Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(27) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Illarion rolled his eyes.
Blaise laughed. “Max attempted to nest all of his siblings. At least those of us he could find. Once a year while she lived, he’d journey to where our mother placed her eggs and collect them so that they wouldn’t have to hatch alone, and flounder for survival.”
The irritated look on Maxis’s face told her he didn’t want his brother sharing that tidbit with her. But she was glad that Blaise had spoken.
And Illarion was right. There was a lot she’d never bothered to learn about her husband.
“Did you nest Hadyn?”
Maxis nodded. “He was the first I found, just days old. Wandering and lost, like a little bug.”
No wonder they’d been so close.
Max taught us the Bane-Cry to clear our lungs and so that no matter how far apart we were, we could always call out to each other for help, should we need it. And while the rest of our siblings might not respond, Max would always come to us if he was physically able to do so.
That thought brought tears to her eyes. And it was that capacity for love that she missed most about her mate. No, he wasn’t the animal her tribe had accused him of being. How could I have ever let you go?
“Neither here nor there,” Max said, passing an annoyed grimace at each brother in turn. He led her toward a large area of the attic that was curtained off.
It wasn’t until he pulled the heavy, dark blue brocade curtains back that she realized this was where he “nested” nowadays.
It actually made sense. Since he slept in dragon form, he’d be far too large for any kind of bed. And again, it reminded her of how different they were. Of the fact that in spite of his male beauty and form, he was still an animal at heart.
As if he heard that thought, Illarion sneered at her. This is a bad idea.
Sighing heavily, Maxis passed an aggravated stare at his brother before he took her hand and pulled her inside the curtained-off area. His gaze scorched her with that peculiar mixture of jaded worldliness and precious innocence that was uniquely his. “I know that you’ve never seen me as anything more than an animal and I’m well aware of what you think of my species. Just remember this is for your children and hold that thought tight.”
She opened her mouth to deny it, but he placed a gentle finger over her lips. “Don’t lie. We both know the grisly truth. I am an animal. Hatched and spawned.” He stepped back. “Blaise? Can you hold her for a minute? I’m not sure how she’ll react to this.”
It was on the tip of her tongue to tell him not to treat her like a child when he shifted so fast that she almost screamed in terror of it.
She’d forgotten just how large his dragon’s body was. How massive and terrifying.
Even as spacious as the attic was, Maxis had to crouch low and could barely move about. He completely filled the area. For that matter, he couldn’t turn around. Rather, he had to back himself against the wall where she assumed he slept. Heavens, he was humongous.
“You okay?” Blaise rubbed her arm for comfort.
Swallowing hard, she nodded. “It’s just been a long time since I was this close to a living dragon. And never one that wasn’t trying to kill me.” Because they prided themselves on being human, her tribe rarely took dragon form. It was considered a loss of control… similar to throwing a temper tantrum.
Maxis’s iridescent scales glimmered like jewels in the dim light. And as he moved, she saw on his wings the vicious scarring Nala and her tribe had left behind. Guilt stabbed her hard for the part she’d played in that.
“I’m so sorry, Maxis,” she breathed.
Max froze at the sound of her earnest words. This was a far different reaction than she’d had the last time she’d found him in dragon form.
There was no screaming in terror. No running or attacking.
Instead, she approached him slowly and placed a gentle hand on his scarred wing that had never properly healed from his harrowing. While he could fly with it, it wasn’t particularly comfortable to do so.
And no one had ever touched him like she did now when he’d been in his real body.
Like he mattered to them.
Not even Aimee…
Lifting his head, he waited to see that familiar contempt in her gaze for his dragon form. Yet it wasn’t there. For the first time ever, Sera ran a curious hand over his scales. And though it made no sense, it comforted him.
“You’re so warm.”
We’re not like other reptiles. He sent his thoughts to her. My personal belief is that it comes from our ability to make fire. For some reason, it seems to elevate our body temperatures, especially when we’re dragons.
She smiled sadly at him. “No. You’re definitely not like anyone else.” Biting her lip, she touched the scar on his hind leg that marked him as the firstborn of their race. The dreaded Dragonbane. “What do you need me to do?”
Trust me. You need to lie with me and let me guide you from this realm to wherever they’ve taken our dragonets. But if you fight me in this, you’ll do irreparable harm.
“You trust me?”
Max hesitated. Honestly? He was terrified of what she might do to him. But he had no choice. It was the only way to locate their children. Since he’d never met them, he couldn’t even begin to track them without her. Any creature could use their scent to lead him astray. Only their mother would be able to hone in on the real truth of them. Nothing would fool her maternal senses.
And still he saw the fear she hid behind her eyes as she knelt by his side.
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