Dragon Bound

By: Thea Harrison


I have a lot to be grateful for and a lot of people to mention. I am so remarkably fortunate for everyone I have met and worked with while journeying with this book to publication.

First, I’d like to thank my fabulous agent, Amy Boggs, at the Donald Maass Literary Agency for her all-around bestitude and for being such a patient champion of my writing. I’m thrilled beyond words to thank my editor, Cindy Hwang, for her powerhouse enthusiasm and expertise, her assistant, Leis Pederson, for such friendly, prompt replies, and to the entire team at Berkley for their awesome work.

I would also like to offer special thanks to Ann Aguirre, Nalini Singh, Shannon Butcher, J. R. Ward, Christine Feehan, Angela Knight and Anya Bast. They are amazing women and accomplished writers, and I am honored to have their support.

And here’s a shout-out to my superheroine beta readers. Thanks to Anne, Shawn, Fran B., Suzi, Fran H. and Amanda for coming along and joining in the fun. And I don’t know what I would have done without Steven’s, Pamela’s and Anne’s encouragement and friendship these last few years; they helped to keep me sane through some pretty insane times.

I also would like to offer heartfelt thanks to Lorene and Carol for their incredible support. They know what they’ve done, and it’s been miraculous. And last but certainly not least, thanks to Matt for his generous work on the website, and to Erin, who loves me even though I’m weird.

Doing business with a dragon. Now that’s a

cutthroat experience.



Pia was blackmailed into committing a crime more suicidal than she could possibly have imagined, and she had no one to blame but herself.

Knowing that didn’t make it easier. She couldn’t believe she had been so lacking in good judgment, taste or sensibility.

Honestly, what had she done? She had taken one look at a pretty face and forgotten everything her mom had taught her about survival. It sucked so bad she might as well put a gun to her head and pull the trigger. Except she didn’t own a gun because she didn’t like them. Besides, pulling the trigger on a gun was pretty final. She had issues with commitment and she was so freaking dead anyway, so why bother.

A taxi horn blared. In New York the sound was so common everyone ignored it, but this time it made her jump. She threw a glance over one hunched shoulder.

Her life was in ruins. She would be on the run for the rest of her life, all fifteen minutes or so of it, thanks to her own foolish behavior and her shithead ex, who had screwed her, then screwed her over so royally she couldn’t get over the knifelike sensation in the pit of her stomach.

She stumbled into a narrow trash-strewn street by a Korean restaurant. She uncapped a liter-sized water bottle and chugged half of it down, one hand splayed on the cement wall while she watched the sidewalk traffic. Steam from the restaurant kitchen enveloped her in the rich red-pepper and soy scents of gochujang and ganjang sauces, overlaying the garbage rot of a nearby Dumpster and the acrid exhaust from the traffic.

The people in the street looked much as they always did, driven by internal forces as they charged along the sidewalk and shouted on cell phones. A few mumbled to themselves as they dug through trash cans and looked at the world with lost, wary eyes. Everything looked normal. So far, so good?

After a long nightmarish week, she had just committed the crime. She had stolen from one of the most dangerous creatures on Earth, a creature so frightening that just imagining him was more scariness than she ever wanted to meet in real life. Now she was almost done. A couple more stops to make, one more meeting with the shithead, and then she could scream for oh, say, a couple of days or so while she figured out where she would run to hide.

Holding on to that thought, she strode down the street until she came to the Magic District. Located east of the Garment District and north of Koreatown, the New York Magic District was sometimes called the Cauldron. It comprised several city blocks that seethed with light and dark energies.

The Cauldron flaunted caveat emptor like a prizefighter’s satin cloak. The area was stacked several stories high with kiosks and shops offering Tarot readings, psychic consultations, fetishes and spells, retail and wholesale sellers, imports, those who dealt with fake merchandise and those who sold magic items that were deadly real. Even from the distance of a city block, the area assaulted her senses.

She came to a shop located at the border of the district. The storefront was painted sage green on the outside, with the molding at the plate-glass windows and door painted pale yellow. She took a backward step to look up. DIVINUS was spelled in plain brushed-metal lettering over the front window. Years ago her mother had on occasion bought spells from the witch who owned this shop. Pia’s boss, Quentin, had also mentioned the witch had one of the strongest magical talents he had ever met in a human.