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Dragon Race



Barbara Elsborg



Copyright

Dragon Race is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2017 by Barbara Elsborg

Cover design by B4Jay

Edited by Deco

Published by Smashwords

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or transmitted in any manner without written permission from Barbara Elsborg, except for brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For all enquiries please contact Barbara Elsborg at bjelsborg@gmail.com

Image/art disclaimer: Licensed material is being used for illustrative purposes only. Any person depicted in the licensed material is a model.


Smashwords Edition

License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to Smashwords.com or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.




Dragon Race


Tomas approached the massive iron cage and wiped a sweaty palm on his trousers. He hated to see anything contained like this and his chest tightened in sympathy. The dragon lay curled up in the darkest corner, its blue scales no longer the bright iridescent shade of this morning. It had been starved of food to prevent it blasting him with fire, and now the creature’s energy seemed to have dissipated.

But surviving the feeding session wasn’t enough. Tomas needed more than that. He needed compliance and he needed it fast if he was to do the impossible and win the Dragon Race tomorrow. The thought of losing to his brother yet again was like a hand squeezing his throat. But he’d seen Simeon’s dragon, and the creature was huge. Much larger than this one. The odds of Tomas winning were not good.

He glanced at the bucket of meat in his hand and then back at the glowering dragon. A double edged sword. The creature needed food in order to fly, but feeding restored power and the ability to kill him. The dragons weren’t usually fed until the morning of the race, but Tomas hoped feeding his now would give him an edge. It was a risk. Not only that, he hated starving the poor creature.

“You don’t stand a chance.”

Tomas stiffened when he heard Simeon approaching from behind. The prick had been leading his dragon around the town all day, pretending he’d made a great capture when everyone knew his guards had done most of the work. Interestingly, Tomas hadn’t even had to make an effort to catch his. It had just dropped out of the sky to land in front of him. He’d hardly been able to believe his luck. He just wished it was twice the size.

He turned and bowed to his bigger, stronger, very stupid twin brother, older by ten minutes. “Your majesty.” You arsehole. One day Tomas was going to get thought and speech the wrong way round and Simeon wouldn’t find it amusing.

Simeon sneered. “That pathetic thing’s half the size of mine.”

Tomas’s heart sank when he once again took in the size of the silver dragon on Simeon’s leash. It looked as if it had grown since that morning. Its mouth was secured in an iron muzzle while its claws and spiked tail were sheathed in Samisman leather, incredibly strong, supple and inordinately expensive.

“Size isn’t everything,” Tomas said.

Simeon chortled. “Is that what you tell your whores when they see your dick?”

Tomas clenched his teeth. His small dragon rose to its feet, stepped forward and promptly tripped over its chain. His brother’s dragon made a strange choking sound.

“You’ve got a real winner there, Tomas. We’re not even going to get much meat off that scrawny thing.”

Tomas’s stomach dropped. “What do you mean?”

“Haven’t you heard? I’ve decided to reinstate the tradition of roasting the losing dragon.”

For a moment, horror struck Tomas speechless. “You can’t do that,” he eventually spluttered. “The dragons only tolerate the capture of two of their kind for the race because Ost supported them in the battle with Est.”

Simeon’s face mottled in the flickering light. “I can do what I fucking well like.” He spat out the words like arrows. “I’m in charge while father’s away.” Simeon dragged his dragon into the cage, secured it with iron chains on the opposite side to Tomas’s creature and locked the cage again.

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” Tomas said. “Let’s stick to what we usually do. I mess up, you win and everyone thinks you’re the greatest.”

Simeon stepped right up to him. “Do I detect sarcasm, brother? I could have you roasted too.” He laughed as he walked away, and the scary thing was, Tomas suspected Simeon meant it. Of course, he’d tell father it was an accident, clumsy Tomas had fallen into the fire and there had been nothing Simeon could do.

