In DRAGON'S MOON the shifters; wolf, bird or cat call
themselves Chrechte but they do not always get along and
some even believe they should rule the world and rid it of
those they consider weaker. Eirik, the only living dragon
shifter as well as raven and prince of the Ean (bird
shifters), faces a decision that must be made for his
people to survive. He relinquishes his right to rule as
Prince and allows his people to move from the forests to
join with the faol (wolf shifters) clans. They do not fully
trust them but they will not survive without them.
Years ago, Ciara watched a dragon kill her brother and his
friend in the protection of two of the Ean children. She
never tells about the dragon, mostly because she did not
want it known that her brother and the other man she
disliked had threatened the children. She took her brothers
ashes and scattered them as they should be with proper
How was she to know that the dragon and man would one day
find her and join with her on the quest that she had no
desire to go on? The future of all Chrechte was not
something she could turn her back on besides, the dragon
helped her sleep keeping the dreams that haunted her away.
Ciara and Eirik band together to find the sacred stone that
was in her dreams and in the process of the journey they
give each other what neither imagined possible.
I loved DRAGON'S MOON, but, I would suggest for a first
time reader of Children of the Moon novels that you
the glossary at the back of the book to help with some of
the "foreign" terms. DRAGON'S MOON is a remarkable
combination of Scottish highlanders and paranormal alphas,
which can be considered one and the same, with a mix of no
nonsense and dashes of pure magic. The greatest magic was
seeing two people who were not looking, find what was
missing in their lives as Eirik and Ciara did. I am ready
to read the next installment of this series and go back and
get the earlier ones.
He's a dragon intent on saving his people from destruction
by the Fearghall and she is a wolf who blames the dragon for
the deaths of her brother and mother. They're true mates,
but will that be enough to overcome ancient prophecies,
debilitating visions and a dragon's fire?
When Erik, the only living dragon shifter, and prince of the
Ean, killed her brother, Ciara was left alone to face her
prophetic dreams. Now, in order to find the wolves' sacred
stone and save all the Chrechte from destruction, she needs
her enemy's help.
Erik was only protecting the children of his people, but
that day in the forest left a mark on him as well.
Controlling his dragon's fire is the most difficult thing
he's ever done—until he and Ciara are forced to face
not only their shared tumultuous past, but a hallowed bond
stronger than they realize. As avowed enemies and
predestined mates, their quest ushers them into a world of
great danger, and a passion hotter than the dragon's fire.
He is king who fears nothing; he is king who desires
nothing! ~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Highlands of Scotland
Land of the √Čan
"You are certain this is the right path you take?"
At his grandmother's voice, Prince Eirik Taran Gealach
Gra turned from his contemplation of the forest below. One
day soon, this view would be naught but a memory for him.
He refused to grieve the consequences of a choice he had
made for the good of the √Čan though.
He was their prince. It was his duty.
Bowing his head, he greeted the raven shifter whose hair
was still more black than silver despite her many
years. "Anya Gra."
Grandmother she might be, but she was still the
spiritual leader of the √Čan and the oldest member of the
"I cannot help but think you give up too much for the
sake of our people." Troubled brown eyes in a face lined
with concern met his.
Now was not the time to question the decision he had
made and the three members of the Triumvirate (including
his grandmother) had approved. They had known this day was
coming since he had refused the ceremony that would declare
him king of his people, sovereign over their lands.
To accept the role would have prevented the √Čan from
joining the clans honorably before Eirik's death. At the
time, his grandmother had counseled against jeopardizing
the future of their people that way, though she had
insisted he take his father's name as was custom.
Anya Gra herself had declared that the good of their
people demanded sacrifice. Eirik had agreed and he had
made that sacrifice, becoming the first Prince Eirik not to
be named king. Now she balked at him making another
forfeit they both knew to be necessary.
"You agreed the √Čan need to join the clans to survive;
when it was first spoken of, it was your idea."
"Aye, but at the cost of your leadership of our
people?" She shook her head.
"I do not cede leadership of the √Čan; I only give up the
daily running of a clan. It is the only way. I will not
kill a clan chief just so that I might play political
"Why not? You are a dragon." Eirik's younger cousin
asked as he joined them on the platform outside what had
been home to the √Čan royalty for more than two centuries.
