Excerpt for Love's Catalyst by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Love’s Catalyst

Lars and Claire’s Story

A Novella by L. M. Lacee

Copyright 2018 L. M. Lacee

Books by the same author


DRAGON'S GAP: (Book 1) Reighn & Sage's Story

DRAGON'S GAP: (Book 2) Sharm & Edith's Story

DRAGON'S GAP: (Book 3) Storm & Charlie's Story

Dragon’s Gap Novella: Love’s Catalyst

DRAGON'S GAP: (Book 4) Ash & Olinda's Story

DRAGON'S GAP: (Book 5) Ace & Harper's Story


Dragon’s Gap

A Novella

Lars and Claire’s Story by L.M. Lacee

Copyright © 2012 L. M. Lacee. All rights reserved. Published by PrivotelConcepts

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Ant resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

All Rights Reserved. In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher or author constitute unlawful piracy and theft of the author's intellectual property. If you would like to use material from this book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at lmlaceewrights@gmail.com. Thank you for your support of the author's rights.

FBI Anti-Piracy Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, if investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. For permissions contact: leonieauthor@gmail.com

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Table of Contents


Books by the same author

FREE GIFT

PROLOGUE

CHAPTER ONE:

CHAPTER TWO:

CHAPTER THREE:

CHAPTER FOUR:

CHAPTER FIVE:

CHAPTER SIX:

CHAPTER SEVEN:

CHAPTER EIGHT:

CHAPTER NINE:

CHAPTER TEN:

EPILOGUE:

Other Books by L. M. Lacee


Free Gift

CLICK PICTURE FOR THIS AWESOME GIFT

Prologue

Dragon's Gap, a town protected and hidden from the world by dragon magic.

As the name implies the town's main citizens are dragons.

When the shifters Goddess pronounce that all shifters are under the sentence of death. Unless they are lucky enough to find their way to Dragon's Gap as Sage, half witch, half wolf and her friends June and Claire, along with hundreds of other women did.

This brings us to this novella which is about two of Dragon's Gaps favorite people, Lars Prime to the dragon Lord and Claire, retriever and seer, friend and heart sister to Sage and June.

Let us not forget three years old tiger cub Kammy, Claires adopted daughter and the catalyst who brings Claire and Lars together.

CHAPTER ONE:


Kammy Nash, three year old tiger cub to Claire Nash, niece to the Dragon Lord and Lady, Reighn and Sage, was on a mission!

Kammy stopped walking and sat as she thought about that. She giggled when she thinkd about all the names of all her uncas and antees, she had lotsa them.

Molly and Ava were her antee Sage’s and unca Rain’s daughters that made them her coosins. Her mama told her that.

Kammy scratched behind her ear with her little claws as she thought about all her family. Her mama said lots, and lots family was good to have.

Kammy scratched the other ear as she thought about the word mission. She liked the word mission! She even knew what it meant.

It was when her unca Storm had to do somefing portant and had to go away. Just like her mama was doing a portant thing for antee Sage. Cause she was not home. Kammy knew she was lucky to have coosins like Molly and Ava, who wasa really lucky. Cause they had a dada and he was a dragon. Sometimes Molly’s dada let her fly with Molly on his back when he was in his dragon skin.

Kammy sighed, she so wanted her own daddy when she smiled as she thought of her mother. She was happy she had a mama and her mama was fieece. That was what antee Sage called her.

Kammy’s smile morphed into a frown. Her antee June said her mama had… Kammy thought really hard then smiled when she remembered the word Edee used. Issuues…Yeah cause it sounded like tissues and tissues was good to play wif.

Issuues! Kammy growled low because she did not like, issuues. They made her mad and mama sad. She and Molly had tried to find the issuues and make them go away but they was hard to find.

Kammy growled again low in her throat like she did sometimes when she was unhappy or scared. She stood and stretched, maybe when she found her dada she would tell him about the issuues that had hurt her mama and made her sad. Her mama didn’t know she knew about the issuues that had caused all the hurts on her when granma Grace had gones away.

Her new dada would find them and make them go away from her mama. Then her mama would smile cause she was happy.

Kammy sighed and scratch her face then remembered what she was doing. She growled, like she saw Jacks do to unca Stan when he forgot something. She, Kammy Nash was on a mission!

Kammy had shifted into her tiger skin, her mama explained it when she went from her pink skin wif two legs to her tiger skin wif four legs and a tail. She looked behind her to see if her tail was there, it was sneaky sumtimes it went away.

She had sneaked out the door of her antee June’s home when she was in the kitchen and had run down all the steps real fast like antee Jacks showd her.

Then she had sneaked out of the castle which was very hard to do cause there are so many peoples and it is hard to be sneaky. She had used all the shadows to leave the castle like unca Storm showd her and Molly to do when they wanted to hide. She was sad that she had not told antee June she was going to look for her dada cause she liked staying with antee June.

She had her own bed and antee June liked to snuggle like mama and she liked reading books to Kammy when mama was not home. Kammy knew they were only with antee June until her mama gotsa own furnita for their new home.

Kammy could not wait for her new home it was gonna be good, mama said so. Antee June’s home was like her granma Grace’s home it always smelled of cookies.

Kammy loved cookies; she really did and they was always warm and made her tummy sing nice songs. She hoped her new home smelled of cookies.

She stopped walking again and sat on her rump as she shook her head. Her mama made bad, bad cookies they was always black and hard they did not smells good. She was sad, but mama could not make cookies. Kammy was worried about the cookies when they left antee June’s home maybe the new home would not have a cookie maker. She sighed, she did not think she could live wif no cookies.

