Sassy Ever After: Dragon Sass (Kindle Worlds Novella)

BOOK: Sassy Ever After: Dragon Sass (Kindle Worlds Novella)
11.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Text copyright ©2016 by the Author.

This work was made possible by a special license through the Kindle Worlds publishing program and has not necessarily been reviewed by LATIN GODDESS PRESS INC.. All characters, scenes, events, plots and related elements appearing in the original Sassy Ever After remain the exclusive copyrighted and/or trademarked property of LATIN GODDESS PRESS INC., or their affiliates or licensors.

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Blue Creek needs a dragon. There’s only one problem—they don’t exist anymore. Or do they?


Kai is just trying to live the quiet life of a billionaire recluse. He might still like spicy food and spicy women, but he sacrificed his dragon’s heart over a thousand years ago and hasn’t been able to shift since.


But Kai’s old nemesis, Nigel, has come back—from the dead—and the old Necromancer has his sights set on the wolf shifters. Nigel is wreaking havoc all over Blue Creek and, unfortunately, the only thing that can kill him is dragon fire.


It’s feisty, orphaned horsewoman Jules, whose therapeutic ranch is in serious financial trouble, who holds the dragon’s heart—and she doesn’t even know it.


But renowned shifter-matchmaker Barb Wolfe knows—and this is the most important match she’ll ever make. The whole town, and maybe the entire shifter race, depend on it.







Selena Kitt




Jules hated Stuart Linden almost as much as she loved him—but she figured that was how it always worked with best friends, or anyone you cared about, really. You spent half the time adoring them and the other half wishing you could strangle them.

It was Stuart’s fault she was sitting at the Wolf’s Den bar at midnight, waiting for him to show up and listening to the worst howling shifter karaoke she’d ever heard. And she’d heard some pretty bad karaoke in her time. The woman at the mic was singing, ironically enough,
Werewolves of London
, and it was far below her register. Her drunk friend, a tall, gangly, bespectacled shifter girl, barely twenty-one by the looks of her, was attempting to sing harmony and failing miserably.

Jules wanted to clap her hands over her ears at the awful rendition. What she really wanted to do was go home, crawl into bed, and hide from the rest of the world, at least until the world had somehow come to a sufficient end, whether by apocalypse or some supernatural demise, she didn’t really care. As long as there were no longer banks, or taxes, or any other practical considerations. Then she could just live on her horse ranch and be happy. Was that too much to ask?

She checked her phone, looking for a text from Stuart, who’d asked her to meet him here over three hours ago.

Aric Wolfe, who owned the Wolf’s Den, came over and asked if she wanted another margarita. Jules shook her head, looking morosely into her drink. She’d had four already, and although her ranch was just fifteen minutes outside of Blue Creek, and Sheriff Kline and Deputy McCreary—the latter of whom had the unfortunate nickname of Deputy Dawg, due to the fact that he, too, was a wolf shifter—were also in the bar, off-duty, she still didn’t like the idea of driving home even a little tipsy.

“What are you doing tending bar?” Jules asked.

“Oh, Lael’s at a witch’s convention.” Aric paused in wiping down the bar, a bowl of peanuts in his hand as he cocked his head at her. His dark, shaggy hair fell to his shoulders. “You gonna sing for us tonight, Jules?”

“Of course she is!” Barb Wolfe appeared, as if out of nowhere, beside her and Jules startled, putting a hand to her throat. “Voice like an angel. The only good thing about that karaoke system you insisted on purchasing.”

“They have fun.” Aric shrugged, then grinned. “Even if they don’t sound all that great.”

Jules, Barb, and Aric all looked toward the stage, where the two shifter women performing were now literally howling up a storm.

“So, how’s the ranch?” Barb slid onto a stool next to Jules, reaching for the bowl of peanuts and sliding it closer. “Things looking up?”

“Oh, it’s a struggle. But it’s okay.” Jules kept her gaze on the stage as the giggling
Werewolves of London
girls teetered off and a guy with a brush cut and a camouflage jacket stepped on. “It’s hard, because insurance doesn’t pay for things like ‘equestrian therapy’. They just don’t believe it’s therapeutic. And we don’t have a very big lobby. Not like chiropractors or acupuncturists. Somehow those things get paid for, but not us. Still, I know it works. I help people every day. Unfortunately, most of them can’t afford the fee I have to charge in order for the business to thrive. So, I just… tread water. And try not to drown.”

