As Cosmin Alexander says in the introduction to Like a Breath of Flame, dragons are everywhere:
Not literally, of course, that’s silly. But if you look across ancient human cultures, the presence of dragons is near universal. Europe, of course, had its famed fiery beasts, living representations of the power of nature, often associated with the devil and the powers of darkness. East Asia instead had their glorious and wise creatures of rain and river and earth: powerful, capricious, and dangerous, but also knowledgeable and noble. That isn’t all, though. Australia had the Rainbow Serpent, a creature of rivers and life, while the Aztecs had Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent, lord of the Morning Star. Then there’s modern fantasy: it seems you can barely turn around without running into a dragon, as though it’s a requirement that fantasy novels, games, and movies have one.
Like a Breath of Flame is collection of short erotic stories from Circlet Press with a pronounced draconine content. Needless to say, because the collection comes from Circlet Press, the quality of the material is consistently high. With contributions from Dominic Santi, Dean Scarborough, Kennan Feng and KJ Kazba, it’s no surprise that the standard is superlative on every page.
And I think it’s fair to say that dragons are different for every reader and every writer. Julian Oliver-Fenn “The Last Whisper of Killitch,” writes here with a mythic reverence for the subject matter. Kimber Camacho, “Sleeping with Dragons,” writes with a rich palate of descriptive affluence. These are stories with dragons at their centers – but each told by a poignantly different author.
Nobilis Reed, “Prince Lovely and the Three Dragons” approaches this genre with a blend of humour and storytelling that is reminiscent of a child’s fairy tale written for an adult audience.
Prince Lovely shivered. The hilltop he stood on wasn’t particularly cold—in fact, it would be a pleasant day, if circumstances were at all different—but he was dressed in nothing more than a dress of sheer samite. Well, to be perfectly honest, there was also a garland of daisies in his hair and a jeweled necklace, but those offered even less protection from the cold, and the stone at his back still retained a good deal of its nighttime coolness.
The fact that he was bound to that stone, waiting for a dragon to eat him, made the situation doubly shiver-worthy. It didn’t help that the gown looked absolutely terrible on him. They could have at least put him in one of the dresses with less décolletage; he simply didn’t have the right kind of chest for this one. The red velvet one, with the fur around the hem, that would have been particularly nice, and well suited to the weather, not to mention his coloring.
These are the words that start the final story in this collection and it’s a tale that has wit, eroticism and a handful of delightfully deviant twists. This is what happens when Prince Lovely becomes acquainted with Princess Wise:
Lovely sighed. “Yeah, you’re probably right.” He took Wise’s slender wrist and laid it as gently as he could in the iron clamp, and fitted the hook that would hold it in place. There was no lock, just a latch that the victim would not be able to open by herself.
He picked up the bottle and pulled the stopper. A pleasant smell, spice and musk and herbs, diffused into the room. “How much is a minim?” he asked.
“About as much as will fit in the palm of your hand,” said Wise. “Hurry.”
Lovely found his hand trembling as he poured, and the first rush of liquid spilled over his wrist rather than pouring over his hand. He steadied himself and brought his hand to Wise’s body, smearing it down from between her breasts down to her belly. The fragrance became even stronger.
“Wow,” said Wise. “That actually feels pretty good.”
Altogether this collection is entertaining, exciting and thoroughly enjoyable. The writing is top quality and the stories never fail to satisfy.