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The Dragon’s Mate – A BBW interracial Dragon Shifter Romance

The Dragons Mate - A BBW interracial Dragon Shifter RomanceElise Knight sighed as she stretched and prepared to get out of bed. She rolled over and grabbed a small calendar that was sitting on the night stand and used a pen to scratch an x through yet another day. Only forty-eight to go before she was finally an adult. Too bad her entire future was completely planned out, or she might even be excited.

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As she sat up, she pulled long tendrils of golden hair out of her face and stretched again. The radio alarm was still blaring in her ears, and she paused at an interesting thing the news announcer had said.

“Its official, the long-awaited hatching of Princess Allurielle of the Dragonhold occurred this morning, just a few hours ago,” she said. “The young woman who has emerged seems every bit as lovely as everyone had anticipated, and she appears to be thriving. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we’ll be hearing about a royal wedding between her and one of Garuf and Natalie’s brood. I’m sure all four of those young men will be eagerly awaiting the chance to catch her eye…”

Click. Elise had better things to do than wonder which dragon was about to be married to which. She was running late now as it was. Being a part of the research team seeking to revive the birth of human males—as well as being one of the eight female humans who had been ‘grown’ for the project—was much too important to be worrying about that. She was supposed to be helping examine the blood samples of the five women who had just been inseminated last week to see if they’d maintained the chromosomes now that they’d been confirmed to be impregnated. Of course, since such young babies were all girls at this point, the next week would prove the most crucial for the microscopic lives they were trying to grow.

Simply implanting genetically enhanced human embryos and hoping to make them become male still didn’t solve the crisis the world faced thanks to the humanovirus, but at least they had gotten to the point of being able to start a test tube baby and implant it. Today’s implantation of the male DNA, and seeing it maintained inside an unaltered, fully human female, would be a most important next step.

Having thrown on something to wear, Elise sprang out of her bed and rushed up the hall to her supervisor Lara’s laboratory. She tried not to look too guilty when she arrived, but she already knew a reprimand was imminent even before she opened the door.

“Well, you took your time getting here on a day like this of all times,” grumbled Dane from across the room.

“I thought I’d made it clear how important this is,” said Lara with a scowl in her general direction as she continued placing tiny droplets into a vial rather than pausing. Then she set it down. “That was the last tube of this lot, Elise. You may as well not have showed up at all for all the help you were this morning.”

“I’m sorry, Lara,” she replied, looking down at her feet. “I promise it won’t happen again.”

“I hope not,” she said. “You of all people ought to know how important this research is.”

“Yes, ma’am,” she answered, and then took over the task Lara was doing without another word. There were still four lots left to do.

“It’s going to be quite an adjustment around here while you’re busy picking out which guy you want to mate,” Lara commented then. “I hope you don’t take too long to decide.”

“Give me a break,” said Dane with a smirk. “She ought to just choose the youngest guy there and call it good. I mean, we all know they can’t possibly have anybody under forty to choose from.”

“You don’t need to remind me,” Elise grumbled.

“You know, you have met all of these men before,” Lara said. “You must have one of them that lingers in your thoughts.”

“Yeah, the one that just got mated to somebody else,” said Elise dejectedly. “And even he wasn’t quite what I’d call exciting or anything. Is it wrong of me that I find paranormal men so much more interesting?”

“Well, there are younger, stronger prospects among them, so that would only make perfect sense,” Lara said. “But you must keep the objective in mind. You, and the five other girls still in the program, are the last, best hope for humankind to reproduce. You must simply curb your baser urges in favor of saving the human race from extinction. You know this.”

“Yes, of course I do,” she complained. “I’m just wallowing in a bit of self-pity, that’s all.”

“Well, this batch is a bust,” Lara said when a red light began to flash. “If this result holds true, none of these women will be able to sustain Y-chromosomes throughout a pregnancy as humans. The method simply isn’t stopping the viral attacks. The humanovirus is completely unrelenting, as you can see.”

“Thanks a lot, Nero,” Dane teased him.

“Dane, it isn’t funny,” said Nero as he rubbed at his temples. “This was the five thousandth attempt, and we’re no closer to solving the problem than we were when we began. I’m really afraid humanity is soon going to be gone for good. And if so, it will be on my hands.”

Dane stopped laughing then. He nodded his head at his brother’s words and turned back to his computer, staring at it as if he hoped the answer would suddenly appear after all this time. But in the end, he was just as certain as Nero that it was never going to happen at all.

