Authors: D'Elen McClain
For the next two weeks, I keep Pepper so busy she falls into bed each night and sleeps soundly. I know this because her ankle is now tied to mine and I feel every move she makes. Betty has found a young man to help her serve me. Mikael, the young man who delivered the rope, irritates me to no end. Pepper acts shy around him and I don’t like the way he looks at her. He is far too friendly. And even though I know in my heart that I should allow their feelings to blossom, I cannot. Pepper is mine. It’s entirely unreasonable. She deserves a human to grow old with and one who makes her happy.
I don’t care!
Pepper shakes her head causing the headpiece she’s never without to tilt to one side. My frustration rises. I’ve grown to dislike the thing and want to see her beauty uncovered. I want to slide my hand over the smoothness of her scalp and her large expressive eyes to close in delicious anticipation of where I will touch her next.
As I stare at her, a bewildered expression replaces her slight smile. She is teaching me her confounded language and I try the hand signal again. She grabs my fingers, stopping me. The tingle of magic is still there, but I ignore it. It’s not just the magic I ignore—heat rises in my blood whenever she touches me. I’m failing at pretending it doesn’t affect me. I’m no good at this bloody speaking with my hands and it only adds to my frustration. Pepper carefully bends two of my fingers and brings my hand to my mouth and then to my shoulder before releasing me. I try again and judging by her smile, I finally get it right. Now I wish I could remember what the hell it means.
Would you like to go outside?
I successfully make the sign again and when she smiles I speak aloud, “I’m actually asking if you want to go outside. We need to get away before I go crazy.”
She looks longingly out the window. Her heartbeat and breathing increase and this propels me to add even when I know it’s a bad… no, horrible idea, “Ride me. I will fly you to the lake.”
Her face is always expressive, but now it lights up from within and I’m able to push aside all the reasons this is so wrong. Brides ride dragons, only brides.
Well, until today.
I’m a dragon on a mission and I march into Meagan’s old room and enter her garment chamber. The saddle I had made for her sits in the corner. The saddle itself is small; built for Meagan. The long, thick leather straps are rolled up and secured beneath it. I would whisper a plea of forgiveness to Meagan, but I know this wouldn’t bother her. She always wanted me happy and I can’t deny the thrill I feel at having a woman on my back again. A special woman—friend. And if I repeat the word enough times I might believe it.
I walk from the room and almost run into a smiling Pepper. She’s wearing another of her ugly, scratchy gowns. I need to have clothes made especially for her—soft, colorful, revealing. I stop my thoughts there. I don’t need the added temptation.
I toss the saddle through the window onto the ledge and began undressing. Pepper turns her back, which I find cute. I’ve noticed her doing this these past two weeks. I am quite at home with nudity and I didn’t notice it bothering her before. Now her cheeks pink and she spins away. She’s charmingly cute.
I carry the saddle outside and unwrap it. I can’t help remembering the last time I did this for Meagan. It was a short ride because she’d grown old and frail. She wanted a last look at the surrounding mountains. Even knowing how badly it would tire her I couldn’t deny her request. The ride was bittersweet because we both knew it was the final time she’d sit atop me. I shake off the sad memories and look at Pepper. “You will need to climb up my tail once I have the saddle on. You also need to adjust the straps so it doesn’t slip. Stay in the seat and hold on tightly.”
I look up and can’t believe that she’s admiring my backside. She blushes brightly, but doesn’t look away. I shouldn’t want her to see me as more than a friend, but there’s no denying that
more than friends
is exactly what I want. The hardest part is not acting on my feelings. I won’t. Or at least I tell myself this a hundred times a day. Pepper is not making it easy on me and her innocence only attracts the dragon inside of me more.
I enjoy watching her take in life here within my tower. She becomes animated about the smallest things and her expressions enthrall me. I’ve been teaching her to play chess. She’s horrible at it and she bites her lip while concentrating. Her puffy lower lip, after she bites it, keeps me interested even when the outcome of the game is a forgone conclusion. She takes her sweet time and analyzes each move and what will happen after she makes it. Her expressive eyes run back and forth across the board in calculation. Then, for some reason I can’t fathom, she makes the dumbest move ever. When I take advantage, she gives me one of her sexy grins and a slight shrug. I actually wonder if she does this on purpose.
I finish the task of sorting out the straps to the saddle and my heart beats faster in anticipation. Our brides riding us is extremely intimate. Before the curse, it wasn’t done because our mothers became dragon after the first bedding.
No matter that Pepper isn’t my bride, I want her on my back and I refuse to deny myself the pleasure. I want the delicious tightness as her thighs squeeze me and the solid weight of her in the saddle.
It’s time. I place two of the leather straps between my teeth, hike the saddle onto my back, and dive from the tower. I shift, adjust a bit, and fly back to the ledge. Pepper is peering over with absolutely no fear of the long drop.
