Ross McCord will do anything to fulfill his mother’s dying wish…protect family above all else. He does his best, keeping their sheep herd healthy and strong as he watches over his crippled father, Achaius, and his pretty but dim sister, Skena. When Chieftain Goth notices Skena’s beauty, he demands to use her as a bride-price to complete an alliance with a neighboring clan. Attempting to keep his sister from being heartbroken, Ross embarks on a dangerous mission to earn a boon from Chieftain Goth. He heads north in search of a secret way for his chieftain’s warriors to attack the clan who took in Goth’s son, Ian. Much to Ross’s distress, he’s captured by the brawny redhead, Ziethman. He expects to be killed for trespassing, but Ziethman offers a much more pleasurable form of…interrogation. Experiencing sensations he’s never imagined, Ross finds himself craving the other man’s touch. When Ross learns that Ziethman is more than a man, and is in fact a dragon, can he accept the male’s differences and the help he offers, or will it be too much, sending him running back to his clan to fulfill his mission?
Ziethman noted an interesting scent on the afternoon breeze. The musky male aroma mixed with earth and, of all things, cotton. For some reason, the odd combination caused Ziethman’s prick to swell in his sheath.
Intrigued by the scent—and his response—Ziethman peered down the side of the cliff. He searched for the source of the aroma, curiosity filling him. It took several slow sweeps of his gaze, but finally he spotted movement below and to the left.
Ziethman shifted his eyes to his dragon’s, taking advantage of his naturally sharp vision. He watched a lean, kilted figure scramble over a rock, then rest precariously on a narrow ledge. The dark-haired human seemed to be searching for a path up the side of the rocky mountainside.
From the gray dragon’s many scouting reports of their canyon home, Ziethman knew the human wouldn’t be able to get much further. Still, that didn’t stop Ziethman from wanting to discover what he was doing there. He also wanted to know if his aroma was even more intoxicating up close.
With those thoughts in mind, Ziethman changed direction. He angled his descent so he could use a patch of brush to hide his approach until he wanted to be seen. Under cover of the hardy brown plants, Ziethman took a moment to admire the man.
Ziethman guessed the human stood just under six feet tall and he had a lean body. His calves strained as he climbed over another rock. The way he moved revealed a toned, lightly-haired thigh. Ziethman wanted to reach out and trace his claws along the inside of that appendage, see if the hair was soft or crinkly.
Cocking his head, Ziethman continued to watch with interest. The man peered around, obviously searching for his next handhold. How the human had gotten even this far up without being spotted by a gray dragon was a mystery. From the color of the kilt the handsome human wore, it was obvious that he must have come from Ian’s clan. Ziethman knew Ian’s father was the chieftain and a vindictive man that didn’t like having his plans spurned.
Was this human here under the chieftain’s orders? Was he here to cause trouble? As the human’s scent flowed over his senses again, Ziethman felt his dick harden further, threatening to rise from his sheath. He’d never had a reaction this strong to another before, human or dragon, man or woman. This human’s scent gave him away as an asda, a human that could complete a mating bond with a dragon.
Ziethman reached down and rubbed the heel of his hand against the swell of his arousal. Several wonderful ways to torment the sexy human into telling him why he was in the area came to mind. Ziethman couldn’t help but hope the human resisted a little bit.
Creeping around the bush, Ziethman purposefully pushed a rock with his foot. He sent it tumbling down the mountain’s side. As expected, the human flinched, then turned toward the noise. His jaw sagged open and his eyes widened. It would have been amusing, except the man lost his balance. He barked a cry, his feet sliding out from under him.
Ziethman leaped the short distance between them. Wrapping his right arm around the human, he grabbed for a handhold with his left hand. He once more shifted his toes into claws and dug them between rocks.
“Easy, there,” Ziethman rumbled.
The human sagged in his grip for an instant, then stiffened. He reached out and gripped a stone as if intending to pull away.
Ziethman tightened his arm, refusing to release him. “Stop,” he ordered. Taking complete advantage of the situation, Ziethman pressed his front flush to the human’s backside. He nestled his groin against the man’s kilt-covered arse, wishing there was nothing between them. He inhaled deeply, reveling in the human’s heady scent. It was even better up close.
“This is Karstelle territory. What are you doing here, stranger?”
“I’m, uh, just turned around,” the human responded. “I hoped if I climbed high enough, I could spot a road or a town.”
The human’s scent gave away his lie.
Ziethman smiled. He tucked his nose against the human’s neck and licked a swipe up his neck. “Oh, nay,” he rumbled. “You do not get away with that bullshite answer.”
Without another word, Ziethman picked up the highlander and tossed him over his shoulder.