Dragon Bound (Elder Races Series #1)

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Overview

Half-human and half-wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful-and passionate-of the Elder races.

2012 RITA Winner for Paranormal Romance

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Overview

Half-human and half-wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful-and passionate-of the Elder races.

2012 RITA Winner for Paranormal Romance

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A dragon, gryphons, and other Wyr creatures populate Harrison's steamy paranormal romance, the first in the Elder Races series. When Pia Giovanni's ex-boyfriend blackmails her into stealing from Dragos Cuelebre, Pia knows it's only a matter of time before the powerful dragon tracks her down. But instead of killing her, Dragos finds himself drawn to the half-human, half-Wyr thief. When the two are attacked and captured by goblins, Dragos and Pia realize that an old, powerful enemy of Dragos's wants them dead. Harrison goes beyond the usual vampires and werewolves to create an entertaining cast of supernatural creatures, but the action soon slows to a crawl and transforms into a series of misunderstandings between the lovers. Dominant Dragos is meant to be alpha-male sexy, but his constant bouts of possessive jealousy quickly grow tiresome, as does Pia's skittish, passive nature. (May)
From the Publisher
"This is an outstanding blend of romantic suspense and urban fantasy with great storytelling and world building, extremely sensuous scenes that move the story arc along, and characters [listeners] will be reluctant to leave." —-Booklist Starred Review
The Barnes & Noble Review

From Eloisa James's "READING ROMANCE" column on The Barnes & Noble Review


Many years ago I tried out for the cheerleading squad. Alas, I was plump, awkward, and couldn't manage a cartwheel. But I wanted to fit in so desperately that I convinced myself that a pleated mini-skirt would transform me into a perky, high-kicking member of the in-group.

When the cartwheel fairy didn't show, I decided I was doomed to be a pigeon in a sea of swans. We've all encountered -- and failed to join -- groups formed by the rich, talented, powerful, or beautiful. The five romances I discuss this month each feature a heroine who doesn't belong to the most powerful group in her particular milieu. But these aren't novels about women who succeed in joining the elites. Each of these heroines champions a different kind of group: a twosome.

The heroine in Rachel Gibson's Any Man of Mine is living on the edges of a very powerful social group: the super-rich professional hockey players, Stanley Cup winners who limit their friends to the rich and beautiful. Autumn Haven -- a single mom struggling to get her event planning business on an even keel -- definitely doesn't qualify. She doesn't have fake breasts, blonde hair, or the faintest interest in hockey. What she does have is the memory of a drunken Las Vegas weekend with hockey star Sam LeClaire that resulted in a divorce certificate and a 6-year-old son. Any Man of Mine is a fascinating look at how hard it is to bridge two dissimilar worlds -- cool and uncool, cheerleader and bystander. Yet both Sam and Autumn come to realize that they want one thing: to create ties between the three of them that are stronger than any ties between friends.

Pia Giovanni, the heroine of Thea Harrison's Dragon Bound, also has to deal with a powerful group of successful men: the Elder Races -- magical shape-shifters -- who surround Dragos Cuelere, the most powerful shape-shifter of them all. Dragos is a phenomenally rich dragon who keeps a hoard of treasure beneath his Manhattan skyscraper. In human form he is a muscled predator, a man who dominates any group. Pia is his opposite, a tiny woman whose mother taught her to be always inconspicuous. His magic is flashy and known the world over; hers is subtle and hidden, yet wildly powerful. When Pia steals a penny from Dragos's hoard, he erupts in fury, determined to kill the thief who managed to get through all his locks and magical wards. But after tracking Pia down, Dragos finds himself fascinated and falling in love. Pia is a peppery, funny heroine, and Dragos is a classic alpha, but what makes this romance so compelling is not only the brilliant world-building (which brings to mind J. R. Ward's Brotherhood series), nor the sexy appeal of both characters, but the way in which Dragos learns that being part of a couple is better than being the leader of an elite group. In the end, the two of them are the only group that matters, as Dragos puts it: "You're with me everywhere I go but I miss you when we're apart."

Sarah MacLean's Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart places the insider/outsider dilemma in one of the toughest societies of all: the English Regency. Simon Pearson, Duke of Leighton, is, like Dragos, a born leader, wielding power, money, and birth. Miss Juliana Fiori has no place in England's elite: she's the daughter of an Italian merchant and a dissolute English marchioness. Worse, she's a magnet for scandal. But Juliana has a clear understanding of the arbitrary fortune that puts men like Sam, Dragos, and Simon on the top of the social hierarchy: "The way you behave," she tells him, "one would think you'd actually done something to earn the respect these English fools afford you." This is one of the most wildly romantic books I've read in a long time, stemming directly from the moment when Simon decides to break every rule that kept him at the center of English aristocratic society. I defy you not to sigh with happiness when Simon throws away his reputation, and then tells Juliana "everything I had spent my life espousing -- all of it…it is wrong. I want your version of life."

