When I shifted my writing focus from fantasy to paranormal romance, I figured dragons were permanently out of the picture. After all, they aren’t so much paranormal creatures as fantastical ones. But when I started writing a series set in the Arizona Desert Southwest—the last place I would have expected it to happen—I somehow stumbled into writing a world of dragon shifters.
In the first book in the series, the hero is a scion of Quetzalcoatl. I hadn’t thought of the Aztec god as a dragon. Technically, he’s a feathered serpent. But as I read about Quetzalcoatl, it dawned on me that a serpent with wings was pretty much a dragon, and the more I looked into dragon lore around the world, the more the idea of dragons grew on me. Still, I stuck with Quetzalcoatl because he was so different from traditional dragon lore—and he was a god, which was all the better. But then I started on Book 2, and found myself with a bonafide traditional-fantasy-style dragon in the middle of my heroine’s living room.
Dragons can be found in the mythologies of just about every region of the world, from snake-like beings with stubby legs that slither close to the ground to fire-breathing reptiles with webbed wings that hoard gold and speak the language of humans. It kind of makes you wonder if a few remnants of the dinosaur age may have lasted into early hominid times, sticking around in the collective unconscious and passed down through oral storytelling as human language developed.
The dragon myth can also be found in the Judeo-Christian creation story, with the serpent in the Garden of Eden tempting Eve—the concept of the Christian nemesis in serpentine form repeated in the tale of St. George defeating the dragon, and eventually to return as the seven-headed beast heralding the end of the world.
It’s the Eden story that influenced the idea of temptation in my series, Sisters in Sin, in which a group of sisters are fated to fall in love with dragon shifters. Book 1, Waking the Serpent, due out in December from Harlequin Nocturne, is available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Rafe can't afford to lose control and act on his feelings for Phoebe. His unfulfilled sexual tension begins to stir something inside him—the legacy of Quetzalcoatl. But as these newfound abilities awaken a dormant power in Rafe, can he stop the real murderer in time to claim his true destiny?
Excerpt from Waking the Serpent: