I’m having a ton of fun writing Dirty Dragon the 7th book in the Dragon Love Curves series!
I thought it might be fun for you, my very favorite reader to get to see the first few chapters before the book is even available!
This is the rough-cut (unedited version) of the beginning of the story.
(So don’t worry about typos and such! I’ll fix them for the ebook and paperback!)
A few times a week I’ll post the next part of the story for you – if you want to be one of the very first to read it, pop on over and join my Curvy Connection list – I’ll put the next part out in the newsletter two or three days before it hits the blog!
Or if you really want to wait, just check back to this blog post for the next part. Or if you are really, really patient you can pre-order the book!
Pre-order DIRTY DRAGON <–click here!
Here comes Dirty Dragon for you!
Chapter One – Part One
If hell ever felt like it was freezing over, this was where it went to warm back up. Dax and his little band of Dragons Warriors, correction Demon Dragon Warriors, were hunkered down somewhere deep below the Burg Al Arab in Dubai. The temperature above ground was already forty-five degrees Celsius, sweltering. Down here at the entrance to hell it had to be twice that.
Dax reveled in the heat. Any Red Dragon Warrior loved a good hot sweaty battle. Almost as much as he loved a good hot sweaty battle between the sheets with a fiery red-head. In either, he was always won.
A flaming boulder whizzed toward them. Dax grabbed the warrior next to him and yanked him aside. It flew over their heads nearly missing taking the two of them with it. He whistled and patted the guy’s shoulder. That was a close call and the perfect cue to get this mission underway.
“Ready to kick some ass, lads?” He looked each one of the dragons in his small band of newly deigned Demon Dragon Warriors. They nodded to him in turn. Most reds didn’t want anything to do with these brand new additions to the AllWyr. Dax liked any man or beast who had the same fire in their bloods and wanted to hunt demons and the Black Dragon to extinction.
“We were born ready.” Neo, the Demon Dragons’ second in command was the last to meet Dax’s challenge, but only because he’d been waiting for each of his brethren to agree.
Yeah, but they were also born yesterday, almost literally. If they weren’t so enthusiastic about meting out revenge on the King of Hell, he’d be worried they weren’t ready for battle. Jett, the Demon Dragon Wyr hadn’t wanted any of them to risk their lives so soon after regaining their powers. Each and every one of them had volunteered for this mission. Dax gave Neo a salute of acknowledgment and indicated for him to present the plan.
“The intel we’ve brought you will take us directly into Geshtianna’s hive. We’ll go in here,” he pointed to a crude map they’d drawn in the ash and dirt, “here, and you’ll drive the main group straight through to the dungeon where the Golds are being held. Then we can chop the Succubus Queen into a thousand pieces and be done with her conniving.”
See, smart and blood-thirsty through and through. Dax couldn’t ask for a better command. Granted he hadn’t asked to be in charge in the first place. He’d been the only one Cage, the AllWyvern, had been able to get to take this mission. Bring on the fire, bitches. He’d soak it up like sun on a tropical vacation. The Demon Dragons Warriors were right there with him, itching to get their hands around the necks of the demons they were related to.
“That’s the plan then. Everyone ready?” Dax knew they were, even if they didn’t. Every dragon was born to destroy the minions of hell, even the ones who were born here themselves. These poor bastards wanted nothing more than to prove themselves in battle. They were going to get their chance tonight.
Dax gripped his sword and the others followed suit. Just in time too because the next wave of demon dragon wyrms poured in along with a barrage of fireballs. This was going to be fun.
His time hanging out with the Troika Wolf pack in America hadn’t been wasted. Well, not all of it. There was that week when he and the strawberry blonde had whiled away the hours holed up in her cabin, naked. Good times, good times. Dax gripped his sword with both hands like a baseball bat. He pulled the hilt back all the way to his shoulder and then swung with all he was worth keeping his eye directly on the fireball coming right for him. He connected straight on with his target and sent it hurtling back toward the oncoming horde with a little extra of his own fire to give it a bit of oomph. It hit the demon wyrm bastard right in the middle of the chest and it disintegrated into a pile of black oily goo and ash.
The demon dragons behind him watched and learned, turning the inner pits of hell into a fiery batting cage. He oughta start a team. Raw, raw, sis-boom-bah. Go Dragons.
It took them only minutes and a modicum of effort to destroy the first attack wave. It was if the forces of hell weren’t even trying. The Demon Dragon Warriors hadn’t batted an eye at taking out that horde. “I call that a home run. Now let’s get those Golds and get them hell out of hell.”
Dax and Neo took point moving through the tunnels of stone and sand under the earth. He had to give it to these warriors. They knew how to move with some serious stealth. One minute they were behind him and the next they popped up in a shadow a few feet ahead to slash the head off a demon wyrm, or run one threw before it even knew it was under attack.
Neo popped out of sight, took out a wrym above their heads, and then reappeared right in Dax’s own shadow. Dax jumped about a foot and Neo laughed at him.
“Shit, you scared the Cheeze Whiz out of me, you bastard. Don’t be jumping in and out of my shadow, unless you’re going to teach me how to do it too.”
Neo grinned, which looked super weird and creepy on his normally angry face. “Us newbies gotta have some secrets to ourselves, Red. What is Cheezis?”
“Only the greatest gift in all of snackdom. I’ll buy you a bottle when we get back.” Somebody had to teach these schmoes the finer points of the shitty human diet. No more blood and guts for their dinner. Unless steak counted. Mmm. Steak. Fine, Cheeze Whiz and Ritz for an appetizer and then a steak dinner to celebrate their victory.
“Incoming.” One of the warriors shouted from a few meters ahead and he wasn’t kidding. The barrage of fireballs from a few minutes ago was nothing compared to the brimstone raining down onto their position now. Not to mention the avalanche of sand and lava – make that glass shards and lava.
“Steady, warriors, steady. You know what to do. On my mark.” Dax had expected resistance but these buggers wouldn’t know what hit them when they saw the Demon Dragon Warriors transform into their dragon forms. It was going to be epic. Like Game of Thrones season seven episode four epic.
The first fireballs hit but either smacked into the floor and walls or returned by the warriors. The river of lava crept closer and heat rose another billion degrees. Demons wyrms hopped around flapping their useless little wings and squawking like the vulture they were. Three broke off from the main horde and aimed straight for the ready warriors.
“Now?” Someone down the line asked.
“Hold.” They could not lose the element of surprise. The charging demons were almost close enough that he could smell their putrid rotten breath. Perfect. Dax counted down. “Three, two–“
He let the wave of hot magic he held in his soul wash over him and his dragon form burst forth. He lifted into the air and shouted into the warriors minds with his dragonvoice – One. Go, go, go.
The warriors shifted and one by one spread their wings, lifting up the ceiling of the small cavern. As one unit Dax and the Demon Dragons opened their jaws and blew out streams of burning hot fire. The wyrms below flapped their wings trying to slow their forward momentum only to be toppled by the horde behind them. They charged head first into the wall of deadly flames, frying in a second and disappearing into piles of ash.
Fuck yeah. That ought to show any Red Warriors that the Demon Dragons were on the side of right. Dax flew in a wide circle, spewing fire down on any remaining stragglers that had escaped the onslaught. He brushed against something on the ceiling that was not natural. Rocks in this dry heat did not feel stringy or slimy. What the shit was up there?
Dax, look out!
Neo’s words burst into his head and Dax took immediate evasive maneuvers. Whatever was on the ceiling was dropping down on top of them. Two of the nearest warriors to him were already caught in the net or web-like stuff.
“You dragons are so damn predictable.” A male voice came from below and Dax caught a glimpse of a pale dude dressed in the worst version of a vampire costume he’d ever seen. Vampdickhead waved his arms and a succubus walked in, followed by about a dozen of her sisters, all escorted by an incubus of their own. The lot of them turned their lust magic on full blast.
Dax’s body responded faster than if he’d been watching Triple X Red Heads on Pornhub. He lost his dragon form and crashed to the ground landing flat on his face. At least he hadn’t landed on his killer erection. He had his priorities to, uh, keep straight. Even in battle. His family jewels were safe, but the rest of his body was not, nor were the demon dragons. The gooey web on the ceiling fell onto them ensnaring the entire unit of warriors. Some were still in dragon form and used their fire to burn the nets, but the goo must be some sort of magical protection. The nets didn’t even singe much less burn away.
“Neo, I’m pinned down. Can you cut your way out?” Dax grunted with the effort of trying to roll onto his back and release a talon to shear a hole in the net. All the while, his body was on fire from the inside out with the force of the lust magic pouring through him. The second they got out of this mess he was finding a warm willing red-head to share his bed all night long.
“What the fuck is this stuff? I cut it and it grows right back together again.” Neo’s frustration was echoed by the other demon dragons fighting to get free.
“Well, well, well. I didn’t expect to see a red-faced fool leading these demon bastards.” The haughty voice of the succubus could be none other than their queen.
“I’d rather lead them than be shaking up with their dear old dad, like you, Geshtianna.”
“I don’t serve any dragon, black, red, blue, green, or even gold. Your AllWyvern knows that better than anyone. Didn’t he tell you? The Gold Dragons serve me now.”
“The hell they do.” The dragon warriors served only their Wyvern and their mates. Not that Dax knew schmack about having a mate. Red Dragons hadn’t figured out how to find theirs yet. “You might as well give yourself up now. We’ve got your number and Cage will be calling any second now.”
“I don’t think so. Because if he were to attack me, he’d only be hurting his precious dragons. Allow me to demonstrate.” Geshtianna waved her hand and a line of Gold Dragon Warriors in their human form were led in. They had chains around their necks, dripping with the same goo as the nets and each were being wrangled by a succubus. Dax shivered, even with the heat of hell bearing down on him.
