Authors: Ella Summers
Dragon Born Serafina: Book 3
Dragon Born Serafina: Book 3
Copyright © 2015
Cover art by
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After surviving the trials of the Magic Games, mercenary mage Sera Dering is back home in San Francisco. She wants nothing more than to relax and finally have a long-overdue date with dragon shifter Kai.
Unfortunately, the universe has other plans.
When a young boy is kidnapped by vampires, Sera’s friend Naomi enlists her help to save him. And sometime between fighting monsters, thwarting pirates, and convincing a grumpy ghost to help them, Sera is determined to finish her date.
is the third book in the
Dragon Born Serafina
urban fantasy series.
The Princes of Twilight
SERA WAS LATE. Ok, so that wasn’t anything new. When your life consisted of hunting misbehaving monsters across the city of San Francisco, punctuality took a backseat to survival.
But this time she didn’t have an excuse. She hadn’t spent the morning fighting mages doped up on magic. Nor had she spent the afternoon explaining to those naughty nymphs for the one-millionth time that it was
cool to lure unsuspecting men into their houses for a little fun followed by a dose of post-coital memory wipe. She hadn’t even spent the evening breaking up vampire bar fights. She was still on leave from her job at Mayhem, the city’s oldest mercenary guild. Instead of scrubbing blood and monster guts out from under her fingernails, she’d spent the past half hour staring blankly into her closet. Her first official date with Kai was tonight, and she had no clue what to wear.
I think he’d appreciate these,
her dragon half said, projecting an image of a black lace bra and panties into her head.
And what do I wear over the lingerie?
Nothing of course.
You’re not helping,
she said but put on the black lacy things anyway.
The doorbell rang. She could already feel him—his thick, potent aura that resonated with ancient magic. It crackled at Sera’s skin, turbocharging every nerve in her body, flooding her in a hot deluge of liquid lightning. She shuddered.
“Stop that,” she muttered to Kai’s magic, slapping it away with her own magic.
His magic smirked. Yes, smirked. Sera could hear him talking to Riley in the living room, his tone conversational and calm. He was feeling her up with magic at the same time he debated the best magical method for breaking through iron bars with her brother. The man had no shame.
Neither do you,
her dragon chuckled.
You’re standing here in your underwear, fantasizing about more than just his magic.
Are too. Don’t even try to lie to me. I’m in your head, remember?
“Nosy dragons,” she grumbled under her breath, grabbing her fanciest pair of jeans from the closet. She paired it with a crimson tank top that hugged her curves, then pulled on her boots. The merry song of dragon laughter ringing in her mind, she opened the door.
Kai stood with his back to the kitchen bar. He was dressed in his usual jeans and dark t-shirt, his arms folded across his chest. Every muscle in his body was built for one purpose: to deal damage and a lot of it. He was strong but flexible, powerful but agile. He had the constitution of a mountain and the willpower of a rock climber. His magic pulsed out from him in a hard, heavy rhythm, like the beating wings of a dragon. Sweet and spicy, it crackled in cinnamon swirls across her tongue.
Riley stood opposite him, beside the dining room table. “A corrosive mixture is the way to go. If mixed right, it will break through those bars without a sound.”
“Too slow,” replied Kai. “A wind spell is how you do it. Or, if the bars are specially reenforced, a dragon punch.”
“And how will you use elemental magic or shift into a dragon if the iron is impairing your magic?” Riley asked.
Kai snorted. “Impaired? Who are you calling impaired?”
“The iron doesn’t keep a mage from using magic,” Sera told Riley. “It just gives them a headache if they do.”
Kai turned, his blue eyes lighting up with electric magic when he saw her. In one smooth sweep, he pushed away from the bar and glided over to her. “Sera,” he said, handing her a single rose. “You look stunning.”
She looked at the dark rose. It matched her shirt perfectly. “How did you know I’d wear this top?”
She smelled the rose. A sweet, seductive smell wafted up from the velvet-soft petals, making her head swim. Magic.
“But I was hoping you’d remember that I like it,” he added with a sly smile.
She had. But there were two other tops she seemed to remember he also liked. That had been the whole problem.
“I like this one the best,” he said, his caress a ghost of a whisper as his finger traced down her side.
Sera closed her eyes and leaned into him, allowing his magic to wash over her.
From the other side of the table, Riley cleared his throat. Kai dropped his hand, and Sera took a step back. She gave Riley an apologetic—and embarrassed—smile. Kai, on the other hand, didn’t look sorry or embarrassed. He held her gaze, his eyes burning into hers.
“If you’re going to sleep with my sister, just don’t do it here,” Riley told him calmly.
“Of course not. I wouldn’t want her to feel too self-conscious to enjoy herself.”
Sera gaped at them both. It seemed the two of them really had worked out their issues. Riley hadn’t been happy with Kai when he’d found that he was with Sera. Not because he objected to that. He was just pissed that Kai hadn’t told him about it. Men could be such drama queens.
“Nice to see you’re sharing again,” Sera told Kai as they walked toward the front door.
Kai plucked her jacket from its hook and moved behind her to slide it over her arms. “Not everything, sweetheart,” he whispered into her ear, his words heavy with suggestion—and magic. “I haven’t told him of my master plan.”
“And what is your plan?”
A smirk quirked at the corner of his lip as he opened the door for her. “It’s a surprise.”
A surprise, huh? Sera eyed the sword hanging on the wall. To bring or not to bring? She already had a bundle of knives tucked inside her purse. Surely, she didn’t need a sword too, right? What were the chances that they’d be attacked during their date?
