Dragon Flight

Clan Dragon #1

A witch running from hunters. A dragon, her secret protector, who vows to kill any who cause her harm. A fight between Clans, who forbid they be together.

Dragon shifter Alex stayed hidden in the shadows while Gemma grew up, attending to the Alpha’s business as needed, but biding his time. Waiting for her to break the oath magic that bound him from finally claiming her as his own.

An unregistered witch, each time Gemma used her magic she risked exposure and arrest, even execution. A fatal mistake sends her fleeing from her home, into the arms of a protector she never even knew existed.

The protector who will defy his Clan to claim her.

Magic Flight is a bwwm, paranormal dragon shifter & witch romance by Emma Alisyn and debut author Zaria Jamis. For readers who enjoy alpha males, curvy new adult heroines and steamy fated mate-but still fiercely real-kinda love. A standalone in the new Clan Dragon series. All stories have a satisfying dash of action adventure, plenty of romantic tension, and HEA conclusions.

CHAPTER ONE

Alexander jolted awake, snarling, an alarm honking in his ear. He slammed his hand on the snooze button, wincing when it creaked. Damn. Broke another effing alarm clock. They didn’t make the things to withstand shifter strength. Or maybe he should just stop shopping at the dollar store. He rolled over, laying eyes on the woman next to him and shook her shoulder. She groaned in protest, trying to push him away.

Alex shook her again. Harder. “Get up, or I’ll toss you out of bed. You know what day it is.”

She swore. “You’re such an ass, Alex.”

“Yeah, whatever. Just get up.”

He left the bed, walking to the edge, fingers tracing along the bottom of the white comforter. With one swift motion, he snatched it away, exposing nude flesh to the chill morning air. She yowled, sitting up. She hated the cold even more than she hated having to sleep next to him. But she had no choice, his scent on her skin hid another’s.

“You bastard. I’m so glad I don’t have to marry you.”

“You will if you don’t get your ass up and get dressed. They won’t let us stall any longer. The meat is in the pit and the Clans are gathered.” Seth’s crack of dawn text warned him their father had run out of patience and called the Elder. Today would be the day, or wings would be clipped.

Katrina sighed, swinging her feet to the floor with a wince. “Let’s get this over with.”

“I appreciate your cooperation.”

She huffed, stomped into his adjoining master bath, slamming the door and locking it behind her. He stared, then accepted the inevitable and grabbed his clothing from the closet and went to the guest bathroom, glad he’d be able to give her to the male she belonged to soon. Very soon.

Alex showered. For years, there’d been arranged matings between Clans in order to gain security and power. It was difficult to gain jobs in human-dominated businesses; Clans created their own. The Brooks Clan worked in real-estate development since before the Supernatural Registration Law was put into place, and were one of the wealthier, established holdings. For the Capanni Clan to marry their daughter Katrina into the Brooks would bring them connections valuable to their own burgeoning trade business—and it would help his father expand operations to the East coast. Alex understood the reasons for the marriage alliance and had agreed of his own free will, but damn if he hadn’t experienced a surge of glee the first time he’d caught his fiancée with her mate.

He checked his phone. He had a second pointed text regarding the time from his brother, who was next in line to become the Alpha. Alex was only third, and content with that since it meant he could avoid the worst of the responsibilities that went along with ruling a Clan with multiple businesses. But it still didn’t quite remove him from the politics of marriage and mating.

Wiping fog off the shower mirror with his hand, he stared at his reflection, fingers scraping along his chin as he considered shaving the beard for today’s event. He had just enough hair to call it a beard, and it canvassed across his chin, cheeks, and upper lip. He’d grown fond of it. Alex decided against shaving it off and stepped out, dressing quickly.

The doorbell rang. As he walked down the hall, behind him wet, bare feet slapped against the wood floors. He sighed, stepping aside as Katrina ran to the door with a towel wrapped around her body. She yanked it open, flinging herself at the male waiting there. Today the jig would be up. Her father would learn that she not only had no intention of marrying Alex, but had chosen a male from a small, financially insignificant Clan as her mate.

“Hi, baby,” Gus said, hugging Katrina back. He reached out and shook Alex’s hand. “Thanks for backing us on this, man.”

He shook his head. “I just hope you’re ready to deal with the fallout.” Gus’ mild eyes turned steely, pupils narrowing to slits. Despite his outward laid back appearance, he was still a dragon. He would stand up for his mate when the time came.

