Not every romance is a fantasy, but ours are!

“Happy Birthday!” Dani said as she clapped her hands together, watching me stare at the cupcake with a single candle in it.

“Why are we doing this?” I asked her and Ian.

“It’s your birthday, we should celebrate it. Look at everything you’ve survived this year.” Ian took a large bite out of his own cupcake.

Resisting the urge to roll my eyes I blew out the candle and started licking the frosting away. “You two know that until I met Lady Jura I thought my birthday was in the winter, right?”

Dani nodded vigorously and forced a small package into my hands. “Open it!” She was all but bouncing on the edge of the couch.

I felt the package for a moment. I couldn’t stop the smile. “Outlander in Hardback?!!?!” I threw my arms around her happily.

Ian stared at the two of us. “How did you know without opening it?”

Dani stared dumbfounded at him. “It’s a book, how could she not know after feeling and smelling it?” She shrugged at him.

Ian nudged Dani off the couch and took the unopened book from my hands, sitting it on a nearby shelf. Taking both of my hands in his he took a deep breath. “I want to take you home to meet my family in October. I know this isn’t as exciting at the Outlander book but I also have this for you.” He handed me a small thin box.

I opened it carefully and within it were a set of silver hairsticks, the top of each decorated to look like a thistle plant. “Oh, they’re beautiful. Thank you Ian.” I leaned forward and pressed a kiss to his lips. Taking a deep breath I painfully smiled at him. “I can’t go in October.”

He caressed the back of my hands and asked in a very soft and understanding voice. “Is it too soon?”

I could see the pain in his eyes and immediately started to shake my head no. “It has nothing to do with us. I’m leaving on October first for the North Pole. I’ve been ‘hired’ as a Harbinger of the Season. I have arranged to come home for weekends I don’t have to work. OR you can come visit me,” I offered.

He stilled and pinned me with his gaze. “When did you make this decision and why wasn’t I part of it?”

Wincing I answered, “Friday, but they almost made me leave on the spot. Then you were busy most of the weekend and today is really the first day I’ve had a chance to speak with you.”

His grip on my arms tightened. “We should have made this decision together,” he fumed at me.

“Oh, there’s more.” I turned and looked at Dani. “To get my own room I sort of nominated you to be my roommate to come help out a few weekends during the season.”

“That’s not a problem. I’m just excited to hear that the North Pole is REAL and I get to see it.” She smiled and chomped on her cupcake quietly for a moment. “Wait! It’s like REALLY REALLY cold there isn’t it?”

I nodded.

“I hate you!” she pouted at me.

I sighed heavily. “Do you want me to make my deadlines?”

“Of course,” she answered.

“Do you think I can do that if I have to share a dorm room with someone who won’t want a roommate who stays up all night working?” I smiled hoping it would help lessen the blow.

She stuck out her tongue at me and the internal battle played out across her face. “Fine! I forgive you but I HATE the cold.”

“Thank you,” I said.

Ian cleared his throat to draw attention back to himself. “What does that mean for us?” he asked.

“I guess it means we’ll have to commute further to see each other for a couple of months. I plan to come home on weekends as often as possible and you can always come up.” I watched as he seemed to relax a little.

“So you don’t want to take a break?” His question explained everything. He thought I was doing this to get away from him.

“No! Don’t think that way. Marthailain was in a rough spot and had practically volunteered me before I even arrived. This is a question of duty, not a desire to leave.” As if to prove my point I reached out and wrapped my arms around his neck and hugged him tightly. He responded by crushing me against his chest.

“Can we Skype at least a couple times a week?” he whispered in my ear.

“Yes, of course.”

“So what about the blog?” Dani asked.

“I was thinking you may want to help me out a bit and write some about your experiences discovering more about your Pixie side. What do you think?” I asked.

She pondered it for a moment. “I could do that, but do I have to write as much as you?”

“Nope, maybe once or twice a week. I plan to document my journey in the North Pole, I just don’t know about my time constraints.”

“Alright, I’ll do it. Watch out world… you’re about to learn a whole lot about Pixie life.” We all laughed and decided to polish off the last of the cupcakes.

