Authors: Vivienne Savage
Mated by the Dragon
By Vivienne Savage
All material contained herein is Copyright © Vivienne Savage 2015. All rights reserved.
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Read Leiv’s story in the Beauties & Beasts Anthology,
Bearing Her Wishes
Chloe muffled her yawn against the firm pectoral muscle beneath her cheek. Saul radiated warmth as usual, comforting her against the ambient chill lingering in the air. She snuggled closer and threw one arm across his chest. His hair, worn loose around his shoulders, tickled her nose to disrupt her sleep whenever his position shifted.
“Chloe,” he murmured, rousing her with his voice and a firm hand circling her back.
“Just a few more minutes. So sleepy,” she mumbled. She clumsily pushed his blond mane aside with one hand, batting it like a kitten.
“Chloe,” Saul repeated again.
She cheekily reacted by delivering a nip against his throat. Her boyfriend startled enough to jump then a rumbling chuckle of laughter vibrated beneath her hand, felt throughout his broad and powerful chest.
“Perhaps you should open your eyes before initiating something we cannot continue in privacy.”
“Hm?” Chloe groggily raised her head and blinked as the world around her gained clarity. Saul sat beside her in a gray, plush seat with floor space to accommodate his long legs. Across from them, another pair of reclining seats housed two sleeping passengers.
Chloe rubbed her eyes and took in the bizarre tableau: a flight attendant wheeled a half dozen covered dishes, followed by another attendant bearing a cart of stacked pillows. A uniformed man poured wine for their neighbors a few feet away.
The realization dawned slowly.
That’s right. We’re flying back home. First Class.
She was bringing Saul to Houston where her sexy dragon savior would be set loose in the big city. Giddy, she clapped her hands together then twisted to the window.
“I must have fallen right to sleep. God, I still can’t believe you agreed to this,” Chloe said.
Saul’s brows rose. “Why?”
“Because I thought you’d pull the big alpha man thing and insist on having it your way.”
Saul chuckled again. “Chloe, I have lived long enough to know that all things come in time. I care for you deeply and will neither bully you nor dispense ultimatums. Genuine desire should bring you to my home to stay as my bondmate.”
Genuine desire… I do desire it,
she thought. But she also had a life back home in dire need of closure. She raised the window cover and took in the rolling green hills of Texas crossed by ribbons of highway. It wouldn’t be much longer to reach Houston, where her roommate Marcy promised to pick them up.
“It’s funny seeing you in an actual shirt, too. I was beginning to think you only owned one set of jeans,” she teased him. “I can’t believe you actually own clothes, but there better be more like that in your suitcase. You’re traveling a little light.”
A smug smile surfaced over his bearded face. Saul shook his head. “I assure you, Mahasti has organized a sufficient amount of garments to suit my needs. I will remain clothed.”
Chloe didn’t want to share the sight of her man’s glorious chest with anyone. Reassured by Saul’s convincing words, she settled back into the plush chair, squirmed, and inevitably ended up leaning against him again.
“Would you like lunch before our arrival?”
Where has this airline been all of my life? Oh that’s right, somewhere over there in I-Can’t-Afford-This Land, in the same country as the Real World
where dragons don’t really exist and people work hard for a living.
Two months ago, Chloe couldn’t have guessed that a limitless realm of comfort loomed in her future. Saul pampered her, treated her like a queen, and never asked for anything in return but unconditional love — affection she would have readily given even if he didn’t have a dime to his name.
“Marcy wanted to take us to dinner in a few hours, but to be honest with you, I’m starved,” Chloe admitted. “A little snack wouldn’t hurt.”
“Good. I ordered for you.”
Chloe had her doubts, but the next cart of steaming hot meals brought a tangy serving of honey-ginger salmon, a side of saffron rice, and a small salad. She devoured it and would have scraped the last grain of rice from the savory sauce if Saul’s gloating expression didn’t make her want to punch him.
“A little snack indeed.”
“Don’t be a smart ass,” she muttered.
“Would you prefer me to be a dumb ass?” he countered.
The plane touched down an hour later. As expected, Saul’s good looks and chivalrous decision to haul both carry-ons earned Chloe envious looks from nearby passengers. She directed him with a hand on one of his huge biceps, and eventually brought him outside of the terminal to the predetermined meeting place. The humid, Houston air struck her in the face and showed no mercy to her blonde hair. Chloe ran her fingers through the frizzing strands while Saul struggled to keep a straight face.
“Chloe!” The headlights of a silver car flashed to catch their attention.
Marcy popped the trunk and leapt out of the sedan to race toward them, causing her ponytail of jet black waves to bounce wildly. The curvaceous Latina raced onto the curb and hugged Chloe tight. “So glad he didn’t turn out to be a psycho killer, chica. I told you that you wouldn’t end up in his freezer.” The embrace ended when friend rocked back on her heels and made a show of scoping Saul out. “I guess he’ll have to do. Hello, stranger. I’m going to hug you in greeting, but mostly because I need an excuse to touch your muscles.”
Saul didn’t stand a chance, and Chloe could only grin and laugh at the bewildered expression on his face. To his credit, he carefully folded his arms around Marcy and lifted the woman from her feet in a snug squeeze.
