Authors: Tianna Xander
Tags: #Paranormal, #Romance, #Dragon, #Shifter
It’s one thing when Jasmine manifests dead things. It’s something else when they start to walk and talk.
Jasmine is a witch who needs her mate, as evidenced by the fact that she can bring things back to life—whether she wants to, or not. When corpses begin to come back to life while she’s around, things get interesting, not to mention messy. When she awakens a male who keeps insisting he loves her, Jasmine runs. What sane person wouldn’t?
When a very beautiful and talented witch wakes Ryuu from his deep slumber, he feels a connection immediately. When he pursues her, she runs. It’s almost enough to give him a complex until he realizes the poor girl thinks she reanimated him from dead tissue. Now, all he needs to do is convince her that she’s his mate and that he’s the Spirit Dragon, not a zombie.
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The Spirit Dragon
Copyright © 2013 Tianna Xander
Cover art by Martine Jardin
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.
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The Spirit Dragon
Dragon Bound Six
To my readers.
Jasmine stared out through her brother-in-law’s kitchen window. “What in the goddess’s name did I ever do to deserve this?” She needed a vacation…from life.
She tore her gaze away from the poor dog standing out in the rain and stared down at the windowsill. How could she tell her sisters what she’d done, this time—even though it was an accident? Jasmine used to think her powers were cool, even if she couldn’t control them, but not now. Now, she knew them for what they truly were. A curse.
She glanced back out the window and tried to come up with an excuse for what she saw other than that she was a menace. She attempted to think up a plausible explanation for what she saw. “I have no idea how he got there, he just showed up. Are you sure the vet said he was dead?”
“What are you talking about?” April asked as she breezed into the room, glancing Jasmine’s way with a smile.
“I-uh,” Jasmine tried to articulate, but just couldn’t find the words. Wiping her sweaty palms on her jeans, she gestured to the window with a nervous smile. “Look who’s back.” She moved out of her sister’s way, hoping to escape the kitchen before April had the proverbial cow.
Her sister moved to the window with a frown. “What the—”
Jasmine attempted to leave the room while the dog had her sister distracted, but failed.
“Oh, no you don’t, Jasmine. Come here and explain this.”
Turning, Jasmine looked at her sister who rested her hands on her hips and narrowed her eyes at her. “Did you say something?” Jasmine tried for an innocent expression, but had the suspicion she failed…miserably.
get out there?” April gestured toward the window and the dog that stood on the back lawn with his midsection dangling sickly where it was flat from a car running over it. “Let him die, Jasmine.”
dead. I don’t know how he got out there.” Jasmine moved to the window again just in time to see the dog wag its tail, its tongue lolling out of its mouth. “It’s not like I did anything to bring him back. Heck, I didn’t even know I
bring animals back.”
The dog’s midsection almost dragged in the grass, which probably would have been okay if he’d have been one of those little wiener dogs. However, Boomer had been a German Shepherd Dog. There was no way to explain the dangling middle for an animal whose stomach should have been a good foot and a half off the ground.
April crossed her arms over her rounded belly with a sigh. “What are we going to do with him?”
“We just need to keep him in the back yard until you can get me out of here.”
“What are you thinking?” April’s brows nearly disappeared into her hairline. “You can’t leave with that-that thing hanging around the back yard.”
“It’s not a
, April. That’s—”
“Don’t you dare tell me that’s Boomer. That might be Boomer’s reanimated shell, but his spirit is long gone.” She waved her arm toward the window. “Whatever that is out there, it’s not Drake’s dog and
need to kill it or let it die.” She walked over to the kitchen table and sat down. “Good grief. What’s come over the rest of you? Why is it that your powers seem to keep getting more and more out of control? Ever since we all had our twenty-fifth birthdays, things have gotten hairy.” She rested her head in her hands. “We need to get you all married.”
“No, you don’t. What you need is to let me go off on my own for a while. At least until it’s almost time for you to have that baby. I don’t want to be the reason you have a miscarriage, April.” Jasmine moved to sit next to her sister, resting her hand on April’s arm. “I can’t control this. I don’t know how I brought Boomer back to life. The only thing I
know is that if I leave, he’ll die again. Then, if Drake wants to keep the dog’s remains around, I would suggest cremation.” Nothing ever came back from
“You’re right.” April stood up and with one backward glance toward the kitchen window, she led the way out of the kitchen.