The warriors eyes were blank and they shuffled with the weight of more chains around their ankles. Scratches, made by fingernails, streaked their arms, backs, and even their faces. These once proud warriors were indeed slaves.
Dax struggled to get free of the net again. “Cage is so going to fucking kill you in the face.”
“Oh, yes. I’m sure. That’s why he was too much of a coward to come himself and had to send a little whelp like you.” She turned her back on Dax, not worrying about him in the least. “You’ll each have to double up, which will be a hardship for you I’m sure. You may choose your new warrior slave in order of rank. But leave these two for me.”
She pointed to Dax and Neo. Fuck that. None of them were going to be slaves. Dax would cut off his own dick before bowing to the likes of this evil bitch. He growled and called his dragon back up. Lust magic or not, these succubae were going down.
Chapter One – Part Two
Gestianna looked down at Dax and licked her lips. “You’re going to be a fun one. I can’t wait to have you under me, begging for my bite.” She hit him with a new round of her lure that made his head go fuzzy. His dick couldn’t get any harder, but his balls drew up like he was about to come like an untried teenager.
“Not. On. Your. Worthless. Life. Honey.” He threw the cutesy nickname in there just so she knew that she might have him by the balls, but she didn’t have his mind.
“You’ll see.” Another wave of her lust magic poured through him. Beads of sweat broke out on his forehead. Red Dragon Warriors didn’t sweat. He blinked and gritted his teeth hard fighting the lure of her power. “Feel that, whelp? We can do this the painful way or the pleasurable, it’s entirely up to you. Well, not entirely. I do enjoy a bit of sadism with my tasty treats.”
“Fuck.” He breathed hard and forced the words to come out of his mouth. “You.”
“Soon, pet. Soon.” Geshtianna motioned toward the nearest succubus to come forward. The demon woman chose one of the Demon Dragon Warrior and made her slave pick the guy up off the floor and toss him over his shoulder. She clipped a spelled chain around the neck of the struggling warrior and he stilled, his eyes going blank as the gold’s. Then they retreated into the nearest tunnel and into the blackness.
One by one, the women filed forward and chose their prize and Dax couldn’t do a damn thing about it. Neo also continued to fight against his bonds and Dax even saw him try to flicker in and out of the shadow, but with no luck. Geshtianna’s hold on them was too much. Shit. There had to be a way out of this fucked up scene. Maybe if he pretended to give in, she’d release her hold on him a little and he could get the jump on her. Even the thought of pretending sexual attraction to this evil woman was enough to send bile up the back of his throat.
What other choice did he have?
There were only two succubae left to chose and when the second to last made her choice and left the chamber, the last woman stepped out of the shadows. He instantly recognized her and her warrior slave. He was Zon, the captain of the elite guard of the Gold Dragon Wyr. She was the bitch who’d started this war in the first place.
“Come now, Portia. Don’t leave your new slave waiting. Although it’s not like you can slip any lower in the ranks, you worthless whore.” Gestianna raked her nails over Zon’s shoulder and fingered his chain. “But I can punish you by taking away your precious blood and sex source.”
Zon didn’t flinch at the Succubus Queen’s touch or threat, but Dax was sure he saw the warrior’s eyes narrow just a little. Yes. Yes, he had seen it. Zon blinked, glanced over at Dax and raised one eyebrow. It was a signal asking if Dax was ready.
“Do it,” he grunted.
In one quick motion Zon grabbed his own chain from Portia’s hands and swung it up and over Gestianna’s head, encircling her neck as if she were Jabba the Hut. Her lust magic went from level eleventy-hundred to about a three just like that and Dax burst into his dragon form. He swiped the piece of gooey web from his back with his tail and threw it at the oncoming group of incubae who’d been left behind.
Geshtianna grabbed at the chain and screeched, but Zon held it tight. “Go. Tell Cage where we are and what we’re fighting against. Now.”
We’re not leaving you and the others behind.
“I can’t hold her off much longer and both Portia and I will be punished and put in isolation after this. Tell Cage to bring the mates. He’ll understand.”
Dax, we can not leave my bretheren to be enslaved again. It will kill them. Neo had also gotten free with the use of his dragon form.
Portia stepped between the warriors and gave Geshtianna a death glare. “Zon. She’s pushing back too hard. I can’t block her much longer. We need to run now. I can’t lose you too.”
Zon nodded and his soul shard sparked. He gave the succubus another yank of the chain and let her drop to the floor. “Live to fight another day, Dragon Warriors. We’ll do what we can to protect the new men as best as we can. I swear to you.”
“Portia–” Geshtianna’s strangled voice pierced the air.
“Please. Go or we’re all doomed.” Portia fell to her knees and Geshtianna tore the chain from around her neck. Zon back-handed the Succubus Queen, sending her flailing halfway across the room. He scooped up Portia and held her in his arms like only a lover would.
We’ll be back. I swear it. Dax shot a burst of flame at Geshtianna and the incubae under the net. Neo, time to show me that shadow trick.
Neo roared so hard and loud that sand and stone fell from the ceiling, but in the next breath Dax was surrounded in a cool blackness and the sensation of falling had him close to puking his guts out, even in dragon form. In the next breath he and Neo were back at the entrance to hell, in the underground parking garage of the Burj Al Arab.
Neo grabbed a silver Bentley Bentayga and threw it across the deck. The mangled body of the luxury SUV looked exactly like what Dax was going to look like when he reported what they’d found to Cage. He shifted back into his human form and his phone rang right away.
Yeah, of course it was Cage, the Alpha of all Dragonkind. It couldn’t be anyone else. Fine. Great. Awesome. Dax answered. “What happened down there, Daxton? You were just supposed to get some intel. Where is the rest of your unit?”
Dax slumped against the nearest car. Cage had the best surveillance in the world so there was no doubt he was looking right at Dax and Neo. “I think it’s safe to say, they’re are all now sex slaves and not in the fun way.”
“Get up to the royal suite and give us a debriefing. Now.” Dax shoved his phone back in his pocket and motioned for Neo to follow. He spent the ride up to the twenty-fifth floor trying to figure out how his mission had gone so wrong. When he got to the opulent suite that only a gold dragon could afford he was escorted into the hotel room’s personal movie theater.
The screen was filled with hundreds of views of places all around the world including the parking garage of the Burj all projected by some a state of the art control center fully equipped with two warriors typing away on computers. This was how Cage knew about every single little thing going on in Dragonkind. He had a whole freaking spy network.
Hey. That screen showed the view from behind the Sleepy Folk bar the Troika Wolf Pack owned in Rogue, New York. He’d spent a lot of good times making the moves on the ladies. That and watching baseball. But mostly the ladies.
“Daxton, Neo. Talk.”
Dax spent the next hour alternating between dodging Cage’s tiny tornadoes of rage and retelling him how their entire unit had gotten ambushed and the men they were trying to rescue had helped take the prisoners away. Neo didn’t help one bit. He was just as flipped out as Cage.
“Cage, sir. Send us back in, give me some red dragons to demolish the whole place and we’ll get those men back.”
Cage stopped his pacing and wind whipping. He glanced over at his spy team and one handed him a tablet. He tapped at it and handed it back. “I know you would. We will be going back in, but you’re going to the States.”
Now was no the time to learn more about the fine art of apple pie and baseball. “Sir. I can do this. Don’t take me out now because the last mission went FUBAR. I can–“
Cage held up his hand silencing Dax. “Gentlemen, I need the room. Take five. There are steaks waiting for you up front.”
Everyone but Neo immediately stood up and walked out of the theater. “You too, Demon Dragon. Dax and I need to work things out one on one.”
Oh, shit. Dax knew he’d fucked the mission up, but was Cage going to murder him for it? No. Cage wasn’t like that. Match, the Red Dragon Wyvern might have eaten him alive, but Cage was cool. He hoped.
Neo shook his head like he thought Dax was dead, but apparently the promise of steak was too good to pass up. Dax hoped he was going to get one and not be served up as dinner.
“This information stays in this room between the two of us. Do you understand, Daxton Cervony?” The full weight of Cage’s alpha voice pressed down on Dax like an anvil filled with some real heavy shit.
“Nikolai Troika, contacted me through a private channel. One of his people is having visions of the Black Dragon and the Black Witch.”
Chapter Two – Part One
(In which I haven’t yet named the babies, so feel free to send me baby name suggestions for wolf pup baby twins – a girl and a boy!)
Jules hummed the last bar of the lullabye for the four-hundred and seventeenth time tonight. She didn’t mind. If it helped the babies stay asleep she’d sit here and quietly sing to them all night. She loved them both as if they were hers. They were as close as she’d ever have anyway.
Galyna whispered from the open doorway. “Jules, let them be and come have a glass of wine with me.”
“Just a second. BABY BOY is going to wake up and if I’m here to give him his stuffed bear he won’t wake BABY GIRL up.
Right on cue BABY BOY rolled over, reached his hands up in the air and whimpered adorably. Jules placed the soft fluffy bear into his arms and he grasped it tight, burying his cheek against the fluffy tufts of fur. BABY GIRL didn’t even peek open an eye.
“It’s like you’re clairvoyant or something.” Galyna gasped and threw her hands over her mouth and whispered through them. “I’m so sorry. Ignore my stupid mouth. I didn’t mean to bring that up. Sorry, sorry.”
She wished the hair on the back of her neck didn’t stand on end and her stomach would stop roiling with tsunami’s of fear at the mere mention of that vision. Jules swallowed two or three times and then again. Everything was okay, there were no dragons trying to eat her from toes to nose. She was here in the nursery with a warm loving family who appreciated her. Everything was okay.
“It’s fine, Gal.” Her hands only shook a little when she pulled the cover up over the twins. “They should be good until morning.”
Their mother crossed her arms and shot Jules a sidelong glance. “Good, because by then I can make Max get up with them. It’s my turn to sleep in for once.”