“Step away, Pepper, or the ride is off.” I shout into her mind. I’ve told her she is not to go near the edge. Like most of my commands, she has ignored me again. I can’t hold onto my angst because she looks so alluring even in her shapeless gown. I land once she has moved far enough back. “Be sure to tighten the cinch down,” I say in a lower voice once I’m facing her.
She does as I say. I can feel the excited trembling in her fingers. I don’t think there is much this pint-sized human fears. I sweep my tail across the ledge until the tip is at her feet.
Both her hands go from her heart and then to her chin,
, in sign.
“You’re welcome. Now it’s time to ride, my lady.”
A thrill shoots through me as she takes her first tentative step—placing one foot between the spikes. She’s shaky for about three more steps, then runs the rest of the way. Why does this not surprise me? Meagan was always cautious until she was seated and it took her years to be comfortable when we were flying. I never did any death-defying acrobatics with Meagan. I have a feeling Pepper will be another story.
After she takes her seat, I whisper into her mind, “Hold on,” as I plunge over the edge. I’m expecting to hear her scream and it’s a few moments before I realize I won’t hear it. What’s wrong with me? How could I forget something so basic? It saddens me that I have no idea what she’s feeling because I’m unable to read her expressions while she rides.
This is a reminder that no matter how badly I want her, Pepper is a human of earth’s realm, given into my safe-keeping and not for me.
The wind slides across my skin and leaves goose bumps behind. I’m not cold, just excited. Tahr turns sharply and a heavy gust pries my headpiece up a bit. I pull it back down and keep a tight hold on the saddle with one hand. Tahr can’t see my smile or my tears of happiness. I’m flying and this is miraculous.
As Tahr flies me through the clouds, a heavy ache settles between my shoulder blades and reminds me of the discomfort from the last time I jumped from the tower. It’s not enough to ruin the moment, though. I bend over and press my finger against one of Tahr’s scales. Very slowly, I spell out, in very large letters, a word.
Tahr sighs inside my head and I think he understands. I’ve never been so happy in my entire life. I hug his neck before writing again.
This time his response is a low groan. He understands the word, but he can’t possibly understand all that it means to me. I’ve been trapped my whole life. Trapped with no voice, in a land with no real future. The other humans are so accepting and I’ve never understood why. If it weren’t for Meagan, I would have run away. Not that there is really any place to go. I can’t cross a realm on my own. But, I would have lived free as long as possible and been happy for the time I had.
“Hold on really tight,” Tahr shouts into my head.
I do as told and it’s worth it. Tahr heads straight up before looping upside down. I’ve tightened my hold on the saddle and also clenched my legs and thighs.
I spell out when we are level once more. Tahr’s laughter rings in my head. Flying is such an incredible gift. For hours we swoop and glide, dive and roll, circle and shoot straight up. My arms and legs are trembling with exhaustion when he finally lands beside a large circle of water. Tahr in his dragon form literally takes my breath away. It’s a moment before I remember to breathe. He stands still and I admire his scales from the tip of his tail to his large, sharp teeth. And his eyes. They shine down upon me—the silver glinting in the sunlight.
It’s hard to drag my gaze away. I feel uncomfortable for staring so long, so I look at the water. I’m hot and sweaty and my muscles are tight. I want nothing more than to swim, though I can’t. As a child, I was always too sick to go swimming and couldn’t even get in a bath or shower; I was mostly administered bed baths. When I came to this realm, the adult humans never wandered far from the castle in case the dragon had need of them. Even Meagan never took me for more than a stroll through the courtyard or a circle or two around the castle.
The freedom to go where I want—fly, swim, and just simply be. It’s always been my dream. My gaze turns back to the dragon and I see the sheath at his underbelly move slightly.
I know what that is. It upset Meagan quite a bit the only time I was with her and he displayed it. He was too high up for me to see much. I was fascinated with his thing back then and I’m fascinated now.
My sense of curiosity has me signing, “May I see your thing?”
“My what?” he asks exquisitely into my mind.
How do I make him understand? After a moment, I gather the courage and walk toward him. He’s so beautiful. Every part of him and why should this part be any different? I tentatively reach my hand out and touch the outer wall of his sheath.
Tahr jumps a foot and his heavy groan is loud in my head. Then he becomes irritated. “That was not proper behavior for friends, Pepper.”
His large silver chest expands as he sucks in a large supply of air. I step away so he can see my hands. I move them slowly. He has learned a lot and can usually understand if I exaggerate the movement. “Do you wish to be more than friends?”
This time he sighs and his whispered reply is gruff, “Why are you doing this? We need to find you a partner.”
No. I will not leave my dragon. My hands move rapidly and I know he only follows part of what I’m saying. “I do not want you as just a friend. The rules are stupid and you’re being stubborn. I think you want me, dragon.” I place my hands on my hips and glare.
His goliath head turns toward the water. “You don’t know what you’re asking. In twenty-three years I will seek another bride. If anything more than friendship develops between us, you will be cast aside. Is that what you want?”
