Read Ice Dragon Online

Authors: Bianca D'Arc

Tags: #Romance, #Fantasy, #Erotica, #Fiction, #General, #Dragons

Ice Dragon (5 page)

Just without the butter and herbs.

She laughed at his dry observation and took the rest of the cooked fish from him, placing it on a small slate she used as a plate. She ate the whole thing with relish, savoring every bite as her eyes glazed with memories. Roland watched her, enjoying her delight in such a simple thing. He would give her many such happy moments, he vowed. He would bring her new experiences and shower her with gifts of every kind.

He wanted to see her happy. It was a need he had that was so foreign, it was startling, but it just felt right. She was his. He would pamper her and give her everything within his power to make her happy. She just didn’t know it yet.

 

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Finishing the meal, Lana wiped her mouth daintily with a small cloth she used to clean and then wrap her few belongings. Everything was soaked from Tor’s earlier splashing but it was warmer here in the lowlands. Tor continued to play in the nearby pools, showering them from time to time as he caught or lost a fish. He was enjoying himself immensely, learning a new skill, and catching a healthy dinner at the same time.

“Thank you, Roland.” Lana’s eyes glowed up at him. “I’d forgotten fish, and I think you’re an even better cook than my mother was.” She laughed up at him and he chuckled with a dragonish snort of smoke at her little joke.

I’m glad I could give that memory back to you, little one. I like to see
you happy.

He touched her gently with his muzzle, rubbing over her soft breasts and relishing the feel of her arms as they came up to hug him like she often did with Tor. It wasn’t something most dragons welcomed from humans, but then, he wasn’t most dragons. He was only half-dragon.

The other half of him longed to feel her wrap her arms around him in passion, but that would come soon. As soon as he could manage it.

“I’d better clean up. It’s so warm, I think I’ll take this opportunity to wash everything, since Tor’s already helped get all my belongings wet.

Plus, I don’t want to look like a dirty Northerner when your people see us tomorrow.”

They’ll be amazed by you no matter how you look.

He watched her move around gracefully, dipping to gather up her few belongings and take them to the side of one of the smaller pools. She began to wash everything and he uncovered some big rocks for her, which he heated with his breath to a nice warm temperature so she could lay her furs and extra clothing out to dry.

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“Why is it such a big deal that Tor and I are friends?”

It’s a rare woman who can communicate with dragons. It’s even rarer
for anyone to be able to heal dragons with their touch. I know of only a few
people in the whole kingdom who have the gift.
He paused, considering his next words carefully.
I think you should know about two women in
particular, who were recently discovered to have the same gift. The ability
to heal dragons is an inherited trait of royal blood. Our long-ago king,
Draneth the Wise, made a pact between dragons and humans that keeps
my land peaceful and secure, both races living in harmony. These two
women were lost members of the House of Kent, a line of royal blood
distantly related to the current king’s line. I think you may also be part of
the House of Kent.

“But I’m not royal. At least, I don’t think I am. I have no idea really, but before I was taken north, we lived simply. Not at all how I imagine a royal would live.”

You might be surprised. The two women I mentioned? They lived in
hiding and did not even know of their birthright until just a short while
ago. I believe you may be related to them.

Lana stood from the stream, her clothing wet in patches, her expression deadly serious, her face pale.

“Do you know their names?”

Why?

“I remember my sister. Two sisters, actually. We were little, but my sister was my mirror image. I called her Riki. And the baby, she was just a toddler. We called her Lora.” Tears fell unheeded down her face as she shared just a tiny bit of her past with him. Hope she didn’t dare voice shone in her eyes.

He moved closer and faced her straight on.
The younger of the women
is named Belora and her mother is called Adora.

 

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“Mother? Stars!”
Lana fell to her knees on the soft bank, her body trembling. Roland puffed warm air to comfort her, wishing he could transform and take her into his arms, but it was still too soon. “I don’t know my mother’s name, but Belora could be baby Lora. My name is Alania but Mama always called me Lana.”

Then you are most likely one of the twin daughters of Adora we have
been seeking.

“Seeking?”

Once we realized who Adora and Belora were—long-lost cousins of the
king—we sent word to all dragons and knights in the land and beyond to
search for word of Adora’s lost twin daughters.

“I don’t know if I’m really one of the girls you’re looking for, but I’d like to meet these women and see if they know me, or if I recognize them.

But it’s been so long!”

Roland limped over, caging her with his strong forelegs, his heat reaching out to her.
I will take you to them myself. I have few doubts that
you are one of the twins we seek. Your healing gift and your relationship
with Tor are proof enough for me.

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Chapter Four

Lana reached out for Roland, drained emotionally and needing to cling to his strength. In just a few short days this strange black dragon had become a guide through unknown lands, a protector and a close friend. And now he was giving her hope that she might find her family after all this time. It was enough to make her cry, and she never cried.

Well, at least not often. She’d learned early on in Salomar’s household that crying was a waste of effort and only brought unwanted attention.