*****

Elise was quite tired by dinner time, and they didn’t have much of anything to show for it. Just like the samples from the first pregnancy, each of the other four also could not sustain the necessary Y-chromosome count to maintain a male child. Each of the embryos now implanted could not possibly become anything other than female thanks to the virus that inhibited them. Previous tests had shown that it was possible to use chromatic materials from Jaggers, Mooneyes, vampires, magicians, or even gods to create males, just not human.

The scientists all sat together to eat, including Everleigh and Kevin, Elise’s aunt and uncle. Elise’s mother, Marijane, had birthed her and given her directly to Everleigh almost twenty-five years ago. Very little was known about her father except that he had dumped Marijane as soon as he found out she was pregnant. This would be a great blow to Elise’s self-esteem if she bothered to think about it—which she never did. Her aunt and uncle were perfectly serviceable parents.

Besides, since they’d enrolled her into the “Save the Humans” project at birth, she was often times sent to Vail or the Ozark Facility to socialize with some of the human males who were also involved. These men, none of whom was less than forty this year, had begun taking supplements meant to reawaken their Y-chromosomes back in 2030, just before her own birth, and now that she was about to turn twenty-five, she was expected to select a mate from among them. So far, out of the ten baby girls who had been receiving supplements all their lives as well, four had dropped out of the program to be with paranormals, three had mated recently, and only three were still underage, herself included.

The only trouble was, as the youngest of them all, Elise’s choices in which man she would mate were becoming more and more limited. Perry, the man she’d hoped to choose, had recently been snapped up by one of the other girls, so now she was stuck picking again. Only two of the men were under the age of 43, and neither of those two were particularly appealing to her.

Truth be told, Elise had a big problem. She was extremely attracted to paranormal men—wolves in particular, though she’d seen a god or two she could really sink her teeth into. Maybe part of the problem was that she knew if she mated a human, she herself would have to grow old at the faster rate as well. And the sex would probably be less than fantastic too, no doubt. How could it not be when the man she’d have to choose was at least fifteen to twenty years her senior and in another twenty years he would be a senior citizen?

Elise was so lost in thought that she failed to hold back a sigh of disgust at this thought.

“What’s got you so worked up over there, young lady?” Everleigh wanted to know.

“Why do I have to be the youngest test subject?” she grumbled. “Perry was the third guy I’d thought would be good enough, and now he’s gone, too. Maybe I shouldn’t even look at the prospects again until Belinda and Melody have already got their guys. I can’t take losing out one more time.”

“Well, I’m sure that must be very frustrating, dear,” Everleigh agreed. “But cheer up. I’ve just had some wonderful news that should keep your mind occupied for a time, at any rate.”

“Now what?” she grumbled. Everleigh’s idea of wonderful news and hers did not always match.

Everleigh chuckled. “Apparently your cousin Kira and the new princess intend to pay us a visit so that Allurielle can meet Prince Trinn.”

“Prince Trinn?” repeated Elise, her eyes widening a bit. The princess was sure to like the handsome prince, and they’d probably have a perfect, fairytale wedding, and then right afterwards she herself would be stuck marrying some boring old human and living mediocrely ever after. “That sounds interesting. So, if she mates with Trinn, does he become a dragon?”

“No, dear, I don’t think so,” Everleigh said. “As I understand it, she’d simply process his DNA and birth Jagger children. So you see, it would be perfectly fine for him to mate with her. He’s much more likely to get a pure-Jagger heir than he would be in any other way.”

“Weird,” Elise snorted. “So how come she can’t do that with a human?”

“She can, of course, but the offspring could only come out as a human female, and we’ve got more than enough of those already,” said Nero from his vantage point across the table.

“I can’t even begin to argue with that,” she replied, smirking up at him.

Then she quickly schooled her features again, not wishing to make Lara believe she was flirting. She’d been accused of it once before, and she didn’t want to go down that route again. Of course Nero Growler was really hot, but Elise had no interest in a casual fling, and she knew that’s all anything between them could ever be since her future was already mapped out in a different direction. Besides, that trio seemed perfectly content just as they were.

Nero had circumspectly recalled the accusation at approximately the same time, and his own eyes had quickly went elsewhere as well. They now seemed to be resting on his mate, thankful that she hadn’t noticed the exchange and made more of it than the casual remark it was yet again.