The iron outer door clanged shut and Tomas sagged. When he turned to look at the dragons, they were staring at him.

“I won’t let you be eaten,” Tomas said to his dragon because he finally had to accept that losing was inevitable.

The creature blinked bright blue eyes and regarded him with what could only be described as disdain. The other dragon snorted. Maybe all three of them recognized the hollowness of his words. If only father was back.

Tomas unlocked the complicated mechanism that held the door in place, picked up the bucket and took a deep breath before he walked into the cage. His heart pounded. The dragons were shackled, but the small one’s claws weren’t clad with leather, nor was it muzzled. Tomas hadn’t paraded his through the streets. Humiliation wasn’t part of the tradition. But one swipe, one snap of a jaw, one blast of fire and Tomas was history.

He put the bucket down and nudged it towards the dragon with his foot. Tomas didn’t know if it was male or female, the sexual organs were hidden, but from the size he guessed it was a female. When the dragon didn’t move, he toed the bucket a little closer. This one hadn’t yet spoken to him, but the news about the loser being eaten couldn’t have slipped past their hearing.

His dragon raised its head, sniffed the bucket and heaved. “Raw meat?” it rasped.

Tomas raised his eyebrows. “You don’t eat raw meat?”

“I usually cook it, but my fire’s gone out.”

The dragon used its tail to drag the bucket closer, scooped up a small piece of flesh and shuddered as it chewed. “Oh that’s disgusting. What was it? No, don’t tell me. It smells terrible.” It shoved the bucket away.

“I’m sorry,” Tomas said. “But you need to eat to be able to…fly.” He wanted to say escape, but worried someone might be listening.

“I need to hold my nose to be able to eat. I really fancied a steak, roast potatoes and strawberries, not squirrel guts and rats’ tails.”

Tomas bit back his smile.

“Please take these shackles off,” the dragon said.

The chains were all that held his dragon.

“I won’t hurt you,” the dragon said. “I promise you’ll have what you wish for.”

What? A painless death? Tomas didn’t know what he wished for any more, but a miserable life under his brother’s future kingship didn’t figure in his dreams and there was no way he was letting anyone eat either of these dragons. Simeon was breaking the rules their great-great grandfather had established and Tomas would be damned before he let him get away with that. Fingers trembling, he removed the neck chain and shackles from the smaller dragon and only exhaled when he realized he wasn’t going to die immediately.

The dragon stretched its long neck and sighed. “That’s better.”

“I won’t let you be eaten,” Tomas blurted.

“Who says I’m going to lose the race?”

The other dragon puffed clouds of smoke through its muzzle.

“I’ll help you escape,” Tomas said in a whisper and thought frantically. “I could cut the straps of my harness and you could fly off.”

“And let you fall to your death?”

Tomas gulped. “You could drop me in the sea.”

“You’d still break every bone in your body.”

Tomas sighed. “You need help. Reinforcements. But I can’t contact the hoard in time.” And if he approached them, maybe they’d roast him before he had the chance to speak.

“I’d think better on a full stomach,” his dragon said.

“I also can’t get more food until morning. The kitchens are closed. Sorry. I’ll bring you something cooked then.”

The dragon inclined its head and Tomas thought its eyes brightened.

“Thank you,” it said.

Tomas backed out of the cage and locked it. He wrapped his fingers around the bars. “I won’t let you be eaten. I promise.”

He meant it, but he knew that keeping his promise might get him killed.


Meriden admired Tomas’s tight arse as he walked away. He meant well but he was weak. Once the outer door of the castle dungeon clanged shut, she took a deep breath and shifted to her human form before she turned to Drake. She could have used her powers to clothe herself but Meriden hoped to distract him because she knew he was furious. The angry look on Drake’s face made her wince. He growled and yelled through the muzzle. Meriden didn’t catch his entire tirade but heard enough.

“I’m not removing your muzzle if you’re going to speak to me like that,” she said. Drake couldn’t turn into his human state until she took off the iron. “And he does have a lovely backside. All tight and…mmm.”