Jules knew she wasn’t fooling anyone, but she appreciated how her friend pretended she had. It was silly of her to get so worked up about something that wasn’t even real anyway. Still, if she never saw another dragon in her life, or her mind, she’s be happy enough.
Gal motioned Jules out of the nursery and into the cozy kitchen where two glasses of red wine were already poured. They sat and Jules cupped her glass in her hands. She stretched her neck, rotating her head from side to side and then took a long swig of the fruity blend. “Ahh. That’s the ticket.”
The two of them settled into the plush couches. Gal tucked their feet underneath of her in a move reminiscent of a dog curling up on a bed. Or rather a wolf. “They weren’t too much of little monsters tonight, were they? I really appreciate you coming over on short notice to watch them. Again.”
Shifter children were almost always little terrors, especially wolves. Throw in that these two were the children of the pack alpha and very few people in town wanted to babysit. Jules didn’t mind a bit. “They were fine. They only chewed through two blankets and six or seven stuffed animals before they wore themselves out.”
“I should have stock in Build-A-Bear with as many of those things as we go through. Max thinks it hilarious. I’m slightly horrified every time I find a stuffed animal’s head ripped from its body and buried in the blankets in their crib.”
Max walked into the great room and ran a hand along his wife’s shoulder and followed his touch with a kiss to the same spot, right where her mark from him lie under her shirt. “They are wolves, my love. It’s in their nature.”
“I know. It’s still strange to see GIRL BABY carry her shredded bear around in her mouth like a fresh kill.” Gal shivered. “It’s going to be really strange when they shift in a few years and actually bring home what they hunt.”
“You’ll love every minute of it and be a very proud mama.”
“Yeah. I will.” Gal winked at Jules, her bubbly happiness overflowing in her eyes.
Jules wasn’t jealous. Not even a little bit. Nope. Not her. “Okay, I should be going I guess.”
“Wait. I’m glad you’re still here. Please, sit back down.” Max held out his hand politely indicating the couch.
Jules knew better than to think that was a request. When the alpha of the Grimm pack asked you to sit, you sat. “Is there something wrong?”
“We all know there is. I know you’d rather ignore your vision, but I can’t take that chance.” Max perched himself on the edge of the couch blocking Jules from going anywhere.
“I’m sure it’s nothing. It hasn’t happened again. Maybe I just dreamed it.” Except dreams didn’t usually happen when in the waking hours. Nor did they leave a person with scars. Inside and out. She touched her neck where the last of the bite marks were healing.
“I can’t take that chance. I’ve called in someone who I hope can help us. If what you saw was the Black Dragon, then we need reinforcements.”
Gal put her hand over Jules’s. She hadn’t even realized she’d been picking at her cuticles until Gal stopped her. “We won’t let anything happen to you. There’s no way we can ignore a premonition like what you’ve had. Heli and Zara have taught us better. Please trust us.”
Jules didn’t have a choice. She wasn’t anything special like the other seers in town. She didn’t have special witchy powers over the elements, and she couldn’t change herself into a beast. She was just a human. No one knew why the vision had come to her, only that what she’d seen was a warning of danger to them all.
“I do. You know I’ll do whatever I can to keep those little ones safe.” She almost added on that she loved them, but it would be weird because she wasn’t even related to them. She was just their babysitter.
“Good. Our reinforcements will be here any minute. I’d like you to work closely with him to understand what your vision meant and if he can help us fight and destroy any threat to my children.”
“Our children, dear.”
“Sorry, sweetheart. I’m get a little extra possessive of my family when someone tells me the King of Hell wants to kidnap them.”
A flash of her vision popped into Jules head. A huge black dragon had the babies clutched in its great claws and was flying away with them while burning the city to the ground in its wake. She’d do anything to prevent that from happening. Anything.
A knock sounded on the door, three sharp raps that made her jump. God she hated being scared all the time like this.
“That’s him.” Max got up to answer the door and she heard another deep male voice.
The Troika wolves had a lot of connection in this area and throughout the magical world. Whoever they called in to help could be anything from a mage to an alien bear-shifter star ranger for all she knew. She was hoping for someone more on the mage side. While she did trust the wolves in Rogue, New York, knowing that they had a beast hiding inside that could take over at any point still made her a little uneasy. At least none of them were dragons.
“Dax, you remember Galyna.” Max escorted a supermodel, like underwear sports star cover of Men’s Health and GQ hottie McHotsalot into the room.
Wow. Had the temperature in here just gone up like a hundred and seventy-two degrees? If it wasn’t completely embarrassing, she’d fan herself. As it was she snuck her hands under the outside of her thighs to wipe any sweat off her palms. Not like a super good-looking guy like this would even think twice about meeting her, but she didn’t want to completely embarrass herself by making him shake a squashy hand when they were introduced.
“And this is our babysitter with the vision, Jules.” The guy turned his dark eyes with the glow around the edges on her.
Gulp. Definitely a supernatural being of some sort. Maybe a god? The God of lust if her girly parts were any indication. Holy cow, she’d never had a reaction to a man like this in her life. “Hi.”
At least she’d gotten that one word out. That was about all her addled brain was capable of at the moment. It was a good thing Max had introduced her by name because she wasn’t sure she knew what it was right about now.
“Well hello there, Jules. It’s very nice to meet you.” Dax took her hand and kissed the back of it. Kissed. Her. Hand.
Or shock. Whew boy, when his lips touched her skin a surge of something like electricity but better shot through her. At the same time the red crystal pendant he wore around his neck flashed and a red glow filled the room. He stared at her like she was both the love of his life and a threat to it.
“Who are you?”
Max answered for them both. “Jules, meet Daxton Cervony, the Red Dragon Warrior who is here to helps us.”
Chapter Two – part two
Shit, shit, shit. She yanked her hand out of his and took two giant leaps away from him. Her heart and lungs went into overdrive preparing her to either fight or flight far, far from the alluring danger of this predator who was ready to eat her.
Daxton held his hands out, fingers spread in a stance that was probably meant to show her he meant no harm. She wasn’t buying it. “You, you stay away from me. And the children. I don’t know how you talked your way in her, but you need to leave. Right now.”
Max and Gal stared wide-eyed at her like she’d just told a little old lady to fuck off. “Jules. What are you doing? Dax is here to help. He’s a Dragon Warrior.”
Jules moved away again, sliding over the back of the couch to put it between her and the stupid dragon. “Like that’s supposed to make me feel better. He’s a dragon who knows Kung Fu, or Ninjitsu, or Ninjago. He’s dangerous and either he leaves or I do. Didn’t you see the way he was trying to hypnotize me or whatever. I’m telling you he isn’t safe.”
Dax tipped his head to the side acting all innocent. “Isn’t Ninjago that Lego ninja cartoon? I hope I’m a better warrior than that.”
“Don’t you make jokes, you dinosaur in sheep’s clothing.”
He chuckled and man, it was a sensual sound. Dammit, why did evil villians have to be so damn hot? Spike, Loki, Gaston, the Joker, and now Dax. She needed to get her head examined. At least her body knew what it was doing. With every movement he made, she got further away from him and put lots of furniture blockades between the two of them. In fact, she was almost to the door and could make her escape.
Max turned into a blur and crossed the room, zipping up behind her and blocking her escape route. “Jules. This is not optional. I’m sorry if you are uncomfortable with the dragon. I swear on the moon in the sky he will do no harm to you. If we knew of another way to find out how to keep the children safe we wouldn’t put you through this.”
The bile rolling around in her stomach jumped up to the back of her throat. She swallowed and swallowed again pushing her fear down as much as he could. It didn’t want to go. “Fine. You want me to work with a dragon that I’m sure is going to kill me, I will. For BOY BABY and GIRL BABY.”
How the hell she was going to do it without fainting dead away was the question of the century. Ignore her fight or flight response? Yeah, right. What if she didn’t have to be in the same room with him. All he needed was some information. He didn’t actually need her. “I’m going home now and I’ll call him, or better yet, text him. Then he can go off and do his dragony thing.”
Up until that point Dax had stayed where he was, which was the only thing keeping her from pushing through Max’s wall of muscles and out the door. Dax moved slowly around the blockade of furniture and toward her, speaking in a soothing lilt. “I understand you’re scared, lass. I too swear, on the the First Dragon, that I will not harm you. I am only here to protect and serve. It will be hard to do that over the phone.”
She wanted to believe him. She really did. Especially when he called her lass. Nobody had ever called her anything other than her name. The way he said that word made her think of elicit and naughty historical romance novels. Her mind and body were sending such mixed signals and she didn’t know which way was up. Her head said run, her body said stay and never leave his side.
What the heck was wrong with her? If she got eaten or kidnapped and hidden away in some hoard of jewels and gold in a cave in the middle of nowhere she was going to… what? It’s not like she had any supernatural powers except that one scary ass vision of getting chomped on by a black dragon.
Regular old human’s could become ghosts when they died horrific deaths, right? Good. “I don’t like it, but I will work with you if I have to. But I’m telling you right now, if you murder me, I will haunt your ass until the end of time.”
“My ass, huh?” He raised one eyebrow and damn it, there was definitely a spark of interest in his eye that made her want to curl up in his arms. He knew it too. “Could be fun.”
Her fingers itched to flip him off. Which was one-hundred percent rude. If he really was here to help like he and Max promised, she could try to be a little bit nice. She clenched her hands into fists to keep them from running astray. “What do I have to do.”
Max and Galyna breathed a sigh of relief at the same time and then looked to Daxton. He’d continued to move closer to her and she hadn’t even noticed his stealthiness. She’d have to keep a close eye on him. He’d need to earn her trust.
“First off, I’d like to know what you are. I’m guessing some sort of fire witch by the way you lit up my soul shard.” He patted his chest. That crystal glowed brightly enough that the red light came through the dark black material of his shirt.
