“Now you need to be patient. Give it at least another six months before you go cliff diving again.”
The release of adrenaline still thrummed through my blood after using cold fire to heal the young Greyclaw. Though only thirteen years old, he already stood nearly my height at six and a half feet tall.
The boy’s mother sat silently behind him as he stretched out the injured wing. My cold fire had sealed up the deep gash he’d gotten when he’d crashed into a craggy cliff. He peered over his shoulder at the iridescent patch of color, which caught the fading sunlight like a rainbow prizm.
“Cool,” he whispered, opening the wing wider.
“Go on,” I encouraged. “It may be a little sore, but you can fly just fine.”
He stepped away from the bench in front of his parents’ hut where we’d done the healing and flapped open both wings, lifting himself off the ground a few feet then lowered himself again.
“Why do I have to wait six months to go cliff diving? With a grin, he turned to me. “I feel fine.”
His mother, a quiet woman, much smaller than her son or even me, popped off her stool and grabbed the arch of his uninjured wing. “Because your wings still have some growing to do, young man. If you’d have listened to me or your father, you wouldn’t have hurt yourself.”
“Yeah. But the guys make it sound so fun. I wanted to try.” He hung his head a little for his mother’s benefit, peering at her from remorseful eyes.
She stepped closer and spoke more gently, cupping his face in her hands. “Those other boys are older than you. The gullies are still too dangerous for you. Soon, you will be as strong as them, your wings fully mature. And you can jump from the highest mountain if you please.”
His eyes brightened as he lay his hands over his mother’s, a gentle gesture for such a tough one. “Even Mount Obsidian?”
She tsked and stepped back with a roll of her eyes. “Time for you to get back to the academy.”
“Mother, can’t I just—”
“No!” she snapped, raising a severe brow. “Unless you want me to tell your father about this little escapade of yours when you should’ve been at school.”
“No, ma’am.” He leaned over and brushed a quick kiss to her cheek before lifting off toward the east and to the regional academy, his wings stirring up the fallen leaves.
I smoothed my tunic and opened my satchel hanging over my shoulder to find the pouch of dried herbs I sought. Handing it to his mother, I said, “Put this in some warm tea tonight before he goes to bed. Cold fire will heal him all the way to the bone, though I sensed no fracture. Still, this will relax his muscles and be sure all is well.”
She took the pouch tied with white ribbon. “I cannot thank you enough.” She dug inside her apron, her brow pinching together with worry. “How much will that be?”
Like most families in Farrow’s Dell, they lived off the land and made little in regards to coin, nevermind earning enough to survive in thriving cities like Drakos nearby. They were simple people, farmers and miners.
I smiled and pointed to the basket of melons I’d noted beside her door. There was a large garden behind the hut where fragrant honey-sweet melons grew alongside rows of vegetables and hearty stalks of beans.
“To be honest, I would prefer if you paid me in some of your harvest, if that’s not asking too much. As one who grows medicinal herbs, I don’t have time to keep up with such a wonderful garden like yours. I could use the fresh produce.”
Her eyes brightened. “I would be so happy to offer you some.”
She bustled quickly over to her hut, disappeared and hurried back out with a burlap sack. It was half full already, but she added a few of the melons from the basket at her door then returned to my side with her offering.
“Thank you,” I said, taking the bundle in both arms.
“Oh, my. Will that be too heavy to get back to your home?”
“No.” I stuffed the sack of produce inside my own satchel, barely squeezing it inside and glanced over my shoulder where Singing Wind Wood was a short flight down from this mountainside village. “I’ll be fine. It’s not far.”
With a smile, she waved. I opened my wings and beat them hard just as I stepped off the small ledge where this family made their home. This part of the Feygreir mountains was vibrant with green vegetation, not as rocky as the northern ranges. And not nearly so severe and ice-cold as those in Aria, the frozen wasteland to the northwest.
Farrow’s Dell spread wide along the cliffs and foothills of the Feygreir Mountains. While not densely populated, the taverns and inns at its center served as a stopping post for Morgons passing to and from Gladium and Drakos, the largest cities in this region. And because of its small population, it was the perfect place for me, far from prying eyes. Everyone here lived their own lives and left well enough alone. No one minded the eccentric healer who lived alone—or seemingly so—in Singing Wind Wood. I was the only Icewing in the near vicinity to call upon when someone was sick or wounded.
Letting the updraft take me on the breeze, I coasted slowly down into the valley where the fire-colored treetops of evergolds called me home. I landed with a soft whoosh and repositioned the satchel on my shoulder. The evergolds were so beautiful this time of year, I couldn’t resist but walk beneath them on the trail leading to our cottage. These thick-trunked, knotty-rooted giants shone bright yellow and orange leaves all the year long. But when the wind snapped with the cool promise of fall, the leaves brightened further, shimmering in the fading sunlight like wildfire.
The wind gusted and the leaves rustled, welcoming me home. I passed through the grove, knowing that I was being followed. I’d detected him the second my feet touched the earthen floor. The steady heartbeat. The masculine scent of woodsmoke and rushing water swirled around me and stirred my senses. He’d been sweating, too--the salt in the air a tang on my tongue. The heady mixture arousing. And though he was near, I couldn’t detect which way he approached. He was getting better at stalking his prey. But I always knew when he was near, our heartbond too strong for me not to know his presence.
He lunged from behind an evergold and wrapped strong arms around my waist, lifting me off the ground. “I’ve been waiting for your return,” he said, his deep voice sonorous and lyrical.
Gazing down into his moss-green eyes as he held me off the ground, his brown hair an unruly mess, I combed a loose lock away. “And how did you know I’d return this way? I might’ve landed right outside the cottage.”