Antee Sage said mama could not cook water. She had heard antee June tell Edee it was very sad her mama could not cook food and specilly cookies. Kammy liked eating antee June’s food but who was gonna make food when they went to their new home.

She chewed on her tail as she thought on that. Then smiled, her new dada would make food for mama and Kammy.

She sniffed her tail and then remembered her daddy. She walked beside the walls because it was safer and people did not step on her if she did. She was still a little jumpy in her tummy, it had been scary running across the road.

She had to run real fast so the cars would not squish her like mama said they would. Once she crossed the road and made the sidewalk, she had run even faster right into the dark alley between the buildings and was panting hard. Her little tiger body had shaken for a long time, and she had wanted to cry for her mama but then she had smelled her dada again.

Kammy had scented her new dada at her antee June’s home, she had known it was her dada, she did not know how she knew, she just did. Antee Jacks called them intincts that made shiftas know stuff. Kammy was a shifta likes Molly so when her dada had come to talk to her antee June her intincts told her he was her dada.

She was sad cause by the time she untangled herself from the stupid. That was what mama called things that made her mad. H her stupid blanket which she had hid under to see if she could see the dark, her dada was gone.

She did not even know what he looked like but she had put her nose to the floor by the front door and sniffed real hard. Just like her teacher auntee Jacks showd her to do. She smelled him real good so when antee June was not looking she got her tiger skin on and followed him all the way to the busy place mama and her antees took her to with her cousins, Molly and Ava. When they have coofee, wat eva tat was. It smelled funny but mama liked it.

She looked around and then she crouched down by the brick wall and sniffed hard. Lifting her head up really high she could finally see her dada, he was sitting at a table on the street like mama and her antees did sometimes, he looked sad.

Kammy cocked her head, her new dada was sad cause he did not know about her and mama. He did not smells them like Kammy smelled him or maybe she worried it was cause he knew mama made bad cookies. She would tell him antee June made good cookies.

She cocked her head the other way, her new dada was big and strong he could scare the issuues and make mama not sad anymore. Kammy eyed the space between her and her new daddy, she looked around and saw a box. She pushed really hard with her nose and finally moved it to where she wanted it to go.

She panted as she sat and looked at it again, she nodded her head and knew she could do it. Now if she used the box, she could just jump to the table where her new daddy was.

Just then people walked past, she ducked down against the wall and looked around. Fear gripped her, making her heart beat fast, she sniffed the air. Good, her antee June was not here yet.

Kammy knew her antee June would be all growly cause she had sneaked out of her home. She would be weally growly if she could see her jumping.

Mama and antee June always tells her not to jump on the bed even though she was a good jumper Unca Rain said so.

Kammy eyed the box again, when she did the jump thing her dada would see her and be happy and then her mama would be happy too. She froze as she heard a yell.

“Kammy! Kammy!”

Oh no! That was her antee June. Kammy stood up and looked around she couldn’t see her anywhere but Kammy knew what her voice sounded like weally well.

She lent down on her front paws and wiggled her bottom in the air like she did when she was ready to jump on her mother’s bed. Then she narrowed her eyes and growled and wiggled harder. This was a big jump. Without looking anywhere but at the box. Kammy ran and jumped.

CHAPTER TWO:


Lars drank his coffee and thought over the changes made to Dragon’s Gap. It was no longer a blip on a non-existent map now it was a medium sized town, growing into a large thriving city, complete with castle.

He laughed to himself as he thought of how the shifters seemed amazed by what they, the dragons, had always taken for granted.

The castle. Which always materialized eventually whenever the town needed it. Trying to explain that the castle was always there just shifted out of time was very difficult to people who only understood basic Earth magic. Eventually the dragons had all learnt to just say magic had hidden it. Which in essence was true but not the complete truth and if Lars was honest with himself, he did not understand it either. It was Dragon Lord Magic, that was all he knew and all he really wanted to know.

Lars looked around the street he was on and occasionally he would glimpse a Hunter or Shield and would smile, they were starting to mingle with the town’s people. Reighn’s plan was working.

While he sat there watching the town starting to come to life around him, as people walked to and fro to work or to take advantage of the less crowded shops, Lars realized there was a large and diverse population filling up Dragon’s Gap. Consisting of humans and shifters of all species, interlaced with the reclusive Dragons, mixing together adding the vibrancy to the town allowing it to find its new balance.

Dragons that at long last were realizing there was more to life than just their own species were enjoying the diverse cultures of the peoples of Dragon’s Gap.

While the dragons had hidden away, watching their lives and culture fade from the lack of female dragons and shadows being found, other species had grown and evolved.

Reighn’s decree that life for dragon kind had to change had come as such a shock to some of them. Thankfully not all dragons were blind to the changing world around them most could already see and embrace the changes that were happening at Dragon’s Gap.

Unfortunately not enough of them were waking up to the fact they were in a new world. The older dragons found the changes harder to accept unlike the younger dragons, like himself who saw it and enjoyed the changes. The Elder dragons and nobility even now months later after Reighn’s decrees, still needed to wake up and see what was happening around them at their changing world. They hopefully would realize soon that the world would not stand still for them.

Lars could feel that life was on the cusp of evolution, unlike the stubborn nobles who fought the changes and clung harder to the way of life they once knew.

Those people who are so self-involved like his birth family who had been taken by complete surprise with the declarations and ultimatums, delivered by their Dragon Lord.

It was sad but Lars had not been at all surprised to see that his birth parents and grandparents had aligned themselves with John Morton at court nor was he surprised they had not dissociated themselves when given the opportunity.

