Dragon's Desire

Dragon's Desire by Delilah Devlin

Book: Dragon's Desire by Delilah Devlin Read Free Book Online
Authors: Delilah Devlin
Tags: Erotic
Chapter One
    Ragged wisps of clouds crawled across the face of the full moon, lightening then darkening the barren precipice. Local villagers called it The Dragon’s Atoll. The bürgermeister had given him directions, told him when to begin the climb, warning him the atoll only existed during the full moon before it disappeared for another hundred years.
    An hour earlier, the knight had climbed the rocky precipice and now hid behind a stone pillar, sword drawn. He listened to the soft sobs of the girl the villagers had chained to the pillar according to rules handed down for a millennium, or so the elders had said. She was their sacrifice, their gift to the winged demon to pacify its hunger and spare them its wrath.
    The knight had silently scoffed at their fear. He didn’t believe in dragons or demons. At least, not mythical beasts. He’d seen enough in his travels to Palestine and back to know evil existed. True evil resided in the hearts of greedy, bloodthirsty men.
    Still, the purse filled with gold the villagers offered him to slay the dragon and rid them of their curse convinced him to remain where he was.
    “I shall die,” the girl whispered, “savaged by the beast.”
    “You will not die,” he whispered, casting her a sideways glance. “’Tis only a tale.”
    “You weren’t raised on tales of the horror. Do you think they are only stories told to frighten children?” she said, her voice rising toward the end.
    She was a comely thing with golden hair and gentle curves. He’d fought shock and disgust when the old men had cut her clothing from her body to leave her nude. The night was chilly and the sound of her teeth clacking as her body shivered had him reaching for his cloak. If they were bound to wait together, she needn’t freeze.
    Come morning, he’d lead her from the mountain and deliver her to her father, the bürgermeister who’d hired him, safe and sound. He stepped around the pillar and bent over to slip the cloak around her.
    Instead, she shook her head. “You mustn’t.”
    “You are cold.”
    “I’ll not be the reason my village suffers.”
    He sighed and dropped the cloak, trying not to let his gaze slide down her naked frame but failing. Her nipples were ruched, the tips drawn into tight buds on her round, firm mounds. “How were you so unlucky to be chosen?” he asked quietly, leaning his back against the gray granite rock so he looked out across the atoll rather than at her.
    “A lottery of maidens is held. All our names are entered.”
    His lips twitched, and he shot her a glance. “And how do the villagers know you are truly virgin?”
    A frown drew her pretty brows together. “The midwife examines all the women.”
    “If you knew you risked this fate, why did you not lie with a man to render yourself unfit?”
    “Because as awful as this fate is, ‘tis worse to cheat the dragon. Every family guards the virtue of their daughters to spare the village a terrible fate.” Her eyelids closed for a moment. When she opened them again, tears threatened to overflow the lower lids. “You shouldn’t be here. My father was wrong to try to end the curse.”
    “You would sacrifice yourself willingly?”
    “I have a younger brother, cousins, friends.” She shook her head. “I wouldn’t want to see them harmed.”
    “What exactly happens when this beast appears?”
    She swallowed hard. “He devours the virgin.”
    The knight grunted, disbelieving. Why did fairy tale monsters always seek a virgin’s flesh? “It’s likely only feral pigs or wolves you should fear.”
    “No wolf or pig would devour a woman whole.”
    “How do you know this?”
    Her indrawn breath shook. “There is never bone nor blood, hair nor flesh remaining. The creature opens his mouth and swallows his offering in a single gulp.”
    Compassion rose and he grasped her cold hand. “I will protect you, whether from dragon or pig. No harm shall come to you.”
    “I wish I could believe your vow.”

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