Fire in His Blood
Ruby Dixon is well known in the sci-fi/erotic romance world for her Ice Planet Barbarians series (Big, Blue and Horny would be an apt subtitle for those) as well as her PNR bear shifters ( Bear Bites series) and straight up erotic romance MC Bedlam Butchers series. Now she’s trying her hand at another PNR series featuring Dragon Shifters and their fated mates. Fire in His Blood is the first entry in the Fireblood Dragon series and combines post-apocalyptic type world-building with a sexy romance in a story sure to have her established fans and new readers clamoring for more.
It’s been seven years since ‘The Rift’ – a time in earth’s modern-day history when the appearance of dragons changed everything. Billions of people died in the ensuing firestorms from crazed dragon attacks, leaving small pockets of survivors who shelter in the few derelict shopping malls and ruined buildings that have survived with some infrastructure intact. Claudia, her sister Amy and her friend Sasha live in an abandoned bus in Fort Dallas. Options for obtaining food and other necessary survival items are limited, especially for females– one is either a scavenger in the parts outside of the protected area of Fort Dallas, or finds ways to bargain with the all male New Militia who rule the compound, usually involving whoring oneself out. Claudia is a scavenger, providing for her injured sister, while Sasha has taken the other route, often coming home bruised and battered but still alive.
When one of the black market trades Claudia has arranged is compromised, she finds herself imprisoned and then worse; rumors have arisen that a woman was able to ‘tame’ a dragon in another sheltered city and the Mayor of Fort Dallas is determined to try this approach to prevent further attacks on the compound. So far six other women have met a fate that isn’t spoken of, but seems clearly to indicate that Claudia won’t survive. Strapped to a pole and left at the mercy of whichever dragon scents her first, she fears certain death.
But the fierce gold dragon who finds her seems intent on other plans and surprises her when he shifts into a recognizable human-type form, though his skin is patterned like scales and he can produce fangs when needed. Unable to communicate verbally at first, the dragon man finds ways to show her that he isn’t intent on killing her. Kael, as he is known in dragon tongue, knows Claudia to be his mate, and must find ways to prove it to her. Torn between feelings she is developing for the gentle yet fiercely protective Kael and the need to get back to her sister, Claudia must choose the right path for her future.
This is a pretty stark world that’s been left to the survivors, but the world building isn’t overly complex. Women definitely have lost most of their rights and are left to fend for themselves, and there isn’t a lot of detail regarding what happened during the Rift, or where the dragons were before, and so on. I’m hoping that with more stories planned in the series, we’ll see more detail on how things evolved. We do find out, through Kael’s point of view, that the attacks on humans are a result of chaotic rage and don’t really have a purpose. There are, at this point, red and gold dragons, and the red dragons are female while the gold are male. The red dragons seem to have patterns of attack that people have come to expect while the gold dragon attacks are random. It’s pretty basic stuff.
Around Claudia, Kael maintains more of his sanity and is determined to mate with her. In human form, he’s pretty attractive if you can overlook the slight dragonish features and to her surprise Claudia finds his obvious attempts at being gentle and careful with her remove her fear. When they finally get to the mating stage (after a ‘courtship’ of sorts that dragged somewhat), Kael must sink his dragon fangs into Claudia’s neck, injecting her with a fiery venom that will enable her to be able to mate properly with him (because in human form he does have some obvious… ahem… male attributes, ribbed for her pleasure) and not be burned by his semen. If it sounds like it hurts, you’re right! Fortunately though, the fanged venom injection is a one-time deal. On the plus side, it means that Claudia and Kael can now communicate telepathically, making their interactions much easier since they can now ‘talk’ to each other mentally. I had wondered how we’d get past the obvious language barrier issues and this solves that handily.
The second half of the story picks up the pace and the action, while also upping the heat factor as Claudia and Kael discover just how sexually compatible they are. It’s clear that Claudia’s going to throw her lot in with Kael and see where that takes her, and the story ends with some clear direction for what’s coming next and a happy ending for this unique couple. There are lots of unanswered questions that I hope will be addressed as the series continues. But it’s a solid start and I plan to read more.