Fighting For Her Dragon

By: Julia Mills

(Dragon Guard Series Book 7)



CHAPTER ONE


“Emma! Emma! Open this damn door!” Devon bellowed.

This was the third time in two days he’d pounded on her door. The only difference was this time he seemed really upset, almost desperate. She tried to get up, had tried every time. Wanted to answer the door or at least call out to him. Needed to tell him she had the flu or whatever this horrible feeling was and she would talk to him when she felt better. The problem was no matter how hard she tried, not even a finger would move. Her throat was so dry from crying and lack of drink she could only whisper. Emma couldn’t remember how long it had been since she’d actually left her bed.

All of this had started forty-eight hours earlier, with the voice of the traitor sounding in her head, and reached its first climax when she’d collapsed on her living room floor. He’d spoken directly into her mind, had been doing so since the moment he touched the land of the Red Fire Clan lair. As shocking as it was to hear him like he was a part of her, the fact that he called her his mate and had triggered her fainting freaked her out. On the heels of his mind-boggling revelation, the traitor had begged her to come to him. He had reached for her. Not like you reach across the table, but through some invisible link she felt in the very depths of her soul and could’ve sworn had not been there before he reached out to her.

Pain accompanied his pleas, a crippling pain that permeated every cell of her being. It had finally become too much for her to bear. Emma landed face first in front of the couch, barely missing the corner of the coffee table with her head, and let blessed unconsciousness take her away.

She woke to wave after wave of pain racking her body. When the sun began to shine through the slats of her blinds hanging on the picture window, the pain had begun to recede. It had been almost twenty minutes since the last barrage of agony–the longest it had stayed at just a dull throb since she’d passed out. Working up her courage, Emma rose to her knees.

Cold sweat peppered her upper lip, wet her spine, and ran down her arms. Taking a long, deep breath in an attempt to end her panting and hopefully not hyperventilate, she steadied herself and began crawling towards her bedroom. Halfway to her destination, the pain returned with a vengeance. Her muscles knotted, feeling as if they were pulling away from her bones. Cramps like nothing she’d ever experienced set her insides on fire, a blaze that tore through her abdomen and chest, forcing the air from her lungs. Spots danced before her eyes before she once again found herself lying on the cold, hard tile.

With no windows in the hallway, Emma could only guess how long she’d been there when she was finally able to pry open her eyelids. Struggling to her knees for the second time, she was determined to make it to her feet and used the wall as a crutch. Finally standing, she put one foot in front of the other, her shaky legs threatening to buckle under her before she finally made it to her bed. Moaning, she fell face forward onto the sage green comforter, praying to the Heavens that she never had to move again.

Over the next few hours she floated in and out of consciousness, never quite sure if what she heard and saw was real. Andrew’s voice was the only constant as she battled whatever force attacked her body, mind, and soul. He would plead with her to come to him, speaking beautiful words in the ancient language of dragon kin, telling her that she was the only one that could end his torment. Then he would demand, his tone sharp, his words direct, as if he would accept nothing but her complete surrender to his will. In between, he would whisper her name over and over, all the while pushing his need into her.

His eyes peered into her soul. She had no idea how, but his mismatched stare followed her from consciousness to restless sleep and back again, ever present, keeping watch over her. When one especially horrific wave of torment came upon her, their gazes locked. The agony she saw reflected in those hauntingly imperfect eyes confirmed her worst fears. It was not her pain but his attacking her.

“Why are you doing this to me?” she whispered, barely able to make out her own words.

Horror overrode the ache in his eyes and seemed to push the agony from his tone. He spoke with command and a clarity that baffled her, considering his pain. “I’m not doing anything, a thaisce. It’s our connection...our bond. If you come to me, I hope to free you from my influence.”

“But...” Her attempt to answer through mindspeak, as he had spoken to her, was cut short by Devon’s first round of knocking at her door.

The next two days were an endless loop of pain, visions, and nonsensical conversations with the traitor in her head, only interrupted by the few precious moments when she was overtaken by exhaustion. Andrew’s pleas became more insistent, the power he was pushing through the invisible bond more forceful, as she continued to explain that she was trying to come to him but was physically incapable.

“You must! It’s the only way I can save you,” was the last she heard of him. Their bond had gone silent. She called to him but to no avail, he had simply stopped communicating.

But I still hurt...

“Emma, Heavens dammit! If you don’t open this door, I’m breaking it down.” Devon’s shouts were becoming more insistent, his pounding on the door a constant thunder that echoed through her skull at every strike.

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