Elise finished eating her cooked steak and excused herself from the table. “I’ll be in the library if anybody wants me,” she said as she went.

“See you in a couple hours, dear,” Everleigh said with a smile as she watched her go.

The hallway leading to the royal caves had always seemed somewhat darker than the brighter main halls, but Elise had never found herself concerned by this. She knew that, as part of the all-important research team, there was unlikely to be any trouble with the local wolves who liked to flirt so mercilessly with all the other girls. They knew better than to try that with her—the king would pin their hides to the granite walls if they did.

She stepped into the nearest of the library doors and stepped over to the row of computers there, plopping down into one of the chairs and turning the machine on. She slid on a pair of virtual gloves and the headpiece so she could interface more easily, then leaned back to relax while she read her email. As she’d expected, her cousin Kira had sent her a bit of an update, complete with pictures of her newly hatched daughter. She told her that she and Nico would arrive there in four days for a visit.

Even though Kira was now queen of the dragons, she had still kept up with her studies and become a scientist just to make her mother Everleigh proud. Aunt Everleigh was constantly talking about her daughter as if she were the most famous person in the world. Not that Elise could blame Kira for that, of course. But Kira had always been a take charge sort of person anyway, so her new role as the dragon matriarch was actually well-suited to her.

Elise had been ten years old when Kira married Nico, and she’d only met the dragon king the one time. For that matter, the dragons who had visit that time were the only dragons she’d ever met in person even though dragons sometimes came to the Black Hills Facility seeking mates. Everyone had made very certain to keep her well away from any such activities, knowing as they did that once a dragon believed he had found his bond-mate he would stop at nothing to make that girl his own.

And she’d thought Jaggers were a possessive lot. Dragons’ antics when it came to making a girl their own put the werewolves to shame, that was for sure. She almost wished she could get a better look at some of the dragons who had been coming here just to compare them to the men she’d have to choose from. But she knew that was a foolish idea—she was bound to select a dragon for sure if she saw an eligible one up close, considering how good they looked in their pictures, and then where would the fate of humanity be?

Feeling a bit indulgent and curious, Elise flipped her eye toward the internet app and it clicked to life. She navigated to the website she’d found about the dragons a few months ago and guiltily indulged in a bit of ogling. Dragons really were hot, she thought. Maybe even hotter than Jagger males—and that was saying a lot. She could see why Kira would have so easily succumbed to one of them, especially since King Nico seemed to be the hottest one of all.

She really ought to stop eyeing other people’s mates, but the mated males were the only ones she was ever allowed to get anywhere close to, so what choice did she have right now, since her hormones were just aching for the next month and a half to go by so she could do something about them? She knew that once she’d actually had sex, she was certain to calm down at least a little, but right now she thought she was ready to explode.

The Dragons Mate interracial shifter romanceFrowning slightly, Elise supposed that it really ought to be the eligible men remaining whose pictures she was viewing just now. The thought alone brought forth a button that would take her to the sight she needed for that activity, and she reluctantly clicked it. Five men, only five, were arrayed before her. Five men, and three girls, and two of them would get to pick before her, leaving only three. Damn.

Of the five, the oldest was about to turn forty-five. His name was Keith. Then the two forty-three year olds, Andy and Michael, followed by forty-two year old Evan and 40 year old Bruce. It was, perhaps, unfortunate that every one of the girls, including herself, had liked Bruce the least. He was almost a bit of an afterthought, really. Elise couldn’t really say why they would have chosen a scrawny, obnoxious jerk like him.

Elise supposed Evan wasn’t too bad looking. He had also been polite and friendly whenever they had met. So she was afraid to focus on him, knowing he was likely going to get stolen as well. But that left even older men to pick from, which was a rather depressing thought.

The oldest she’d never bothered to talk with much, since she’d always assumed an older girl would be nice enough to pick him, but apparently that’s not the way it had worked. Keith had been bypassed by every one of them, and she was probably going to bypass him as well. She could only imagine how that would make him feel, but there it was.

Looking at the profiles of the five men, which were there specifically for her and the others in the program, was a somewhat depressing venture. She supposed there wasn’t anything particularly wrong with these men, they were just not nearly as strong or handsome as their paranormal counterparts. It really wasn’t their fault, it was just the way she felt. She decided to leave her unwelcome task of selection for another day.

