During times of war, magical beings and gods, an arrogant dragon and a witch find themselves thrown together, and ultimately falling for each other. Talaith, daughter of Haldane and a Nolwenn witch of the Alsandair desert lands, hates her life. For the past sixteen years she has been trapped in a loveless marriage to a pig of a man, and living in the Dark Plains, a land that's an ocean away from her own. She fully expects to continue her miserable existence of fearful looks from villagers due to her minuscule powers, scorn, and the constant threat of a husband that would rather see her burn as a witch than be near her most days, until she meets the biggest knight she's ever seen.
What she assumes is a chance encounter with an interesting, if not quite a bit arrogant, traveling knight turns out to be anything but. Briec the Mighty, son of the White Dragon Queen Rhiannon, and second in line to the throne after his brother Fearghus, wants Talaith, and has since he first laid eyes on her in the village that morning. After he approaches her to make his intentions clear, positive that she would fall all over herself to be in his bed, he is shocked to find her not only rebuke him...but laugh at him! Claiming her marriage vows as the reason for her lack of interest in his offer, she walks away. That night Talaith finds life to be business as usual, putting herbs in her husband's food to make sure he could not get an erection for her, arguing with him when he accuses her of hexing him, and watching him storm out, fully expecting him to return in a day or two to apologize.
Instead, Talaith awakes the next morning to the entire village yanking her from bed, tying her up and taking her to the noose where they hang her. As she hangs there dying she sees her knight in the back of the crowd looking at her, then walking away as if to leave her to die. Accepting her fate, she is surprised when an enormous silver dragon comes out of the forest the knight disappeared into and approaches the crowd. He knocks away the fleeing villagers and cuts Talaith down, catching her in his tail and walking off with his new prize. After they are a safe distance from the town Briec, still carrying an unhappy Talaith in his tail, finds a lake with a clearing and lands them. Talaith lays on the ground curled into a ball and shaking while she gets over her initial bout of dragonfear. (Dragonfear being the reaction most humans have to dragons when they see one the first time, resulting in tremors, temporary paralysis and sometimes vomiting.)
Talaith recovers quicker than most, however, and attempts to sneak off from her new captor, both terrified she was to possibly be a snack and angry that yet another person had taken control of her life. Briec notices her jailbreak attempt easy enough and slams his tail in front of her to halt her progress. Dragonfear making a quick return, Talaith spews her dinner the night before all over herself and his talons. Feeling better, the "viper tongue" her husband constantly accused her of having reared it's head and her attitude prevailed over her good sense, insulting Briec before she thought better of it. Instead of smiting her on the spot, Briec finds himself even more attracted to Talaith - dragons tend to like their women a little mean - and returns her barbs with a sharp tongue of his own before tossing her in the lake. He dives in after her, shifting to human, and revealing himself to Talaith as the knight from the marketplace that had tried to bed her. He makes his intent clear, that he intends to have her - at least until he's done with her - and then she can go on her merry way.
Offended and terrified that this dragon would anger the goddess Arzhela, who we learn is the reason Talaith was bound to her oaf husband and also why he had not turned on her before that day, Talaith demands he release her. Arzhela has a big plan for Talaith, one that included her training every day with the best fighters, assassins and alchemists Arzhela could provide for the last sixteen years. The goddess had yet to reveal the reason for Talaith's personal hell, but apparently held something over her that kept Talaith compliant. Unable to tell Briec the truth, she constantly fights him when he goes to take her to his home. A freak storm begins on their travels and Briec is forced to stop early and bed down at his brother Gwenvael's lair instead.