Julianne MacLean's Claimed by the Highlander puts her heroine, Gwendolen MacEwen, on the fringes of a very different -- but equally rigid -- social group: that of a Scottish clan. Gwendolen is a MacEwen, at least until she's stolen by Angus the Lion, the head of the MacDonald clan. For sheer brawn, power, and elite status, you can't get more leader-of-the-pack than Angus, and Gwendolen finds herself fascinated by the laird. Still, she fights back, betraying Angus to the British in an effort to save her own clan. By the time she realizes that she desperately wants to be a MacDonald -- to be trusted by Angus -- it's too late. Angus too must learn that the strongest bonds are between two people who love each other, and that trust between man and wife means more than kinship or family loyalty. Claimed by the Highlander reminded me of Julie Garwood's early, wonderful Scottish novels about warring clans and feisty girls: novels in which love triumphs over the strongest of clan bonds.

Jacquie D'Alessandro's Summer at Seaside Cove appears to reverse the paradigm. Jamie Newman is the kind of girl who would have aced that cheerleading try-out. She has brains, honey-colored hair, and the ability to make friends wherever she goes. The novel opens when she rents a cottage for the summer on a North Carolina island, hoping to heal a broken heart. Unfortunately, that cottage turns out to be a broken-down mess, and its owner, Nick Trent, isn't much better. He's a scruffy, gorgeous bad boy. He certainly doesn't fit in on the island: he's a loner who disappears for days at a time, leading the community to think he's keeping secrets. This is the kind of novel that will make you nostalgic for sand and suntan oil, and might even have you singing "Summer Lovin'" in the shower. But the novel is not just a story of opposites. The secrets Nick is keeping have everything to do with his status as a loner, without friends or relationships. Like all the heroes in these novels, Nick has a lot to learn. The novel's sweetness springs from its understanding that material possessions and the power they bring can never guarantee happiness. None of the elite groups -- Rich, Ivy League, Handsome -- matter when it comes to the smallest and the most important group of all.

I never made the cheerleading team, and some part of me still wants to vet my friends and make sure they didn't either. But reading novels like these assuages any lingering tinge of bitterness. In the end, it doesn't matter how rich and popular a person may be -- or how successful he or she is in building up connections to peers. These novels promise that a happy relationship is better than cartwheels or cash.




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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425241509
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/3/2011
  • Series: Elder Races Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 161,474
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Thea Harrison is the pen name of Elder Races series author Teddy Harrison. She wrote her first book at age nineteen and had sixteen romances published under the name Amanda Carpenter.

An avid reader her whole life, Sophie Eastlake happily extends her love of books to her passion for narrating. She lives in New York, where she survives the subway grind with a book in her hand and drops in on every literary reading she can find.

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Read an Excerpt

Pia was blackmailed into committing a crime more suicidal than she could possibly have imagined, and she had no one to blame but herself.

Knowing that didn’t make it easier. She couldn’t believe she had been so lacking in good judgment, taste or sensibility.

Honestly what had she done? She had taken one look at a pretty face and forgotten everything her mom had taught her about survival. It sucked so bad she might as well put a gun to her head and pull the trigger. Except she didn’t own a gun because she didn’t like them. Besides, pulling the trigger on a gun was pretty final. She had issues with commitment and she was so freaking dead anyway, so why bother.

A taxi horn blared. In New York the sound was so common everyone ignored it, but this time it made her jump. She threw a glance over one hunched shoulder.

Her life was in ruins. She would be on the run for the rest of her life, all fifteen minutes or so of it, thanks to her own foolish behavior and her shithead ex who had screwed her, then screwed her over so royally she couldn’t get over the knife-like sensation in the pit of her stomach.

She stumbled into a narrow trash-strewn street by a Korean restaurant. She uncapped a liter-sized water bottle and chugged half it down, one hand splayed on the cement wall while she watched the sidewalk traffic. Steam from the restaurant kitchen enveloped her in the rich red-pepper and soy scents of gochujang and ganjang sauces, overlaying the garbage rot of a nearby dumpster and the acrid exhaust from the traffic.

The people in the street looked much as they always did, driven by internal forces as they charged along the sidewalk and shouted on cell phones. A few mumbled to themselves as they dug through trash cans and looked at the world with lost wary eyes. Everything looked normal. So far so good?

After a long nightmarish week, she had just committed the crime. She had stolen from one of the most dangerous creatures on Earth, a creature so frightening that just imagining him was more scariness than she ever wanted to meet in real life. Now she was almost done. A couple more stops to make, one more meeting with the shithead, and then she could scream for oh say a couple of days or so while she figured out where she would run to hide.

Holding on to that thought she strode down the street until she came to the Magic District. Located east of the Garment District and north of Koreatown, the New York Magic District was sometimes called the Cauldron. It was comprised of several city blocks that seethed with light and dark energies.

The Cauldron flaunted caveat emptor like a prizefighter’s satin cloak. The area was stacked several stories high with kiosks and shops offering Tarot readings, psychic consultations, fetishes and spells, retail and wholesale sellers, imports, those who dealt with fake merchandise and those who sold magic items that were deadly real. Even from the distance of a city block, the area assaulted her senses.

