Read Phoenix (Bears of Kodiak Book 3) Online

Authors: Selene Charles

Tags: #mating fever, #erotic romance, #paranormal romance, #sexy shifter romance, #erotic fantasy

Phoenix (Bears of Kodiak Book 3) (2 page)

BOOK: Phoenix (Bears of Kodiak Book 3)
3.29Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Leaning out just enough so that he could spy on the dragons, he slowly ingested the sight before him.

Massive beasts the size of a large home, with wings that extended a football field in diameter were winging in from every corner of the sky. And every time one of them landed on the cliffs the ground beneath Phoenix’s feet vibrated.

He swallowed hard. As a predator himself, there was rarely anything or anyone among the Breed that he feared, but he’d be lying if he didn’t tremble at the sight of the ancient race gathering en masse as they were.

Not all dragons were the same. There were fire breathers, whose scales glowed like cinders as they walked. Others blew out thick plumes of such heated steam that a shimmery veil of wetness seemed to perpetually shroud them. Some of the dragons belched thick blankets of black smoke from their enormous nostrils. But the ones that drew his eye most were the ones surrounded by jagged bands of lightning that surged with bright pulses of electric blue.

Regardless of group, every dragon shone in differing colors. There didn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason to it, but they each divided up by groups. Fires to the north. Water to the east. Smoke to the west. And electricity to the south.

There were easily a hundred dragons in the ravine, and all the excitement was centered around the electric dragons. More specifically around a nest in the very center of them with two golden eggs sitting inside.

Phoenix licked his lips. Dragon eggs were valuable and rare as hell. One egg alone could net upwards of fifty grand, plus. Phoenix had even heard of one lucky bastard who’d been paid a cool mil. Of course, that egg had belonged to the grand dame.

The dragon queen was nowhere in sight, so the eggs below wouldn’t be near as valuable. But there were two. Which meant a potential windfall of a hundred grand easily.

Digging his fingers—which now sported claws—into the tree, Phoenix knew the odds were shit that he’d make it out alive if he even dared to go in and attempt to steal an egg. Even if he’d just been a regular bear, the dragons would kill anything that came within twenty feet of them, let alone their nest.

Dragons were territorial to the nth degree. They made most Breed look like lame asses in comparison.

A formidable black-scaled dragon clawed his way toward the nest, then raising his head he roared, causing his tiny ear flaps to stand straight out like bat’s wings. The rest of the crowd joined in, and the sound was so loud, that Phoenix dropped immediately to his knees, clapping his hands over his ears.

His head rang with noise, and his blood whipped violently in his veins. Grunting against the pain, he knew he needed to back the hell away and shut off all idiotic dreams of striking it rich by selling dragon eggs, but he’d never witnessed a spectacle like this before.

Pop had told him once of something similar. How years ago, when he’d been a cub he’d stumbled across a gathering and had witnessed the birth of a new dragonborne.

It was a rare sight, and one witnessed by few outsiders. Phoenix was getting the excitement he’d craved, and like a junkie with his next hit...it didn’t matter if he might die from it, he was slave to his need right now.

There were more roars, and tails being slammed on the ground, but nothing near as loud as it’d been the first time. So though he had to grin and bear it, Phoenix didn’t move a muscle.

And then suddenly a hush moved through the place and Phoenix’s nerves were strung tight as he leaned forward as far as he dared. The eggs were going to hatch soon.

Already he could make out the first sway of movement from the egg on the right. The dragons below changed. Calling their element to them as they were bathed in fire, water, shadow, and lightning.

And where once had stood beasts, now stood men and women of such volatile and exotic beauty that Phoenix’s eyes felt like they’d just popped free of his head. His jaw dropped as he studied them.

They were all beautiful. Even the men. Long of form, with hair that spilled down their backs in waves. Some dark, some light. And even from this distance, he could see that their eyes shone with the same brilliance as their scales. Some were bright green, deepest blue, obsidian black, and on and on, every color of the rainbow.

They each wore robes that tailored perfectly to their bodies so that it seemed more like second skin.

