Susan Arden – Dragon Heart (Review, Excerpt, Interview, & Giveaway)

Dragon Heart by Susan Arden

Source: Review by Request
Copy provided by the Author
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Leopardess Shay Barclay has a choice: go along with her family’s political plan to marry her to a ruthless shifter older than her grandfather or categorically claim her life and sensual nature as hers to rule.

She wastes no time in choosing freedom, but in her haste to establish her own boundaries, she just may have trusted her heart to the wrong man – a dragon shifter who’s too dangerous to resist…

Former Navy SEAL Drake O’Connor personally guaranteed he’d protect his buddy’s daughter to the death. But when his explosive chemistry with Shay finally boils over and they end up in bed, her family’s political enemies are the least of their problems.

Because although Shay doesn’t know it, she’s crossed a line with Drake that will alter their future for an eternity…

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Turns out, sex with a Dragon is as HOT as you think…

The question was simple. Was his love for her greater than his pride?

It’s a shame the blurb doesn’t really do justice to all the things happening in this book.

Unofficial Breakdown:
25% Romance
25% Action
20% Sexytimes
15% General Badassadry
10% Shifter politics
5% Fun Humor

This story was told in a dual point-of-view format between our main characters, and the flip POV really helped to clarify motives and emotions between two people who were pushing each other away on the outside, but falling hard and fast on the inside…

Shay Barclay

He was off limits. To her, Drake was like a piece of broken glass she held onto, piercing her deeper and deeper until she no longer noticed the risk – only the torture of being near to him.

Shay is an American heiress who was taking a post-college luxury tour of Europe before returning to Colorado and her life as a grown up.

On the final leg of her journey she discovers her parents’ plot to marry her off to an old shifter – Dimitri Necrodemas – in order to gain political advantage. Needless to say, Shay is less than pleased with this idea…

Shay is an independent woman, and in an effort to retain that independence she decides to seduce her bodyguard… See, Necrodemas won’t want a wife that has been sullied by another Alpha. Plus, Shay’s been wildly attracted to Drake for a long time. Time to kill two birds with one sexy stone…

Drake O’Connor

He’d heard what happened to alpha dragons in the presence of their mate. He hadn’t accurately envisioned the depth of the allure she’d possess over him. The draw to her ran bone deep. Ah Hell, this was cell deep.

Drake is head of security for the Barclay Family in charge of protecting Shay in her travels. The human-shifter political situation is deteriorating into chaos with roving gangs and civil unrest. Europe is NOT a safe place, but Drake isn’t going to let anything happen to his charge.

Drake fights Shay’s advances as much as he can… Alpha-Dragon-Shifters like him don’t mate lightly. Sex with a dragon is… well HOT… And intense *fans self* Good God, the sexytimes in this book are fabulous!

The story started as your average “Good Girl goes bad for the Wrong (but it feels oh so right) Guy” but it quickly shifted gears and became a much more vibrant and original!

Gotta get something off my chest here – You know I’m not the type to post spoilers, so know that I gave this a lot of thought… At the 20% the reader discovers that the MC is knocked up, and since her pregnancy catalyst for everything which happens in the remaining 80% of the book, I feel that it’s necessary to bring it up. Unplanned pregnancies can be a trigger for some readers, and I wouldn’t want someone to have their good time spoiled if they’re less than enthusiastic about procreation.

The more I consider it, the more I think the blurb needs a makeover – one that gives hints to the action/adventure/political and also forewarns of the pregnancy plot-line…


Anyway…
There was a grand cast of characters which went beyond Shifters of all different species – Sure you had your usual wolves… But also Dragons, Leopards, Bears, Alligators, and a few others – this book also included Vampires, Fae, Witches, a couple of Phoenix, and even a Genie! I’m sure I’m missing a few in there somewhere… The diverse array of powers and abilities really kept me on my toes…

The secondary and tertiary characters added a punch of fun and humor to the story. I was particularly tickled to meet a Bear-Shifter with an addiction to honey who was in denial over his recent Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis…


Yeah, there was a lot of cute humor like that sprinkled throughout the book – it kept everything from getting too terribly serious while Shay and Drake were dealing with family obligations and trying to figure out shifty political maneuvering…

All in all, it was a fun story that kept me entertained!

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Excerpt:

“Just this once? Is that what you think? Shay, we won’t be able to stop.” The muscles all over Drake’s body constricted until he spewed a flame from his internal strife to hold back from claiming her. She didn’t get it—he had to get her to understand.

“How about one night? The whole night,” she asked, her eyes glowing golden and shredding every last one of his good intensions.

He inhaled. Did she have any idea what she was asking for? “I wasn’t lying about riding between those beautiful legs hard. Rough. Wild … and you’re a virgin. Us having sex will hurt.”

“Good. I want to remember tonight. Remember what I had to go through to garner my freedom so that I never forget.”