I can’t stop my response. It’s honest and I don’t care what he thinks of me. “I want to be a dragon with you.”
He looks at me again and I can see the sadness in his eyes. “You are a silly woman. Only brides have a chance of transcending. I have no control over it. Fighting your fate will only make you unhappy.”
He’s upset me greatly and I can’t look at him any longer so I wade into the water. What I want is not impossible. The Goddess tells me to fly and she must have a reason. She doesn’t wish me harm; she wants me to have faith in myself. I kick at the water and it splashes up my dress. I’m surprised when Tahr’s human arms pull me close. The current between us arcs so intensely that we both jump. He doesn’t release me, just pulls me tighter against his hard chest.
His jaw runs across mine and his warm breath whispers in my ear, “I want you, Pepper; want you as more than a friend. You help keep the loneliness at bay, but what you’re asking is impossible.”
I turn. His eyes are the brightest silver I’ve ever seen them. I raise my hands but not to speak. I touch his cheeks and go to my tiptoes. Our lips are almost touching and he splays his fingers on my hips and lifts me from the water.
I press my mouth to his, not expecting his lips to be so incredibly soft. I’m unsure of what to do now. He knows. His mouth opens a bit and the kiss deepens. His tongue runs across my lips and pushes inside. This is what I want. This connection and the simmering need to be one with him.
Suddenly, he pulls back and rests his forehead against mine. He’s breathing heavily and I’m quite frustrated that he is no longer kissing me. I push my belly against his and feel his hardness but he steps back slightly. “Oh no you don’t. We both need some cooling down.” Without giving me time to take even a quick breath, he lifts me and tosses me into the water.
I flail my arms for a moment and then stop. I know Tahr won’t let me drown. And I’m right. He circles me within his arms and lifts me up. My headpiece has come off and I don’t care. I smile up at Tahr. He will always be there to save me.
“Fuck,” he mumbles. He holds on to me while rescuing the headpiece from the water. It seems natural to circle my legs around his waist. My dress floats up around my hips and I can feel his thing pressing against me. “What am I going to do with you?” he says while covering my bare head with Meagan’s gift.
Love me. Take me flying. Never leave me.
I need a voice. I need him to hear all that I want. Not hand signals or printed words. I need him to understand my longing and know that I believe it can happen.
He walks us from the cool water and gently pushes my legs down. He turns me around and unhooks the back of my dress. Shivers travel across my skin at the contact. He pushes the wet material from my shoulders and it heavily puddles at my feet. I’ve been turning my back when he is naked; not because I’m embarrassed but because I want to touch him again—run my hands over every inch of him while studying his beauty. Just the slight glimpses I get of him while he’s unclothed heat my blood. Now I’m naked before him and I like it. Too much.
His fingers travel up my arms and across my bare shoulders. “I have only so much willpower when it comes to you. Never think I don’t want you. The ache inside me is so strong.” He turns me so we are gazing at each other once more.
I move my hand until I’m touching just the tip of his thing. It’s not nearly as large as it is when he’s in dragon form, but it’s still so very impressive. The skin is silky and soft. And, like the softness of his lips, I’m surprised.
With a loud groan, he takes my hand and moves my fingers away. “My cock says yes. Hell, even my heart says yes. But, we cannot do this, Pepper.” He releases me and steps back. Before I can move closer, he splashes into the water and swims out into a deep area. “Hang your dress over a shrub so it will dry. I will remain in the water and you will remain there.”
He thinks he’s so smart. Meagan told me of seduction when I was old enough to understand. She wanted me to choose a man to be with who would cherish me and she gave me pointers. I pick up my dress and do as he says before placing my hands on my breasts and rubbing them. A loud moan from Tahr makes my heart soar. I can’t quite see everything, but his hand goes to his thing. He calls it a cock. I guess that’s better than thing. My breathing accelerates as water ripples around him and he massages his cock. It’s so unfair. I wish to do that for him. In a very short time, he cries out. It startles me. He watches with pure silver eyes as I continue rubbing my breasts.
“Pull on your nipples,” he says in a commanding tone. It feels good when I follow his direction. “Pinch them,” he orders this time. I do that too. It’s not just my breasts that ache with an unnamed need; pressure centers between my legs. I release one of my breasts and move my hand down. “No,” he growls as he shoots from the water and comes toward me. He captures my hands. “That is for me. You will not touch yourself there.” He inhales sharply. “Fuck, fuck, fuck,” he says with a shocked look on his face.
He releases me and storms over to the bush. Taking my sopping dress, he marches back and pulls it over my head. I squirm from the cold material. Tahr backs away and shifts to his dragon form. His sheath no longer covers his cock and I’m amazed at how beautiful he is. His tail nearly knocks me over when he whips it around so I can climb up to his back.
We ride back to the castle and because he can’t see me, I allow my smile to grow. Tahr is silent and performs none of the acrobatics he did earlier. The place between my legs throbs. It belongs to him and the sooner he claims it, the better.