Author Julie A. D'Arcy

THIS IS THE NEW HOME PAGE OF JULIE A D'ARCY
AWARD WINNING NOVELIST OF SIXTEEN YEARS.

If you enjoy Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance, and Vampire Romance novels with plenty of story, action, love and lust,
including sexy  flawed heroes and beautiful spirited women that don't mind getting a little blood on their hands, you have come
to the right place.







In the medieval world of Tarlis, Meggahn du Val, daughter of the Low-Lord of Gola-Dah, watches a strange light flare across the night sky.  Little does she realize it is the return of the legendary Black Dragon and she will be immersed in an adventure that will change her life.

               After 800 years in the guise of a black dragon, Garrik le Fey, First King of Tarlis is released from the world of shadow between the pages of an ancient spell book, where he has guarded against the escape of the Dark Priest to the God of Blood. Garrik finds himself a man by night and dragon by day.

To keep from becoming a dragon forever, Garrik must journey to a legendary elven pond, and is forced to lay his trust in the cynical elf, Vellandril Ballindoch, who has no love for humans.

With the elf’s help, he must lay claim to the enchanted Sword of Niraz. It is the only means by which to stop Narokah from steeling the Orb of de Danann, and making the sacrifice that will raise his dark god from the Hell Pit.

A tale of action, adventure, romance, myth, magic, and legend ….


Excert of The Dragon and the Rose

Evening clouds shrouded the mauve and silver tips of the Dragon Spur Mountain. Vellandril Ballindoch’s heart pounded as if it would burst from his chest. Blood rushed in his ears, his breath burned his lungs, and sweat ran freely down his face. He could hear the horses crashing through the woods behind him.

His foot caught in a small ditch and he stumbled, a sickening pain lancing through his ankle.

Vellandril had lost all sense of time and direction. He’d been running for what seemed an eternity. At one stage, he thought he had lost his pursuers and had found a hole and crawled into it. The hole had been barely deep enough to hold his body lying flat out, but it was hidden beneath a thick clump of undergrowth. The ditch had been filled with the stench of stagnant water and the sweet sickly smell of decaying flesh. He had moved slightly and found beneath him, partly buried in the slime and mud, the half rotted carcass of a small furry animal. He'd had no choice but to stay put and endure the discomfort. Worse still, however, was the chill of the water seeping through his clothes into his flesh. He had lain shivering, waiting, and listening until the sounds of pursuit had died. Then, he had crept from his haven, maneuvering on hands, knees and belly through underbrush and scrub until he'd thought it safe. But the silence had been a ploy, and his nemesis had been on him again.

If only he had not been so trusting! If only he had listened to the Elders and been more wary of strangers bearing gifts, Lisle would still be alive. His hands clenched as hate burned deep in his gut. They would pay dearly for the death of his sister. This one promise he had made to the Goddess Estrel, just after he had seen a dagger drawn across his sisters white throat.

Vellandril gritted his teeth, fought down the pain in his ankle, and forced himself on as he heard the whinny of horses closing in. He heard a shout, then the cracking of branches. He changed direction, heading for a thick copse of Yellow Oak interspersed by giant ferns. He could hear the distinct sound of a waterfall. Perhaps if he could make the river, he could hide in its depths and escape. As an Elf, he could hold his breath several times longer than any human.

He broke from the woods and spied the water a hundred paces away. Relief flowed through him then died a quick death as he felt the sting of a long barbed whip curl around his bad ankle and catch. He fell and was dragged several painful steps before his captor reined in his stallion and brought the animal to a stop.

“Now, Elven scum, I will show you what we do to murderers!” His captor slid from his horse.

Vellandril spat out a succession of fluid Elven curses, but realizing the man had no understanding, he repeated them again in the coarser Tarlisian speech. “May you rot in the horror of your own mind for what you did to my sister.”

Madric le Mordah twisted his effeminate features into a cruel visage. “So enjoyable. Fought like a veritable hellcat too.” He barked out an order and one of his soldiers swore loudly and steered his horse through the thicket. “Get him to his feet.”

