Authors: Selene Charles
Tags: #mating fever, #erotic romance, #paranormal romance, #sexy shifter romance, #erotic fantasy
Copyright March, 2016 Selene Charles
Cover Art by Croco Frauke
Sign up for my
his is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning, or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Selene Charles, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in the context of reviews.
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.
Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Selene Charles. Unauthorized or restricted use in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.
The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patent Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.
Published in 2016 by Selene Charles, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America
hree Brothers. One mating ritual. Equals one night of sexy, sizzling passion...
Reckless. Wild. Callous. All words that could easily describe the eldest Hawthorne brother, Phoenix.
Ever since the fated morning he'd been tricked by an undine into stumbling unwanted into an ancient dragon ceremony he knew he'd screwed up bad. He'd looked into the eyes of a dragonborne and without knowing it then, tethered her heart to his forever.
Madison Draconian is one pissed off dragon. From the day of her hatching she's been bound to Phoenix, but the idiotic, surly grizzly seems to think that if he flirts with other woman she'll be forced to accept that fate doesn't control them. Thing of it is, Madison could care less about fate. She wants that bear because he's hers. Period. And this is one dragon who'll stop at nothing to get her man...
8 years old
Phoenix Hawthorne was bored as hell. And when Phoenix got bored, nothing good ever came of it.
There was the time he’d decided to burn a dead tree stump down, just cuz he wanted to see it burn and fire was cool. Only he’d been seven and hadn’t realized that if he didn’t contain the fire the thing would burn out of control in less than ten minutes. The only reason why his damned woods hadn’t burned to the ground was because his pop had spotted the raging tower of black smoke and had come and dumped piles of sand on top of it.
Phoenix had paid in strips of flesh for that one.
Then there was another time he’d “borrowed” his mom’s keys to her souped up ’69 Chevy and run it straight into the base of the nearest Redwood. He hadn’t known there was a difference between a clutch and the brake.
Yeah, he’d paid for that one too.
But that was the problem on the Kodiak; it was easy to get into trouble because there was nothing to fucking do around here. He felt restless, moody, and downright pissy today.
Mom and Pop had passed a few years back. They’d been able to mostly corral his mercurial moods, but now they were gone. August had stepped up as his surrogate conscience—he was two years younger than Phoenix, but acted a helluva lot older—Auggie usually just punched this edginess out of him.
But August had gone and gotten himself a job this past summer and wasn’t around. Now it was just him and his brat brother and if he didn’t do something soon, Phoenix was probably gonna burn the roof down.
Bending over, he snatched up a smooth river rock, fisting it tight before chucking it across the family pond, he watched as it bounced four times before finally sinking out of sight.
“Shit,” he snapped, which caused his brother—Chance, who was barely just ten—to snort.
“What’d that rock ever do to you?” he asked with a thread of laughter in his voice.
Glowering at the water, Phoenix shook his head. “Nuthin’. Let’s just g—”
But just as he was about to turn on his heel and make for home, the pond rippled and an undine with long green hair that waved like sea kelp, smiled back at him. She was large breasted and covered in scales from her neck to the tip of her tail. The colors shifted from deepest black, to purest emerald, and even held tones of violet when struck at just the right angle.
“Grizzly,” she said in the flutelike voice of her kind.
Chance, who was never the bravest of the bunch, fisted Phoenix’s shirt and jerked. “Don’t go to her, Phe. Can’t trust ‘em.”
Phoenix swatted at his brother’s hand. Clearly August’s influence was manifesting here. August had strong feelings that certain Breed shouldn’t trust or hang out with other Breed. That it’d be “asking for trouble.” Phoenix had never paid much mind to his brother’s backward thinking, but clearly he was getting to Chance.
Right now though, Phoenix didn’t have time to deal with it.
The undine, who Phoenix had seen now and again when he’d come tromping through the woods, crooked a finger at him with one hand while she caressed the water with the other. Her metallic colored tail flicked out of the water languidly, the pose was one of careless seduction and his pants suddenly felt too tight between his legs. He grinned, drawn into her game more than willingly.
Her large, lush breasts bobbed enticingly.
Undine themselves were harmless, so long as you didn’t land on their turf. In the water they were as deadly as any Breed, but on land they were as harmless as baby bunnies. Though they did like to have fun at the expense of others. So Phoenix knew that whatever she was about it would likely result in some form of catastrophe or another, but one thing he could count on when dealing with the undine was they were known for a good time.
Grin growing cocky; he swaggered close to the water’s edge. Always smart to keep a little distance between the water when approaching a mischievous undine. They’d been known to drown a grizzly or two in their time.
“Fish,” he said in greeting.
Her vocal chords rubbed out a high-pitched frequency in the back of her throat. The equivalent of a growl, and a subtle reminder that no Breed liked being referred to an animal.
He shrugged. “Sorry.”
Her fully black colored eyes narrowed to fine slits. And beautiful as she was, it was easy to spot the deadly creature that lurked just beneath that tempting façade. An undine’s thirst for souls was unrivaled by most any other Breed, it was why they were so temptingly pretty. They made fools of men, but the truth of it was, the beauty was little more than illusion.
And Phoenix wondered whether he should do as Chance suggested and just go now. He’d pissed the pretty fish off.