Recruitment

I sat quietly in the drab green waiting room in the OAC. Marthailain had called me last night and asked if I could stop in today. Birda sat quietly flipping through some paperwork, doing her best to ignore me. When the telephone on her desk rang, disrupting the silence, I jumped.

“Yes, she’s here.” She paused, obviously listening to the response on the other end. She turned eyeing me closely. “Warm enough I imagine.” She agreed to a few more things and hung up the phone. The Gnome turned to face me. “They are ready to see you. Go back to conference room B.”

I thanked her and pushed through the door back into the main office. I followed the pathway around the many cubicals and turned left leading down a hall of conference rooms. It was a short walk from there. When I arrived at the room marked ‘Conference Room B’ I knocked.

Marthalian’s thick voice called from behind the door. “Come in Alizeyah.”

I stepped into the room and closed the door behind me. I quickly glanced around the room. There were two other people besides Marthailain in the room. The other two were human but not quite. Something about them just seemed different. Marthailain motioned to a chair beside him for me to have a seat in. I sank in it quietly and looked at the two guests. One was a shortish man but well muscled with sparkling eyes and a sandy brown ponytail tightly braided down his back. He had a single dimple when he smiled and a boyish charm to him that gave him that boy-next -door handsomeness. The other was a woman. She shared his same hair color, build and sparkling eyes. I knew immediately they had to be siblings. The most obvious thing about her though was she was pregnant. VERY Pregnant.

Marthailain cleared his throat. “Lady Alizeyah of the Dragons. Tempest of the realms. These are Justin Kringle and his sister Helen Kringle Roush. They represent the North Pole Holiday Operations team. They want to talk to you about a seasonal position.”

I looked from one to the other. “You’re Elves?” I asked, confused.

“No, Dwarves to be more exact,” responded Justin.

“I see, and you work at the North Pole?” I was trying not to let the humor show on my face.

The smile disappeared from Justin’s face. Luckily Helen responded. “Yes, we do. Justin oversees Operations and I oversee HR. Every year we recruit a large number of Otherworlders to assist in Holiday functions and magic.”

“So Santa Claus is real?” I asked.

Justin rolled his eyes and Helen giggled. “Yes, Santa Claus is a title not a name. Our Uncle Markus has filled the role for the last three hundred years or so.”

“Oh, cool beans!” I responded in an upbeat tone. Santa is so getting a letter this year, I thought to myself. I swear I could hear Hue chuckling somewhere as if he had overheard the thought.

Helen continued. “Our Operation oversees the entire season. We are responsible for Christmas, Yule, Bleak Days and so on. We are in desperate need of your talents.”

“Doing what?” I asked.

“Harbinger of the Season,” she answered.

“What does that mean?”
“Well, you would report to Mother Nature for the Season and take assignments across several realms and help people prepare and welcome the season in,” she responded. “We offer excellent pay and a great benefits package for the Season.”

I glanced at Marthailain who was offered pleading eyes.

“When would this start?” I asked giving up with a sigh.

“Immediately, you would report back with us and Marthailain would send your belongings along shortly.

I put up my hands. “Nope. My mother Lady Jura is in through the weekend and I am not disappearing after I just patched things up with my boyfriend.”

Justin jumped to his feet. “Asia has not produced a single helper in thirty years. We are willing to wipe the slate clean for your whole zone if you do this. Think of the greater good Lady Alizeyah.”

I grumbled and turned to look at the HR director Helen. “I can start October first and not before. On non holiday weekends I will be allowed to come home and see my friends and family. Ah, and I can have visitors if I so choose. I want a single room. I have books due at the start of the new year and need to be able to work on them in peace.”

I could hear Justin choking on my demands beside me but I pinned Helen with my stare. I learned long ago that if HR wants you bad enough they will meet reasonable demands. She flipped through the papers in front of her. “Fine, we will agree to those terms,” she said, crossing things out and altering the employment agreement. “But, in order for us to give you a private room for most of your stay you will need a temporary roommate that plans to come do a certain number of service hours through the season. Can you provide that?”

I smiled. “Yes, I think I can. I’ll just have to do a little convincing of my own this weekend.”

