Wydawca: Montana Publishing Kategoria: Obyczajowe i romanse Język: angielski Rok wydania: 2015

The Old Dragon of the Mountain’s Christmas ebook

s.e. smith  

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Opis ebooka The Old Dragon of the Mountain’s Christmas - S.E. Smith

A holiday fic that will have you laughing out loud, sniffling in sympathy, and cheering them on! It's never too late to fall in love. Born prematurely, Christoff was never as big or as strong as other younglings, but when the mountain near his family’s farm awakened, Christoff was sure that he was the only one who could quiet it – and for a long time, the mountain stayed quiet. Christoff spent centuries watching over the village that shunned him, dreaming of the day he can move on to his next life. When the mountain begins to tremble again, Christoff knows his time has come. What he doesn’t expect are the younglings who suddenly appear in the hopes of saving a thing called Christmas. Nothing can stop the mountain from erupting this time, and Christoff will finally get a new life – on a strange planet light years away... Internationally acclaimed S.E. Smith presents a new action-packed story full of romance and adventure. Brimming with her signature humor, vivid scenes, and beloved characters, this book is sure to be another fan favorite! Main Content: 107 (6x9) pages, 34,057 words

Opinie o ebooku The Old Dragon of the Mountain’s Christmas - S.E. Smith

Fragment ebooka The Old Dragon of the Mountain’s Christmas - S.E. Smith

The Old Dragon of the Mountain’s Christmas

Dragon Lords of Valdier book 9

S.E. Smith

Contents

Acknowledgments

Copyright

Synopsis

Author’s Note:

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Epilogue

Sample of Touch of Frost

Additional Books and Information

About the Author

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank my husband Steve for believing in me and being proud enough of me to give me the courage to follow my dream. I would also like to give a special thank you to my sister and best friend, Linda, who not only encouraged me to write, but who also read the manuscript. Also to my other friends who believe in me: Julie, Jackie, Lisa, Sally, Elizabeth (Beth) and Narelle. The girls that keep me going!

And a special thanks to Paul Heitsch, David Brenin, Samantha Cook, Suzanne Elise Freeman, and PJ Ochlan—the awesome voices behind my audiobooks!

—S. E. Smith

To Dulcie and Jose – for showing that love has no age limits.

Science Fiction Romance

The Old Dragon of the Mountain’s Christmas: Dragon Lords of Valdier Book 9

Copyright © 2015 by S. E. Smith

First E-Book Published December 2015

Cover Design by Melody Simmons

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission from the author.

All characters, places, and events in this book are fictitious or have been used fictitiously, and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, actual events, locales, or organizations are strictly coincidental.

Summary: An alien goddess gives a deformed dragon shifter a second chance to find love with a human woman on Earth who teaches him that love can happen at any age.

Published in the United States by Montana Publishing.

ISBN: 978-1-942562-81-8 (ebook)

ISBN: 978-1-942562-82-5 (Paperback)

{1. Science Fiction Romance. – Fiction. 2. Science Fiction – Fiction. 3. Paranormal – Fiction. 4. Romance – Fiction. 5. Fiction - Holiday Romance}

www.montanapublishinghouse.com

Synopsis

Born prematurely, Christoff wasn’t as big or as strong as his older brother or the other younglings in the village. Unable to fit in, he does the best he can, helping his father and mother on their farm. His life changes when the mountain near their farm awakens. Believing he is the only one who can quiet it, he retreats to the mountain to watch over the village that shunned him.

A hermit for centuries, he dreams of the day he can move on to his next life; a life that he hopes will give him a chance of finding his true mate. He knows his time has come when the mountain begins to tremble again. What he doesn’t expect is a group of younglings who suddenly appear in the hopes of saving a thing called Christmas. When the mountain erupts, he never expects to awaken on a strange planet light years away, or to meet an unusual woman who sees beneath his deformity to the warrior hidden within.

Can the love of a special woman and her family heal Christoff’s tortured soul? Find out what happens when the Goddess Aikaterina gives The Old Dragon his very own special Christmas.

Author’s Note:

For those who have not read the Dragon Lords of Valdier, here is a little background.