But then again, Phoenix had always been more prone to walking on the wild side. Shoving his hands down his pockets, he waited for her to say something. Either he’d pissed her off something fierce and she was gonna leave, or...
She sighed, skimming her long fingers lazily along the water’s surface, before giving him a coquettish grin. “You do like playing with fire, don’t you,
He snorted, knowing she was giving him a taste of his own medicine, but said nothing else hoping she’d finally get to her point already.
“Then you might like to see what’s happening just over Deadman’s bluff today.”
From his peripheral Phoenix caught sight of his brother edging closer to him, the small veins in Chance’s neck flared briefly. A sure sign that he was biting down on his back teeth with a serious case of nerves.
Deadman’s bluff was outside of grizzly territory. Not that that had ever stopped Phoenix before.
He lifted a brow. “What’s happening over there?”
The gills on the side of her neck flared, and a stream of water trickled down the long length of her swan’s neck as she took a breath.
“Guess you’re just gonna have to go see for yourself.”
His stomach started twisting with nerves. The undine was definitely hiding something from him. Something bad. Something he had no business being part of.
Her grin dripped contempt and her black eyes flashed with derision. If he left now for home she’d know it, and so would every other Breed in his territory. They’d mock him, deride him, call him a chicken. A lily-liver.
There was nothing worse than for a grizzly to be considered weak.
“I don’t wanna go there, Phe,” Chance squeaked, shaking his head hard and backing up slowly.
Chance was still a youth, he’d not be labeled a coward, but for Phoenix that would be the end of his future hopes to someday rule this territory as leader. No one would follow a weakling.
The undine had shifted position, so that now her tail stuck out in front of her and she was running her webbed fingers along the ridged bumps of her scales, staring at him with clear seduction and not a small bit of avarice in her greedy gaze.
August was right in one thing though, you never, ever walked willingly into an undine’s arms. Not if you wanted to live to see the next sunrise.
“Go home,” he said for Chance’s benefit, but never took his eyes off the fish.
“Phoenix,” Chance wailed.
“Home. Now!” Phoenix snapped, finally tearing his gaze off the undine and to his brother, looking at him hard and unflinchingly. There was no way in hell he was gonna walk his little brother into a trap, and no doubt that’s what this was.
Not a little put out, Chance glared between him and the fish, then crossed his arms and snapped, “I’m gonna tell August what you’re doing.”
Phoenix growled, and Chance twirled on his skinny legs, running for home.
Phoenix didn’t give a rat’s ass if August found out, although he was sure he’d get a fist to the head later tonight for doing it. That is, if he managed to walk away from whatever the hell he was getting into.
Common sense said “don’t do it,” but boredom was an evil bitch. Grinning at the undine, he nodded.
“Challenge accepted, female. And if I survive this, you’d better clear out of my pond, or there’ll be filet of fish on the menu tonight.”
She hissed, and her beautiful mask temporarily transformed to the true face of her kind. Raised bones and concaved pockets of green flesh with row upon row of jagged teeth in a sucker-like mouth.
And he let her see just a glimpse of his bear then. Allowing his magick to take him and twist him, to show his own fangs and long muzzle.
With a piercing whistling sound, she dove back into the waters, disappearing from sight in a flash. She would leave.
But undine feared few Breed. Get her out of the water and Phoenix could take her, but very little could fight them on their turf. Still, the undine had done what she’d come to do and now there was nothing to tether her here.
A flicker of common sense bloomed in his head; nothing good could come of this misbegotten “adventure.” The undine clearly wanted to see Phoenix neck-deep in shit. It’s really the only reason why they came around, to stir up trouble.
He knew this. And yet...
“Screw it.” He flicked his wrist and shrugged off any shred of misgivings. Maladies like wisdom and common sense, those were Auggie’s department. Phoenix was gonna burst if he didn’t get into at least a little hell today.
Calling his bear, he shifted, then turned and ran for the bluffs. His large, heavy paws tore up the soil beneath him. His breaths were hard and heavy, and when he finally arrived at Deadman’s bluff there was a fine lather of sweat coating his fur.
The moment he stepped foot on the mountain, he smelled them.
Brimstone. Sulfur. And fire.
Dragons. And a lot of them.
Growling, he shook his broad head, trying to shake their stench loose. But he was downwind, and in grizzly form his sense of smell was far more keen.
Phoenix fought a war with himself. Dragons were bad news. Period. When the undine had sent him this way the last thing he’d expected had been this. Truth be told, he hadn’t known what he’d find, only that it would be bad. But this was worse than bad. Dragons were known to kill a man simply for looking at them wrong. While they owned no turf, they ruled the skies.
They rarely walked upon land in their animal form. The only exception was when breeding season was upon them.
He should go.
He knew that with every fiber of his being. And yet...Phoenix called his fire, transforming in an instant. Lithe on his feet, he trotted toward the nearest and broadest tree trunk, keeping tucked well within its natural craggy dips.
Downwind, he was pretty confident he’d not be caught, so long as he didn’t make a sound.
The rush of adrenaline filled his limbs. He knew that what he was doing could get him killed. But that was the point, wasn’t it? That reckless rush of fear and fire was what he lived for.