Helen slid the contract across the table to me. I reviewed the changes, initialing them all, then signed it. Little known secret is how obsessed with the season I am. I would have said yes to doing it without pay. I thanked them both and walked them to the door. When they were out of earshot Marthailain turned and hugged me, picking me up and spinning me around.

“Thank you my Lady. You kept my goose from being cooked today.” I eyed him carefully.

“So I’m about to go home to a pretty ticked off Werewolf. Any words of advice?”

He shrugged. “Lingerie?”

I rolled my eyes before heading out.I had a Pixie to convince, a Werewolf to sooth and a Dragon who was going to lecture me. Possibly two.

 

 

It was the first time I had even been to Ian’s apartment. He had a small twin size bed that sat under a tiny window, a desk, a laundry drying rack, mini fridge and microwave. There were two doors along the right hand side of the apartment. One led to a bathroom that had a showerhead attached to the sink with a washing machine in the corner and the other was a closet for shoes and clothes. I perched on the corner of his bed and stared at him where he leaned against the wall. “Is the real reason you come to my place for the space and comfort because honestly I wouldn’t take it personally.” I said.

“Why are you here?” he growled at me.

“Because I haven’t heard from you in several days and was worried. I wanted to give you space to cool down over the games,” I offered.

He raised a brow at me. “Really? You haven’t been talking to your good buddy Hue?”

I blinked at him. “No, not this week. Should I be?”

“You’re not even talking in your head to him?” His accusing snap made my blood boil.

“What the hell Ian? If you’re going to be mad at me you have to tell me you’re mad at me. Running away and sulking isn’t going to solve anything. NO, HUE AND I HAVE NOT BEEN TALKING THIS WEEK!” I stood up and marched over to stand before him. Ian towered over me by at least a foot or more.

“You have a psychic bond, you are both tempests, and the political role he holds is rightfully yours. Don’t you see? You are Soul Mates, made for each other. Two halves of the same soul. You belong together.” He lowered his eyes from mine.

I sighed heavily. “Don’t I get a say in any of this? Hue and I are friends and yes, I will admit there is an attraction there.” Ian’s head snapped up with an accusing glare. “I have kissed him but I haven’t slept with him. I’m not ready to give up on us. Everyone has insisted that he and I are Soul Mates but nobody has bothered to ask me.” I reached up and cupped his face with my hand. “If he is truly my Soul Mate why am I here and not at the games?”

Ian’s eyes pinned me in place. Turning his head he kissed my open palm before reaching up to take it in his hand. “I’m really fond of you. I may even love you, but I can’t let you toss away something this special. I’ve lost the love of my life and I considered ending it to be with her. If you lost your Soul Mate you wouldn’t go on. That would hurt me more.” He leaned forward and kissed my forehead. “I’ll let you go.”

“You are so melodramatic, you know that?” I blinked up at him.

“I’m breaking up with you,” he said firmly.

“No, you’re not!” I said just as firmly in return.

“You can’t change my mind on this,” he insisted.

I reached down and tugged on the fasteners for his kilt. It gave way with ease. Sinking to my knees before him I ran my nails down the back of his thighs causing him to suck in air. I looked up at him waiting to see his reaction. “Haven’t you heard, I’m a Dragon. I do not easily part with my treasures. If you can tell me honestly you want this to end, I will walk away.” I leaned forward and flicked my tongue over the tip of his manhood.

For the first time ever I heard him swear at me in Gaelic. “Why are you being so stubborn about this? I am trying to do this for you,” he said panting.

I reached out, taking him in my hand and stroked him. “Should I stop?” I asked.

“No, for the love of god NO!” he all but cried. I leaned forward, tasted him again and ran my hand along his length. He leaned against the wall for support.

When I pulled away again I looked up at his face where his eyes were tightly shut. ‘What do you want?” I asked him.

“At this moment, to bury myself deep within you and make you scream my name but I know what I should be doing.” His words were cut off as I took him in my mouth again.

It only took  a little more encouragement before he sank to his knees. He reached out to capture me by the back of the neck and drag me to his mouth. Between the kiss and the removal of my shirt he paused long enough to let me catch my own breath. “I know I should let you go, but I can’t.” He dragged me against his chest and cradled me against his body. “I need to speak with Hue.”