Lars snorted quietly to himself when he thought back on the meeting at his family’s estate. It had not taken his birth family long to order his presence at their estate the morning after the public trial of the treasonous councilors. Several months ago.

First thing the following morning after the dramatic confrontation and the visitation of the Elementals in court, as well as the Dragon’s Lord’s ultimatums to the nobles, Lars had been ordered to his birth families estate.

It was a strange experience to be ordered anywhere by people he did not really know or care about.

CHAPTER THREE:


He had been five years old when he had been fostered to the Kingsley’s. It was years later when he had found out that Rene’ Kingsley, the Dragon Lord at the time, had removed him from his parents’ home himself.

Apparently Rene’ had been there for a meeting when he had seen the tiny thin boy, that was Lars, wiggle out of a hole in the wall of his Sire’s study. The hole had led to the cellar where he stayed.

Lars had crawled out because. One, Rene’ Kingsley had been the Dragon Lord and his dragon had called to him, how his dragon had known Lars was there remained a mystery for many years. Secondly he was starving, how long since he had eaten was never determined.

It was not that his parents were really cruel. They were not even just neglectful. His birth had been a surprise to people who did not desire young or so he was lead to believe from mama Verity. She told him that it was not that they did not love him. They were incapable of love and were just too self-involved to understand they had to actually see to his well-being!

Lady Verity did not dislike or like his birth parents, or so he assumed, as she had never voiced an opinion either way. He thought maybe she felt unable to actually explain people like them as she was so very different.

Lord Rene’, Lars knew thought otherwise. He despised Lars’s birth parents and grandparents and made sure Lars was never returned to them. So at five years of age, Lars had become Rene’ and Verity’s ward. She, as Dragon Lady, had reintroduced the term Nest brother or sister which he knew in the human world meant foster child. He believed Lady Verity did so mainly to save his parents and grandparents reputation.

Storm Lars’s nest brother had told him many years later, on a night of drinking dragons ale, that their father Rene’ had known what the look on Lars Sires face had been on the day when Lars had crawled into his study.

He had been more surprised than Rene’ to see the appearance of the thin, filthy child and honestly did not remember he was his son. They, his birth mother and father literally had forgotten all about him. It was not neglecting. It was absolute disinterest.

When Lars was in the first flush of adulthood he had found out his Dam’s parents had died many years before his birth and that his Sire’s parents when asked if they would take the small boy, declined. Stating they had raised one child for the dragon nation and did not feel it was their duty to make so again.

It was not common knowledge how Lars had ended up as a nest brother to Reighn and his brothers. Most assumed that Verity and Rene’ chose him because of who his parents were, and in a way they were right.

As he grew older Lars found out that his parents and grandparents traded on this relationship and that Rene’ turned a blind eye to their behavior, because of Lars. He, of course, did not. When he was in a position to halt it, he did, much to their displeasure it seemed. Their wealth decreased as did their reputation.

Lars laughed as he sipped his coffee remembering the past always made him feel sad and glad he was alive today in this wonderful new world.

He especially enjoyed and derived quiet amusement from all the rumors that always seemed to be circulating about how and why he was Reighn’s primary second, or Prime and not any of Reighn’s brothers.

Lars always declined to explain Reighn’s reasons for his choice of Prime as did Reighn himself. Firstly, his relationship to Reighn was no one else’s business and secondly, he was well suited to the position as Reighn’s Prime. His calm disposition, so unlike the fiery nature of the Kingsley males, was a big factor but in truth the number one reason he was Reighn’s Prime was because not one of Reighn’s brothers including their other nest brother Stanvis wanted to do it!

All the brothers had declined so quickly, when asked, it would have left a dragons head spinning. Stanvis had declined due he said to his short patience and a sword happy hand, which was true. Everyone knew his default was to let his sword do his talking for him. So Stanvis was very happy to be second to Lars, leaving the bulk of interaction with the dragon society up to Lars and Reighn.

When the summons on that fateful morning had arrived, Lars had been in two minds whether he wanted to go to the family estate or ignore the order.

Half of him was annoyed at the thought that his birth family felt they had the right to demand his presence and the other half had been curious as to why they wished to see him.

Now, sometimes late at night, he wished he had ignored the summons. His dragon said. It would not have made a difference they wanted to bring down the dragon nation!

I know still so many deaths could have been avoided.

His dragon asked quietly. Why are you thinking of that time? It was in the past.

Yet because of the dreams I feel this morning the memories are still fresh.

It was seldom they had sought him out in those days and when on occasion they did, it was to demand him return to the family or reinstate their favor to the Dragon Lord which he always declined to do. The worse was when they wanted to introduce him to a female, which he usually refused to meet.

So on that morning when he had finished his breakfast, which he had lingered over, then taken a leisurely shower. Spent countless minutes deciding on his attire, he decided he would indeed visit. Curiosity had overcome his reluctance.

As he was making his way out of the castle Storm had stopped him. Lars had eyed his brother to see he was calm, and his dragon was not on the surface of his skin. He, like Reighn knew Storm was on the edge of going rogue although he seemed more settled of late. “Brother!”

“Where are you going so early, without a guard?” Storm demanded.

Lars smiled at that. Storm was blunt, no niceties for him or idle chit chat, and at least that part of his brother was the same. He told him. “The Axton’s ordered me to meet with them!”

