Read Dragon's Complete Desire: The Killington Dragons (Paranormal Romance) Online
Authors: Meg Ripley
Tags: #Contemporary, #Paranormal, #Supernatural, #Adult, #Erotice, #Short Story, #Two Books In One, #Alpha Male, #Shifter, #Romance, #Occult, #Demons, #Devils, #Angels, #Fiction, #Anthology, #The Killington Dragons, #Collection, #Marriage, #Dragon Shifters
Dragon’s Complete Desire
The Killington Dragons
Copyright © 2015 by Meg Ripley
All rights reserved. No parts of this book may be used or reproduced in any form without written permission from the authors, with the exception of brief quoted passages left in an online review. This book is a fictional story. All characters, names, and situations are of the authors’ creation. Any resemblances to actual situations or to persons who are alive or dead are purely coincidental.
This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only; this copy is not available for resale or to give to another reader aside from any transaction through Amazon’s e-book lending program.
This book is intended for readers age 18 and over. It contains mature situations and language that may be objectionable to some readers.
Note: This book was previously published as two separate books,
Dragon’s Loving Desire
Dragon’s Burning Desire.
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"If I have to attend one more simpering, shallow, saccharine display of fake mourning, I might have to throw myself off of the balcony."
Aurora's hand grabbed at the jutting rock above her head and held tight as she adjusted her foot in the hold beneath her, gave a few small bounces to build up momentum, and launched herself up a few more feet.
"Yes, I could probably come up with several more 'S' words to describe them. How about 'sickening'? That's an 'S' word."
The voice streaming through her headset continued to ramble, but Aurora focused on her hand slipping across the grit on her handhold and tightened her abdominal muscles to keep herself steady. Beads of sweat rolled down her spine and she could feel the burning in her thighs from her exertion. She pushed forward, unwilling to surrender to the rocks.
"No, I do not think I'm being bitter. I'm the one whose father just died, but I seem to be the only one who has managed to keep myself together and not fling myself into despair bemoaning the continuation of life as we know it. I swear, from what everyone is saying, I should be wearing a black veil and wailing. I've already given up my future for my father. Is it too much to ask that I at least get to enjoy the last few days that I have left?"
A surge of energy pulsed through her and Aurora pushed herself up and over the edge of the cliff. She climbed to her feet and turned to look out over the view stretching in front of her. The sun was coming up in the distance, washing the sky in shades of pink and blue that should be giving her a fresh outlook and renewed hope for the day. Unfortunately, they only reminded her of the god-awful bridesmaids' monstrosities the wedding coordinator had brought over the night before and that now lay draped across every piece of furniture in Aurora's bedroom.
"Anson, go to bed. If you haven't noticed yet, the sun is coming up, which means you have, yet again, stayed up all night trying to save the world one political event at a time. Get some rest and I'll see you this afternoon."
Without waiting for her assistant to respond, Aurora tapped the button on her earpiece to end the call. She planted her hands on her hips and let out a long breath. These would be her only moments of peace in the day. Up here on the rocks where she could be alone was the only time when she felt free. Below her, the city looked peaceful and picturesque in the early morning light, but she knew that buried among those pristine houses and perfectly manicured landscapes waited for her an engagement ring she only wore when she had to, a man she didn't want to marry, and a promise to her father that she would soon have to keep.
Aurora waited until the last possible moment to slip her engagement ring onto her finger before stepping out of her bedroom. The gold band felt heavy against her skin, the cushion-cut diamond glinting up at her with such frustrating perfection it was as if it knew her secret. Smoothing a few wayward strands of coppery hair back into her severe bun she took a steeling breath and started downstairs.
Greyson stood at the bottom of the stairs, gazing up at her with a smile nearly as fake as his tan. Aurora suppressed a sigh and returned his smile with equal sincerity. If someone had taken a picture at that moment they would have looked the image of young prestige and budding political power. From her sleek black dress and the diamond drop at the base of throat to his sharply pointed pocket square and gleaming shoes, they said
we've got our shit together.
Right past that thin, glossy surface, though, she felt more along the lines of
how the hell did I get here?
Aurora descended the stairs slowly, resting her fingers across Greyson's outstretched palm so he could lead her down the last few. Once she stood beside him his smile became softer and more genuine. He stroked her cheek with the backs of his fingers and Aurora felt an involuntary shudder. It wasn't that she hated Greyson. In fact, they had been friends nearly their entire lives. When he touched her, though, and she saw that look in his eyes, it was like bits of her were disappearing beneath his fingers.
An hour later Aurora stood behind a podium with a stack of note cards in her hands. Her eyes swept across the faces staring up at her from the sea of cream linen and gold chintz in front of her, then back to her father's handwriting sweeping across the cards. The cursive letters seemed to unravel and slither across the thick white cards. She forced herself to focus on them and they slowly recoiled into their words. These were the last words her father ever wrote and it was her responsibility to put a voice to them now that he couldn't.
Aurora finally forced the words through her throat and kept pushing them out, letting them pour from her chest as she worked her way through the cards. Her voice remained steady and strong until she reached the last card. Her father hadn't intended on it being the last and the half-finished sentence looked lost against the pristine expanse of the mostly empty card. Touching her fingertips to the faint streak of blood along the bottom of the card, she completed Lee's final thought and brought the speech to a close.
Greyson met her again at the bottom of the stairs, but this time Aurora stepped closer to him. This is what Lee wanted and what she had promised him. She knew if her father could see her at that moment, walking through the glittering event on Greyson's arm, he would be proud.
