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The Smoke Thief (Drakon Series #1)

The Smoke Thief (Drakon Series #1)

4.3 118
by Shana Abe

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For centuries they’ve lived in secret among northern England’s green and misted hills. Creatures of extraordinary beauty, power, and sensuality, they possess the ability to shape-shift from human to dragon and back again. Now their secret–and their survival–is threatened by a temptation that will break every boundary....

Dubbed the Smoke


For centuries they’ve lived in secret among northern England’s green and misted hills. Creatures of extraordinary beauty, power, and sensuality, they possess the ability to shape-shift from human to dragon and back again. Now their secret–and their survival–is threatened by a temptation that will break every boundary....

Dubbed the Smoke Thief, a daring jewel thief is confounding the London police. His wealthy victims claim the master burglar can walk through walls and vanish into thin air. But Christoff, the charismatic Marquess of Langford, knows the truth: the thief is no ordinary human but a “runner” who’s fled Darkfrith without permission. As Alpha leader of the dra´kon, it’s Kit’s duty to capture the fugitive before the secrets of the tribe are revealed to mortals. But not even Kit suspects that the Smoke Thief could be a woman.

Clarissa Rue Hawthorne knew her dangerous exploits would attract the attention of the dra´kon. But she didn’t expect Christoff himself to come to London, dangling the tribe’s most valuable jewel–the Langford Diamond–as bait. For as long as she could remember, Rue had lived the life of a halfling–half dra´kon, half mortal–and an outcast in both worlds. She’d always loved the handsome and willful Kit from the only place it was safe: from afar. But now she was no longer the shy, timid girl she’d once been. She was the first woman capable of making the Turn in four generations. So why did she still feel the same dizzying sense of vulnerability whenever he was near?

From the moment he saw her, Kit knew that the alluring and powerful beauty was every bit his Alpha equal and destined to be his bride. And by the harsh laws of the dra´kon, Rue knew that she was the property of the marquess. But they will risk banishment and worse for a chance at something greater. For now Rue is his prisoner, the diamond has disappeared, and she’s made the kind of dangerous proposition a man like Kit cannot resist....In this bewitching novel, Shana Abé transports us into a world of exhilarating romance and magic.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Drakon Series , #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.17(w) x 6.88(h) x 0.96(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Chasen Manor
Darkfrith, England

The Right Honourable Christoff Rene Ellery Langford, Earl of Chasen, was bored.

He had decided to demonstrate this fact by slouching in his chair, his legs outstretched and his blond head turned idly away from everyone else in his father's study. One sun-darkened cheek was propped languidly upon his fist; his green eyes were hooded, masked with brown lashes. He listened to his father talk with the haughty, brooding air common to either the young or the powerful.

Kit, as it happened, was both. Sixteen years old and well-acknowledged as the heir to the tribe, he endured these meetings as his duty. He did not speak. He did not bother to meet the eyes of the other men present. When he looked up from his boots he chose to contemplate the view from the Tudor windows, the summer lush hills and rich black trees. The beckoning woods.

He listened to the same debate the council had at every meeting now. He could practically predict, verbatim, who would say what.

"The safety of the tribe is paramount. We must ensure our survival."

Parrish Grady again. The man never let up. Eldest member of the council, blue-eyed, sharp-toothed. Kit was beginning to consider him his own personal nemesis, if for no other reason than these meetings crawled on hours longer than they would without him.

Outside, just over a distant hill, appeared a flock of girls. About Kit's age, white skirts, frilled aprons, straw hats with ties that dangled in the wind. A few carried armfuls of flowers. He watched them come closer.

"Naturally, Parrish, our survival is paramount." Kit's father, the marquess. "No one debates that."

"We need a full-blood female!"

"I'd say we've been doin' our best there," retorted Rufus Booke, brash and newly wed, "though mayhap you'd prefer to check our beds every night."

Kit snorted back a laugh. He felt his father's gaze flick to him, then away.

"Aye, we need a female," the Marquess of Langford agreed. "But we do not appear to have one. Yet. There are several young tribeswomen on the verge of the rebirth. We may hope one of them will complete the Turn."

