DARK HEAT - Donna Grant
The Dark Kings Stories
St. Martin's Paperbacks
Fantasy Romance Collection
Scotland - the Present
Dragons in a myriad of colors once flew the skies of Earth, and each immortal Dragon King led his particular color of dragon. When humans came into the world, the kings were changed so they could become either dragon or human, and charged with the task of protecting humankind. When humans began killing dragons, the kings found a woman involved with one of their own helping with the slaughter. The kings removed her. Unfortunately, Ulrik, the dragon king who loved her and who controlled the silver dragons turned on his brethren. The king of the dragon kings, Constantine, removed both Ulrik's magic and his ability to change forms. To protect their dragons from human predation, the kings sent their dragons to another realm but remained here to fulfill their charge. This separation causes the kings a constant yearning, and Constantine's magic prevents the remaining kings from falling in love with any woman. Yet…something strange has happened. Part of the magic against Ulrik required the silver dragons remain asleep in a cave in this realm. Recently, all of the dragon kings felt the silver dragons move. Something is happening, something that could put the dragon kings in danger.
Having lost her job and diminished her savings, Cassie Hunter has come from Arizona to live with her brother Dan. At the airport, she finds her luggage missing and a car with directions left for her. She is to take care of Dan's dog Duke, a Great Dane. She travels to Dan's property near the Dreagan Distillery in the Scottish Highlands. Hal, a dragon king, meets Cassie through Duke's meanderings. Soon he realizes how attracted he is to this American woman, so much so that he will defy Constantine. But how can he have fallen in love with a mortal human?
American Elena Griffon's new boss, Sloan, at the London offices of PureGems, has demanded Elena go caving with her. Elena has never done it and isn't keen on going, but Sloan insists. Since Elena doesn't want to lose her job, she goes to the caves on the private property of the Dreagan Distillery. Sloan then tells Elena she never asked the owners for permission. Guy and his dragon king friends, Rhys and Banan, find the human women in their caves. They discover one woman's equipment has failed, and she has fallen to her death. As Elena begins to fill Guy's thoughts, Constantine worries about what the dead woman knew, what she searched for, and why his magic is failing. Who is hunting the dragon kings?
Jane Holden, from Seattle, Washington, works as an assistant for the boss of PureGems in London. The man is overbearing, bossy, and inconsiderate. Jane considers herself a klutzy 'plain Jane,' as no one ever notices her, something she prefers. When Elena returns to work after her disastrous caving trip, Jane welcomes her. Later, a man named Banan prevents her fall on the sidewalk outside the PureGems office. She cannot believe a man who looks like Banan could have the faintest interest in her, but he does, and soon Jane is helping Banan and Elena discover what treachery her boss is hiding.
Guy has never asked Elena to bond with him, never told her he wants to make her his immortal mate. Before she met him, her career had driven her, and when he gives her a one-way ticket back to Atlanta, she thinks her work may be all that remains. Elena knows the dragon kings' secrets, but she will never reveal them. Surprisingly, Constantine joins her at the airport. What is he after?
This anthology is an exciting series of romance stories that will engage a reader. Due to being a group of connected short stories, each one relates some of the same information creating similar dilemmas between the heroine and hero. This repetition is a minor distraction. Each story has different situations and problems, but the dragon king's love and well-being are always at stake. Not all questions are answered--but two novels follow, DARKEST FLAME in May and FIRE RISING in June.