In the meantime, she knew she needed to go home. She put on as happy a face as she possibly could as she entered the front door to the cave she currently shared with her aunt and uncle and greeted them warmly. She worried that she was behaving in too bright a manner when Everleigh gave her a concerned look.

“Everything all right, my darling niece?” she wanted to know.

“Of course, aunt, why would it not be?” she scoffed. “I’m just tired of waiting for my birthday to arrive, if you must know. There are still forty-eight more days. Do you know how much life can be lived in forty-eight days?”

“It depends on where and how you’re living it,” she chuckled. “Some people don’t live much life in forty-eight years, to tell the truth.”

“I’m so afraid that once I mate a human I’ll be one of them,” she admitted with a distasteful frown.

“Don’t be silly, dear,” she scoffed. “I’ve been happy with Kevin all this time, and if you hadn’t noticed he’s a human male.”

“Yeah, and I also noticed he’s the same age as Keith.”

“Oh, now, that’s not even true,” Everleigh smirked. “You know that Kevin is almost sixty-seven. That’s hardly a spring chicken. Keith isn’t even fifty, and he seems a very pleasant man. You could do worse.”

“Yes, I am aware, it just doesn’t feel—well, none of it feels real yet,” she said. “I just can’t believe that two months from now I’m probably going to be a mated woman trying desperately to get pregnant and produce a living, breathing human male. It almost feels like a dream—or maybe even a nightmare.”

“Pre-mating jitters is pretty normal, dear,” Everleigh told her. “I think that once you know who the lucky guy is and the two of you become better acquainted everything will fall into place. You just watch and see if it doesn’t.”

“Thanks, Everleigh,” Elise replied, kissing her aunt on the cheek. “Have I ever told you how glad I am you’re the one I’ve got to talk about this stuff with? I doubt my mother would have been much use for this.”

“You’re very right,” she agreed. “Still, I wish she’d stuck around to try.”

“Life in a werewolf cave isn’t easy for everyone, I suppose,” Elise conceded. “Especially for someone who truly believed that what the East Continent did was right. She really did think eradicating all the paranormals in England was the right thing to do. It’s just as well she couldn’t force herself to stay among them in the end.”

“Well, at least she had the good sense to leave you here with us, and let us put you into the program,” said Everleigh with a smile. “It’s probably the best decision she ever made. You know how important our research has been over the years, and once you, too, are married off, that chapter of it will finally be closed for good. And it’s not even two months away. It’s almost exciting if you think about it.”

“It’ll only excite me if it works,” Elise pointed out. “The five mated females we were trying to cause to make male babies couldn’t maintain the chromatic restructuring. The humanovirus spread in mere days to prevent the aberration. I really don’t think what we’ve been doing this whole time is going to work. It doesn’t matter how receptive either sex is to the possibility of a male if that damned virus won’t allow one to thrive. I’m very afraid we’re wasting our time completely.”

“Is that why you’re so reluctant about all of this, then?” Everleigh asked. “Because you think it’s not going to work? But baby, don’t you think we should at least try?”

“That’s what we have been doing with these others,” she said. “Three of them are members of the program, and they were impregnated by their new mates. And it didn’t do them any good. At this rate, by the time I’m ready to mate we’ll already have the answer. I may become an unnecessary casualty of a failed experiment.”

“I hope you’re wrong, Elise,” said Everleigh then. “I really hope you’re wrong.”

<h2>Chapter 2</h2>

“Galagus, I know that you have been true to your duty these fifteen years, also vigilant, ever faithful, but some of the males you’ve been training can take up the slack now,” Nico insisted. “You must know this. Even the most faithful of servants still deserves a life of his own. Besides, there are still too few dragons in this world, and you have an equal duty to help with our re-population.”

“But Sire, I am still the oldest and wisest of your guard,” he answered as he went down to a knee before him. “Surely you have not lost your faith in me?”

Nico laughed. “Stand up, fool. I’m trying to reward you, not chastise you. There’s such a thing as being too dutiful, I find. And if anyone is guilty of it, old friend, it would have to be you. Do you not want to find yourself a mate? It surely would not take long to obtain a willing girl with all those silly humans showing up at the gates each day hoping to be bedded and turned by one of our males.”

“Oh no, I’m not even going to consider going down with the hatchlings and looking at those silly girls,” Galagus scoffed. “Brainless twits, the lot of them. Their only concern is becoming a dragon themselves, for they know that most of our children turn out male. I think if I am to choose a mate, she must have much more substance than that about her.”

