Last Immortal Dragon: Dragon Shifter Romance (3 page)

BOOK: Last Immortal Dragon: Dragon Shifter Romance
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“Probably to try and convince me to stay. And because he’s a dick bent on ruining this day even further.”

Willa cleared her throat and pointed to a tall man with jet black hair and dark eyes. He looked vaguely familiar, but Clara couldn’t put her finger on why until Willa explained, “That’s my alpha, Creed, and he’s related to Damon. I’d bet my worms Mason brought you here to get any questions you have answered by that man.”

Clara narrowed her eyes at the driver, who had shimmied out of his suit jacket and rolled his sleeves up to his forearms. He was currently tilting his head back and glugging a beer as though he hadn’t just tricked her into traveling all the way from Florida to be a rental womb for a freaking
dragon
. She was the queen of being dooped. “Son of a biscuit eater.”

“Mmm, I love biscuits,” Willa murmured, but when Clara looked over at her, Willa was staring at Matt with a hungry smile.

On that note, Clara unlocked the door and slipped out of the car, determined not to let Mason win whatever game he was playing.

A beer and some brisket, and she would be on her way back to Florida and well on her way to putting this mortifying situation behind her.

Chapter Four

 

Clara liked the Gray Backs. No, like was too soft a word. She freaking adored them. They were funny and gave each other so much shit, but underneath all the bravado, here was a crew of people who really cared about each other. A crew who had chosen each other to walk through this crazy life together. They reminded her of her own crew—a dangerous thought, so she popped a last bite of baked beans into her maw and tossed her plate in a trash bag attached to the side of the buffet table near the grill. The evening sun had disappeared, dousing them in darkness. Jason had turned on strands of outdoor lights that had been draped all over the trailer park, and the fire gave enough of a glow that she could see every face around it clearly. Already, they’d been shooting the shit for an hour. Clara didn’t have to talk much, but she was enjoying figuring out the dynamics.

Willa called herself the “almost alpha,” while Creed, the actual alpha, was the strong, patient type. His mate Gia was tall and curvy and was always rocking their baby girl, even though the infant was asleep already. She must be used to the rowdy crew to sleep through such noise. Matt hovered around Willa like a planet to a sun, and Jason and his park ranger mate didn’t go two minutes without touching each other. Clara was pretty sure they didn’t even notice they were doing it. They just reached out and brushed each other’s hands or shoulders just to reassure their animals their mate was fine. Aviana was a shy, dark-headed woman who twitched her head strangely when she was amused. A bird shifter of some sort, Clara would guess, because she definitely didn’t smell like a bear. And then there was Aviana’s mate, Beaston. Oh, she liked the strange man with a deep limp to his stride. He had wild, bright green eyes and looked terrifying in the firelight, but made it clear with every strange combination of words he uttered how deeply he felt everything and how infinitely he cared about his people. He was an enigma she wanted to figure out. A puzzle with missing pieces that had been forced together to create something even more interesting.

“Let’s prank call Damon,” Willa said, poking buttons on her cell phone.

Clara’s eyes flew wide, and she shook her head. “I think that’s a bad idea.”

“Agreed, it’s a great idea.” Willa lifted the phone to her ear. Shhh, she mouthed, flapping her hand to quiet everyone down. “What do they say about atoms?” She waited with a vacant grin on her face. “Never trust ’em. They make up everything!”

“Dork jokes?” Matt scoffed, snatching the phone. “Let a pro handle this. Hey, Damon, is your refrigerator running?” Matt grinned at Clara across the fire. “Well, you better go catch it!”

The Gray Backs and Mason all groaned in unison. Willa jerked the phone away from her mate and back to her ear. “Hey, Damon, you’re Womb for Hire is down in the Grayland Mobile Park getting sloshed. Better come get her before she makes horrible life decisions.” Willa hung up the phone, and the firelight reflected off her grin.

“I’ve had one beer,” Clara argued as her cheeks flushed with heat. “And a little bit of vodka, but I’m not making any horrible life decisions tonight or any other night.” He wouldn’t come down from his house for her. It was late at night, and Damon didn’t give two craps about her. Womb for Hire was right. She was nothing more to the man.

Clara looked over at baby Rowan, still asleep in her mother’s arms beside her, but couldn’t bear it for long so she ripped her gaze away and picked at the edge of the label on her beer.

“Do you want to hold her?” Gia asked.

“Really?” Clara asked, trying to stifle the hope in her voice.

