April 2019 Newsletter
“Chains & Flames”
UNEDITED/UNPROOFED: Bercelak stared at the naked female crumpled in front of his den. White hair, matted with blood and dirt covered her except for the small odd brand on her bare shoulder.
Leaning in, he sniffed her. No…she wasn’t human. She was dragon.
Well…there goes dinner.
He pushed her with his snout, forcing her onto her back. When he saw her face, his heart stuttered in his chest for a second time this day.
Rhiannon. Princess Rhiannon. His Rhiannon.
He looked her over. She was bloody and broken. He looked up at the sky and realized that’s where she’d dropped from. No wonder the Queen said Rhiannon would be waiting for him at his den. This was where she’d dumped her daughter.
This can’t be good.
Yet it didn’t matter. He finally had her. He had his Rhiannon. And he planned to keep her… forever.
Screaming. Why is there all that screaming?
Rhiannon moved and the screaming became decidedly worse, but she also realized the screaming was in her head.
She put her claws to her forehead, hoping to push back the pain…except something didn’t feel right. Her head felt different. So did her claw.
By sheer will, she opened her eyes and stared at her talons. Except they weren’t her mighty white talons she proudly kept sharpened. They were—she frowned in confusion—they were nails.
Human ones. So was the claw those tiny useless nails were attached to. Not her mighty claw, but the claw of a human. A…a hand.
She looked down at herself and realized she hadn’t been dreaming. Human. Her mother had turned her human. She’d shifted to human many times, but only to fool the humans around her…well, and to see if her human form was remotely attractive. Otherwise, she lived her life as a dragon and never understood those who didn’t. Why anyone would want to be human was beyond her understanding…and damn it all, she was brilliant!
Knowing she needed to calm down, Rhiannon took a deep breath and slowly released it. Once she’d cleared her mind and the screaming in her head lessened, she said the chant that would shift her back. Bright colors of Magick sparked off her human body…then nothing. Absolutely nothing.
“She took your powers.”
Rhiannon turned her head and looked over at the black dragon watching her.
“Bercelak,” she sneered. Of course, where else would her mother make sure she dropped but at the feet of the one dragon she never wanted to see?
I hate that bitch.
Growling, she forced her human body to sit up. “You will, Low Born, call me by my title. I’m Princess Rhiannon to you.”
He stared at her for a moment with his typical frown—did he have any other expression?—then he snorted. “Princess you may be. But at the moment you are one without powers or claws.” He stood up and took several steps toward her. “You are human. No wings. No way to escape me. It was a good thing I recognized you or I might have had a lovely meal of you with some parsley. And potatoes.”
Two more steps brought him closer, and Rhiannon ignored the pain in her head and backed up.
“All that soft skin and those breakable bones,” he fairly crooned. “We can’t let you out in this cruel world so defenseless, princess. You’ll need me to care for you. To protect you. Just as I had to do today. If it hadn’t been for the skills my mother gave me and what I learned on the field of battle, I may not have been able to heal you.”
“I need nothing from you, Bercelak, son of a slag.”
He stopped moving, his cold black eyes locking on her face. “Since I know for a fact your own mother took a turn on my father’s cock, excuse me if I’m not truly insulted.” His head tilted to the side. “We aren’t kin, are we?”
“You…” Stunned that anyone dare speak to her in such a manner, Rhiannon forced herself to her feet. The screaming in her head became decidedly worse, but she didn’t care. She wouldn’t let the arrogant bastard treat her like this. No one, absolutely no one, treated her like this.
“Listen to me well, Low Born. Don’t think for a second I won’t cut your heart from your worthless hide and wear it on my head…like a hat.”
Bercelak spit out a spell. Flame burst around the dragon and faded, leaving only his human form . And, oh, by the dark gods of fire, what a human form. Coal-black hair reached down his back, sweeping around his narrow hips. Because he was a battle-dragon, his hair was shorter than the royalty he protected. He also had scars. Lots and lots of scars, some in the most interesting of places. One brutal scar curved under his right eye. Oh, and his eyes…black like his hair. Dark and fathomless, glaring at her from under black brows. But his body…she never thought of human bodies as all that pleasing. Especially the male ones. Until now. All those muscles and those big strong shoulders. Everything about him was perfect. His face, his body. His scars.
She stared at him as he marched over to her, forcing her to back up against the cave wall. She winced, the rocks pricking the soft human skin she’d begun to detest. She felt weak, defenseless.
How do you humans live like this?
“Tell me, Princess…do you really think someone is coming here to rescue you from me? I am all you have. Even your mother has deserted you.”
“She deserted me a long time ago.”
It seemed like his naturally hard expression softened a bit at that. “I know she did. It hurt you.”
She gave a short, cruel laugh. “Nothing hurts me, Low Born. Absolutely nothing.”
“How is that possible?” And for some reason he sounded as if he truly cared about her answer.
“When you stop feeling anything, you find it quite possible.”
One big hand cupped her cheek. “I have no desire to hurt you, princess. But I do want you to feel. I want you to feel everything when you’re with me.”
Rolling her eyes, “Oh, please, Low Born. Don’t try seducing me.” Planting two hands against his chest, she shoved him back and moved away from the wall. “I’m not a child. I’ve been seduced by the best.” She looked him up and down. “Those of royal blood. And it pains me to tell you that you are sorely lacking.”
He leaned back against the spot she just vacated, his arms crossed over that gorgeous chest.
“Does my lack of royal blood truly bother you?”
“No. It insults me,” she answered honestly. “Are you the best my mother could come up with? I’m not some table scrap to be tossed off to her favorite battle dog. I am of royal blood. The daughter of a king. To be quite honest, I deserve better than you. Now, Low Born, you’ll escort me to the closest exit.”
He moved so fast, she didn’t have a chance to jump, much less run. His hands slipped around her neck, holding her in place. She thought he’d try to choke the life from her—unfortunately, it wouldn’t be the first time that happened. Instead, he towered over her, staring down into her face. His black eyes locked with hers.
“When I’m done,” his low voice said softly while his face still looked so intensely…cranky, “you won’t be able to imagine your life without me. You’ll pine for me, wanting me like you’ve never wanted anything before in your life. You’ll miss me when I’m gone and desire me when I’m right beside you. No other male will ever be good enough. No other male worthy of taking this body and bringing it and you pleasure you’ve only dreamed of. And when you’re coming and screaming my name, begging me to keep you as my own, I’ll Claim you. And your heart and soul will belong only to me. But until that time, princess, you’re not going anywhere.”
Then he released her and walked away.
She waited until he was far enough away he couldn’t hit her and said, “Oh, yes? You and what army?”
He stopped walking, looking over his shoulder at her. Unable to meet his gaze, she rubbed her eyes with one hand and sighed. “Well that came out terribly wrong.”