Dragon Heartstring(6)

“May I ask you a question?” His deep voice sounded too loud in the elevator.

“Of course.” I tried to smile.

“How come you’re taking the elevator?”


“You’re a Morgon. I thought you all flew everywhere you went.”

“Oh.” I laughed, a little too eagerly. “I like a good walk from time to time.”

“I see.”

Our easy conversation of before seemed to have vanished the moment we’d stepped into this steel box. The silence was uncomfortable and strained. I wanted to find something to say.

“That was a lovely kite that you gave Julian.”

That was a lovely kite?

“Thank you. I know how he loves stories of the dragons of old. I thought he might enjoy it.”

He cleared his throat. I stared at my toes in my strappy sandals. Finally, the elevator dinged open.

“After you,” he said.

I swept past him, but he caught up with a long, easy stride and walked me through the marble lobby and opened the glass door for me at the exit.

“Well, Shakara,” he said, offering his hand. “It was nice meeting you. Again.”

I shook his, trying to ignore the pleasurable feel of his broad, masculine hand around mine.

“Yes. Perhaps you won’t forget me so easily this time,” I said, forcing myself to smile.

His expression sobered, dark eyes captivating. “No. I most certainly won’t forget you this time.”

Chapter 2

City Park was nestled in the middle of Gladium. I landed softly in front of the siren fountain at the front gates, tightening my wings against my back. The fountain was made of white stone—three beautiful women stretching their alabaster arms toward the heavens as they rode atop a tidal wave, the water trickling down their nude forms into the basin. A lovely work of art, but I preferred other scenery from this vantage point.

From here there was a magnificent view of towering skyscrapers built by and for Morgons. There was a distinct difference to them than the flat, perfectly symmetrical human-made buildings of glass and steel. We Morgons preferred stone and mountain-like peaks. Our dragons longed for a touch of the old world. And while more Morgons were conforming to human society and building flat-top towers for their homes and businesses, I preferred the cityscape of peaks and ridges, a harmony and beauty all its own.


I turned to see Jessen walking toward me, picnic basket in hand, Julian skipping ahead of her with his kite under his arm as he strayed onto the open green. Jessen motioned to the lawn. I nodded and met her halfway.

“Do you need some help?” I offered as she hefted the picnic basket with one hand, a blanket tucked underneath her other arm.

“No. I’ve got it. How about we settle right over there underneath that evergold?”

“That’s a great spot. Let me take the blanket at least.”


I marched ahead of her, whipped open the blanket, and spread it close to the evergold. With the onset of fall, the fire-gold leaves had already begun changing to a burnished copper. But where the leaves of other trees would shake loose and leave their branches bare, an evergold kept theirs through winter, never losing the leaves until new ones budded in the spring and pushed the others out.

“Perfect spot,” I said as I knelt on the blanket.

Jessen settled and opened the basket while keeping an eye on Julian who had torn open the kite box and was pulling out the pieces.

“The weather is so nice right now,” she said. “Not too hot.”

“Yes, it is.”

“So, how are things at the clinic?”

“Fine. No patients this afternoon, but I’ve got my comm on me in case there’s an emergency. Carra will call if she needs me.”

“Uncle Demetrius!” Julian shot across the lawn toward the man walking our way.

As expected, my heartrate sped up immediately. I was beginning to loathe my poor heart for reacting nonsensically to the man’s presence. I didn’t like him. Not at all. And yet, I found myself studying him carefully as he approached. Still in suit pants and a white button-down, he’d lost his tie and jacket. He looked no less powerful and commanding. In fact, his semi-casual state had my mind wandering in a wayward direction I had to stop at once.

As he lifted his nephew in his arms, he smiled and said something low that made Julian laugh. He squirmed out of his arms and ran back to where he’d dumped the kite onto the grass. Demetrius veered toward us, his dark eyes heavy on me as he approached.

Jessen peered up at him and sighed. “Don’t you own a pair of jeans?”

“Of course, I do. But I had to work this morning.”

“You said—”

“I took the entire afternoon off, so stop your nagging.”

“I’m not nagging. Now go build that damn kite. It may take you all afternoon.”

“Hello again, Shakara,” he said with a slanted smile, seemingly immune to his sister’s chastisement.

I jumped when his attention moved to me. Damn my nerves. “Hello, Demetrius.”

He held my gaze for a second longer before marching off to tend to Julian. I couldn’t help but watch the lovely way he moved, smooth and agile, till he finally crouched down next to his nephew.

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