“Maybe you should let me talk to him,” Jasmine said as she followed April to Drake’s office. “You know how upset he gets when he sees you stressed out, especially now that you’re pregnant.” An upset dragon was the last thing they needed at this point.
“No way. Just let me handle my husband. Besides, it will give me the excuse I needed to let me join May and Summer in Scotland.”
“What in the heck are they doing over there?” Jasmine scowled as she had to practically run to keep up with her pregnant sister. No woman who was five months along should be so quick on their feet. “I can see May being there with Damek, but why does Summer get to go?”
Jasmine didn’t think it was an unreasonable question, since none of the unmated Flowers sisters were allowed to go anywhere on their own. Apparently, someone was out to get them, though no one knew who for certain.
“How old are you, again?” April turned to look at her, then rolled her eyes. “I’m only asking because you sounded about eight, just then.”
“You know what I mean. Heck, the rest of us who are unmarried have to sit here and twiddle our thumbs, and Summer gets to go to Europe. It’s not fair. I’m just sayin’.”
“Sure it is,” April said as she opened the door to Drake’s office and breezed in as though he wasn’t most likely on the phone with some other billionaire. “Hello, honey bunches.” Leaning over, she kissed Drake on the cheek while reaching into his candy dish for some chocolate.
“Hey, score me a piece while you’re at it, will ya?”
April picked up a piece and tossed it to her.
“To what do I owe this pleasant surprise, my love?” Drake asked as he pulled April into his lap and pressed a kiss to the tip of her nose.
“You don’t have to do anything, sweet cheeks. I love coming in here to sit on your lap. You have a very nice lap, you know.” She giggled when he tickled her. It almost made Jasmine sick.
It wasn’t as though April’s happiness wasn’t important to her. Jasmine just couldn’t imagine what it would be like to spend so much time with someone else. Of course, it probably wouldn’t be a bad thing if she didn’t have to explain her strange penchant for bringing crap back to life willy-nilly.
Bringing plants back to life was one thing, taking animals on that ride was a different thing all together. She shuddered to think of what could happen if she suddenly started bringing people back.
“What brings you in here, my lovely mate?” Drake pressed a kiss to April’s temple and rubbed her belly. “Are you feeling well?”
“I’m fine, sweetie. I just needed to talk to you about something.”
“What is it, my love?”
“We need to leave the area for a little while or we will eventually have to leave permanently,” April said as she walked her fingers up his chest.
Jasmine looked away, uncertain if she should stay or go. This looked private. However, ultimately, the conversation
“Well,” she paused to kiss his cheek. “We have a problem.”
“What kind of problem?” He kissed her on the nose.
Jasmine couldn’t take it anymore. She was tired of watching her sisters moon over their mates like lovesick teenagers. Stepping forward, she decided to tell Drake the truth in no uncertain terms.
“Well, brother dear, it seems that my ability to bring plants back from the dead for a short time has evolved.”
“That’s wonderful!” Drake smiled. “Does that mean the plants are staying alive now?”
Jasmine had to hand it to the man. He was supportive. She almost regretted breaking the news to him so abruptly even though April kept shaking her head in an attempt to deter her. “No, but your dog is.”
Cringing at Drake’s reaction, Jasmine glanced at April who almost fell when Drake tried to stand up. April met Jasmine’s gaze with a slight shake of her head, meaning that Jasmine should shut up.
“Now, honey bear, don’t get too upset. You know how difficult it is for us to control our magic when we’re unmated.”
Now, why did she have to go and bring attention to
? Jasmine scowled at April. What in the world was she doing? Did she have to remind him that Jasmine had no dragon to protect her? She’d be lucky if the man let her cross the street by herself after this.
“The thing is,” April continued. “Is that if she stays here, we’re going to have to leave after a while because, let’s face it. Dogs with sagging middles just shouldn’t be walking around.”