A home among the trees, reachable only through flight,
none of the humans that lived among them had ever seen
inside its walls. And in less than the passage of two full
moons, he would no longer see it either.
"Fidaich, who would you have me kill in battle for his
position?" Eirik demanded of his favorite kin. "Those who
have fought beside our people these past seven years,
protecting us and helping us to find a way out of this
secret life in the forest? The Sinclair? Buchanan? The
Donegal maybe? I would have to kill my own brother by
marriage to take that clan's leadership, not to mention one
of our own."
For Crispin, the laird–in–training under
Barr, would surely challenge Eirik should he do the
unthinkable and kill the acting laird and man married to
Eirik's only sister, Sabrine. Hell, Sabrine would probably
kill Eirik before Crispin ever got the chance to put forth
That thought, at least, came close to bringing a smile
to Eirik's face.
Fidaich shrugged, showing a bloodthirsty side not often
seen among the ravens. "There are other clans in the
"None that will guarantee our people safety by the word
of their chief and pack leader." He had both with the
And those of the √Čan joining the Balmoral and Donegal
clans had the same.
"With a dragon as our prince, we need no other leader's
assurances." Fidaich drew himself up, trying to look older
than his thirteen years.
One day, the boy would be a great warrior, but there was
still too much of the child who had nearly died at the
hands of a sadistic wolf now. Fidaich had more reason than
most not to trust the wolves, or care that one might have
to die for Eirik to take place as a clan laird.
Which did not mean Eirik shared his young cousin's
attitudes. He'd killed the wolves that threatened Fidaich
and Canaul, in a moment of horror that would forever burn
in Eirik's memories.
"I cannot be everywhere and well you know this. If we
do not have the loyalty of a clan, we only trade one
hunting ground where raven are the prey for another."
"In the old days—"
"What you know of the old days is from the stories told
to entertain children. They were not so filled with glory
and victory as the storytellers would have you believe,"
Anya Gra gently chided the boy.
Fidaich pouted, a clear reminder he was yet to become a
man. "Those stories are our history."
"Aye." Grandmother's eyes filled with sadness. "Part of
it. The rest of our history is not shared so often."
But it was shared and Fidaich was well told on the
unhappy lessons of the Chrechte's past.
"The old ways nearly decimated all the peoples of the
Chrechte." Eirik laid a hand on his cousin's
shoulder. "Is that what you want?"
Fidaich deflated like a pig's bladder with a small
"Nor I am sure, does he wish to see the loss of our
people's identity either." Anya Gra spoke mildly, but the
rebuke was there.
How could she think Eirik, last true prince of their
people, would allow such a thing? "We do not."
The √Čan were an ancient race that by their very nature
would always stand apart from the human clans and the Faol
that currently lived among them. While Eirik would not be
clan leader, he was still their people's prince.
His new duties removed him from the politics of running
a clan, but left him with responsibilities easily as far
reaching, if not more so, than the ones he currently
When his grandmother made no word of reply, Eirik
reminded her, "Both you and I are on the new Chrechte
Each of the Highland packs living among the clans had
members on the council. A shifter from each group of the
√Čan joining the different clans had been appointed a spot
on the council as well. Anya Gra, as spiritual leader,
held her position independently of which clan she chose to
make her home.
Right now that clan was the Donegal, so she could be
close to Eirik's sister, Sabrine. Not to mention Sabrine's
son, Anya Gra's only great–grandchild thus far.
Both the Faol and the √Čan were to be represented in the
council and given the opportunity to contribute to
interpreting and enforcing the ancient laws governing the
Eirik could not be certain this would prevent the past
from repeating itself, but he had faith. If he did not, he
would not have agreed to the terms put forth for the √Čan
joining the clans.
He was their prince and would protect his people with
his life and when necessary with the dragon that lived
Eirik reminded his grandmother, "It has been agreed
that in matters of the √Čan, I have final say...even for
those among the other clans."
It was not a perfect solution, and relied on the
integrity and cooperation of the Faol lairds, but Eirik
would trust Barr, Talorc or Lachlan with his life.
Trusting them with the lives of his people was that much
harder, but he would do it.
For the good of the √Čan and their long term survival.