“I’m not doing that. I don’t have any special powers. I’m nothing special. Just an ordinary human.” She should change her name to Jane, because she was plain.
Dax came another step closer so that she had to tilt her head up to look at him. “You’re definitely not ordinary. That I can know for sure. You can reveal yourself to me. We will keep your secrets.”
That sounded so dirty.
“No, really. I’m no–”
The world around her flashed into a cloud of TV static and smoke. Oh God. Not again.
The scream stuck in her throat and wouldn’t come out no matter how hard she tried. She was sure she was pushing air and fear out of her lungs through her vocal cords but the world was silent, even if her throat did feel raw. If she couldn’t scream, then she would run. But to where and what if she ran directly into the Black Dragon again?
“This isn’t real, it isn’t real. Get a hold of yourself, Jules. You are not going to die.” It sure felt like it though. There was something dark and evil in this hazy vision world with her. It’s empty soullessness permeated her skin and pricked at her brain like a voodoo doll at an acupuncture convention.
If she could just pay attention this time maybe should could give Dax something better to go on than a big black dragon tried to eat me and kidnap the Grimm babies. Big breath in, long slow breath out. She blinked a few times for good measure and then stared into the static around her to see what she could find.
A shape was forming not too far in front of her. It started out small, about the size of a basketball, but with each passing second it grew bigger. Wait, it wasn’t getting bigger, it was getting closer. Eek. If ever there was a time to run it was right now.
No. Breathe. It’s just a vision. She could do this. Jules bit her lip to keep herself focused and from letting the silent scream building up inside of her from coming out. The blobby shape became three, two smaller ones moving along side a bigger one that took on some color. Red. Something huge and red was charging toward her.
Her legs bounced and wiggled of their own accord. They were going to run whether she told them too or not. Just a few more seconds and the red thing would come into view. Strange lightbulb-sized bursts of light popped up in front of the thing.
Uh-oh. Those weren’t lightbulbs. Those were bursts of flames. They shot through the static and straight for her. Right behind the balls of fire, a big red dragon flew out of the darkness and charged at her, spewing flames and death.
“Duck, dear.” A beautiful lilting voice filled the strange space she was in coming from no direction and every which way at the same time.
Jules got control of her body and spun around looking for her new ally. “Who said that?”
“If you don’t drop the the ground in the next half a second your dragon is going to singe your hair. It’s hard enough to shoot fireballs at the moving targets of those weird little Galla Demons that are after you without worrying about hitting your brown-dyed hair in the process. Do duck now or be prepared to spend quite a lot of time at the salon tomorrow. Although maybe you should make an appointment anyway and go back to your natural color. It suits you better.”
The enormous red dragon opened its mouth and a long stream of fire shot right for her face. Jules did indeed duck. She covered her head with her arms and closed her eyes tight. The heat from the flames went right over the top of her head and the fast clickety-click of a clawed creature running past her filled her ears from both sides.
“Oi. Kids. I tell you. Such trouble makers.” The woman’s voice complained but she clearly thought whatever battle was happening over Jules head was more like a child’s game of shenanigans. “You can wake up now, Jules. We’ll see you again soon.”
The voice had faded upon those final words and Jules had no idea if that promise was a lifeline or a threat.
Chapter Three – part one
If Dax had known that Cage was sending him to his doom, he still would have come to Rogue, New York. Because the end of his days had come in the form a gorgeous round-bottomed human babysitter with whom he was already a little bit in love. And she was scared to death of him.
She claimed she was human, but there was no way. She just didn’t want to reveal her true self in front of him or the wolves. All the signs pointed to her being a fire witch. No other woman would have been able to light up his soul shard. Except his mate, of course.
She couldn’t be that. Red dragons didn’t have mates. The Wyverns of the other Wyrs had started a chain reaction among their dragon warriors when they themselves had found their mates. Jakob, the Green Dragon Wyvern started it all with his pretty mate and wife, Ciara. Then all of sudden Green Dragon Warriors were finding mates all over the place. Like his friend Steele. Lucky bastard.
Steele’s soul shard had lit up exactly like Dax’s had when he’d met his mate Fleur. Now they were blissfully mated and having more sex than wild rabbits. That was how, after hundreds of years, the dragon warriors figured out how to find their mates again. Reportedly with a little help from the First Dragon and the White Witch. Since then, the Blue Dragons, the Gold Dragons, and even the Black Demon Dragons had gotten their ability to find their mates back.
Not the Red Dragons. They had to wait for their Wyvern, Maciej Cervony, to find his mate before any of them could. But Match was off hunting some demon woman from hell who’d tried to kill him. So they had to wait. Which meant while Dax’s soul shard had lit up exactly like Steele’s, Jules was not his mate.
Fine by him. He didn’t need a mate. He hadn’t even hit his Prime years yet. He still had a lot of fooling around and one-night stand ahead of him before he was ready to settle down and be tied to one woman. He certainly wouldn’t mind getting to know every inch and curve of Jules. His cock agreed.
First he had to get her to trust him.
No, first he had to figure out what in the world was happening to her. A second ago, right when he thought he was close to getting her to take that first step toward trusting him, she’d gone all stiff and her eyes had rolled back in her head. That was weird enough. Galyna explained her body was in the grip of a vision.
That he could handle. What sent him into protection mode and brought his own dragon straight up to the surface was her screams.
She screamed so long and hard, within seconds she was going hoarse. Dax grabbed Jules to him not knowing what else to do. He couldn’t see, hear, or feel the danger she did. He tried to pick her up, but her body was like a stone pillar. All he could do was hold her in his arms until the vision passed. He didn’t even know if she could hear him, but he talked to her anyway. He knew from experience that having a task or a mission in the face of fear dulled the anxiety to a manageable level. “It’s okay, lass. We’re here, you’re safe. It’s only a vision. Try your best to look around and see what it wants to show you so you can tell us when you get back.”
She’d took a few deep breaths then and her body relaxed a little. Thank the First Dragon. Maybe she could hear him. Soft and soothing was not his forte. He was a warrior, not a nanny. He had the worst bedside manner and probably sounded ridiculous. He was much better in bed than on the side of it. If it helped her get through this vision it didn’t matter. “Good. That’s it. I’ve got you.”
He’d hold her as long as it took.
Maxsim was doing the same for his mate Galyna who looked like she was ready to climb the walls with her worry. “This is taking too long. She should be out of it by now. Something is wrong. Heli and Zara’s visions only ever lasted a few seconds.”
Dax didn’t know anything about psychics but he agreed with Galyna when Jules’s legs began to shake. “Is there any way we can pull her out?”
Galyna shook her head. “I don’t know. I don’t think so. I can call the girls to see if they know. What if she gets hurt again?”
Dax did not like the sound of that. “Hurt? I thought this was just a vision, how can she get hurt?”
“When she woke up from her other one, she had a bite mark on her neck and her arms had been clawed by something. She said it was a black dragon. She’s only now healing because I had some of Fleur’s magic dragon’s breath balm.”
A bite on her neck? By a dragon? Red fire swirled around the edges of Dax’s vision.
It couldn’t be. Was the Black Dragon trying to mark and claim Jules? Dax tipped his head to the side of Jules’s neck and pushed her hair out of the way, dreading what he might see. If there was the black mark of a dragon there, he might just lose his cool.
He blew out a long breath he hadn’t even realized he was holding when he saw nothing more than a bite mark. That was bad enough and he hated that she had to endure even the tiniest bit of pain from her vision. At least it wasn’t the tattoo that came with being marked by a dragon. He couldn’t imagine if anyone else’s mark had been branded on her skin.
Not like he had a right to mark, claim, and mate her. But he didn’t have to be happy about anyone else doing it either. Especially not something as evil as the Black Dragon.
Jules heart was beating so fast and hard he could feel it against his own chest. What the hell was happening in her vision? He’d always been happy with the amount of power he’d been given in life and his own dominion over fire, but right about now he sure as shit wished he was psychic in some shape or form. She gasped and then he wasn’t sure if her knees gave out or she deliberately dropped to the floor, but within a second, they were both down on the ground. Jules curled her body into a tight ball and Dax did his best to encircle her with his own body.
“Shh, lass, shhh. Come back to us now. I’m here, I’ll keep you safe, but you have to come back to us.” She may want to haunt him if he killed her, but he would hunt down anything that actually hurt her, drown it in a river of fire and brimstone until it was so dead there was nothing left in this realm or the next.
Chapter Three – part two
“Red…” Jules eyes closed instead of being rolled back in her head and she mumbled. “Dragon. Red dragon.”
Dax bowed his head slightly and found the crook of her neck with his lips. He pressed a small kiss there, ever so gently and slumped, letting the relief unlock his muscles. The vision appeared to be over now. He’d be perfectly happy if she never had another one ever again. That was progress if she was already asking for him. “I’m here, lass.”
She snuggled into his arm, pressing her head against his shoulder. Her voice was quiet and sleepy, but not distressed any more. “Don’t eat me.”
He’d very much like to, but not in the way she meant at the moment. If she was his, he’d already have her– better not to think about that right now. “I will make this promise as many times as you need to hear it. I will never harm you. You are mine to protect.”
He hadn’t meant to say that last part, but the words had rolled off his tongue anyway. To his own surprise, he did mean them. He’d never said the same about any other being in the world, much less an unclaimed woman. If any other dragons were around, they would be wondering if he’d found his mate.
Mates were the only women a dragon claimed like Dax just had. She wasn’t his mate.
He didn’t want one. He didn’t need one. He couldn’t even have one if he wanted a mate.
Her eyelids fluttered and her soft brown eyes stared up at him, all warm and trusting. “I am?”
He would protect her. Claim on her or not. Mate or not. “Yes, you are.”
The tiniest of frowns turned the corners of her mouth down and a vee creased her forehead as she considered his words. “Then why were you attacking me a minute ago?”