She came to a shop located at the border of the district. The storefront was painted sage-green on outside, with the molding at the plate-glass windows and door painted pale yellow. She took a backwards step to look up. The name DIVINUS was spelled in plain brushed-metal lettering over the front window. Years ago her mother had on occasion bought spells from the witch who owned this shop. Her boss Quentin had also mentioned the witch had one of the strongest magical talents he had ever met in a human.

She looked in the storefront. Her blurred reflection looked back her, a tired young woman, built rather long and coltish, with tense features and a pale tangled ponytail. She looked past herself into the shadowed interior.

In contrast to the noisy none-too-clean surroundings of the city street, the inside of the shop appeared cool and serene. The building seemed to glow with warmth. She recognized protection spells in place. In a display case near the door harmonic energies sparked from an alluring arrangement of crystals, amethyst, peridot, rose quartz, blue topaz and celestite. The crystals took the slanting sunshine and threw brilliant rainbow shards of light onto the ceiling. Her gaze found the single occupant inside, a tall queen-like woman, perhaps Hispanic, with a gaze that connected to hers with a snap of Power.

That was when the shouting started.

“You don’t have to go in there!” a man yelled. Then a woman shrieked, “Stop before it’s too late!”

Pia started and looked behind her. A group of twenty people stood across the street. They held various signs. One poster said, “Magic = Highway to Hell.” Another said, “God Will Save Us.” A third declared, “Elder races—An Elitist Hoax.”

Her sense of unreality deepened, brought on by stress, lack of sleep and a constant sense of fear. They were yelling at her.

Some of humankind persisted in a belligerent disbelief of the Elder races, despite the fact that many generations ago folktales had given way to proof as the scientific method had been developed. The Elder races and humankind had lived together openly since the Elizabethan Age. These humans with their revisionist history made about as much sense as those who declared the Jews hadn’t been persecuted in World War II.

Besides being out of touch with reality, they were picketing a human witch to protest the Elder races? She shook her head.

A cool tinkle brought her attention back to the shop. The woman with Power in her gaze held the door open. “City ordinances can work both ways,” she told Pia, her voice filled with scorn. “Magic shops may have to stay within a certain district, but protesters have to stay fifty feet away from the shops. They can’t come across the street, they can’t enter the Magic District, and they can’t do anything but yell at potential customers and try to scare them off from a distance. Would you like to come in?” One immaculate eyebrow raised in imperious challenge, as if suggesting that to step into the woman’s shop took a real act of bravery.

Pia blinked at her, expression blank. After everything she had been through, the other woman’s challenge was beyond insignificant, it was meaningless. She walked in without a twitch.

The door tinkled into place behind her. The woman paused for a heartbeat, as if Pia had surprised her. Then she stepped in front of Pia with a smooth smile.

“I’m Adela, the owner of Divinus. What can I do for you, my dear?” The shopkeeper’s face turned puzzled and searching as she looked Pia over. She murmured, almost to herself, “What is it… There’s something about you….”

Crap, she hadn’t thought of that. This witch might remember her mom.

“Yeah, I look like Greta Garbo,” Pia interrupted, her expression stony. “Moving on now.”

The other woman’s gaze snapped up to hers. Pia’s face and body language transmitted a “Closed” sign, and the witch’s demeanor changed back into the professional saleswoman. “My apologies,” she said in her chocolate milk voice. She gestured. “I have herbal cosmetics, beauty remedies, tinctures over in that corner, crystals charged with healing spells—“

Pia looked around without taking it all in although she noticed a spicy smell. It smelled so wonderful she breathed it in deep without thinking. Despite herself the tense muscles in her neck and shoulders eased. The scent contained a low-level spell, clearly intended to relax nervous customers.

While the spell caused no actual harm and did nothing to dull her senses, its manipulative nature repelled her. How many people relaxed and spent more money because of it? Her hands clenched as she shoved the magic away. The spell clung to her skin a moment before it dissipated. The sensation reminded her of cobwebs trailing across her skin. She fought the urge to brush off her arms and legs.

Annoyed, she turned and met the shopkeeper’s eyes. “You come recommended by reputable sources,” she said in a clipped tone. “I need to buy a binding spell.”

Adela’s bland demeanor fell away. “I see,” she said, matching Pia’s crispness. Her eyebrows raised in another faint challenge. “If you’ve heard of me then you know I’m not cheap.”

“You’re not cheap because you’re supposed to be one of the best witches in the city,” said Pia as she strode to a nearby glass counter. She shrugged the backpack off her aching shoulder and rested it on the counter, pulling the tangle of her ponytail out from under one strap. She stuffed her water bottle inside and zipped it back up.

Gracias,” said the witch, her voice bland.

She glanced down at the crystals in the case. They were so bright and lovely, filled with magic and light and color. What would it be like to hold one, to feel the cool heavy weight of it sitting in her palm as it sang to her of starlight and deep mountain spaces? How would it feel to own one?

The connection snapped as she turned. She looked her own challenge at the other woman. “I can also feel the spells you have both on and in the shop, including the attraction spells on these crystals as well as the one that’s supposed to make your customers relax. I can tell your work is competent enough. I need an oath binding spell, and I need to walk out of the shop with it today.”

