They say you fight fire with fire, but sometimes it takes a gentle hand to tame a raging inferno. Shelby Kincaide might just be the tender heart Daniel Ashborne needs to cool the fury consuming his soul. That is, if Shelby can survive the consuming anger sheltering the true core of the man buried deep inside.
On television and behind the scenes, Shelby is ever bit the famous actress and spoiled performer everyone assumes her to be, but it’s all an act. Underneath all the glamor and pampering, Shelby yearns to be heard and treated as a real person. Unfortunately, fame has surrounded her with people looking to use her for her status and make a name for themselves. Even her own family has jumped on her coattails, expecting to get ahead in the movie world. No one really cares about the real Shelby. Despite her envied glory, she’s had a hard life. A modern day Cinderella, she’s lived through evil step-mothers and jealous step-sisters. Her own father even turned his back on her, leaving her yearning for the love and support she’s never had. Daniel is the only person that seems genuinely interested in her for who she really is. Unfortunately, someone is hell bent on squashing any chance she has at happiness. After a Hunter breaks into her home and attacks Daniel, he’s convinced she’s no different than the woman who imprisoned him long ago. The last time Shelby sees Daniel is when medical personnel take him away. She’s got a dead Hunter in her home and a MIA boyfriend. The media, ever present and intent on bringing all the sordid details of her life into the spotlight, do what they do best: pick out the juicy details they want and willfully attempt to ruin her reputation.
Daniel’s life hasn’t exactly been a picnic. A dragon shifter, he’s had to hide his true identity and watch his back for a long time. Gone are the days of the glorious dragons who protected mankind. Now he and his dwindling dragon folk are forced to live in hiding and secrecy, their inner dragons bound and contained against their true nature. Once their allies, Hunters have turned against them and have hunted the dragons to near extinction. If that isn’t enough to make someone thoroughly pissed off, Daniel was imprisoned for months by an evil woman hoping to force him into mating with her in order to make her immortal. Tortured both mentally and physically until he nearly broke with insanity, Daniel now carries more than just physical scars. He’s a mess, to say the least. Too bad he can’t just slink away and dwell in his own misery. Unfortunately, he’s also the dragon king and has a responsibility to lead his remaining kinfolk. He doesn’t have time for a mate, especially one who threatens to tear down the cold exterior he’s so carefully crafted around his heart and make him feel things he’s determined not to acknowledge.
I’ve always loved dragons. Not many creatures can possess rage, power, magic, and beauty all at the same time. And besides, who wouldn’t want a gorgeous dragon shifter in their bed? Eden Ashe’s dragons seem to have mastered the art of truly being mystical and marvelous creatures. The Dragon’s Heart grabbed my full attention at page one. The main characters, Shelby and Daniel, are so multi-faceted and complex, they both won my heart. Daniel’s tangible pain and misery made me want to break through his stony exterior and love him myself. I cheered Shelby on as she persistently refused to back down from his fury and outbursts. She skillfully used her heart and her love to work through his old wounds and bring him back to himself. Ms. Ashe has a lovely talent with words and manages to keep me turning each page, eager to see what happens next. When Daniel and Shelby finally come together (sexually) in an explosive and intense bout of emotion and need, I couldn’t help but get all warm and fuzzy inside. I wanted these two together and Ms. Ashe does not disappoint. There were a few slow parts midway through the book, and a couple of times I wondered about some of Shelby’s actions, but I realized that most of this was necessary for her to make some changes not only in Daniel, but in his fellow dragons as well. It’s pretty comical to watch these proud, solitary, and fierce dragon men be put in their place by a five-foot-nothing woman less than half their size but with a temper to match their own.
By the end of the story, Shelby could certainly change careers from actress to author. What would her first book likely be? How to Train Your Dragon(s), I would imagine. She certainly has her work cut out for her, but I for one most definitely envy her. This is book one of Ms. Ashe’s Dragon Lore series. I know I’ll be chomping at the bit to get my hands on book two.
Hot, sexy dragon men to melt your heart (and maybe your clothes off as well), a strong-willed woman whose stature might be tiny but her determination is anything but, lots of great sex, and graphic violence…what else do you need for an awesome, story? Heck, it’d make a great movie! Don’t miss out on Eden Ashe’s The Dragon’s Heart; it’s a smokin’ hot read that left me yearning for a dragon of my own.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.