An officer with a fiery red hair, a bushy beard, and a six-inch scar running the length of his left cheek slid from his mount and grasped Vellandril beneath the arms. He hauled him to his feet and forced him to face le Mordah.

“Strip him of his tunic and tie him to that tree,” the Baron ordered, pointing to a large Oak.

“’Tis time I taught this creature who is master and who is slave.”

A second soldier rode from between the trees to join the gathering. Madric watched while they stripped Vellandril of everything but his bottle green leggings and bound him chest first to the trunk, his cheek pressed snugly to the rough bark. A sense of perverted pleasure rippled through his loins as his gaze roamed the Elf's porcelain-colored flesh.

He caressed the knotted handle of the whip.

Elves were such beautiful creatures. It was a pity they had not been so easily manipulated as he first anticipated. He closed the gap between himself and Vellandril and ran his hands slowly down the young Elf's back and hips, feeling the curve of hard muscle beneath his velvety skin.

Then, he threaded his hand into Vellandril's long fair hair and wrenched back his head. “I own you, Elf. You are mine. Do you know what I do to escaped slaves?” His words were deceptively low.

Vellandril refused to be drawn. He gritted his teeth against the pain in his scalp.

Madric released him abruptly and brought the head of the whip down savagely onto the side of his face, opening up a cut below his eye.

Hatred burned in Vellandril. He twisted his head and spat into Madric's face.

The Baron sighed and slipped a linen handkerchief from his cloak pocket and dabbed at the spittle on his chin. Then, his eyes darkened and he stepped back several paces out of Vellandril’s line of vision. “It is time for that lesson, I think.”

The barbed whip slashed into Vellandril's flesh with the pain of a thousand crystal shards. The Elf gasped and bit into his lip, concentrating on clearing his mind, on blocking out the pain. Vellandril would not give this human dog the satisfaction of hearing him scream. He would not let Madric know that the bite of a barbed whip to an Elf was a sentence of death.

He winced against the agony of the next lash, so lovingly laid beside the last. Another lash followed, then another two in vicious succession.

Five? Six? Why did he even try to count? The first lash would have done its job. A wound inflicted by metal was a slow poison to an Elf. He breathed in harshly. Did he have any skin left? Was the damage as bad as it felt or was it just Madric's skill with the whip that had his back feeling like it were being peeled like an orange. He was barely aware of the blood seeping down his leggings. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered anymore.

“Nine, ten,” the numbers counted off by one of Madric's henchmen seemed to come from a great distance. Then, the Baron paused and Vellandril tensed.

“Scream, you Elven bastard!” The lash came down with the scolding sting of a hot iron.

A whimper escaped Vellandril's lips as the leather and metal struck into the exact same lash as the last. He felt his injured ankle buckle and his legs go weak. He knew it would not be long before all will to fight would flee, and he would scream as he had heard his sister scream.

But with the thought of Lisle's hair spread around her creamy shoulders, the line of crimson across her white throat, and Madric's thug rising from her limp body buttoning his breeches came a renewed strength born of revenge. His nails dug into the bark of the tree. He would fight death and see a dagger in the Red Lord's heart before his time on this world was done.

ab

Madric heard a gasp escape Vellandril’s lips and laughed. “I have you now you Elven cur. Beg, and I may allow you to live.” He lifted his arm to bring the next lash down, but instead, the whip was torn from his fingers. He cursed the Gods of Darkness and spun. Behind him sat a large black dragon, yellow sulfurous steam pluming from its vermilion nostrils. Its glowing golden eyes were fixed on him, and between its clawed toes sat Madric’s barbed whip.

He shot a look at the dragon’s face and could have sworn it smiled. Madric cast a disgusted look at his whip, spun away and ran for his horse. He leapt into the saddle and the horse reared. Dragging it under control, he dug his spurs into its bloodied flanks and forced it through the bushes. He could hear the shouts of his men and their horses in close pursuit and cursed again. The Elf was his, as the sister had been. He and Vellandril Ballindoch were far from finished. They would meet again. He would make sure of it!

