Luca Wessex is Dragon Spawn. Son of a human mother and a Red Dragon father, he has been trying his best all his life just to survive and get by. His father is abusive, his mother is dead, and most recently, a vicious and dangerous group of neighborhood Spawn have begun trying to recruit him as a member of their gang. When a pushy and gorgeous Golden Dragon named Dmitri appears, full of questions about the gang and his role in it, Luca tries to cooperate, but he’s no snitch. Suspicious, the gang attacks Luca one evening while he’s working, and he’s rescued by Dmitri, who then kidnaps him and—for his own safety, he claims—takes him to his home in what some say is the most remote spot on Earth, an area of Russia called the Kamchatka Peninsula.
Dmitri has come home with a treasure, because what Luca doesn’t know is that he isn’t a Spawn at all but a species called a dragonet and the very last one of his kind. Because of a mysterious prophecy, Dmitri has discovered the beautiful boy’s life is in danger and he wants desperately to save him. But Dmitri is up against not only another Dragon, but also a powerful mage. Dmitri takes Luca under his wing—literally—and they begin to navigate a minefield of love and dangerous ancient prophecy. For the first time in Dmitri’s life, something is becoming more important to him than treasure, if only he can hold onto it.
He was a Red, and the Reds were bad-tempered and violent. Most of them were also greedy and covetous and obsessed with increasing their hoards. Actually, all the various Dragon breeds were dangerous and cared only for treasure. As a rule, they were driven by it, motivated by it, spent their time guarding it and would literally kill to increase it. The ones I’d met up to this point in my life were devious liars too, completely devoid of any moral compass. They were, in a word, assholes—imperious, high-handed, arrogant creatures—but the Reds and the Blacks were the worst.
The Goldens, as the ruling Dragon family, considered themselves to be above such things as avarice, but I knew better. All Dragons were greedy bastards. I generally tried to steer clear of pure-bloods altogether, especially my dad, who was all of the above—in spades. His one deviation from other Dragons was that he didn’t see the point in hoarding his treasure. He spent everything he had on drugs and alcohol. I guess he had some things he wanted to forget.
I glanced down at my watch. The two Dragons I was here to meet, both Goldens, had introduced themselves to me earlier today as Dmitri and Sebastien Solokov. Even without the same last name, I would have known they were related, both being tall and muscular with lean, though powerful bodies. They both were extremely good-looking, too, as most pure-bloods were, with blond hair and green eyes, a killer combination when paired with those high cheekbones and full lips. They looked like I would imagine Vikings used to look when they pillaged and raided their way up and down the coasts of Britain in the Middle Ages. With Goldens, you got a sense of barely controlled violence just under the surface.
They had strongly implied that they were some kind of government agents, investigating Artie Samboa’s Spawn gang, though they had flashed their badges at me so fast I barely got a look at them. There had been talk for years by human officials of getting the pure-bloods to put a stop to some of the worst of the Spawn gang activity. The thinking was that these pure-bloods would be able to intimidate the Dragon Spawn and keep them in line, because they were so much stronger and smarter. It simply proved that humans didn’t know shit about Dragons. Or Spawn either, for that matter.
The good-looking agents, if that’s what they really were, were already ten minutes late. I’d texted them the name and address of the bar and told them I’d meet them there at eight o’clock. As far as I knew we were still on track for that meeting. I hadn’t heard anything different anyway.
Despite the fact I was going to require some bleach for my eyeballs later, and—if I kept sipping from this glass in front of me, I’d need to make sure my typhoid shots were up to date—the longer I sat in the little bar, the more I kind of liked the place. There was a free-spirit, anything-fucking-goes vibe. A fact that was obvious from the number of patrons wearing assless chaps. At any other time, I might have enjoyed the show, because some of the guys weren’t bad looking at all, but tonight my head wasn’t really in the game.
I sighed impatiently. The agents were late. I’d give them a few more minutes, and then I was out of there. When they had come by the store earlier that day, I didn’t have time to talk to them much. They’d wanted to question me about Artie Samboa, and I couldn’t understand why. It wasn’t like I was in his gang, or even that I knew him all that well.
