View Full Version : The Dragon of Ankoll Keep

August 13th, 2007, 07:34 PM
My first fantasy romance. I'll be honest and say it's not as gritty as my science-fiction romances. The sex is more tender but, as is usual with me, I tried to add some ambiguity to the storyline.

Dragon is being released by Samhain Publishing (http://samhainpublishing.com/coming/the-dragon-of-ankoll-keep) on September 25th. As with TEB, I find Samhain an incredibly professional lot, as evinced by their popularity with current and submitting writers.


Gamsin is a victim of a harsh and cruel world. She has found some peace as an acrobat and thief and ventures to Ankoll Castle in search of a legend, and a rumoured hoard of treasure. What she discovers is a mysterious stranger--a strong provocative man who, incredibly, tells her he needs her help. His secret is that he is under enchantment to roam the world as a dragon for half of his remaining life and he is desperate to break the spell and revert to being fully human again. But in agreeing to help him, the still-doubtful Gamsin finds that she herself is changing, exploring new perspectives and reviving emotions she thought long destroyed. Is Ankoll what he says he is? What does he really want?

August 13th, 2007, 07:45 PM
The story so far: Gamsin has ventured to Ankoll Castle to look for gold ... and to avoid the police in her home of Mishlow City. When she arrives in Ankoll Village, a local bully sexually assaults her and she beats a hasty retreat. On her way up the mountain to the forbidding castle, she falls unconscious. And when she wakes up ...

Gamsin opened her eyes and took a cautious look around. She was in a circular chamber made of stone, with one narrow window securely shuttered against the weather outside. The window fitted so well into the cavity that she couldn’t even tell whether it was day or night; not even a sliver of light escaped through the shutter planks.

Built into the wall was a large open fireplace, ablaze and fragrant with the scent of conifer. The chamber also contained a wooden table and two chairs, a large chest with a padded lid, a low bench and, incongruously, a wooden bookshelf. Gamsin recognised her clothes, neatly folded, on the bench and that made her throw back the fur covering in alarm, but she was still in her underclothes.

She swung her feet to the floor, ignoring the brief wave of dizziness, and was surprised to feel the flagstones warm beneath her bare feet. Frowning, she padded over to her bag which rested against the foot of the bench and quickly rummaged through it. Everything seemed to be there. Still cautious, Gamsin withdrew one of her daggers and tucked it in the band of her cotton breeches in the small of her back.<o>

</o> Where was she?<o>

</o> This didn’t look like a village shop or even the inside of a manor. In fact, it looked like the keep of a castle.<o>

</o> Ankoll Keep!<o>

</o> Gamsin’s eyes widened. She thought the castle had been abandoned centuries ago. Quickly, she walked to the shutters and tried to open them, but the wooden bar that secured them was impossibly heavy to lift. Yet, as she ran her fingers over the timber, she could tell it was oiled and well maintained. Certainly not the kind of shutters one would expect in a ruined building.<o>

</o> With a little more care, she walked around the room, noting the good repair of all the furnishings. Even the tapestry that covered the chest’s lid looked clean and only recently completed. Filled with curiousity—Nareg always told her that was her worst trait—she opened the lid and lifted out one of the loveliest gowns she had ever seen. Ruby red, it was finely embroidered on its bodice with glittering beads, flaring out into a long skirt. It even, she held it against her body— why, it even fitted her!

Gamsin could feel the weight of the garment and goggled at the amount of expensive material—it looked and felt like heavy silk—that had gone into its making. There was enough material in the one dress to craft an entire outfit for herself, including plus fours, a vest and a short cloak. Who could afford such wastefulness? <o>

</o> No, this was certainly some kind of fairy tale. Maybe, Gamsin thought with a degree of wryness, she was dead. She had been told that good people who lived difficult lives were rewarded beyond measure after they died but, in all honesty, she hadn’t really been that good. She stole from the rich and from shopkeepers, picked the pockets of unsuspecting city tourists and worked as a willing accomplice to friends who made their living through scamming the gullible. True, she’d never killed anyone, only maiming some occasionally in self-defence, but spilt blood was still spilt blood and she doubted the Goddess would care to cut a fine line between the two.<o>

</o> And, since she was on this track, since when did a dead person get hungry?<o>

</o> Her stomach, tired of being ignored for days, started up its loud grumbling, pinching Gamsin with its pains. At last, this was something she understood. She used her gnawing hunger to focus her mind, discarding the impractical gown and dressing quickly in her own clothes, dry and fragrant by the fire, sliding the dagger into its usual place inside her boot and finger-combing her shoulder-length dark hair. Then she moved quietly to the door.<o>
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September 1st, 2007, 10:39 PM
This book sounds really great Kaz! I can't wait to read it. :biggrin: