As an illustrious ice jockey, Hayden Islington is never short of female company—wealthy champions rarely are. So when Miss Jenna Priess—the most exquisite woman he’s ever laid eyes on—turns down his seductive invitation, in favour of his detective abilities, he’s stunned and more than a little intrigued…
Jenna is in trouble—her father is ill and her mill is failing due to her workers mysteriously disappearing. To save her world from ruin, Jenna needs help and Hayden is the only man she can turn to. But can she resist the heat of this handsome ice master’s touch?
The setting and premise drew me to ‘Reckless Rakes: Hayden Islington’ but after the initial excitement of the opening chapter, Ice racing is mentioned but not portrayed in a vivid way and the story line is a little ordinary. Similarly the setting, just outside the English Lake District is a favourite of mine but this story failed to capitalise on its charms or dangers and make a readable story into something special.
The romantic, sensual journey Jenna and Hayden undertake is well written, sexy and gives the story much needed sparkle. Disillusioned by love, Jenna devotes her life to her family and their mill. Hayden is dangerous, troubled and undeniably ‘hot’. Both characters develop throughout the story and they are engaging enough, to make you want them to be happy.
If you read historical romance primarily for the love story, this book delivers but historical romance purists may find some of the language too modern and mourn the lack of atmospheric, historical detail.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
With the release last month of The Revenge Masquerade,the second book in The Dragon Legacy series I’ve been thinking about the next book in the series,working title is Egyptian Chaos.
If you read my author interview on Tracey Rogers’ blog last week you will know I am undecided whether to continue with the series. I still have two more stories to tell but it’s so hard to get your books noticed by your potential audience. Should I write something more mainstream, in the hope of catching a well established publisher’s attention, or self publish the remaining two books? I’d be interested to know what you think. 🙂
So all this introspection made me think back to how optimistic, (some would say naive) I was when I wrote The Dragon Legacy and what inspired me to write, what turned out to be a quirky, fantasy romance set in the English Lake District.
Three things inspired me to write this story:
Dragons are my favourite mystical creatures.
I have loved the lake district for thirty years , since I was first introduced to it, in my early twenties by my first boss.
My fascination with murder mystery.
Dragonsare usually portrayed as evil in English fairy tales, something to be feared and slayed but this isn’t how I see them at all.
They are powerful,intelligent creatures, a source of ancient knowledge and magic.
From this viewpoint it was easy to create Lukas Draco, one of the ancient dragons. He exists in two dimensions; our world in his human form, whilst his true dragon form survives in a parallel world, living in deep still water until Lukas requires his powers. The dragons are champions of good and fight against evil demons to protect humanity.
The Lake Districthas long been a favourite haunt of mine and it was on one of my holidays when I visited Lake Ullswater and the surrounding hills that I imagined how paranormal creatures could hide in plain sight in such a setting. Combined with my love of dragons, The Dragon Legacy began to take shape.
The final ingredient was my love ofmurder mystery games , parties and weekends. I love the drama of these events, the dressing up and taking on a new character. My shy Fleur became the street wise business whiz, Megan and managed to ensnare herself a dragon.
The original draft of The Dragon Legacy contained far more scenes devoted to the murder mystery event but these scenes were cut from the final story as they didn’t move the tale forward. Still I loved writing them and they were among the first words I wrote of The Dragon Legacy’s first book.
I hope you found this look behind the pages of The Dragon Legacy interesting.
So after Saturday’s rain the summer sun has returned and with it my happy optimistic mood. If you read my last post you will recall I was feeling down and attributed it to the grey day.
Taking advantage of the sunshine I spent a couple of hours tidying and enjoying my garden with these lovely butterflies who decided to join me. I love gardening because it gives me time to think and plan and this post is a result of yesterday’s gardening interlude.
Lots of people will be off on holiday in the next few weeks and many will be searching for a good book to enjoy whilst they’re relaxing on the beach or sitting by the pool.
Even if you’re not going away to the coast or countryside, if the sun stays out the excuse to sit in the garden with a good book is too much to resist.
The point of going on holiday is to relax and most of all escape from your normal daily routine. Having a little ‘me’ time recharges our emotional and physical batteries before returning to our often stressful lives.
So a summer read must offer escapism. Many novels today mirror reality or focus on the worst bits of everyday life, I would avoid these when looking for my holiday read. That doesn’t mean the story has to be sugary sweet just hopeful. Or so far removed from reality that even if it focuses on the darker side of human nature the reader knows that anything is possible including a happy outcome. 🙂
Continuing the escapism theme, the setting of a summer read is important. It needs to be in a place the reader would like to explore, so coastal locations are good as are mountains and picturesque countryside. I enjoy reading stories set in the summer too but I don’t think this matters as long as the setting is escape worthy.
If you’re on a crowded beach then its easy to be distracted. So the ideal read must have an absorbing plot with lots of twists. Vivid characters are essential they need to make an impression. The genre of the story is subjective but I love a story with mystery ,lots of action and sizzling romance. The romance doesn’t necessarily have to be the focus of the story but a little spice always adds to the enjoyment. 😉
So that’s my recipe for the perfect summer read.