"If the council is so good, why are there no members
from the lowland clans?" Fidaich demanded.
Anya Gra chuckled. "Oh, child...we are Chrechte. Even
the raven are too contentious to be fully united."
It was true. Some of the √Čan had refused their prince
and Triumvirate's recommendation to merge with the highland
clans. A handful of ravens, a couple of eagles and a few
of the humans who had made their home among the √Čan had
elected to remain in the forest. They would continue to
live as the √Čan had for the past two hundred years, hunted
like prey and forced to hide their very existence.
"You should stay here, and lead the √Čan that do not want
to join the clans," Fidaich said, showing his thoughts were
in a similar place to Eirik's, if not drawing the same
"Nay. If they will not follow me to the clans, they
will not follow my lead in the forest any longer either."
By choosing to stay, those ravens had in effect rejected
him as their chief before he ever gave over leadership to a
Fidaich frowned. "But you gave them the option, even
when the Triumvirate said you shouldn't."
Eirik gave Anya Gra a look of censure. Fidaich should
not know of the Triumvirate's discussion and he could only
have heard about this particular one from a single source.
"The Triumvirate is not always right." The two members
besides his grandmother had wanted Eirik to use his dragon
to subdue the Faol and take over leadership of all the
Chrechte as in days of old. He was no MacAlpin and told
them so. "As for the √Čan who wish to remain in the forest:
if they trusted my lead, they would not have chosen to
Shaking her head, Anya Gra sighed. "'Tis not that
simple, grandson. And well you know it. Some do not want
the more civilized life among humans."
"They risk being hunted to death if they stay." And
well, she knew that.
Though the smaller group had a better chance of living
undetected by the Faol still intent on eradicating Eirik's
His grandmother's eyes took on the glazed look that said
she saw things others could not. "For some, the freedom to
live as they have always lived is worth that peril."
"I thought you supported the move to the clans." Her
dislike of his willingness to forfeit ruling status in his
adopted clan notwithstanding.
"I do." Her expression shifted to an old sadness. "But
I understand our people who cannot make the change. There
are still Faol who live in the caves of the forest, you
He had heard that rumor, but never gave it
credence. "We do not see them."
"They do not hunt us like some of the misguided wolves
among the clans. Besides, they have claimed for their
territories mountainous lands a fair distance from our own
He did not ask how she knew of these wild Faol packs
then. His grandmother knew much it should be impossible
for her to know. For instance, she had always maintained
it was only a small segment of the Faol that hunted the √Čan
in these modern clansmen times. The rest of the √Čan had
believed it was all wolves. She had been proven right.
Fidaich harrumphed. "Maybe I should stay with the √Čan
Eirik's dragon rumbled and it came out of his chest in a
growl that would rival any wolf. "You do not trust me
He did not bother reminding his young cousin that both
Fidaich's parents were set on the move to the Sinclair
holding. Nor did Eirik mention that Fidaich's best friend
and conspirator in the trouble the boys managed to find so
easily was also coming. None of that mattered.
They were cousins, but Eirik was prince. Either his √Čan
brethren had faith in his decisions...or they did not.
Including his family.
Fidaich flinched. "Of course I trust you."
"Then, you will come with me to the Sinclairs."
"At least you would not have us live among the clan that
tried to kill me."
Ah, the dramatic bent of a boy on the cusp of
manhood. "'Twas not the entire clan." Just two wolves
with sadistic hearts and no Chrechte honor.
Chrechte did not kill children. Enemy or not.
That day in the forest was the first time Eirik's dragon
had killed. The two boys had gone missing and he'd joined
the search party, finding them with his keener dragon
And just in time as well. His dragon hearing had picked
up the warrior's threat to Fidaich and Canaul, and the
sincerity behind it. Without doubt, the older wolf had
meant to kill the children. Eirik had reacted with
revulsion and fury. Without thought or hesitation, his
dragon had incinerated two other Chrechte until naught was
left but ash.
Their screams haunted him as no ghost could ever hope
to. He had protected the boys and the secret of the √Čan's
prince and dragon, but the cost was not one Eirik would
He had not killed in battle; he had annihilated his foe
with a power they could not hope to match or defend against.