Vellandril listened intently to the commotion behind him, to the Baron's hasty departure and the disjointed curses, none of which made sense. He stood still, hardly daring to breathe, waiting. He sensed a presence and a great danger. Something had made the Baron flee, but what? He closed his eyes, allowing his Elven senses to reign and his mind to float free of his pain. Then he spoke in the soft lilting tongue of the Elves.

“It has been many centuries since a Great One graced this part of the realm, but pleased I am for your assistance this day.” He paused, his voice hoarse and dry in his throat. Bright lights flashed before his eyes. His strength had all but departed, but he knew his life depended on his next words. “Now one question remains, and one only.” He tried to stand taller and muster his strength.Are you going to fry me and eat me, or free me?”

His bindings fell away and for one thrilling moment Vellandril felt freedom and a sense of hope, then his ankle buckled and his legs went from beneath him. Pain stabbed into his back like a multitude of scalding fires, and his head pounded a tattoo like an ancient drum. The lights before his eyes intensified and his vision blurred. He hit the ground with a sickening thump. His last sight was of two golden orbs, then blackness engulfed him.


Excerpt


A voice from behind the closed door caught her attention.
“So mother, it has come to this. A King without a Kingdom – a man by night and a dragon by day. What advice would you give now to a son who finds himself in such turmoil?”
Meggahn peered through the narrow slit in the door. The room was lit only by the glow of a roaring fire. A figure sat at a large desk, his silhouette carved by the light of the flames, his face resting in his hands. Even in the dim light Meggahn could tell a mantle of despair weighted the man. The feeling was almost tangible. Close by, above the huge library grate, was a painting of a beautiful dark-haired woman. Meggahn surmised it was to she, to whom the man spoke.
She slipped the torch into a bracket beside the door and contemplated the man's strange words. King? There had been no king in this land for eight hundred years and certainly not of Gola-Dah. And what was this talk of dragons? Her father was murdered by a sorcerer who was able to transform to a dragon. Could Garrik have murdered her father? And if so, why? And why burn the village of Gola-Dah then lead the inhabitants to safety? Was it a trap? She realized she would have to tread carefully.  If Garrik was not who he said he was, then just who was he?
Fortifying her courage, she tapped softly on the door and entered.
He raised his head. “Meggahn?”
She wondered briefly how he could recognize her in such dim light. But she guessed to a sorcerer who could see in darkness, her identity held no mystery. “I could not sleep and intended to seek some air.” The lie slipped smoothly from her tongue. “I heard voices and thought I would investigate. You were late in returning, my lord.”
Garrik eyed her warily as she moved to warm herself innocently, seductively, by the fire. He wondered if she realized how beautiful she really was. Even more so now, with her thick fiery hair spread about her shoulders and the lie still trembling on her lips, than the first time he had seen her sprawled in the dust with her skirts hiked around her thighs. Or the second time with soot smudging her cheeks. He realized she must have heard him leave her room and followed. What a fool he had been. He had not been able to resist a glimpse of her before becoming the dragon in the morning. How much had she heard of his plaintive ramblings? He rose to stand beside her at the fire.
“I would urge you to dress more warmly for your sojourn outside,” he cautioned, curling a lock of her bright hair about his finger. “The air is chill on the mountains at night and the mist is said to seep into your bones.”
 His breath fanned her face, and her own labored in her throat. He had cut his black hair, and now wore it short at the neck and sides in the style of the other men at the castle. A shadow of a day’s growth covered his jaw, but it only proved to make him more handsome. “I will do that,” Meggahn whispered. Reluctantly, she lowered her gaze from his face and followed his line of vision. The silken cloth of the nightgown Johden had loaned her, pulled tightly across her breasts, and the reflected light behind her from the fire left little to the imagination. She drew back, folded her arms across her chest, and moved to lean on the desk away from the fire, and the man.
He glanced at her with an unreadable expression. His eyes were such a brilliant gold, Meggahn felt almost mesmerized. He seemed so different from the man she had met on the mountain, the man who had led her from the burned ruins of Gola-Dah; some how more dangerous.
