Feel the Burn by G.A. Aiken

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Dragon Kin #8
G.A. Aiken
Released Nov 24th, 2015
Zebra Imprint

War makes strange bedfellows.

I, Gaius Domitus, one-eyed rebel dragon king of the Provinces, know that better than most, since I have to fight off half my ungrateful family on a regular basis to keep law and order here in my lands. But I never expected to have to consort with a barbarian human woman.

Kachka is beautiful, if you like them fierce—and of course I do. But she keeps complaining about how spoiled and decadent I am, and how a feared Daughter of the Steppes has no time for foolish dragons. I think she likes my eye patch, though. It is quite dashing. With death always at our tails, we take our passion like we take our allies. As they say, love the barbarian you’re with…

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Elina’s suggestion that they play a game was not helping Kachka’s current emotional state. If anything, it just made her feel even more useless.
Elina studied the game board with her one good eye, debating her next move.
This was the life of the Shestakova sisters now.
Decadent. Lazy. Spoiled. Sitting around. Playing board games like children.
It amazed Kachka that adults played these games. Daughters of the Steppes had their three-year-olds playing these games to help them understand the concept of “divide, conquer, and destroy so that the next city or town over just gives us what we ask for.”
So for the two sisters to be playing these games again appalled Kachka on a visceral level. How far she’d fallen back. Would it never get better?
Finally, after much thought, Elina went to make her move . . . and her hand missed the piece by a few inches. Although, based on Elina’s reaction, it might as well have been a mile.
Kachka’s sister growled, then she swiped her hand at the board . . . which she also missed.
That’s when the entire board went flying, her sister’s bellow of rage startling the weak, delusional servants who worked for these rich, decadent royals.
 sighed. “You were winning.”
“Shut up!”
Kachka leaned back in her chair. “Such whining. Like baby, you whine!”
“I am still weak!”
“You took down bear last week.”
“Took me three shots!”
“That’s not eye. That’s this life we now live.” She pointed at one of the dragons walking by. “Decadent! Like that dragon.”
The dragon stopped, placed a hand on his chest. “Me? Kachka, you love me!”
“I love your beauty. I have no use for you personally. You represent all that we hate.”
“Why do you talk to him so?” Elina asked. “He cannot help that he is beautiful but worthless.”
“I am not worthless! I am Gwenvael the—”
“We do not care, lizard!” Kachka barked.
“Do not yell at him!”
“Do not be so pathetic! So you miss eye! Get over it!”
That’s when Elina kicked Kachka under the table. So Kachka kicked her back.
Elina reached and grabbed Kachka by her leather buckskin shirt. That Elina could grip with no problem.
Kachka punched her sister’s arm, but that only made Elina drag Kachka out of the chair. Kachka gripped Elina by her shoulders, shoving her back against the table.
“Stop it! Both of you!” the dragon called out. “I have enough beauty to share with everyone!”
Ignoring the beautiful but useless dragon, Kachka drew back her arm to punch her sister, but it was caught and held.
She assumed it was the dragon, but when she looked, it was the queen who held her. What worried her, though, was the look on the queen’s face. She stared at Kachka as if she’d never seen her before.
“You,” the queen said.
“What about me?”
She didn’t answer at first. Simply stared. Then, suddenly, she yanked Kachka off her sister. “Come with me,” she ordered.
“No!” Elina cried out, grabbing Kachka’s other arm. “Do not kill her!”
The queen blinked. “What?”
“It is all right, sister,” Kachka soothed. “I am ready for death.”
“What are you two—?”
“Don’t worry,” the beautiful dragon tossed in. “I’ll make sure you have a beautiful funeral.”
Gwenvael!” Annwyl roared.
“Why are you yelling at me? I didn’t do anything. It was the outsider!”
Annwyl yanked Kachka from her sister’s grip. “She’ll be fine,” she snapped before Elina could complain further.
“Do not worry, sister,” Kachka said as the queen dragged her off. “I will go to my death

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Originally from Long Island, New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken has resigned herself to West Coast living, which involves healthy food, mostly sunny days, and lots of guys not wearing shirts when they really should be. Writing as Shelly Laurenston, she is also the creator of the wickedly funny Pride series for Brava. For more info about G.A. Aiken’s dangerously and arrogantly sexy dragons, go to www.gaaiken.com.

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