elemental 06 - the best man

BOOK: elemental 06 - the best man
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Table of Contents





The Best Man

An Elemental Series Part Six


Larissa Ladd


Copyright © 2015 Larissa Ladd

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, without prior written permission.

Publisher’s Note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. Locales and public names are sometimes used for atmospheric purposes. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, or to businesses, companies, events, institutions, or locales is completely coincidental.


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Dylan was happy for his brother Aiden. He had found love with Aira. The two brothers had once been her bodyguards. But now she was both ruler and the most powerful air elemental in generations. While Aira and Aiden were recognized as a bonded pair among the elementals, human society wouldn’t recognize them as a couple until they were married.


But, Aira had already made many powerful enemies, enemies that were looking for any opportunity to kill her off. As Aiden and Aira’s parents push for a wedding, headstrong Aira resists the whole idea. She’s already more than satisfied with the passion she and her mate share, a passion made all the power powerful by their combustible combination of air and fire elements.


When Dylan falls for an enemy spy, will his lust put the lives of his brother and his ruler in danger?


Will Aira’s enemies succeed to put a wedge between Dylan, Aiden, and Aira? Will any of them live long enough for it to even matter?



Title Page


Free Book for You

About The Best Man

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

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A Special Note to Readers

Other Series by Larissa Ladd

About Larissa Ladd





“WHY DO WE EVEN HAVE to get married? We’re already bonded. That should be enough.” Aira asked Aiden.

Dylan tried to cover the smile at his lips as he watched Aira pace the living room floor. Months after coming into her full abilities as an elemental, after taking the role of monarch for her element and bonding with his brother, it seemed to Dylan as if—in spite of the lack of obvious threats against her life—things were only just starting to get interesting. He shook his head; since assuming the rule of her element, Aira had become more like part of his and Aiden’s team—she had asserted her right to rule her way, which meant that she refused to be chained to one location, or to wait politely for problem elementals to be brought to her for trial.

While she had bucked the authority of the Elders, Aira was finding the authority of parents—both his and Aiden’s as well as her own—to be more difficult to contend with. They had been together for a month when Jessica, Dylan’s and Aiden’s mother, had started campaigning for a wedding. 

“You know as a monarch you have to make it official,” Aiden said, watching her intently. Dylan shook his head again. In spite of the fact that he couldn’t imagine two people having more passion for each other than Aira and Aiden, his brother still had his flaws—among them an authoritative disposition.

“I thought the whole point of what we did was so I didn’t have to give in to stupid things like that,” she shot back. The wind rose outside and then quieted, and Dylan knew that while Aira only had a light grip on her temper at the moment, it was there. 

“You’re not up against the Elders, Aira,” Dylan pointed out. “Our mom and your mom are just … Well …” he shrugged. “At least you’re getting plenty of fruit in your diet.” Dylan glanced at the assembly of fruit baskets collected on the bar between the kitchen and the main area of the apartment. Jessica had begun sending the baskets as an overture; she wanted to get to know Aira better, she hoped Aira would have a chance to come by and visit sometime, maybe when Aiden and Dylan had a break from cases.

Aiden snorted and Aira turned on her heel to scowl at him. “This isn’t funny. You promised me you would never tie me down.” Dylan sat down, knowing that this would, for the moment, be between the two of them—there was nothing he could helpfully contribute to the conversation. He felt a flicker of something close to resentment; he didn’t resent Aiden for having Aira, exactly, or for the fact that his brother was finally happy—but it was difficult for Dylan not to feel a little lonely, seeing how much they loved each other. 

“Tell me how it would be any different to be married,” Aiden said, holding Aira in place with a fearless look. “What are you afraid of?” Aira fidgeted, looking down at her feet. Dylan knew exactly what she was afraid of, but it wasn’t his position or his right to tell Aiden. Aira sighed and sat down heavily in one of the wingback chairs, close to Aiden.

“I just feel like … like it’s so irrevocable …” Aira pressed her lips together, glancing furtively at Aiden. “I mean, I know—in theory—that our bond is irrevocable already. And I don’t want to get rid of it, even if I could.” 

“Technically you could,” Dylan said, in spite of his decision to keep out of it. “It would be agonizing, but you could. I don’t recommend it though.” Aira smirked.

“But getting married just … seems …” she shook her head. Dylan glanced at his brother. Aiden’s bright eyes widened, and he saw the telltale signs of Aiden having an epiphany.

“It seems like a big step, I know.” Aiden licked his lips and smiled slowly. “But the bond we have is way more irrevocable than a marriage.” Dylan watched Aiden rest his hand on top of hers and he did not have to be particularly in tune with either of them to feel the flow of energy that crackled between them. “Just … think about it. Meet our mom. She might back off a bit once she knows we’re not breaking up any time soon.” 

“Don’t count on it, Aira. Mom’s fondest wish for the last, what ten years has been for Aiden to settle down and give her grandkids.” Dylan grinned as Aiden groaned, bringing his forehead down to rest on Aira’s arm.

“Dylan, you are not helping,” Aiden said, turning his head to shoot his brother a baleful look. Dylan fought back the urge to chuckle. He knew the pressure wasn’t only on Aira, and it wasn’t simply a matter of parental meddling. Aiden had latched onto the idea of marrying Aira shortly after they had bonded, wanting to make their position official—not only to the elemental world, but also to their families and to himself. Aiden had been an inveterate bachelor before he had started watching over Aira, but there was a deep undercurrent of romanticism in him that Dylan knew Aiden kept carefully hidden.


Aiden had admitted to Dylan, one night while Aira slept, that he was hungry for a more “settled” life with the mercurial air elemental. It wasn’t that Aiden wanted to stop the work he did with Dylan and now with Aira, or even that he wanted her to assume anything resembling a subordinate role; Aiden wanted the comforts of a real “family” with the woman he loved. 

“You know,” Aiden had said, tilting his head back and looking up at the stars, “I feel like she won’t be ready to have kids until long after she’s married. And … I never thought I’d say this … but I really want to have kids with her.” Dylan had shrugged, wondering just how much Aiden had actually consulted Aira on his thoughts and plans.

“Does she want kids?” he had asked his brother bluntly.

Aiden had made a face at Dylan’s question.

“Eventually, she says. She feels like it’s her responsibility, especially now that she’s the ruler of her element. But I think she’s scared of the idea. It’s another thing that would interfere with her independence.” Aiden had smiled to himself, and it sent a lurch through Dylan to see the pure, unadulterated affection on his older brother’s face. “I feel like she wants to be tamed—she wants someone to grab hold of her and not let go—but she also wants to be able to come and go as she pleases.”

“You bonded with her—you started the process before you even had any idea of what you were doing. There had to be something you saw in her that made you swap energies with her.” 

Aiden’s smile grew wider as he reflected. “Oh yeah … I saw plenty in her. Mostly that she got on my last nerve,” Dylan laughed along with his brother. “But in a good way. She’s not afraid of me in the slightest.”

“Neither am I,” Dylan said, raising an eyebrow.

“Yeah, but you’re my brother, you’re not supposed to be afraid of me. She saw right through me the first time we ever spoke. She might have actually beaten me in that first tussle we had if Lorene hadn’t come through and made us stop.”

Dylan laughed out loud at the thought of it.

 “Leave it to you to fall in love with a woman who could kick your ass.”

BOOK: elemental 06 - the best man
13.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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