The Dragons of Winter by P.A. Brown
Ciburon is poised to bond with Alecca, his predestined mate and ascend as sovereign crown of Xyamaira. But he has rivals who seek to supplant his rule. If they can prevent Ciburon from successfully teaching Alecca in the ways of his people, the dragonshifters, and mate according to custom, he will forfeit his kingdom and face exile or death.
Kytam, a powerful white dragonshifter mated to blue Tamhrin seeks to prevent Ciburon's success by any means necessary, including trickery and betrayal.
The last dregs of Xyamaira’s pale winter sun left its golden rays on the slopes above Kalec’s Keep. When Tlalon, Radynne’s housemate, threw open the heavy curtains to let the early morning sun into Alecca’s room, he rolled away from the bolt of pain in his head and groaned.
The sound earned him a sharp slap on his bare ass.
“Go away,” he muttered from under his down pillow. When that was dragged away, he threw himself on his back and glared at his mother’s lover. “You’re back.”
“Yes, I’m back and your mother sent me to tell you it’s time to get up.” Tlalon’s voice grew silky. “Ciburon will be here in less than six hours. You want to be ready for him, don’t you?”
“Six hours? Ban’don! Why didn’t you wake me earlier?” Alecca cursed and bolted upright, grabbing his temples at the pain that shot through his head. Sharp stones pressed against his skull, pushing his eyes out of their sockets. His mouth tasted like the bottom of a dung pit.
“That’s why, Lex,” Tlalon said dryly. “Too much wine last night. You should have listened to your mother and gone to bed at a civilized hour instead of playing dice half the night.”
Alecca grunted and Tlalon laughed.
"Aye, Stone Island wine goes down smooth as honey, but it has spines in it when it gets into your head the next mornin'.”
Alecca knew the man was right, but he didn’t feel like being lectured. Not today. He stood, blinking and swaying on the cold stone floor. Curling his toes away from the chill, he followed Tlalon obediently through the short corridor to the bath house. The bath was already full of others. Some looked as bad as he felt. He caught Daigon’s eye and grimaced. Daigon had matched him drink for drink last night around the dying fire, after everyone else had grown a brain and gone to bed. This morning they were both paying for that indulgence.
Alecca would have liked nothing better than to crawl back into bed, even as he knew that refuge was no longer his. After today, he would be leaving his childhood home for good. Either at Ciburon’s side as his mate or in servitude as a neutered geld or guard.
About the Author
Born in Canada Pat doesn’t remember a time she didn’t want to write. It runs in the family you might say - her great uncle John Defoe was the renowned editor-in-chief of the Winnipeg Free Press pre WWII. Pat Brown's approach to life was tempered in the forges of Los Angeles and after eight years in the City of Angels she was endowed with a fascination for the gritty side of life. She explores those worlds in her various stories. Dragons of Winter is her latest.