“Yeah.” Gia stood from her neon green plastic chair and settled Rowan in Clara’s arms.

“Ooooh,” Clara said on a breath as she moved the corner of the baby blanket away from Rowan’s face. “She’s precious.”

“You know,” Creed said thoughtfully, “if you’re wanting a baby, you could do much worse than Damon as your child’s father. You and your baby would never want for anything.”

“And he would be the safest kid on the planet,” Matt chimed in. “Bullies at school? Daddy Damon would swoop down and eat—”

Willa nudged him hard.

“Eat what?” Clara asked, searching their faces one by one. They’d all gone comically blank, even Mason’s. “Eat what?” she repeated, louder.

Beaston met her eye. “Damon protects the Gray Backs and the Boarlanders. Damon protects the Ashe Crew. Even C-team, he gobbles up our enemies.” Beaston relaxed into his chair, slipping his arm easily over Aviana’s shoulders beside him. With a predatory smile, he murmured, “Chomp.”

Clara sighed, utterly disturbed. “Fantastic. And if I could get over all the fire-breathing, people-eating, romancelessness of all of this, I can’t even imagine what having an actual dragon baby would be like. Or egg? Do dragons hatch from eggs?”

Gia giggled and shook her head. “Your child would be a hybrid and mortal, so no hatching from an egg. If you want to imagine what a dragon shifter child looks like, look down. You’re holding one.”

Clara’s face went slack in surprise, and she jerked her gaze down to tiny Rowan in her arms.

“Someday,” Beaston said, “our Rowan is going to be a fierce Gray Back. Silver scales and fire. Good to her bones because her parents are good to their bones. You would be lucky to mother a dragon.”

“But honestly,” Creed said, his dark eyebrows arched high, “you’ll probably have a bear cub. Baby dragons are rare. Damon probably has your odds written out in your paperwork.”

Mason shook his head and warned Creed with his eyes.

“My paperwork?”

“The…file he has on…you?”

“Shut. Up,” Mason muttered out the side of his mouth.

“No matter,” Clara gritted out, choking the neck of her beer bottle. She would not let this ruin the otherwise enjoyable night. Nor would she imagine what kind of dirt they’d dug up for that file because she would not be here to—

Whoosh!

Something enormous flew overhead, pushing the air down until the trees around the trailer park bent and cracked. The fire blew out, and Clara huddled her body over Rowan’s to protect her as the others scrambled around her. For an instant, it felt like a hurricane, and then the pressure was gone. Rowan fussed in her arms, so Clara handed the baby back to Gia.

“What the hell was that?” she asked, searching the woods for danger as her instincts kicked up to survival mode. The fine hairs on her body were electrified.

“That would be your beau coming to protect you from those horrible life decisions,” Willa said.

Matt and Jason rushed to re-light the fire while Creed righted a pair of toppled lawn chairs. And by the time the glow of the firelight was illuminating the trailer park once again, Damon himself stepped from the woods wearing dark dress pants. He was still fastening up the top few buttons of his white oxford shirt.

“Wait, did you bring a change of clothes for your Shift?” Jason asked. “Like, you carried a suit in your gigantic claws and flew through the air with it?”

“Don’t make it weird.” Damon lifted his churning, silver gaze to Clara. She could’ve sworn she saw worry in his features, but it couldn’t be because he still wore his mask of indifference. But… he did look different somehow.

“Are you all right?” he asked in a clear, steady timbre as he approached her.

“Oh, my God,” Willa said, clasping her hands in front of her face and smiling all mushy. “It’s like one of my romance books.
The Zillionaire Dragon’s Baby
.”

“Willa,” Damon warned low.


Ravished by Her Dragon
,” Gia murmured helpfully.

Willa laughed and said, “
Clara Beara and her Scaly Boinker
.”

Damon sighed a long, irritated sound, which only seemed to push Willa on.


The Dragon’s Honey Pot
.
Daddy Dragon Wants a Zygote
.”

“Willa,” Damon repeated, his eyes tightening in the firelight.

Softly, she whispered, “
Bear Boobs and Dragon Diddles
.”

“I would read the shit out of that,” Beaston said.

“You would!” Willa rounded on him. “And by the way, I know it’s you whose been stealing all my romance books.”

Beaston shrugged unapologetically and corrected, “Borrow, not steal.”