"Hope," repeated Grady, derisive. "Four generations it's been, and no female to make the Turn! What will happen to us—all of us—when it becomes impossible for the menfolk as well?"

Silence greeted this. It was the great, simmering fear among the tribe, that the Gifts would be taken. That their powers would fade.

"We cannot force our fate," said the marquess, harder now. "We all understand that. We are what we are. Our more immediate concern is the perimeter of the forest. There have been signs of recent disturbance, not our own. Strangers are prowling our lands. Christoff reported horse tracks up to Hawkshead Point."

"Hawkshead? But that's not even ours! What the devil is the boy doing all the way out there? We have rules! He left the boundary!"

Again, the distinctive prickle of his father's gaze. Kit allowed himself the slightest curl of his lips.

"Let us focus on the matter at hand," said the marquess smoothly. "Hawkshead is adjacent to our boundaries. If someone has chanced that far . . ."

The girls had paused in a soft valley between the hills, clutching their hats as the breeze turned brisker. Sunlight showed honeyed locks flying and flaxen, strawberry blond and ginger red. Four girls, smiling and chattering amid the green. Someone loosed her flowers, and the August wind blew them into bright confusion.

Parrish Grady thumped a fist on the arm of his chair. "The boy's too wild, even for our kind. He needs to be reined in. You know it yourself, my lord."

Kit stared a little harder at the girls, his eyes narrowed.

"Thank you, Mr. Grady, but I take the responsibility of raising my son as my own."

"If he is to be Alpha—"

"There is no if," hissed the marquess, coming to his feet. "You will do well to understand that right now."

Silence fell once more across the study. One of the men cleared his throat, nervous, but said nothing.

Outside, the flower girls had gone very still. The strawberry blonde turned her face into the breeze—and the other three did the same. Kit recognized them now, Fanny and Suzanne, daughters of the smith, Liza from the mill. And Melanie, their leader. Melanie, of the apple cheeks and soft petal lips. Melanie, with her quick, cunning smile. He stirred in his chair, leaning casually on his elbow to see what they did.

Sky, grass, woods . . . and a shape in the trees. Another girl.
"There is the matter of the runners," volunteered a new voice, George Winston.

"Aye, the runners," began the murmurs across the room, and the marquess sat down again.

The woodsgirl realized that she had been discovered. She stood frozen as well, smaller than the other four, pressed up against the trunk of a tree. Kit could make out one pale hand against the bark, fingers splayed. He could not see her face.

Very, very slowly, she began to ease backward.

Melanie had turned to the others. She was speaking. She was taking off her hat.

". . . precisely as I said. We cannot risk further incidents with outsiders. We were fortunate enough to capture the Williams boy before he had gotten too far, but the next time may be the time that he—or some other hotheaded young fool—manages to evade us. I shudder to think of what might have happened had he made it past the shire. I need to have a word with his parents again. And then the gamekeepers, I think . . ."

The woodsgirl had managed hardly a step. Perhaps she hoped the others were bluffing; Kit, however, knew Melanie better than that. With infinite care the girl slid back another step, and then Kit caught her profile. It was that lass, the scrawny one always ducking from crowds, peering out of shadows . . . what was her name? He frowned, trying in his mind to place her amid the intricate shoots and branches of the tribe families. He'd seen her mostly around the village, brown-haired, white-skinned. Timid. Mousy, even, if such a word could be applied to any member of their kin.

Melanie's group began to walk toward her and the woodsmouse froze again—then lost her nerve. She skipped back. It was all Melanie needed.

The four girls broke into a sprint.

Kit straightened in his chair, forgetting his father's meeting. Four against one was hardly sporting, especially as the prey was so much younger than the hunters. The mouse vanished from view, swiftly followed by the others. He had glimpses of gowns flashing through the trees, and then nothing.

Calm settled back upon the forest, unbroken, silent as winter snow.

Kit uncrossed his ankles, considering. He'd seen the little mouse more and more of late, now that he thought about it. Always quiet, always alone.