I was confused by his last words but he let me go and insisted this wait until another day. He did however, pack up a few belongings and follow me home.

Lady Jura was quietly reading when we returned home. She eyed both Ian and I together then offered a hesitant smile. “It’s good to see you again Lord Wolf.”

Hello All!

So much is going on these days that I thought it would be nice to update my readers. At the end of November I have a double release coming out. The first is “Practical Uses for Princes with Pointed Ears”. This will be the first book in the new “Otherworld Realms” series. The second book, is a holiday romance which also will take place in my “Otherworld Realms” setting. It’s called “Holiday Spirit for Hire”. Both will be available through Amazon, B&N, Powells and most other book retailers. The digital versions will be Kindle Exclusives.

With this shift in priorities going from writer to promoter I thought it would be fun to shift the perspective of my blog. I’ve heard from many fans that while they love Kat, they want to know more about Dani, Ian, Hue and some of the others. Starting next week some of the posts on the blog will be coming from Dani’s perspective. I encourage readers to keep reading everything posted from any perspective and of course to still feel free to message us or leave a comment.

All my love,

Isabelle Saint-Michael

and the Elven Life Team

Motherly Advice

When I woke up this morning it was to Lady Jura standing over me and watching me sleep. “Good Morning?” I asked blinking the sleep from my eyes.

“You sleep so beautifully!” she exclaimed all too excited.

“Thank you?” I had no clue how to respond. “Why are you watching me sleep?”

“Because I’ve missed out on doing it for more than thirty years? I did it while you were visiting the nest. There were a few time Lord Hudraer came and kept me company.”

“Lady Jura… mom, that’s REALLY creepy. And what do you mean Hue kept you company?” I had pushed myself up and was now sitting up and leaning against the wall.

“Well he came by to check on you one night and you were sound asleep. I was sitting in the old blue chair reading and watching you and Dani sleep. He mentioned that you even slept beautifully, and I must agree. You are an absolutely splendid creature. Your father would have doted on you.” Aside from the strange creepy vibe that I had just experienced I did notice her tear up at the memories of my father.

I reached out and took her hand, guiding her to sit down on the bed beside me. “Tell me about him.”

Jura didn’t release my hand as she sank onto the mattress beside me. Her eyes glazed over as she started to sort through the memories. “Your father was handsome and funny. He had a natural kindness to him that made him an instant hero. He couldn’t help but do the right thing.” She stopped and seemed to laugh at that. “He had an opinion on everything and he never met a stranger.” She turned to glance at me. “All you have to do is look in the mirror to see him. Your smile, bravery and kindness are carbon copies of his. When we first married and bonded, I would lie awake and watch him sleep. He looked innocent but strong. You look the same.”

“I really need to point out the entire watching someone while they sleep thing is still really creepy.” She laughed and patted me on the knee.

“Dragons are very protective of their treasure. You are my greatest treasure. I had to make a huge sacrifice to keep you safe. It almost killed me letting you go. Dragons do not leave their young as Changelings and Elves rarely do. It’s more of something you see within the Fairies, Trolls, Nymphs and those types.” She reached out and wrapped both arms around me in a tight hug. “I am thankful for your bond with Lord Huedraer. I trust him to take care of you and the nest.”

I shook my head. “You do know I am seeing Ian, right?”

“Then where is he?” she motioned around the room.

“Staying at his own place this week. He just needs a little space because he is cranky and doesn’t want to take it out on me.” I huffed.

“Ian is a wonderful man, and I know he cares deeply for you but his clan would never accept you. He will become chieftain and they will expect him to take another mate, one who is also Were.” She paused and considered her words. “I’m sure they will like you well enough. It’s hard not to like you but I promise you he will never gain his title if he stays with you.”

I considered her words carefully. “Ian and I are just dating. It’s not that serious yet.”

She shook her head again. “If I had raised you, you would understand the cultures better. Otherworlders don’t really date. I mean here in this realm they seem to, but in many of the others it’s understood that you are actively looking for a mate. If you are with Ian it means you want to be his mate.”