“Is that what you saw in your vision?” He hoped her visions were not predictions of the future. He couldn’t imagine what would lead him to attack her. Unless she wasn’t being truthful with him and was hiding her true self.
“A red dragon charged me, shooting flames. It was so angry and I couldn’t get out of it’s way fast enough. I’m a bit surprised I’m not fried to a crispy crunchy crust.”
Galyna crossed over and knelt beside them. “Did you see the babies again?”
Jules blinked a few times and her eyes brightened. She was rousing from her drowsiness. “I’m not sure. I was mostly concentrating on the dragon shooting fireballs at me. I think they might have been running along side of it. But maybe it was wolves. I don’t know. That doesn’t make any sense.”
Max and Galyna glanced at each other and he tipped his head toward another part of the house. Galyna hurried toward what Dax assumed must be the children’s room.
A lot about this vision was bothering Dax. “Are you sure it was me attacking you?”
Jules swallowed, but met his eyes. “Are there other red dragons?”
She really was a newb to the supernatural world if she didn’t know that. Maybe she was human after all. That didn’t explain why his soul shard was practically burning a hole in his chest with the fire inside. “Lots. The Red Dragon Wyr is the oldest of the clans and the most umm, prolific.”
He couldn’t imagine any Red Dragon Warrior attacking a human, especially a soft, beautiful woman like Jules. Demon wyrms and evil black witches, sure, but not an innocent. Dax did not like the implications of that train of thought.
“Yikes.” Her words portrayed worry, but her demeanor didn’t anymore.
Nor did her scent. She smelled of peaches and warm cozy blankets in front of a crackling fire. If a dragon had attacked her in her vision, wouldn’t she be more nervous about being around him? Something else must have happened in there too.
“You need not fear any of them.” Would she believe that? She’d been off the charts terrified a few minutes ago. She had been trying very hard to get away from him, grasping at any method to avoid working with him. This could be a trick. Especially if she was a black witch.
“I know.” As soon as the words popped out of her mouth, she tilted her head a wee bit to the side and her eyes flicked from side to side considering the validity of what she’d said. “Huh. Why aren’t I afraid of you anymore?”
“You tell me.” This woman was either very good at hiding her dark nature or the most fascinating creature he’d ever encountered. It made him want to stick around until the day Match did find a mate to see if she might be the one for him.
Wait. He did not just think that. No way. She might be dangerous. Either to all of mankind or maybe only his bachelorhood. Either way, he needed to be more careful of letting his libido drive his judgement of her.
“Magic?” she whispered all wide eyed and expectant.
How was he supposed to answer that. Maybe she was trying to tell him something and wanted him to lead her into revealing her secrets to him. “Because you’re a witch?”
“No.” She narrowed her eyes. “Aren’t dragons magic?”
Galyna came back into the room, a lot of the worry gone from her face. “The babies are still fast asleep. Their chubby little legs aren’t running anywhere.”
Jules sat up, propping herself on Dax’s knee for just a moment before pushing off to stand up. “I’m so glad. I wish I understood better what was going on. I hate worrying everyone.”
She wavered on her feet and Dax grabbed her by the elbow to steady her. No way that was feigned helplessness. He could not figure this chick out. “You’re exhausted. You should rest. We can talk about this more in the morning.”
Tonight he’s do some investigating on his own. It was either that or spend the night fantasizing about all the things he wanted to do to her body. Yes. He needed some space to clear his head. And a drink. He’d start his search for answers at the speakeasy owned by the Troika’s. Plus free booze.
Plus other pretty girls that he could distract himself with.
So why didn’t he actually want to go?
Maxsim glanced at him then at Jules and back. “Dax, will you escort Jules home?”
“I’ll be fine, I don’t need anyone to escort me. It’s only a few blocks.” She was already moving toward the door.
In a hurry much? Damn he was getting such fucking mixed signals from her. She was definitely hiding something. He should go home with her and check out her house, look for any indication that the demon wyrms had been there. Yes. He’d thoroughly search her kitchen, her living room, her bedroom.
Max folded his arms and puffed up his chest in that way all alphas did when they were ready to lay down the law. “I’d feel better if you allowed him to take you home. We don’t know what this threat is or what it means, but we do know you’re the key.”
Jules clasped her coat to her chest and backed away. “I don’t want to be the key. I can’t be. I’m no one special, you know that as well as I do.”
She was about to go back to running scared. Dax wasn’t going to get any information out of her if she did. Trust. She had trusted him for that brief minute after she’d woken up out of that vision and he’d held her in his arms. It faded as he questioned her.
Fine. No questions, more physical touch. Sounded like a good plan. Take her home, touch her.
No hardship there. He plucked her coat from her hands and held it out around her shoulders. “Don’t worry about that now. Every one is safe for the moment. Take the reprieve when it’s offered.”
Jules slid her arms into her jacket and Dax turned her to button it up. He leaned in close and whispered in his best seductive tone, “Let me take you home.”
And do naughty things with you.
Chapter Four – part one
A dragon wanted to take her home. A dragon.
What was worse was she wanted him to.
She really shouldn’t allow it. Somehow she still found herself saying yes. “Okay. I guess that would be fine.”
Fine? Really? When he’d whispered in her ear a second ago she’d felt anything but fine. Hot, achy, needy, wanting, wanton, but not effing fine.
She was going to blame her addled-headedness around this guy on that vision. This one had been very different from the last. At first she’d been afraid, she’d been petrified. She kept thinking how the Black Dragon was going to steal the children from her side.
But she’d survived. With the help of someone else. A woman. She simply could not get the image of anything besides that big red dragon and it’s fiery breath to form in her mind’s eye. Whatever that woman had said changed everything. She’d taken the fear of all dragons away and replaced it with a calm trust.
That had to be a spell or something. All these stupid supernatural beings could take their transformations and their visions and shove it. Jules would not be manipulated, and she would not be afraid. Visions schmisions.
If she wanted to take a hot guy home with her, she was going to. Who cared if he could shift into a big red scaly beast the size of her teeny house. It was her choice to trust him. Not some faceless, nameless magical woman. Nobody was going to control her and her decisions.
But would she ever make the decision to take a strange man that she’d only just met home with her, after dark, with every intention to kiss him until she was weak in the knees?
Not yesterday. Not this morning. Not even an hour ago.
What had changed? Because she really wanted to grab Dax by the hand and drag him on out of the house, down the street and tangle tongues with him in the moonlight.
Maybe it was him. He was a flirt, that’s for sure. She’d known other men exactly like that. They used their good looks and charm to get women to do exactly what they wanted. She’d fallen for it before.
She didn’t feel like that’s what he was doing though. He was different. She couldn’t put her finger on how, but his flirting didn’t feel like insincere flattery. There was genuine interest in his eyes when he looked at her.
In fact, no one had ever looked at her the way he was right now. He’d waited for her to consent. He hadn’t assumed she was going to say yes. That alone was enough to give him some of her trust.
She trusted him, but she didn’t trust herself.
Had she ever?
Jiminy Crickets, she was overthinking this to death and irritating even herself. Enough. Quit thinking and act. She grabbed Dax’s hand and hauled him out the front door before anyone else, including the scared untrusting girl who lived inside her head to say anything else. “Okay, bye. We’ll see you all tomorrow.”
Dax squeezed her hand and that gave her the smidgen of confidence that she needed to know she’d done the right thing. Probably. God, she hoped he wasn’t going to get her home and murder her. She had threatened him with haunting if he did. So there was that. “I only live two blocks up and one block over. We can be there in a couple minutes.”
The night air was still warm and sliver of a moon hung low on the horizon. The slight haze from the humidity in the air made the stars sparkle and the whole scene was entirely too romantic. Best not to think of that and concentrate on getting home and figuring out what the hell she was going to do once she got there. One foot in front of the other directly down the sidewalk in the pretty suburban neighborhood. With her dragon in tow.
Jules dragged Dax a good block and a half, with only one more to go, before he slowed her down. “I love that you’re in a hurry to get me home, lass. It’s quite the turn on.”
Uh-oh. His voice was a little too loud and a lot too creepy. Damn, she had made a mistake. Dax gently yanked her toward him and into his arms. She ducked her head to avoid his mouth coming down on hers, but he chased her and pressed his lips to her ears. “Pretend you’re totally in to me and we’re going to get down and dirty right here in the middle of the street.”
Wait. Pretend? Jules heart beat picked up and that old familiar tingle of fight or flight raced across the back of her neck. Her breath froze in her lungs. There was something out there and he knew it. But then Dax wrapped a big warm hand in the same exact spot and all of a sudden she could breath again.
She leaned into his body and sighed, wrapped her arms around his neck and tilted her head to the side giving him more access to her neck and ears. “What’s going on?”
“Don’t be afraid. Well, do, but don’t worry because I’m not going to let anything happen to you.” He pulled her even tighter into his arms so that her body was completely flush with his. Her curves molded against his hard muscles, and there were oh so many of them.
Jules didn’t have to pretend she wanted to make out with Dax. Not even a little teeny tiny bit. She pushed her hands into his hair and wrapped her calf around the back of his. “What am I not supposed to worry about?”
He brushed his lips along the skin at her neck and up to her ear. “Over there, in the shadow of the houses, there are at least a half dozen demon wyrms. They followed us from the Grimm house.”
If he had said any other words she wouldn’t have even cared. The sensations running up and down every nerve ending she had were on fire, burning for him. Their flames were stoked to burn even higher by the surge of adrenaline his revelation brought down on her. “We have to go back, warn them.”
“I will. But first I want to get you safe. They’re blocking the route to the turn I’m assuming we were to make up ahead because there are another six hiding under the various cars and in the bushes of the houses on the corner.” Dax tilted his head to the side indicating where she should look.
She didn’t even know what she was looking for. Demon sounded bad, but what was wyrm? Demon worms didn’t sound that bad, unless they were like the ones from the horror movies that dug up from the core of the earth to swallow whole cars and houses whole. Eek. Did the earth below them just tremor?