Drake shimmered with rage, his scales turning from silver to fiery orange, his eyes from gray to crimson. Oh dear. Maybe she’d gone too far. Meriden flinched. The last time he’d been this angry, his bad temper had lasted days and they’d had to replace several pieces of scorched furniture. She gave a heavy sigh and reached to unfasten the clasp at Drake’s throat. The muzzle fell to the floor.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Drake snapped. “Did I not specifically tell you to stay indoors?”

“Yes.”

“You knew the hunters were about and yet you put yourself in harm’s way?”

“Yes.”

“For the love of Lorc—why?”

“Because after you and the other males flew out, Ricor slunk back like the coward he is and said he’d heard Slimeball Simeon say to one of his lackeys that he planned to eat the losing dragon. No way was I going to sit back and not let you find that out until the race was over.”

Drake ground his teeth. “I don’t know who to be angrier with. Our ancestors for agreeing to this stupid race, Simeon for even thinking of eating dragon meat or you for putting yourself on his plate.”

Meriden bristled. “Oh you think I can’t win?” Though she couldn’t unless she cheated. Meriden half-smiled. She had cheating down to a fine art.

Drake scowled.

“I’ve come to save your arse,” Meriden said. “I’m rather attached to it even if it’s not quite as fine an arse as Tomas’s. Hold out your arms.”

She unfastened the leather ties and freed his claws, then bent to take the covering from his tail. Even before the leather had fallen to the floor, Drake had shifted to his male form and swept her into his strong arms. He was naked and his cock was hard as a rock. So predictable. Meriden grinned against his mouth.

Drake’s fingers sank into the curve of her waist. The moment he touched her, Meriden’s pulse points began to flutter and her heart pounded hard enough to break her ribs. His tongue trailed along the seam of her lips and he slid his hands down to her backside to hold her tight against him. Meriden opened her mouth and their teeth clashed, their tongues meeting in a deep thrust that sent a jolt of pleasure racing down her spine.

My mate, my mate. The bond between them was unbreakable. Even with the death of one, the survivor would never love another. Part of the problem of their race and part of the joy. Dragons were few in number, the birth-rate low, and if fuckwits like Simeon developed a taste for dragon meat, their numbers would be even fewer.

Meriden pressed herself harder against Drake, wanting more, needing more. The scent of him inflamed her senses and she writhed against his cock, the velvety head wetting her belly. Drake groaned into her mouth and slid one hand from her backside to her neck, grasping her long black hair, tilting her head so he could take possession of her mouth.

She lifted her legs to his waist and struggled to impale herself on his cock.

“Meri, Meri, for Lorc’s sake, slow down.” Her back hit the cool stone wall. “You don’t know what you do to me.”

Oh yes she did, because Drake did it to her too, made her mindless for anything but his touch, his love, his heart. Meriden was caught up in a whirlwind of blazing sensation that could only be quenched by the love of her mate. Her nipples ached, her clit throbbed and her head swam.

Drake dropped his mouth to her neck and bit down sending cascades of delight pouring through her veins. Meriden grew wetter and wetter.

“Please,” she whispered.

“Begging, wife?”

She growled. “No I said peas, I hope Tomas brings peas with the steak.”

Drake laughed. He lifted her by the hips and slowly lowered her down onto his shaft. Meriden’s head fogged and Drake’s tongue thrust into her mouth in time with his cock driving into her body.

Big, hard, perfect. She smiled.


Hot, tight, perfect. He smiled.

But Drake wanted to kill her for letting herself get caught. Except he’d do that later, just as soon as he’d fucked some sense into both their heads. If that was possible. Every sound she made poured over him in a silky caress. Her body clutched his cock so powerfully, the feeling hovered on the point of slipping into pain. Her muscles didn’t want to let him withdraw and yet welcomed his return by wrapping him in a tight velvet glove.