The Valdier are dragon shifters. Only the Valdier and their mates can bond with the mysterious and powerful golden symbiots, who are, yes, symbiotic creatures, and they are stand-out characters all on their own! Each Valdier consists of three parts: the dragon, the man/woman, and their symbiot companion. They are friends with the Curizan (a species able to harness the energy around them) and the Sarafin (a cat shifting species). The following is a character guide for those new to the series:

Zoran Reykill, Leader of the Valdier,

true mate to Abby Tanner: 

one son: Zohar 

Zoran’s symbiot: Goldie

Mandra Reykill

true mate to Ariel Hamm: 

one son: Jabir 

Mandra’s symbiot: Precious

Kelan Reykill

true mate to Trisha Grove: 

one son: Bálint 

Kelan’s symbiot: Bio

Trelon Reykill

true mate to Cara Truman: 

twin daughters: Amber and Jade

Trelon’s symbiot: Symba

Creon Reykill

true mate to Carmen Walker: 

twin daughters: Spring and Phoenix 

Creon’s symbiot: Harvey

Phoenix’s symbiot: Stardust

Spring’s symbiot: Little Bit

Paul Grove

true mateto Morian Reykill 

Cree and Calo Aryeh

true mate to Melina Franklin:

one daughter: Hope

Vox d’Rojah, King of the Sarafin,

matedto Riley St. Claire: 

one son: Roam 

Viper d'Rojah mated to Tina St. Claire

Asim mated to Pearl St. Claire

Ha’ven Ha’darra,

Prince of the Curizan,

mated to Emma Watson:

onedaughter: Alice

Aikaterina: Unknown species; accepted as a Goddess to the Valdier, she is the oldest and most powerful of her kind.

Arilla and Arosa: Unknown species, still young for their kind, they are twins and thought to be Goddesses.

I hope you enjoy Christoff and Edna’s story. I didn’t plan to write it, it just came. I knew once I started, I had to finish it. I think I have laughed and cried more through this story than I have any of my others. They were good tears. If you are like me, you’ll need a box of tissues for this one!

Prologue

Several centuries before:

Christoff ignored the other young boys and girls in the village as he hurried through it. Several of them stopped, pointed, and laughed at him. He was almost half their size, even though he was the same age. He had been born early and never quite caught up with the others.

“Lemar, wait!” Christoff called out to his older brother.

Lemar grimaced as he glanced over his shoulder at Christoff. “Go home!” he ordered.

“But, father told me to help you bring home the items he needs to fix the irrigation system,” Christoff said.

Lemar stopped and angrily turned on his heel to face Christoff. Christoff was used to his older brother being angry at him. It still bothered him, but he tried not to show it. If he did, Lemar would only be meaner to him.

“Go home, Christoff,” Lemar replied cruelly. “I don’t want to be seen with you.”

“But,” Christoff started to argue.

He swallowed when Lemar shoved him backwards hard enough to make him fall down. Looking up at his older brother, he tried not to show him how much it hurt. In the background, he heard more snickering and name calling from the other younglings in the village.

“I said go home,” Lemar snapped. “You are making a laughing stock out of yourself. I don’t want the others thinking I am like you – weak, unfit to be a warrior.”

“I’m not weak,” Christoff protested. “I help around the farm while you chase the females.”

Christoff winced when he saw the rage flash through Lemar’s eyes. His dragon and symbiot sensed that his brother was about to lose control again. Christoff released his dragon when he saw his brother shifting. His symbiot formed a thin layer of armor around him. It, like him and his dragon, was smaller and weaker than most of the other young boys.

He rolled to his feet seconds before Lemar struck out at him. The blow hurt as it caught him across the chest, knocking the wind out of him. He knew there would be no way to defeat his brother. The only thing he could do was try to protect himself as much as possible from the beating he was about to receive.

Lemar! Father told me to come help. Please, do not be angry, he murmured as he tried to calm his brother when he struck him again, this time across his left arm.

You never listen! You are weak and useless, Christoff! You shouldn’t even be alive, Lemar growled as he struck Christoff again with his tail, leaving a long line of welts across Christoff’s back.

I do listen, Christoff defended. I listen to mother and father. They don’t think I am weak and useless.

Christoff winced as Lemar swung out with his tail and caught him across the jaw. The force of the blow spun him around. A hoarse cry escaped him when Lemar grabbed one of his deformed wings with his sharp teeth and bit down.