Her legs dangling over the stone edge, Ciara waited atop
the lower bailey tower. One of two in the lower half of
the wall surrounding the Sinclair fortress, it was the
perfect vantage point for her first glimpse of the
newcomers that would join her adopted clan. She was not
supposed to be here, but it was a favored spot for her to
find both privacy and peace.
Most of the clan had gathered in the lower bailey both
yesterday and today for the same purpose, but Ciara did not
like the crush of so many around her.
There was no crowd now. The humans and other Chrechte
had gone home, disappointed once again when night fell with
no sign of the newcomers. But Ciara waited as the moon
rose, unable to return to the keep – her need to see
these new clanspeople too strong to deny.
As a member of the Faol, she had been told those coming
were Chrechte; she strongly suspected they were √Čan.
Her dreams were not all nightmares and she had seen the
birds in the sky shifting back to human form and donning
the plaid of the Sinclair.
Were these Chrechte refugees like her, looking for a new
life among the Sinclair?
Ciara hadn't actually been looking toward anything when
she came to live with Laird Talorc and his lady, Abigail.
Numb with grief after her mother's death so close on top of
her dear brother Galen's grisly demise, Ciara had simply
done as she was told.
Laird Barr had informed her she needed a new life
without so many memories around her and Ciara had accepted
his instruction in action, if not in her heart. She'd come
to live among his former clan, the Sinclairs, without a
What had there been to argue? Ciara had no family any
longer, no loved ones to hold her among the Donegal.
She had spent the past seven years doing her best to
serve her new clan, though her old one would not recognize
her. Gone was the stubborn girl who loved her family and
people with every passionate fiber of her heart.
Ciara did her best to feel as little as possible; she
had no desire to love with a devotion that could so easily
destroy her again.
Laird Barr's hope that she might forget painful memories
more easily away from all that was familiar had proven
fruitless, but she did not blame his plan.
The memories were burned into Ciara's mind with a
dragon's flame; it was impossible for her to ever forget or
feel completely safe again. That fateful day in the forest
and what followed lived inside her in a maelstrom of grief,
awe, confusion, disbelief and sometimes utter terror.
Not that she ever let these feelings come fully to the
surface, but Ciara often woke in the night to her brother's
final scream, only to realize it had been her own. She
dreamt of blood soaked walls and a waxen faced woman
searching their cottage for son and husband that would
never again be there.
Ciara was grateful for the stone walls that kept her
nightmares private, but she was even more thankful that far
from forcing Ciara to marry when she came of age, Laird
Talorc and his second, Niall, frightened off any
prospective suitors. Chrechte and human alike.
Laird Talorc and Abigail treated Ciara like a cherished
member of the family, to be protected and watched over.
She knew they thought she was broken.
Too broken to be forced to mate.
She did and said nothing to dissuade them of that belief.
She wanted no true family to lose again; she had no
desire to ever marry or have children that could be taken
from her by that undefeatable enemy, death. She hoped she
never met her mate, or that he was already committed to
Helping to care for Abigail and Talorc's twins, now in
their fourth summer, was difficult enough. The boys did
their best to worm their way into Ciara's heart. It took
all her stubborn resolve not to let herself love them.
And deep inside, in a place she refused to acknowledge,
she feared she already did...even more than she feared the
dragon that had killed her brother.
Shaking off her thoughts, she peered through the moonlit
night, seeking out her first glimpse of the √Čan soon to
join their clan. She wasn't supposed to know about the √Čan
at all. No one, but a select few were. And Ciara, better
than most, understood why.
However, it was not her fault she knew many things she
should not. Even without the eavesdropping. Her dreams
and visions had grown more frequent since she had seen the
scarlet dragon breathing fire from the sky.
And of late, the Faolch√ļ Chridhe called to her even more
insistently than her dead brother's screams and mother's
spilled blood. Ciara rarely slept, and when she did sleep
it was to dream, each dream growing more fraught with
urgency than the last. She could not eat because that
urgency followed her into wakefulness, making her stomach
tight and filling her with dread she did not understand.
Ciara did not know what to do.
Perhaps it was time to tell another soul about the
existence of the wolves' stone. Would that knowledge be
safer in Laird Talorc's hands than it had been in Galen's?
