Sally tried to get her tongue to settle into place so she could respond. Even so her brain was unwilling to provide much in terms of vocabulary. “Ow,” she wailed as her stomach and muscles began to send data to her reawakening nerves. It felt as if someone had cleaned out every inch of her arterial network with hot pokers, and given the rest of her insides a wash with pure acid. Her arms and legs were pummeled, the bones within them the consistency of broken balsa wood. “What happened?”

He began to sob. Tears from his eyes cascaded over her cheeks like a benediction as he gathered her with gentle hands and cradled her body close to him. “Sally-mine, you gave me quite the scare. Don’t ever do that again.”

“Believe me,” she wrapped her arms around him, happy to have him to hold. “I will try to avoid it.” For her, no sign could be greater of where she stood in his life. A man so large and commanding was not used to revealing any weakness. This break in his impregnable façade was like a balm for her quaking heart.dragon_teaser2a


When Sally woke next, she found her dragon draped over and around her, as he liked to do. Cherished. It hit her as if a bolt of lightning sent from the heavens. This was what it was like to be cherished. To have a man hold you as if you were the most precious thing on Earth, and could not stand the thought of even one moment without you by his side. She wondered if any of her siblings had ever known this pleasure.

And felt very sad when she doubted it.

As she tried to do her slither and slide move to go to the bathroom, the arm around her waist tightened, and she found her body wrenched back into the cradle Drake had made of his own. “Where are you going?”

“A girl needs some privacy.”

“Sally-mine, your skin has been cleared of all remnants of illness and sweat. There is no need to shower.”

“I just want to.”

He could hear the pout in her voice, so for his own safety, chose not to look in her face. “Sally-mine, you need to rest.”

Hope flourished in her breast with a speed that left her breathless. “So you want sex?”

“No,” he roared.