Storm’s eyes became chips of black ice. He disliked the Axton’s Lars’s parents and grandparents. He did not like what they had done to his brother. He had been old enough at the time to remember his Sire when he had come home with the little scared, sickly dragonet with the wide grey eyes that held no expectations. No hope and no wonder at the world. It had hurt Storm’s heart, and he had wanted to go and rip their faces off. Reighn had spent hours in those first few days talking him out of it.

As time had past Storm had kept his eyes on the Axton parents and now they dared to order his brother to their home. His voice held his dragon as he said. “No!”

Lars nodded, he had guessed that would be his response. “My thoughts as well, then I thought why not. I am an adult, they have no hold on me. You are all my family.

I use their name as is my right and it annoys them! My continued rebuff of their demands to return to their family and reinstate the favors of the Dragon Lord and their insistence I accept a female they choose, embarrasses them. Which I can tell you I consider a bonus but it is not for just those reasons I do not capitulate.” He smiled as he said to Storm. “What they do not realize is they are not my family, it does not matter how often they recite I am. Nothing! They can say to me or demand of me means anything. A family is more than a name, you and our family taught me that!”

Storm’s scowl did not change, but he clapped him on the back. “Alright but remember you are part of my family. I will not hesitate to take their heads if they hurt you!”

Lars inclined his head. “Thank you brother, I will keep that in mind.”

Storm nodded and carried on into the castle. Lars gave it a fleeting thought that he would go to Reighn or Mama Verity, then shrugged, Storm being Storm he would probably not.

In that he was wrong, Storm was not fooled as much as Lars looked calm, he felt his tension and unease. So he did not go to Reighn who would have flown directly to the Axton family home and leveled it as he had promised to do on many occasions.

He went instead to his Sire who was making preparations to leave in fact he caught him as he was walking to the training grounds. “My son!”

Rene’ looked at his son, his dragon was quiet which was good after Storm had admitted his dragon was taking control more often without Storm’s permission. They had talked, and his father had spoken extensively to Storm’s dragon. He had settled down since then. So Rene’ knew this was something else as direct as always Storm came straight to the point. “The Axton family have demanded Lars attend them.”

Rene’ dropped his bag and gave his son his full attention. “What is he doing?”

“He is on his way there now.”

“I see. You are worried?”

“Yes, you know it will be about Reighn’s decrees.”

“Oh, I am sure it is!”

“They will wound him!” Storm tried not to feel anger but it rose quickly within him. Rene’ sighed, his son for all his blunt and sharp ways, loved deeply. His heart was large and the most tender of all his boys, even Sharm.

Rene’ asked. Are you suggesting we should go and keep an eye on them?”

Storm did not answer, instead he said. “I told him he could not go, but he said they mean nothing to him.” Storm looked away, so his father would not see the deep vulnerability he showed with his concern he had for Lars.

Rene’ hid his smile imagining Storm saying as much to Lars.

“Ahh I see! What do you think we should do?”

“I want to kill them all, so they do not hurt him and they cannot make him feel guilty like they do. He does not say that but he feels it.”

Rene’ walked to his second borne son and hugged him. “Son sometimes we have to trust in what we have given him, he will not leave us now. He is ours in every way but name.”

Storm nodded into his father’s shoulder as he said. “He says he will not give that up. That it is his right to bear their family name!” “He is correct, his line goes back to the First Dragons. He should be proud of it.”

Storm hugged his father quickly then stepped back, a smile on his face. “He said it annoyed them too!”

Rene’ laughed. “I bet it does. Now son should we trust your brother to return to us?”

Storm looked away and then back at his father, his dragon in his eyes. “If they hurt him or keep him from us. I will render their house gone.”

Rene’ squeezed his shoulder. “Fair enough. Keep me informed.”

Storm nodded. “I will. Papa, take care!”

“Always my son. I have your Dam and you and all your brothers to come back too as well as my new grand babies.”

Storm smiled a rare occurrence these days. “They are very cute.”

Rene’ saluted him as he walked out of the castle, leaving Storm in the hallway alone or so he thought. “You could come with us to help him.” Said Reighn.

He stayed where he was watching his father enter the glowing portal. “Why do you go?”

Reighn grinned as Johner and Stanvis stood beside him as Keeper moved closer to Storm. Johner said. “Stanvis heard whispers they are going to ask him to betray Reighn and kill us!”

Storm slowly turned his expressionless face towards his brothers. The hardness of his eyes was frightening in its intensity. “Will they go to trial?” Thinking a trial would hurt Lars more. Reighn shook his head. “Warnings were given already, yesterday.”

Storm grunted thinking hard as Keeper said. “Come with us Storm, there will undoubtedly be someone we can hit!”

Storm eyed his brothers. “See now that is a good reason!

Reighn sighed as he mumbled. “Brothers, idiots all of them.”

They all walked from the castle leaving a hidden Verity quietly weeping for the hurt her son Lars was to receive and cursing the ones who should know better for their arrogance.

CHAPTER FOUR:


As Storm continued talking to his father and brothers, Lars had launched himself into the sky. A majestic navy blue dragon who coasted over the town and pastures making his unhurried way to the estate of the Axton’s.

Lars had landed on the cobbled drive way and transformed, looking up at the stone mansion. He walked the ten or so steps towards the ornate doors that housed behind them people he did not particularly like.

As the Dragon Lord’s primary second, his position afforded him a certain lifestyle and most of all what his family wanted, the power and control he wielded.

Their hope to gain control over him through his bonding with a female of their choosing or his returning to the family was thwarted at every turn. Either by his refusal to co-operate with their plans or his total disregard for their wishes.