They spent the rest of the evening moving through the crowd, greeting people until they all became a swirl of color. Their words were a strange juxtaposition of condolences and congratulations. Aurora thanked them for both, changing the inflection of her voice slightly to make the response appropriate. By the time Greyson led her out of the room and into the soothing cool air of the night she felt like she might as well just roll her father's coffin right down the aisle with her on her wedding day.
"You handled that very well," Greyson said, placing his hand on her lower back.
"Handled what well, Greyson? Reading the speech my father was writing when he was murdered, or plastering on my best bridal smile to accept congratulations?"
Greyson stroked the segment of bare skin revealed by the cutout in her dress and Aurora subtly pulled away from his touch.
"Why don't you come home with me tonight?" he said softly.
She stepped away and turned to look at him.
"No, Greyson. Still no. Please just bring me home."
Greyson gave the same resigned, disappointed look that he gave every time she refused to go home with him and held out a hand so she would walk ahead of him. They waited silently under the portico until the valet brought Greyson's car around.
Once home, Aurora removed her engagement ring and nestled it in place in her jewelry box. She took a long shower to wash away the memories and slipped into bed, another day crossed off of her countdown.
Aurora descended into her dreams as if stepping from one consciousness into another. She was aware that she was sleeping in that intangible, abstract way that her body felt heavier; but unlike in a dream, all of her decisions seemed to be completely her own.
The forest around her was dark. Not an empty darkness, but a rich, velvety darkness that seemed alive as she moved through it. Silvery moonlight washed the path where she walked, illuminating plants that looked vibrantly green even in the partial light. She was barefoot, and as she walked she was aware of the texture of the ground and the press of grit and pebbles into her feet. It wasn't painful, but a strange, elevate sense of awareness to have in a dream.
Aurora continued to follow the path not knowing where it was leading. It wound through the dark outlines of trees and along a tiny, burbling stream that sparkled across a bed of smooth rocks. Finally the path opened into a large clearing where the stream poured out into a small lake. She approached the edge and sat on a moss-covered boulder that jutted out slightly over the water. As she dipped her feet down into the lake to rinse them she noticed she wore a long white skirt that flowed around her legs and brushed her ankles.
The water was cool against her skin and she swirled her feet just beneath the surface. Everything around her felt so quiet and peaceful that Aurora didn't want to move. She sat on the rock allowing the moonlight to wash across her skin, finding comfort and relief in the reprieve from the turmoil and chaos of her waking life.
Time slid by without her recognizing how long she had been sitting there. What could have been moments or hours later she felt the water on her feet becoming warmer. The temperature rose slowly until it felt like bath water against her skin. As the water got warmer, it also got rougher. The once smooth, crystalline surface shook and rocked, gathering into small waves and splashing up over her legs.
Aurora watched as the water soaked into the hem of her skirt, sending ribbons of color up the white expanse with each drop. She gasped and withdrew her feet onto the boulder, staring at the streams of color creeping up her skirt until the entire dress was a swirl of blue, purple, and pink. Climbing to her feet, Aurora looked out over the churning water. A dark shape caught her attention halfway across the lake. Gleaming in the moonlight, the shape rose partially out of the water, then sank back beneath the surface only to break through again a few feet closer to her.
The water continued to surge and shift, and Aurora kept her eyes focused on the dark shape moving through it. It seemed to appear and then disappear every few feet as if swimming toward the bank but gradually moving away from her. After a few moments the water quieted and there was a brief pause when the world fell still and silent again. Just as her heart was settling from its quivering pace, though, the calmed surface of the water shattered and a massive black creature climbed out onto the bank.
Aurora screamed and stepped back, stumbling off of the edge of the boulder and landing on her side on the damp earth of the bank. She collected herself from the force of the impact and slowly opened her eyes.
A claw came into view first. Long and black, they dug into the ground only yards away. She lifted her gaze slowly, giving herself time to take in the image of the creature. Powerful, muscled legs became a smooth, shimmery torso. Massive reptilian arms rested at its sides, partly concealed by leather-like wings tucked over its shoulders and touching the ground beside it. Fearsome spikes at the tips scraped into the dirt as the creature straightened further. Water dripped from its body, making its black skin look like oil.
Aurora pushed herself up to her hip before letting herself lift her eyes all the way to the creature's head. Huge and sleek, the head tilted down to look at her. Gleaming black eyes reflected the moonlight and Aurora felt her breath catch in her throat. She gradually rolled to her knees, keeping her movements slow and controlled. The longer she looked at the creature, the more details she noticed. The lines of its body were curved and graceful, but the edges of its wings were sharp and intense.
Feeling bolder, she climbed to her feet. The creature shifted slightly and made a low snorting sound as if disturbed by her movement. Aurora stilled, keeping her gaze steady on his eyes. When it quieted, she took a step forward. It made another, softer sound, but she took a second cautious step. On her third step the creature stood up straight and spread its wings wide. Turning its face to the sky, it opened its mouth and a stream of vivid orange fire poured across the sky. She felt the heat on her body and a surge through her chest a moment before everything went dark.
When Aurora opened her eyes again she was staring up at the ceiling of her bedroom. Her legs tangled in the sheets and her heart was pounding so hard against her ribs that she could feel her skin trembling above it. Now that she was awake the color seemed to have drained from the world around her, but in her mind she could see the vividness of the colors within the dream. Everything had been clearer and more saturated, from the purity of the moonlight to the glossy ebony skin of the creature.
As soon as it released its fire into the air, she realized what was standing in front of her, and even though she knew the beautiful, majestic dragon had only been a dream, she could still feel the sting of the heat across her skin.