She held as still as possible so they didn’t feel the vibrations from her body even though she was pretty sure she was shaking in her boots. “I don’t see them. Or I mean, I guess I don’t know what to look for. Which doesn’t really matter because what are we going to do?”
“You aren’t afraid of heights are you?”
“No. Should I be?”
“As soon as they realize I see them, they’ll attack. I can hold a dozen of them or so off myself, but where there’s a dozen, there’s more. If I can get you to safety I can call up any other dragons in the area and then come back and burn them all to the ground. To do that, I need to shift into my dragon form and fly you the hell out of here.”
Big gulp. Like sixty-four ounce X-treme Double Big Gulp. “You want to turn into a dragon and I’m supposed to crawl up on your back and fly away?”
“More like you’ll catch a ride in my claws. I promise I won’t drop you. Ready?”
Oh, like right now? Crap. No. “Yes.”
Chapter Four – Part Two
“That’s my girl. Hold on.” Dax kissed her then. Hard and fast and with a slip of the tongue. A brilliant red sparkle of light shimmered across his skin and in two blinks of her eyes she was looking into the snout of a fire breathing dragon.
A red one, that looked awfully familiar. Jules gaped at his beauty for a whole second before he blew a snuffle across her hair and lifted into the air.
Grab onto my leg and hold on tight, here they come.
Whoa. Mental telepathy. She was so going to ask him about that later. Jules jumped into the curled claw full of talons that he held out for her. It looked scary as hell but once she was wrapped up in his grasp she felt safer than if she had a protective forcefield around her.
Good thing too, because that’s right when the velociraptors came out to play. If she had known that a demon dragon looked like an evil black dinosaur crossed with a bat and an ostrich with wings and beady red eyes and also breathed fire, she would have been a whole lot more worried than she had been.
Dax’s wings flapped in one great big whoosh and they gained fifty feet in altitude while the demon wyrms were blown back by the force of the blow. That didn’t stop them though. The second they recovered most of them took to the air as well and the chase was on. Holy crapballs was it on.
Jules hung on tight, but there was no way she was closing her eyes for a second. “Dax, look out. There’s one on your three o’clock coming in fast.”
Dax dove and spun just like a fancy jet fighter and Jules squealed. Sorry, lass. I’ll try not to do that again.
“I loved it. Do it as much as you want. This is the best dragon fight I’ve ever been in.”
A big rumbling sound came from the dragon’s belly above her and she realized he was laughing. Okay, then. Hold on tight.
He wasn’t kidding either. Jules gripped him with all her might and Dax dove and twirled and swirled, flying in and out and in between the demons in the sky with them. He shot great swaths of fire and caught several of the nasty little beasts in his flames. They flailed in the air and one burst into a pile of ash right in front of her face.
She continued to call out to him like a wing man when she saw the creeps trying to get into his blind spots. “One on your six and two more at four o’clock.”
Next time they did this she was bringing a weapon, a shotgun, or a rifle, or a slingshot at least so she could help too. No way these bastards were getting anywhere near those sweet babies if she could help it at all. She knew Dax’s original plan was to get her out of there, but they were working well as a team and the demons numbers were dropping like flies as he eviscerated one after another.
We’ve almost got them. Can you hang on a little bit longer?
“Yes. Get them, murder their asses all the way back to hell.”
Yes, my blood-thirsty lassy. Dax beat his wings hard again like before and pulled up into a wide arcing backflip swooping over their heads of the group on his tail and came out behind them. He spit out a series of rapid release balls of fire and took the whole clump of the demons out bang, bang, bang.
When the last one exploded into flames and oily black demon bits rained down on the street below them let go of Dax’s leg for one brief moment to thrust her arms in the air in a double fist pump. “Yeah. Take that, you suckers.”
In the middle of her victory cheer something that smelled like the rotting carcass of a skunk high on stinkweed grabbed her arms with razor-sharp talons and yanked her out of Dax’s grasp.
Her stomach leaped up into her throat, presumably trying to stay in its rightful place in the safety of her dragon’s claws. She fell at least ten feet full on thinking she was going to die splattered along with the ashy remains of the enemy in the middle of NAME street. The demon wrym was grabbing at her legs and arms but all it managed to do was cut and scratch her.
Hold on, Jules. I’m coming. His voice in her head was cool, calm, and collected, like free diving to her death was no big deal. His confidence that he could save her helped and the next time the demon dragon grasped at her she punched it in the face. “Ow.”
Dax cut the damn thing all the way in half with one of his talons and scooped her into the other one about three feet from the ground. Jules hadn’t even noticed she was that close yet because she was concentrating on the other thing trying to kill her. They glided back down the block to the Grimm house and Dax set her gently down in the grass in the front lawn.
The outer motion detector lights were already on as Jules dashed up to the front door. She had to warn Max and Galyna as soon as possible and make sure the babies were okay. She wanted to check on them herself, see their cherubic little faces, and give them a kiss.
If that’s what was after them, they not only were going to need back up from Dax and any other dragons he could round up, but the rest of the packs in Rogue. Max as the alpha of Grimm could contact his brothers and sound the alarm.
Jules, stop. Look. The front door is open, but the house is dark. I can smell the taint of the wyrms. Do not go in there. It isn’t safe.
No. Oh no, no, no. She ignored Dax’s command and burst into the house. The furniture was in shreds, anything not nailed down was askew and none of the family was in sight. What if they were dead? What if the babies had been kidnapped like she’d seen in her vision. “Gal? Max?”
An arm came around her from behind and pulled her back into the darkness of the foyer’s coat closet. She opened her mouth to scream but a hand slapped over her mouth. “Lass, shh. It’s just me.”
She nodded and he removed his hand. “We have to find them. Right now.”
“It’s okay, they’re here and they are okay. I caught their scent along with the demon wyrms. If they are hiding we don’t want to out them. Understand?”
“Yes. But what if they are hurt? Please help me find them. We have to help protect those babies. I know that’s why I was sent that vision.”
“It might be.” He let her go and stepped to the front of the closet and looked both ways. “Take my hand and no matter what, do not let go. They are toward the back of the house. I will lead you there. You keep an eye out behind us just like you did when we were in flight. I can destroy demon wyrms in my human form too, but it’s a harder fought battle, so a lot of warning if we’re under attack will be good.”
“Got it. Let’ go.”
They stepped back into the foyer and this time Jules took in a whole lot more than the overturned furniture. There were giant claw marks in the carpet and along the walls. Demon’s or wolf’s? She couldn’t tell. They crept into the hall and toward the nursery. The door was closed, but there were giant basketball sized holes that went all the way through it.
“This is where their scent is the strongest. Softly call to them, so we don’t startle them with our approach. They’ll be in beast form and ready to strike out at anything that could be a threat, including you and me.”
“Okay.” Jules swallowed and put her mouth near one of the holes in the door. “Gal? Maxsim? It’s okay, Dax and I are here. We killed a bunch of demon things outside.”
“Are you in there? Are you injured? Can we come in and help?”
This time a very low and dark growl came from inside the room. Then another joined it. That had to be Max and Galyna in their wolf forms. A second later a tiny little howl resonated through the air, follow by another slightly higher pitched one. Uh. That wasn’t either of her friends? It sounded like wolf pups howling at the moon. But the babies weren’t old enough to shift. They wouldn’t learn how to become wolves until they were around five years old, according to Serena the matriarch of the Rogue pack.
Jules carefully turned the knob on the door and pushed it open. The growing increased but this time it was followed by little yips and yowls.
“It’s just me. I’m going to come in, very slowly and I’m bringing Dax. Don’t anyone attack us, okay?”
“This isn’t a good idea.”
“I have to make sure the babies aren’t hurt. There’s something weird going on.” Jules slowly peeled herself off the wall and stepped into the doorway to the room. It was darker in here than the rest of the house and it took a second for her eye to adjust. The first thing she saw were the glowing icy blue eyes of Max’s giant wolf crouched in front of the crib the babies shared.
Galyna’s wolf sniffed the air and then nosed Max. She sat down on her haunches and turned her head back toward the crib two. Up over the side railing popped two fluffy little head of the cutest wolf puppies in the whole wide world.
“BABY BOY? BABY GIRL?” At their names they lifted their noses to the sky and yip, yip howled. When their adorable wolf song was done, one of the two sneezed and a toddler with the same blue eyes and blond hair as BABY BOY sat in the crib in its place. The other wolf pup wagged its tail, licked his face and jumped on him.
“BABY GIRL, stop. Gross. Quit it.”
The other pup stretched and shook her head and sneezed. In its place sat BABY GIRL, but definitely not a baby either. “Hi, Juwels.”
Chapter Five – part one
Holy First Dragon. Dax was never ever having kids. They were cute and all, but also these ankle biters were literally biting his ankles. He picked up one wolf puppy in one arm and yanked the other one off his pant leg and tucked it under his other arm. They wriggled and whimpered and yipped in protest at having to stop their brand new favorite game of chew on uncle Dax.
Jules took one of them from him and ruffled its head. Galyna took the other and cradled it in her arms exactly like a baby. These little terrors were no babies. At a sneeze or a tickle or even if someone said their name they shifted between forms. Little kid, wolf, little kid, wolf.
“I don’t like this one bit. When I find out what kind of magic robbed me of watching my children grow up and learn to walk I’m going to–“
Galyna set one wolf pup down, who immediately came over and started chewing on Dax’s jeans again and took the other one from Jules. “What, babe? Forbid it? You don’t know that it wasn’t the response to extreme danger that caused this little insta growth spurt and their ability to shift to come on. Grab BABY BOY. Poor Dax isn’t going to have any pants left in a minute.”
