Caught by the dragon mai.., p.9
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       Caught By the Dragon, p.9

           Mac Flynn
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I awoke in the deep embrace of both his arms and his wings. I lay on my side, and his warm body pressed against the back of mine. All was quiet, and the darkening shadows in the corners of the room hinted at late afternoon.

  I blinked in surprise at my predicament before the memories of earlier surfaced. My perennial blush returned. I tried to pull away from, but he held me tightly in his arms.

  His eyes were closed, but his sleepy voice floated to me. "Where are you trying to run off to, Maiden?"

  I bit my lower lip and glanced over my shoulder. "To-um, to the-um, kitchen. I'm kind of hungry." My stomach chimed in with a well-timed growl.

  The lord's eyes opened and he smiled at me. "So it seems."

  He sat up and his eyes swept over me. I blushed and covered my nakedness with my hands as best I could. He chuckled, and I glared at him. "What's so funny?"

  He nodded at my hands. "That you still hide yourself from me after such an intimate act."

  My anger flashed through my eyes. "W-well, you did something to me! Those smells of yours made me do it!"

  He shook his head. "I did very little. Your own body reacted to the scent from my glands and captured fragrances that you yourself find pleasurable."

  I blinked at him. "Your. . .glands?"

  He smiled. "Yes. Dragon males have glands in their wrists and on the sides of their necks that secrete a very fine, invisible mist over potential mates. If the mate is suitable than her mind will create a pleasurable aroma. If the match isn't well-chosen then she will find the scent repugnant."

  "So what do the female dragons get?" I asked him.

  His eyes wandered down to my breasts. "They have ample assets."

  I glared at him. "Not much of a bargain. The guy gets the control and the girl gets a couple of large jugs."

  "Would you rather have our positions the other way around?" he wondered.

  I pushed his wings away, but they snapped back like rubber bands. "What I would like is for you to get your wings off me so I can find my clothes and try to escape again."

  He sighed and shook his head. "I warned you before that I can find you anywhere in this world. You are no longer hidden from my Second Sight. The Marking ensured that."

  "I'm not going to give up. Even if we did have-even if we did do what we did, I still want to go home," I insisted.

  He scrutinized my determined face for a moment and shook his head. "Perhaps I have been too restraining. You seem to be a free soul of sorts. Have you ever hunted on horseback?"

  I blinked at him. "No, why?"

  A smile slid across his cute lips. "I propose to teach you. One of the others lords has requested me to ride with him today on a hunt, and it would give you a chance to spread your wings. In the figurative sense, that is."

  I snorted. "What do you care if I feel trapped?"

  "I am not in the habit of keeping prisoners, and a Maiden is the last creature I would wish to imprison. I am too fond of the memories of my mother to dare entrap one who was once in her position," he revealed. He sat up, and his arms and wings released me from the prison. The lord looked straight ahead and pursed his lips. "I wish for your trust, not your fear or anger. I find it vexing at all that I had to choose a Maiden."

  I grabbed a sheet from over the side of the bed and covered myself before I sat up. "Then why did you?"

  He scoffed. "Custom, and the family bloodline. You see being a Maiden as servitude, and my culture agrees, thus we lords can't choose a Maiden from among our own people. We must gather them from across the portal."

  "But why do you need Maidens at all? Why don't you just find a nice girl, settle down, and have little dragons?" I persisted.

  He shook his head. "It is not that simple. Women are chosen from the other world to reinvigorate the bloodline of the leaders of the dragon clans. This has been a custom for the five large clans for centuries."

  "So it's some sort of an honor for people from my world, but not for people from your world?" I guessed.

  The lord nodded. "Yes. The custom is beneficial to the people of my world, and detrimental to your own."

  "That's putting it mildly. . ." I muttered. A sudden, horrible thought came to my mind and my heartbeat picked up. "So what happens if the Maiden doesn't get along with the lord? I mean, what happens to the girl? All these choosings can't work out."

  He looked straight ahead and pursed his lips together. "She is allowed to create a new life here, but once marked she will remain within the lord's household. To return to her own world would mean certain death."

  I cringed. "So even if I did get away from you I can't go home? Ever?"

  He turned his head to face me. His dazzling eyes studied me for a long while before he nodded. "I'm afraid so. Would it be any different I would still tell you the truth."

  I swung my legs over the side of the bed and turned away from him. My shoulders shook. A few loose tears swam in my eyes. "So I'm trapped here. Really, truly trapped here."

  He seated himself beside me and laid a hand on my shoulder. "I promise I will make your life here the best I can, whether your chosen as my mate or otherwise."

