Rising romance novelist Jamie Carie’s second book, The Duchess and the Dragon, tells the epic story of two unlikely soulmates who live worlds apart but soon meet and turn each other’s world upside down.
Official website of Jamie Carie
Accustomed to the quiet life of devotion to her Quaker faith and servitude to her fellow man in the colony of Pennsylvania, Serena is little prepared for a member of the English nobility to move into her bedroom. On a mission of mercy, Serena and her sister visit the sick in the hold of a ship newly arrived from England. Here, among the indentured servants, she meets a man who is as dark and mysterious as the sinful nature she has been taught to shun. She tells herself she won't leave her faith for him, that she will not change for a man, but little by little she is drawn away into the enticing world of Drake.
A groan drew her attention. Serena turned, and there, in a shaft of the dim light cast from a porthole, slept a man. Serena picked her way toward the cot and leaned over him.
Her breath caught in her chest. His longish, dark hair was lank, and a dark beard covered most of his face. Even so, he was striking—beautiful really—hollow cheeks and all. A sudden thought rose to her consciousness: God took special care when He fashioned this man. He was thin and weakened from his journey, sick and flushed with fever, but something about him radiated greatness and strength. A strange sensation overtook her, making her want to reach out to him. She watched, detached from conscious movement, as her hand, small and pale, did just that. Her palm gently cupped his cheek, stroking up to his forehead, and found it burning hot. With the backs of her fingers she smoothed his hot temple and brushed back a lock of dark hair.
Suddenly, fingers as strong and tight as a manacle grasped her wrist. She reared back, about to cry out, when he mumbled incoherent words and released her. Taking a shaky breath, Serena stared. Was he delirious with fever, then? She had heard of it happening but had not seen it. She reached into her basket and brought out a cool, damp cloth, which she laid on his forehead. Taking a water bottle, she uncorked it with soft pop and poured cool water into a tin cup. Carefully, she lifted his head. “Please sir, drink this.”
There was no response, so she tipped the cup, letting the tiniest trickle of clearness spill into his mouth. He swallowed. She smiled, caught by the moment, and tried again. He swallowed a little more, his throat moving under the growth of his beard. Again and again she fed him drop after drop of the water, exhilaration at each small success filling her, until the cup was nearly empty. Her arm ached so that she could no longer hold up his head, so she eased him back to the thin pillow and tried to make him more comfortable. Taking another damp cloth she ran it down the column of his neck and into the opening of his shirt where dark hair curled on his chest. His skin was hot and dry, heating the cloth so quickly that she had to pour a little of her precious store of drinking water onto it before starting the process again at his forehead. He grew restless, mumbling sentences that made no sense and then suddenly. “Don’t call the doctor, Crudnell, he knows all. Cannot trust the man.”
She had no idea what that meant, could only stare at his chiseled face and wonder if the fever would break or take him further into unconsciousness. But, more than anything she could ever remember wanting, she wanted him to open his eyes and see her.