If the protagonist of WAKEWOLRD, Vivian, had time to update her relationship status on Facebook, she’d definitely have to put “It’s complicated.” Not that she has a lot of time for a relationship right now, what with an evil dragon queen running amok with an agenda of destruction on her mind. But if there ever were star crossed lovers, Vivian and Zee fit the bill.
Vivian is a healer by nature and training. Until a few weeks ago she was working as an ER doctor, doing her best to put the wounded and sick back together and make the world a better place. Then, not only does she find out that she’s a dreamshifter with dangerous enemies, she gets poisoned by a dragon which activates the dragon blood already running in her veins. Now, all of a sudden, she has this tendency to become a hot blooded predator who sees people as dinner, not patients. And since dragons have a silent connection that runs through unspoken word, she’s got a problem with killing them, even when they’re marauding Wakeworld and she knows they need to be slain.
Zee, on the other hand, was born and bred to be a dragon slayer. His hatred for dragons runs through thousands of years of history and is beyond rationality and very nearly beyond his control. He sees a dragon, he wants to kill it, with the same level of instinct a cat has about mice. At the same time, he has loved Vivian for years before he met her, knows it’s not her fault that she does the dragon shifting thing, and loves her anyway.
But damn. Dragons are for slaying.
So we end up with moments like this, destined to tear a relationship apart:
Zee stood over his kill with the gun still in his hand, his scarred face alight with victory.
Vivian watched him, wordless, fighting to draw breath. Silent tears ran down her cheeks.
He saw her trouble and the light went out of his eyes. Kneeling in the sand beside her, he reached out a hand to touch her face. She flinched away, and he let it fall back. “Vivian. It needed killing. You must see that.” A fresh burn on his cheek, etched there by a splash of dragon blood, emphasized his words.
Not his fault, she told herself. Brett had fired the first shot and made it necessary. The dragon had killed before and would have killed again. She knew that, but it did nothing to ease the pain at her heart.
“He didn’t know better, Zee. He was so young . . .” Young and beautiful and alive beyond imagining.
“Don’t cry, Viv. It was just a dragon.”
She laughed, short and bitter, as his words went home. “Blood of my blood,” she said.
Realization dawned in his eyes, too late. “No, you are not one of them, not really—”
“But I am. And you were made to hunt them. What are we to do about that?”
WAKEWORLD is not a romance, as such, and yet this conflict lies at the heart of the story. For all the action that swirls around our characters the question remains with them, causing both tragic mistakes and acts of great generosity. Will they win through the forces arrayed against them and come together in the end?
I can only tell you that I’m a sucker for a happy ending.