First Chapter: Sneak Peek!

The conclusion to the Taming the Dragon series is finally here.

Okay, no it isn’t. Not quite. It’s up for pre-order, but the book doesn’t release until June 2nd, so… a few more weeks.

Almost there, though.

And if you’re a fan of the Taming the Dragon series, I’m guessing you’re chomping at the bit for this one, since the last book (Bewitching the Dragon) released last September!

Usually I can write books a lot faster than this. I mean, aside from the novellas I included in two box sets (the Dark Moon Falls box sets – second one just released last week!), I haven’t released a book in eight months. And it will be nine by the time Let Go My Gargoyle releases (barely). Shoot, last year I released a book almost every month.

Maybe that’s why this one took so long. I think I overtaxed myself. I was so busy letting everybody know about those books, I wasn’t writing new ones. Well, I was trying – I wrote and rewrote this particular book four different times. I made it to 20,000 words twice before scraping what I’d written. That’s half a book! Heck, the two novellas in the Dark Moon Falls sets are both only 25,000 words. The final version of Let Go My Gargoyled ended up at 45,000 words, but really, it’s double that in effort.

And you know what? I’m pleased. I’m happy with this final version. It’s completely different from where I started. The hero and heroine are entirely different characters, even. In two of the four versions, Argyle was the main character. In another, Oliver was. And ultimately, I went with two characters you haven’t met yet, however, they are both very much (surprisingly!) entwined with the overarching storyline that’s been brewing since book 1 (Dragon His Heels).

Anyway, I hope you’ll give it a read. I have a really hard time finishing series, which was another contributing factor to how long it took to type the words “The End” on this book. Because it really is the end.

OR is it…? (Because Argyle and Oliver still need their happy ever afters, and now I’m thinking maybe I need a spinoff Taming the Gargoyle series. Hmm….)

Okay, enough of that! Let’s give you what the headline promised: A sneak peek at Let Go My Gargoyle, before it’s released to the general public. So here you go. Enjoy!!

LET GO MY GARGOYLE

Taming the Dragon Book 5

by Tami Lund

gargoyle draft FINAL

Four years ago, Sofia had an affair with a gargoyle. The next morning, he disappeared—leaving her with an infant.

Now he’s back, and Sofia is afraid he wants to claim the child she’s been raising as her own.

Griffin isn’t back because he wants the child. What Sofia doesn’t know is that the kid isn’t even his. He’s back because his boss told him to protect Sofia and the baby. A task he doesn’t think he’s capable of doing.

Unfortunately, the more time he spends with Sofia and her adopted daughter Penelope, the less he wants to leave.

And the more danger he’s putting them in.

Taming the Dragon series

Each book has its own happily ever after; however, it is recommended they be read in the following order:

Dragon His Heels

Hungry Like a Dragon

Dragon in Denial

Bewitching the Dragon

Let Go My Gargoyle

****

Chapter One

Why did the most prestigious of all gargoyle brethren have to be located in New Orleans, of all places?

“It’s a big town,” Griffin told himself as he strolled along the sidewalk, heading toward the City of the Dead, where he was supposed to meet his new boss, Oliver, at dusk. He glanced over his shoulder, his senses on high alert, but so far, he hadn’t come across any dragons.

Not that they weren’t here. In fact, this city was crawling with them. Or so it had seemed the last time he’d visited.

“I can’t believe I’m moving here,” he muttered, kicking at a clump of moss growing between two broken chunks of concrete.

A golden opportunity to join the elitist of the elite had been dropped into his lap, and all he could do was worry about running into someone from his past.

He paused next to a whitewashed stone pillar marking the entrance to the cemetery that was about to become his home for, oh, the rest of eternity.

Were these guys really so diehard that they lived as stone statues except when they were working assignments? Because Griffin would freely admit that he’d choose to sleep in a warm, comfy bed rather than perched atop a gravesite any day of the week.

Why had Oliver picked him of all the gargoyles all over the world? It was certainly the burning question of the night. And what happened if he didn’t succeed? This position was a life sentence. Did that mean Griffin would get to keep trying, again and again, until he got it right? For all of eternity?

Did that mean he’d technically never fail, ever again?

The sun dipped below the horizon and shadows stretched across the sidewalk, reaching like long, dark fingers across the aboveground burial sites.

Creepy AF.

Shaking off the willies and gripping the small duffle that contained all of his worldly possessions, Griffin threw back his shoulders and stepped into the cemetery just as the sound of footsteps hurrying down the path echoed in the dim remnants of daylight. He slipped to the side, ducking behind a massive oak tree draped with Spanish moss.