I leave you with some snippets from The Dragon Legacy maybe it could be your perfect summer read?
You can read the first page of The Dragon Legacy on BooksGoSocial
Let’s You Escape:
‘The elusive turquoise-scaled dragons appeared through the haze. Their minds united by a single aim: the dragon egg’s safety, the reason they risked exposure to the human world.’
‘The dragon lord’s golden eyes focused on the grey sky above the rock strewn hills. Dawn mist hovered around the summit like a silken web. It drifted through the rocky outcrops until it reached the valley where he stood alone.’
‘Mists floated across Lake Ullswater and cloaked the twisty lanes in an impenetrable shroud.’
‘Demon slayer Lukas Draco is a loner. He lives by two simple rules: No emotional entanglements and duty must remain his first priority. His beliefs are challenged when he’s inexplicably drawn to Fleur, a human woman with an unusual psychic aura. Sparks of sexual attraction ignite threatening both his search for the dragon’s egg he buried a thousand years ago and Fleur’s life. Under the cover of a murder mystery weekend an apocalyptic hunt begins’
‘Fleur stole a sideways glance at Lukas…His face was the epitome of masculine beauty, characterized by well-defined angular cheekbones, covered with pale, almost translucent skin. Its apparent delicacy did not detract from his masculinity; he looked like a fallen angel.’
‘Xavier Serpente clenched his manicured nails into his expensive Italian silk trousers… The threat of danger, which simmered under the surface of his urbane respectability, was his greatest attraction.’
‘Lukas forced his mind back to his mission. He studied his murder mystery character profile. His fellow participants mustn’t find out his identity. Or the real reason for his presence at Hallows House.
‘Escape impossible, the furious dragon man slammed him against the tree trunk. His bones cracked. The onslaught repeated with greater force, and his head and neck rocked on his shoulders.’
‘Lukas caught hold of her hand as she turned away from him. “No, don’t! I like you this way.” He ran the pad of his thumb along her responsive lips. “Trust me. Everyone will like you as you are.” She looked vivacious, like the color of her dress, with lush, pink lips and hair like golden rain as it slipped from its elegant restraints. He wanted her back in his arms. His arousal rocketed several degrees as the tip of Fleur’s tongue darted out and tasted his thumb. “Hell!” Another few seconds and leaving wouldn’t be an option.’
‘She hadn’t expected this. His honesty made her forget her other questions and doubts. His velvet smooth voice reminded her of milk chocolate. The sound bathed her frazzled nerves and twitchy senses with languor. Spellbound, she watched his gaze fillwith heat. He didn’t look like a dragon. No, he looked like a man, virile and sexy. He filled her mind with sinful images. Green-scaled dragons didn’t. They breathed fire. Or at least dragons did in the fairy tale books she recalled.
Lukas lifted her hands until they rested on his shoulders. She pulled away. His closeness scrambled her lucidity. Undeterred, he spanned her waist with his large hands. He held on tight as he rose and pulled her against him.
“Appearances can be deceptive, sweetheart.”
Fleur would have questioned what he meant, but his physical closeness distracted her. He held her even tighter. Every hard square inch of him plastered against her softer curves. She bit back a sigh of pleasure. He didn’t play fair.’
Inspiration is an important part of every writer’s journey. So far my writing has often been inspired by a place or a building. ‘The Dragon Legacy’ is set in the English Lake District in the hills overlooking Lake Ullswater. Although the village name I used is fictional it is based on a lakeside village that I know there.
I have spent many happy hours on and around the lake and for me it is easy to imagine dragons flying over the hills a thousand or so years ago. If you would like to see what I mean check out my Pinterest board for ‘The Dragon Legacy’ .
Since I moved into the old mining village of Pleasley about eighteen months ago I’ve had numerous ideas for historical novels featuring the pit. Coal was first mined here in 1872. The ground was broken for the mine by Florence Nightingale whose family lived on the site.
This weekend I discovered the surrounding mills and houses in nearby Pleasley Vale. More pictures are on my Inspirational Places Pinterest board. Even though the mills are currently used to house small businesses it isn’t hard to imagine what they were like in the seventeenth century when they were the site of a water forge . Or in 1784 when the cotton-spinning mills were built. There were decimating fires in the nineteenth century and the mills were used to store munitions during the 1914-1918 war. The history is so rich here I’m sure it could inspire a whole series of stories.
I particularly like the turreted house which makes me think about a paranormal romance with Fae. Or the setting for a time travel romantic adventure.
The small plant nursery that is housed within the walls of an old mill was particularly intriguing. What would happen if you fell asleep in the sunshine in such a delightful spot, only to wake up in the dirt and dust of the original mill centuries before?
My favourite though was this derelict stone building. What a story it could tell. Everyone loves a building with a past.
I would love to know where you find your inspiration.