This book has been around for a while (since 2009) but since it’s one of the Lady Biest’s favourites, it’s getting a review here. While all of the novels in GA Aiken’s dragon-shifter series are good sexy fun, the characters in this novel are what tweak my little fiction nubbins so deliciously.
Gwenvael the Handsome, a pretty-boy royal dragon-shifter and inveterate trouble-maker and pussy-marauder, is so funny and charming he’s always able to wriggle his way out of the trouble his incautious tongue and wanton ways land him in. Until he meets The Beast. Dagmar (aka The Beast) is the only daughter of the mightiest warlord in the Northlands and holds the answer to protecting Gwenvael’s family.
Unfortunately, upon meeting the famed Beast and discovering that not only is she a woman, but a mild-mannered, bookish and bespectacled one at that, he laughs in her face. Thoroughly offended, she refuses to give him the piece of information he seeks, saying she’ll only deliver it directly to Queen Annwyl.
Despite her fearsome reputation as the Beast, a ruthless and cunning opponent with complete control over her father’s fierce battle dogs, Dagmar feels stifled as the only intellectual living in the barbarous Northlands. She longs to see the world and learn and read as much as she can, and is quick to use Gwenvael’s mistake to achieve her goals.
A dangerous journey ensues, thoroughly enlivened by the banter between the clever and controlled Dagmar and the shameless Gwenvael who is determined to win her over.
“But do tell me, Lady Dagmar, why do I hurt? Did you try to skin me alive with your hidden passion?”
“My hidden…oh. Forget it. You’ve been through hell the last few hours is what happened. Kidnapped and tortured and a pitch battle with Horde dragons.”
“Really?” He lowered his head and his voice. “Am I fiercer to you now that you’ve seen me in battle? Do you want me more than you ever thought possible? Are you ready to take me at this moment?”
“Perhaps when the scabs fall off.”
“I’ll be alone but not for long because you’ll all want me more. You’ll lust for the beautiful warrior I once was and pity the hideous creature I’ve become. More importantly, you’ll want to soothe my pain.” He looked at her again. “Don’t you want to soothe my pain? Right now? Without that dress on?”
I guess one of the things I love about this book is that the plain but clever Dagmar captures the heart of a former rogue, and that he prizes her for her cleverness and cunning rather than her looks. And Dagmar well and truly saves the day at what’s the darkest point in the novel, and does it through brains and bravery rather than sacrifice or brute strength. The ultimate nerd-girl fantasy, I’ll admit.
But even if my nerd-girl fantasy is not for you, the outrageous banter throughout the novel is bound to appeal. One of my favourite lines in the book? “Don’t make me cover your face with a pillow until you see my side of things.”