“That is not as easy as it might sound,” said the witch. Long eyelids dropped, shuttering her expression. “This is not a fast food drive-thru.”

“The binding doesn’t have to be fancy,” said Pia. “Look, we both know you’re going to charge more because I need it right away. I still have a lot to do, so can we just please skip this next part where we dance around each other and negotiate? Because, no offense, it’s been a long bad day. I’m tired and not in the mood.”

The witch’s mouth curled. “Certainly,” she said. “Although with a binding, there’s only so much I can do on the spot, and there’s some things I won’t do at all. If you need something tailored for a specific purpose it will take some time. If you’re looking for a dark binding you’re in the wrong place. I don’t do dark magic.”

She shook her head, relieved at the woman’s business-like attitude. “Nothing too dark, I think,” she said in a rusty voice. “Something with serious consequences though. It’s got to mean business.”

The witch’s dark eyes shone with a sardonic sparkle. “You mean a kind of, ‘I swear I will do such-and-such or my ass will catch fire until the end of time’ type of thing?”

Pia nodded, her mouth twisting. “Yeah. That kind of thing.”

“If someone swears an oath of his own free will, the binding falls into the realm of contractual obligation and justice. I can do that. And have, as a matter of fact,” the other woman said. She moved toward the back of her shop. “Follow me.”

Pia’s abused conscience twitched. Unlike the polarized white and black magics, Gray magic was supposed to be neutral but the witch’s kind of ethical parsing never did sit well with her. Like the relaxation spell in the shop, it felt manipulative, devoid of any real moral substance. A great deal of harm could be done under the guise of neutrality.

Which was pretty damn self-righteous of her, wasn’t it, coming fresh as she did from the scene of her crime and desperate to get her hands on that binding spell. The urge to run pumped adrenaline into her veins. Self preservation kept her anchored in place. Disgusted with herself, she shook her head and followed the witch. Here goes nothing.

She really hoped that wasn’t true.

They concluded business in under an hour. At the witch’s invitation she slipped out the back to avoid more heckling from the protestors. Her backpack had been lightened by a considerable amount of cash, but Pia figured in a life-or-death situation it was money well spent.

“Just one thing,” said the witch. She leaned her curvaceous body in a languid pose against the back doorpost of her shop.

Pia paused and looked back at the other woman.

The witch held her gaze. “If you’re personally involved with the man that is intended for, I’m here to tell you honey. He isn’t worth it.”

A harsh laugh escaped her. She hefted the backpack higher onto one shoulder. “If only my problems were that simple.”

Something moved under the surface of the other woman’s lovely dark eyes. The shift of thought looked calculating but that could have been a trick of the late afternoon light. In the next moment her beautiful face wore an indifferent mask, as if she had already moved on to other things.

“Luck, then, chica,” the witch said. “You need to buy something else, come back any time.”

She swallowed and said past a dry throat. “Thanks.”

The witch shut her door and Pia loped to the end of the block then moved into the sidewalk traffic.

Pia hadn’t shared her name. After the first rebuff, the witch knew not to ask and she hadn’t offered. She wondered if she had “Trouble” tattooed on her forehead. Or maybe it was in her sweat. Desperation had a certain smell to it.

Her fingers brushed the front pocket of her jeans where she’d slipped the oath binding, wrapped in a plain white handkerchief. A strong glow emanated through the distressed denim and made her hand tingle. Maybe after she met with the shithead and concluded their transaction, she could take her first deep breath in days. She supposed she should be grateful the witch hadn’t been more of a shark.

Then Pia heard the most terrible sound of her life. It started low like a vibration, but one so deep in power it shook her bones. She slowed to a stop along with the other pedestrians. People shaded their eyes and looked around as the vibration grew into a roar that swept through the streets and rattled the buildings.

The roar was a hundred freight trains, tornadoes, Mt. Olympus exploding in a rain of fire and flood.

Pia fell to her knees and threw her arms over her head. Others screamed and did the same. Still others looked around wild-eyed, trying to spot the disaster. Some ran panicked down the street. The nearby intersections were dotted with car accidents as frightened drivers lost control and slammed into each other

Then the roar died away. Buildings settled. The cloudless sky was serene but New York City most certainly was not.

Alrighty.

She pushed upright on unsteady legs and mopped her sweat dampened face, oblivious to the chaos churning around her.

She knew what—who—had made that unholy sound and why. The knowledge made her guts go watery.

If she were in a race for her life, that roar was the starter pistol. If God were the referee, He had just shouted Go.

• * *

He had been born along with the solar system. Give or take.

He remembered a transcendent light and an immense wind. Modern science called it a solar wind. He recalled a sensation of endless flight, an eternal basking in light and magic so piercing and young and pure it rang like the trumpeting of thousands of angels.

His massive bones and flesh must have been formed along with the planets. He became bound to Earth. He knew hunger and learned to hunt and eat. Hunger taught him concepts such as before and after, and danger, and pain andpleasure.

He began to have opinions. He liked the gush of blood as he gorged on flesh. He liked drowsing on a baked rock in the sun. He adored launching into the air, taking wing and riding thermals high above the ground, so like that first endless-seeming ecstasy of flight.