Aviana’s shoulders were shaking with laughter behind him. And when Clara giggled too loud, she covered it with a delicate cough. If she didn’t know for a fact the last immortal dragon was grumpy and didn’t smile, she would’ve sworn he’d just cracked one. And in that flash of an instant, it had been mesmerizing. Straight white teeth behind those sensual lips, and dimples that she wanted to curl up and fall asleep in and oh, her ovaries were doing a fireworks show with trumpets playing in the background. And now he was looking at her like she was a weirdo with her mouth hanging open—probably because she
was
a weirdo with her mouth hanging open. He leaned over a smiling Gia, kissing her on the cheek in a sweet greeting as he took baby Rowan from her arms, and damn it all, Clara’s ovaries were nothing but mushroom clouds now.

Damon freaking Daye was as hot as the fire he breathed.

He held Rowan against his chest and cooed, “Brave little dragon. Did I wake you?” He bounced slightly and rocked from side to side, and within moments, Rowan had given up her fussing and was clinging to Damon’s pointer finger with one chubby fist and looking up at him with round eyes as dark as Creed’s. Fair skin and dark eyes to match the black crop of hair on her tiny dome.

A mellow rumble sounded from within Damon, but it wasn’t the scary growls he’d emitted earlier. This was a satisfied sound. One of contentment as he studied the baby’s face and rocked her. The Gray Backs had gone quiet as they watched Damon lose himself in the little girl’s gaze. Slowly, he leaned down and smelled Rowan’s breath, then smiled and murmured, “Tiny fire breather.” And then there it was again—that heart-stopping smile. Here and gone, but she’d seen it.

Damon handed Rowan back to Gia, but by the time his silver gaze landed on Clara, his features had turned to stone again. “Can I speak with you? Alone?”

And just like that, all her mushy feelings evaporated at the coldness of his tone. “Fine.” She turned and sauntered off toward the tree line. Just inside the woods, where she could still see the light from the trailer park, Clara turned and waited.

Here it came. Bossy Damon was going to scold her for Willa prank-calling him and then chastise her for drinking too much.
Lay it on me, grumpy dragon.

“I’m sorry,” he said in a low, gravelly voice.

Clara opened her mouth to give him a seething retort, but stopped herself just in time. “Wait, what?”

“I’m sorry for being so harsh with you earlier.”

“You aren’t mad about the prank call?”

Damon huffed a laugh and almost smiled again. “No, I didn’t mind. I was awake anyway, though I was surprised to hear you were still here. I thought you were long gone.”

“Mason is full of tricks.”

He arched on eyebrow pointedly and looked over his shoulder at his driver sitting by the fire. “He had tricks for us both.”

“Sooo, you aren’t mad that you had to fly down here on account of me drinking too much?”

“Why would I be? You’re a grown woman. It’s good to cut loose every once in a while and besides, I like…”

She dipped her voice to a whisper. “You like what?”

Damon frowned and cleared his throat. “It’s late, and it’s a long drive to the airport from here.” He placed his hands behind his back and straightened his spine. “I’d like to extend an invitation for you to stay the night in one of my guest rooms. If you still wish it, you can leave in the morning.”
Or not.
That last part he didn’t have to say. The unspoken words hung in the air between them.

“That would be nice.”

“Yes?” His eyebrows jacked up in surprise.

“Well, it is late, and I’ve had about all I can take of Mason for the day. I’ll leave in the morning.”

Damon cut his gaze to the others, then nodded his head once. The silver in his eyes was fading by the second, leaving them as dark as the night sky. He turned to leave, but Clara grabbed his hand, not wanting to end this moment with him. The second her fingertips touched his palm, a blinding pain blasted through her head and drew a gasp from her lips. Squeezing her eyes tightly closed, Clara pressed her hands to her temples as if that would keep her head from splitting apart.

I’ll love you always.

You won’t. You can’t. You love me now only because you haven’t seen the monster I am yet.

Clara.

“Clara!” Damon gripped her shoulders and bent his knees until he was eye-level with her. “Are you all right?”

Clara drew a deep, shaking breath and shook off the remnants of the headache. That was weird. Usually her headaches lasted longer, but that one had been a flash of pain, and now…nothing.

She gripped his wrists and searched his dark eyes. “You’re warm. I expected you to be cold as stone.”

His grip on her shoulders lessened and he let off a tiny, relieved breath. “I run too warm. It hurts…”

BOOK: Last Immortal Dragon: Dragon Shifter Romance
7.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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