“No swooning, Marce, that’s my job,” she teased. She reached out to steady her best friend once Saul lowered the woman again.
“It is my most sincere pleasure to make your acquaintance, Marcy.”
“Oooh, polite too.” Marcy winked. “Okay, let’s load up and get out of here before that security guard comes over here to ticket me.”
With only two bags, it took under a minute to toss them in the trunk and load up. Chloe slid in the backseat with Saul after she adjusted the passenger seat to provide him the necessary legroom. While it might be amusing to see him looking like a child with his knees against his chest, it wouldn’t be very comfortable.
“Really, Chloe? I feel like a chauffeur. Did you and Romeo at least bring me back a damn cap to wear, too?”
“Should I have asked Leiv for one of his?” Saul asked, mistaking their jests as truth.
Marcy’s dark brown eyes peered at them through the rearview mirror. “You have a personal driver? Seriously? Is he hot, Chloe?”
“Hot and a sweetheart. He calls me Miss Ellis and nothing else.”
“Is he single?”
Chloe glanced at Saul for an answer.
“Your efforts would be in vain,” he replied. “Leiv chooses to exercise limitless patience seeking unrequited love.”
“Damn. So, where are you from?” Marcy shrugged off the letdown and cheerfully moved into the next topic.
“Los Angeles,” Saul replied.
Marcy’s amused chuckle preceded another question. “Before Los Angeles, unless the hippies and surfers talk like they’re from a time machine these days.”
Saul and Chloe had discussed Marcy’s unrivaled curiosity prior to boarding the plane. During that time, she’d warned him that Marcy would subject him to an endless interrogation.
“Ah. My father’s family hails from Iceland where we own vast amounts of property.” He gave the rehearsed, albeit true, answer. “I visit often.”
Fifteen years of friendship meant that Chloe could read Marcy’s mind. If Saul didn’t have a brother, she’d probably settle for an equally hot sister.
“You are a curious woman, Marcy.”
Chloe bumped her knee into the back of Marcy’s seat in a nonverbal plea for peace and quiet. The woman sighed heavily but accepted the burden placed on her. A burden of silence akin to asking a toddler to resist a plate of gooey cookies hot from the oven. She spent the rest of the drive engaging Chloe in innocent chatter about California.
“So I’ll drop you two off at the apartment while I run a few errands, and then we’ll go for dinner and drinks. Sound good?” She cruised through the entrance of their gated complex and drifted to their building.
Creekwood Falls, the overpriced community where Marcy rented their two bedroom apartment, was home to a dozen brand new three story buildings. Every unit was out of Chloe’s price range, and if not for Marcy’s generous offer to accept her as a roomie, she’d have been forced to make do on the other side of Houston and commute farther to work.
“Sounds great,” Chloe replied happily. “We’ll just unpack.”
“Try not to wear each other out before I’m back. I mean it!”
Marcy drove away, waving with one hand before she veered her sporty little Malibu around the corner. Chloe chuckled and led the way to the stairs and their second floor apartment. While Saul toted the luggage, she slipped her key into the lock and admitted them into the spacious parlor. Back when she’d first moved into the place, Chloe had marveled over the floor plan and Marcy’s way with Zen. Marcy, an avid horticulturist, made her home into a tropical paradise with a selection of small potted fruit trees occupying the balcony.
Meanwhile, Chloe had more of a black thumb than anything. She chose not to touch the plants, for fear of killing them. They added bright and cheery splashes of color that complimented the cool tones throughout the rest of the apartment.
“Well?” Chloe asked, wearing an apprehensive expression on her face.
“It is very nice,” Saul answered. He set the luggage inside and shut the door behind them, cutting off the oppressive cloud of muggy atmosphere outside. He didn’t seem to notice or care, but Chloe maneuvered to stand beneath an air conditioning vent.
“Is that polite dragon-speak for ‘your place is a shit hole’?” she asked while turning her face toward the cool current.
Saul turned and pulled her into his arms. “I am accustomed to larger accommodations, but…” The dragon kissed her brow and inhaled the peach scent clinging to her blonde hair. Chloe had never felt secure in a man’s embrace until crossing paths with Saul. Each of his hugs conveyed warmth, protection, and love. “For you, I would take residence in a cardboard box.”
“Fortunately, our place isn’t anything like a cardboard box,” Chloe laughingly said. “Okay, mini-tour. Over there we have a kitchen, a fridge, and standing freezer. Knowing you, those are the priority locations you’ll want to know about.”
“Ha ha ha,” Saul replied dryly.
During the week-long visit at Saul’s estate, she learned his voracious appetite translated to his human side. Mahasti often prepared a covered dish of sandwiches for his late night snacks.
“We each have a bed and bath of our own. This place is really way too big for just one person, which is kind of why Marcy invited me to stay with her.”
“I see. That explains much to me about your ‘chick haven.’ The state of the decor makes it plainly apparent no man has stepped beyond these doors until now.” Saul made a show of surveying the surrounding environment.
Chloe swatted his arm and finished up the tour by showing him where they kept the remotes and how to operate the gaming console.
“You have many games and movies,” Saul marveled.