Closing her eyes, Jasmine shook her head and backed out of the room. She had no idea what she should do other than leave here. If Drake didn’t let her go, she would have to find a way to escape. She wasn’t sure if she could live with herself if she caused April to miscarry.
Shutting the door behind her, Jasmine wandered into the living room and sat down with a sigh. Drake
to agree to let her go. He just had to.
“What did you say that stone said, again?”
“It tells of an ancient legend. However, it does not specify of which legend it speaks.”
Ryuu could hear them, but he didn’t know who, or what, they were. What if they were of the same sect of mages who attempted to imprison him so many years ago?
The mages, tired of the dragons’s rule over the otherkin, attempted to eradicate all dragons, forcing them into hiding. What else could his kind do when they had hired dragon slayers and convinced other humans to do their bidding?
“I never dreamed that I would stay in a home so steeped in history.” It was the same female voice that woke him from his deep slumber.
He wasn’t certain why the gods deemed him ready to wake. Was there finally peace in the world or were these people about to discover his resting place and kill him?
“Are you sure you want us to leave you here all alone?” Another female voice broke the silence and Ryuu wondered why these people were here and why they had awakened him.
“Yes, April. You know it’s for the best. As long as I can’t control myself, there’s a danger someone is going to realize I’m the one causing all of the strange happenings.” The one who woke him chuckled softly and Ryuu stirred in his lair. “One of these days, someone is going to find one of the bodies before it decides to die again.”
“They do not die a second time, Jasmine. They merely walk the earth as though they were alive again. None of them have spoken or acted as though they have a mind of their own.” Ryuu fought the urge to growl at the male who spoke. What was a male doing so close to his lair?
“You’re forgetting the one that followed me around saying,
“You don’t think that one came back with a sense of zombie humor?” April asked.
Ryuu smiled at the fact that even though he was several feet below the surface, and he could not see those who disturbed his rest, that he could still differentiate between the two females who woke him.
“I doubt it, especially since he tried to attack me.”
“Then apparently, he didn’t realize that you were the one who brought him back to life so he
try to eat your brains.”
“I really don’t think he cared. Anyway, I appreciate you two bringing me here and leaving me alone. The last thing I want to do is endanger anyone else.”
“We will not leave you unprotected.”
“I don’t need protection, Drake. I need alone time.”
“We will not leave you without leaving three of my best men to protect you. If you wish to stay here, then you will stay here with them. I have already informed them to follow you discreetly. You will not even know they are there.”
This Drake person was fast becoming someone Ryuu could respect. One should never leave females to fend for themselves in strange places.
“If that’s the only way you’ll leave me here, then I guess I don’t have any choice but to accept your generous offer.”
Ryuu heard the strain in the woman’s voice. She did not want this Drake’s help, but she would accept it graciously in exchange for her right to remain here.
For some reason, Ryuu liked the idea of her staying close. Something within him stirred at the sound of her voice and he wished to rise to find out what it was about the woman that caused such a reaction in him.
He heard heavy footsteps vibrate the earth overhead as one of them walked away. He didn’t think it could be one of the females, but it had been a century or more since he had risen. It had also been that long since anyone dared to visit his home. Many things could have changed since then.
After a few minutes, the ground above grew quiet. Ryuu relaxed, allowing himself to slip back into a deep sleep, once more.
The sound of crying woke him. Sitting up, he frowned. How much time had passed since the last time he’d awakened? He moved through his lair, searching for an intruder. Was this some sort of trap designed to get him to leave the safety of his cave?
Placing a hand to his chest, Ryuu looked up toward the woman who sobbed so heavily. What had happened to her? It sounded as though her heart had broken—either that, or she was terrified.
Her heart-wrenching sobs touched him in a way that nothing else ever had. Curious, Ryuu chose to leave his self-imposed prison to investigate. If he exited through one of the other openings, he could approach her undetected. The last thing he wanted to do was reveal the main entrance to his lair—especially if this was a trap.
Drawing on his dragon’s magic, Ryuu opened the entrance a mile from the woman and walked out into the blinding sunshine. The light was bright, almost too bright for a dragon who hadn’t seen the sun in nearly one-hundred years.