After hunger he discovered curiosity. New species burgeoned. There were the wyrkind, Elves, both light and dark Fae, tall bright-eyed beings and squat mushroom-colored creatures, winged nightmares, and shy things that puttered in foliage and hid whenever he appeared. What came to be known as the Elder races tended to cluster in or around magic-filled dimensional pockets of Other land, where time and space had buckled when the earth was formed and the sun shone with a different light.

Magic had a flavor like blood only it was golden and warm like sunlight. It was good to gulp down with red flesh.

He learned language by listening in secret to the Elder races. He practiced on his own when he took flight, mulling over each word and its meaning. The Elder races had several words for him.

Wyrm, they called him. Monster. Evil. The Great Beast.

Dragua

Thus he was named.

He didn’t notice at first when the first modern Homo sapiens began to proliferate in Africa. Of all species, he wouldn’t have guessed they would flourish. They were weak, had short life spans, no natural armor and were easy to kill.

He kept an eye on them and learned their languages. Just as other wyrkind did, he developed the skill of shapeshifting so he could walk amongst them. They dug up the things of the Earth he liked, gold and silver, sparkling crystals and precious gems, which they shaped into creations of beauty. Acquisitive by nature, he collected what caught his eye.

This new species spread across the world, so he created secret lairs in underground caverns where he gathered his possessions.

His hoard included works of the Elves, the Fae and wyrkind, as well as human creations such as gold and silver and copper plates, goblets, religious artifacts, and coinage of all sorts. Money, now there was a concept that intrigued him, attached as it was to so many other interesting concepts like trade, politics, war and greed. There were also cascades of loose crystals and precious gems, and crafted jewelry of all sorts. His hoard grew to include writings from all Elder races and from humankind, as books were an invention he (only sometimes) thought was more precious than any other treasure.

Among his interest in history, mathematics, philosophy, astronomy, alchemy, and magic, he became intrigued with modern science. He traveled to England to have a conversation on the origin of species with a famous scientist in the nineteenth century. They had gotten drunk together—the Englishman with rather more desperation than he—and had talked through the witching hours until the night mist had been burned to vapor by the sun.

He remembered telling the drunken clever scientist that he and humankind civilization had a lot in common. The difference was his experience was couched in a single entity, one set of memories. In a way that meant he embodied all stages of evolution at once—beast and predator, magician and aristocrat, violence and intellectualism. He was not so sure he had acquired humanlike emotions. He had certainly not acquired their morality. Perhaps his greatest achievement was law.

Humans in different cultures also had many words for him. Ryu, they called him. Wyvern. Naga. To the Aztecs he was the winged serpent Quetzalcoatl whom they called God.

Dragos.

When he discovered the theft, Dragos Cuelebre exploded into the sky with long thrusts from a wingspan approaching that of an eight-seater Cessna jet.

Modern life had gotten complicated. His usual habit was to focus Power on averting aircraft when he flew or, simpler yet, just file a flight plan with air traffic control. With his outrageous wealth and position as one of the eldest and most powerful of the wyrkind, life scrambled to arrange itself to his liking.

He wasn’t so polite this time. This was more a get-the-fuck-out-of-my-way kind of flight. He was blinded with rage, violent with incredulity. Lava flowed through ancient veins and his lungs worked like bellows. As he approached the zenith of his climb, his long head snapped back and forth and he roared again. The sound ripped the air as his razor claws mauled an imaginary foe.

All of his claws except for those on one front foot where he held a tiny scrap of something fragile and, to be frank, inconceivable. This tiny scrap was as ludicrous and as nonsensical to him as a hot fudge sundae topping an ostrich’s head. The cherry on the hot fudge sundae was the elusive whiff of scent that clung to the scrap. It teased his senses into frenzy as it reminded him of something so long ago that he couldn’t quite remember what it was—

His mind went white-hot and slipped from its mooring in time. Existing in his wrath he flew until he came to himself and began to think again.

Then Rune said in his head, My Lord? Are you well?

Dragos cocked his head, for the first time coming aware that his First flew behind him at a discreet distance. It was a measure of his rage that he hadn’t noticed. Any other time Dragos was aware of everything that happened within his vicinity.

Dragos noted that Rune’s telepathic voice was as calm and neutral as the other male’s physical voice would have been had he spoken the words aloud.

There were many reasons why Dragos had made Rune his First in his Court. Those reasons were why Rune had thrived in his service for so long. The other male was seasoned, mature, and dominant enough to hold authority in a sometimes unruly wyrkind society. He was intelligent with a capacity for cunning and violence that came close to Dragos’ own.

Most of all, Rune had a gift for diplomacy that Dragos had never achieved. That talent made the younger male useful when treating with the other Elder Courts. It also helped him to navigate rocky weather when Dragos was in a rage.

Dragos’ jaw clenched and he ground massive teeth shaped for maximum carnage. After a moment, he answered, I am well.

How may I be of service? his First asked.

His mind threatened to seize again in sheer incredulity of what he had found. He snarled, There has been a theft.

A pause. Rune asked, My Lord?

