Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(33) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Blaise and Fang burst out laughing. Sebastian looked offended. Hadyn and Edena gaped.
“If I said that, I’d be on restriction forever,” Hadyn mumbled to his sister.
“Yes, you would. And don’t forget it.” Shaking her head, Seraphina closed the distance between them so she could check on Max and make sure he was all right.
That she wasn’t hallucinating his sudden appearance.
Max didn’t move as he watched his dragonswan walk toward him with a slow saunter. He waited for the condemnation he was sure would follow for his having killed one of her people.
But honestly? He was too tired and in way too much pain to care. Let her hate him. The bastard deserved it. They’d tried to skewer him.
Next time, they should bring more men. Larger spears. And marinate themselves in some soy sauce.
Gah, what kind of piss-poor diet were they on? Rotten cat meat? Cabbage wine?
Yet instead of condemning him, she sank down on her knees by his face and fell against his snout. And when she threw herself, weeping, to hold him close, he wasn’t real sure what to think or do. It was so unexpected that for several heartbeats, he was rather certain he was dreaming.
“Sera?” he said from between clenched teeth. The way she had him held, he couldn’t open his mouth without harming her.
Still she didn’t move. She clung to him with an iron grip as her hot tears fell against his scales. Worried and a lot hornier than he should be given the amount of pain he was in, he forced himself to return to his human body so that he could hold her and not risk damaging her. He took care to conjure a blanket and jeans for himself so that he didn’t scar his children or brothers.
He brushed her hair back from her damp cheeks. “What’s wrong, Seramia?” he asked, using the endearment he’d made up for her long ago.
She was so upset she couldn’t speak. Instead, she rose up on her knees and wrapped her body around his, and held him in a tight embrace with her cheek pressed against his heart. She had one arm draped around his neck and the other beneath his arm, and clutched her hands behind his back so tight, he wasn’t sure she’d ever let go.
Completely baffled, he met Illarion’s gaze over her shoulder. Help?
For the first time, Illarion looked at her with something other than unreasoning hatred. If Max didn’t know better, he’d think his brother finally approved of his dragonswan.
Just hold her, Max. She needs to know that you’re really here and whole. It’s how women are sometimes.
Having been mated to a human female who loved him, Illarion would know better than he. But Max wasn’t so sure about the whole part. He ached so much that he could barely draw a deep breath. And being in a human body was all kinds of special hell.
Not to mention…
“Fang, it won’t take the Arcadians long to track me here and demand you turn me over to them.” As the Dragonbane, the laws of Sanctuary didn’t apply to him. He was the one creature they could legally deny shelter to. It was entirely up to the owners if they wanted the heat of it.
And his personal experience said that no one wanted that kind of misery, and he definitely didn’t blame them for not wanting to go against another patria to shelter him. Especially since he wasn’t family.
Having lived here for over two centuries, he couldn’t ask the Peltiers to go to war for him. They’d already lost enough to this madness of Katagaria versus Arcadian.
“If you’ll protect my family for me – they’re innocent in all this – I’ll make sure I lead the others away from your door. I just need a minute to catch my breath, and collect a couple of things. I promise I won’t draw Sanctuary into the cross fire of my mess.”
Snorting, Fang tucked his hands into his back pockets. “Boy, don’t you dare insult me with that shit. They can kiss my furry wolf ass, which is exactly what Aimee would skin alive if I dared let them have you. I don’t give up family.” He paused. “Well, they could have Fury. I’m not that attached to him. But they’d only keep him till he opened his mouth, then launch his ass back to me with a catapult. He’s like a bad boomerang that way.”
Max laughed at his surly tone, knowing it for the bluster it was. Fang would kill for his brother. “You really don’t want this kind of heat. Trust me.”
Fang glanced around at the other dragons in the room. “You were one of the first residents the Peltiers took in when they moved here. When Eli and his pack used their witch to set fire to the first bar, you’re the one who saved Aimee, Dev, and Cherif from burning alive in it. And you’re the only reason that fire didn’t spread to Peltier House and trap the others who were sleeping there, including a Dark-Hunter who would have been trapped inside by the daylight. I know the stories, too. Brother, there ain’t a shifter in this place who wouldn’t fight for you. Now I don’t know what happened to cause you to get marked and I don’t really care… The one thing I do know is you. And if you killed him, he had it coming. So you’re free to stay. If they’re dumb enough to attack, I know a bar full of hungry Charonte over in the Warehouse District who would love to chomp dragon meat.” He glanced over to the head on the floor. “And unlike you, they don’t care if it tastes like chicken or not.” Then he scratched his chin. “You are picking that up, right? ’Cause I don’t want to have to explain it.”
Rubbing his forehead, Sebastian let out a slow breath. “I hope you know what you’re doing, wolf.”
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