Max was spitting mad, but there was also a glow of pride about him every time he saw one of his kiddos turn into a wolf. He scooped the puppy up who shifted in mid-lift and giggled when his father tossed him into the air. “Maybe. But I reserve the right kill something. Besides, my mother will chew up and spit out the entrails of any being that interfered with her plans to film every second of her grandchildrens’ lives from first steps to first shift and put it on WolfSpace.”
Galyna cooed and tickled her wolf pup’s belly. “Yes, that’s right, Grandma is going to eat their entrails. Yes, she is.”
Dax had already failed in the duty Cage had given him. He was here not even an hour and he’d allowed demon dragon wyrms to invade the Grimm home. Because he’d been distracted by Jules and her luscious body. He only considered for a second that she had purposely created the distraction. When she warned him of the wyrm on his tail and then worked so well with him in battle it was almost like she was a trained warrior who didn’t have the ability to shift. She hadn’t fought, but she had been an excellent navigator and kept a cool head in a crisis.
He knew seasoned warriors who would have flipped their shit in a free fall toward the ground. She’d punched the demon in the face and gracefully waited for him to grab her out of the air. So fucking hot.
He’d almost lost his own shit when she’d been snatched out of his claws. He swore that some divine gift from the First Dragon had given him a burst of speed and power to get to her on time. He’d never flown so fast in his life. He also knew in that last split second that if he didn’t save her and she died, he would burn down the world.
She had to be his mate. He knew he didn’t get one yet, that he had to wait for Match to find his first. Wait he would. The second he was able to give her his soul shard he was going to. She was the one.
Dax knew more than one dragon who’d gone a bit mad in the head thinking he would never find the one. None of their father’s had. It was a wonder any of them had been born at all. Well, except dragon warriors were the horniest bunch of beasts on the face of the planet. Sex brought babies. Mates brought love and babies, as now proven by the AllWyvern Cage and his mate, Azy. Their children had been stalked by the Black Witch even before birth.
The Black Witch. She’d tried to kidnap the dragon babies too. “Max, Gal, I’d like to bring in some more dragons and set up a protective detail for your children. I don’t understand why or how, but I think the Black Witch may be trying to kidnap them.”
Jules shifted on her feet. “But I saw a black dragon trying to take them, not a witch.”
Dax would need to remain vigilant over his emotions and his damn libido around Jules until this problem resolved. She could so easily distract him and he had some proving of himself to do. After that, all bets, and all clothes were off. He crossed his arms and blocked those last thoughts down. “Ereshkigal has many skills. Possibly that’s what she wanted you to see to throw us off the scent. But she tried to steal Izzy and Apollo before they were even born. She couldn’t get to them and I think now she’s after your pups.”
Max’s wolf shimmered up to the surface making his eyes glow. “What the hell do we have to do with the dragons’ battle?”
“I don’t know. But I will find out.” First he needed to get in touch with Cage and check his theory out and call for some reinforcements. This was not a one warrior job.
“Fucking dragons,” Max growled.
BOY BABY clapped and giggled. “Fucking dwagons. Grrr.”
The adults in the room all went wide-eyed and Galyna gave Max a hard stare. He shrugged. “Kid’s not wrong.”
Jules was doing her best to hide a smirk. “Guess we have to start watching what we say around them. It’s incredible how they not only grew, but their mental development seems to be right in line with how old they appear to be. Like maybe around three-ish?”
“Did I just hear my grandson swear?” Serena the Troika matriarch picked her way into the disaster of a living room. “The other boys and their mates are on their way over too. I see we’ll need to call in more to get your place back into liveable order.”
She walked right up to her son, Max, looked at the child he was holding and held her arms out for him. “Aren’t you a big boy now? Come here and tell Babi what you’ve been doing to get so big.”
Two seconds later the alphas of the other two packs in town, and Max’s brothers walked into the room with their mates. “Holy shit, dude. What the–“
Max slapped a hand over his younger brother’s mouth. “For the love of the moon, don’t swear in front of the kids. I’ve already made that mistake.”
The women rushed over to Gal and Serena and the five of them turned into a storm of gestures and talking over each other and laughs and gasps. His Jules was right there in the middle of it all holding her own with the alpha women of entire wolf-shifter world. She glanced over at Dax and gave him a soft smile.
Dax never intended to stay in America long term. This place was always just his favorite R and R spot. He figured he’d get stationed somewhere warm and tropical. He hated the cold. All Red Dragons did. He’d suffered enough brutal winters in Poland where Match the Red Wyr had decided to keep the Wyr. He supposed he could handle a New York winter.
Chapter Five – Part Two
“We’ve decided we should put the nursery back together first so they babies, uh children, can go down. They’re already looking sleepy and I don’t want crying, angry toddlers on my hands tonight.” Galyna patted the back of the little girl who’d finally shifted back into her human form and had her thumb in her mouth.
“Here, give her to me. I’ll watch them while you get the room how you want it.” Jules took the child and the little girl curled into her shoulder, laying her head on Jules like the comfiest of pillows. She was fast asleep in seconds.
BOY BABY held out his arms toward Dax, opening and closing his hands in a gimme motion. “Fucking dwagon, papa.”
Maxim chuckled and shrugged at Dax. “You wanna take him for a minute? The rearranging of the nursery will go faster if the three of us help. He jerked his thumb at his brothers. “We’ll be finished in no time and this little guy will probably already be asleep by then.”
“Sure. If you trust me.”
Maxim handed BOY BABY over who bounced in Dax’s arm. “I don’t, but I do trust Jules. She’ll keep you in line.”
All three men gave Dax either a slap on the back or a sock in the arm as they filed past Dax and down the hall toward the nursery. He deserved it. No way was he letting any demon wyrms harm anyone in this family again.
Man, Jules looked so right holding a small fry in her arms. Something warm bloomed behind Dax’s heart. He rubbed the spot with his knuckles. Probably heart burn.
He really needed to walk outside and make a call. He didn’t want to worry the wolves and Jules more than he had to, especially when he was still the lone dragon warrior. He’d go call Cage and Steele in a minutes. That little girl had to be getting heavy and Jules needed someplace to sit.
Dax cradled BOY BABY in the crook of one arm and grabbed the corner of the couch with the other. With a flick of his wrist he flipped it upright and waved Jules over to sit. There were claw marks like open wounds in the material, but it wasn’t that much worse than the furniture in Dax’s own place. He hated to spend any of his growing hoard on stuff like that. He did have a pair of gold and ruby earrings that would look great on Jules.
She laid GIRL BABY in the corner of couch and reached for BOY BABY who had indeed fallen asleep in Dax’s arm. She nestled them together and then propped pillows in a makeshift fort all the way around them. The children fussed for a second and Dax held his breath hoping they weren’t about to wake up and start screaming their heads off. Jules reached into their little nest and laid one of each of their arms over the other one until they were embracing.
Dax whispered. “You’re so good with them.”
“I love them as if they were my own. I don’t know why, but I feel a very special connection to them.” The children felt it too. No doubt. There was something special about Jules, human or not.
Huh. Did everyone feel drawn to her too? Was he kidding himself thinking his attraction to her was special? She did live in a town where all magical beings were welcome. Maybe someone had bespelled her. Didn’t sound like something the Black Witch would do, as conniving as she was. No, attraction, especially like what he was experiencing, was more likely the work of a sucubus. It wouldn’t be the first time a dragon warrior had been tricked by one.
Once again Dax warned himself to be careful around her. Once he was out of sight of Jules he would examine these intense feelings he was having and ignore the signal his soul shard was emitting. If this was a spell, it was well hidden and very crafty. She claimed to be nothing more than human and he couldn’t scent anything different than that on her. If her story checked out he would keep her close and protect her from whatever dark forces were trying to use her against the wolves and dragons.
Jules yawned and Dax wrapped his arms around the back of the couch, urging her to lay her head on his shoulder. “It’s late and you’ve had a very adventurous night. Sleep for a bit, I’ll watch the kidlets. They can’t get into much trouble if they’re asleep.”
“I am pretty exhausted. I’m not much of a night owl.” She curled into him and within a few seconds she was softly snoring.
Adorable. She fit perfectly against him, her soft curves against his hard… uh, everything. Some parts of him were getting harder at the moment. Down boy. Maybe later. Hopefully.
Jules felt so nice and warm in his arms that his own eyelids drooped a little. She wasn’t the only one who had a killer day. He’d flown halfway across the world to meet her. Okay, not only to meet her, but she was a big part of this mission. One that he’d do anything to protect and keep safe. Along with those cute AF kids.
Dax stretched his neck muscles with a side to side movement of his head, trying not to disturb Jules, and yawned. He caught a faint whiff of something smokey before laying his head back on the couch and closing his eyes.
The first thing he saw in his dream was Jules, running through a field of daisies in the sunlight toward him. The rays glinted off of her hair, highlighting red strands that he wanted to reach out and touch. She was shouting something he couldn’t quite hear. He reached out to catch her and wrap her up in his arms. That’s when he saw the fear on her face and the sound of his name being yelled popped into his consciousness.
“Dax, Daxton. Wake up, you fucking dragon.” Maxim shook his shoulder and his arm was pulled back and his hand was open, poised and ready to slap him across the face. “Where the fuck are my kids?”
“Krphs frrr nurrph thurrr.” Dax’s mouth wasn’t working right. He blinked and even that small movement was slow and labored. “Wha wrong wuff me?”
Galyna grabbed Jules and shook her. Her only reaction was for her head to fall to the side. “Oh my god, oh my god. Someone has poisoned them and taken the babies.”
The rest of the family were standing in a semi-circle in front of him and Jules. All were glaring at him. Which if his brain would work for a second, he knew was appropriate. All he had to do was watch one woman and two sleeping children for like five minutes and he hadn’t been able to do it.
If there was a way to resign from being a Dragon Warrior he would do it right now. That was not an option. He shook his head, trying to brush away the cobwebs of whatever the fuck was wrong with him. “Dragons aren’t affected by drugs.”
