seriously pursuing publication in 2005. She has a Bachelors degree in Biochemistry, a Masters in Library Science, and a Juris Doctor, but she doesn’t take herself too seriously. She loves her garden and plays the piano, ukulele and guitar.
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