  I whipped my head to him and frowned. "Even if I wanted it, you think it's okay for me to have to jump through all these hoops to be your wife?" I leapt to my feet, taking the blanket with me, and spun around to face him. "You think it's okay to steal me from my home and bring me here-"

  "No." He stood and grasped my shoulders. "I do not believe it was right, but what's done is done. Nothing can change that. Nothing can return you to the life you once had. " He leaned down so we were face-to-face. "But life does not end. You are a woman of exception stubbornness, but in that stubbornness I sense a great strength. I believe you have the strength to be my mate, and I will be much pleased with that."

  I turned my head to the side and sniffled. "That's what you say to all the kidnapped girls."

  He chuckled. "Only one, and she stands before me." He paused and looked into the distance as he furrowed his brow. "Or perhaps I have told a half dozen those same words."

  I whipped my head back to him and blinked. "Half dozen? How many times have you done this mating thing?"

  He dropped his hands and shrugged. "I'm afraid I've lost count, though in my defense the choosings have spanned three hundred years."

  I started back. "How long?"

  The lord grinned and his eyes danced with glee as they looked down at me. "Has no one told you the longevity of dragons? Does your world no longer have stories of them?"

  I shook my head. "No. I mean, yeah, it's got stories, but I didn't think they were real."

  He opened his wings. The tips scraped against the walls. "Are these not real enough for you?"

  My naughty eyes wandered down to his naked torso. That was very real. I blushed and averted my eyes from his body. "Y-yes, very real."

  He chuckled and out of the corners of my eyes I watched his wings fold. "Perhaps you would be less distracted if I clothed myself. You will catch your death of cold in only that sheet."

  I clung the sheet tighter to my body. "I'm fine." A slight chill floated through the window frames. I shuddered.

  "I will have Darda bring you your new clothes," he offered.

  I glanced at him and frowned. "I'd rather have my old ones."

  He shook his head. "They are not suitable for this life."

  "I'd still rather have them," I insisted.

  The lord sighed, but nodded. "Very well. I will have them returned."

  He walked to the head of the bed and pulled on a cord. It must have been the bell to my hunger because my stomach growled again. He chuckled. "And then perhaps we will dine together."

  I scoffed. "Do I have a choice?"

  The lord walked over to his dresser and pulled a pair of pants on. "There is always starvation.

  The door to the chamber opened and the old woman stepped inside. She shut the door behin
d herself and bowed to us. "You rang, My Lord?"

  He gestured to me. "Your Lady wishes to have her old clothes returned, and have breakfast prepared."

  She bowed her head. "As you wish. There came a message for you, My Lord, from Lord Cayden."

  The lord arched an eyebrow. "Let me see it." She pulled a small folded note from her pocket and walked over to hand it to him. He unfolded the letter. A smile slipped onto his lips. "Yes. Reply that we will be pleased to have them for breakfast before the ride."

  "Yes, My Lord." She left the room.

  I glanced at the note he pocketed. My eyes flickered up to his face. "Who are we eating with?"

  "The young dragon lord who owes you a great deal of gratitude," he replied as he pulled out a white satin shirt. "Without your interference last night he would not be the joyous man he is this night."

  I blinked at him for a moment before I remembered my 'sacrifice' to Stephanie. "Then he got Stephanie?"

  The lord nodded. "Yes, he 'got her,' as you so eloquently put it, and is most pleased with his catch. He is fortunate, as this was his first choosing after becoming the lord of his domains."

  I looked the lord up and down. "So are you really three hundred years old?"

  He slipped the shirt on and chuckled. "Are you displeased with my aged appearance?"

  I snorted. "I've seen teenagers in worse shape, but seriously, how old are you?"

  He furrowed his brow as he buttoned his buttons. "I will be three hundred and twenty-eight come this Harvest."

  I blinked at him. "Seriously?"

  He chuckled. "Very seriously, but I hear the patter of Darda's feet." There was a knock on the door. "Enter."

  Darda slipped inside. In her hands was a bundle of my clothes. She walked over and bowed to me. "They have been cleaned for you, My Lady."

  I took the pile and looked over my clothes. A washing machine couldn't have done any better. "Thanks."

  She bowed again. "I am glad to be of assistance."

  My stomach rumbled. The lord chuckled. "Your Lady is curious to know if breakfast ready."

  "Yes, My Lord, and Lord Cayden and his Maiden await you," she replied.

  He turned to me. "Then dress, My Lady, and we shall feast with friends."


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