Snow Moon Dragon
Dragon Investigators, Book 4
May 18, 2021
Love is a curse but also a blessing…
Dragon shifter Nyree Wirihana escapes an abusive relationship and travels to the far-flung island of South Georgia for a fresh start. No more dating for her. She’s finished with men. Instead, she’s content to work and explore the island while photographing the cute penguins and seals.
Dragon shifter Tāwera suffers from a curse, and for hundreds of years, he has lain in a rock pool with no hope of escape or revenge on the brother who turned him to stone.
A chance encounter changes everything, and suddenly Nyree is experiencing unique problems. Dragon problems. Romantic problems. Her peaceful man-free life becomes complicated, then danger strolls into her sanctuary and the situation becomes so much worse.
You’ll enjoy this dragon romance because it contains a sexy tattooed warrior from the past plus a strong heroine who has regained her mojo and isn’t afraid to kick dragon butt and face threats head-on. Sit back and enjoy the sensual sparks.
Other Books in the Dragon Investigators series
Read an Excerpt
Kororāreka, Upper North Island, New Zealand, 1780
The wind rustled the trees, playing a musical tune with the leaves. It tugged at Rāwiri’s top knot as he eased into a concealed position behind a pūriri tree trunk. He didn’t fidget, just settled, patient and careful to avoid areas where the leaf litter or a dry stick might signal his presence. The earthy scent of decaying leaves filled each steady breath, along with the crisp air foretelling rain. Moisture from the bed of ferns sank into his cloak, but he ignored the clammy coolness against his skin.
Water tinkled as it spilled over mountain rocks to the pool below. The sounds of nature worked to his advantage—a benefit since he’d misjudged his younger brother’s destination. He’d mistakenly believed Tāwera when he’d told his mother he intended to visit a friend at his whare on the other side of the pā. Instead, Tāwera had ducked into the forest, walking unerringly to this private pond Rāwiri hadn’t even known existed.
Now, Tāwera leaned against a tree, and his cheerful whistle carried to where Rāwiri hid. Rāwiri suspected he knew who his brother was waiting for and prayed he was wrong.
A return whistle cut through nature’s music, and Tāwera straightened. Rāwiri caught the flash of eagerness as Tāwera warbled a response. An instant later, Rāwiri spied a slender form slide from the trees.
She ran to Tāwera, and they pressed their noses and foreheads together in the traditional hongi. Yet this wasn’t a mere meeting of acquaintances.
This was the greeting of close friends.
Rāwiri wrapped his cloak tighter around frigid shoulders.
Tāwera knew Rāwiri had approached Aroha’s father to arrange the joining of their families. Aroha’s father had told Rāwiri he favored the match but would speak with his whānau and his daughter before giving his formal acceptance.
Rāwiri’s chest burned, and his breaths came faster, the expulsion of air so harsh he feared discovery. For as much as he wanted to spring from concealment and rail at the couple, he clamped down his inner turmoil. Although he wished to strike his brother, now was not the time. Instead, he’d gather information and consider the problem with a cool head.
While Tāwera was the younger brother and a lesser maiden’s son, he was not without mana. His prowess as a fearless warrior and his uncanny battle skills gave him more prestige than most. Rumor stated he had the strength of a taniwha when he sank into his battle rage. Several of the warriors swore Tāwera flew and spouted fire, but even Tāwera laughed at these tall tales and suggested the men had imbibed the pākehā’s stinking water.
A giggle came from Aroha as Tāwera deftly untied her cloak and dropped it to the ground. Rāwiri fisted his hands, fighting the devil inside him that ordered he spring from concealment and pummel his younger brother. Luckily, prudence overrode this impulse. He sucked in a quiet breath and repeated the process to rid his body of rage and bitterness. Not the right moment to indulge his temper.
The older son of his father’s first marriage, Rāwiri traced his roots back to those who’d rowed the original canoes from the homeland.
His status as the tribe’s tohunga tā moko and his aptitude for the art of tattoo had brought him honor early in life. With his position and accumulated wealth, any father should welcome him with open arms. They should pay him for the privilege he brought to their family, the prestige that would accrue to them by association with him.
It was best he thought hard on this betrayal and consider the consequences for himself and his younger brother.
Aroha was the innocent in this situation, and it was evident to Rāwiri his younger brother considered her a prize. Tāwera had known of Rāwiri’s intentions, and as the younger brother, he should’ve stood aside.
The couple ambled to the pool’s edge and discarded their remaining clothes. Rāwiri only had eyes for Aroha—the curve of her breast and the shapely silhouette revealed in the moonlight. Uncommonly tall for a woman, she was a hard worker and always had a cheerful word for each person in the tribe, no matter their standing. Her smiles warmed many a heart. Not only was she of excellent character, but her sparkling brown eyes and lustrous black hair helped to highlight her inner beauty.
Tāwera cupped Aroha’s cheek. He whispered to her, making Rāwiri’s woman giggle. Rāwiri glared at Tāwera’s hand, where it rested low in the small of Aroha’s back. His brother urged Aroha into the water, and the pair embraced again, their bodies hidden in the shadows.
While the couple whispered and played in the water, Rāwiri forced himself to leave. He rose without haste and retreated. One thing was sure. He would take Aroha as his woman, and she would become the mother of his children. Together, they would prosper.
But Tāwera, he was a problem. His brother had acted with guile instead of honor, and he must pay for this transgression.
Rāwiri glanced both ways before he stepped onto the forest path and made haste to return to the pā on the hill. He called out a greeting to the warriors manning the entrance and strode to his whare where he currently lived alone.
Tohunga passed knowledge and experience on to their successors, and his uncle, who had lived a long life and had never taken a woman to wife, had chosen Rāwiri as his successor. Along with teaching Rāwiri tattoo skills, his uncle had passed on darker arts, which he’d made Rāwiri promise to only use as a last resort.
When Rāwiri reached his whare, he ducked under the low entrance decorated with beautiful and meaningful carvings he’d done himself. He crouched next to the firepit and fed the glowing embers. Although summer loomed and the pōhutukawa buds had burst into fiery red, a chill had sunk to Rāwiri’s bones, and he needed the warmth to ease the working of his mind.
Rāwiri sank onto the woven flax mats and held his hands to the heat from the flames. The more he thought about this, the more he knew he must take a stand against his brother. Aroha was the best candidate for the mother of his children. He’d spotted her amongst the other maidens early one morning after a vivid dream had shown him the way.
Immediately, he’d known her beauty and goodness made an excellent foil for his intelligence, his skill, and cunning. They would produce beautiful offspring together, giving birth to a great legacy that would span many, many generations into the future.
For long hours, he sat and stared into the flickering flames.
He considered everything his uncle Arepeta had told him during his oral teachings, twisting and turning the possibilities. He rejected some ideas and accepted parts of others.
The hour grew late, and still, Rāwiri poked and prodded at his fledgling plan. He built it piece by piece, then he tore it apart and strengthened the foundations until his scheme was a thing of beauty.
Rāwiri pushed to his feet and almost fell as the blood raced back into his limbs. He rotated his hands and ankles and stepped gingerly around his whare interior until his strides no longer sent prickles through his legs.
He had a plan.
An audacious one, but he was of warrior stock too. In this, he was willing to take risks.
He would let the relationship play out and pretend he was a gracious loser. He’d offer his brother a unique wedding gift, and the moment his brother accepted, the fates would pivot and smile upon Rāwiri.
Once his strategy played out, he’d swoop in to console Aroha. He refused to let her slip through his fingers.
Aroha was his woman.