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featuring stories by Shiloh Walker, Rachel Carrington & Elizabeth Jewell
Kye wanted to give Ashlyn a fantasy. And did he ever give her one.
One night, Kye and his best friend Connor took Ashlyn to bed, and gave her a night she would never forget.
Three years later, they gave her another night.
But it would be the last one.
Because Kye is just a ghost this time, and he came back just to tell his wife goodbye.
Tears burned hotly in her throat as she stared at the coffin covered with flowers.
Kye was gone, killed by some mother-fucking drunk driving bastard as he walked to his car one night after work.He had held on until she had gotten to his side, held on until he could stare up into her face, and hear her tell him she loved him one last time. He had mouthed the words back to her, the unbearable pain from his battered body darkening his eyes to black. The lids of his eyes had drifted closed, and in despair, she fell against the bed.
“…don’t cry. Please, don’t,” he had whispered. “Love you, baby. God, always loved you. Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Love you.” The words had fallen from his mouth in a hoarse plea while his face spasmed in agony. And then, he was gone, the internal injuries so severe death had been a blessing. His spine had been shattered from the waist down by the impact, and the internal bleeding had been massive.
Yeah, the death had been a blessing for him. The nurse inside of her knew that. He had been in agony and none of the morphine and Demerol and other various opiates they had pumped inside him had touched it.
And for her, she supposed. She never could have watched him suffer through it. Each spasm that had gripped him had ripped through her as well. That was the logical part of her.
But the other part, the part that was only complete after she had found Kye, that part despaired. The ever-present tears burned her eyes, but she stubbornly refused to let them fall. If she started to cry, she wasn’t sure she’d be able to stop.
He was gone.
She whirled at the familiar lyrical accent. God knows, she had heard it often enough in the past three years. Just about every other time she tumbled into dreams with Kye’s arms wrapped around her.
That voice, the one she had heard only one night, was almost as familiar to her as Kye’s had been.
He stood behind her, his handsome, almost angelic face ravaged with grief. But he met her eyes squarely. “I came as soon as I heard,” he said gruffly, moving up to touch his hand to the smooth metal of the coffin. “But if you aren’t wanting me here, I will go.”
“No. He was your friend, and you were his. I…I’m not ashamed of what happened. I think maybe I expected to be. But that’s neither here nor there,” she said, her voice hoarse and rough from all the tears she had shed. Brokenly, she whispered, “He killed him, Connor. He took my beautiful Kye from me, destroyed his body, smashed him into a thousand different pieces. And he sits in a jail, alive and well. And Kye is in…there.
“Oh, God, I can’t take it,” she moaned, starting to fall to her knees, one hand pressed to her mouth.
Also available in the print anthology Good Things Come In Threes with Anya Bast & Jan Springer
The Dragon’s Warrior
Kye’s body died and he was snatched into another dimension. No more blue jeans, no more football, no more Saturday night drives and sweet, lazy sex with his wife.
Instead, he has been called-by a dragon-into another world. Here he must become a warrior. Kye has inherited a body that has the knowledge and skill he needs-but that body comes with a whole bunch of problems-and the woman he has come here to protect hates him. To make matters worse, his only ally is the smart- assed dragon who brought him here.
The Dragon’s Woman
Restless and hungry. That describes Eilrah right down to his red scales. Since forging a soul bond with his priestess years before, he’s been plagued by the most annoying needs. Human needs. The kind a dragon shouldn’t have.
Lonely and bitter. That is Rianne. Feared for a power many think is uncontrollable, she lives in solitude in the woods near the village where she grew up. She also has needs, and for a while it seems the great reddragon might be the one to satisfy them.
But the dragon shares a bond with another woman-not one of the heart, but one of the soul. Rianne can’t possibly complete. Nor will she break her heart or shatter her pride by trying.
Eilrah doesn’t understand why Rianne has pulled away, but it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters to him is his mate, the lovely witch, Rianne. He sees the need in her eyes, and the loneliness.
He will have her, his other half. He just has to convince her.
The Dragon’s Warrior
And then he woke up.
From nothingness into this.
Maybe he was dreaming. Maybe he hadn’t been hit by that car and this was all a bizarre dream. Or maybe that car had really hit him and he was in a deep coma. Did coma victims dream?
But he wasn’t dreaming.
Opening his eyes, he stared into a lilac sky, a lilac he had only rarely seen in an unusual sunset at home.
And since the sun shining in his eyes was what had woken him, he knew twilight was nowhere close.
Cautiously, he rose. And rose. And rose. Until he was standing fully upright, a good foot and half taller than he should have been, his body longer and paler and scarred. And, surprise, surprise, completely nude. He lifted shaking hands in front of his face and stared at the wide large palms, the fine reddish gold hair sprinkled on the backs. He drove those unfamiliar hands through his hair, receiving another shock when he felt, then saw the dark red locks. As curly as Ashlyn’s had been after she’d had a loose spiral perm put in her hair. It was a deep, dark, pure red, darker than Ashlyn’s, a deep burgundy-red.
With a glance down, he confirmed everything else was different. Instead of an average seven-inch cock, he had a good ten inches. Instead of narrow, rather small feet, he had long, narrow feet. Instead of a pale golden hue, his skin was winter white and rippling with corded muscles.
“What in the fuck is going on? What am I doing here?” he muttered. He hadn’t expected an answer.
And he never expected what it was that gave the answer.
“There was a…mix-up,” a deep, gruff, large voice said from behind.
Slowly, Kye turned.
And looked up. And up. And up. Into glowing, deep red eyes—eyes that looked like the stone the girl had worn around her neck. He looked into those eyes, trying to understand what he was seeing.
The Dragon’s Woman
Sunning himself in the field, Eilrah lifted his face to the sky and stretched, feeling the muscles inside his powerful body unfurl, the tension of the past weeks slowly draining out.
Well, some of it. Not all. All of it would not leave until he gave into the urge to find himself a female and mate…a thick plume of smoke drifted from his nares and a rumble rose from deep in his chest. Sexual need rose inside, taut, palpable, heavy. He ached, he hungered, something he hadn’t truly experienced until he had bonded with his priestess.
Not in any of the forms he wore.
Never, never had he realized what would happen when he bonded so deeply with Eiona and Kye all those years ago. Granted, he was a young dragon, and had not taken a priestess bond before. You would think one of the elders would share such knowledge with him…
Certainly would have made his life a bit easier over the past few years, if he had known what to expect. The first time it had happened, he hadn’t fought it, even though he didn’t know what was happening. It was magick—magick was a part of him and he had always accepted it.
But when the magick cleared and he could see through the glittering red smoke that had wrapped around him, he was much much closer to the ground than he had ever been. From a height of nearly fifty feet, not even six. The scales of ruby red were gone and instead, he had worn smooth, human skin.
And he had ached.
For a while, he had fought the urge to change but when he did, it brought pain, physical pain. Eventually, he stopped fighting and followed his instincts.
It had been instinct that had brought him to this clearing in the forest this morning, instead of flying further away.
As he stretched out, he caught a scent.
The rich scent of woman drifted to him and Eilrah lifted his head, tantalized.
Hmmm…tasty. Rich, spicy, young.
Familiar, powerful. Eilrah was drawn, entirely too drawn, and too damn hungry to continue ignoring such a fine, ripe scent. Stretching out with his mind, he made sure none were in the forest around them–
And released the other inside him.
Ripples of magick burst through the clearing, and inside him, thick, hot and potent. A fine red mist roses just above his scales and they started to shimmer and dissolve, his form shrinking and condensing down as heat raced along his skin, through him and he threw his head back, trumpeting to the sky.