If she had any sense, she'd head for the river. They might lose her scent there—

"Christoff? Christoff! Are you listening, boy?"

"Aye," Kit answered, with just that trace of surliness guaranteed to send color into his father's cheeks. "The perimeter, the runners. Dire peril to the tribe, et cetera."

"How gratifying to have your attention." The marquess thinned his lips. "Perhaps, then, you might have a suggestion for the council?"

For the first time Kit looked around at the gathered faces fixed upon him, tanned and pale and avid eyes.

"Regarding the matter of your bride?" prompted his father softly.

Kit opened his mouth to speak. But just then the woods erupted; the young girl hurtled out of the trees in a flap of skirts and mad streaming hair, her face flushed, cutting a sharp angle across the perfectly manicured rear lawn.

Kit stood, and all the men turned.

"What the—oh—it's—"

"The Hawthorne gel," said George. "Halfling. Clara, Clareta—"

"Clarissa," supplied Kit, in a spark of memory. "And Mel," he added dryly, as the other four emerged at her heels, gaining.

"Ah." The marquess took his seat again with his back to the window. "Halfling. Well, then, no matter. Gentlemen, shall we continue?"

But Kit remained standing, watching the lass run.

She crept into the cottage kitchen on her toes but, as usual, wasn't furtive enough to fool her mother.

"Clarissa? Is that you?"

"Yes, Mama."

She ought to have known she couldn't slip in and hide; her mother's senses were far too keen for that. Or perhaps it was the draft from the back door that gave her away. Either way, she thought glumly, she was caught now.

"What are you doing, child?"

"Washing up."

She dipped her hands into the chipped basin on the counter, scrubbing, watching the water turn pink with blood. She found the dishcloth and ran it over her face, wiping off the dirt, more blood.

"Mama, would you like tea?" she called.

"Yes, dear. That would be lovely."

She set the kettle to boil and scooped the tea leaves from this morning's breakfast, still damp, back into the teapot. She tossed the wash water out over the back steps—sending a quick, nervous look around the garden first—and then refilled it from the cistern.

The kettle began to steam.

By the pot of geraniums on the windowsill was the polished tin oval she had given her mother last Christmas, hung up by a yellow ribbon. It showed the kitchen in dusky gray and always made her face into a long, funny shape that reminded her of a fish, but it was still a better mirror than the windowpanes.

Clarissa examined her reflection critically: her hair was snarled, the white tucker at her collar torn. There was dirt on her elbows and three drops of blood across her bodice. Her lower lip throbbed red and bruised.

"Clarissa, I believe the water's ready."

"Yes, Mama."

No time to change gowns. She brushed herself off as best she could, recaptured her hair and twisted it into a haphazard bun. She poured the hot water into the teapot, set it on the tray along with cups and honey and cream, and then bread with the last of the butter.

One final look into the tin oval. Better, but not best. She widened her eyes to round perfect innocence and practiced a smile—wincing at her lip—then picked up the tray and carried it to her mother's room.

Antonia Hawthorne was sitting up in bed, her ashen hair in plaits, her hands folded on her lap. It was one of her better days; Clarissa could hardly hear her breathing. Her face was drawn but her eyes ever bright as she surveyed her daughter. Her mouth took on a ruthful slant.

"Oh, dear."

With great care, Clarissa set the tray upon the bedside table, unable suddenly to look up from the butter pats.

"Tell me," her mother invited in her soft, gentle voice. She waited as Clarissa fumbled with the spoons, her face still downturned, then said more firmly, "Clarissa Rue."

"An accident. I tripped over a tree root."

"Did you?"

Clarissa tried her wide-eyed look upon the teapot, beginning to pour. "Yes. I was clumsy. I tripped, and then I rolled down a hill. You know that one just past Blackstone Fell. It's very steep."

"Yes. I know it is."

Clarissa handed her the cup, meeting her gaze. "And that's what happened."

Antonia took a sip of tea. "Was Miss Melanie there?"


"Nor the others?"

