When Elder Combs—leader for the gray caste of dragons—discovers Ewan MacNiery dying on the side of the mountain, he’s instantly smitten. Helping the human regain his health comes first, followed closely by seducing him and making him his own. Except Ewan claims he’s not interested in males and fights their attraction. Between the danger Ewan’s appearance in the valley represents and the human’s own resistances, can Combs figure out how to convince Ewan that staying and building a life with a male dragon will fulfill the desires of his heart?
He crept forward, his tail twitching as an odd sense of anticipation coursed through him.
When Combs was within twenty paces, the human’s head lifted. Dirty, shaggy brown hair hid most of his features, but he spotted one brown eye through the curtain of locks. The male lifted a hand and shoved his hair back, revealing high cheek bones, a nose with a bump—attesting that it had been broken at least once—and thin lips that surprisingly were curved into a wide smile.
“Well, well. I found ye after all,” the human stated.
The man’s cryptic words concerned Combs, and he drew closer, trying to see if the blood he scented came from the man’s head. Humans said funny things when they’d hit their heads.
“If ye’re gonna eat me, dragon, go ahead. I’m all in, and if ye don’t do it soon anyway, the mercenaries tracking me surely will.”
Huh, that explained things a bit…well, at least, why the man wasn’t attempting to run away screaming. Then the rest of what he’d said registered. “Those who injured you are still following?” Combs asked, peering beyond the human to peer toward the tree line. “Why? What are you doing here, human?”
The man tipped sideways and landed on his red and black kilted arse. Although he still smiled, almost drunkenly even. He held his sheathed sword across his lap, leaned against his free hand and stared up at him.
“I’m searching for me buddy, Ian. He’s with yer kind,” he revealed, nodding at Combs’ huge body, as if he needed to elaborate that he chatted with a dragon.
Combs recognized the name as a new arrival who’d bonded with the green dragon, Roark of Droke. “Ian MacGree?”
“Aye. His father hunts him,” The human’s head tilted back and his eyelids slid closed. He heaved a long sigh. “Chieftain Goth didn’t take too keenly to Ian’s choice to be banished instead of followin’ his orders to wed the lass he chose for him.”
That’s when Combs spotted the dark red swath covering the right side of the human’s abdomen. He lifted a taloned foreleg and reached toward the human’s chest, intending to remove the male’s odd, tunic-like fabric that covered his torso. Combs wanted to see how badly damaged the human was.
“Ye gonna kill me now, dragon?”
Combs paused. He didn’t like that idea at all. In fact, he actually wanted to strip the man of his clothes, clean him up and get him healthy, then taste every inch of his body with his mouth and tongue. Would the human taste as good as he smelled?
“You can live,” Combs stated, putting the gravity of his decision into his tone.
The human chuckled for a couple seconds, then started coughing. He rolled to his side and clutched his wound as he doubled over and tried to catch his breath.
Over the sound of the human’s labored breathing, Combs heard the clatter of stone under booted feet and the shouts of several men. Narrowing his eyes, he searched for the source of the noise. He couldn’t see them, but he could smell them. More humans.
“Guess me time’s up,” the human mumbled, no longer really talking to him. He rolled to his knees. “Mayhap I’ll take one or two with me,” he muttered, using his sword to gain his feet and turn toward the approaching humans.
Growling low in his throat, Combs snarled, “They will not harm you again.”
The human looked over his shoulder at him, looking a bit surprised to still see him there. Smirking, he actually managed to sound amused when he spoke, “I don’t know what’s in yer head there, dragon, but unless ye plan to protect me, I’m plannin’ to be dead in a short time.”
That caught his attention. “Are you asking for my protection?”
Confused scowl tugging at his lips, the human turned to look over his shoulder at him, almost stumbling in the process. “Ye’d protect me?”
“If you asked,” Combs responded. Damn, if the human would just say the words…
“Well, I don’t wanna die, so…” He shrugged. “Will ye protect me, dragon?”
“What’s your name, human?”
“Granted, Ewan MacNiery,” Combs quickly growled.