Sneak Peek: Masked Dragon of Snowridge
As a special treat to my newsletter subscribers, I have the exclusive first look at the opening to Masked Dragon of Snowridge (Stonefire Dragons Universe #4)! The entire first chapter is too long, but here's a nice little glimpse. 🙂 The full story will be out January 25, 2024. I'll make sure to put the preorder links after the excerpt. Enjoy and feel free to leave a comment. 🙂
Nearly Four Months Ago
Kaylee MacDonald adjusted the half-mask on her face as she stood inside a grand house’s entrance hall, complete with marble floors and a staircase that belonged in a movie. Just down the hall were a set of big double doors leading to a ballroom, one that would be full of both humans and dragon-shifters.
And not just any humans or dragon-shifters, but those looking for a one-night hookup and some fun.
Taking a deep breath, she smoothed her dress and willed her heart to stop racing. She’d been looking forward to this event for weeks, maybe even months, since she first heard about it from her former roommate, Emma MacAllister.
“It’s a bi-monthly event where humans and dragons can mingle, have fun, and admittance is only guaranteed via a password. I can share it if you want to go, aye?”
And given how her hookup prospects were zero back home on Clan Lochguard, she’d decided to attend the masked event.
Although as she stood in the grand house, her feet unwilling to move, she plucked the material of her dress, unsure she could go through with it.
Stop it, Kaylee. You’ve never been shy before, so don’t you dare start now.
It wasn’t shyness that kept her feet rooted in place, though. No, she’d spent the last few weeks building up her hopes and dreams of finally finding someone who wanted her and wouldn’t abandon her. Which, of course, was a tall order for an event meant for one-night stands.
She was basically doomed to fail. Did she really want to wake up with regrets?
Don’t think of that. Even a teeny, tiny chance was enough to merit trying. No one on Lochguard had sparked anything inside her, and as much as she loved her sister Gina and in-laws, Kaylee wanted to find her own place, her own purpose, her own direction in life. Especially since she wasn’t sure Clan Lochguard, nestled in the remote Scottish Highlands, was it.
After a few more deep breaths, she pushed aside her nervousness, put her shoulders back, and strode toward the giant doors. Two masked men opened them, and she was instantly bombarded by some low, sultry music.
Almost as if someone had picked it to encourage everyone to sneak into dark corners and get up to trouble.
Smiling at the thought, she entered the room and took a second to look around.
She barely paid any attention to the giant chandelier or fancy wooden panel walls, but gaped at all the people milling about. The tattooed upper arms of some of the women meant they were dragon-shifters, but there were plenty who were human. The men were harder to figure out because they all wore buttoned up shirts or jackets. But if she got close enough, flashing pupils would tell her if they were dragons.
And silly as it was, she wanted to spend a night with a dragonman. It might be her only chance, after all. Although the thought of never having a devoted mate like her sister had with her dragonman made her chest tighten.
Not wanting to look like an idiot standing there gawking, Kaylee did her best to imitate Dr. Layla McFarland, Lochguard’s head doctor and a female who always looked confident and in control.
She strode in, her skirt swishing as she walked, and headed toward the bar at the back. After she ordered some wine and took a sip, she wondered how one went about approaching a man and maybe hooking up.
Because she’d never done this before. Any guys she’d had sex with in the past had first been friends or she’d met while with friends.
She gulped down her wine and asked for another. As warmth spread throughout her body, her nerves relaxed, and she smiled at the man who approached the bar. He smiled back but shook his head. “Sorry, love. Someone’s waiting for me.”
Doing her best not to feel disappointed, she nodded, took her wine, and walked toward a group of men and women in the corner who were laughing and all gathered around something.
When close enough, Kaylee saw that a man and woman were in the middle of a strip poker game. Definitely not something she thought she’d see at the edges of a fancy ballroom.
She smiled as the man cursed and took off his shirt. Kaylee did her best not to drool as he exposed a muscled chest and, yep, a dragon-shifter tattoo on his upper arm. His flashing pupils and a look of irritation topped the cake.
“Bloody hell, I swear you’re cheating.”
The woman with dark hair and dark brown eyes merely smiled. “No, you’re just bloody awful at this. Or, maybe you want to lose.”
He growled. “No fucking way.”
The woman smirked. “Then try harder.”
As Kaylee laughed and watched the pair play, she wondered if maybe she should challenge someone to a game. Poker wasn’t her strong suit, but then again, she wasn’t shy about showing some skin. She’d skinny dipped with her friends back in high school, in Virginia, long before she’d ever come to the UK.
The game progressed, and the guy ended up in his boxers before the woman stopped the play and they went off somewhere, probably to finish undressing in private.
Kaylee drained her latest glass of wine and stood up on one of the chairs, taking a second to find her balance. She shouted, “Who wants to challenge me to a game of strip poker?”
The crowd around the table cheered and she did a little dance on the chair, raising her hands, and moving in tune with the music, but careful not to topple over.
Yes, the wine had done the trick. With no responsibilities, no older sister looking on, and no clan leader to disappoint, Kaylee was free.
And she was determined to make the most of it.
Then she noticed a tall, dark-haired man with pale skin and dark eyes striding toward her. Even though he wore a mask, his every movement seemed to scream, “I see you and you’re mine.”
Which was ridiculous, of course.
But alcohol made her mind think silly things.
He stopped just in front of her, placed his hands on her waist, and heat shot through her, ending between her legs.
His voice was low, his accent something she couldn’t quite place, as he said, “I’ll challenge you, little bird.”
She frowned. “Little bird?”
“Yes, moving around, full of energy, chirping and inviting someone to watch you.”
“Chirping isn’t a compliment.”
His lips nearly twitched. “I think it is.”
For a beat, they stared at each other. His eyes were brown, and as his pupils flashed from slits to round again, it signaled he was a dragon-shifter.
Time seemed to slow as his heated gaze held hers, his fingers lightly stroking her waist.
Then he lifted her and placed her on the ground. “Ready to lose your clothes, little bird?”
She stood tall—well, as tall as she could, given this dragoman was at least a foot taller than her—and said, “More like I’m ready to see what you’re hiding under your clothes.”
He still didn’t smile, but his eyes twinkled.
Could a grumpy dragonman’s eyes twinkle? Well, she thought so.
Maybe he’d had some alcohol as well.
He squeezed her waist one last time, slowly removed his hands, and gestured toward the table. “Then let’s get to it. If I trounce you too well at first, then I might go easy on you later, aye?”
“Don’t even think about it.” She touched his arm—warm even through his shirt—and then added, “I’ll do just about anything to see that tattoo of yours.”
He leaned down to her ear. “And I’d do anything to see your hard little nipples begging for me to suck them.”
Her cheeks heated. Yes, this event’s purpose was finding someone to have sex with. Even so, no man had ever talked to her like that.
And she wanted more of it. A lot more.
Want to preorder so it automatically downloads on release day? Click your vendor of choice below:
NOTE: Google Play will be out on release day, January 25, 2024. The paperback version will be on sale by that date too.