Danica Lestrange is the first female dragon to be born in nearly a thousand years. On her shoulders rests the fate of her race, the future of all dragon kind. However, Danica is no prize to be fought over, no mere object of lust or a vessel to carry a man’s seed. She is a flesh and blood woman with her own mind and her own heart, and she has no intention of belonging to anyone but herself. Unfortunately, her future mate has already been decided by the gods, but that doesn’t mean Danica’s going to simply lie down and let him win. Kollin Olsen is going to have to earn her love.
Danica been building her own small empire as the CEO of SYN Consulting, taking problem businesses and making them profitable. She has friends all over the world and the support of her lovers, Xander and Matt; her adopted son, Bastien; and her advisers and protectors, Kenshin and Aiden. All five of them are SLIPS, men descended from the first creations of the ancient dragons who were given the ability to take the shape of both animals and men, the better to serve as warriors, ambassadors, and praeses.
Kollin Olsen is calculating, calm, and cold. He’s a perfect representative of the northern ice dragons, but something about the red-headed young woman gets under his skin. No matter how he twists and turns, Danica always manages to be one step ahead of him with her perfect smile, her brilliant green eyes, and her calm serenity. Kollin needs her help to buy out a business that threatens his brother’s land. They won’t deal with him, but they might — like Kollin himself — be captivated enough by Danica’s beauty and charm to allow themselves to be bought out.
While the two dragons flirt at every video conference, outside forces are coming closer to the truth about dragons, and Danica’s existence. Humans may not be as strong as the SLIPs, or have magic on their side … but they have weapons that are strong enough to make even a dragon bleed.
This is a book with a large and varied cast that has both straight and gay relationships. Danica is in a polyamorous triangle with both Xander (a bear shifter) and Matt (a black panther shifter), taking one or both to her bed, though due to their magical bond, she more often favors Xander, who is rarely far from her side. While she and Kollin have an instant attraction and are fated to be mates, they do not meet face-to-face until the end of the book, which ends at a very sudden cliffhanger.
Danica is young for a dragon at only forty-some years old. With her species dying out, she knows her fate is to mate and bear children, but she’s going to do so on her own terms. She’s making herself an empire that spans the globe with contacts from Russia to the United States and surrounding herself with shifters who are bound to her, who would die for her. Danica is a sexual creature and has embraced it. She is a powerful creature who cannot be physically hurt, even by her strongest warrior. Danica doesn’t wear makeup (she doesn’t need to) and likes wearing form-hugging clothing, Doc Martens, and 80s metal band tank tops. She watches anime and action movies, loves fantasy and science fiction, and drives like a demon. In short, she isn’t like other women; she’s presented as basically perfect. Danica is so much the “not like other girls” trope that I found it difficult to relate to her, or even — I’m sorry to say — like her as a person. When she first brings Xander to her room after meeting him, she teases him rather pettily. Knowing that he’s aroused and wanting to sleep with her, she tells him to turn into a bear and then gives him a strip tease before removing her underwear and cuddling up next to him to sleep. She also thinks, jokingly, how much she’d like to rape him. (This is a joke on her part, and she corrects it later to “ravish,” but it was a sour note that stuck with me.)
Kollin enjoys being in control at all times. He prefers it when other people are unsettled in his presence, and is irritated at himself that Danica can turn the tables on him. He’s an alpha dragon from a powerful clan and he’s not used to being the one chasing after someone else, especially not a human. By the time he finally gets close enough to realize Danica doesn’t smell like a human, he realizes it doesn’t matter what she is. It only matters that he wants her. When he realizes she’s a dragon — a female dragon — he barely has time for the thought to register before all hell breaks loose.
Kollin and Danica have both been settling. Danica has taken lovers from among her warriors and protectors, and while she loves them, she isn’t in love with them, any more than they are in love with her. Two of them, Xander and Matt, are in a relationship themselves that they keep hidden from her. Not because they think she would stop it or be angry about it, but because Xander wants to keep this between him and Matt. The men are mates, they are in love with one another, and if Danica knew, she’d deny herself their love to allow them to be together.
The sex scenes in this book are lengthy and descriptive, with enjoyment and love on all sides, though the M/F and M/M/F scenes are lengthier and more detailed than the M/M scene. There is no shame or censure regarding any sexuality. One of Danica’s shifters is a submissive in the BDSM world and Danica doesn’t have any thought on that other than to be happy that he is happy with his partner.
There is much in this story to enjoy, but there are some personal issues that kept me from enjoying it as much as I might have, otherwise. The pacing is a bit slow, with more time being spent on Danica’s relationship with her collection of shifters than the plot or her relationship with Kollin and, as I mentioned above, the two of them don’t even meet face-to-face until the end of the book. The cliffhanger is … abrupt, taking place almost mid-paragraph. The future books promise more relationships, including a longer glance at BDSM, a four-way, and more action as Danica and Kollin have to find out who is after them and why. Personal bias aside, this isn’t a bad story; I just didn’t like the person whose story it is.