Gus nudged Katrina. “Get dressed, baby.”

She obeyed him sweetly, and Alex snorted. The female treated him like a servant or an unwanted relative in his own house, but melted like butter when her mate came around. How her Clan, and her father, didn’t realize she was already mated was beyond Alex—it just proved their stupidity, or willful blindness at the very least, in pursuit of the Brooks-Capanni merger.

Katrina emerged from the guest bedroom, dressed in a plain, white dress. During the pre-marriage ceremony and the actual ceremony itself, the females all wore plain, white linen dresses, the lack of color showing they entered their new Clan with no loyalty to the old. It was admittedly sexist, and Alex was surprised that the dragonesses still put up with it, but there were rumbles of change coming. Katrina was proof enough of that. It was unheard of for an Alpha’s daughter to defy her father’s choice of mate for her. She would be the first in…forever?

“You look beautiful,” her mate said, eyes glued to her slender form. Alex sighed, but didn’t touch her to nudge her along. With Gus there, it would have been asking for a fight even though Alex thought of her as a particularly annoying younger sister.

“Fine,” Katrina said. She stood on her toes to give Gus another kiss. “I’ll be with you soon.”

He looked at Alex. “I don’t like this. I should be there with her.”

Alex shook his head, impatient. “We’ve been over this. If you’re present, her father will Challenge you, or my father will make me do it. Stay away until things cool down, and then I’ll sneak her to you and you can fly off into the sunset.”

“A drake protects his mate,” Gus growled.

“But not by being stupid. Trust me, man. I don’t want to be saddled with her for life. I’ll do everything I can.” He glanced down, frowning, when a small fist punched him in the arm. Was it supposed to hurt? Katrina glared at him, but he shrugged. “Get in the car, let’s get this shit over with.”

She flipped him off then ran to the truck, climbing inside and shutting the door. She rolled down the window, glaring.

He gave Gus one last slap on the back, then climbed in the truck and started it up.  Now or never. Today would have been his wedding day, but his bride was leaving him at the altar. He couldn’t be happier about it. She wasn’t the one. Not the mate that sang to his bones. Not the female he knew he was destined to share the skies with until they died. He knew she was out there, he even knew where. But today wasn’t his day.

* * *

The television blared, the news anchorwoman telling the story of the most recent supernatural crime. On the screen, a photograph of a man glared at the camera, expression chilling, a picture of a mountain lion beside his. The man was a shifter and had recently been apprehended for the murders of two women. Gemma listened as she made her Sunday morning breakfast but reached for the remote soon after. The only thing that was broadcasted frequently about supernaturals were the crimes they committed or the status of the ones who made it to be famous.

She grabbed the remote and turned the program off, silencing the discussion over the future of the apprehended werelion, and the inevitable mention of the place shifter criminals were sent. Shoreline Correctional Facility, the supernatural facility with an unknown location. Where her mother had spent the last of her days. She tamped down the grief and anger, still as fresh as the day her mother had been taken away, and the inevitable surge of sympathetic magic. The most important thing she could do for her mother was lay low, live, and never reveal herself. With a human father covering her tracks, she had a chance at a normal life and she wouldn’t ruin it like the shifter on the morning news.

A shrill ring cut through the crackle of cooking bacon, and Gemma quickly set down her fork, racing to her room to pick up her cell.

“Hello?”

“Gemma, it’s me,” the raspy, male voice said.

“Hi, Papa. Did you get a new phone?” she asked, walking back to the kitchen.

“I did, and I don’t know how to work the darn thing! Flip phones were easy. You kids can keep this touch screen madness. I’m surprised I was even able to get the stupid thing to call you. Listen, I don’t know if you’re busy today, but if you’re free can you come over and help me learn how to work this?”

“I get off of work at six. I’ll come over then and bring some takeout from that new place on 2nd.”

“Thanks, sweetheart. See you soon. How the hell do I hang up this thing…?”

Gemma heard him struggling to find the end call button and pressed the button on her own phone, smiling. Despite the stress he’d encountered from the revelation he’d married a witch, he always was there for his daughter.

She prayed it wouldn’t be a busy day. It was unlikely for any store to be busy on a Sunday, including the pet store in which Gemma worked. She slipped on her uniform top and jeans, and grabbed her shoulder bag, tossing her phone and keys inside her pocket.