“Kira and I are taking Allurielle to meet the Jagger prince, Trinn, next week,” said Nico thoughtfully. “Perhaps you could find someone more substantial there if we bring you along. For, as your king, I may be in need of security during my travels. And who better to bring along than my very best protector?”

“You wish to take me along with you to the Black Hills Facility, Sire?” he asked, somewhat surprised.

“Yes, I believe there are plenty of intelligent females to be found there, if one takes the time to look for them,” he said. “There are twits there as well, of course, but those twits are hoping to become Jaggers rather than dragons, and that lot isn’t let into the section we’re visiting. We’ll be staying in the royal wing and consorting with scientists and scholars. You can’t possibly complain about anyone you’d find there.”

“Scientists and scholars, you say?” he smirked. “That sounds lovely. I’d love to get my fingers on some of the books they must have in the library there.”

“Come now, Galagus, you’re hopeless,” Nico laughed. “I tell you about beautiful, brainy women you could pick from, and the first thing you can think of is the library. I should forbid you even a single book until I see a lady on your arm.”

“Majesty!” he groaned.

“But I won’t, as well you know,” Nico chuckled. “Like I said, I’m trying to give you a reward.”

“Yes, Sire,” he replied, bowing again. “I shall go and prepare for the journey at once.”

“You do that,” said the dragon king with a smile. “And don’t forget to bring a book bag. Just in case.”

Galagus smirked and shook his head as he left the room.

*****

Galagus had never been to South Dakota. The last time Nico and Kira had gone there, fifteen years ago, they had brought Therumpiul with them so he could meet Emily’s father, King Darius. Citriol had gone there as well about ten years ago, and some of the other dragons went upon occasion, but he himself had always stayed behind. He needed to guard the stronghold at Oakenstaff and protect the eggs. But, now that he’d trained three of the hatched males to help, he would finally be able to see the place for himself.

The bus that took them there seemed like an indulgence since all of them had wings, but since Queen Kira was currently with egg yet again, he understood Nico’s need to pamper her. Not to mention, the Princess was quite young and not yet able to make such a long journey through the skies. So with that in mind, he supposed that he could endure what he felt amounted to laziness for the sake of the females.

It had taken much longer to get there using the bus, leaving Galagus feeling completely exhausted and just a bit out of sorts. His head was throbbing, and all he could do was follow wherever Nico led. It seemed to take hours to get through the gate and down the long hallways that led to the inner sanctum, but once they arrived and Galagus saw the place, he couldn’t help but be impressed.

King Darius must like gemstones set in gold, for here and there along the gold-coated walls of the royal cave the stones peeped out, glinting in the light. These had to be the biggest rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamond he had ever seen. They were arranged in an artful display, depicting the image of a wolf howling up at a full moon. The moon was made entirely of diamonds.

“I think there’s a dragon memory of this place rolling around in my brain,” Galagus told Nico, making him chuckle. “No, seriously. It reminds me of something the ancients might have done.”

“That’s the door to the library,” Nico told him then. “Maybe later you can come back here and go inside. But for now, we’re headed to greet the in-laws.”

“How about if I just step in there for a while so you and the in-laws could catch up without an extra person under foot?” asked Galagus hopefully. “I’d really like to pick out a book to read for bedtime.”

“Fine,” he sighed. “You have ten minutes to have a look, but that’s it. Meet Therumpiul by the moon, and he’ll show you the way to the science wing before he goes into the throne room to meet his mate. Emily has been here over a day already, so I’m sure he’s feeling impatient to rejoin her.”

“I’ll be quick,” he agreed, his golden eyes glinting. Even in his tiredness, he couldn’t contain the sudden enthusiasm, he had to see the place of which he’d read so much. It seemed that back in 2020 Prince Eric had been given the library cave in order to gather as many books from around the world as he could acquire. It was said he even had a room filled with ancient scrolls. He suspected that this library had been used to research the part ancient vampires had played in the destruction of dragons back when Nico had asked them to do so.

Nico and the others continued on. The King paused at his brother Therumpiul’s side, and he nodded as he stopped to stay behind. Galagus saw this and gave the dragon prince a grateful nod, to which he smiled and then acted as though he was checking a watch even though he wasn’t wearing one.

Galagus smirked as he stepped through the door. The expression quickly switched to one filled with wonder as he beheld what lay inside. If a library could be termed a fairyland, this one would be the one to receive the name. The walls of the huge cavern stretched far above the height of a man, and every available space was filled with literature.