He watched her with amusement as she lifted her sword from the wall. She was going out with Kai Drachenburg. And he’d mentioned a surprise. Experience told her there was a good chance that someone or something would attack them before the night was over.
* * *
Kai drove them to Illusion, one of the posh restaurants along the Presidio shoreline. It was where the elite magic dynasties went to gossip—and to be seen. Oh, and there was food too.
Sera knew the food was actually good since Kai had taken her here before. She was less sure about the other customers, but he’d promised her she could pull out her sword if they were too rude to her. How could she refuse an offer like that?
Kai stepped into the restaurant like he owned the place. That wasn’t anything new. When Kai Drachenburg stepped into a room, he
own it. A man wearing a tuxedo—and a watch that cost more than Sera’s sword—glided over to them with polished grace.
“Mr. Drachenburg, as always it is an honor to have you with us.” He turned to Sera. If he’d noticed her sword, he didn’t mention it. That there was class. “And Ms. Dering, what a pleasure to see you again. Please allow me to show you to your table.”
As they followed behind Mr. Classy Tuxedo, she whispered to Kai, “He remembers me?” She’d only been to Illusion once, and that was a couple of months ago, back when she and Kai had first started working together.
“You made quite an impression.”
True. That night, they’d come into the restaurant in clothes that hadn’t just been dirty; they’d been torn and stained with blood. Sera had a feeling that didn’t happen often at Illusion. Here, diamonds and silk were the norm. Forget blood and dirt. Even Kai’s designer denim jeans were an endangered species. He and Sera were the only guests not dressed in either a suit or an evening gown. And unlike those other guests, neither of them was wearing enough diamonds to buy the restaurant outright.
“Everyone is staring,” Sera whispered as Kai pulled her chair out for her. She sank into the soft leather seat. It felt like bathing in whipped cream. She inhaled her rose’s sweet, thick aroma, then set it down on the table.
“So am I,” he said, sitting. The look he gave her made her impatient to ask for the check—and they hadn’t even ordered yet.
“Maybe they’re staring at you.” She reached her hand toward him, teasing the inside of his wrist with feather-soft circles. “I hear that Mages Illustrated issue with you on the cover is one of the magazine’s most popular.”
“I’m going to track down every copy of that silly magazine.” His voice rumbled, low and gravelly, like sandpaper on skin. “And then I’m going to burn them.” His hand darted out faster than she thought possible. His fingers curled around her arm, and then he did some teasing of his own.
She steadied her stuttered breaths and smirked at him. “Not
copy, I hope. I’d like to keep mine.”
“Do you look at it?”
“Well, you were away for that whole week, and then we haven’t seen much of each other since then. You can’t blame a girl for taking a teensy peek once or twice.” She winked at him.
His face went neutral. “You are teasing me.”
“Yes.” She snickered. “I gave my copy back to Naomi weeks ago. I much prefer the real thing.” She brushed her finger along the thin fabric of his shirt, across the sculpted curves of his chest, down the ridges of his stomach.
He caught her hand before it could dip lower. “Careful, sweetheart.” His voice was rough, husky. “You’re playing with fire.”
She leaned across the table, kissing his cheek. Her lips trailed his jawline to his ear, and she whispered, “I thought I was playing with the dragon.”
“Yes.” He turned his face so that his lips brushed against hers. “You look absolutely spectacular tonight, Sera. I can’t wait to be alone with you, to see that lace you’ve been tempting me with ever since I arrived at your house.”
She looked at him in surprise.
“Of course you know I can see it beneath that top.” His magic slid down her back, rippling against the skin-tight fabric of her shirt. “Isn’t that why you wore it? To tempt me? I’ve never been more impatient for a meal to be over.” He grabbed her hand, putting it onto his lap. Oh. It was a good thing Illusion put such long tablecloths on their tables.
“I guess…” Sera cleared her throat. “I guess we should order dinner then.” Then, feeling wicked, added, “Or just skip straight to dessert.”
“No.” Kai took a deep breath, his face a war of temptation and willpower. He released her hand. “I promised you a proper date, and you’re going to get one.”
“Ok.” She balanced her chin atop her hands, and shot him a smile of pure innocence.
At least she’d thought her smile was innocent. Maybe she’d mixed up good and evil. Again. Kai’s nostrils flared, and he inhaled her scent.
“You’re making this exceedingly difficult,” he told her, his jaw tight.
“Maybe just a quick dinner then,” he said, raising his hand.
The waiter had only made it halfway to their table when the front window shattered, and vampires and broken glass poured into the restaurant.
THE TANGY SCENT of blood electrified the air, mixing with the sickly sweet stench of demon. That fantastic combination burned Sera’s nose—and the rising bile scorched her throat. Demonic vampires. Great. Powered by demons, they were the strongest and fastest of the three kinds of vampires. Their magic tasted like fallen civilizations and utter desolation, along with an aftertaste of apocalypse. And blood. Always blood. Sera was going to need a long shower and a whole bottle of strawberry body wash to get the magic stench off of her.
A purple streak jumped through the broken window, landing in an elegant crouch inside the circle of vampires. The woman was dressed in a leather bodysuit that dripped darkness. Her long purple hair whirled around as she spun to attack the vampires. She moved with the grace of a ballerina; and her sword slashed with the certainty of a seasoned killer. But fast as she was, the vampires were faster. One of them backhanded her so hard that she flew across the room and tumbled over Sera’s table. She lost a grip on her sword. It went flying through the air, nearly decapitating a waiter.