His dragon reacted, wrapping his tail around Lemar’s left ankle and pulling on it at the same time as he threw himself backwards to ease the pain. The combination knocked both dragons off their feet. Christoff immediately rolled when he felt Lemar release his wing in an effort to protect his back. Tears streamed down his cheeks as he struggled to break free and shakily stood up.

He twisted in fear when Lemar grabbed his leg and kicked out at his brother. A howl of pain escaped him when Lemar sank his sharp claws into his calf. Christoff felt a wave of panic when his leg buckled under him, causing him to fall to the ground again.

Lemar took advantage of his weakness to roll on top of him. The sharp claws that had been in his calf a moment ago, now dug into his throat, cutting off his air supply. He struggled weakly to push Lemar off, but it was no use. His brother outweighed him by almost three to one.

Christoff felt certain that Lemar wasn’t going to stop this time. His older brother was embarrassed by him, he knew that, but he never expected him to take his frustration and embarrassment so far as to kill him. Struggling to draw in a breath of air, he gazed up at hatred burning in Lemar’s eyes.

No, this time his brother would not stop, Christoff thought in resignation as black spots began to darken his vision. Perhaps, Lemar was right. Perhaps, it would have been better if he had died as an infant.

“Lemar, stop!” one of the elder warriors ordered. “Release your brother now.”

Christoff didn’t think Lemar would have followed the elder’s command if it wasn’t for the fact the man’s symbiot was snarling at him. Lemar glared down at him one last time before he released him and jerked away, shifting back to his two-legged form as he stepped back from Christoff’s limp form.

“He shouldn’t be alive,” Lemar growled angrily, waving his hand. “He’s weak, pathetic! He cannot protect our village and he’ll never be good enough to find a mate.”

“I know, but it is not your place to kill him,” the elder stated. “It is your father’s place.”

Christoff shifted and rolled until he was sitting up. He wiped at the tears on his cheeks in frustration. He knew Lemar hated him even more when he cried.

“I help father,” Christoff defended, rubbing his nose against his arm. “I work hard.”

The elder turned to look down at Christoff in disgust. “You will never be fit to be a warrior, youngling. You think you help your parents, but they give you chores not even fit for a female.”

Christoff wiped at his face again as more tears escaped when the crowd of villagers chuckled and nodded their heads in agreement. He rose unsteadily to his feet. Clenching his fists at his side, he lifted his head. His father and mother knew that he was not weak. Every day they told him how much he was a gift to them. He worked hard out in the fields beside them while Lemar came to the village to wrestle with the other boys and flirt with the females. He was growing stronger each day. Yes, his wings may never let him fly, but he could still turn into a dragon and fight. His father was teaching him how to and one day, he would beat Lemar and show his older brother that he could defend the village if necessary.

“That is not true,” Christoff whispered, staring at the Elder with his head held high. “The bread you eat comes from our fields. I work beside my father and mother to plant, care for, and harvest it. I am not weak!”

The male’s eyes narrowed in warning. “Watch your tone with me, boy, or I will finish what your brother started,” the elder snarled. “Get what you came for and return home. I will talk with your father about the disruptions that happened today.”

Christoff wanted to protest, but both his dragon and his symbiot pressed on him to remain quiet. Turning clumsily on his heel, he ignored the laughter as he made his way to the iron shop. He would get the parts his father needed and return home. He knew that Lemar would not be back until after dark.

“You should have killed him, Lemar,” one of the young girls said just loud enough for him to hear. “You are so strong. I can’t believe you have a brother like Christoff.”

Christoff ignored the wave of pain at the hurtful words. He would show everyone that he was strong and when he did, the Goddess would look down on him and make him, his dragon, and his symbiot whole.

Two months later:

Christoff wiped the sweat from his brow and smiled at his mother. She was carrying a bucket of water for him and his dad. She stumbled under the heavy weight when the ground trembled. Dropping the hoe he was using to clear some of the weeds, he rushed over to help her.

“Here, let me,” he said, gently taking the bucket from her.

“Where’s Lemar?” she asked, looking around with a frown. “He was supposed to be helping you.”

Christoff shrugged his shoulders. Since that day in the village, he had avoided Lemar as much as possible. It wasn’t that difficult. His brother seldom did anything around the farm anymore. Lemar preferred to spend his time in the village.

“The mountain is rumbling more than usual,” he said instead before bending to pick up the ladle and scooping up some water.

