Irisa Mansfield is having a very bad day. First she’s abducted by barbarians, bound at the wrists, and hoisted onto the back of a stolen dragon. Then she falls from the dragon’s back and finds herself alone in the middle of an empty field, still bound and now utterly unprotected.
What she needs is a knight in shining armor to come to her rescue. What she gets is Sir Ware Pembroke, a dragon rider more interested in recovering his stolen dragon than in untying her. She orders him. She commands him. She demands his obedience.
But still her wrists are tied.
Ware is not accustomed to women who try to boss him around. In fact, he’s not accustomed to anyone bossing him around. But he knows how to handle a thief, so he throws the brazen wench over his shoulder and gives her a good spanking as he carries her away from the field. He intends to see to it that she’s punished properly, but instead finds himself at every step battling his captive … and his powerful attraction to her.
Irisa lay in the open field, exhausted. The loud thunderous rumble from the sky made her lift her head. Searching the blue heaven, she looked for the dragon she fell from in flight. She twisted and turned on her knees and examined the horizon.
Against the sun, the silhouette she expected appeared. She struggled to get to her feet as the beast riding low, followed the terrain and crested the hill from which she watched.
She anticipated one kind of rider and got another. Instead of a barbarian, a knight appeared riding the large dragon.
The knight pulled back on his reins and the beast landed with a skidding quick halt. The animal stomped the ground and snorted as the sizable man slid from the saddle.
“And pray tell what exactly are you doing?” He strutted toward her, impressive and superior.
“Waiting to be rescued?” She gave him a coy smile and a flutter of her lashes.
She’d never seen a more dashing man.
“If you were a damsel in distress, I might oblige.” He rested his hands in the area of his hips and stared down at her.
“You dare to give me arrogance?” She assumed all knights looked forward to a day they could be the ready, willing and able protectors of women.
She watched him with worry and recalled one particular knight of the realm not to her liking in any area of conduct. This one fell quickly into the same category of conceit.
“Well, are you going to explain?” he asked again.
Irisa didn’t like his impatience or his apparent annoyance with her.
“Oh, I thought t’would be nice to lie tied up in a field for a while,” she shot back sarcastically and lifted her bound wrists for him to see.
His brow rose as he moved in closer, his gaze taking in the rope cutting into her wrists.
While he appeared capable of carrying the heaviest of armor, he breathed laboriously with the chore of moving in his attire. Leather leggings, knee-high boots and a chain mail vest over a blue tunic were light wear for a warrior, yet he showed weakness in his moves. Or maybe it was a tiredness he suffered like her, for a boring life.
“Then it appears you do need rescuing.” His looming shape blocked the sun, leaving angelic rays cast around his head and shoulders. “From a life of thievery, perhaps?”
“I was kidnapped you oaf.” She waved her arms at him insistently. “Untie me.”
“Yes, now would you mind cutting these binds, they’re digging into my flesh.”
As the victim of an abduction gone awry, she fumed with her frustration as the knight stared at her.
He shifted his stance, folded his arms over his broad chest and ignored her plea. Moving from the blinding morning sun, he took a new location that let her see him clearer.
With the turn of her head, she followed his slow circling inspection.
An internal heat rushed deep into her loins and placed a succinct titillation on her senses as she examined him. Her heartbeat quickened at the observance of the fine male specimen. She couldn’t begin to recall a time she found herself utterly fascinated by a knight’s appearance, and she knew many.
In his favor, and the cause to the liquid lightning flowing beneath her skin, he didn’t jump to her commands either. Always a curious enigma on the knights and guards of her father’s castle, Irisa knew just how to tease and taunt them. The only thing she retained in her devilishly forward attitude was her virtue. She denied all men the pleasure of her body beyond caresses and kisses. The knight before her stripped away the desire to hold onto the last chaste thing about herself—her virginity.
Delighted by the imaginary way his gaze peeled her clothes away, she watched lust build within his dark eyes. It would be hard to ignore the magnetism of which only wild beasts knew in mating season.
“I should string you up for stealing one of my dragons.” His gaze narrowed. “Where is your accomplice?”
“Maybe it wasn’t too clear to you the first time I said it, but I was tied, gagged and put on the dragon by ruffians. I assume their plan was to ransom me back to my father.”
“And my dragon?”
“What can I say? It was not a well thought-out scheme on their part. When they saw the dragon grazing in the pasture, one snuck up and captured it.” She wrestled with the bonds. “Now cut me loose.”
“What is this, story-time? One man rode off on horseback and the other thought it would be best to fly me, his prisoner, back to wherever they came from, I assume.” She lifted her arms higher. “Take this rope off me.”
His impervious attitude toward her beauty confused her. Had not every man she met, told her they’d fulfill all wishes as quickly as her wants whispered from her lips? Even the man that put her on the dragon removed her gag because she blinked her eyes a few times and gave him an expression of fear.
“Sounds like a tall-tale to me.” His fingers folded around her arm and he jerked her to her feet.
“I command you to obey my orders and untie me.”
In his stare, she saw he deliberated over setting her free. She hadn’t the patience to wait and twisted her hands, fighting the rope.
“Command, order and obey,” he laughed. “Aren’t you a brazen wench with your tone.”
“Wench!” she gasped, as the derogatory word slipped beneath her tolerance of his manners.
He picked her up and hoisted her to his shoulder.
“What are you doing?” Put me down. Irisa kicked in the air. “Where are you taking me?”
“To your punishment for thievery.”
“Oh, but I can. I saw you abscond with my dragon. I have a dozen field tenants as witness to the offense.”
His attempt at mounting his dragon failed. The weight of a knight in even light armor was enough to make the chore difficult. Her additional poundage hindered his objective.
“It’s not so easy, is it?” Irisa laughed on his second try. “I can image it makes it even more tricky hanging onto a struggling woman. But don’t mind me. Have your fun trying to get on your beast.”
Her giggling abruptly stopped when he slapped her bottom. The sting silenced her delight and infused her cheeks with heat.
“How dare you.” She tried fixating on resentment in an effort not to notice his hand remained firmly fastened to the fiery imprint. Her insides trembled with anticipation of him giving her another smack.