Drake pushed slowly into her time after time, pulling back to stare into her face, feeding on the misty look in her eyes, sustaining the pleasure for both of them as long as he could. His fury that she was here, that she’d disobeyed him, that she’d risked her life—all dissolved under the relentless onslaught of his oncoming orgasm. He arched into her as she pressed herself down onto him.

“I could beat you in the race,” she gasped.

Drake chuckled against her throat. “In this race, sweetheart, you can come first as often as you wish.”

Meriden smiled and whispered, “Faster.”

Drake lifted his head to look into her eyes and obliged.

Their breaths mingled, and he sucked her exhale into his lungs, swallowing her sweetness, letting it feed his fire, knowing it made him whole.

“Drake, Drake, Drake.” She sang his name, her fingers digging into his shoulders as he drove harder and faster.

She was as intoxicating as kernon berries. Their bodies were perfectly meshed, their movements perfectly in sync, their breathing perfectly matched. He felt her inner walls spasm around his cock and Drake stilled, not yet ready to let her come, though he knew he was fooling himself about his level of control which was as thin as gossamer. His cock was yelling at him, his swollen balls no longer able to speak. Only when Meriden had fire in her eyes, was beside herself with need and desperation, when she was beating his chest, scratching his back, yelling at him, cursing him, did Drake piston his hips and allow orgasm to sweep them both over the cliff.

Perfect timing. His contractions following hers. He never took his eyes from her beautiful face. Even as his cock spurted his seed into her and deep pleasure rolled through his body to fog his mind, Drake never lost sight of the fact that Meriden held his heart in a way no other could. He would lay down his life for her in an instant, as she would for him, and much as he might wish her safe at home, that was why she was here with him in this iron cage.

When the last wrenching spasm was done, his cock softening in her body, Drake lifted her free and held her tight in his arms.

“When you let yourself be captured, did you have a plan in mind?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“Like to let me in on it?”

“No, but the race goes ahead. Trust me.”

Drake narrowed his eyes. “The last time you said that, I fell into the volcano.”

“And who was it who stroked your sore bits after you climbed out?”

He laughed. “We have five hours until dawn. If we’re not going to escape yet, like to practice your stroking?”

Meriden purred.


* * *

Lined up for take-off, the bright blue sky beckoning, Meriden itched to soar. She raised her snout to the wind and breathed in, her stomach pleasantly full of steak and roast potatoes. Drake had eaten a whole sheep. The pig. She could feel Tomas’s weight on her back and rolled her shoulders against the tightness of the harness.

Tomas bent to her ear and whispered, “When we reach the other side of the island, fly far away from here. I’ll walk back and say I lost control.”

“We’re going to win,” Meriden rasped.

The city had turned out for the race and the quay was ringed with people. They rarely saw dragons and until this year, the race had been something both Ost and Sud, the dragon kingdom, quite enjoyed. Drake had raced once before and won, but Meriden was the first female ever to take part.

“On the third blast of the horn, you start,” a man shouted.

Meriden went on the first blast, soaring into the sky.

“You cheated,” Tomas gasped.

“Yep.”

“Why are we going up?”

“You’ll see.”

Meriden wasn’t as fast as Drake, but she was more cunning. From that altitude, her dive toward the turning point of the race would be faster than any dragon could fly. Far below she could see Simeon on Drake’s back, the bastard using a barbed whip.

“Hold tight,” Meriden said and dived.

“Woohoooooooarrggghhh,” Tomas wailed.

Meriden’s eyes watered as she zoomed down. She swerved around the sea-drenched rocks of Kield Island at such a sharp angle that one wing tip touched the water, but she was ahead of Drake on the turn.

It didn’t last. Simeon gave a whoop of joy as he passed her. Drake didn’t look at her. Meriden put on a burst of speed and caught up to nip Drake’s tail. He was so shocked, she was able to get past him. Then he bit her backside and zipped under her, heading for the quay.