And one thing was for sure. Artie Samboa and his friends wouldn’t be caught dead in a place like this. Being a thieving, lowlife, murdering thug was apparently fine with Artie and his boys, but not being mistaken for a gay man. I’d heard some things about his activities, but that didn’t mean that I was going to tell those agents any of it. I was no fucking snitch. Besides, if Artie thought I had given out any information on him, he’d try to start some shit with me, and I didn’t need any more trouble in my life.
Mr. Alvarez, my boss, had come to the back of the store to find me when the agents first showed up, and I had gone out front to talk to them.
“Mr. Wessex.” It was the one named Dmitri who greeted me. I’d paid close attention when he flashed me his badge, because I’d never seen anyone so good-looking before. “What can you tell us about Artie Samboa?” His grass-green eyes looked me up and down with an intense gaze.
I glanced between the agents. “Not a damn thing.” I tried an ingratiating smile that was met with stony glares. “What’s this about anyway?”
“It’s about Artie Samboa, and your relationship with him. We’d like to talk to you about him—have you answer a few questions, if you can?”
I shook my head. “I don’t have a relationship with Artie. I don’t even know him all that well. You should find somebody else to talk to about him, okay? I really couldn’t tell you much of anything.”
“That’s not the information we have, Mr. Wessex. From what we understand, you and Mr. Samboa have a close, personal relationship.”
I could feel my eyebrows shoot up. Me and Artie Samboa? No fucking way.
“Well, that’s just not true,” I said. “I barely know the guy.”
The two agents shared a long look. Then Dmitri, who was the prettier of the two, smiled at me, glancing over at Mr. Alvarez, who hovered nearby. “We’d still like to speak to you about Samboa, Mr. Wessex, if you have a moment.”
“I don’t. I’m at work, as you oughta be able to see.”
A look of outrage flashed in Agent Dmitri’s eyes and I got a little uneasy. I should have known better than to smart off like that to a pure-blood. Immediately I tried to look apologetic.
“I’m sorry. What I meant to say was that I really don’t have time right now. If that’s okay? Sir?”
Dmitri gave me a slightly mollified look that made me feel like he might decide not to eat me right away. The jury was still out. I smiled again, trying to look ingratiating, and not like a bad-tempered punk with something to hide. Well, that part was true enough, but I didn’t want this guy to know it.
“Is there some other time you could speak with us then, Mr. Wessex? This is actually quite important. You could be a big help to us in our investigation. I’m sure you’d like our report to reflect that you were cooperative, wouldn’t you?”
I couldn’t stop a slight eye roll, but some sense of self-preservation kicked in and at the last minute, and I put my hand up and rubbed my eyes. “Like I told you before, sir, I don’t know anything about the guy,” I said, my voice hopefully not registering my impatience. No way in hell was I about to say anything, but I wasn’t stupid enough to antagonize two Goldens.
Goldens were able to trace their lineage back over a thousand years, but they were still rare in North America. In fact, these two were the first ones I’d seen in a long while. Goldens had a real attitude that distinguished them from other Dragons. Along with being really good-looking, they all had a menacing, don’t-fuck-with-me demeanor that I, personally, was glad to honor.
Goldens were content to stay in their own territories as a rule. They were the most prosperous Dragons too and jealously guarded their treasures. Also, Goldens were still very much in charge in the Dragon hierarchy as the ruling family. They didn’t make things easy for the other breeds. Never had—so more of these other breeds had migrated to the more populated places in the world, the places where the humans lived.
In stark contrast to the Goldens and at the very bottom of Dragon hierarchy were the Spawn, like me and Artie. It was gangs like Artie’s that had grown increasingly violent over the last few years and were responsible for the majority of crime in the city. Everybody knew that, and it wasn’t like I had any special information. But maybe it was me who didn’t know shit, because here were two Goldens in front of me, asking questions and implying they were some kind of government agents. Maybe officials had finally lured them into helping out. If so, things were about to get interesting.
