Table of Contents
"Asprin tackles a new kind of comic fantasy, a little more serious and hard-boiled than previous books. Featuring a likable rake and plenty of action and quirky humor, this series opener belongs in most adult and YA fantasy collections."
Praise for Robert Asprin's bestselling series
"Stuffed with rowdy fun."
The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Give yourself the pleasure of working through the series. But not all at once; you'll wear out your funny bone."
The Washington Times
"Breezy, pun-filled fantasy in the vein of Piers Anthony's Xanth series...a hilarious bit of froth and frolic."
"Asprin's major achievement as a writer--brisk pacing, wit, and a keen satirical eye."
"An excellent, lighthearted fantasy series."
"Tension getting to you? Take an Asprin! . . . His humor is broad and grows out of the fantasy world or dimensions in which his characters operate."
"Plenty of odd characters . . . fun!"
"A winning story . . . part science fiction, part spoof, part heart-warmer."
"Light without being frivolous, and displays Asprin's considerable expertise about fencing and things military, especially leadership."
"A grand mix of common sense and outrageous and hilarious foolishness stirred with a dash of wisdom into a delectable mess to be served with tongue in cheek."
"Reliably entertaining . . . a fun read, light without being vapid and clever without being heavy-handed. This series is Asprin's strongest to date, and it's off to a good start."
"Asprin knows how to make me laugh . . . I suggest you sign up for this particular grand tour of duty."
Also by Robert Asprin
THE BUG WARS
THE COLD CASH WAR
MIRROR FRIEND / MIRROR FOE
(with George Takei)
FOR KING AND COUNTRY
(with Linda Evans)
(with Jody Lynn Nye)
(with Esther Friesner)
The MYTH Series
ANOTHER FINE MYTH
HIT OR MYTH
LITTLE MYTH MARKER
M.Y.T.H. INC. LINK
M.Y.T.H. INC. IN ACTION
SWEET MYTH-TERY OF LIFE
SOMETHING M.Y.T.H. INC.
with Jody Lynn Nye
The THIEVES' WORLD
Books edited with Lynn Abbey
TALES FROM THE VULGAR
SHADOWS OF SANCTUARY
THE FACE OF CHAOS
WINGS OF OMEN
The PHULE'S COMPANY
with Peter J. Heck
A PHULE AND HIS MONEY
PHULE ME TWICE
NO PHULE LIKE AN OLD PHULE
THE DEAD OF WINTER
SOUL OF THE CITY
The WARTORN Series with Eric Del Carlo
The DRAGONS WILD Series
DRAGONS DEAL (
with Jody Lynn Nye
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
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This is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
Copyright (c) 2010 by Bill Fawcett & Associates.
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Ace trade paperback edition / December 2010
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Dragons deal / Robert Asprin and Jody Lynn Nye. p. cm.
eISBN : 978-1-101-47801-1
1. Dragons--Fiction. 2. Carnival--Louisiana--New Orleans--Fiction. 3. New Orleans (La.)--Fiction. I. Nye, Jody Lynn, 1957- II. Title.
Huunngh!" Val's voice echoed inside the toilet bowl. She knelt on the floor in the small, dark bathroom, her eyes squeezed shut.
Mai held back Val's long blond hair and patted her soothingly on the back.
"This is good!" she kept saying. "This means your baby is healthy. This is good that you are sick."
"Is it?" Val asked, raising bloodshot eyes from inside the rim. The tiny Chinese woman looked as placid and chic as if she were sitting on a chaise longue in a cheongsam with a champagne glass in her hand, not sitting on an ancient tiled floor in tailored black slacks, black high-heeled slingbacks, and a teal-colored silk blouse, helping a barely-showing-as-yet pregnant woman deal with the horrors of morning sickness.
Mai rose gracefully to her feet and hauled Val up after her. Though Val was almost a foot taller, she knew that in a contest of strength with Mai, she would probably lose. Powerful things came in very small packages. She was learning not to judge things by appearance. A few recent, bitter lessons had hammered that old maxim into her. Luckily, Mai was her friend, but in this case it was no comfort. She gave Mai a sour look.
"You could at least look less happy that I'm heaving my guts up every morning."
"Why would I be unhappy?" Mai asked. "Do you know how hard it is for dragons to become pregnant? You are a rare and wonderful person in the eyes of the clans today."
"Not everyone," Val said darkly. In her mind, she saw the handsome, debonair, smirking face of Nathaniel, who by now must know he was going to be a father but had the sense not to get anywhere near Val. Or her brother. Or any of their friends, dragon or not. At least, she mused, the child she was carrying would be good-looking.
"Not everyone will be happy, perhaps, but they will be envious as well. A child of your lineage means power. He . . ."
"Is it a boy?" Val asked. She clapped her hands to her ears. "No! I don't want to know!"
Mai grabbed her left wrist and pulled it down. "Or she. I could look, but I don't care. It doesn't matter, Valerie. This will be a dragon baby. You should be proud."
"I'm not ready!"
"It doesn't matter. That is why it takes eleven months to bring one into the world. It gives you time to prepare."
"Eleven! It only takes nine months to have a baby!"
Mai shrugged. "We are not humans, however we look. Our gestation period is different."
"Ohhh," Val moaned. She rubbed her forehead. "I was just about reconciled with nine months, and now you tell me it's going to be longer?"
"I did tell you before. You just didn't want to hear it. Some women blossom in pregnancy."
"Not me. I'm already starting to walk funny," Val said, tottering out into the bedroom and sinking onto the edge of her bed. "The extra weight's throwing off my pace when I run."
Mai followed. She lit gracefully on Val's desk chair like a butterfly touching onto a flower. "You will cope. All females have coped since the beginning of gender. You should be thinking of more important matters."