When Briec heads off to find Gwenvael, Talaith begins exploring the cave until she accidentally finds him herself. When he begins hitting on her, Briec appears and takes his brother away to have a violent discussion. Fearing the walls falling down during their dragon bout, Talaith hides in one of Gwenvael's many treasure rooms, accidentally sitting on the tail of their other brother, Eibhear the Blue. Unlike his brothers, Eibhear is a sweetheart and senses Talaith's discomfort and begins a dialogue. By the time the fighting dragon brothers realize she is missing and find her, she is with Eibhear leaning back while he puts a magickal salve on the noose wound around her neck. Angry at his brother's handling of her thus far, including the fact that Briec had yet to ask her name, Eibhear takes Talaith to go find food, leaving the other two staring after them in shock.
The storm rages for several days, causing the current residents of Gwenvael's home to stay inside most of the time, and enabling Briec to continue his attempted seduction of Talaith. She fights him verbally the whole time, but he quickly learns that arguing with him makes her aroused and he begins using that to his advantage. She continues to rebuff him, but his patience is wearing thin at this point and she knows it. During a temporary storm break the brothers and Talaith head to the local town to shop and eat. At dinner Talaith is recognized by the soldiers belonging to Lord Hamish, the ruler of her husband's land, and another pawn of the goddess Arzhela. Knowing they were going to bring her back to the goddess she pushes the brothers to leave to avoid a confrontation, but the soldiers halt them outside the inn. The brothers quickly dispatch most of them, but one sneaks behind and grabs Talaith quietly, dragging her into a nearby alleyway. Once the brothers finish the soldiers off and notice her absence, they find her leaving the alley without a hair out of place. Briec takes a look and finds the soldier dead, the only marks on him being six little pinpoints on his neck.
Briec confronts Talaith for being an assassin, knowing she used hidden pins with poison to kill the soldier, and orders her to tell him the truth of who she is, fearing for his family's safety. They return to the lair without her giving him much of an answer and she storms off. When the other brothers go to find her, she is sitting by the underground hot springs and drunk off their father's fire wine. She slips up and reveals that she is trapped in her situation and no one can help her, but never divulges anything more. She learned once before when she tried to ask for help against the goddess, and as soon as she spoke the name she ended up writhing in physical agony for ten days and nights. Since then she has kept her secret well. Briec finds them and takes the drunk Talaith to bed, revealing through his thoughts and tenderness how much he truly has come to care for her.
Over the next few days while the storm continues to rage, Briec and Talaith continue their battle of wills. After an escape attempt that left Gwenvael wounded and fuming, Briec had had enough. Eventually Briec and Talaith consummate their relationship and spend time getting to know each carnally for a couple of days. Once the storm breaks he takes her back to his own lair, hoping she would like it, and she loves it. They spend some time in Briec's home, having sex, getting to know each other and arguing like crazy until one of the days that he went to run an errand in town.
Exiting his lair she feels the familiar presence of the goddess come rearing back. She realizes that since dragon gods are a different pantheon than human gods, she had been hidden and protected as long as she was with Briec, but once he left Arzhela could find her again. Arzhela tells her it is time to enact her plan and tells her to leave the following morning. The goddess uses Talaith's daughter, that we learn was taken from her at birth and used to blackmail her compliance to Arzhela, by saying that her daughter's captors have noticed her sexually and if Talaith does not do as told, Arzhela will let the men have her daughter. Terrified for her child Talaith complies and after a night of lovemaking and receiving a beautiful silver pendant from Briec, she escapes using her recently unlocked powers. Arzhela had muted her powers during captivity, but she would need them for her mission so Arzhela had returned them to her, full force, in the night.
When Briec discovers her missing, he flies into a rage and searches the countryside for days, but never finds her. Meanwhile, Talaith stumbles upon two women bathing in a lake, but she is being followed by Hamish's soldiers. When the soldiers enter the clearing with the three women, one of the strange females kills them all with her swords. Talaith realizes this is Annwyl the Bloody, Queen of Garbhan Isle, and the white haired woman with her is the white dragonwitch Morfyd. Taking Talaith back to their camp, they dine and head to bed, but Talaith sneaks into Annwyl's tent and using the dagger she always kept strapped to her thigh, tries to kill Annwyl in her sleep. Annwyl disarms her easily enough, but when she goes to kill Talaith she realizes there is more to the story and calls in Morfyd. Morfyd grabs Talaith's hand and learns her life story in an instant using magick, telling Annwyl what she has learned. They make a plan to rescue Talaith's daughter from Hamish, but on their way the three women encounter a small band of soldiers attacking a few barely armed men and a young girl.