A human man strode past, heading toward the wrought iron gate, pulling it closed and threading the iron chain through the grates before snapping the lock and heading down the sidewalk, his footsteps gradually fading into nothingness.

Not that a locked gate mattered to a gargoyle. If his magic didn’t work to free him, he could, with relative ease, scale the wrought iron barrier. Or, better yet, shift into his leathery, winged body and simply fly over to the other side.

But, of course, the locks weren’t for him. That guy didn’t even know Griffin existed, at least outside of his stone form. Those locks kept the humans out after dark, which allowed the resident gargoyles to shift out of their stone forms and go about their days…er, nights.

“Okay, might as well get the initial meeting over with.” Even though he’d much rather head down to the quarter, have a drink, or twelve, and find a lovely lady to flirt with for the evening.

As long as the quarter was dragon free, at any rate. Which it probably wasn’t, so scratch that idea.

He strolled along the moss-covered path, meandering, not really trying very hard to find his new boss. He was reasonably confident the guy would find him eventually. Hell, Oliver had found him all the way up in Canada, so he shouldn’t have too much difficulty here on his home turf.

The air shifted, indicating magic was being used, and Griffin bristled.

But it was just another gargoyle. The man who transformed from a statue to tanned, surfer-looking dude and then hopped nimbly down to the sidewalk in front of him wasn’t just another gargoyle, no matter how laidback he appeared in his human form.

“Oliver.” Griffin nodded once and did not offer his hand to shake, as was the custom for gargoyles.

His new boss nodded in return. “You’ve arrived.”

“You didn’t expect me to?”

“Oh, I knew you’d come eventually. But yes, I was concerned that you might get…distracted on your way to town.”

Griffin lifted one shoulder, let it drop again. “I did delay, actually. I could have arrived three days ago. But I made a pitstop in Nashville and partied like it was 1999.”

One eyebrow lifted, but otherwise Oliver showed no emotion.

“So anyway, I’m here now.”

“I see that.”

Griffin stuffed his free hand into the front pocket of his jeans, even though he was probably supposed to stand at attention or something. Honestly, he didn’t know. He figured Oliver would put him through some sort of training regimen before he started helping to save the world. Or so he’d heard that was what Oliver’s gargoyles did.

“Come,” his new boss said, and he strode toward the closed gate.

Griffin hurried after him. “Where are we going?” That was it? That was his greeting? There wasn’t a whole lot of information in that greeting. In fact, there was none. Where was Griffin sleeping tonight? What was the training plan? Where were the other gargoyles he would be working with?

At the closed gate, Oliver reached through the slates and wrapped his hand around the lock. A moment later, the chain it was attached to slithered free and Oliver pushed the barred doors open. At his nod, Griffin stepped through, onto the sidewalk, and then Oliver replaced the lock and chain.

Without speaking, he began striding down the path running along the front of the cemetery. Griffin’s long, lean legs easily kept up. “Seriously. Where are we going?”

Griffin wasn’t a fan of surprises. He had no problem with whatever undoubtedly physically and mentally challenging preparations he was going to have to go through as a new member of Oliver’s team, so long as his boss told him what he was planning to do.

This silent walking—away from their home turf, by the way—was damned unnerving.

The farther they moved away from the City of the Dead, the more people they encountered, which also set Griffin on edge. There were definitely dragons here; he could sense them. He could see them. He could smell them. They didn’t smell bad—most of them, at any rate—but it was certainly distinct. They always seemed to have the faint scent of a campfire clinging to their skin.

He glanced around, checking out each face in turn, searching for one in particular—relieved each time he did not recognize the person who crossed his path. It wasn’t even Mardi Gras and this place was crowded with revelers. Griffin made a mental note to use his vacation time to get out of town during the Fat Tuesday celebrations.

Wait. He did get vacation time, right?

Everything he knew about this new gig could be summed up in a few sentences. It was a lifetime responsibility. Once someone joined Oliver’s brethren, they did not leave. There was no quitting, no retirement plan. The only other bit of information he knew was that relationships were strictly forbidden. No falling in love, no mating, no bearing offspring.

No problem.

That might have been the reason Griffin actually did show up today—well, and the fact that Oliver would have come after him at some point and demanded his presence. But that whole no falling in love, no bearing offspring rule held a lot of appeal for a guy like Griffin.