Still standing in front of the eggs was the black-scaled dragon, now a man. His hair was long and black, his eyes that same dark shade. His skin was lily white and his body strong. Beside him stood a woman, not quite as tall as he. Coming only to his shoulders. She had a thick wave of fiery orange hair that sparkled almost like gold spun from fire in the sunlight. Her eyes were a brilliant green. She looked up at the male with a soft, graceful smile.

Dragons were said to be ancient. Living lives ten times as long, sometimes longer than most other Breed.

Phoenix’s kind—the grizzlies—could live well into their two hundreds. Which meant the dragons below could be over a thousand, if not more, years of age.

What had they seen in that time? What sort of changes had they witnessed?

It wasn’t often that Phoenix felt inferior, but he felt it keenly now.

The fiery red head stepped forward, and lifted her arms, holding her palms a few scant inches above the eggs and muttering something beneath her breath.

Phoenix couldn’t make out what type of chant she was saying, but soon everyone was clamoring in, joining voices, and then a loud buzz moved through the ravine, echoing off the steep, cliff walls.

Completely entranced, Phoenix didn’t move so much as a muscle. Holding his breath, nerves taut with anticipation, his gaze never wavered from the nest.

The right egg moved faster, and just as before, the cacophony faded to silence as everyone else held their breaths now too.

Crack
.

The sound was like lightning the way it thundered around them.

Crack.

Crack.

Crack
.

And then...fingers tore through the shell.

Phoenix had never witnessed a dragon being born, he’d always assumed they’d come out as their Breed form. But finally the last of the shell fell, and kneeling in a pile of tacky, clear ooze was a child.

At first the little one didn’t move much, but soon the muscle spasms began. First it started with the legs, and then the arms, before finally the neck began to move from side to side. The movements were oddly reptilian looking to Phoenix. Then the child, in a strange, fluttering undulation gingerly got to his feet.

He had a shock of bright red hair, but kept his eyes firmly sealed shut. And looked already to be Chance’s age. This was no type of baby Phoenix had ever seen before, although he supposed for beasts as large as dragons, this was as small as any of them would ever get.

The boy stood tall and proud, notching his chin high. It seemed the hubris of dragons never had to be taught after all.

The man who Phoenix could only assume was the father, laid a heavy hand on the boy’s head before glancing at his mate and giving her a small nod.

Suddenly another woman walked up to the nest. She didn’t seem as mature as the rest of the females in the assemblage. She was nubile of form, with small adolescent breasts, at a guess Phoenix thought maybe a teenager. Though it was hard to tell an accurate age considering how old the children already looked when birthed.

The father tapped the boy’s shoulder once the female stood in front of him. Only then did the child open bright green eyes the same shade as his mother’s. Immediately the dragons began a high-pitched, keening sort of noise that made Phoenix tremble.

The intense wave of their excitement was palpable even from this distance. The child grabbed hold of the girl’s hand and knelt, then pressed a kiss to her palm.

Roars of excitement reverberated throughout.

Clearly there was some significance to what’d just occurred. But Phoenix had no idea what it could have been.

And then the other egg began to tremble...

~*~

Madison

E
verything was dark and warm.

She knew it was time to come out. But she didn’t want to, not just yet. Something tenuous, but all-encompassing beckoned to her. Something that would change her life forever.

She had no name yet, but she had the memories of her brethren, her people rushing through her veins. She knew who she was. What she was.

She was dragonborne, the most feared of all Breed. Someday she would rule the skies and all who moved in it. She was royalty, of the line of Draconian. The eldest of all dragon lineage, save for the queen herself.

Her heart quickened as she felt the flutter of her people’s will press against her. She felt their call. Their whispers for her to come out and greet them. To come out and grant her favor upon them.

But she was scared.

She was still only a child. And the mantel they’d place upon her the moment she opened her eyes, it was all too overwhelming.

Come little one...come...

Their call grew stronger. At first like a gentle zephyr, but now something much stronger, much more powerful pushed against her.

She flexed her fingers and took that first step to freedom.

Push.

Harder.

More
.

Digging her fingers through the yielding metal prison she’d called home for the past three years.

Then with one final massive flex of untried muscle, she finally burst through. The sunlight hurt. Instinct forced her to squeeze her eyes shut.

The crowds roared, they chanted to their heiress. Her breathing spiked as a wave of dizziness rushed through her bones.

