She just glared as she collected her shoes and bag, then gave me a considering look as she let herself out. Boy, was that routine getting old. I’d almost swear that Christian was using our training sessions to blow off his dates… I made a note to give him some hell about it.
I made my way to his impressive personal gym, and started warming up. My sessions with Christian were the only ones I actually looked forward to. No one else gave me a real workout.
I was abusing his punching bag when he finally joined me. I stopped working, giving him a nod. It was easy to see what had the ladies so jealous. He had unruly, shoulder-length, dirty blond hair. His eyes were a pale sky blue and always had a twinkle in them. His features were even and perfect. He was also well over six foot and built. He looked like a nordic god. Ironically, he looked like my favorite brother, Sven. Add to all of that his perfect white teeth, always shaping into a mischievous smile, and he was one hell of a catch. I could see all of the attraction. I just couldn’t feel it. Not even a little bit. He had full brother vibe for me. He grinned at me. He pointed at my head. “Did you get a perm?”
I gave him a glare and tried to mean it. “Those little goodbye scenes are getting a little old for me.”
He shrugged and smiled, looking far more harmless than he was. “Sorry ‘bout that, but I’ve found that most women leave it alone once they take a look at you.” His british accent was very faint after all of his years in America. It was just the slightest clip now.
“Pussy,” I taunted him. “Just be honest with them.”
The P-word made his eyes narrow. “I am, actually. I always have been. It doesn’t seem to be enough anymore. Women are getting pushier and pushier. But I’ve found that seeing another woman, especially one that they don’t think they can compete with, makes them back off, as a rule.”
“So reject them, then demoralize them. That’s heartwarming. Maybe you should just settle down. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about so many of them,” I told him, half-serious.
He raised his brows at me. “Relationship advice from the infamous Jillian?” he asked archly. It was a low blow, and we both knew it.
I gave him a roundhouse kick to the chest, and he went flying. Normally, he would have been back up in a second, but my flimsy glamour had dropped when I made contact, and he was busy studying my bruised up body. Shielding and glamour weren’t my strengths, to be sure.
“What the bloody hell?” he finally asked, his accent more pronounced.
I shrugged at him. “I had a bad day yesterday.”
“Anything you need help with?”
“I’ll let you know.”
“I’d love to see the other guy.”
“You’d find yourself disappointed.” I was vaguely embarrassed to admit it.
“Really.” His voice was soft now. It was a deceptive tone. I saw the sudden glint of temper in his eyes. I had no trouble imagining what he wanted to do to ‘the other guy.’ “That sounds ominous. You really aren’t going to tell me what happened?”
I shrugged and waved him up. “Maybe later. Right now, I’d rather beat you up some more.”
He stood up, but hesitated. “You sure you’re up to it? You must be in pretty bad shape if that hasn’t healed.”
“Actually, the bruising’s not as painful as the spell I’ve put on myself to keep from healing,” I admitted.
His brows disappeared under his unruly bangs. “This just gets more and more interesting. Is there something I can bribe you with to get you to spill the beans?”
“Maybe later. At the moment, I want you to quit slacking and fight.”
He obliged me, taking me to the floor pretty easily. He probably had a good point. If I went down so easily, I probably shouldn’t push it. But pushing myself physically had always helped with this pesky rage problem I had. It helped me to focus, and focusing kept it in check.
He was straddling my waist, holding my hands trapped tightly above my head. “You must be in bad shape, girl. I felt almost guilty taking you down -”
I bucked him off, freeing my right hand and landing a blow to his stomach that left him breathless. I rolled to my feet and waved him up.
We were well-matched in strength and speed. Our styles were even similar. Which was understandable, since I had been training him for years. I’d trained him to fight in the style I had been working on for centuries, that utilized the strength and speed of an immortal. Christian had always kept up remarkably well, all things considered. Of course, he wasn’t human.
Christian descended from a long line of English dragonslayers. They were the only things on earth that could actually kill dragons. It made them targets to the monsters. Thus, Christian’s paranoia. How crazy did you have to be to help train the only thing on earth that could kill you? Yeah, about that crazy. I was banking a whole hell of a lot on that old saying, ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend.’
For better or worse, the only thing more rare than dragonslayers were dragons themselves, so Christian found himself raised in a time where his very specialized skills were nearly obsolete. He still carried around his neck the family weapon that was named appropriately, Dragonsbane. At the moment it looked like a tiny but intricate knife. But in his hands it could take any shape he required. I’d tried for years to get the details of what power a slayer held over dragons, and what power the blade specifically held, but he kept his ancestor’s secrets hidden well for the most part. Once he’d gotten drunk and told me that all of the mountains in the world were just sleeping dragons. That’s when I’d known that a drunk Christian was no place to get information.
Dragonslayers themselves, though long lived, were not immortal. A five hundred year lifespan isn’t a bad deal either, though. And if they could get their hands on some dragon’s blood to drink, the possibilities were endless.
Christian himself was a young slayer. We’d never talked about it, but I didn’t think he was older than his forties. He didn’t look it, of course. He knew I was older than him, but the actual truth would have shocked him. He had always assumed Lynn and I were exceptionally powerful fire sorcerers. I encouraged the assumption. Some secrets are best kept even from the closest of friends. Our friendship with Christian, for obvious reasons, unquestionably required it.
We began to fight in earnest. I did pretty well, all things considered, but I could tell he was taking it easy on me.