Jules looked up, feeling Barb’s hand on her arm, and realized she’d said too much. She should have just left it at “okay.” Barb’s usually bright, dancing blue eyes grew dark, and her mouth turned down at the corners. She tucked a bit of blonde hair behind her ear, her short bob haircut making this almost impossible, but not quite.

“I wish you’d let us help.” Barb implored her, even as Jules was already shaking her head. “Your parents were good people. You’re good people. This is a small town. We have to look out for each other. I know they’d want us to help you.”

“I’m doing okay.” Jules put a little steel in her voice. Barb had a tendency to be a busybody. Although, she did it in such a delightful, exuberant sort of way, it was hard to fault her for it. She really cared, and Jules knew she just wanted to help. Especially given the fact that her parents and the Wolfe clan had been close, before Jules’s parents had been killed in a car crash.

“You could always set up a GoFundMe. People would donate. It’s a worthy cause.”

“I’m not a charity.” Her jaw tightened. “And I don’t take charity.”

“We all need a little help sometimes.” Barb sighed, and Jules couldn’t blame her. She imagined, for Barb, it was like hitting her head against the wall, trying to convince Jules to accept any help.

But after her parents’ death several years ago, she’d been determined to make it on her own. And she’d done fairly well at first, but she’d had quite a bit of life insurance to live on at the time. That was gone now. Most of it had disappeared in the first two years, while she was setting up the Chiron Therapeutic Horse Ranch. Chiron had been her first horse, a beautiful appaloosa, and she’d named the ranch after him.

“Remember I told you about that family friend? He could offer you some financial advice. He’s been our financial advisor for years. An investment banker. Retired now. Very savvy, smart—handsome, too.”

Barb flashed a mischievous little smile, showing even, white teeth with canines that were just a little too pronounced—the only indication that she, too, was a wolf shifter.

Jules groaned inwardly. She couldn’t count how many times Barb had tried to set her up with some guy. She wasn’t about to let it happen again. She was done with blind dates, setups, hookups, and online dating sites. She’d vowed last year, no more. She was happy with her ranch and her horses—if she could just hang on to them. She didn’t need, or want, the added complication of a man in her life.

Especially an older man—retired from investment banking. What was Barb thinking?

“You have to have money to invest in order to need the services of an investment banker, Barb.” Jules gave her a quelling look, shaking a finger in her direction. “I know a matchmaking set up when I hear one. I’m on to you.”

Barb held her hands up, shaking her head, giving her a wide, innocent, blue-eyed look. “Who me?”

“I’ll figure it out.” Jules sipped the last of her margarita, checking her phone, still sitting on the bar, for a text message from Stuart. “Even if I have to start selling off my valuables.”

“You could start by cutting off Stuart.” Barb’s fair eyebrows rose when Jules looked up at her. “Oh, everyone knows, Jules. He’s a drain on the universe. And especially you. Always has been.”

“Stuart’s Stuart.” She shrugged one shoulder, texting Stuart again, asking where in the hell he was. “We’ve been friends since I was ten. I can’t exactly turn him away when he needs help.”

Barb muttered something under her breath about enabling, but it wasn’t loud enough for Jules to acknowledge it and respond. And Jules knew it was partly true. A lot of the life insurance she’d collected had gone to bail Stuart out of one predicament or another.

“You want a drink, Mom?” Aric had finished taking orders at the other end of the bar and had come over to check on them.

“No, I’m fine. Your father should be here any minute.” Barb glanced at the clock and then at Jules. “But you can help me convince Julianna here that instead of selling all her valuables, she should meet with Kai—or at the very least, stop giving all her money to Stuart Linden.”

“Kai?” Aric’s dark brows went up at this, and then he laughed out loud, shaking his head at Jules. “Is she trying to set you up with Kai Payne? You’d better get your running shoes on.”

“Oh hush.” Barb glared at her son. “I just don’t want Jules to lose the ranch. Kai could give her some good advice.”

“Oh, he’s full of it, all right.” Aric sidestepped his mother’s punch at his bicep, grinning. Then his smile turned into a frown. “Are you really going to lose the ranch?”

“No, I’ll be fine.” Jules winced as the guy on stage tried to hit a note that was so far out of his range, it was almost a screech. Her hand went to her throat, fingering the necklace there. “I still have a few things I can sell.”

“Oh Jules, not that.” Barb looked crestfallen. “That was your mother’s.”

“I know.”

She knew all too well. The ruby ring hanging from the silver chain around her neck had been in her family for generations. It had been her mother’s wedding ring. But the stone itself was incredibly valuable. Probably the most valuable thing she owned now—that wasn’t attached to the ranch.

“I don’t even know if it’s worth anything,” Jules confessed. “I don’t know much about it.”

