Dray is a new member of the Ogorth clan, and he doesn’t feel like he fits in just yet. Everyone’s nice, but with humans now aware that dragons have a human form, the clan is focused on dealing with that.
Nithe likes Dray, but he’s in love with his best friend, Orion. Since he’s not about to ruin his friendship with Orion, he thinks he might find love with Dray, at least until he realizes Orion likes Dray, too, and it seems like Dray might be okay with that. If Dray holds Orion’s happiness, Nithe will gladly step aside, but before he can, he and Orion are summoned by the queen.
Orion isn’t surprised when the queen calls for a meeting of clans. Humans are a danger to every dragon clan, not just theirs, and the leaders have to agree on how to deal with them. Orion doubts that can ever happen, but his queen gave an order, and he’ll obey.
Dray knows he’ll get in trouble if he follows the clan members to the meeting of clans, but he won’t stay back. He’s relieved when instead of being sent home, he’s allowed to stay, but even here, he doesn’t quite belong—not until Nithe and Orion tell him they want each other and him as well.
Nithe and Orion are busy protecting the queen from other clan leaders, but they’re not the only danger lurking in the darkness of the forest surrounding their camp. Will they be able to protect the queen, the clan, and the dragon they’ve both come to love? Will they be able to protect each other and allow the three of them to find happiness?
Dray felt awkward, and it was entirely his fault.
Everyone at the palace had been welcoming, even though he’d belonged to another clan until recently. No one seemed to have a problem with that, which had surprised Dray, but maybe it shouldn’t have. After all, the Ogorth clan was the clan who’d agreed to accept him and his mother without questions. It was the clan who'd rescued his brother and the clan who was making sure Dagan had everything he needed to heal fully.
And Dagan was healing. Without the Ogorth clan, he’d be dead, and Dray and his mother would be left alone to deal with their old clan. Dray had a hard time wrapping his mind around everything that had happened to him and how different the Ogorth clan was from his.
He looked around, hesitating. He was hungry, and he’d been told that, like every other clan member, he was welcome to go in the kitchen whenever he wanted to grab food. And of course, to attend the meals in the dining hall. It was dinner time, which was why he was hovering there, wondering if he really should go inside.
Since he’d arrived, he’d stuck with his mother and his brother when he could. He was intimidated by how the dragons here seemed to be watching his every step. He suspected it had a lot to do with the fact that he was new and very little with the fact that he came from another clan, although that couldn’t be the norm, not even here. Clans usually kept to themselves. That had more to do with survival and wanting to make sure they weren’t vulnerable than with anything else, but it meant clans didn’t mingle. There had been no way for Dray to know how different the Ogorth clan would be until he’d arrived, and he found that he didn’t know how to behave.
People kept staring at him wherever he went. Slavin had assured him it only was because he was a new face and that it would stop soon, but that wouldn’t be soon enough for Dray’s taste. He knew that if he stepped into the dining hall, every single dragon there would spend their meal staring at him, and that wasn’t something he could stomach. He wasn’t a spectacle. He was a dragon trying to build a new life in a clan he didn’t know, and sometimes, it felt impossible.
Instead of stepping into the dining hall, Dray turned around and headed away from it. He paused in the kitchen, already familiar with the room, and quickly gathered enough food for several people. The dragons cooking didn’t have a problem with that and didn’t try to stop him, which he was thankful for. He already had an excuse if they did, though.
He was getting food for his brother and Slavin.
They’d barely left Slavin’s room since they’d arrived, which wasn’t surprising. The healers had told Dagan he needed to rest, and considering what had been done to him, that meant staying in Slavin’s nest. Dagan wanted to explore the palace and meet people, but there was no way for him to do that when he couldn’t walk.
Dray shuddered at the memory. He hadn’t been there when his brother was tortured, and he was grateful for that, but he’d seen the outcome. The old king had taken a hammer to Dagan’s knees, and it was a miracle he’d be able to walk again. Dray was relieved, even though some days he wondered if that would actually be the case or if the healers were just trying to keep Dagan in a good mood. He hoped for his brother’s sake that he’d heal quickly, but also for Slavin’s, because Dagan was grumpy when he couldn’t move.
Dray made his way toward Slavin’s rooms. His path crossed with several dragons, and he nodded at every single one of them. He didn’t stop to talk, even though he was pretty sure at least a few wouldn’t have minded. They were curious, which made sense, and they wanted to find out more about him. He couldn’t blame them. He would have done the same if a new dragon had appeared in his old clan, but it still made him uncomfortable. The problem was that he’d never get used to living with the Ogorth clan if he stayed in his room and only stopped for the few people he knew for sure were safe.
Besides, it wasn’t like anyone would attack him here. He was safe, and he just had to wrap his mind around that and stop being hypervigilant.
It was something left from living with his old clan for so long, and it would take a while to get rid of that, too. The old king had been nothing like the Ogorth clan queen. He expected everyone in his clan to obey his orders, no matter how little sense they made. Dray supposed that in the king’s mind, they had, but he would always be grateful to the Ogorth clan for welcoming him and making sure he wouldn’t have to get pregnant by force.
He looked down at his stomach as he walked. It was flat, and it would stay that way. He wasn’t fertile now, but he knew that nothing would happen the next time he was. He wouldn’t be forced to choose someone to have a child with. He wouldn’t be forced to do anything, and that was because the Ogorth clan had welcomed him and given him a new life.
That was enough for Dray.
He reached the door of the rooms his brother shared with Slavin. He knocked, waited a moment in case his brother and Slavin were up to something he didn’t want to see, then slowly opened the door.
“You can come in,” a grumpy voice said.
Dray found himself smiling. He stepped into the room, closing the door behind himself, and turned to look at his brother.