“Oh, well he knows it’s just dating.” I offered.

“But will his parents and family understand that?” She asked.

I answered with a shrug. “They’ll have to, I guess.”

She heaved a heavy side and pinned me with her gaze. “What about Lord Hudraer?”

“What about him?” I asked dryly.

“Have you considered he may be your Soul Mate?” She narrowed her gaze on me.

“Lady Ju… MOM! It’s not like that. Yes, I get there is something between us but I’m with Ian right now and I really don’t want to encourage whatever is between Hue and I right now. If we are truly Soul Mates then everything will work out in the end. If we’re not then it won’t. In the mean time, I’m seeing Ian and I can only handle so much overprotective male in my life!” I snapped the last few words.

“I just want you to be happy, and I knew with Lord Hudraer, you probably would be,” she offered.

I rolled my eyes. “I am happy.”

“Look, any relationship is going to be work. Even Soul Mates require some work. When it’s the right person though, all the work is worth while because they are willing to do it too. Ian may be willing to do the work, I just don’t know if you are for him.” I felt like she had slapped me.

“What does that mean!?!?” I demanded.

“Not that you aren’t capable but the person you’re telling me you have feelings for hasn’t been around in four days and you haven’t gone to see him either.” She nudged me towards the edge of the bed. “Go talk to him after he finishes work. He would probably like to see you.”

I hated that I knew she was right.

It’s been really quiet these last few days with Ian hanging out at his own place. Despite the invitation from Hue I have decided to not attend the games. I think it would only serve to remind Ian how he’s not going. Why turn the dagger?

Instead I have fully devoted myself to the cause of editing my newest novels. My editor and I have been working tirelessly and around the clock to get the books done on time. I think a lot of people underestimate how much work goes into publishing a book, and the work doesn’t stop once it’s on the shelf, it just starts. Promotion takes a huge amount of time and effort. Living abroad makes it even more complicated. I can’t just walk into a random bookstore and ask if they would like me to sign copies or would be interested in me doing a book signing.

When I started on this journey things like Dragons, Werewolves and Pixies were little more than novelties to me. My eyes would flare with excitement every time I encountered a new creature or learned a new spell. Now it seems like my magical existence has become almost mundane. I have both my Human parents and my Dragon mother to worry about me. Calls from the states always center around a discussion on are you eating, sleeping or seeing anyone? Visits to the Dragon’s are always centered around are you eating, sleeping and how is the relationship with the Werewolf going? If it doesn’t work out you could always date a nice Dragon boy. I guess it is just further proof that all mothers have the same worry regardless of their culture.

My mother (Dragon) is coming to stay with me this week while most of the Nest is at the Otherworld Games. She hasn’t been in the Human realm in over 30 years so it should be exciting to see her reaction to how far things have come. It’s also amusing because she gave me a list of everything she wants to do. The first ten things on the list are all types of food. At least now I understand my obsession with Mexican food. I just wish they delivered.

Marthailain is coming over to get her properly registered for being here in Asia in case she would need emergency documents such as a passport or something. It was a very strange sight to hear him to talk to Lady Jura via speaker phone because she and he appear to know each other. She also wants to go meet with my father’s sister while she is in the Human realm so I am sure that will take up the better part of a day as well.

The belief when we are six that magic would solve our problems is a falsehood, just like the belief as an adult that money fixes everything is also untrue. Magic has opened doors for me I didn’t know were there, but it hasn’t always been prizes I’ve won behind those doors. Some of it has been danger. I guess it all comes back to be careful what you wish for.

 

Alathea’s pale blond hair tumbled smoothly over her shoulders and down to her hips.  Her perfectly pointed chin and piercing blue eyes gave her the legendary ethereal beauty known among so many of the Elves.  The fact that she towered over me by a foot didn’t help either.  “So you’re like … over six feet tall, right?”

“Yes, I’m Six Four,” she replied flatly.

“Is it hard to find clothes?” I asked.

“Yes, very difficult.  Did you ask me to meet with you so we could discuss my height?” She quirked a brow.

I winced. “Sorry, as you can see I’m rather short so I was just surprised to find you so tall.  I mean Dragons are rather tall as well.”