Meriden saw the moment Drake realized he’d been so caught up in the race he’d lost sight of the fact that he’d meant to let her win, because he braked so suddenly, Simeon almost fell off. Simeon screamed and slashed Drake’s shoulder with his whip. Blood sprayed and Meriden growled. If Drake didn’t win he’d be the laughing stock of the hoard. She flew alongside and turned her head to look at him.

“Do you want to tell our future children I beat you in a race?” she asked in dragonspeak.

“You won’t be having any children if they eat you,” he snapped.

“Trust me and race.”

Drake gave her a lingering pained look and flexed his wings. Meriden smiled and followed in his slipstream, unable to catch him. Drake was magnificent and she couldn’t have been more proud.

She landed on the quay several minutes later, ignoring Tomas’s urgent pleas to fly away. Simeon was strutting up and down, puffed up like a famigan, though Meriden doubted he’d be as tasty, while his men secured a struggling Drake with iron. He sent her a look of despair, but Meriden had everything under control. Hopefully.

Tomas leapt off her back and stood between her and a group of approaching soldiers. “Don’t touch the dragon,” he snapped.

Just on cue, there was a loud whirring noise in the sky to the south. Every head turned to look.

Meriden already knew what was coming. The hoard. Once Ricor had spread the word about a dragon roast, Angor, the hoard leader, had ordered a swarm. Meriden refused to wait and had made sure she was the dragon Tomas caught. But she was still relieved. Timing was everything.

Dragons of every size and colour landed on the roofs of the city and tiles tumbled to shatter on the ground below. Children screamed but no dragon would ever hurt a child. A man? Now that was another matter.


Tomas gasped as he looked into the sky.

“What is this?” Simeon demanded, his face paling.

Angor, a large golden dragon who’d taken Tomas flying when he was a boy, landed by the fountain.

“You have introduced a new rule. So have we.” Angor spoke clearly so all could hear. “You wish to eat the loser of the race, and we plan to eat the winning rider.”

Shocked gasps spread through the crowd. Simeon spluttered, but when his gaze snagged on horses approaching from the north, the royal standard fluttering in the breeze, Tomas saw his jaw set. Acceptance that he’d lost crept over Simeon’s face. Relief made Tomas’s knees sag. Simeon’s guards drifted away as the king, the boys’ father, climbed down from his horse.

Meriden nudged Tomas. “Now’s your chance,” she whispered. “Stand up for what’s right.”

And he did. Once his father heard what Simeon planned to do, he glared at Simeon, smiled at Tomas and asked Angor to choose Simeon’s punishment.

“He should do menial work in the city until he truly regrets his offense. I offer your other son the chance to visit Sud, our kingdom, and live among us.”

His father exhaled and laid his hand on Tomas’s shoulder. After hearing Angor’s words, Tomas knew he would succeed his father on the throne. As a king’s son favoured by dragons, Tomas would be loved by all. He’d no longer be second best, second choice, second son.

“I declare Drake and Simeon winners of the race,” Angor said.

And for once, Tomas didn’t mind losing to his brother because they both knew who the real winner was.

The hoard took to the air, Drake and Meriden in their midst, and Tomas watched until they were specks in the sky.


Drake and Meriden landed outside their home and transformed back to their human state. Drake allowed himself a swallow of relief.

“Now are you going to explain how the whole hoard came to turn up?” he asked.

“They came because I asked them too.”

“And since when has the council done as you asked?”

Meriden took hold of his hand. “Because something amazing’s happened. I’ve a surprise for you.”

His eyes filled with fire. “Does it involve me, you and a bed? Or me, you and the kitchen table? Or me—”

“No.”

Drake pouted.

Meriden smiled. “I think it might have involved me, you and that beach on Lumas Island.”

He gave her a puzzled look.

She rolled her eyes. “Sometimes you are so dense.”

