From the Author
Alec stepped closer to me and tilted my head up as his lipscrushed mine. He kissed me until I was breathless and then let me go. "Andthis, what does this mean to you?"
"I don't know," I said, fighting to stop the ache that quiveredthrough me at his touch. "It feels like a beautiful lie, Alec. This isn't mylife. I'm not the one who gets to be happy, I'm the one who gets everyonekilled and probably dies a grisly death."
"You don't understand dragons then, lass." He thumped his chestwith one hand. "We're the ones left standing, the ones no one can defeat. Wedon't die, we win."
We resumed walking then and Alec kept my hand, holding it looselybut securely within his. The warmth of his palm radiated to mine and the tinglethat always sparked between us tickled my skin.
"How much further is it to the circle?" I asked, already tired.The night before had sapped my energy and my reserves hadn't been replenishedyet. I should've grabbed more than one cookie.
"Just ahead." Alec pointed to a softly rising hill in thedistance. If I squinted, I could make out the tops of tall stones. "Dragons andmaidens have joined there since we started counting time. Tis a holy place formy clan."
I made a non-committal but appreciative noise, unsure of what tosay. My nerves were getting to me. Fear and anticipation swirled through me,making me unsteady. I desired Alec, wanted his body against mine and even insidemine, but what that meant terrified me.
The stone circle sat atop a softly rounded mound covered inverdant grass. A mix of white and purple flowers grew around the stones andAlec picked several of the white ones before stepping inside the circle. Ifollowed him, blinking when I felt the hum of power running around the stones.It was a good energy, light and pleasant.
"The magic here is nice," I said, walking slowly from stone tostone.
"Is it?" Alec began to weave the flowers together. For all that hehad large hands, his fingers moved with deft accuracy.
"What are those?" I asked.
"Heather," he said. "The white is lucky for brides." He finishedhis weaving and showed me the wreath he'd made. "This is for you."
I held my breath as he set it upon my head. Tears gathered in myeyes. My parents should have been here. There should've been a bridal shower, aring on my finger and a honeymoon. Instead I had a groom I barely knew, asprinkling of magic and a rescue mission. As always, desperation ruled my life,propelling me into yet another situation I had to find a way to survive.
Alec wiped a tear off my cheek, his gaze tender. "We do not joinunder ideal circumstances, but my heart beat for you from that first kiss,lass. My fire burns for you, Sara, and all that I have, all that I am isyours."
I sucked in air, fighting not to sob and caught the earthy scentof the heather adorning my head. Words came to my lips, nowhere near as prettyas his, but heartfelt. "I will be yours, Alec the dragon, until I can't."
He clasped my hands in his. "We are now bound together, man andwife, dragon and maiden. May the gods smile upon us."
The magic in the circle intensified, singing in the air with aseries of low, bell-like notes. The voice within me hummed along with it. Aboveus clouds cleared and the sun crowned us in a golden haze as Alec kissed me. Itwas the most beautiful summer day I'd seen since I'd arrived in Scotland.
Alec didn't stop at a kiss this time. His hand cradled my head,lips searing mine while his other hand cupped one breast and then moved down todo the same to my backside.
His Scottish burr a deep rasp, he said, "I will devote my life tomaking you happy, love."
"Don't make promises you can't keep," I panted. The heat of hisbody so close to mine made it hard to breathe.