A huge row of computers ranged down the bottom of the largest wall, and almost every one of them had a user. He saw one that did not near a small alcove and he stepped over to get a closer look. These computers were set up for virtual reality use. There had to be something like two hundred of them, all of them decked out. Even in today’s day and age of technology, of which he’d been learning a great deal over the years since his hatching, it must have cost a fortune to set up a room such as this.

“Well, I’ve never seen you in here before,” said a decidedly feminine voice from somewhere behind him. “Do you need some help with the equipment?”

“Oh no, not at all,” Galagus began as he turned to locate the woman speaking to him. Both of them gasped and reared back at the same time. He wasn’t sure of her reason, but he knew his immediately. He had just found his bond-mate, and she was the most beautiful blonde he’d ever seen. “I—um—I know how to use all of it. Hi. Who are you?”

“You’re one of the dragons from the internet site, aren’t you?” she asked as she stared at him. “I was just there the other day. It’s almost like I’m dreaming or something. You are real, right?”

Tentatively, she reached out a hand and lightly brushed a finger against his coat sleeve.

“Do you go around examining the biceps of all the guys you randomly ask to help, or just the ones you think you’re dreaming about?” he smirked.

“Oh, sorry,” she said. “I’m not really used to meeting new people. Everyone likes to keep me pretty secluded, you understand.”

“Actually, I don’t,” he replied. “It might help if I knew who you were. That may just clue me in as to why they’d seclude a lovely young woman like yourself.”

“The name’s Elise,” she supplied. “I’m part of the program.”

“Program?”

“Yeah, you know, the Chromosome Revival Program,” she explained. “They expect me to mate with a human male they’ve been trying to enable the Y-chromosomes in. They hope that me and this guy will be able to make a human boy. Lucky me, right?”

“Unlucky me,” muttered Galagus as he continued to stare at Elise curiously. No, he wasn’t wrong. It wasn’t just an initial reaction. The connection was definitely there, and it was strong. This was the woman he was meant to mate. But if what she was saying was true, he couldn’t possibly interfere. That meant things had just gotten very complicated. But at least she wasn’t aware of it.

“Don’t be silly,” she scoffed. “What could make you unlucky? I remember your profile, you know. You’re Galagus the Protector. But what I don’t understand is what you are doing here. Did you come along with the royals, then?”

“They—uh—they want me to see if I can find a mate,” he answered, unaccountably shy as he told her this.

“For you, that shouldn’t be a problem,” she said, her eyes roving appreciatively over his large, well-muscled frame. His hair was dark, and cut short. His golden eyes were almost the shade of amber. His sensual lips curved upward the longer she looked, until suddenly she realized she should look away. “Sorry, like I said, I’m not really used to meeting people. Especially not dragons. I’ve been forbidden to meet dragons, you know.”

“Why would they do that?” he asked as he stepped closer. There was a sexual tension between them in an instant. They did not touch, but they might as well have as their breathing sped up. Their faces were very close in that moment, until Elise realized she shouldn’t be doing this.

“Because dragons would find me very much like catnip, I suppose,” she said, looking down at her hands. “A young, virgin human female. May as well dangle a steak right in front of your nose, right?”

“Yes, I suppose they do have a point,” he agreed as he lifted his hand toward her face. One golden tendril wrapped around his pinky, almost of its own accord. “You’ve got hair like spun silk, and your eyes are the loveliest shade of violet. Cat nip may not be a strong enough description.”

“Um, well, okay, since you say you already know what to do, I imagine I ought to—go—”

“Yes, I think that might be a good idea, considering—”

His eyes trailed down ever so slightly in the direction of his groin. Elise saw him, and she couldn’t help but follow the glance. She really, really shouldn’t have. By the look of the bulge in his pants, she’d have to guess that he would look even better in a naked-style photo spread than she’d imagined. Huge was probably an understatement. She had to force herself to look away.

“Oh, sorry about that,” she said contritely.

“Just go, little one,” he said. “A dragon only has so much self-control.”

“Um, yeah,” she squeaked, and then she quickly turned on her heel and practically ran out of the room.

“By the Ancients, why must my life always be so damned hard?” he grumbled. He grabbed a few books off the wall and stormed back out into the hall, hoping that the lovely Elise would be nowhere in sight to tempt him further.

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