He suspected it was their fear of Reighn, who was not his father and had little tolerance for ones such as his birth family. As he had already displayed when he took over from Rene’. This did tend to stop them doing more than the occasion demand for his attendance.

Lars would not oblige them by meeting with any female who was usually much, much older than him nor would he remain in their home when they surprised him with such a female which unfortunately they had done on several occasions.

Sadly he knew they called this meeting not to thrust another female at him or to harangue him about his lack of duty to the Axton name by not returning to the family. No, it was because of what had happened in court the day before.

He stood now at the doors to a home that was never his and never would be and fortified his mental shields and gained control of his temper. It was he realized, becoming harder to do.

He knocked once, and the door was immediately opened by a male dragon a few years older than he was. The dragon looked at him bowed and said. “Prime Lars. Your parents and Elders await you in the morning room.”

“Thank you Braxton, are you healthy?”

“I am my Lord, thank you for asking.”

“That is good, you know where to find me if you need too, the castle is always open to you as is Lady Grace’s home.”

The dragon looked at him and raised an eyebrow as he asked.

Will that be necessary my Lord Lars?”

“If this meeting is what I assume it is. Then yes!”

“Thank you for your concern.” He meant warning.

Lars knew that he would warn all the employees here and at the residence of his grandparents and they would make ready to leave.

He asked now. “You have been paid recently?”

When Lars had found out the servants in his families employ did not receive an income, he had made his parents and grandparents aware of the law which said they had to pay their servants.

When they objected he had threatened to make their treatment of the dragons’ public, if they did not comply.

He had then asked Stanvis to work out how much they were entitled too and how much back pay they were owed as well.

Begrudgingly his parents and grandparents had paid and in full. He checked regularly now to make sure the servants still received their income on time.

He and Stanvis had made sure all employees throughout the dragon nation were paid, it had taken a year but they had accomplished it.

With that one decision Lars and Stanvis had earned the loyalty of all the servants and the disdain of the Axton’s and other nobles.

He gave Lars a small smile as he said. “We have, only yesterday as it happens! I will show you through my Lord.”

Lars grinned inwardly, he just bet his parents had paid them, knowing he was to come today. He placed his hand on the male’s arm, halting his progress as he turned to lead him to the people waiting. Saying in a near whisper. “Braxton, could you, and your brother Noah consider coming to work for me?”

A little startled the older male stopped, he had no idea Lord Lars knew of his brother Noah who was the chef of the house. He nodded his head a satisfied smile on his face and whispered back.

“We would my Lord. Indeed, we would!”

Lars nodded and barely moving his lips said.

“Good, today?

With raised eyebrows Braxton repeated his action and said. “Indeed my Lord.”

Lars dropped his hand and Braxton walked ahead of him to the waiting people. When they came to a set of ornate gold leafed doors he turned the handles, opening the doors to what Lady Axton called the morning room.

Basically another lounge, just not as cluttered with antiques as the others were in the house that Lars always thought of as a museum. Braxton opened the doors with a flourish and announced.

“My Lord Prime, Lars Axton!”

Lars stepped through as Braxton closed the doors behind him, just stopping the smile Braxton’s dramatics always caused every time he came.

Braxton would do the same announcement in his deep loud warrior’s voice, no matter what room they entered. It annoyed his father and made his mother clutch her chest in distress which is why Braxton did it. Petty as it was Lars always got a laugh from the loud announcement.

Once prime Lars had entered Braxton closed the door then rushed at a pace unseen of in the home and entered the kitchen, saying as he entered.

“Noah leave all that and make your calls!”

“So it is today then?”

“Our Lord Lars hinted it was.”

“What will become of us?” He asked, truly he was thankful to be leaving this house. He hated living here, but when he had been discharged from the Hunters because of wounds received in the line of duty, Braxton had secured them the only employment they could get at the time.

Braxton had taken early retirement from the Shields to be with Noah, to help teach him to walk and move without limping. More importantly he helped to keep his dragon from succumbing to depression due to his inability to fly for many months. Dragons unfortunately would become depressed no matter what their human side felt or tried to do when they were not able to soar into the skies. Never to fly was a horrific fear for dragons especially wounded dragons who felt they had no future, as Noah did at the time.

There is always the possibility that the dragon would spiral from depression into dragon despair, then slide right on into dragon madness. Which they can never be cured from.

Noah had been well past depressed and into the first stages of despair when Braxton had returned and taken over his rehabilitation, retraining him to walk and then to fly.

Braxton had also arranged financing for Noah’s training as a chef, which had always been his lifelong dream. It was only later he had found out it was Commander Storm who had actually financed his schooling.

The Commander had sworn Braxton to secrecy. For a while Noah had felt guilty at what Braxton had given up for him until he found out Commander Storm had financed Braxton’s training in etiquette and butler training. Which amusingly enough was his dream.

For Braxton and Noah, who were large hardened Warriors, their choices of occupations seemed ironic to most, to them it was a peaceful way to live.

This was why they had accepted positions from the Axton’s, no one else had wanted to take two washed up warriors as servants. Braxton and Noah were the only servants to live within the home. While Noah cooked, Braxton was the manservant. They were both called upon to do guard duty on occasion.

Noah grinned at his brother. He was junior to Braxton by fifty years, they were still large handsome former warriors with a few well-placed scars which did not seem to offend the female shifters they had met so far.

As with every male dragon the brothers hoped to find their shadows amongst the shifters and humans pouring into Dragon’s Gap. They knew it would not happen hidden away as they were in this house with these people. Neither brother liked or respected the Axton’s nor the elder Axton’s, especially after they had found out what had happened to Lars.