For once his First’s legendary coolness had been shaken. It gave him a grim sense of satisfaction. A thief, Rune. He bit at each word. A thief has broken into my hoard and taken something of mine.

Rune took several moments to absorb his words. Dragos let him have the time.

The crime was impossible. It had never happened, not in all the millennia of his existence. Yet it had happened now. First someone had somehow found his hoard which was an incredible feat in itself. An elaborate fake setup complete with state-of-the-art security was located below the basement levels of Cuelebre Tower, but no one knew the location of Dragos’ actual hoard except himself.

His actual hoard was protected by powerful cloaking and aversion spells older than the pharaoh tombs of Egypt and as subtle as tasteless poison on the tongue. But after locating his secret lair, the thief had managed to slip past all of Dragos’ physical and magical locks, like a knife slicing through butter. Even worse, the thief managed to slip out again the same way.

The only warning Dragos had received was a nagging unease that had plagued him all afternoon. His unease had increased to the point where he couldn’t settle until he went to check on his property.

He had known his lair had been infiltrated as soon as he had set foot near the hidden entrance to the underground cavern. Still he couldn’t believe it, even after he had torn inside to discover the indisputable evidence of the theft, along with something else that trumped all other inconceivability.

He looked down at his clenched right foot. He wheeled in an abrupt motion to set a return path to the city. Rune followed and settled smoothly into place behind him, his rear right wingman.

You are to locate this thief. Do everything possible, Dragos said. Everything, you understand. Use all magical and non-magical means. Nothing else exists for you. No other tasks, no other diversions. Pass all of your current duties on to Aryal or Grym.

I understand, my Lord, Rune said, keeping his mental voice quiet.

Dragos sensed other conversations in the air, although no one dared direct contact with him. He suspected his First had begun giving orders to transfer duties to the others.

He said, Be very clear about something, Rune. I do not want this thief harmed or killed by anyone but myself. You are not to allow it. Be sure of the people you use on this hunt.

I will.

It will be on your head if something goes wrong, Dragos told him. He couldn’t have articulated even to himself why he pressed the matter with this creature who for centuries had been as steady and reliable as a metronome. His claws clenched on his implausible scrap of evidence. Understood?

Understood, my Lord, Rune replied, calm as ever.

Good enough, he growled.

Dragos noticed they had returned over the city. The sky around them was clear of all air traffic. He soared in a wide circle to settle on the spacious landing pad atop Cuelebre Tower. As soon as he settled he shifted into his human shape, a massive six-foot-eight dark-haired male with dark bronze skin and gold raptor’s eyes.

Dragos turned to watch Rune land. The gryphon’s majestic wings shone in the fading afternoon sun until the other male also shifted into his human form, a tawny haired male almost as massive as Dragos himself.

Rune lowered his head to Dragos in a brief bow of respect before loping to the roof doors. After the other male had left, Dragos unclenched his right fist in which he held a crumbled scrap of paper.

Why had he not told Rune about it? Why was he not even now calling the gryphon back to tell him? He didn’t know. He just obeyed the impulse to secrecy.

Dragos held the paper to his nose and inhaled. A scent still clung to the paper which had absorbed oil from the thief’s hand. It was a feminine scent that smelled like wild sunshine and it was familiar in a way that pulled at all of Dragos’ deepest instincts.

He stood immobile, eyes closed as he concentrated on inhaling that wild feminine sunshine in deep breaths. There was something about it, something from a long time ago. If only he could remember. He had lived for so long, his memory was a vast and convoluted tangle. It could take him weeks to locate the memory.

He strained harder for that elusive time with a younger sun, a deep green forest, and a celestial scent that drove him crashing through the underbrush—

The fragile memory thread broke. A low growl of frustration rumbled through his chest. He opened his eyes and willed himself not to shred the paper he held with such tense care.

It occurred to Dragos that Rune had forgotten to ask what the thief had stolen.

His underground lair was enormous by necessity, with cavern upon cavern filled with a hoard the likes of which the world had never seen. The treasure of empires filled the caves.

Astonishing works of beauty graced rough cavern walls. Items of magic, miniature portraits, tinkling crystal earrings that threw rainbows in the lamplight. Art masterpieces packed to protect them from the environment. Rubies and emeralds and diamonds the size of goose eggs, and loops upon loops of pearls. Egyptian scarabs, cartouches, and pendants. Greek gold, Syrian statues, Persian gems, Chinese jade, Spanish treasure from sunken ships. He even kept a modern coin collection he had started several years ago and added to in a haphazard way whenever he remembered.

On the ostrich’s head was a hot fudge sundae….

His obsessive attention to detail, an immaculate memory of each and every piece in that gigantic treasure, a trail of scent like wild sunshine, and instinct had all led Dragos to the right place. He discovered the thief had taken a U.S. minted 1962 copper penny from a jar of coins he had not yet bothered to put into a coin collecting book.

…. and on the hot fudge sundae atop that ostrich’s head perched a cherry….

The thief had left something for him in place of what she had taken. She had perched it with care on top of the coin jar. It was a message written on a scrap of paper in a spidery, unsteady hand. The message was wrapped around an offering.