“If you’re serious…” Barb frowned, looking like she disapproved of the idea. “I do know someone who could do an appraisal for you. He owes me a favor—he’d do it for free.”

“Free?” Jules perked up at the word. She shrugged, unhooking the necklace and handing it over. “Why not? I might as well know.”

“I just wish you’d consider other options,” Barb told her, sliding the necklace into her front pocket. “You know, Kai really is a financial genius. He—”

“Dad’s here.” Aric nodded toward the entryway, interrupting his Mom.

Jules gave him a smile of thanks, glancing over to see that, standing beside Barb’s mate—tall, black-haired Tristan Wolfe—was another man she’d never seen before. Blue Creek was a small town, and she’d lived there her whole life, but she’d never seen him. She definitely would have noticed. He was the sort of guy who just drew the eye.

He was young—her age? Maybe a little older—late twenties? Not quite as tall as Tristan, but still, nicely built. His tattooed biceps showed beyond the short sleeves of his black t-shirt, and Jules actually found herself checking his left hand for the flash of a ring as the two men approached the bar.

“Hey.” Tristan Wolfe leaned in and kissed his wife’s cheek, putting a possessive arm around her waist. “So, what was so urgent I had to drag Kai out of his sanctuary?”

Jules felt her heart stutter in her chest at the name, giving the tattooed guy another look, trying not to be too obvious.
was the retired investment banker?

“Sanctuary is all too accurate.” Barb sniffed. “You live like a monk, Kai. You should get out more.”

“I’m here, aren’t I?” Kai, whose dark eyes shifted to Jules as he leaned against the bar, motioned to Aric. “Shot of whiskey. Something strong. Can I get you something?”

It took Jules a moment to realize Kai was talking to her. She’d been too busy trying not to look at the way his biceps flexed beneath the sleeves of his dark t-shirt when he leaned on the bar. At his rather sexy goatee. And the gauges in his ears. Small ones, but still. She couldn’t get over how young he was—definitely not what she’d pictured when Barb said he was a retired investment banker.

“Oh, no, I’m fine.” Jules looked at Barb and saw the smile playing on her lips. She’d planned this. Of course she had. If Jules wasn’t going to go to the investment banker, well then Barb was going to bring the investment banker to her. Mountain, meet Muhammad.

Aric slid a glass with two fingerfuls of dark, amber colored liquid over to Kai, and he drank it without even a wince, setting the shot glass down on the bar and sliding it back.

“Do it again.” Kai nodded at Aric, his attention moving back to Jules. Barb had sneakily slid off her stool to make room for him and Kai now sat beside her. “So, I hear you need my help?”

“Who said that?” Jules felt her spine stiffen. “I don’t need your help. I don’t need anyone’s help.”

Kai tipped back another shot and she could smell the alcohol when he turned on the stool to face her. “That so?”

“Quite so.”

Up close and personal, he was even more handsome. His eyes were hazel, not brown, with green flecks in them. His mouth was full, kind of pouty—the sort of mouth that didn’t smile very much, she ventured. His skin was flawless, deeply tanned. She’d expected a pale, pasty man, someone her father’s age. This guy was blowing all of her preconceived notions out of the water.

“Well then, what in the hell am I doing here?” Kai shot a dark look at Barb—not unlike the one Jules had on her own face. “I thought you said she needed my help?”

“She does,” Barb insisted. “She’s just… a little reluctant to accept it.”

“Excuse me.” Jules glared at Barb, then Aric, as she slid off her stool, feeling like she was being squeezed on all sides, like cattle being led to the slaughter. She wasn’t about to play along with this.

“Jules!” Barb called, but she was already weaving through the crowd toward the bathrooms. There was a back door to the bar, and she was sure she could find it, even if she’d never used it.

She stopped in the restroom, just to wash her hands and steady her nerves. Part of her was mad at Barb—but she couldn’t be too mad at her. After all, she was just trying to help, even if that meant meddling.

Now she understood why Barb, playing the consummate matchmaker, had moved heaven and earth to get Kai here tonight. She was clearly determined to throw the two of them together to see if they stuck. Probably had the wedding already planned in her head, down to the colors and the canapes.

Jules looked at herself in the mirror, seeing the high color on her cheeks. The thought of being set up angered her, although she didn’t know why. It wasn’t the first time, and probably wouldn’t be the last. Barb had tried to step into her mother’s role, after the crash, and for the most part, Jules loved her to death.

BOOK: Sassy Ever After: Dragon Sass (Kindle Worlds Novella)
11.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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