The brothers had wanted to leave within the first months but had remained because Lord Lars had asked Braxton to stay and report on the coming and goings of visitors. And the Axton’s. Unfortunately, what they reported on was very little, but they had helped the servants all get paid and made conditions better for servants everywhere.

Braxton, brother to Noah smiled. “We will go to our Lord and work for him.”

Noah turned all the way around from the counter he had been cutting vegetables on. “Did he say both of us?”

“He did by name brother. We finally will be free from here.”

“Good, this mission sucked.” A human term he had heard and liked, it was the only way the brothers thought of their duty within the household as a mission. It had made it easier for them to remain. Lord Lars had done well on his promise of protection and a better life for all servants. Now that was done it was time to leave.

Braxton laughed and clapped him on his back. “That is the truth, so when our Lord leaves, we will follow. I will secure our possessions now. You make the calls.”

“I will.” Noah would call and let all the other servants know what was happening, plus call the elder Axton servants to tell them.

Braxton in the meantime would collect all their possessions and stash them in the shed out back, ready to leave.

CHAPTER FIVE:


Lars heard the door close behind him and the hurried feet of the former shield moving away. He hoped he had taken the warning and was making ready to leave as he addressed the four people in the room. “Good morning you asked for my attendance.”

“This is how you greet your family.” Asked his Elder Sire.

Elder in title only, the male was handsome and tall with well-defined muscles and features that were cut harsher and sharper than Lars. His eyes were a deep brown and he had a mane of golden hair, fortunately he was saved from being pretty due to a prominent nose which he had passed on to Lars’s father. Unlike his Sire, Lars’s father had his golden hair cut in a business style that did nothing to reduce impact of his most prominent feature, his long nose.

Thankfully Lars had inherited his Dam’s grey eyes and softer facial features with a normal size nose. All adding up to enhance his handsome features. He had a mixture of his Sires golden hair and his Dams white tresses giving his hair the sun kissed look.

He was pleased he did not take after his father’s Dam, a bitter narrow faced female. Her face always reminded Lars, unkindly he knew, of a rat’s face with beady brown eyes and pursed lips.

She always wore her dark brown hair pulled back from her forehead in a tight eye watering bun that sat on top of her head. How she ever got a hat on it entertained Lars endlessly. His Dam only took after his Elder Dam in dress style, her hair she styled in a coronet.

It was obvious to anyone that met the family who Lars received his build from. He was as tall and as well muscled if not more so than the Elder Axton. His father was less muscled due to his reluctance to train.

Lars raised one eyebrow. “No, I greet my family with affection.”

If it was possible, the four faces would go even stonier. Already he could feel his dragon’s impatience at being here in the home he felt he had failed Lars in. No matter how many times Lars told him it was not so.

When he spoke, his dragon’s growl underwrote each word. All heard it but did not comment. The one time they had done so Lars had allowed his dragon to come forth and he had rained havoc on the house destroying many hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of antiques.

It was then his parents had found out there was no one to complain to about their son as they were his parents. When they had mentioned the destruction to Rene’, he had asked them in his polite intense way, and what it was they had done to upset his son!

Of course that was when he was years younger but the lesson had been taught. Lars asked. “What is it you wanted and if it is another female? I leave now!”

“No!” His Sire, an older version of Lars and a younger version of his own father, rose to his feet. He smiled and said softer. “No son.” A term Lars always ignored as he did now.

“We have called you here so you can explain all that nonsense that took place yesterday!”

Lars sighed, counted to ten and gave himself a mental pat on the back for being right. “I am unsure which part you did not understand it all seemed self-explanatory to me!”

“Do not treat us as fools!” said his father.

“I assure you I do not.”

His Elder Sire sneered as he asked. “What has the house of Kingsley been feeding you boy. Why must you be so foolish as to think they act in your best interests?”

Lars felt his dragon rise, elongating his eyes making the four dragons aware he was present. They were in a quandary. The males knew they could take Lars, two against one plus if their servants helped they would be able to bring him down but to do so would to incur the wrath of the whole Kingsley family. It could also turn the rabble that Lars had endeared himself too, against the family and it was vital they did not cause that to happen.

Lars remembered his papa Rene’ saying sometimes one must remind people who you are! It looked like this was to be one of those times as he snarled. You call me foolish and boy! Whom is it you think you are speaking to? I am Prime to the Dragon Lord…

His Dam cut in.We know, and we expect you to handle this?” Lars stopped and thought on what she had said, there was so much more going on here. We? Whom is are we?”

His Elder Sire smirked as he threw a scroll at him. Lars caught it in his right hand as he looked at the four in the room. They all watched him with sharp eyes that never missed an expression. He made sure to keep his face impassive.

His Dam and his Sire’s Dam sat in long full green and lemon dresses, better suited for the Victorian era, morning dresses he remembered mama Verity had called them once. A lot of the female elder dragons dressed as such, they thought it gave them a presence and respect. With their long gowns of silk and lace and their hair dressed in high styles. It was to remind everyone they had been alive a very long time and Lars suspected they loved the rigidity of the Victorian times…

Much as the males who wore the high collars of the past with dark suits did. He was sure his Sire did not even know what a pair of jeans were.

Lars was not impressed either with them or the show of unity they were trying hard to reflect. He flicked the scroll, and it unrolled and read the list of twenty family names, all nobles, his parents and grandparent’s names were first and second on the list.

“What is this?”