I’m sorry, the message said.

The theft was a violation of privacy. It was an unbelievable act of impudence and disrespect. Not only that, it was—baffling. He was murderous, incandescent with fury. He was older than sin and could not remember when he had last been in such a rage.

He looked at the paper again.

I’m sorry I had to take your penny. Here’s another to replace it.

Yep, that’s what it said.

One corner of his mouth twitched. He gave himself a deep shock when he burst into an explosive guffaw.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 444 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 444 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    One of my new favorite PNR series! Loved!

    Have you ever started a book and immediately thought to yourself about the heroine, "Oh. Oh, I am going to like HER" - And then, if you are lucky, you move on to the hero and immediately think to yourself, "Oh. Oh yeah, I LIKE this guy. oh yes." Well, that pretty much sums up my initial reaction to the heroine Pia Giovanni and the hero Dragos Cuelebre in Dragon Bound. And it all got even better from there.

    In Thea Harrison's debut novel of her new Elder Races series, she mastered the art of developing the heroine Pia in a perfect combination of vulnerability and moxy. She had me at Twizzlers and Cherry Coke Slushees. And oh my, Dragos. The most ancient of Others, he is a fierce alpha dragon and also the multibillionaire of Cuelebre Enterprise who has seen everything, been everywhere, and yet has found himself in a state of boring complacency. Pia's ex-boyfriend has blackmailed her in to doing the unthinkable. stealing a coin from Dragos's hoard. When he discovers the violation he blasts off in to a dragon-sized rage that costs him a good hundreds of millions $ in damage to New York City. As a unique half-wyr, living cautiously and on the run is nothing new to Pia to keep her heritage a secret, so immediately going on the run again to escape Dragos and the crime of theft she has commited is not unfamiliar to her. Except that Dragos is the most Powerful creature in the Universe, so she is pretty sure she's done for. Dragos makes it his mission to hunt her down, and he does just that thanks to the note she wrote and left for him in chicken-scratch on the back of a 7-11 receipt.
    The chase, the capture, the journey, it was all filled with entertaining action, beautiful world building and steamy tension. Turns out that Pia was just a pawn in a much larger scale Power play and Dragos learns just how unique she truly is to the magical world, but also to him. They find themselves completely enamored with one another and Dragos vows to protect Pia at all costs.
    The world building Ms. Harrison has created is very complex and vivid. The world of Other has gryphons and gargoyles, dark and light fae, goblins and witches. There are some demesnes that stay topside, such as Dragos in New York City and the Light Fae in Charleston. There are other species such as the Goblins who are unable to glamor and therefor stay on the Other side because they look really ugly and stinky really bad. The inter-Elder politics are very well-thought out and executed, and the secondary characters are just as awesome as the primary. The next book, Storm's Heart, will center around Cuelebre Enterprise's former PR fae, Thistle Periwinkle, aka Tricks, who is just a riot.
    This is a romance story, but a romance story with major plottage that will leave you yelling at your friends and family to quit interrupting you so that you can freaking read already. I was enamored from start to finish. Go forth and read! And have no fear, the second and third books of this series will be out later this year in 2011! I have them both marked on my calendar and they will be auto-buys. A quick thank-you-you-were-right!! goes to Mandi of Smexy Books who convincingly brought this book to my immediate attention!
    - Reviewed as "Spaz" at wickedlilpixie(dot)com

    17 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Best PNR I've read this year!

    From the first sentence on I was hooked. I could not put this down, the world building was first rate, the characters were well thought out, and the editing was spot on. The mixture of magic and technology made sense. The supporting characters were also well thought out. Each of them I felt could star in their own stories. A different take on shape changers, unlike any I've read before and yet completely logical.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 3, 2011

    A MUST READ

    I was wary of reading this. I'm normally a Christine Feehan, J.R Ward & Sherrilyn Kenyon reader & I haven't found a lot of other writers who are as good as they are.
    I was pleasantly surprised and ended up loving this book: the stroy held my attention from the moment I started reading and I only put it down when I had to tend to my 2 month old. Loved the main characters and the "supporting cast" as well. Now I'm onto the 2nd book in the series and can't wait to read the rest!!!

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This is an entertaining romantic urban fantasy

    In the New York Magic District, known locally as the Cauldron, hybrid human-Wyr Pia Giovanni knows her mission is fatal, but feels she has few options. Her slimy ex blackmails her into stealing a penny from Dragos Cuelebre, a powerful Elder Race dragon. Though she left a penny behind and an apology note, Pia knows he will find her with the only question being when. She is so desperate she buys a binding spell from Adela the witch owner of Divinus.

    Dragos tracks down the thief, but instead of killing Pia as she expects, he is attracted to her. Soon after their first in person encounter, Goblins attack them and capture them. Dragos realizes a very powerful adversary the Dark Fae King Urien wants him dead and that Pia could be caught in the crossfire if his ancient enemy learns who she is to him.