He approached from the north and downwind. Who knew what kind of trap awaited him? It was best to keep alert and use the element of surprise.
The sobs grew louder as he approached. Finally, exiting the trees in front of her, he stopped, totally rapt. The most gorgeous woman he had ever seen sat on the large boulder that covered the entrance to his lair.
Her hair, as black and shiny as the purest obsidian, tumbled to her waist. Beautiful eyes, nearly the same dark, green of the rarest jade, filled with tears when she looked up and met his gaze.
“Go ahead, you nasty goon,” she said on another sob. “Mash my head in and eat my brains. I hope you choke on them.”
The woman, who he now realized could very well be the most beautiful in the world, swiped her arm across her nose in a very unladylike way that almost made him smile. “Put me out of my misery. I’m tired of running. Just get it over with already.”
Ryuu, uncertain whether she spoke to him or some unseen person behind him, turned around. Since there was no one there, he assumed she spoke to him.
“I do not wish to harm you.” He tilted his head as he approached her.
He was more than confounded. What was it about his appearance that made her think he wished to harm her? Whatever it was, he hoped to change that part of him before he went out to explore the world. Now that he’d risen, he was in no hurry to go back to his cave. He longed for companionship. It had been a long, long time since he’d spoken to anyone.
“Sure you don’t want to hurt me. Like I believe that.” She sniffed, drew her arm across her nose again and frowned. “You know, that’s almost as gross as your wanting to eat my brains. I don’t suppose you have a tissue, do you?”
Unwilling to admit he didn’t know what a tissue was, Ryuu just shook his head. “No, I do not.”
“Figures,” she mumbled, then suppressed another sob. “I guess you can kill me now then.”
What in the world was this woman talking about? “Why do you have a death wish, woman?”
She shrugged. “Why shouldn’t I?” It’s not as though I can live a normal life with the dead reanimating themselves wherever I go.” She waved in his direction. “Dead people, like you, follow me around almost constantly. Some of them even tell me they want to eat my brains. What kind of life is that?”
“I am, most assuredly,
dead, my lady.”
Shaking her head, she laughed. “Of course you are. If it weren’t for the fact that you’re still intact, with
speech patterns, I’d think you had been dead for a long, long time
“Intact?” Of course he was intact. Nothing short of death could make any dragon otherwise.
“You aren’t decomposing, and you’re talking, which
to mean that you must have just died.
A steady breeze stirred the trees behind her, carrying her scent to Ryuu. Taking a deep breath, he stilled. Everything within him ground to a halt as he stood still as death, staring at the one woman who could ease his terrible loneliness.
It was as though his heart ceased beating before suddenly beginning to race. The world fell away as his gaze narrowed and all he could see was her beautiful face with her lovely almond-shaped eyes the color of the greenest jade.
Moving closer, Ryuu knelt in front of her, resting his hand gently over hers. “Whatever it is that you fear, whatever it is that troubles you, I give you my word that I shall be here to protect you against it. I have no idea why you think I have been to the other side, but surely, an animated corpse cannot converse so freely.” Leaning forward, Ryuu tilted his head and peered into her eyes. “Can they?”
“What do I know about it?” She pulled her hand from beneath his. “Up until about a month ago, I thought my powers were limited to bringing dead plants back to life for a short time.”
“Powers? You have powers?” Ryuu fought the urge to hold his breath. Did he dare to hope that this woman, his newfound mate, was also a witch? Could he dare to dream that he could, indeed, have a full partnership with the female the fates had designed to match him in every way? “Would you tell me your name?”
“Jasmine,” she said with another small sniffle. “My name is Jasmine.”
“What a lovely name.” He smiled, took her hand in his and kissed the back of it. “It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Jasmine.”
“Hey!” she said yanking her hand from his again. “What was
, a taste test?”
Shaking his head, Ryuu heaved a sigh. “Have I not already told you that I am not dead, nor do I wish to eat your brains?” He wrinkled his nose. “Even if your mind is as beautiful as the rest of you, I do not wish to end your life to find out. Will you not believe me?”