"No." Clarissa began to meticulously butter the bread.

"You must stay away from them. I've told you before. They will not be kind to you."

The bread in her hand began a watery waver; she squeezed her eyes closed and felt a tear slink down the side of her nose.

"It is not your fault," said Antonia.

Another tear fell.

"It is mine," finished her mother, still soft.

Clarissa dropped the bread to the tray, swiping at her eyes with greasy fingers.

"Come here, my sweet girl," said Antonia, and Clarissa sniffed and crawled over the covers, slippers and dirty gown and all, nestling into her mother's embrace.

She smelled of medicine and lilacs. Her heartbeat was a fluttering thrum against Clarissa's ear.

She felt her mother's hand lift, begin to work loose the unkempt knot she had made of her hair. Clarissa turned her head and spoke down into the pillows; her voice came out as a miserable whisper.

"Won't they ever like me, Mama?"

"No, beloved. They won't."

"But I try to be like them—"

"You are more beautiful, more wonderful than all those savage girls put together. You are the most precious gift of my life. I am so proud of you, and your father would have been too. But . . ." Antonia's fingers paused; she seemed to be searching for words. "When the tribe looks at you—all they see is him. And he was not one of us."

"One of you, you mean," Clarissa muttered.

"One of us. Half your blood is my blood, the tribe's blood. That is your heritage. No one can deny you it."

The ruffles of her mother's gown were thin and worn, crumpled beneath her cheek. She wiped away another tear.

"Keep alone if you must, keep apart," murmured Antonia, stroking her daughter's dark hair. "Someday you'll grow up to be a splendid young woman, and you'll find a man who will love you for exactly who you are, just as I did. But know, my darling, that no matter what the future brings, you will always have a place here, with the tribe."

She knew whom she wanted to love her. She knew whom she wanted to rescue her, to speak her name and laugh with her and defend her from the world with the sudden, blinding charm of his smile.

Christoff. Golden, lovely Christoff, with his eloquent hands and sleepy green eyes that seemed to fill her soul whenever he chanced to see her. Which wasn't often, she had to admit. There wasn't a boy in the shire to compare to him. That's what Clarissa thought. And that's what Melanie and Liza and all the rest thought too. Clarissa knew, because even though she was only twelve and she hadn't the full blood of the tribe in her veins, she did have one single, clever skill: stealth.

She was very good at it. Or, rather, she had been. Till this afternoon.

She lay awake in her bed and counted the stars through her window, watching Cepheus and Cassiopeia tilt across the heavens. She loved the night best. It was the time for dreaming, for imagining what might be. Tonight the nightingale was singing from her nest in the garden laurel, aching, wistful notes that looped long and then warbled fleet, like water over a streambed. The gingham drape of her curtains framed the treetops that were the eastern end of the orchard. The cottage had been built by her grandfather beside the oldest and largest of the Roman apple trees. Every spring, the air smelled like paradise.

Meet the Author

Shana Abé is the award-winning author of nine novels, including The Smoke Thief. She lives in the Denver area with four surly pet house rabbits, all rescued, and a big goofy dog. Please, please support your local animal shelter, and spay or neuter your pets.