Meriden tugged him deeper into the cave they used as dragons and over to the far corner, close to the back entrance to the house they used in their human form.

“In there.” Meriden nodded toward a hollow in the warm volcanic rock. “That’s why the hoard came.”

Drake blinked when he saw what lay inside, but said nothing.

“Is that all I get?” she asked. “A blink?”

“This is why you’ve been so moody and picky about your food?”

Meriden glared. “Moody? Picky?”

“All that moaning and whining when—” Shut up, idiot. “Sorry. Indigestion makes me grumpy.”

“Well you shouldn’t have eaten the whole sheep,” she snapped but then fidgeted, a worried look in her eyes. “So? What do you think?”

Drake pulled her into his arms. “That’s going to make a big omelette.”

Meriden growled. “Not funny, Drake.”

He grunted as she kneed him in the balls. “Sorry,” he choked out.

“You will be. You’re going to wait on me hand and foot and tail until the egg hatches and if you’re very lucky, I’ll never tell our children you joked about eating them.”

Drake’s ears pricked up. “Them?”

“Twins. Double yolk.”

He swept her into his arms and kissed her.

“I let you win,” Meriden mumbled into his mouth.

“There’s no way in hell—” Drake felt her stiffen, “you could have lost,” he finished.

Meriden shook in his arms as she laughed and laughed and laughed.


The End

About the Author

Barbara Elsborg lives in Kent in the south of England. She always wanted to be a spy, but having confessed to everyone without them even resorting to torture, she decided it was not for her. Vulcanology scorched her feet. A morbid fear of sharks put paid to marine biology. So instead, she spent several years successfully selling cyanide.

After dragging up two rotten, ungrateful children and frustrating her sexy, devoted, wonderful husband (who can now stop twisting her arm), she finally has time to conduct an affair with an electrifying, plugged-in male—her laptop.

Her books feature quirky heroines and bad boys, and she hopes they are as much fun to read as they are to write.

She loves hearing from readers and can be contacted at bjel@btinternet.com If you’d like to hear about future releases please ask to be put on her mailing list.


Books

There are a few linked books in this list but all can be read as stand-alones.


Contemporary MFs

Strangers

Summer Girl Winter Boy

Kiss a Falling Star

An Ordinary Girl

Perfect Timing (Bedlingham brothers book 1)

Something About Polly (Bedlingham brothers book 2)

Doing the Right Thing (Mansell brothers book 1)

Finding the Right One (Mansell brothers book 2)

Digging Deeper

The Princess and the Prepper (novella)

Snow Play (novella)

On the Right Track (novella)


Short Stories (MF)

Saying Yes

The Bad Widow

The Gift

Dragon Race

Two Birds, One Stone


Short Stories (MM)

Zeke’s Wood


Romantic Suspense (MF)

Chosen

Crossing the Line


Contemporary MMs

Cowboys Down

With or Without Him

Give Yourself Away

With or Without Him

Falling (Fall and Break book 1)

Breaking (Fall and Break book 2)

Drawn In

Dirty Games


Paranormal MMs

Dirty Angel

Bloodline (Norwood book 2)

The Demon You Know (Norwood book 3)


Contemporary MMFs

Anna in the Middle

Susie’s Choice

Girl Most Likely to

Talking Trouble

Just What She Wants (novella)


Paranormal MFs and MMFs

Perfect Trouble MF

Power of Love MF

Kiss Interrupted MF

Jumping in Puddles MF (Norwood book 1)

Rocked MMF

The Small Print MMF

Worlds Apart MMF

The Consolation Prize MF (Trueblood book 1)

Falling for You MF (Trueblood book 2)

Lightning in a Bottle MF ((Trueblood book 3)

The Misfits MMF (Trueblood book 4)

Fight to Remember MMF (Trueblood book 5)

Lucy in the Sky MF (sci fi)

Taking Stock MMF (sci fi)

Just One Bite MF novella



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