“Listen to me. If we do this, you’ll be mine. All mine. This isn’t the usual run-of-the-mill shifter screwing … I’m a dragon, for fuck’s sake, and dragons don’t just hump. Shay, I swear you’d better get this memo: I’m going to supremely fuck you. This isn’t just sex. It’s more. Deeper if it’s up to the male—”

“Shush. Don’t go all dragon domination on me.” She winked and splayed her pussy for him. “I’ve got a plan. No more excuses. Touch me, Drake.”

He couldn’t hold back. He reached down, stroked his finger between her lips, and fuck him backward, his rod throbbed so hard his cock jetted pre cum. Every dragon cell in his body hummed as though attuned to an ancient verse that strangled all volition except one: he had to fuck her, sink so deep inside her they became one.

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Interview with Susan Arden:

If you were to describe your book in only one word, what would it be?
Turbulent

What would you say inspired you to write it?
True Blood and Game of Thrones. I’m besotted by the romance between Khal Drago and Daenerys Targaryen. I cried so hard when he died.

What was the source of inspiration for Shay Barclay? What about the sexy dragon-shifter Drake O?’Connor?
I wanted the hero to be “the dragon” and like Khal Drago yet retain the heroine to like Daenerys Targaryen, but I had a leopardess on the loose in my series (Shawn’s sister). Click HERE to see Images I used to draw from.

Have you ever tended bar like Shay does in this book?
The running away part. Yes. I started running away when I was five. Things were a mess at home. And eventually ran away from home when I was sixteen. I lived out on the streets until I turned 18. I was a spiraling, and have done lots…seen lots. Right after turning 18, I got a GED, enrolled in college and went on to get a Master’s in Ed, specializing in special education within the vein of severally emotionally disturbed (SED).

Ever traveled across Europe?
Yes. Several times. I’ve been to Spain. Traveled through the Basque country described in Dragon Heart, and to France.

What is your all time favorite book?
The Little Prince. My father gave it to three times. He was a professor of philosophy at Flagler College.

What made you pick that one above all others?
The story resonates. My favorite line. Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

What made you decide to become an Author?
Neurosurgery complications and the voices/characters in my head needed an outlet.

Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way?
I have dyslexia and ADHD, and I lost my direction in life (again). Writing is window out of misery and pain into worlds that are as splendid or as harsh as I’d like to make them.

What would you say was the toughest part?
Sharing what’s written.

What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next?
Working with another writer and getting their work published. That’s all I can say on that one.

How long did the production part take, from the moment you began working on the manuscript to when you hit “Publish”?
The story was written in a month. Submitted to Crimson as a way to thank them for what they’d done. The book was published within three months after Crimson contracted it.

Fun facts:

If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for?
A cure for Ebola.

If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one item you’d absolutely wish to have with you?
Fiji. Yeah, that’s where I’d like to be.

Name your favorite fruit.
Mangos. The juicier the better.

Favorite season?
Fall. My heart sings.

How about favorite time of the day?
5 am. It’s quiet.

Were you a Girl Scout?
Nope.

Favorite food for breakfast?
Coffee with milk.

What is the latest book you’ve bought and read?
Maybe Not – Colleen Hoover

What was the last book you absolutely fell in love with?
If I Stay – Gale Forman. It was a hard read and I loved it.

Do you recall the first piece of Erotica you ever read?
I honestly don’t remember.

Do you collect things, like stamps, or key chains, or shoes?
Dust. I seem to collect a lot of that.

Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!
Aqua

Coffee or tea?
Coffee

Sweet or salty?
Salty

Drama or comedy?
Comedy

Cats or dogs?
Snakes

Do you have a favorite Book Boyfriend/Girlfriend?
Boyfriend: Max Stella ~ Beautiful Stranger Talk Brit to me!

Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Writing.

Favorite Swear Word?
Fucker

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Giveaway:

Susan Arden has put together this fabulous prize package to give away to one lucky Smutsonian Reader! It includes a T-shirt, tote, notebook and pen, which are branded with Dragon Heart AND Smutsonian Graphics! Just in time for Christmas! Click here to Enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author:

Blog | GoodReads | Twitter | G+

I’m not into chocolate…I prefer brightly colored candy. Wild flowers over roses. Definitely, I prefer the company of children and animals over politicians and bureaucrats. Was a teacher, now turned into a romance writer, and just got into cover and interior book design which is a whole other fascinating world.

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3 thoughts on “Susan Arden – Dragon Heart (Review, Excerpt, Interview, & Giveaway)

  1. LURF THE SMUTSONIAN TIMES a MILLION!! Thank you for featuring this pair of hot-sticky-bun kinda lovers. My heart crinkles a little and I don’t know why in sharing this story. But what you’ve done…it’s out of this world. Ginormous dragon-leopardess-phoenix-genie-shifter HUG!! Dark Fae sends regards–he’s in timeout. From the erotica world of words and vistas, love and chaos, Shurrn, you are the B-E-S-T!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I generally go for M/M Romance novels being as I am gay, but this sounds like a very interesting book. I love the premise. Hope I win so I can read it soon, but even if I don’t I will probably purchase it on Amazon.com for my kindle.

    Liked by 1 person

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