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The Smoke Thief (Drakon Series #1) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 118 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an amazing love story and one of my all-time favorites. The story is unique, the main characters are both strong and so perfect for eachother. They have incredible chemistry. I read this book every few months, and it's wonderful every time. I'll never get tired of it. Absolutely perfect.
Anonymus More than 1 year ago
I've read hundreds of books and I'm always looking for that story that just blows me away. I came across this story by accident; just looking, always looking. The review that said "I just couldn't put the freaking book down" caught my attention. Every once in a while, I find a treasure-an author with an imagination who tells a great story. This story was it! I highly recommend it. I was pleasantly surprised, my couriosity and imagination happily fed, and totally engrossed. This one is for the library. Looking forward to the next novel by Ms. Abe.
MorningDewW More than 1 year ago
From the cover and the summary on the book, I didn't think it would be all that interesting and had bought it actually out of boredom. Then I read through it and it's definitely a 'I can't put this freaking book down!' type of book. I would recommend this to people who love romance and fantasy type books, definitely a good hit.
Mickey29 More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to anyone. Clarrisa Rue (A.K.A Mouse, Smoke theif) is a runner of a dragon people. An outcast since she was little not liking her life she fled. Only to be caught by the man she loved since she was little. Christoff. The story plot develops nicely as do the characters. I have read this book at least 4-5 times and still can't get enough of it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutly love this book. I keep reading it over and over again!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book.It was refreshing and original.I flew right through it,and I cannot wait to get Dream Theif.I'm hoping it will be up to par with Smoke Theif.
Sweet2USzQ More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, but I'm in no hurry to read the others in the series. It's DEFINITELY a book I would recommend. It was easy to get into and the characters were fun.
AMR1 More than 1 year ago
I love this series. This is the first book and it is very well written. The book really gets you hooked and ready to read more. This author really lets you escape into the wonderful fantasy world & keeps the reader ready for more. It is a keeper for anyones permanent library.
vwhis More than 1 year ago
I read the reviews and I took a chance since I'm not really into romance novels...BUT it has DRAGONS. It's really a good story and I feel you'll like the characters, the plot and the ending. One should be aware though, that there are a few vivid love couplings but they don't dominate the storyline. Overall, I am considering looking into Ms. Abe's other books and I reccomend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! Could not put it down...excellent read!
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous 12 months ago
An intense read that invokes the readers own emotions. The author brings the characters to life, yet leaves enough questions that you want to read more of their adventures. A wonderful escape!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. She writes beautifully and has you sucked in from the very start.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't wait to read the others in the series. This is very versatile in the shape-shifting of the characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful love story, not your typical paranormal romance.
dragon_dreamer More than 1 year ago
Love it! This is another favorite of mine, if you love fantasy and romance I'd definitely recommend it. An exciting storyline that makes me want to read it over and over! Some adult content though so it's not for younger readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the friction between the two main characters. I could easily empathize with Rue. Her desires to remain free and separate from her clan, to be truly independent and decide her own course in life, rung true to her character. When confronted with the attentions and demands of a beautiful man, someone whom she had crushed on as a child, it was wonderful to see that she did not simply fall under his command. She fought to maintain the life she had built. Kit was wonderfully irritating in his assumptions in life and how things are supposed to play out. It was fun to watch him bend and learn to be less of an ass, while not loosing sight of himself. I do wish that there had been more in the story about Rue being a halfbreed and how the clan would react to her now being their alpha female. The all too brief scene where she confronts her childhood nemesis is seen through Kit's eyes and is all too brief. It seemed a little too clean that her ridiculed half breed status was forgiven instantly with her ability to change into a dragon. I'm excited to read the next book in the series which deals with the adult Zane. I loved his character and am eager to see who he has become as an adult and to understand the secrets he keeps. *Originally posted on Goodreads
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BurgandyIce More than 1 year ago
