Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(43) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
She tried to right herself and tumbled again… and again. Finally, she sat down and let out a frustrated breath of fire. “It’s not easy to stand, is it?”
“It is for me.” He changed forms to show her. “You have to balance your weight a bit differently. Use your wings to counterbalance.”
She tried. And failed. “Curse you for making it look so easy.”
With a smile, he helped her to her feet and used his neck and weight to assist her… just as he’d done for his siblings when they’d been young. “Better?”
She nodded and smiled as she finally caught her wobbly balance. Extending her yellow wings, she moved forward, then sat down again to stare at him. “You were right. It’s not so different as a dragon, is it?”
“I’m still me.”
“Did you think you’d be someone else?”
He arched a dragon brow. “Thought you’d lose I.Q. points?”
No, something worse. “I thought I’d be less…”
“As I’ve said, it’s the human and Apollite blood that makes the Katagaria dangerous. Not the dragon. The dragon just makes them bigger.”
And apparently top-heavy. “Can you teach me to fly?”
“Best I teach you to hover for now. I don’t want you to harm yourself.” And so he showed her how to use her wings to lift herself from the ground.
Laughing and smiling, Sera did it after a few minutes of trying. While she still wasn’t as accomplished at it or nearly as graceful as he was, she was quite pleased with her efforts. It wasn’t bad for a first try.
Max shook his head at her giddy excitement. “I can’t believe you’ve never done this before. Were you never curious?”
It wasn’t as simple as that. “I’ve never been shocked. And… I fought the urge to shift anytime it came over me. My aunt, Keria, always said we should never give in to the animal inside us. That we should fear it taking us over and ruling us.”
She changed back to being human. “I should never have feared you. I’m sorry, Maxis.” Completely naked, she did what she’d never done before. She embraced his dragon form.
Closing his eyes, Max savored the sensation of her warm, feminine flesh against his scales. Damn, it made him so hard that for a moment, he couldn’t breathe.
“Um, I do have one question.”
He opened his eyes to look down at her. “That is?”
“How do I get my clothes back?”
Laughing, he returned to being a man so that he could gather her into his arms, and press the part of him that was most desperate for her against her hip. “Are you sure you want them?”
Seraphina sucked her breath in sharply as he ran his hands over her bare skin and nibbled the flesh of her neck. “Not if you’re going to do that.”
And then he stepped away and released her, and started that circling thing he did that always made her so dizzy and hot. It was a combination of his scent and the sizzling way he looked at her. Like he was going to devour her, to savor every inch of her body. Which he invariably did. With a thoroughness that was inhuman and intoxicating.
And that particular combination of wild beast and sexy man was deadly.
He dipped down low in front of her and came up for an incredibly sweet, passionate kiss as he lifted her from her feet and held her flush to his hard, muscled body. She wrapped her legs around his waist while he lowered them to the ground so that he could deepen his kiss. Leaning her head back, she moaned at how good his mouth felt on her throat. How incredible it was to have all the hard strength pressing down on her again.
“I’ve missed you so much,” she breathed as she explored the wealth of his satiny skin with her hands.
“And I, you.” He cupped her face to stare down at her eyes. “When I heard what Zeus had done to your tribe, I want you to know that I went after you, to free you.”
She blinked in disbelief. “What?”
He nodded. “I tried to barter for your release. I’m so sorry I failed you.”
How could he apologize to her after what they’d done to him? After what she’d allowed them to do? “Are you the one who placed my stone under a shelter?”
Heat stained his cheeks as he gave her a bashful stare. “Since I couldn’t free you, I wanted you protected. Zeus had forbidden that any of the stones be removed from where he’d placed them. He would have splintered you. So I built the shelter over you to keep your stone from harm. I would have done the same for the children, too, had I known.”
She stared up at him in wonder. “You can’t help it, can you?”
“Looking after me.”
He took her hand into his and kissed her marked palm. “You are my dragonswan. My Strah Draga. It is my honor to care for you.”
“Is that the only reason?”
Shaking his head, he nuzzled her neck. “No.” His hot breath scorched her skin and sent chills over her entire body. “You are my heart, Seraphina. And leaving you was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
She sank her hand in his hair and cradled his head against her as love for him flooded her. “I’m so sorry, Max.”
He kissed her lips and pulled back to offer her a sad smile. “It’s all right. I was born cursed. Even now, I know I won’t be able to keep you with me.”
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