They dispatch the soldiers, but when Talaith goes to help the girl up she touches her bare hand and realizes the girl is her long lost daughter, now named Iseabail. Mission accomplished they all head back to Garbhan Isle to celebrate another war won and give Talaith and her daughter time to plan their now considerable future, as Nolwenn witches live an average of 500 to 600 years. During the ball a couple of nights later, Briec, Gwenvael and Eibhear arrive to give their eldest brother Fearghus, who is also Annwyl's dragon mate, news of an impending war with Lord Hamish. Briec is about to leave when he sees Talaith dancing with several men and makes his way over to her. Having been thoroughly miserable since her absence he yells at her in front of everyone and they start arguing, quickly being pulled away from each other by the brothers and sisters. Briec and his brothers head outside and learn the story of what happened from Iseabail, while Talaith updates Annwyl inside.
Talaith and Briec make up, though Fearghus is not happy that she is there since she was originally sent to kill his mate, but all becomes well until a few nights later. A strange moon occurs causing a sensual night at the palace where the dragons find themselves out of control and insatiable for their mates. This causes Briec to Claim Talaith, and Annwyl and Fearghus to mate all through the night. The next morning as the women gather downstairs to recover from their dragons Morfyd and Talaith realize that Annwyl has become pregnant. Since dragons and humans cannot reproduce they know something weird has happened, but Iseabail explains that Rhydderch Hael, father of all dragons and eldest of the dragon gods, had chosen the couple to bear powerful children - twins - and made it where the couple could breed with each other. Angry beyond belief Annwyl begins to tear the hall apart until the dragon brothers arrive and learn of what has happened.
A messenger runs inside in the midst of Annwyl's rage fit and informs them that Hamish's men have magickally appeared outside the castle thanks to Arzhela and she exits to kill them all. The battle draws all of the dragons outside, however, and Arzhela uses the opportunity to kidnap Iseabail (Izzy for short) and take her back to her realm to get back at Talaith for betraying her. Talaith kills Hamish and takes his goddess amulet so that she can use her magick to cross realms and find her daughter. After she enacts the ritual she finds herself with Rhydderch Hael who uses her body to enter Arzhela's realm. Talaith's body hides his presence until he gets close to the goddess, then kills her.
Unfortunately the process of entering Talaith's body is also killing her and Iseabail begs the god to save her mother, pledging her loyalty to the great dragon. He accepts and returns Izzy and Talaith to their realm to be found by Briec and his family. They take an unconscious Talaith back to the castle, and after some healing she awakes to find them all watching over her. She reunites with Izzy, spending hours catching up, and then eventually reunites with her Briec. The next day she learns that her daughter wants to join Annwyl's army. Talaith disagrees wholeheartedly since Nolwenn witches are only able to have one child in their life, but Briec suggests a year furlough for Izzy to train and see if she likes it before going off to train with the army. All parties agree and Briec finally takes Talaith back to his lair to reconnect with his mate for as long as he can keep her to himself.
Best part of story, including ending:
I love this story as it is yet another great example of well-written characters that are easy to either love or hate, while still maintaining that humorous formula that makes you laugh throughout the book.
Best scene in story:
Iseabail is obsessed with flying and attacks Eibhear, essentially latching onto his tail while he frantically runs around trying to get her off. First he slams her down, then flies through trees in his attempt to shake her loose and all the while Briec is watching it happen and trying to keep Talaith distracted.
Opinion about the main character:
Briec's constant arrogance is hard for even Talaith to take, let alone the reader. His bemoaning his feelings after Talaith leaves him is quite comical, however.