    This is an entertaining romantic urban fantasy starring two intriguing individuals as the heroine is Manhattan shtick and the hero is alpha male. The story line roars out of the gate like the express train under the streets as the irate Dragos, known for dining on humans, seeks the thief while Pia seeks her fifteen minutes of fame. Although his possessiveness of his mate is overkill (even if he has an ancient lifetime), sub-genre fans will enjoy the denizen of the Cauldron as like much of the Big Apple light and dark energies flow freely, just more eerier there as a paranormal hangout for dragons, wyr, witches and fae, etc.

    Harriet Klausner

    10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Loved the supporting cast

    I stumbled onto this one and truly enjoyed it. Broadly, the main relationship reminded me of Angel's Blood by Nalini Siingh, but not enough to keep me from liking it. The supporting cast was strong, and I wasn't surprised to see who the next book will focus on. Strong first installment.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2012

    Hard to start but loved it!!!

    The book started slow and i constantly felt like i was missing something BUT once it got going MY GOD it was good. It did remind me of the guild hunter series (which i have no clue what came first) but very different all together. I loved it the dragon was so HOT!!!!!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Love this book

    I borrowed this book twice from the library before buying my own copy. What can I say? The characters are engaging, the storyline is perfect and there is a perfect balance between suspense, humor and love.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2012

    Excellent

    Characters were easy to follow, storyline definite fantasy, great for kicking back and just escaping. Will definitely pick up the next in the series.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    Perfect

    Read it in one sitting and turned right around and reread it again. Great book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2011

    Creative, Intriguing...LOVED IT!!!

    I just saw that this book made Eloisa James list of 6 favorite romances she's re-read this year. As I was scrolling down the list, I thought, "I wonder if Dragon Bound made it?" and there it was! Really a fun book...my daughter and I are hooked on this series!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2013

    Awesome

    I've read alot of books in alot of different genres....and this is hands down THE best romantic story i have ever read...perfect pitch...neither character is an idiot....Pia is awesome as a strong women who knows her mind, without having to be cold or totally kicka**...humor, perfectly scattered thru the book...secondary characters well fleshed out....wonderful...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2012

    !

    Harriet klausner...would you PLEASE stop ruining books for everyone? Let us read for ourselves. Stop telling everything that happens. You are so rude!!!!!!!

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2011

    In LOVE!!!!!!!!!! with Thea Harrison's writing!

    I have fallen in love this story and her writing style! I have read this book twice in a row, read the last page then turned to the first to start it all over again! I have not done that with a book before! I just love this book soo much. Thank you Thea Harrison for writing and having the strength to risk rejection in order to get Dragon Bound published. Thank You!!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Who knew dragons could be so sexy?

    Pia is blackmailed by her ex-boyfriend to steal something from the wyr-dragon, Dragos.. Determined not to give her ex anything valuable, she grabs a penny from a jar and replaces it with another one and writes a note saying that she is sorry. Easy peasy, right? NOPE! Dragos quickly finds the impostor penny and freaks out. He puts a tracking spell on Pia so that he can hunt her down and make her pay. The only problem is, when he finds her he no longer wants to rend her limb from limb but instead wants to keep her as his new treasure.

    The story is written half in Pia's head and half in Dragos'. So you pretty much always know what the other character is thinking. This made for some interesting dialogue. Speaking of dialogue, that was pretty much my favorite part of the book. Not that the steamy scenes weren't good and all but I loved the way they talked to each other. You see, Dragos is used to being the highest on the food chain. He isn't used to having to be nice to people to get his way, he just tells them what to do and they do it. So when Pia comes along and she tells him when people ask for something they say please, he quickly catches on and uses that to his advantage to get what he wants from her.

    The pace of the book ran along smoothly. The story doesn't just contain Pia and Dragos. You see when Pia ran to hide from Dragos after stealing the penny, she hid on elven territory which is land forbidden to Dragos. Although he doesn't care and goes there anyway to find his thief which causes a little bit of trouble. Which sort of snowballs into more trouble after that.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    If you love J.R, Ward read this!

    These guys are as awesome as the BDB! Tough on the outside but mush on the inside. Beautiful writing, very descriptive and emotional. A whole new world to explore as well, Looking forward to more books in the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    Loved it!

    Can not wait to read more of the series! A real feel good read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2014

    I was just getting interested in books about dragons when I boug

    I was just getting interested in books about dragons when I bought this book. I am very hesitant about trying new authors so I left it sitting on the shelf for nearly two months. When I finally got around to reading it I could believe I waited so long to read it!!! I loved the whole thing! I never want the story line to end, I would like for it to rival the Eve Dallas series in volumes! This is one of those books that makes me want to buy a copy for everyone in the store :) KH

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2013

    Recommended

    Nice start to the Elder Races Series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2013

    Great read

    A great story that pulls you in from the beginning, great characters and a thrilling world.

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  • Posted September 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Exceptionally good--don't miss out on this one!

    I loved this book from the first paragraph. The characters grabbed me from the get-go, the world-building is very good, the story line is fresh and original, and Ms. Harrison's writing style is smooth and accessible. If you like paranormal romances, you'll love this one. If you've never tried a paranormal romance or haven't been impressed with the ones you have read so far, I suggest giving this one a try. A keeper, and one of my all-time favorites.

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