 “Do I make you nervous?”
She jumped as his question sounded into the silence. “I fear no man,” she responded with a slight tremble to her voice.
“That is not what I asked.”
“Why were you in my room?” She countered, ignoring his question and replacing it with one of her own.
“I wished only to make certain you were well. Business takes me from the castle again come morning.”
He had not denied he’d been in her room. “The same business that took you away today?” She asked softly.
He seemed to hesitate, then nodded. “Much the same, yes.”
She picked up a small bejeweled dagger from the desk and twirled it between her fingers. The firelight caught at the gems, and they showered her gown in multicolored rain as she spoke. “My mother came to this castle once. Or so my father said. She never returned.” She looked up quickly, to catch his expression. “Do you remember her? Her name was Ejinerah.”
Meggahn could have sworn a look of recognition crossed his face as she studied him, but it may well have been the flickering of the fire.
He shook his head. “Sorry, the name does not ring familiar, but I will question Gwayne when I see him on the morrow. I have been gone from the castle many years and have not yet had the opportunity to learn all that has occurred in my absence.”
“And where was it you said you had traveled?” she asked, with a raise of a fine brow.
His smile was strained. “I did not say.”
“And how many years?”
“That also I did not say.”
Meggahn glanced down at the knife with feigned indifference. “And why is that, my lord?”
Garrik closed the gap so fast she did not see him move. She squealed and reared back. The knife clattered to the floor as his fingers dug into her shoulders. “What game do you play here, Meggahn? What do you want from me?”
She struggled, but he gathered her tight and held her close to his body, his lips pressing to the curve of her ear. Then his mouth moved and his breath was hot on the slender line of her throat.
“I want to locate my mother and avenge my father.” Her words came in short sharp gasps. She could feel the hard outline of his body pressing close to hers. He was not as unaffected by her as he would like her to believe.
“I have no knowledge of your mother.” He breathed against her throat. “And I did not know your father. But I warn you, Meggahn du Val, be careful, extremely careful. There are forces at work in this castle of which you have no knowledge. Of which you could not begin to comprehend. So stay out of matters that are no concern to you. Live here as long as you wish, but do not interfere with me or mine.” His grip tightened on her waist and she thought she would faint from lack of breath.
“Understand?”
She nodded, barely acknowledging his words. She couldn’t think. No man had ever held her like this – with such familiarity. Not even the Baron. Her hands tightened involuntarily on his shoulders. She released the breath she had been holding to relax against him, instead of struggling. Whether he felt the slight change in her stance, the acceptance of his arms around her, she had no time to ponder, for he pushed her to arm's length then released her.
She staggered, righted herself and glanced up at him. Never had she met a man like Garrik le Fey – hard yet soft, strong yet gentle. Any other man, she was certain, would have taken advantage of this situation. But not Garrik le Fey, the one they called the Dragon. His words had meant to be threatening, but she sensed neither danger in the words nor the man.
“Goodnight, Meggahn.” His tone was hard, dismissive.
Meggahn remained as she was, taking in his appearance. Dressed totally in black, with the golden glitter of his unusual eyes and the shadow of a day's growth covering his chin, he could have been anything from an angel to a demigod. But to her, he was an enigma that she was determined to understand. Momentarily, she contemplated the foolhardiness of throwing herself back into his arms, but instead, raised her chin. For the moment she would do as he asked. “Goodnight, Garrik le Fey, Dragon Lord,” she said meeting his gaze. “May you discover in the daylight the peace which you cannot find at night.”  She pivoted and strode to the door.
It closed with a soft click behind her and Garrik stood in the darkened room. Her words had come perilously close to the truth. Though she had no way of knowing the extent of the torment that cut at his heart and wrenched at his soul. Nothing of what it was to live as only half a mortal, and to have all the longings and frustrations of a man. To be trapped in the body of a beast and have no inkling of what it was to want someone so bad you could taste it, yet know they could never be yours.