Darius, a dragon shifter, is the guardian of a portal that leads to the lost city of Atlantis. Essentially, this means his job is to chop off the heads of people who find the portal. At the beginning of the story, his fellow dragons make a bet that the first person who gets Darius to crack a smile gets... something. I don't know what and it doesn't matter, because that part of the plot gets dropped almost immediately. While the bets are being placed, Darius' gets a tingly feeling, which means someone is about to come through the portal and he has to go behead them. However, Darius decides not to do his job when he sees a pretty woman named Grace step through. Grace stumbled on the portal by accident while searching for her brother. She also has some kind of magical dragon medal from Atlantis, which gives Darius an excuse to take her captive.
Heart of the Dragon was a fairly middle grade book for me. I didn't hate it, but can't say anything was really memorable about it either. Darius was the typical mixture of disturbing and over-bearing that you tend to find in the romantic leads of captive heroine stories. He spent most of the book hemming and hawing about whether or not to kill Grace, until they had sex. After that point, he firmly decides that Grace is his because he likes the warm fuzzy feelings she inspires in his cold scaly heart.
Also, I'm not a stranger to Showalter's writing so I knew going into the book that the hero would be a bit of a douche and the heroine would be a virgin because I have yet to read a book by her that doesn't feature these two things.Even though I have to wonder if Showalter has some kind of contract where all her heroines have to be virgins, because there's no reason for it. Grace's sexual inexperience has no influence on the plot and no explanation is given as to why a modern adult woman is still a virgin. So, the only other explanation is that it's just there to annoy the crap out of readers like me.
All in all, the story was pretty standard for Showalter. The only aspect that really stuck out for me was her idea of Atlantis as a haven for mystical creatures. I thought it was a really interesting idea to have the lost city as an odd Utopian refuge for vampires, dragons, goblins, etc. Unfortunately, the book didn't spend much time in Atlantis, but the concept was interesting enough that I'm tempted to pick-up one of the sequels.