Roland’s emotional strength was even greater than Tor’s. Roland was fully grown, for one thing, and emotionally mature. He was also willing to let her lean on him while her emotions rocked from one extreme to the other. There was something so comforting about his nearness. She had slept better these last few nights, nestled under his protective wing, than she ever had in her life. He felt so good to her. So right.

“Can Tor and I stay with you, at least for a little while, when we get to your home? I mean, is there room for us?”

Yes, little one. There will always be room for you and Tor wherever I
am. You are my saviors and my good luck charms. I won’t let you leave me
ever again.

She leaned against his broad chest, hugging his long neck. “That sounds so nice, but what if this woman Adora really is my mama? Oh, sweet Mother of All! Roland, thank you so much for telling me about them. They might really be my family.”

 

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I think they probably are. And if I’m right, we’ll go where they are or
ask them to come to us. I know they’ll want to see you as much as you’ll
want to see them.

“Oh, I hope you’re right!”

I’m always right. You’ll learn that soon enough.
His tone was teasing as his neck craned over her to breathe warmth into the pool she’d been using to wash her things.
You’re shivering, Lana. Warm yourself in the
pool and finish your washing. We need to rest up so we can cross the river
at first light. I want the dawn to sparkle off Tor’s beautiful silver scales so
you make a grand entrance to my land. His size alone will have all the
dragons talking about him soon enough, but we have few silver dragons
among our number and none so brilliant as Tor.

Is that true?
Tor bounded over, full of fish and starting to get sleepy as young dragonets often did.
Are there other dragons who look like me?

A few,
Roland told him.
But none as big as you are, Tor, I don’t think.

The dragons in my land are all the colors of the rainbow. There are only a
handful of black like me. A few dozen are silver, but they are mostly
silvery gray—not bright, clear, iridescent silver like you. If I had to guess,
I’d say you were an Ice Dragon. They are rare, even in the Northlands.

An Ice Dragon? That sounds nice,
was Tor’s sleepy reply as he settled his large bulk down for a nap. Within moments, he was fast asleep.

Lana smiled fondly at him as she made her way to the small pool Roland had heated for her. She took off her footwear and tested the water with her toes, a little hesitant about how deep the water might be.

Cautiously, she stepped into the shallow part of the pool where she could still see the bottom, moving inch by inch lower into the warm water. It felt like heaven.

Her filthy pants and tunic billowed around her as she sank lower and she decided to take them off once she was in water up to her shoulders.

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Turning toward the bank, she found a good spot with a big, flat rock and a shallow area where she washed her clothes, then wrung them out as best she could. She threw the damp clothing toward the grassy bank where Roland’s warm breath made quick work of everything that had gotten wet.

Lana noticed the black dragon watching her intently. She realized she was naked under the water, but this was a dragon. He should have no interest in her naked human body, but something gleaming in the depths of his faceted emerald eyes made her think otherwise. Ridiculous, she told herself, he’s a dragon.

Why the blushes, little one?
Roland’s voice echoed in a low purr through her mind as his head dipped lower and closer to the pool where she stood submerged to her shoulders.

“Stop looking at me like that.”

Like what?

“Like you want to eat me.”

Roland chuckled in his dragonish way, sending smoke billowing lightly near her head.
But what if I said, I did want to eat you?

She sank lower into the pool, her eyes wide. “I thought you said your land was civilized. Civilized to me means dragons don’t eat humans.”

What if I weren’t a dragon? At least not completely.

“What in the world are you talking about?”

I will tell all tomorrow, little one. For now, rest assured my land is
civilized and you will be safe and welcome there.

She was truly confused by his words and the speculative tone in his voice. Roland backed off though, setting his large head on his front paws, watching her as she began to relax again. He sent puffs of his hot, cinnamony breath over her to keep her warm in the chill night air. The last rays of the sun were just beginning to fade. It would be dark soon.

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You had better come out of there before you wrinkle like a raisin.

“What’s a raisin?”

It amazed him how such simple things had been denied this beautiful soul, when he’d been raised with such bounty. The idea humbled him.

A raisin is a dried grape.

“What’s a grape?”

She stroked the cooling water up and down her arms as she scrubbed her skin with some of the tall grass growing by the pond. It was scrubweed, common in many areas of the world and, apparently, she remembered well enough the use of it from her childhood.

A grape is a kind of fruit. They grow in bunches in the southern regions
and have a sweet, juicy taste. You’ll like them. When they’re dried, they
wrinkle up, very much like your skin is wrinkling from staying in the water
so long.

“But it feels so good to get clean!”
The smile on her face was so refreshing he could hardly condemn her for lolling in the waters he kept warm for her.

At the Lair they’ll have bathing chambers with heated spring water
that you don’t have to share with fish and frogs.
He snorted with a chuckle as a tiny frog hopped up onto the bank near his foot.
There will
be scented oils and perfumed soaps and special herbal formulations for
your beautiful hair to make it shiny and smooth.

Her eyes gazed at him in wonder. “It sounds wonderful, but will they let me use such grand things?”

