What a Dragon Should Know Excerpt
Dagmar made sure the last of her dogs were in their runs, fed, and cared for. It took some time to calm them down, the fear of the dragon lingering, but for not even a year old, they’d done well. They hadn’t backed down from the dragon at all. Good. She couldn’t afford for the dogs to be cowering during battle.
After saying goodnight to Johann, Dagmar headed back to the fortress, Canute by her side. When she walked into the Main Hall, she wasn’t exactly surprised to find her kin in the midst of a fight. It was a verbal altercation, not yet moving into a physical one. Although it most likely would. Her brothers needed very little reason to fight and as long as she stayed out of their way, she rarely got injured.
Yet the arguing stopped as soon as she walked in, her brothers immediately focusing on her.
Dagmar paused. “Yes?”
“He’s in your room?” Eymund asked, leaning against one of the long dining tables.
“Yes. He wanted to take a bath.”
“Yes. In a tub. Not everyone feels the need to brace the freezing cold water of the river.”
“That’s all well and good, but he shouldn’t be in your room, sister.”
In no mood for any of this, Dagmar walked off, tossing over her shoulder, “I know. He might be writhing all over my bed like a big cat or sniffing my shoes.”
“Or having a hearty snack.”
It was something in his tone that made Dagmar stop. “I sent up cheese and bread.”
“That’s not hearty. Not for him.”
“Is it true?” Valdís rested his arm on Eymund’s shoulder. “Da says he’s that dragon from earlier only changed to look like a man. Can they really do that?”
“Yes. It’s true.”
“That must be from those gods you don’t believe in.”
His sarcasm unappreciated, she said, “I am not, once again, explaining my belief system to-” She stopped abruptly. They were all smiling. Her kinsmen didn’t smile unless they were drunk or they’d killed something. They wouldn’t kill the dragon, or even try, since he was under the protection of their father for the night. Then what had they done?
Dagmar glanced around the room, looking for something that might tell her what was going on. Something out of place or missing…
She scanned the room again, counting this time. “Where’s that puppy from Tora’s litter?” Unlike the rest of the puppies who were already in training, the too-small, scared little bundle would become a house pet instead of battle dog. He’d feast on scraps, play with children, and basically live a happy if useless life.
“What puppy?” Eymund asked, trying to look appropriately innocent.
Dagmar glared at them all. “You bastards!” she nearly yelled, lifting the gown of her skirt and tearing across the hall. Her brothers’ laughter followed her as she ran through the back hallway to the stairs and up to the second floor.
She was panting by the time she reached her closed bedroom door, horrified she could actually feel a tiny bit of sweat trickling down her back. She didn’t sweat! And that her brothers made her exert herself in anyway was something she’d be getting retribution for at a later date. Yet for now…
Dagmar pushed her room door open but the dragon was not in the tub. Quickly surveying the area, she finally spotted his wet, naked ass trying to wiggle under her bed.
“Come here, little one,” he crooned seductively. “Just a little closer, you yummy little thing you.”
Disgusted, appalled, and angry beyond anything she could ever remember before, Dagmar grabbed the naked bastard by his ankle and yanked him out from under her bed, her outrage temporarily providing the strength she needed to move such a large, dog-eating son of a bitch.
“Oy!” he yelped before turning over and cradling that frighteningly large weaponry he had between his legs. And, if she weren’t so upset, she might notice what an amazingly gorgeous human body he had. Unlike her kinsmen who were muscles on top of muscles, some of them appearing to have been born without necks because the size of their shoulders hid the evidence, the dragon at her feet was large but lean. No fat, no oddly shaped, overdeveloped muscles. His thighs were strong and powerful, his abdomen flat and tight, with an interesting but clear delineation between it and his hipbones.
Staring down at him, she realized her fingers twitched and her tongue rubbed the roof of her mouth, but she decided to ignored all that in favor of her anger.
He glared up at her. “I don’t appreciate the stone burn against my balls, woman!”
“And I don’t appreciate you going after one of my dogs-again!”
“Oh. That.” He cleared his throat and gave a little shrug. “Someone opened the door and threw it in. I’d just assumed it was a little treat from you to me.”
He knew he had the area protected by his hands but Gwenvael still curled on his side, grunting in pain as her foot slammed down on the area near his kidney instead.
“Stay away from my dogs, dragon! All of my dogs. From the smallest to the largest,” she ordered, marching over him and over her bed to track down the little furball hiding on the other side. “Every dog in this fortress and on these lands belongs to me. You are not to touch them, speak to them, or go near them in any way.”
She marched back over the bed and over him, with the puppy now in her arms. She petted him and crooned to him softly.
“It’s a dog, little barbarian,” he sighed with absolutely no pity. “And only a dog. Sometimes I use their bones to pick my teeth.”
With a snarl, she leaned down and grabbed a handful of his wet hair, nearly yanking it from his head.
“Ow! Get off!” He slapped at her hands, trying to get the unhinged female to release his precious and lovely hair. Women always spoke of how they loved when his hair draped across their bodies and how they loved to stroke it before they eventually started stroking him. The last thing he needed was some mad woman removing it.
She gave one more strong tug before she released him and stepped out of his reach. “Listen well, creature. Touch my dogs and I’ll do to you what I do to the male dogs I decide not to breed!”
With fascination, Gwenvael watched Dagmar carefully and precisely rein in her sudden burst of temper. When those gray eyes locked on him again, they were as cold as ice.
“Now that we have that clear, I’ll leave you to finish your bath, Lord Gwenvael.”
She started out then stopped. “One thing. The men of this land don’t wear their long hair out. They have one plait down their back. It’s custom and to keep the complaining of my siblings down, I’d appreciate if you’d abide by that.”
She nodded and again started toward the door.
“Tragically,” Gwenvael said to her back, enjoying how she stopped and her entire body tensed.
“My hair is so long and unmanageable…I’d never be able to braid it properly.” He grinned. “Perhaps you can do it for me.”
“I’ll send a servant to take care of it for you.”
“But as hostess of the house…”
She turned to face him. “As hostess of the house…what?”
“Shouldn’t you tend to your guest?”
Her face showed nothing. Her demeanor didn’t change one bit. But he knew he’d gotten to her because the puppy yelped in her arms and she had to loosen her grip before he stopped squirming.
“If you insist, my lord.”
“Oh,” Gwenvael grinned, “I do insist!”