“It probably has more to do with all the processed Human food you were raised on.” She motioned for me to take a seat at the table and she took a seat across it.  “What would you like to discuss?”

“A few things actually, are you the same Alathea that defeated the Wizard who used to sit on the High Council?” I found myself leaning forward grasping the table.

“I am.  I did it for the greater good over everyone involved.” Her answer seemed cool and collected but there was a slight edge to her voice.

“Thank you.” I said calmly.

“Why are you thanking me for that?  It was years ago.” She waved it away dismissively.

“He held mother and aunt prisoner for a long while, until my father chanced upon them and helped them to escape.”  I watched as she stiffened considerably.

“Your mother is Lady Jura?” she asked hesitantly.

“I thought that was common knowledge now?”

“No, we had heard you were Darkling and a Tempest but that was all that has made it to the high council.  Is Daellym well?”Her voice cracked at the last question.

“I’m sorry whom?”

“Daellym, the Elf that your mother bonded with.  Your father?” I blinked at her.  This was this was the first time I had heard my father’s name spoken.

“Did you know him?  You’re the first person to tell me his name.  I’m afraid he has passed on.” I offered her my condolences.  Alathea paled considerably at the news and ordered us some hot tea.

“I knew your father very well.  I also now see the wisdom in Marthailain connecting the two of us.” She paused to reach across the table and take one of my hands. “I’ve treated you very poorly, and I am truly sorry. Please know you can come to me with anything.”

I pulled my hand free and leaned back in my chair.  We both seemed happy when the tea arrived.  It gave us something else to focus on.  As Alathea poured me a cup, I noticed her hands shaking.

“Are you alright?” I asked her.

She nodded as she poured her own.  “I am.  I am just dealing with a bit of shock. Did you come here to ask me questions about your father or did you have another purpose?”

“Oh, yeah.” I smiled. “I made clarity bread to focus on a bit of a situation.  It led me to you.  I believe you may be able to fill in some blanks I have and as an unbiased party, I think you may be the right person.” She considered me for a moment.  “It’s going to seem trivial and you may very well think me a bad person because of it.”

“Go on.  I promise to be open minded.” She waved on the conversation.

“I am sort of seeing Ian McGreygor but I recently found I have connection with a member of my nest.  I can hear and feel him, even when he’s not around.  It also turns out we are now blood bound.”

“Ian… as in son of Cariss? Ian as in future Chieftain of our realm’s largest Were Clan?” Alathea swore under her breath. I nodded confirming it.  “And you have a connection to a Dragon from your nest?  That’s usually the sign of a Soul Mate.  Considering your Mother was a highborn and had ties to a throne, that would make total sense that you could have a Soul Mate.  Does the Dragon realize you and he have this bond yet?”

The words Soul Mate cycled through my head and I tried to shake them off.  “Right, yeah, Hue and I use it to talk, often.”

“Hue, that seems like a rather mundane name for a Dragon.” She smiled. “You’re young still and even if you have a Soul Mate there is no rush for you.” She smiled.  I wasn’t sure she knew what she was talking about.  Her tone seemed almost motherly.

I smiled thinking about my time recently at the nest.  “Actually, his name is Hudraer, I just call him Hue for short.” As if the sound of his name on my lips was enough to summon him, I felt him there with me.

You’re near, I can feel you.  Did you come to visit me?

Trying not to laugh. Silly Dragon, not everything is about you.  I’m in the Realm of the four kingdoms meeting with someone. I’m not in your realm.

Our realm. He corrected.  You’re part of the Nest as well.  That makes it your home and realm as well.

Alathea was watching my closely. The play of emotions on her face was unreadable. “Lord Hudraer?” She asked slowly.  She looked woozy.  “You’re Soul Mate is Lord Hudraer?”

“I’m not sure if Soul Mate is the right word, but yes, I am friends with Lord Hudraer.” I took another sip of my tea. “That brings me back to my reason for coming. Ian is under a lot of stress and I daresay I have feelings for him, but I have also grown quite fond Hue. I’m curious if my feelings for Hue are only because of this link we share?”

