Here is a short sneak peek of Dragons of Seattle. It will either be out Jan 15th or Feb 1st depending if I finish it on time 🙂
(Note this is unedited)
Jiang watched the vampire slide a bloody hand across one of the foo dogs. Even with that tiny bit of blood Jiang could feel the spell beginning to dissolve. The sorcerer had spoken the truth, a fact Jiang had begun to doubt after centuries of stillness. He’d long ago begun to suspect the unnamed sorcerer had given them false hope. However even with the vampire blood they still needed the rebirth of the dragon king to complete the destruction of the spell.
The sorcerers must have been extremely powerful to keep their spell going over the years. After petrifying the dragons the sorcerers had eventually added a pair of guardian foo dogs and four Chinese phoenixes called fenghuang, to their collection.
Jiang didn’t now why but the sorcerers who’d conducted the spell had smuggled the dragons out of the desert, probably to save themselves in case the emperor learned of their deception. Hiding a group of stone dragons even in the desert couldn’t be easy.
They spent several decades in a remote Buddhist temple before the sorcerers transferred them to a museum, then finally to a Chinese Theater in Seattle.
He’d wondered occasionally why they kept everyone together when surely it would’ve been easier to stash a dragon here and there instead of a group. Jiang figured it was probably easier for the sorcerers to keep track of them if they transferred them all to the same location. They hadn’t seen the sorcerers for several years making Jiang wonder if they were still around. Had all the sorcerers died off?
Anticipation shivered across Jiang’s skin. For the first time in centuries he could feel a slight sensation of air across his scales. For a second he thought one of the fenghuang, blinked an eyelash and a foo dog wiggled a paw. Excitement pulsed through him. They might almost be free.
We just need the dragon king to come back now.
Zhou’s voice whispered through Jiang’s head. He agreed but doubted they would get so lucky. The odds of the dragon king’s line returning were slim. After all these centuries without a sign of their leader or any other kind of dragon Jiang often suspected they were the last of their breed. If there was a dragon king he’d long ago abandoned his people. Perhaps the royal had gone deep into the sea never to be found again. If the dragon king dared to come find them, Jiang had a few choice words for him.
He sent out magical feelers toward the others. He still couldn’t turn his head or blink his eyes but over the years they’d grown connected to each other and Jiang could sense his dragon friends and sometimes hear their thoughts.
Telepathic communication could be a blessing and a curse. After the first millennium the fenghuang had gone insane and the foo dogs’ grasp of reality was fading. The other dragons had grown bitter and angry. Only Zhou was able to keep them from giving up all together. Their leader tried to keep their spirits up and give them hope. Jiang depended on Zhou to keep him from the dark abyss that tried to grab him and pull him down into the depths of depression and madness.
Whether the vampire’s accident would turn out to be a good thing for the dragons or not would take time to determine. Hope could be the soul killer. The ability to feel a fraction might be the final step in pushing Jiang into insanity. He only clung to rationality by the dragons surrounding him. Their telepathic communication between them had been the only thing keeping him together.
Be steady, little one. Zhou’s deep voice rolled through Jiang like a warm hug. The older dragon was like a big brother to Jiang. Jiang would always be grateful for Zhou’s calm manner throughout this entire ordeal even if they never escaped.
Music started up again. Jiang wished he could sigh but that much motion couldn’t happen while he remained stone even with his newfound eye twitching ability. Besides he enjoyed the plays they were far superior to the monks chanting they endured for decades.. Their trip from China to the United States had been frightening but they’d remained in their current spot for almost a hundred years. Despite Jiang’s concerns none of them had been chipped. The sorcerer’s spell, the one keeping them in stone, also made them completely indestructible. Jiang would almost prefer mortality rather than to experience an eternal perfection. At least if he were stabbed he’d know he was alive.
Once again as it had for the past centuries Jiang’s mind drifted to the other dragons. Had any of them survived? And if so why did they never try to find Jiang and the other water dragons? The same questions rolled around and around in his head until he worried they would become a loop in his brain that he could never escape.