“Christoff,” his father called over, staring up at the mountain. “Get the tools and head back to the house. My dragon is warning me that we must leave.”

“But, the crops are almost ready,” Christoff protested, looking at the field of golden grain. “Surely it will stop again.”

Christoff watched as his father hurried down the row toward them. There was a look of determination and… fear in his father’s eyes. The determination he had seen before, but the fear – that was new. He had never seen his father afraid of anything. His father wrapped his arm around his mother’s waist and began pulling her toward the house.

“Come, we must go to the village,” Tallon said in an urgent voice.

“Christoff,” his mother called, looking over her shoulder.

“I’m coming, Mother,” Christoff said, grabbing the bucket and dumping the water out on the ground. He turned and started following them before he released a curse. He had forgotten the hoe. “Go! I’ll be right there.”

Christoff turned and hurried back to grab the hoe he had dropped. He stumbled and fell to one knee when the ground shook violently under his feet. Scrambling, he looked up at the mountain that bordered the northwest corner of the valley. A steady stream of smoke was pouring from the top of it and a light rain of ash began drifting down over the valley, covering it in a gray-colored film.

Swallowing down his fear, he turned and hurried back through the field. He fell several more times before he cleared the edge leading down to the house. His symbiot appeared out of the field, looking wildly around for him.

Mountain angry, his dragon hissed. Smell danger.

I know, Christoff said, glancing over his shoulder when he heard a low rumble. Father feels it as well.

Christoff was almost to the house when a loud explosion shook the valley. The force of the blast sent him sprawling on the ground. He glanced up to see a huge rock, the size of a full grown warrior, falling through the air before it disappeared through the roof of his home. Christoff blinked, watching as his older brother staggered out of the burning house.

“Father! Mother!” Christoff yelled, trying to stand. “Father!” he cried again in fear and confusion.

“Christoff!” Tallon called out from near the barn.

He turned to see his father slowly rising to his feet with his mother’s help. Blood ran down one side of his face and he had a long, thin piece of wood embedded in his left thigh. Christoff’s dazed gaze moved from a destroyed section of the barn back to his father.

“Your symbiot,” Christoff whispered. “Where is it?”

“I sent it to the village this morning with a load of grain,” Tallon muttered in pain. “It is coming.”

“Father! Mother! We have to leave,” Lemar shouted, raising a hand to his head and shaking it as he staggered toward them.

All around them, small and mid-size rocks fell, littering the ground like raindrops. Christoff winced when several larger pieces hit him on the head. He raised his hand to touch a spot near his temple, surprised when he felt a warm dampness.

“Christoff, you’re bleeding,” his mother cried in dismay, staggering under the weight of her mate.

“Mother, we have to go,” Lemar said in a harsh voice, reaching out to grab her arm when she stepped toward Christoff.

“We have to help him,” Tallon grimaced, glancing at his oldest son. “You and I can carry him together.”

“Leave him,” Lemar demanded, glancing at Christoff with anger. “If he cannot fly, let him run.”

“Lemar,” their mother whispered in distress. “You know Christoff cannot fly. Help your father carry him. I will follow with his symbiot.”

“No! He shouldn’t have lived! Let the Goddess take him. He is weak,” Lemar argued as his symbiot created a cover for him when the hot ash began to ignite small fires. “You have always protected him. Now it is time to protect yourself. Come with me.”

“No!” Tasmay cried, pulling her arm away. “You have always treated Christoff as if he was unworthy, when in truth, it is you that is unworthy. No warrior would leave someone who is weaker behind,” she whispered as a line of dirty tears coursed down her cheeks. “We need your help, Lemar. Please.”

Lemar’s face twisted as Tallon turned to stare at him. Christoff was about to tell his parents that Lemar was right, that maybe this was the Goddess’ way of telling him that he shouldn’t have lived when another explosion, this one larger than before, knocked them all to the ground. Christoff’s face reflected his fear when he saw the ground opening across the valley and heading toward them.

“Fly!” Lemar shouted in terror as he shifted.

“Lemar!” Tallon roared in pain, turning as his oldest son rose into the ash-filled sky. “Lemar!”

“Father,” Christoff said in a quiet voice filled with resignation. “Go. Take mother and go. Lemar and the others are right. If I cannot survive on my own, it is the Goddess’ way of showing that I am too weak.”

