How Not to Date a Dragon Master by Stephanie Burke
War is upon them — armies are clashing at their doorstep. Ulvissar’s heat is becoming uncontrollable, and tension between him and Nithe is higher than ever before.
With his Dragon Lord and her new mate leading his warriors, will Ulvissar be able to destroy those who would betray them, and will Nithe be strong enough to claim both the title of Dragon Master and his Ulvissar? How can anyone withstand the wrath of an angry omega dragon?
Publisher’s Warning: How Not To Date a Dragon Master contains scenes of graphic violence and adult kink with blood play that may be triggers for some readers.
How Not to Date a Dragon Master (How Not To 14)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2023 Stephanie Burke
The wind blew bitter cold on the overcast early morning when Prince Ranid the Bold and his army rolled into town, and it matched the attitude of the people. The few men who were left in the ranks watched the bedraggled and exhausted inhabitants stagger toward their town’s entrance, while the sounds of their war horses’ shoes loudly striking the dirt-covered cobblestones encouraged a lone hound to throw back its head and howl mournfully at the still present moon.
The few lights glowed enough to illuminate the remains of a once prosperous town now fallen into ruin. A lone, sickly-looking goat bleated as it wandered through, its dented bell clanking miserably in the night air while a lone owl hooted in the distance.
The place smelled of neglect and misuse. Most of the buildings that surrounded the courtyard and what looked to be the center of town appeared derelict, missing windows, wood siding sliding off of their sides, paint so old and weatherworn that it looked like it hadn’t been refreshed in years.
Prince Ranid the Bold, on his once proud white steed, stood up in the stirrups and declared for all to hear, “What a fucking dump.”
“Well, fuck you too, asshole!” a drunk leaning on a pole outside of the town’s only tavern called out. “Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.”
That gave the whole army pause before a tall, black-haired, green-eyed man’s laugh barked out, startling the few who wore his bright red colors before they began to chuckle as well.
“What?” The green-eyed Prince Colton of Rinastas called to the other disgusted prince’s soldiers. “Out here with no resources but what little nature has left, you expected to find a lavish palace fit for your royal ass?” He shook his head, amusement plain in every line of his body. “This is war, boy. No one is going to be around to hold your hand or wipe Your Highness’s backside for you. The people who live in this area make do with what they have.”
“And who do these people hold loyalty to?” Prince Ranid demanded, settling back into his saddle, his face slightly red because yes, he expected some sort of accommodation for the royals at least. He didn’t expect this place to be so… desolate.
“I believe they pay a once a year tax to the people of the Eastern Kingdoms — the missing princess’s kingdom — and then they are largely left alone. This is dragon territory after all,” Prince Colton explained. “No one has a real hold on it but because part of it scrapes against the princess’s kingdom, it is to her people that these hard-working individuals pay their taxes and what little tribute they can give.”
“No way.” Ranid rolled his eyes, crossing his arms and pouting like a child as he absorbed what Colton was telling him. “The kingdom renowned for its beauty wouldn’t let a place like this exist and tarnish their good name. This is a disgrace.”
From beside him on his own warhorse, Lord Petyr of The Eastern Kingdoms shook his head in embarrassment. How had he ever found the loud, obnoxious, and abrasive prince beautiful? Things had cooled significantly since he started seeking his own privacy and comfort in the bold red tent that Prince Colton had lent him. Sure, he was no longer in the man’s bed but anyone would think about waiting a full five minutes before another filled Petyr’s former position there. And Petyr knew from personal experience that when Ranid was distracted or angry, the whole act would take about five minutes… from start to finish.
“If you say so.” Colton snickered to himself, unwilling to engage the spoiled brat of a prince in any type of intellectual debate. As far as this asshole was concerned, if something wasn’t up to his ridiculous standards, then he would most likely dismiss it, and Colton was not up for this kind of stupidity. He could be back at his tent getting some shut-eye after a long and tedious… in every way imaginable… campaign march. He was tired, his ass hurt for all the wrong reasons, and now his head was starting to hurt as well from listening to the bitching and griping of the brat prince. The only amusement he’d found during this whole rush to an ass kicking was the delightfully sarcastic Lord Petyr.
The man was pretty, though his downcast eyes and guilty expression detracted from that somewhat. The man did know his mind though, and only consented to be abused a short time before, with some encouraging words, he struck out on his own. He was intelligent and sharp as he offered several pride-protecting alternatives to the idiot prince as they traveled that would allow him to pull out of his stupid march and still save face. Colton’s favorite idea was to just play this was an inspection and introduction tour to see what changes needed to be made before they reported back to the King of the Eastern Lands.
Of course, Rancid the Bol — Ranid… Ranid the Bold ignored every idea offered and was hellbent on completing his quest no matter the cost. So far, he’d managed to lose a few tents, a few of his soldiers deserted because of the insanity that they were surrounded by, diseases was starting to run rampant through his men — the sexually transmitted kind of course, because at this point the prince had more camp followers that loyal soldiers — and he was losing the best aide-de-camp that Colton had ever seen.
Filled with righteous indignation, Ranid dismounted his tired horse with a huff and led the poor beast to what appeared to be an inn and tethered him to the post out front.
Petyr and Colton also dismounted and followed the upstart prince inside. They stepped into the dim light allowed by the open shutters of what appeared to be windows with some kind of glass. The rough wooden floors were dusty. Goodness knows how everything in this town was not covered in dust, but it looked like someone had tried to sweep it relatively clean. Several long wooden bench-style tables sat in rows on either side of the room, the bar along the back wall blocking access to what had to be a small kitchen in the back.
“You call this place an inn?” Rancid was already ranting at a disinterested woman who was slowly wiping down a battered bar with a dirty rag.
“That’s what the sign used to say.” She snorted, rolling her eyes and dropping the rag to the floor.
“Used to,” Ranid snarled, leaning on the bar… only to jerk his hand back as it encountered what had to be the remains of someone’s greasy dinner… or a body fluid. Who could tell?
“Used to.” The woman walked over to stand before him, her hefty body covered in a stained smock, her arms crossed over her chest as she stuck out her chin in an aggressive manner. “That’s what I said. Are you fucking deaf or something?”
“Do you know who I am?” He bent closer to growl in her face.
“No.” She leaned forward as well, growling back in his face. “And I really don’t give a fuck who you are. Do you want something or are you wasting my time?”
“I am the prince of your kingdom and I demand respect.”
“No,” the woman shook her head, a sardonic look spreading across her face. “Our kingdom doesn’t have any princes, unless you count the assholes that the princesses are supposed to marry. And you didn’t demand my respect, you demanded my utmost attention and you’re not worth my time… which you aren’t going to get.”