Alathea finally exploded the way Alathea explodes, but what she said surprised me. “You are caught in a love triangle between the future Were Chieftain of our realm and the Prince of the Dragons.  You sure know how to pick them, don’t you?” She sucked in a deep breath. “You’re thoughtless, and careless just like your father.  You really have no clue how any of this works do you?” She screamed and climbed to her feet.  “The fact that you and I share blood is heart wrenching.  If you end up being the cause of war, I swear I will turn you into a toad!” She stormed out of the tent.

Are you alright? Hues silky smooth voice rolled around in my mind.

Are you a Prince? I asked

I could feel his hesitation. Who are you meeting with?

Oh, the meeting is over.  I came to meet with Alathea about some questions I had. I shifted uncomfortably on the chair I was sitting on.

Questions you couldn’t come to me with? There was a twinge of pain at his question but I wasn’t sure if it was his or my own. Stay where you are, I’ll come to you.

I felt my emotions swirl within me. I was more confused now then before I had come.  I heard Hue approach though the flap of the tent.  I didn’t bother to look or say anything when he entered. He knelt down beside me.  When I turned to look at him, he tucked a stray strand of hair behind my ear.  I threw my arms around him and buried my face into his shoulder.  I could be confused, angry or anything else in a moment. He folded his arms around me and held me there.

He cleared his throat. “Your mother, until recently held the position at the top of our Elder’s council.  Nobody knew if you were alive or if you would want anything to do with your Darkling side.  Since I had led the Nest, she stepped down and offered me her seat on the council.” He let out a slow breath. “Whenever this happens, there is a challenge for who will lead.  I won that challenge.  My parents were both vassals and so my birth rank wasn’t called into question.  In sorts, yes, I am a Prince but if you want to challenge me for the title I will gladly meet your challenge.”

I leaned back to study him. “So you’re Prince of the Dragons?”

He winced. “Sort of. I can be your Prince?” he offered with an awkward smile.

“Are you afraid I would challenge you for the position?” I asked.

“It’s as much yours, as it is mine.” He leaned forward and placed a kiss on my forehead. “Dragons don’t really give up what is theirs, so yes, it has been a fear of mine.”

“Who needs Prince Charming when I could have a Dragon instead?” I smiled.

Hue’s chuckle caught me off guard almost as much as his kiss did.

“What should I do?” I asked.

“About what?” He stood still cradling me in his arms and sat on the chair I had been occupying, then pulled me onto his lap. “Tell me everything and I will make it better.”

“I’m so confused.  I care about Ian but I care about you.  I normally don’t do the whole emotional attachment thing.” I felt like an ass admitting all this.

“Shhhh” Hue encouraged. “Maybe Ian isn’t far off with his teenager description.” I froze on his lap debating boxing his ears. “I’m sure, If I hadn’t come along there would be no question about your feelings for Ian.  Has he asked you to be his mate?”

I could feel him holding his breath. I shook my head. “No, nothing so serious.”

He breathed easier and I felt a ripple of relief run through him. “Unless he has asked you to be his mate, and there is a rather large bonding ceremony that goes with all that, you are not spoken for.  It is not uncommon for the Were to have many lovers until the mate. He’s been mated once before and I can’t see him ready to rush in and do it again.”

“What about Dragons?” I asked.

“Yes, Dragons take Mates as well.” He leaned close kissing the base of my neck and whispering in my ear. “I’m willing to wait my turn, because once I get you, I’m never letting you go.” He nipped my ear and a chill ran through me.  I shakily climbed to my feet and Hue laughed. “I will admit, you do great things for my ego reacting as you do.”

I clung to the table beside me for support. “You can just back that ego up.  I’m just shaken still with what happened while I was speaking with Alathea.” I should know better than to try and bullshit someone who can hear my thoughts.

To Hue’s credit he just smiled knowingly. “I’m sure that’s it” He rose and strolled towards the door. “Oh, and Kat” my breath caught with him using my Human name. “I think it’s rather cute that she’s under the impression I am YOUR Hue because I guarantee it, that the rest of the world knows you’re mine.”  His last words rang with such finality I wasn’t sure what to think.

 

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