He loosened his grip so that I slid down his body, stopping my descent before my feet touched the ground, when my face was level with his. “Because I know my woman.” He leaned close and trailed his tongue along my lower lip. “The evergolds are burning bright. You can’t resist them.”
“As I can’t resist you.”
He smiled against my mouth. Yes, he knew me. I slid my hands down his broad shoulders to his flexed biceps, whimpering at the taste of him when he opened his mouth wide and stroked his tongue in deep. He kissed his way down my throat.
“Macon,” I whispered in the way that made him go hard for me.
In a swift beat, he set me on my feet, minding my wings, and spun me around to face the closest tree. “Put your hands on the trunk, Adelaide.”
And just like that, heat coiled low in my belly, dampening between my legs. I obeyed and put my hands on the trunk.
Macon looped the heavy satchel over my head and dropped it to the floor, a plump melon rolling away. He loosened the strings of my tunic that criss-crossed and tied below my wings at my lower back.
“Macon. Someone could catch us here,” I protested, though it sounded weak even to my own ears. “We’re still in the open.”
Though it was rare to ever see someone traveling through these woods since it was rumored to be haunted and enchanted, for good reason, there was always the chance a curious Morgon might happen by. There was a bright patch of sky above us where anyone might fly over and see.
He jerked the last tie loose and pulled the sleeves off my shoulder, scraping his stubble along my bare skin. I shivered and moved as if to stand straight, then he growled. My human lover was more beast than man when his blood was up. He grated close to my ear, “Don’t. Move.”
I moaned on his command, reveling in the sensation of him taking my arm, sliding the tunic free, placing the hand of that arm gently back against the bark. He repeated with the other one. The tunic pooled at my feet, leaving me utterly exposed to the world. To him. The way he liked me.
With rough, callused hands, he explored my curves, sliding down my waist to my hips to my outer thighs then back up till he cupped my full breasts.
“Macon,” I whispered again, letting my eyes slide closed as he rolled my nipples between his fingers with slow precision.
On instinct, I arched my back, curving my spine, offering him what he really wanted. He pressed his denim-clad crotch to my bare bottom, showing me how hard he was for me.
He slid one hand away from my breast, still mounding the other and tweaking lightly. “Someone could catch us,” he whispered close to my ear. “And what a sight they’d see.” He bit my earlobe with teeth, giving me a sting. I flinched, then he sucked it into his warm mouth and my senses stood at attention, waiting for every perfect sensation he promised.
“They’d see your beautiful body bent over and ready for me.” He flattened his palm on my abdomen and glided down till he cupped my sex, one finger probing gently. “They’d see your lovely neck arched to the sky and hear your soft moans meant only for me.”
He removed his hand from my breast to caress along the arch of my wing, his other hand still at work between my legs. An autumn breeze gusted through the evergolds, rustling and whistling through the leaves in a way that sounded like the whisper of faeries. My dragon senses tingled at the presence of others. But it wasn’t faeries or sprites or magical elves. It was the forest itself, voices of the unseen spirits who lived in these woods.
His hands disappeared from my body, leaving me feeling vulnerable and bereft and aching for his touch. His belt buckle jingled as he lowered his pants.
“What is it, love?” he whispered teasingly, sliding a finger slowly from the top of my spine all the way down to my tailbone. “Do you need me?”
“Desperately,” I panted, digging my nails into the bark. The wind shook the branches as if responding to my desire.
“Hold on.” He gripped my hips, fingers curling into my flesh and slammed home.
My wings whipped out and stretched wide, a reflex of mine when he filled me so well. I’d tried to hold back, but it happened every time. He chuckled and pet the underside of my left wing. “My girl was ready.”
The sensual sensation of him thrusting hard and deep while gently stroking my wing—a forceful pound then a teasing touch—made me bow my spine further, trying to get him deeper.
“More, she says.” He let go of my wing. “All right, love. I want to hear you scream when you come. I don’t care who might be watching or listening.”
He gripped my waist, his fingers and thumbs nearly touching on either side. Then he started to move, stroking so fast and slamming so hard our flesh slapped rhythmically, the force bending me to his will. Without slowing his tempo, he reached under and caressed the bud of my sex.
I screamed, my voice carrying up to the boughs, my pleasure and passion with it. A swirling gale shook through the evergolds, sending spirals of vibrant leaves down like rain, showering the grove and us as I cried out with my release. Macon powered home again and ground in one slow circle, groaning as he spilled inside of me. “Yes,” he growled low, pulsing deep on a shiver.
When the vibrations finally ceased, he pulled out and tumbled to the ground, his back to the trunk. Wrapping my wrist, he gently pulled me into his lap. My knees were shaking so it took nothing at all for me to fold into his lap. Both of us still panting, he cradled me close, brushing a strand of hair behind my ear. He pressed a kiss to my temple, letting his lips linger there. Leaves of gold, red, and orange carpeted the forest floor, a regal gown of autumn hues, forming a circle around us and the tree.
“What are they saying?” he asked, warm breath fanning my cheek.
“I don’t know.”
“I think I do.” He slid a hand to my naked belly and rubbed softly. “I believe they’re blessing us.”
A whistling whisper circled the grove. We both looked up. A trilling laughter echoed then died away just as a buoyant elation filled my heart so full, I couldn't help but smile wide. Macon smiled, too, nuzzling his nose against mine.
“I believe we will have a harvest of our own soon enough.”
I laughed and held him close. “I hope we do, my love.”
We held one another, savoring this moment, while the spirits of Singing Wind Wood whispered their blessing upon us.
Step further into the Morgon world with DRAGON HEARTSTRING.