There. An entire complete sentence. That was a start. “Help me up. I’ll find whoever did this.”
Maxsim reached for Dax’s collar, ready to heave him up off the couch, but stopped short. Jules’s body tremored, and then shook, and then she went into a full-on seizure. That did more to clear Dax’s head than anything else. He welcomed the adrenaline that pushed through his veins and arteries restarting his heart, lungs and brain.
Dax scooted to the side and laid Jules out on the couch. He fell to his knees onto the ground beside her and pulled Jules to her side to help keep her airway clear. The soft pillows of the couch helped protect her head and all they could do was wait. “I think she’s trying to pull herself out of it.”
The jerky motions of her body slowed and Dax carefully stroked her hair. She took one giant gasp and her eyes popped open. “She took them.”
“Who?” Galyna was wrapped in a giant group hug made up of all the other women in the room. They all were practically holding their breaths waiting for her answer.
Jules blinked again. “I don’t know. I couldn’t see anything more than that. She filled the room with some sort of smoke or fog or light. It was almost like a laser show behind my eyelids. Then she called the children and they shifted and ran outside.”
Max growled and fell to the ground on all fours. His face elongated and fur erupted all over his body. His clothes exploded off his new wolf frame and in an instant he was sniffing the ground and took off running out the front door. Kosta, Niko, and Selena followed.
“They’ll find them, Gal. There are no better noses on the ground than the alphas. If the children are in their wolf forms and running, they won’t get far.” Heli stared out the front door, her wolf eyes glowing. All three of the women’s wolves were also close to the surface.
“We should stay here in case they come back. I’m going to get Jules some water. Dax, you should come to the kitchen and help me do that.” There was a bit of alpha in Zara’s request. She was the Tzarina of all of wolf kind and was used to having her orders followed.
“I’ll be right back, Jules.” Dax got up, wobbled a bit and then went into the kitchen. It wasn’t far off the living room and he could hear Zara opening and closing cupboards. When he turned the corner he didn’t see any glassware or pitchers of water on the counter.
“You listen to me, dragon.” She pointed her finger at him. “You call in all your friends and you find those kids. Then you get this dragon problem out of my lands. You may have helped create our pack’s bond with the dragons all those years ago, and I will never forget the service you did for me and Niko. But If anything happens to those kids or anyone else in Rogue and the pack territories that will be the end of wolf and dragon relations. Forever.”
Well, shit. Not only was Cage going to kill him for doing a piss poor job on this mission, he was also going to extra super duper kill him for creating a rift between two of the most powerful supernatural species in the world. Add diplomacy and negotiating a peace treaty to his to do list. “I hear you, my lady. I vow I will find them. I’m sorry your family has been made to suffer”
Zara folded her arms and her glare was extra powerful with the blue glow of her wolf in her eyes. “You do that. Then you’re out of here and I don’t ever want to see you in pack lands again. Do I make myself clear?”
There went his plan for spending the cold New York winter in Jules’s bed. “Yes, my lady.”
Chapter Six – part one
Oh no. Oh no no no no no.
The children were missing, probably kidnapped by some evil monster and it was Jules’s fault. Damn these visions. Why couldn’t she have been born with real supernatural powers and not a stupid plain human? Sure she’d dabbled in some elemental witchcraft. There wasn’t a teenager in all of Rogue who hadn’t. Didn’t matter if they were human or special, everyone tried it. She’d even convinced herself that she’d turned rainy weather into a bright sunshiny day for a picnic with her friends once.
Of couse she was kidding herself. The only time she’d ever come close to being a part of the real supernatural world was at last year’s all pack mating ceremony. The Troika’s and the people in Rogue were the only family she’d ever really known. She’d hoped that one of the wolves would choose her for a mate. She didn’t care which pack he was from, just as long as he wanted her and she got the chance to go through the change like Galyna, Heli, and Zara had.
It hadn’t happened. Not a single wolf had even sniffed her way. She wanted to be dissapointed. Somehow, she wasn’t. The Troika’s still welcomed her into their lives. Not for long if she didn’t get her rear in gear and figure out how to find and keep those children safe. Maybe Heli or Zara could help her figure out how to control her visions, use them instead of the visions using her.
That’s what if felt like. It was as if some outside power was pushing into her head and forcing her to see and experience the darker side of the world.
Except for Dax. She’d been afraid of him both when she met him in person and in her vision. She’d been wrong about him both times. A strange connection to him pulled the fear out of her and replaced it with something in between comfort and excitement.
That sounded stupid even to her, but that’s what it was. She’d never been so alive as when they’d been flying through the air fighting demons together. She’d also knew that when she’d laid her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes, he wouldn’t let anything bad happen to her. Weird since she’d only known him a couple of hours.
The desire to keep him safe whipped through her like a warm spring zephyr. They were both in a lot of trouble now, even though everyone knew it wasn’t really their fault. Dax had told her to stay put when Zara called him into the kitchen. Lame. Either the Tzarina was going to give him useful information or murder him with cookies.
Zara’s icy voice floated to Jules’s ears before she made it into the kitchen. “Then you’re out of here and I don’t ever want to see you in pack lands again. Do I make myself clear?”
Uh-oh. Jules didn’t like the thought of Dax being forced to leave. Nope. Not at all. She didn’t know why, but he needed to stay in Rogue. Like a really long time. Like forever.
“Yes, my lady.” Dax sounded suitably chastised but still respectful and not like he was kowtowing to Zara.
Jules understood all the wolves anger, but she wouldn’t stand for it to be directed at Dax when he’d done nothing but work to protect them all. She rounded the corner into the kitchen, put her hands on her hips in her best Wonder Woman power pose and looked Zara dead in the eye. “No. Don’t go blaming Dax for any of this and thinking you can kick him out. He’s already protected us all from super creepy demon lizard men and was knocked out by some kind of drug or spell for his trouble. Who knows what might have happened if he hadn’t been here.”
Zara raised her finger to halt Jules’s speech, but there was no stopping her now. “I know you’re the Tzarina and what you say goes, but your anger is misdirected and I’m here to tell you it will do more harm than good to make Dax the bad guy when we all know he’s the one who is going to help us save the kids and defeat this threat.
Jules had seen any and all of the women here tonight shift into their wolf forms before. It was a common occurrence in Rogue. So she recognized the signs of Zara’s wolf being close to the surface and ready to lash out at her. She had come off a little strong, telling the most powerful woman she knew to shove off, but she wasn’t wrong and if ever she was going to prove she was worthy of being more than just a human, it was now.
She lifted her chin and held her arms straight at her side. It took all her confidence to maintain eye contact with Zara’s wolf. They were officially in a stare-down.
Zara relented first, narrowing her eyes and then glancing between Dax and Jules. “You’re right, Jules. I apologize. I can’t say I’m not still mad at your dragon, so I’m telling you now, it would go a long way if you two were to go find those babes.”
Your dragon. Someone else had said that to her recently. She couldn’t quite get a grasp on who though. Seemed silly, he wasn’t hers at all. He was a sexy wild thing and shouldn’t ever be tied down.
Well. Except maybe in bed.
Jules eyes went wide and she had to keep herself from gasping out loud. She had not just thought that. Not once in her entire life had she even considered something so dirty. Zara was a known clairvoyant and Dax had spoken into her mind earlier. She was going to die if either of them heard what had just gone on in her mind.
Neither of them even flinched. Wait. Did Dax have a new sparkle to his eye? No. That must just be the lights in the kitchen. Okay, phew. No one, especially Hotty McHottsalot needed to know her mind was in the gutter when there were way more important things to be worried about. Jules pulled her mind back up into the light and cleared her throat. “I’m ready to do anything I can to help find the children. I wanted to ask you, Zara, if you might help me focus the visions I’m having. Maybe they could give us a clue, and if I have another one I’d like to be able to focus on what’s happening better.”
“I’m not sure I can help or not, but it’s worth a try. Is there anything specific that brings them on?” Zara relaxed a little now that she had something she could do.
“Oh, umm. I think maybe, uh…” Jules cheeks went all hot. Her chest did too. She’d like to blame the heater in the house, but she full well knew it was because of her answer. Suck it up, peanut butter cup. “I think physical contact with Dax might help.”
Dax didn’t say a word. His eyebrows did the talking for him. They were saying “Oh, really? Then come on over here.” He simply held out a hand for hers and didn’t make it sexual at all.
What was wrong with her?
“Yes, this is good. It helps to have some sort of anchor to your body.” Zara’s face flushed a little. “If you feel yourself losing control, squeeze his hand. Better yet, Dax, I’d like you to rhythmically squeeze Jules’s hand. That will give her something to connect her to the here and now. Trust me.”
“No problem.” Dax gently and slowly opened and closed his hand around Jules. “How’s that.”
Squeak. Simply thinking about touching him had already sent her mind into dirty-town. The way he paused at the tightest part of the grip on her, released her hand quickly, then squeezed it again had all her girly parts on over drive. She couldn’t help but equate this movement to the way he would–
“Jules, are you all right? Is there a vision coming on? Your eyes are all glazed over and you’re breathing hard.” Zara tipped her head to the side and studied Jules’s every reaction. It was like being watched in a very intimate moment.
“I’m fine.” The high pitch to her voice betrayed that lie. “What’s next?”
Zara grinned at her, all too knowingly. “Let the vision flow through you.”
“Hmm. I don’t exactly know how to do that. It’s not like I can control them. I think someone else, whoever is behind all of this, is pushing them at me.”
“Lass, that doesn’t make sense. Whoever has planned this abduction wouldn’t want you to see them.”
“Right. Yeah. But I still think someone else is putting these things in my head.” Jules barely finished the last syllable of her sentence before a hurricane slammed into her body and she was sucked into another world in her mind.
Chapter Six – part two Coming soon!
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