Most Spawn were big and strong, but certainly no match for any pure-blood. However, Spawn were stupid enough and mean enough to fight them anyway. Not only that, but Spawn had to outnumber the pure-bloods by like ten to one. So, if and when the Spawn resisted any kind of major crackdown, there would be a bloodbath, and not just for Dragons and Spawn. The humans would be collateral damage, but it could be a devastating war for everyone involved. Eventually, the pure-bloods would probably win, but there were just so many Spawn and their numbers were increasing all the time.
“I promise you we won’t take up too much of your time.” Dmitri gave me a smile that he’d no doubt used before to his advantage. It actually made my knees a little weak.
“Okay, okay,” I said with a growl that just slipped out. Part of it was anger, but most of it was because I wanted to throw him down in the floor and have my way with him. Like that was even possible. I glanced up to see if they noticed but they were just staring down at me with no expression. “I’ll…uh...meet with you some place, but not here. Please? Can I text you a place and time later today?”
“That would be helpful, Mr. Wessex,” the beautiful agent said, ignoring the little breach of etiquette I’d made with the growl. I knew better than to growl at a pure-blood, especially a Golden, but I was feeling backed into a corner and a little desperate. I didn’t want to meet them and risk getting Artie on my case, but I didn’t want to antagonize them either. Rock, meet hard place.
“Here’s my card.” He pulled an expensive looking, cream-colored card from the breast pocket of his suit. “My numbers are on there, and I’ll be waiting for your text. Don’t make me come back here after you.” He handed me the card, brushing my fingertips with his, and they’d left. I’d felt jumpy for the rest of the day. I wasn’t sure if it was because of the idea of Artie Samboa possibly finding out I was meeting with pure-bloods about him or that last parting shot by Dmitri. Don’t make me come back here after you. Shit.
I tapped my fingers on the bar, glancing occasionally in the mirror over it to spot the agents when they walked in. I expected to see them dressed in three-piece suits and ties, all buttoned down and perfect like they had been earlier that day in the store. That’s why I almost didn’t recognize the vision of hotness that walked through the door of the club.
It was Dmitri, alone and dressed in black leather trousers, obviously well-worn and so tight across his ass, I could have bounced a quarter off it. A black T-shirt, equally tight, and a long leather coat completed his outfit and showed off every one of the lean muscles on his torso. Which is to say, a lot of them. His hair, which was a gorgeous shade of dark blond, had been tied back when I’d seen him earlier, but now it was loose and the silky strands of it caressed his shoulders. He was even wearing biker boots, and the sight of that set up a slow throbbing in my groin. The Golden swaggered in like he not only belonged in a leather bar, but like he owned the place. He spotted me in my corner and came over to me.
“Hello, Luca,” he said, his voice dark and seductive. “This bar is an interesting choice. Are you a part of this scene?”
“Me?” I looked around and gave him a lazy smile. “No…why? Are you disappointed?” Where the hell did that come from? I could feel a flush swarming up my neck and settling on my cheeks, and I dropped my head in confusion. He might decide to eat me at any second and not in a good way.
Dmitri looked me up and down speculatively and leaned over between the stools to rest his elbow on the bar. He was close, his tall, lean body hemming me in. He smelled good too, like soap and expensive cologne. Though he didn’t have a lot of bulky muscles like some kind of gym bunny, he had an awesome body. He was maybe six-two or so. I wondered how he looked in his shifted form and decided he must be impressive. I had never actually seen a Golden up close and personal before, but I’d seen pictures. I’d always believed that those pictures must have been enhanced, but now, I thought that it might be possible that they hadn’t done the Goldens justice if this guy was anything to go by. He was fucking gorgeous.
“I have to say I was surprised when I got your text,” he said, staring into my eyes. “Do you come to this place often?”
“No. Like I said. I’m not into all this.” I looked him up and down, stopping when my gaze reached the bulge in his groin. “But I could be persuaded if you’re asking.”
God, what’s wrong with me and where is this shit coming from? It had to be nerves. I gave a nervous little laugh to show I was joking, but I could feel my face flaming.
Dmitri smiled and lifted one perfectly shaped eyebrow, so slow and sexy that I lost my breath for a moment. “Oh?” Just that one syllable and my heart began a slow thud inside my chest. I got lost for a few seconds in his eyes as he leaned in closer. A little voice inside my head was reminding me this was a Golden and to be careful.