Tallon turned to look at his youngest son’s face. He saw the acceptance that he would not make it. Refusing to believe that any boy with so much heart was not also a powerful warrior, he shifted despite the shaft of wood in his upper thigh.

Christoff turned to watch as his father lifted off the ground. A moment later, his mother shifted and lifted off the ground as well. He raised his hand in farewell, only to gasp when his father’s dragon reached down and wrapped one clawed foot around his wrists.

“Father, no!” Christoff protested, lifting his other hand up to try to break free. He gasped when his mother grabbed his other wrist in her claw. “Mother! I’m too heavy, especially with father’s injury. Leave me and take care of him.”

Christoff tried to stop them, but they refused. He felt his feet leave the ground. He ran as best he could under them as they pumped frantically on their wings.

“Leave me, please,” Christoff cried as he saw the small holes that began appearing on the wings of his parent’s dragons. As fast as their symbiots tried to heal them, more would appear. “Please!”

He cried out when a large piece of flaming debris fell from the sky, shattering one of his mother’s wings. He watched in horror as she tumbled to the ground. His father, unable to carry his weight alone with his injuries, was forced to release him as he struggled to reach his injured mate.

Christoff hit the ground hard and rolled. Glancing up, he scrambled to his feet when he saw his father land next to his mother. He was almost to them when the ground shook again. His father looked up at him, staring in regret as he held his mate in his arms.

“I love you, son,” Tallon said brokenly, gathering his mate’s limp body closer to him. “You have always been a true warrior to us.”

“No!” Christoff whispered as the ground disintegrated around his parents. “NO!” he screamed, lunging forward with his hand reaching for them as they disappeared into the open crevice. “NO! Please, Goddess, no!” he cried again, sobbing as he stared down into the deep abyss.

Rolling onto his back, he stared up at the mountain. He ignored the stinging embers of hot ash as they burned through his clothing. He no longer felt the pain from the rain of rocks and hot ash that continued to fall around him. He didn’t even feel the burning of smoke from the numerous fires. Staring up at the mountain, he knew that he had to calm it. He also believed that he was the only one who could.

Pushing up off the ground, he called to his dragon and his symbiot. Shifting, he knew that he could not fly to the top of the mountain and ask for it to accept his life in exchange for the people of the village. Instead, he drew in a deep breath and began to run. He ran through the falling ash. He ran through the rain of rocks. He jumped over the deep crevice that stretched the valley. The closer he got to the mountain, the quieter it became.

When he reached the base of it, he started to climb. He climbed higher and higher with a determination, a focus, which defied his disability and air of frailty. His claws became bloody from the numerous cuts, but Christoff ignored that as well. When his dragon could not climb, he shifted and continued in his two legged form. His symbiot helped him, becoming a rope when he needed it and healing the deeper cuts so he could continue. By the time he reached the top, the mountain had grown quiet once again.

Christoff stood on a large ledge, looking down at the destruction to the valley, village, and his home. A wave of deep sorrow coursed through him. Unable to contain his grief, he tilted his head back and roared. In the distance, the villagers who had fled turned to the sound. They all heard the terrible sorrow in the haunting cry and they saw the small, frail boy-dragon standing at the top of the mountain. For just a moment, a glow of gold surrounded him, transforming him into a mighty warrior before he turned and disappeared into the once again quiet mountain.

Chapter One

Present Day:

Christoff sighed as he felt the rumble in the mountain. The activity inside it had been growing stronger each day for the past several months. He had traveled down through the numerous lava tunnels that had been created over the centuries to check on it. He knew each by heart since he had escaped to the top of the mountain when he was still just a boy.

His fingers dropped to his side and he gently stroked the golden symbiot pressed against his leg. It and his dragon had been his only companion all these long, lonely years. Several times he had tried to send his symbiot back to the hive where it had been created, but each time it refused to leave him, knowing that to do so would be certain death for him and his dragon.

“You should go,” he murmured affectionately to his companion. “There is little time left for me and my dragon.”

Images flashed through his mind of times when they climbed for hours to find a particularly good view of the valley far below. There were other times when his symbiot would sneak down to the valley and bring him and his dragon a special treat or new clothing that would cause some unsuspecting villager to wonder what had happened to it. An unfamiliar burning came to his eyes when he saw the vivid reminders of their days together.