Dragon Actually:Dragon Kin 01(5)

By: G.A.Aiken

His black eyes narrowed at her angry shout, and his nostrils flared. “I can smell it on you.”

Annwyl reared back from the dragon. “What?”

“I can smell it on you. That no man has been with you. That your maidenhead is still intact. That you, beautiful one, are a virgin.”

Annwyl looked at the dragon in horror, her voice no more than a whisper. “Really? You can smell that on me?”

“No,” he responded flatly. “But you are quite chatty in your sleep.”

She rolled her eyes. “You tricky …” Her anger fled as quickly as it came. She leaned against the table, her strength waning.

“So, did you think I somehow took advantage of you while you slept?”

“Well… .” Annwyl flinched as one talon tapped impatiently on the stone floor awaiting her answer. “The thought had crossed my mind.” She lowered herself into one of the other chairs surrounding the table, too weak to stand any longer. “I’m sorry. I know only what I learned from my brother … and he would have checked.”

The great beast sighed. “I have heard tales of your brother. You do realize he should have been killed at birth?”

Annwyl smiled. “If only.” She looked across the cave floor to the bed. It looked so far away and her body was still so weak.

“Here.” He lowered his claw and opened it. Black talons as long as her leg glistened at Annwyl.

“You must be mad.”

“How did you think you got in here?”

“Yes, but …” There she went again. Treating him as an animal when, in the little time she’d known him, he’d treated her with more respect than any man she’d met at her brother’s castle.

She pushed herself up and took the two steps to his outstretched claw. With force of will she didn’t know she possessed she stepped onto it, pushing out the vision she had of him shoving her into his mouth like a piece of steak. He lifted her up, gently moving his forearm until he had reached the bed. He carefully lowered her onto the fur coverings.

“Now, let’s try not to have any more fits of anger until you get more of your strength back.”

Annwyl laughed. “As you wish.”

She sat down on the bed, her long legs hanging over the side. She watched his body leave the cavern. His long tail following behind. But Annwyl wondered if it had a will of its own as it whipped out and wrapped itself around her leg. For a brief moment she worried it might drag her across the room. But instead it caressed her leg, the ebony scales rubbing against her calf. Then it released her and disappeared with the dragon that wielded it.

Long after he’d gone and she slid herself back under the fur covers, Annwyl still felt where he’d touched her leg. And she wondered what insanity had begun to take over her normally sensible mind.

Lorcan of Garbhán Isle stared out over his battlements, watching the two suns lower in the west, and wondered how his sister kept slipping from his grasp.

No matter what he did or what he tried, she just wouldn’t die. And the longer she lived, the more men she killed. His men. His troops. The number of headless bodies with her name carved on their chest rivaled even his own. Of course, his took thirty-one years to achieve. She’d accumulated hers in little over two.

He wished now he’d killed her when he had the chance. She was ten, he just fourteen. She had just arrived, sleeping soundly in her new bed. He held the pillow in his hands. He knew he could smother her, and no one would ever know. But she woke up, looked at him, and flew into a blinding rage. Which he returned. His father found the two of them rolling around on the floor trying to choke each other. The man had not been pleased and he made them pay for waking him out of a sound sleep.

Lorcan winced, remembering the brutality of the beating they both received. What gave him small satisfaction was that he’d expected the beating. His bastard sister apparently lived a simple life in her poor village and received little or no discipline. Her reaction to her punishment… well, truly reward enough for him.

He didn’t know one could hate someone as much as he hated this girl. But she continued to make a fool of him. There were several surrounding kingdoms that gave her campaign gold and troops in the hopes she would do what they could not. Kill him. Take his throne.

He’d see her head on a spike outside his castle walls first. And he now had the perfect ally to assist him.

He never much liked witches. Didn’t like the idea of such weak beings as females having that kind of power that they probably could not control. But he tolerated sorcerers well enough. And Hefaidd-Hen was just what he needed. Pay him well and Hefaidd-Hen would hand you the world. He’d proven himself over and over the few months they’d been allies. Although he still hadn’t captured his sister.