A few days passed.
No dragon king appeared to finish the job of saving the dragons from their stone prison or even wander by to say hello. Hope left without even a whisper goodbye.
Pain radiated through Jiang. A loud humming noise echoed in his ears, pierced through his eardrums and vibrated his bones with a teeth-gritting intensity.
What the hell?
What was happening? Instead of the washed out colors he’d seen for so many years he’d lost count, the world turned bright, vibrant and too much. An ominous snap was the last noise he heard before Jiang plummeted to the ground, screaming.
“Aden, love, have you seen my green cardigan?” Gallen asked as he walked into the living room. Aden stood by the front window staring through a telescope. “Spot any whales?”
“I’m not looking for whales,” Aden replied, not turning around. “Your sweater is in the hall closet.”
“Thanks.” The weather had turned chilly in early January, the snap in the air sapped away his little bit of body heat. He quickly returned to stand beside Aden. He gave in to temptation and slid his fingers through Aden’s hair.
Aden made a rough sound of pleasure. “I love it when you touch me. Why do you always hesitate?” Aden turned his attention Gallen. His laser blue eyes pinned Gallen to the spot, spiking his desire. Gallen licked his lips. Aden’s focus always made him hard. Other than his boys, Aden rarely gave anyone else his undivided attention. That Gallen made the select list of people worth Aden’s time made him willing to fight to keep his place by his lover’s side. Aden might not have wanted him in the beginning but Gallen would never give his mate a reason to regret keeping him.
“I don’t want you to think I’m too clingy. I went from my father’s house, to unconscious in a sleeping spell, to your place.” He already depended on his mate for a place to live. Gallen didn’t want to crush Aden with his need. He craved Aden’s attention. Air. Food. Water. All mere wants compared to his craving for his mate. Even his previous attraction to Eaton was only a pale shadow to Aden’s pull. Gallen had dated a few men before finding his mate but not one of them had a tenth of the pull as this hard-eyed man with a gentle touch.
“I don’t want you to think I’m only with you for the sex.” His cheeks burned from speaking the words out loud. Confession wasn’t good for the soul it was damn embarrassing.
“I can’t tell you how much I enjoy the idea of being your sex toy.” Aden’s grin transformed his usual solemn expression to a wickedly boyish one. Gallen smiled back, his discomfort quickly abandoned before his mate’s joy.
Tension eased out of him trickling away like air from a punctured tire, slow and silently. He’d never confess his insecurity before. Worries that Aden stayed with him only because Gallen had insisted they act on their mate bond, drifted away.
Gallen stepped closer. “Yeah.”
“Absolutely.” Aden wrapped his arms around Gallen’s waist then spun them around until Gallen’s back pressed against the cool window. “How could I resist my gorgeous mate?”
The question was rhetorical he could see the answer in Aden’s eyes. Desire flared, sparking, fanning the small initial flicker of desire into a raging inferno.
Aden kissed Gallen. A simple meeting of lips shouldn’t cause an earthquake-sized craving inside, shaking his worries away, but it did. Moaning, Gallen melted against his mate giving all control over to Aden. His confident mate didn’t fight Galen for control but merely took command of their lovemaking.
Small noises vibrated between their lips. Soft, needy sounds Gallen would’ve been embarrassed to make any other time. Now, with the press of hard muscles pushing him against the glass, Gallen melted into Aden’s demands. Gallen moaned under the soft lips of his mate. Aden might be all hard edges and tough attitude but his mouth could coax an angel to sin.
When Aden lifted his lips, Gallen stayed still waiting for Aden to do whatever he wanted. Instead of another kiss, Aden cupped Gallen’s face with his strong, callused fingers. His gentle touch always startled Gallen. For a man who had killed people with his hands, lots of people, he always handled Gallen with care as if he were someone truly precious and worthy of Aden’s rare flash of gentleness.