Endless years of searching—only to ultimately find heartache—has worn Graig to the bone. Yes, his human mate continues to return to him generation after generation, but often with tragic consequences. The pain seems too much to bear any longer.
When the Earth Dragon meets the newest incarnation in a Dublin church—a seminary student, no less—Graig’s tempted to turn his back on the impending pain to come.
But Ciarán is at a crossroads, sensing he’s forged the wrong path. Once he meets his dragon, he knows a new adventure is his for the taking. If he can only convince the dragon he’s willing to fall.
“Are you even listening to me, Da?”
Graig looked up, realizing he’d once again drifted off.
“I swear, man, you live with your head in the clouds. Maybe you need to tie your feet to the earth once in a while.”
“Who’s the parent here?” Graig asked, his tone snappish.
Bonn took a drink from his glass before setting it down. “You’re thinking about him, aren’t you?”
Graig frowned. “Who are you talking about?”
“You get this look to yer face every so often. It’s Cillian.”
Graig nearly choked on the sip from his pint. He placed his glass down and turned to his son. “Where’d you hear that name?”
“You used to say it in your sleep every so often, so I asked Carreg who it was. He told me you’d lost him… and that it had changed you.”
Graig toyed with the edge of the coaster under his glass. “Why would you assume I’m thinking about him now?”
“Because you look lost right now. And the last few nights, you’ve called his name more than I think you ever have. Does it mean something? Is your next mate close?”
Graig looked up and saw the curiosity in Bonn’s expression. His son was still young enough that he hadn’t found his mate for the first time yet, let alone a second or more. He didn’t understand the longing and the pain, not truly. Not yet. His time would come, and then Graig would have to stand by and watch his son’s pain as well.
He wasn’t sure he could handle that, either.
“I found him,” Graig said, the words rushing from his lips before he could stop himself.
“You did?” Bonn’s face lit up. “Then why are you sitting here? Shouldn’t you be chasing after the human?”
Graig turned his glass on the coaster, watching it intently for a moment as he considered his answer. “How much do you remember Rian?”
He turned, only to watch the steel shudders come up over Bonn’s eyes. “I remember,” was all he said in answer.
“Well, that pain you feel right now… the pain of losing a father… I feel it even stronger. They come into your life and bring great joy… and then they die and rip your fucking heart out, over and over again.”
Bonn sat at his side a few seconds, silent. He took a drink from his glass, draining the last bit, before putting it back on the scarred wood of the bartop. “So the joy isn’t worth it.”
“Of course it’s worth it,” Graig said before he could stop himself.
Bonn pinned him with a glance. “If it’s so worth it, I ask again—why are you sitting here?”