 Wow… on so many levels!! Wow!!!  This is an adult book. I didn’t realize when I started it, but learned quickly as the dragons materialize into human form… um… very naked. One smokin’ hot naked guy hunting down an alpha female, a hot smokin’ naked girl… creeping down through a tight space in a bell tower… results in some very hot moments. *blush* In, um, detail.  Besides that… because of that… or in spite of that… I couldn’t put this book down. Shana Abe’s writing is so fantastically fluid. Her world of dragons has just enough instinct infused with glorious humanity to be beautiful, sensual, uninhibited.  Everything happens quickly. Christoff is attracted to Rue on many levels. The dragon in him is fierce and protective, territorial. I got the impression that he had mountains of self-control forcing himself to respect her.  And she… she has so many opinions and plans. She loves her freedom and fights against the dragon system. Clarissa Rue is so smart and impetuous. I really love her, love being her. She’s brave and quick-witted. Her nickname may be “Little Mouse” but the most endearing part about that is how it doesn’t fit her outward appearance. There’s a hidden inner part of her soul that he sees and calls out as “mouse” and that vulnerability is reflected again in him. He is a little mouse to her in the same way. As an introduction into the world of dragons and their love of stones… and their fear of discovery, this is a great story. I felt like I learned so much so quickly and then the story ended… and I was far from ready to be done with Shana Abe’s world. I immediately procured book 2 and dived right back in, “adult” and all.  My Rating: 4.75 - I love Rue... I love Christoff... I love the world - they all get 5's for me!!  The romance is HOT and completely logical. I don't really read adult romance so I have no scale to base this on, but for supporting scene construction, etc, I want to give the romance at least a 4.5. (I dock it a .5 for a tiny bit of predictability.) There's insta-love, which I don't mind if there's enough support to the situation. In this case, it's Alpha meets Alpha = BANG!  Since their characters are so amazing and compatible in a fiesty way, I loved how it worked out, but there was more insta than I wanted to swallow... which might have been Rue fighting it (go girl!), so I'm not dockin' much for that. I really enjoyed this book!!  :-D The cover - I'm not into this cover. In fact, I was really surprised when I first saw it at how quiet it is and it took me longer to read this book because The Sweetest Dark is so beautiful and this cover tells me nothing about what's inside. The biggest draw for me was the title... I have a thing for thieves (after The Thief, who wouldn't?!) and I love Abe's writing style, so I read this despite the cover.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Openbooksociety_dot_com More than 1 year ago
Can't wait to devour the rest of the series!! Review brought to you by OBS staff member Heidi Beware-Spoilers ahead!! This is Shana Abé’s introductory book in her drakon series that introduces us to a new species of shape-shifters that can turn from what appears to be human to mist and to dragon. This installment centers around Rue (formerly known as Clarissa) an outcast halfling that faked her own death to escape the drakon world and has made a life for herself in the human world as a jewel thief. But when the prize jewel of the drakon tribe, goes missing it leads the alpha, Kit, to London and to her. Rue makes a bargain with Kit and the drakon council that if she helps them recover their prize jewel, herte, and find the thief that took it she will be given her freedom. Otherwise, she will have to return to Darkfirth to marry Kit against her will. Kit and Rue set out on their journey and quickly find herte, but not without cost; Kit is injured recovering it and his wound becomes infected causing him to get deathly ill. While trying to find a cure for him, Rue discovers that Kit had never intended to give her freedom back to her. She then must decide if she should save him or let him rot. I was really skeptical of this book when I first started reading it, as the only dragon series I’ve ever read was pretty crappy. But I’m happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I didn’t want to put this book down. It was engaging and fun to read. This is the first shape-shifting novel that I’ve ever read where they could shift into two forms other than human. The turning to mist was an ingenious idea and a great way for the drakons to stay camouflaged. It leaves you thinking that they could be all around you!! There was one little part of the book that I found drug on a little too long. It was after Kit was injured and Rue was trying to take care of him. I think it was a bit too detailed and it could have been condensed, but other than that the story is well paced and is a fast read. I loved Rue as a lead character. She’s strong, independent and loving in a genre that is so full of whinny flaky heroines. Seeing the way she was with Zane gives us a glimpse of her softer maternal side. I didn’t like how quickly she gave in to Kit though, but I guess it’s supposed to be instinctual for their kind?!? I’m not sure what to think of Kit. Part of me liked him. He’s sexy and charming…. “I didn’t ask you to catch me!” “You’re so delightful when you’re irrational. Of course I’m going to catch you.” He slid a hand behind her nape and kissed her again. “It’s what I do.” But part of me hated him at the same time. He’s cocky and controlling and expects to get everything that he wants, including Rue even if it means she’ll be forced to be with him. And if I was Rue, I would have hated being called mouse all the time. But in the end, I enjoyed the two of them together and that Rue makes Kit a better person and I hope to see more of this couple in the subsequent installments of this series. This was a great book and I can’t wait to devour the rest of the series! This review and more at openbooksociety dot com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was overall an interesting book but it started to lose me towards then, following some cliches. But a fun read.