And then a voice she’d known from the moment she’d heard her first sound, spoke.

“Welcome, my daughter. Who now, and forevermore shall be called Madison of the line Draconian.”

Again the crowd roared, feet stomped, hands clapped, and Madison reached out her hand to her nest mate, her brother. Mother had given him a name too. Urich.

He latched onto her hand, his small claws digging almost painfully into her flesh. Dragons were never allowed to show their nerves. But the pinch of his claws let her know she was not alone in this.

She plastered a crooked smile on her lips, being brave.

“And now, you are to meet your future mate!” Her father’s voice was strong, proud, and carried through the mountain.

Madison knew that the moment she opened her eyes, the moment she latched gazes with the male they’d chosen, she’d be lost forever.

Just then a gentle spring wind rolled across her sun-warmed flesh, and with it carried a scent as unique and individual as a dragon’s egg. Man and beast, that smelled of a glen after a good hard rain.

Not that Madison had ever smelled a glen, or rain, but her memories were her people’s memories and she understood that it was so, even if she herself had no point of reference for it.

There was something else in the scent too. Something that called to her on a deeper, far more visceral level. Something that her young mind could hardly comprehend, but that she understood to be vital and necessary.

The gentle glide of feet drew closer, but Madison was no longer interested in who they might belong to. Because the breeze drew her face upward, her lashes fluttered.

“Madison, wait, not—” Her mother’s voice was a sharp reprimand, but she didn’t care.

Snapping open her eyes she immediately looked up the ravine, and that ancient spark of magic that would forever bind her to her future mate wrapped like a band around her heart and squeezed.

And though the strange male was nothing but a small shadowy image high above her, he was all she saw. All she knew. Her heart and his suddenly beat as one.

And she was snared by the sight of that strong powerful male with one blue eye and one green eye.

Then a roar of outrage sounded, and her father called down his spark of energy. It rolled through the ravine like lightning, quickly every other male in the place—to include her newly hatched brother, Urich—shifted form. One by one they jumped into the sky, flapping powerful wings as they made chase for the interloper.

And that male, whoever he was, turned and ran. But Madison knew she would find him again, she had his scent now, and he belonged to her.

Chapter 2

Phoenix

P
resent Day

“Yeah, baby, I bet you like it like that, huh? You dirty little thing.” Phoenix grinned as he tugged on the bar fly’s thick, golden curls.

The woman, whoever the hell she was—cuz he never knew any woman by name, giggled, and skimmed her fingers along the inseam of his thighs, getting inches away from his stiff cock.

Next month was the mating ritual. He was desperate to outrun his fate, to outrun the truth, to pretend that none of this was real. None of this was happening, that what he felt now for Madison would finally go away. That he’d be free of the mistake he committed all those years ago. That finally he’d be his own man.

“Janet, how many drinks you had tonight?” August, always the buzz kill, strolled up to them.

August, proprietor of the Junk Yard—Kodiak’s local watering hole—buzz kill extraordinaire, and oh yeah...his moron of a younger brother eyed Phoenix hard.

Obviously the woman’s name was Janet—hiccupped and held up two fingers. “Five,” she slurred and then giggled harder, and Phoenix’s boner deflated like a popped balloon.

Not that he could have done anything anyway, but hell...he could have at least gotten to second base this time.

“C’mon then,” August glared frostily at Phoenix, before jerking his chin in Urich’s direction. “Get her out of here.”

Urich—sovereign heir to the Draconian line—worked as a sometimes bouncer, sometimes mixologist, and for some damned reason had become August’s right hand man.

Phoenix clenched his jaw, as Uri—as Phoenix now called him behind his back—growled beneath his breath in Phoenix’s direction, before gently grabbing hold of the cat shifter’s forearm.

“Upsie daisy,” he said with the typical dragon burr in his voice.

Janet, still giggling, twisted her ankle, practically falling on top of Urich—a solid two hundred and fifty pound man made of nothing but gristle and muscle. He stumbled back into the tabletop behind them, and in one swift move tucked one arm behind her back and the other behind her legs before lifting her easily in his massive arms.

BOOK: Phoenix (Bears of Kodiak Book 3)
3.29Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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