“Bye, Chloe!” Gemma called out to her cat, lounging in the sun as she departed, closing the front door behind her and locking it.

She walked down the hallway steps, pushing open the door to outside. Leaning against a bike rack was her mint-green commuter bike. Gemma’d acquired the bike when she had sold her car. She figured she could use the money to pay off some of her debt from college, and not have to pay money for gas when the main places she went were the pet store, her father’s house, and her apartment. The main street of the town that held the major stores was not far from Gemma’s home, and she reached her location in less than ten minutes.

The new sales associate was behind the cash register, fiddling with his phone. Gemma sighed, exasperated. Silas was known for not doing a large amount of work at the store. When he did do work, he always put in the minimal amount of work possible.

“Hey, Silas, did you start inventory for this quarter yet?” Gemma asked, setting her shoulder bag in a cubicle under the register.

“Nope,” he said, his eyes still glued to the phone.

“Could you start on that?” She opened the cash register, picking up a stack of money to count.

“Nope, I can’t,” he said, not looking up at her. Gemma paused, staring at him. She knew that if she was the store manager, she would have fired him a long time ago. But being the store manager’s nephew had certain advantages. Gemma put down the cash and slammed the register shut, walking towards the stockroom.

“I’ll be back,” she said, pushing open the stockroom door. She grabbed a bar code scanner and began the process of scanning the items. She couldn’t wait until she was able to pay off all of her bills and go back to college. Even though her father was there in the town, she felt stuck. It was great being able to still work with animals, but she still wanted to do what she’d set a goal for: be a veterinarian.

“Hey, Gemma, come take a look at this!” Gemma heard Silas’ voice call out from the front of the store.

She exited the quiet stockroom and walked out into the store. The air was filled with sounds of chattering birds, yapping puppies, and squeaking mice. Gemma approached the hamster section of the store and froze in horror. Silas was doubled over in laughter, watching the spectacle in front of him. He’d crammed two hamsters into a hamster ball, and they tumbled over and over, one viciously attacking the other. Gemma quickly snatched up the ball, prying the top open and plucking the attacking hamster out of the sphere. He bit her, but she placed him back in his cage, stifling her wince. The other hamster lay still, barely breathing. Gemma’s heart sank. No creature deserved to die like that.

She glared at Silas. “What is wrong with you? Why would you do something like this?”

Silas shrugged. “I thought it was funny.”

“Funny? These are living creatures that you forced to fight until death! I’ll see how funny it is when I call the store manager.” He shrugged again and walked out of the aisle. Gemma gently set the hamster ball down and dug her phone out of her pocket. She dialed the store manager’s number, listening to sound of the phone ringing.

Voicemail. Gemma left an angry message about Silas’ actions and returned to the hamster. She picked him up gingerly, holding him in her hands. Blood stained his cream-colored coat, and his chest slowly rose and fell, seconds passing in between each labored breath.

She stared down at the creature, chest tingling like tiny needle pricks. But it didn’t cause her pain. It felt warm and tight, spreading throughout her torso. She had only one thought in mind, to bring the hamster back to life. She’d done it before with plants, a hamster couldn’t be too different. The tingling sensation traveled from her chest down to her arms and fingertips. It stopped abruptly and transferred into the creature. Carefully, Gemma watched the hamster to see if it would revive. A few seconds passed and the hamster suddenly started to wriggle.

Gemma smiled from relief as the rodent crawled around her hand. She put him in his cage, watching him sniff around in a lively way as if he hadn’t just been near death moments before. She turned, feeling good about having saved this animal’s life and stopped, eyes widening.

“Oh, shit,” she blurted, then tried to cover. “You startled me.”

“You’re a witch,” Silas spat.

He looked at the hamster in disbelief, glanced back at her, a familiar expression in his eyes. She’d seen it before, that day years ago. She’d seen it since. On television, in classes when humans talked about supernaturals. She’d never wanted to see that look out of the eyes of a person staring at her. Her heart started to pound, and the sounds of the store faded away. His face twisted in hatred and disgust, and his eyes fell on her. She’d been found out.

She’d screwed up, that easily, so concerned about the life of the poor hamster that she hadn’t heard Silas exit the stockroom. After years of hiding her abilities, she’d let her guard down.

She did the only thing that she could think of. Run.