Monday, April 09, 2012

Live and Let Fly: When a Dragon Turns Human

My latest book, Live and Let Fly, is a super-spy spoof starring my dragon detective, Vern.  I’ve written a lot of Vern’s cases over the years, but this time, Vern’s going to have to travel to places in the Mundane world working as an undercover agent.

There’s a problem being an undercover agent in our world, however.  Dragons just don’t blend in with the population.  So I had to turn Vern human.

Yes, that's Vern in the sunglasses.  He looks good and knows it, and knows it could be trouble, too.

Vern has been human once before, thanks to a demon’s curse, but it was a scary and confusing experience that he’d mostly forgotten.  (You can only imagine what it takes to make a dragon forget an experience.)  This time, however, holy magic transforms him for a good cause.  Nonetheless, it’s kind of a harrowing experience for him, especially when he discovers that he looks the same as when he was cursed—a rather gorgeous man with dark, Irish looks.  He panics and whines until an exasperated Sister Grace suggests they stuff him full of sweets until he gets fat and develops acne.

“Will that work?”

“No, you silly dragon, and that’s the point!  You have this form because if you were human, that’s the form God would have given you.  It’s a trustworthy face.  Just be careful around the ladies.”

So, not only does he have to deal with uncomfortable shoes, intercontinental plane flights in coach, and the moniker “Drake Muldoon,” he’s got to watch out for women.  Only problem is, he’s a dragon—androgynous and sexless.  What’s he know?

Poolside at the luxurious island resort, Vern manages to fend off one interested lady by telling her he’s “devoted” to someone.  Later, he and his partner, Charlie, have to meet their contact at a big hotel party.  They pass by a couple necking behind a potted plant, but it doesn’t phase him.  As a dragon, he’s seen plenty of humans mating.  He can handle the dancing part, too.  Dragons love to dance, although their dancing is aerial, aggressive, and thoroughly enjoyable, but also completely without lustful overtones.  Thus, when he and one of the beautiful women he’d been dancing with head off the floor and to the bar for a drink, he’s thinking they’re going to cool off.

Not quite what she had in mind.

"Better," I sighed. She started to order us some margaritas, but I stopped her and ordered an iced coffee. "If I have anything alcoholic now, I'll be asleep before I hit my bed," I told her.
"Can't have that," she murmured. "So, do you have plans for Festival? I hear it's a fascinating ceremony." She dragged the word "fascinating" out in a way I probably should have recognized but didn't. Hey, I was tired.
I shrugged. "My friend Nigel's not much for parties. We'll probably just hang around the hotel."
"Doing what? The power's going to be off, you know. For the whole weekend, we're going to live like the primitives."
"Kirsti should like that," I murmured. Yeah, I was tired, and my legs felt like lead. If I'd been a dragon, I would have flexed my claws to work out some of the kinks; instead, I pointed and flexed my toes just to keep them from stiffening up.
The bartender gave us our drinks, and we clicked glasses. The cold coffee felt wonderful going down my throat. I took three big swallows before I realized I was being careless. After all, what's the cliché in these cases? I rolled my next sip around my tongue, testing for any trace of drugs. Aliciya watched me, a shy smile on her lips, fingers twisting her hair. I grinned back.
She leaned forward and started rubbing my knee. That felt good.
I purred. Dragon brain, dragon reaction. I shut my eyes and relaxed.
"Hey, you, don’t fall asleep here. I've got to ask you something."
Oops. I sat up and leaned on my elbows. I looked straight into her eyes so she'd know I was paying attention. "What's that?"
"Well, Kirsti's sweet, so she just sort of takes things at face value, but I want to know. You're not married?"
Huh? "No."
"Engaged?" She leaned a little closer.
I shook my head.
"So, just how...devoted...are you?" She licked her lips.
That's when I realized, she wanted to drag me behind the potted plant!
Oh, oh.
Dragon brain plus human body equals vocal cord short circuit. All that came out of my mouth as she leaned closer was, "uhhhh..."

Vern gets out of it, though not quite in the way he expected.  I hope you’ll read about it and all his other close calls as a human and a dragon in Live and Let Fly.

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