But he knew. Sadly he knew, his parents and grandparents had gone from supporters to traitors. Confirmed when his Sire’s Dam told him. It is a list of nobles who wish the realm dissolved and a new Dragon Lord established!”

Lars jerked when he heard the bald statement as though they were discussing a list to a ball, not overthrowing the realm.

“Who have you decided to assume the position in Lord Reighn’s place?”

“Quenton Poult. His father told him with pride.

Lars shook his head in disbelief, a nice dragon but naive in many ways. Lars asked with an incredulous tone.He is only three hundred and forty years old, somewhat naive and uneducated. Does he realize what you are asking of him?”

Goddess no!” Trilled his Sire’s Dam, she waved her lace handkerchief in front of her face as though to wave away his question…

His Dam explained. “He is a stupid boy, but he is malleable, which is all that is necessary. His parents are pleased with our decision in choosing him.”

This made Lars bite back a smile, now he understood their reasoning in why he had not been nominated for the position. Lars was the least malleable person he or they knew.

She then told him. "As for education, we know he lacks. In this, knowledge would be dangerous.” Meaning Lars knew if he understood what was expected of him he would probably not go along with it. His Sire said. “With your guidance he will be exactly who we need.”

“My guidance! I see and the Royal family?”

His Elder Sire brushed imaginary lint from his sleeve as he refused to meet Lars eyes while he explained. “What of them! They will have to go! There will be no place for them afterwards.”

Incredulous he said. You expect them to just move along!”

They all looked at him and then the females laughed, his Dam shook her head at him as she brought herself under control. “Do not be a child of course not. We will see to that. Deaths of families happen all the time. Food goes bad, air turns sour. Those animals that he has aligned himself with might tear him and his family apart or his shadow. That witch could accidentally cast an unfortunate spell. All manner of things kill families.

She shrugged nonchalantly, then she said with her eyes narrowed. “Seriously you are very badly educated for someone who lives at the castle did they not teach you historical intrigue? Well never mind we, your parents and grandparents will handle this.”

His Elder Dam said with a tone of disappointment shadowing her words. “I see it will be too much for you to handle, we had hoped not to involve outsiders into what is a family matter.” She sniffed delicately and flapped her lace handkerchief once more.

“I see we are left with no choice.”

Lars stood absolutely still for a minute, He thought her words rang untrue, there would be no outsiders to call up. It was a bluff to see if he would be stupid enough to volunteer. Foolish people they did not know him at all!

He asked quietly. “Surely you do not expect me to help you with this?”

“You are our son!” said his Sire. His Elder Sire stated with righteous undertones in his voice. It is your family duty!”

Lars frowned as he told them. “It is treason you are proposing here.”

“Rubbish!” Blustered the Elder Axton as he took a swallow of his whiskey. “Mild rebellion at most!

Lars shook his head as he tried to make them understand they were wrong. “No! It is treason. You saw the Elementals yesterday, what they did. The judgment they handed down, and you are willing to risk their wrath. You wish to pit yourselves against them?”

His Sire scornfully stated. “Do not be stupid! Of course not.”

Lars looked at the four people a little relieved. He may not like these people but he did not wish for them or anyone to suffer the same fate as the people who had been on trial the day before. For treason. “Then what do you have in mind? Will you refuse to swear to the Dragon Lord?”

His Dam said archly. “Of course not, it is our duty to make so!

Your father and grandfather will swear fealty on behalf of us all to the Dragon Lord and the nation. Then we will over throw him!”

Lars laughed he could not help it. These people were insane or so naive it was criminal. “And you say that is not treason!”

“Of course it is, rebellion is acceptable if done correctly and orderly. We are accomplishing both. The Elementals will have nothing to say about it!” Stated the Elder Axton.

“Why is that?” Lars asked bewildered with their reasoning. His Sire spread his hands wide as he explained. It is a dragon issue that is why! Nothing to do with the Elementals.”

You think because you swear your loyalty to the Dragon Lord and the nation this will protect you from his wrath and theirs. Does every one of these people think the same?” Lars asked as he shook the paper with the names listed on it at them.

“Yes and there is you of course.” Replied his Sire.

“Me, why me?”

“You are nest brother to the Dragon Lord himself, taken by the past Dragon Lord and Lady. He would never embarrass his parents if it came out his nest brothers family had been tried for treason.”

What of the Elementals? Reighn is their chosen!

Why are you being so difficult?” whined his Dam.

His Elder Dam sneered. “I told you he was a waste of time, they have brain washed him.”

His Sire shook his head.My Dam is right. You are truly disappointing as a son. Can you not see the bigger picture here?”

Lars wanted to tell them they were wrong. He wanted to unleash his dragon on these foolish people. He closed his eyes desperately wanting to be gone from these obscenely entitled delusional people. Opening his eyes, he shook his head as he opened the door behind him.

There were so many things for you to have taken away from court yesterday but to your way of thinking now, the only important thing you should have realized, and accounted for was technology!”

He showed them his left hand and the phone in it. “This allowed my Lord to hear and understand everything that was said. There will be no going back from what you planned.”

It was only then they heard the booted feet approaching the room. Reighn stood with his brothers and guards in the doorway and received the scroll from Lars. He looked his brother in the eye as he softly said. “There will be no reprieve!”

Lars bowed his head. “I understand, the young dragon Quenton Poult knows nothing of this.”

“I am sure he does not.” He signaled a guard closer. Arron, go and collect Quenton Poult and secure him somewhere safe please.”

As you will my Lord.” He saluted and left with two others. Reighn, after he gave the scroll a quick look handed the list to Storm and Keeper. “If you will my brothers.”

