He rose fluidly, burying himself to the hilt in the smoothest motion. He kissed me while he thrust, and I ate at his mouth, missing that intimate contact amidst all of the rest. He pulled back to watch my eyes near the end. Their changing depths had always mesmerized him, I knew. I wondered, not for the first time, if I had inadvertently cast some sort of spell on him. There was so much I didn’t know about my own power. But if it was a spell, why would I myself be just as caught up? I lost myself just as completely in his extraordinary gaze.
“Come,” he commanded harshly, and it did the trick. We climaxed together, our eyes staying locked.
“What do you look like as a dragon? I’ve never seen one before. Is it similar to the legends?” he asked unexpectedly. We were both getting dressed. I finished first. My few scraps of lycra were much quicker to get in and out of than his tailored gray Armani suit. I kept my back to him as he finished getting dressed. Why did it sometimes seem so much more intimate getting into clothes than it did getting out of them?
“All of the dragon-kin are different. Different sizes, different shapes and proportions, different colors. But yes, we’re much like the legends. I have to imagine that most of those renderings came from real encounters with dragon-kin. My family does love to be worshipped.”
“What color is your dragon?”
“It’s unusual actually. My dragon never chose a color. She’s just like my hair, she changes on some whim, against my will.”
“Does that happen to dragons often?”
“Never that I’ve heard of. But I left the clan before I knew much. I’m flying blind on most of that type of information. Why do you ask?”
“So other dragons’ hair doesn’t do that?”
“I don’t think so. I’m horrible at changing my appearance on purpose though, which would be far more useful. I think the shifting colors might just be a sign of my lack of control over my magic.”
“What is your element?”
I looked at him now. He was just finishing his tie. It was a solid, vibrant blue that set off his left eye to perfection. “Fire. A lot of our kind are a mix of elements, which can be useful, but I’m almost completely fire. It’s the least subtle magic.”
“So no ice at all?”
“No. Are you surprised?”
“Only a little. I guess I always saw the fire. Though I have seen you practice subtle magics.”
I shrugged. “I was taught that we are the Firstborn. The gods gave us many magics to work with. I can use some of the subtler stuff, but it’s always been my weakness. Even simple glamour gives me a headache. I have no patience for it. Fire is great for an all-out battle, but outside of that, the other stuff is far more useful.” I studied him for a long time. It was so strange, talking to him about this, about what I was, after all of the years of secrecy. It made me want to tell him more, now that I was free to. “I don’t know if they believe it now, but draak used to believe that every kind of Other race after us was a sort of bastard version, stealing just pieces of our lesser magics. They believed that we were the perfect prototype that couldn’t be improved on, only copied poorly.”
“Did you believe that?”
I smiled ruefully. “I left them when I was barely more than a child. But no, I believed little that they tried to teach me. You won’t be surprised to know that I was always obstinate. I despised my father and his ways. He and his brothers believed themselves to be gods. You and your druids struggle to be fair and just. The dragon-kin are the opposite. They are so deluded about their own godhood, they believe that any horrible thought in their heads is divine. Power has driven them mad.”
“I do recall that Lynn doesn’t mind playing goddess.”
I smiled at that. “It’s different. She doesn’t mind being worshipped, I’m sure. It is more her dark sense of humor though, than any belief in her divinity, that makes her collect lost souls to follow her. Sometimes you have to laugh in the face of the things that scare you about yourself, or the fear alone will drive you mad.”
“Both of you always did have a dark sense of humor.”
“In our family, you either go insane from the horror, or learn to laugh at it.”
He handed me two business cards that were blank but for two phone numbers. “Keep one, put your contact information on the other. Don’t worry, I won’t be calling you. My people will simply keep you updated on the draak’s activities if it seems pertinent.”
I nodded, jotting it all down. “Thank you.”
“I hear you’ve been invited to the necro assault.”
“Yes. I’m rusty, but I should still be useful against a race that can burn.”
“I’m having them put you in my unit. You’re less likely to get any trouble from my people that way.” He left the room. I watched him leave. Neither of us said goodbye.
I followed him out no more than a minute later. The druids were gone, leaving Christian still bound and gagged. I couldn’t really blame them. There was murder in his eyes as I approached him. I ripped the tape off his mouth, and he started cursing fluently. “You should have let him fight me when he mentioned it, Jillian. You don’t know how much I’d like to take a shot at him.”
I raised my brows at him. I should have known that would be the only thing he focused on. “Are you ok?” I asked him.
I nodded. “Just the usual Druid politics bullshit,” I lied, adding to the already huge pile. “Let’s head back to the retreat.”
“Those wankers,” he said darkly..
“Your British is showing.”
“Bloody wankers,” he elaborated, making me smile. He smiled back, always quick to shake things off. It was by far his best quality.
Too Much Dough For A Super-Nerd
Christian took the condition of his slightly charred porsche better than I would have expected, considering how much he always waxed poetic about it. He was more teasing than mad about it as we drove to his retreat.
Christian’s mountain retreat was an impressive compound set up with Christian’s keen eye for both security and style. It consisted of several small buildings, and one much larger building. The entire compound was tucked into the mountains, almost completely hidden from the small dirt road that took us the last few miles from the interstate. The exterior of the buildings were stones that matched the desert mountains like camouflage.