Of course! You are my guest and more than that, you are a
gentlewoman in your own right, companion to an Ice Dragon the likes of
which my land has not seen in many, many years. Lana, do not doubt
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yourself or your worth. You are a beautiful, intelligent, talented woman
and you will be welcome in my land and in my home.

“When you say it that way, I almost believe it. But I’m not used to anything but working, running, fighting and hiding, Roland. It’s hard to get used to the idea that Salomar can’t try to hurt us anymore.”

Never again.
He drew his head up high and stiff with anger at the thought of what this beautiful girl had been through in her young life.

Neither Salomar, nor any like him, will ever threaten you or Tor again. Not
as long as I breathe. You have my word on that, Lana, and you will learn
that once given, my word is my oath.

She tried to wipe away a tear so he wouldn’t notice, but he saw her furtive movement. She was coping as best she could with all the changes in the past few days, he knew. What she needed now was to feel safe. His voice was much gentler as he settled his massive head back down on the ground before her, his warm breath puffing in her direction.

Now come on out of there. I’ll keep you warm, sweetheart.

“I’m so glad Tor and I found you when we did.”

No happier than I
, he rumbled.
I owe you my life.

She smiled at him, blushing just a little. “It was Tor that got you to safety. He’s the one who saved you.”

But you’re the one who healed me. Without both of you, I would have
been dead. I owe you both a life debt, as the wandering Jinn would say.

Taking you to the safety of my homeland is the very least I can do.

She started forward in the water, making his breath catch internally as her skin was revealed little by little from the cloaking water. “We’ll be happy to be safe for the first time in Tor’s life. He’s never known peace.”

Roland tried to concentrate on her words, but it was no use. He watched her as she drew closer to the bank, every last coherent thought wiped from his mind.

 

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Like the goddess rising from the ocean, Lana walked up out of the small pool, her skin gleaming pink in the final rays of the setting sun.

She was the image of womanly perfection to him. Generous breasts with pouting nipples, sleek muscles from years of living hard, a trim waist and rounded hips, she was as beautiful as he had known she’d be. Naked, she stood before him and he was completely mesmerized.

Then she giggled.

“Will you dry me off, Roland? Please?”

He perked up, realizing belatedly that he’d been staring while his thoughts roamed over her delectable body. He had to remember she thought he was only a dragon.

Of course, milady. Just a second.

He took a deep breath and sighed a warm wind over her front, blowing the wet strands of her gorgeous, fiery hair back as the water droplets clinging to her skin melted away before his heat. She turned around and he had to pause for a moment to catch his breath at the beautifully pert, round ass presented so innocently before him. She looked back at him over her shoulder curiously, and he sent the warm breeze of his exhalation over her back. Her supple spine and the mass of flaming auburn hair shone with coppery licks of fire in the red rays of the dying sun.

You are so beautiful, Lana.

She smiled as she turned back to him. “I’m glad you think so, but I’m rather plain for a human, I’m sure.”

She bent to her tunic which was mostly dry and slipped it over her head, forgoing trousers since they weren’t dry enough to wear just yet.

Having eaten and washed, she was yawning when she bent to check Roland’s wounds. At all costs he had to keep her from checking his groin.

After seeing her beautiful nudity, even his healing dragon body had 50

 

 

 

 

gotten quite obviously excited. He didn’t want to have to try to explain why a dragon would get hard at the sight of a beautiful human woman.

Not yet at least.

You’re tired, Lana. Come here.
He held up his wing, hoping she would take the invitation to rest warmly, safely away from the inexplicable evidence of his arousal.

With a last pulse of healing energy to his side, she covered her yawning lips with one dainty hand and nestled down under his wing. She was asleep almost before she settled fully against him. Roland sighed in relief. Tomorrow he would tell her his secret and see how she reacted to the very real
human
male holding her safe and warm in his arms.

Roland woke Lana just before dawn when the pearly gray light grew bright enough for human eyes to see. Tor was still fast asleep and Roland knew the young dragon would sleep on for at least an hour or more. Now came the moment of truth for Roland…and his lady.

Lana? Sweetheart, wake up. There’s something I have to tell you.

Is it morning yet?
She yawned, answering him in the quiet of her mind as she rubbed her eyes, coming awake slowly like a newborn kitten. He loved that about her. Her innocent femininity was just one of the many facets of her that inspired new, tender emotions in his heart.

Nearly. Lana, there’s something important you have to know.

She looked over at him and he knew she was coming fully awake.

What is it? Is something wrong?

No, nothing’s wrong. There’s just a secret I need to share with you and
you can’t tell Tor. He’s too young yet to keep this secret, and secret it must
remain—at least for now.

Her expression grew troubled.
I don’t hide things from Tor.

 

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For the safety of my kingdom, you must hold this one secret close to
your heart for a short while. More than just my own life depends on it.

Then why in the world do you want to tell me?

You’ll understand when you see...
He blew out a hot, frustrated breath.
Oh hell, just watch.

Lana gaped in awe as the black wing around her transformed into a muscular,
human
arm. She nearly shrieked when, instead of a black dragon, she was being held close to the hot body of a tall warrior clad in tight-fitting, black leather breeches and little else.

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