Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(28) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
He rolled slightly so that she could settle comfortably in the shelter of his arms. Yet she was so tiny now. No wonder she feared him. One talon was almost the size of her entire body. A fact she didn’t miss, either.
Her hand trembling, she reached out to touch his claw.
It’s sharp, he warned. Mind the edge.
She drew back to rest behind his dewclaw. “How did you ever get captured by Dagon?”
Max came to help me, when Dagon had me trapped. Fury darkened Illarion’s eyes. My powers were bound so that I couldn’t fight or protect myself.
It wasn’t your fault I flew in blindly, Illy.
Because I called in a panic and you were too worried to be cautious.
Max sighed. It doesn’t matter. I don’t really need a reason to be stupid. Can find plenty of reasons to partake of that particular vice on my own.
Illarion snorted as he and Blaise moved forward to help settle Sera against him.
Blaise stepped back. “I’ll keep guard at the door to make sure no one disturbs you.”
“Thank you.” Sera was rigid in his arms.
Illarion moved to the curtains. I’ll wait to join you.
“What do you mean, join us?”
He smiled, but didn’t answer before he closed the curtains and left them alone.
She turned her face toward Max. “What did he mean?”
Nothing. Close your eyes and think of our little ones. Imagine being with them and let your thoughts stay with them. Whatever happens, don’t let anything or anyone distract you.
Seraphina wasn’t sure what to expect. Honestly, she was terrified. But there was something innately soothing in the way Maxis breathed. His radiating warmth seeped into her body, lulling her. It reminded her of the nights when he’d held her in his arms, waiting for her to fall asleep so that he could sneak away and seek his rest in his cave. Because his native form was that of a dragon, it took concentration and energy to hold a human form, especially during the daylight hours.
Very few Katagaria could hold human form while wounded or when fighting. Only the strongest of the strong managed. But no matter how powerful the beast, when they slept, they invariably returned to their native species. It was as involuntary as shapeshifting when struck by an electrical shock. Anything that disturbed the electrical currents around the cells would shift them.
So Maxis had always taken care to leave her tent and village any time he needed to rest. He’d never trusted them to not harm him.
“Why are your scales so soft?” she breathed as she struggled to stay awake against the sudden exhaustion caused by the warm, soothing comfort of his body.
“All drakomai have supple scales.”
“They’re like feathers.”
She nodded, sinking herself even deeper into them. It was the most pleasant and comforting sensation. Like a luxurious bed. Better still was the scent of sandalwood and vanilla that was uniquely his. She’d forgotten that delectable scent of his skin that had once caused her to covet any item of clothing he wore.
Why had she ever feared this?
Before she could stop herself, she turned her face into the scales and inhaled the masculine scent of them.
Maxis cursed as he felt her caress all the way through his body. For a full minute, he saw stars from the intensity of lust that struck him like a physical blow.
Damn it! He’d forgotten how intense these feelings for her were. How much he craved being with her. While his body could be mildly stirred by others, it was nothing compared to what it felt now that his mate was with him again.
“You’re entering your fertile cycle, aren’t you?”
She answered by burrowing deeper against him. By balling her fists into his scales.
Max sucked his breath in sharply as every hormone in his body was fired by her touch. “Sera?” he tried again. “Can you hear me?”
“Yes?” That breathless tone raised chills all over his body and was its own form of a caress.
Its own form of torture.
Biting his lip, he knew this wasn’t the time or place. But it wasn’t easy to distract himself from the warmth of her pressing against him. From the curve of her lush, full breasts that practically spilled out of her top, and the invitation of those lips that he wanted to taste until he made them cry out in pleasure.
He was just about to give in when he felt a strange break in the ether around them.
It wasn’t Illarion.
Fully alert, he lifted his head to search with all his senses. The ancient, arcane evil was one he hadn’t felt in a long, long time.
And it wasn’t alone.
His heart pounding from the sudden adrenaline surge, he manifested the two of them in the darkness and tucked Sera behind him to protect her. He searched the nebulous area around them that reminded him too much of Irkalla.
And now that he thought about it…
Why would they be here? Was he mistaken?
Every single nerve ending in his body crawled with warning.
Well, this can’t be good. Terrified of what Kessar intended, Max shifted back into his human form and faced Seraphina. Gods, he’d forgotten just how beautiful she was. How much she’d once meant to him.
How much she still did, in spite of his common sense and best denials. But no time now for dawdling. It was time to do what he’d brought her here to do.
Cupping her beautiful, round cheeks in his hands, he smiled down at her. “Do you trust me?”
He saw the uncertainty in those hazel eyes as she searched his gaze warily. “Yes. Why?”
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