At the next block, Oliver hung a left and began walking away from the crowds, and Griffin let out the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding.

Oliver finally stopped in front of a nondescript brick building with a fenced in patio that was bustling, probably because it was September and seventy degrees instead of ninety outside.

The place also reeked of dragons.

“Seriously?” Griffin burst out. “We’re going to a bar? And why this one?”

Oliver canted his head. “You seemed like you were getting nervous back there, where it was more crowded.”

It wasn’t the crowds, per se—okay, yeah, he wasn’t a fan of crowds in general—it was the chance of running into a dragon he knew. Rather, had made an acquaintance once, four years ago. But he’d not left a positive impression, and he’d really rather not have to face this particular dragon ever again.

“Why are we going to a bar anyway?” Griffin repeated.

Without answering, Oliver reached for the door and held it open. With a resigned sigh, Griffin stepped into the dim interior.

It was a small place, clean and simple. Miniature lights hung above the bar, and there were huge, framed shots from various New Orleans Saints football games on the exposed brick walls. Double doors leading out to the patio were wide open, giving him a glimpse of mismatched outdoor furniture, most of which was occupied by…dragons.

Everywhere he turned, there were dragons. Hell, there wasn’t even a witch or a human in the vicinity. No, wait, there was one. A witch, bellied up to the bar, putting back shots like she was in a competition with the dragon next to her.

“What is this, the dragons’ version of Cheers?” he muttered. He was still carrying his duffle, too, which made him even more self-conscious. Who the heck carried an overnight bag into a bar? He hunched his shoulder, as if that would somehow make him invisible.

It’s a big city, Griffin. The chances of running into one particular dragon

Oliver snickered and clapped him on the back. “Outside or the bar?”

“Neither,” was what he wanted to say. Instead, he shrugged.

“Outside it is.” Oliver headed that way. “Might as well take advantage of the less than 100 percent humidity while we can.”

They stepped out onto the patio, and several dragons eyed them like they didn’t belong. Which they didn’t, not that Oliver seemed to notice. Or maybe he didn’t care. There wasn’t frostiness in those gazes, simply…curiosity.

Dragons and gargoyles didn’t often interact. They didn’t have a need to. Gargoyles existed to protect others, and there were few dragons who could not take care of themselves. Breathing fire was a handy trait to possess.

He followed Oliver to a brick firepit built into the center of the space—seriously? Did it even get cold enough in this town to warrant a fire?—and they claimed the remaining two unoccupied chairs.

A moment later, a waitress hurried through the door, balancing a tray full of drinks on one hand. She had bronze skin and dark hair that was piled on top of her head in a messy bun. Her eyes were wide, almond-shaped, and surrounded by thick lashes. Her mouth was coated with shiny gloss. She wore a black T-shirt with the bar’s logo in gold stamped over her right breast, and jean shorts under a black apron. Her shapely legs went on for miles.

She was, in a word, gorgeous.

Griffin slouched in his seat and wished it were cold so that he were wearing a jacket and could attempt to hide in the collar. Because, son of a bitch, the very dragon he’d intended to avoid was about to ask him for his drink order.

“How about we go somewhere else?” he suggested to Oliver, who ignored him and lifted his hand to draw the server’s attention.

She nodded at him, and Griffin knew the second she realized he wasn’t a dragon, because her nostrils flared and her eyes widened. Then her attention shifted to the guy sitting next to Oliver.

To him.

Her mouth fell open and the tray slipped from its perch atop her palm and nine different alcoholic concoctions crashed to the cement.

The dragons closest to her jumped out of the way to avoid being hit by flying glass and liquid; a chorus of groans went up all around them.

Ignoring the mess at her feet, she stabbed her finger in Griffin’s direction and shouted, “You! Get the hell out of this bar. In fact, get the hell out of this city. No, the state. Get out! Now!” Her voice rose with each word.

Griffin scrambled to his feet and scooped up the duffle he’d dropped next to his chair. Oliver stood, and they both backed toward the gate that would deposit them out onto the sidewalk.

“Go!” she screamed.

Griffin practically fell over the swinging gate in his haste to get out of the vicinity before she started breathing fire at him.

Once they were well off premises, Oliver clapped him on the shoulder.

“I see you’ve already met your first assignment.”

Keep reading… well, on June 2nd! >>>> Let Go My Gargoyle

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

 

Tami Lund writes contemporary and paranormal romance and clearly has a love of dragons. And gargoyles. Oh, and wine. Check out the rest of her books here: https://tamilund.com/

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