By: Leia Stone

“Now you answer some questions for me,” I ordered.

He seemed to snap out of whatever thoughts had him captivated, and looked at me with those deep emerald eyes.

“Okay. What do you want to know?” His body turned towards me and I tried not to remember what he looked like with his shirt off. I don’t care what he smelled, my dragon was still in heat, because these thoughts weren’t mine.

“Who are the hunters and why do they want to kill me?” I folded my arms and my red mane fell in a curtain around my face.

Logan seemed to be considering what to tell me. His eyes had narrowed and he wasn’t speaking, he was just … looking at me.

“And don’t lie!” I jabbed a finger in his direction and was rewarded with a devastatingly handsome smile.

“I wasn’t going to lie. I just want to bring you into this slowly. If you think you’re having paranoid delusions now, you won’t want to sleep at night if I tell you everything in one sitting.”

Yikes. I recoiled and sat back down. “Okay … just tell me what they want with me.”

He nodded. “Hunters work for the earthbound, the druids. The druids want dragons dead because we harness magic for humanity—magic the druids need to be powerful.”

“Huh?” My head was reeling. What the hell was a druid? “Humans don’t need magic. That doesn’t even make sense.” There was a throbbing at the base of my skull; I ran a hand over the area, trying to work a knot out of my neck.

Logan stepped closer, eating up the distance between us, so close now that I could reach out and touch him. “Listen to me, Sloane, because this is the greatest lesson I could ever teach you.” His voice was gruff, and the way his eyes pierced into me had me sitting erect, hanging on his every word.

“The humans need our magic to survive. Without it they get sick. Cancer, fibromyalgia, arthritis, plagues, it’s all from the loss of dragon magic.”

“What the…? Fibro what?” I was slack-jawed. This guy was officially loony. “You’re telling me I’m a dragon but my mom still died of cancer? Shouldn’t my magic have saved her?”

Logan clenched his jaw in anger as he sensed my doubt. “I know it’s hard to believe, but yes, the humans need dragon magic to survive. It’s our duty to keep them alive and healthy. We are their protectors. We’re bound to them. I have been holding magic for humanity, alone, for so long. Well, I was … now I have you.”

Those four words, Now I have you, made my dragon purr, and without warning I stepped up closer to him, the heat rising in my belly, my dragon coming forward. I thought it would freak him out but he didn’t move. His eyes went to slits; breathing in and out deeply, he was nearly panting.

I ached to touch him, to see how those rock-hard muscles would feel in my hands. What the hell was I doing? I barely knew this guy … and yet my eyes fell to his lips. What would it be like to kiss him? The throbbing heat in my belly reached critical mass and I knew there was only one thing that would make it ease. Logan was just standing there frozen, waiting for me to do something.

I cleared my throat, trying to stay on topic. If I could just keep talking I would be okay. “Alright, if our brand of magic is so healing and powerful, then why was I injured for so long?” I indicated my shoulder.

He looked at the spot where my shoulder had been hurt and reached out to touch it, but thought better of it, pulling his hand back.

“I don’t know.” He offered a slight grin. “You’re … broken.”

I rolled my eyes. “Gee, thanks.”

He chuckled and I nearly reached out to touch his beard, to see how the scruff would feel under my nails. Damn this guy and his intoxicating smile.

“I’m kidding,” he said. “Sort of. Your dragon magic is different. It took two blood infusions from me to get your shoulder to heal while you were sleeping. It’s like … your magic hasn’t awoken yet or something.”

Neither of us moved. We were still incredibly close to each other to be having a normal social conversation, so I stepped back a foot and sat down on the stool. It took a lot of restraint, and my dragon nearly roared at me for doing it.

He looked at me as if trying to figure me out. “A redheaded female skyborn. I’ll be damned. Marcus would roll over in his grave.”

I fingered my long hair. “Who’s Marcus?”

His voice grew solemn. “Marcus was my mentor. Had a thing for redheads. He and I were the last skyborn alive until…” His face sagged and I knew.

I knew a thing or two about death. People tried to relate and tell their own stories surrounding their experience with death, but nothing could soothe that ache. Nothing came close to your own personal story. “I’m sorry,” was all I offered, and he nodded.