Unlike many of her sisters, Summer looks forward to finding that a dragon is her mate. In fact, she will settle for nothing less. Yet when Adrian claims her as his own, his old-world manners and charm aren't enough to make up for his equally old-world chauvinism. There's only so much Summer can take before she loses her temper. She has only one question…how much will it take before the water dragon begins to boil?
“None of these women are my mate, Damek.” Adrian waved his hand. “I have stayed here waiting for this Summer you say lives here, but I have been here nearly the whole of the day.” He shifted in his seat and looked around. “Surely His Highness will take exception to our sullying his great hall for the duration.”
As much as he loved his brother and he wanted to swear allegiance to the new ruler of their species, Adrian couldn’t wait to meet the woman whose voice drew him out of his long slumber. He’d designed the spell he used to put himself to sleep in such a way that only his mate could draw him forth. Now he was here, but she was nowhere to be found.
Damek laughed at him, the ass. “Patience, little brother. Have patience.” Damek took a sip of his brandy. “If the others aren’t the one, it must be Summer. She’s the only one left and she is on her way home now.” He cocked his head and looked toward the front door. “I stand corrected, she has just arrived.”
Heart pounding like a fledgling facing his transformation for the first time, Adrian wiped his damp palms on his strange leggings they called jeans, stood and slowly turned to face the woman he would, with any luck at all, claim as his mate one day soon.
The name Summer fit her well. Sunshine poured through the front door as she entered, filling the foyer with a golden light. He wouldn’t have thought much of it had the light dimmed when one of her dragon bodyguards closed the door behind her.
Perchance it was her beautiful smile that lit up the room as though sunlight poured through the ceiling over her head. Long, shining golden blonde hair fell about her shoulders. When she smiled up at one of the males as he took her wrap, Adrian fought the urge to growl.
He didn’t want to frighten her, nor did he want her to think he would consider her property. The best thing he could do was keep his emotions in check, though it was a difficult thing to do with the other males so close. He felt his scales fighting to emerge, his arms turning a light, iridescent blue with a silver undertone.
Overjoyed to find his mate at last, Adrian quickly moved to step forward and introduce himself.
Damek grasped his arm, pulling him back before Adrian could voice his presence. “Maybe it would be better if I introduced you.” His brother gave the other males a stern look that had them scrambling to get away. Few, if any, ever argued with Damek. He was the oldest of their kind, after all.
Adrian felt it when she saw him. He could actually feel her gaze upon him. His skin tingled and his body went hard. When he turned, he didn’t expect her to be standing so close, with her beautiful sky-blue eyes staring at him with curious interest.
“Hello, Summer. I hope this day finds you well.” Damek greeted her formally as he bent over her hand. Straightening, he turned to pat Adrian on the back. “Allow me to introduce my brother, Adrian.”
Adrian smiled down at the girl, his chest aching with some strange pain. He never expected his mate to be as beautiful as this woman was. What had he done to deserve her?
“I’m pleased to meet you, Mr. Antaeus.” Summer held out her hand with a soft smile.
Adrian paused for a minute, fearing to take it lest he squeeze her delicate bones too hard and break them. “And I you,” he replied as he, too, bent over her hand. Only instead of just taking her hand in his, he kissed it.
The shock of power and recognition shot up his arm and sent a prickle of awareness through his lips. Her aura melded with his, bringing him warmth. He could not say it was an unwelcome sensation after so many centuries encased in ice.
“What brings you to my sister’s home?” She gently tugged her hand, as though he would release it.
Not likely. Letting this woman go was the last thing on his mind. He fully intended to take her with him when he left, even if he must carry her over his shoulder like a sack of grain.
Adrian straightened with a smile. “I have come for you.” He frowned at the sound of his brother’s groan behind him.
“I know I told you that modern women required a bit of delicacy, brother.” Damek all but growled the words.
He needn’t have bothered. Adrian could already sense his mate’s interest flag as she jerked her hand from his grasp.
“You’ve come for me, or come to meet me?”
Her smile seemed genuine, if not a bit strained so he thought it best to enlighten her. She was his mate and they were as good as married in the eyes of his people.
“I have come for you, mate.” He smiled again. It was a good smile. One he knew the maids loved. Well…they had loved it a thousand or so years ago. Women couldn’t have changed that much. “Now, if you would just go to your sisters and tell them goodbye, I will speak to the head of your family and pay them the bride price.”
Another groan behind him had him turning toward his brother with a scowl.
Would the man never stop his groaning? “Are you in pain, man? If so, find yourself a draught of ale and have a seat. All will be well before you know it.”
He wasn’t certain Damek was well at all. He looked rather red in the face.
“You’ll…you will what?”
“I shall purchase you, of course. Where is your brother so that I may give him your bride price?” He waved his hand. “It does not matter that I do not know the price. No price is too high for my mate.” He turned her toward the stairs, patted her on the rump and gave her a gentle nudge. “Off with you, now. Go find your brother and leave us men to our discussion.”
“Off with me, now? Leave the men-folk to their discussion?” Her face turned a becoming shade of pink before turning a darker red.
“Is there some sort of sickness of which I should be aware?” Adrian frowned as he looked between his mate and his brother. “Both of you have turned a hideous shade of red. Shall I fetch a healer?”