With pleasure!” Keeper said as he gave the four ashen faced people a hard look. Storm squeezed Lars’s arm in comfort and said to the four shocked Axtons. “As if you had not done enough!”

He left with Keeper and several guards to round up the other conspirators.

Lars asked Stan. “Make sure everything is removed to storage please, and the servants are taken care of.”

“As you wish Prime. Both residences?”

“Yes please.”

Without a backward look at the people who purported to be his family, Lars walked away. He did not halt even when the outraged shouts from the males and the cries from the females rang in his ears. He just left. Closing the door on the house and that part of his life forever. He flew to Verity landing on her balcony and stepped into her open arms.

“It is over now my son. Mama Verity has you now!He sighed in relief and stayed with her throughout the day and the night. He stayed with her when they felt Reighn breathe dragon fire on the homes of the guilty. When he felt the Elementals remove the conspirators, his birth family included, from the world.

The following weeks were very hard for Lars and his family with the betrayal of the nobles. As well as the attacks on the retrievers and the kidnapping of Grace.

Now weeks later he sat here, in this place on this day, drinking really good coffee while he watched his town come alive. Reliving an event from his recent past that still haunted him in dreams. His dragon sighed within his mind. Time to place it back in the past dragging it up only makes us hurt.

Lars nodded to his dragon in return. I know let us find something to smile about instead.

CHAPTER SIX:


He grinned as he watched a little boy skip beside a teenager. Laughing up at her as they walked with brown bakery bags oozing, he bet with sweet cinnamon rolls.

He had woken this morning just as the sun had risen, from a particular nasty dream. Neither he nor his dragon had been able to resist the lure of the crisp air as the skies lightened to blue.

He had flown far surfing the air currents high above the world for what seemed like hours. Eventually, they had returned circling high above the castle for many enjoyable minutes before he had landed briefly to leave a message with June to give to Reighn. As castle liaison she relieved him of having to hunt Reighn down to pass on the messages. He blessed the day Sage had introduced her into their lives, especially his. Life, for him, was less busy now.

After refusing tea and a longer visit with June he had launched into the sky once more. Thirty minutes later he and his dragon had felt centred with the remnants of the dream lessened.

He had landed to walk the early morning streets, finally settling at this table to enjoy his first coffee of the day.

He loved to sit and watch the many people walking the streets, he felt a wave of despair flow over him. Would he ever find his mate or what dragons called the shadow to their souls?

Would he ever get the opportunity to raise young like his brothers and friends were doing with their own and claimed? He hoped he would. In that wish he was like every other dragon wanting a family.

He shook off the feeling of unhappiness. It was a changing world he was living in and he loved every minute of it. Whether he was lucky enough to find his shadow or not, he was still loved by his family.

Seeing his lifelong friends find their soul shadows or mates, as the shifters called them, was a balm to his heart.

Even Stan, his nest brother had found his shadow Jacqueline or Jacks for short. She was a tall slim very beautiful studious Leopard who wore glasses and business suits, which he had to admit she suited.

Not that he thought Jacks would have been a good fit for him, she was too serious minded and reserved for Lars’s way of thinking. He wanted a female that had a sense of humor that was demure in her dress a well-polished female that was tall with a slim figure. Someone who enjoyed working, at home preferably. A female who could understand his need to be active and present in his job as Prime to the Dragon Lord. As Prime he was required to know everything that went on within the dragon nation and act on it.

To be on call day and night was a trial but it was his life, she would have to understand this. Lars smiled as he thought of his soul shadow and what she would be like.

He sighed again and sipped his coffee as he went back to people watching. He caught a flash of orange from the corner of his eye but when he turned his head and looked along the street, he saw nothing. Frowning he shrugged and went on with his thoughts as he idly looked around him. He loved this town. He had visited other towns in other countries over the years and still even with all the growth around him. He still loved the feel of Dragon’s Gap.

He often had the thought he should live right in the middle of it all rather than at the castle. Especially now that the Gap was growing so fast, it would be invigorating to be part of the bustling activity.

So involved in his thoughts he did not see the flying kitten until it landed rump first on his table. It spun towards him stopping on its third rotation to look up into his eyes.

Lars lost his heart then and there as he stared into two green liquid pools that were clear and beautiful. When the kitten got up on all fours and crawled over to him nudging his hand, which he automatically lifted. He began to stroke the soft fur from its head to the tip of its tail. He was smitten.

Oops! Kammy thought, I weally am a good jumper. Like unca rain said.

When she felt Lars’s hand stroke her fur, all thoughts fled from her mind. His soft touch made her purr which surprised Lars and enticed his dragon to croon a dragon’s song in return.

Lars was stunned, he had no idea his dragon could make that sound. Suddenly he heard loud voices calling out from the streets. He scooped the kitten into his arms where she proceeded to wash his fingers and purr even louder.

His dragon grumbled and stopped his song as June walked over and sat in the vacant chair while she talked into her phone.

“No, I have her. She has found Lars… No, she looks fine!”

Hanging up she looked at the kitten which had now placed her little head in the palm of Lars hand. “You are in such trouble little missy!”

Lars cuddled her closer. “Who is this that says she is in trouble?”

June laughed. “That would be her mother that is who. You should maybe let her go because if I’m not mistaken, her mother is coming now?”

Lars looked over his shoulder to where June was looking and saw a small female around five feet tall walking toward them with curves that made his dragon sit up and pant.

Really pant? Lars asked him but his dragon was too busy staring to reply.


Continue reading this ebook at Smashwords.
Download this book for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-35 show above.)