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 Dead Sexy Dragon

Dragon Heat - 1

by

Lolita Lopez

Chapter One

Stig Wyvern dried the last of his dishes and placed them in the cabinet. His gaze moved to the bay window across the kitchen. The setting sun splashed the sky with brilliant streaks of orange and fiery pink. His stomach tightened at the sight. With the darkness came the forced change, and tonight it would be beyond his control. This night and those of the following eight days he would spend at the complete mercy of his inner beast.

Already his skin tingled, his nerves set alight with a prickling heat. Even though he’d just ingested a pile of rare steaks for dinner, his stomach growled with emptiness. There wasn’t enough water to slake his thirst. And his libido raged. He wanted nothing more than to find a willing woman to sink into again and again.

But he couldn’t do that. He mustn’t do that. When in heat, Stig’s scent changed, grew more potent, and made it easier for the Knights to find him. So he would retreat to the cavernous lair beneath his home and lock himself in irons for the duration of the night.

He did a final check of the kitchen and headed upstairs to make sure the house was sealed tight. He’d barely reached the top of the stairs when he heard the frantic knock at his front door. It momentarily stunned him. No one ever knocked on his door. His closest neighbor was five miles away—and he liked it that way.

He wanted to ignore the pounding, pretend he’d never heard it and go about his business, but he just couldn’t. If someone was there, it had to be serious. Maybe a car wreck on one of the nearby roads or an accident in the woods surrounding his home. Local teenagers had a habit of staging wild parties out there. Underage kids and drinking was a nasty mix.

As he hurried downstairs, Stig couldn’t help but wonder if the person on the other side was safer braving the elements of the night than facing him so close to the sunset. When in heat, his inner beast was difficult to control. The primal drive and desires that would soon overtake him put all humans at risk. He unlatched and unlocked the various dead bolts on the door and quickly drew it open.

Stig’s gruff greeting died on his lips the second he spied the petite black-haired beauty standing on his doorstep. Her scent, sweet and spicy, wafted up to meet him. His body zinged with recognition. “Cora?”

“Hey, Stig.” Cora Cardenas greeted him with a sad smile. Her puffy and red-rimmed eyes betrayed her. She’d been crying. An uneasy feeling twisted Stig’s gut at the sight of the luggage surrounding her. He stuck his head out the door and saw her compact car caked in grime from the long drive. There were more boxes and suitcases visible through the windows.

Shit. Of all the times for his dead friend’s sister to show up on his doorstep, it had to be tonight, the one night when he feared he wouldn’t be able to withstand his already-brewing attraction to her.

“Cora, look, this isn’t a good time for me. I—”

“You promised!” she interrupted with a sob. “When Hector died, you promised I could come to you.”

Guilt gripped him. “I know and I meant it. It’s just that things are complicated right now.” He nervously eyed the skyline. “There’s a hotel in town. It’s a forty-minute drive. You shouldn’t have a problem getting a room.”

“Stig,” she said pleadingly.

Cora’s begging tore at his heart. Stig fought the urge to gather her in his arms and offer the security of his home—and his bed. Only the knowledge that she was forbidden and that his secret world could put her in grave danger stopped him from grabbing and dragging her across his threshold.

“Cora, you need to go.” His muscles twitched and jaws ached. The change was coming soon. Too soon for his liking. “Cora, please—”

“The key!” she practically screamed at him as she dug in the front pocket of her jeans. “I still have the key!”

Stig’s gaze moved to her now-upturned palm. The key he’d given her a little more than a year ago rested there. He was haunted by his words. As long as you have the key to my home, you’ll always have a place to stay.

“Please.” Tears dripped down her cheeks. Fear radiated from her shaking frame. She was scared. Of what, he didn’t know but it worried him.

Stig swallowed hard and stepped aside. “All right.”

Her shoulders sagged with relief. As she brushed past him, her suitcase wheels bumping over the threshold, Stig caught a whiff of her scent again. It curled around him, the sweet-scented tendrils squeezing his chest and filling him with need. His cock stiffened and pressed painfully against his zipper. The urge to stroke her olive skin was overwhelming but he somehow managed to master it.

Stig had to get away from her. His questions could wait until the morning and the safety of the sun.

“I’m sorry I was so short with you just now. I have a horrible headache. I…I need to lie down.” Stig gestured around him. “The guest bedroom is the first room on the left at the top of the stairs. The bathroom is the room on the right. Make yourself at home. I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Oh.” Cora was clearly confused by his abruptness. “All right.”

Stig nodded and headed out of the living room. He paused in the doorway and glanced over his shoulder. “Cora?”

“Yes?”

“There’s a door in the kitchen. It leads down to the cellar. I’d appreciate it if you’d leave it alone. I’m having an issue with infestation.”

Cora’s eyes widened. “Infestation?”

He shrugged. “The house is so close to the woods. It was bound to happen sooner or later.” He held her gaze. “You’ll keep out?”

Cora nodded dutifully. “Of course.”

“Thank you.” A painful quiver of blazing heat pierced his abdomen. He needed to get downstairs—fast.

“I’ll go ahead and get the rest of my things.” She started toward the front door. “Go get some sleep. I’ll be fine tonight. We can talk in the morning.”

Stig sensed the shift in her emotions. She’d arrived distraught and afraid and now seemed calmed. That the simple act of stepping into his home gave her such a sense of security tugged at his heart. Suddenly, he remembered why he’d made that offer to her at Hector’s funeral. Even then he’d been drawn to her, had wanted to gather her close to his chest and caress her silky black hair.

But those feelings were wrong then and were still wrong now. There was an unspoken code among friends. As Hector’s baby sister, Cora was off-limits.

“Good night, Cora.”

“Night, Stig.”

He didn’t linger but took advantage of her short trip outside to rush into the kitchen. He made sure to lock the basement door behind him before running down the stairs. His bones ached and muscles burned as his inner beast struggled for freedom.

Slowly his eyes adjusted to the darkness. His night vision allowed him to move swiftly and safely down the corridor. With each descending footstep, the temperature dropped and the musty dankness grew stronger. The stairs ended on a wet slab of stone blocked by a heavy steel door. He punched in the code and yanked open the door that led into a stunningly beautiful cavern.

Decades earlier, he’d discovered the secluded cave during a solo spelunking trip. Building a house over what he intended as his subterranean lair only made sense. The layers of rock and dirt filtered his enhanced scent, cloaking him from those who would do him harm. It provided a secure place for him to hide out during these episodes of uncontrollable animalistic lust and blood thirst that plagued him every three years. Until he found a mate, a proper non-human mate, Stig wouldn’t be able to shake his mating heat.

He ducked beneath a tricky little stalactite he hadn’t had the heart to rip down while outfitting the cavern for

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