Dragon Actually:Dragon Kin 01(10)

By: G.A.Aiken

“But I don’t want to be queen.” Her body shook with panic, and he could hear it in her voice.

“You take his head, you’ll have little choice.”

“What the hell am I supposed to do as queen?”

“Well … you could try ruling.”

“That sounds awfully complicated.”

“I don’t understand you.”

“What do you mean?”

“You command the largest rebellion known to this land.

From what I understand, your troops are blindingly loyal to you. And other kingdoms send you reinforcements and gold.”

“Your point?”

“You’re already queen, Annwyl. You just need to take the crown.”

She shook her head. “My father didn’t believe in crowns. There’s a throne, though.”

“Then take your throne. Take it and become queen.”

“I will. If you fight with me, dragon.”

“Will I get any peace if I don’t?”

“Sometimes queens have to do things they’re not always proud of,” she teased. “Including the torturing of handsome dragons, such as yourself. I could have people traipsing in and out of here all the time. Talkative people.” She smiled as she spoke—and called him “handsome”—but he wouldn’t put anything past her.

“Then you don’t give me much choice, do you?”

“No. I don’t.”

“Then I will fight with you, Annwyl.”

She grinned, and he felt pride for causing it.

Chapter 4

As the days passed and Annwyl became stronger, she began to venture out into the glen surrounding the dragon’s lair. She’d never felt safer than she did at this very moment. In the middle of a dragon’s territory with only a sword to protect her. And she could never be safer. He allowed her to do what she wished. Go where she wished. Which she did. Although she actively avoided the section where the smell of burned men still lingered.

Annwyl moved slowly among the trees and flowers. All so beautiful and hers to enjoy in solitude. Like everyone else in the surrounding kingdoms, she had learned to fear Dark Glen. And from the outside, it stood dark and imposing. But once inside, the dense forest created a place of tranquility and quiet. If she’d known as a child that she had nothing to fear, she would have escaped to it long ago.

She rubbed her side. Her wound still a bit tender, but nearly healed. The dragon and witch had done a brilliant job of keeping her alive.

Yet she agonized over the agreement she’d made with the dragon. Was she that desperate to defeat her brother? That desperate to see her brother’s blood on her sword that she’d risk the life of the dragon who saved her? Clearly the answer was yes.

But she must be mad. She should flee. Back to her men. Back to the safety of her troops and away from the dragon. She should. But she most likely would not. The question she kept asking herself, though, was why. Why wouldn’t she leave this place? Why wouldn’t she leave him?

And why did he himself seem to resist the idea any time she mentioned leaving?

Annwyl smiled as she thought about how her little space within his lair kept becoming more and more furnished.First only a bed to sleep in and table for her to eat at. After that, several stuffed chairs appeared. Then a rug. Then a tapestry. Some beautiful silver candlesticks with sweet-smelling candles.

He wanted to make her feel comfortable. At home. Surprisingly, the beast’s lair felt more like a home than any place she’d lived in since she was a child and sent to live with her father.

No. She could never repay the dragon for his kindness. As it was, what life she possessed already belonged to him. And yet she felt no fear. She should. He could ask her for anything in order to pay her blood debt to him. No, she felt something altogether different from fear. Anticipation.

Annwyl stopped, her silent revelry broken. She’d sensed the battle before she heard the clash of swords and the cries of dying men. She knew she didn’t have all her strength back yet, but she had to see. Had to know if her brother’s men had infiltrated the dragon’s glen. And if they had, she’d kill them all. She wouldn’t put the dragon at anymore risk.

She ran quickly and silently, reassured by the weight of the blade strapped to her back and the dagger sheathed at her hip. She slipped behind a boulder and watched the brutal conflict. Her brother’s men. About eight of them. All fighting one man.

The man from her dreams.

Annwyl’s chest constricted as gooseflesh broke out over her skin. She watched him with wide eyes. His face was the face she saw in her dreams almost every night while she recovered her strength. That black hair the same hair she always made sure to dig her hands into. Who the hell was this? Other than remembering him from her dreams, she still didn’t recognize him. A stranger. A large, gorgeous stranger who wore the crest of an army not seen for many years on the bright red surcoat worn over his chainmail.