Pain sliced through Ciara at the probability it would.
Galen had wanted the power of the stone to destroy the
√Čan. Laird Talorc would want it to help them.
In her silent, stealthy wanderings around the keep,
Ciara had heard enough to know this to be true. She knew
Talorc was aware of her presence. He was a wolf with a
wolf's senses, but he never scolded her. Maybe he knew she
had no one to tell the secrets she overheard.
The faint sounds of multiple horses had Ciara looking up
and dismissing all thought of secrets and the Faolch√ļ
Chridhe for now. A group of perhaps twenty people riding
on horseback came into view. She watched intently as they
rode closer and closer to the fortress without being
It had to be the √Čan.
They got close enough, that with her wolf's eyesight,
she could tell that some wore plaids, while others wore
clothing made of tanned hides and fur.
The huge warrior that led them wore what looked like a
kilt made of leather, wide cuffs at his wrist of the same
and a strap around his bicep that held a wicked looking
knife. He wore his long sword in another scabbard on his
back, the hilt sticking up over his left shoulder. The
leather strap holding it in place bisected his otherwise
naked chest ‚Äď a chest devoid of hair but rippling with
A medallion of some kind glinted in the moonlight,
hanging from a leather cord around his neck. He wore no
boots, but sandals that wrapped around and laced at his
ankles. They almost looked like what the Roman soldiers of
ancient times had worn. She'd seen drawings carved into
cave walls in her search with her brother for the Faolch√ļ
Was this warrior √Čan? He was bigger than those he rode
with, at least a head taller than any of the other men.
Giant, she would guess he stood even taller than the
Laird's second–in–command, Niall, and easily as
Ciara had not thought √Čan warriors large like that.
Certainly they were not in her dreams. The √Čan were
strong, but in her dreams they were smaller in build to the
Her brother always claimed they were the smallest of the
Chrechte peoples too. Galen had said it sneeringly, but
being so much smaller than him herself, Ciara had wondered
why he found the difference so worthy of disgust.
This man was not undersized in any way and he had the
regal bearing of a king. How would he tolerate Talorc's
Would the huge warrior challenge her laird, the man who
considered himself her father?
Anxiety spiked through her as the new Chrechte moved
closer. Mere feet from the drawbridge that was still down
on Laird Talorc's order, the lead warrior's features became
And all the air in Ciara's lungs escaped in one long
This man who meant to become a Sinclair was
breathtaking, though his expression was as fierce as the
glint in his amber eyes. Eyes that glowed with Chrechte
power, even in the moonlight. A jawbone that looked hewn
from rock was set in stern lines, his neck and shoulders
held in arrogant rigidity that warned danger for any who
Atavistic fear pressed against her solar plexus, making
it hard to draw breath.
The warrior lifted his head, a gaze even keener than her
own honing in on Ciara with unerring accuracy. He should
not be able to see her tucked up against the wall as she
was, but she knew he did. He did not look away either.
Nor could she.
Never before had she felt such a connection with
another. Her wolf whispered a word she refused to hear,
her mind whirling with thoughts she was determined never to
Unable to break gazes with the warrior and yet unwilling
to remain as she was, Ciara surged to her feet. The nights
without sleep, the days she had eaten less than enough to
sustain a sparrow much les a wolf caught up with her in
that one confusing moment. Swaying on her feet, she tilted
She jerked back, but overcompensated and one foot
slipped out from beneath her.
Suddenly, unbelievably, despite her wolf's grace, she
pitched forward. She tumbled into the night air, her hands
scrabbling for purchase on the stone, one finger
connecting. She tried to make it two, to get a better
grip, but she could feel her fingertips giving way even as
she did so.
She refused to let the joints unbend, but she could feel
blood welling around cuts in her fingers from the stone.
The wetness proved her undoing. No amount of will could
force her fingers to hold as the wet blood made them slip
and she fell.
Her wolf howled as she tried to shift, hoping against
all to live.
But it was not the hard ground that broke her fall.
Sharp talons curled around her body, warm scales that felt
like living chainmail pressed against her face and suddenly
she was not falling, but flying upward. In the arms of a
That was the last her tormented mind could take. Ciara
welcomed the black oblivion as it came.