Dragon Scales Division, Book Two
By Lia Davis and Kerry Adrienne
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“When the auroras sparkle green and pink, the monster will return…”
Agent Luke Snow knows all too well what it’s like to lose a mate. His last case ended the search and siege—aka death—of his mate’s killer. The hole in his soul remains. When his DSD team lead, Owen, sends Snow on a vacation, he escapes to his remote Alaskan home. After being gone so long, his cabin isn’t as relaxing as it should be. Nightmares and a monstrous ice dragon haunt his nights while a dark-haired human beauty torments his days.
Mackenzie Wilde didn’t think twice when her father asked her to move back to Fairbanks and take over his clinic. Life in the big city isn’t as fulfilling as helping those truly in need. Plus, moving to Alaska will bring her closer to her father and her mother’s people, the Inuit.
When the devilishly handsome Luke Snow shows up at the clinic with a wounded teen, she’s intensely drawn to him. His alpha male personality is exactly what she doesn’t want in a man. But Snow may be the only one to turn to when the nightmares become reality.
Fear the man whose soul has rotted with loneliness, for his beast rages against love and all we hold precious.
“Tell me the story again, father.” The child poked her stick into the fire and glowing embers popped and crackled in the cool, night air. “Tell me about the great beast that lives beyond the aurora.”
“You know how it goes.” The old man tugged his parka hood close. “It’s time to sleep.”
“Please? I want to hear about the monster.”
He stared into the darkness overhead, a million stars visible on the velvety dome of the sky. The faint veil of the aurora flickered through the air like a strand of green ribbon in a rushing creek. A tear slipped from his eye, and he wiped it away with a gloved finger, then looked at his daughter.
The legacy was not one his people wanted to pass on, but they had no choice. Everyone needed to know.
The beast was still out there, somewhere between the winds, in the ice floes offshore, or even in the forest near the village.
Precocious and curious, his daughter always wanted to be by his side, learning the old ways. She pushed him to tell her everything about the village and the Inuit customs.
Why do the salmon skip and splash upstream through the water? Why do the seals sleep in groups, whisker to whisker? Why did the wolf howl before dark? Tell me about the beast that kills our people.
Always the questions. He took a deep breath and committed the moment to memory. One day soon, she’d grow up and slip away from him. The time for stories would be over.
These moments were what memories were made of.
He returned her smile. “Very well. Promise me you will share the legend with your own children one day. Promise me you will never let loneliness seep into your soul and change you into a horrible beast.”
“I promise, father.” Her face took on a solemnity usually reserved for adults.
A low howl slithered across the cracked ice. Not wolf. Not anything recognizable.
He pulled his daughter close and began the tale.
“Long ago, as the frigid Arctic winds sliced through the eternal darkness of winter, a beast formed in the depths of a man’s consciousness, feeding off his loneliness and rage like a wolf cub suckles at its mother’s teat. The beast grew stronger until it had overtaken the human—wiping out what was left of his love and compassion. Taking away his humanity.
One night, when the aurora pulsed vibrantly in colors that rivaled a rainbow’s shadow, the creature ripped through the man’s nightmares and slid along the trails of his tears and pain to the surface. And when it had eradicated the last shred of his humanity, the beast grew colder and angrier.
Humans could not stop him. Other creatures cowered.
Each time the greens and pinks of the aurora shimmered in the black sky, the beast hunted. Not for food.
He hunted for gratification and the joy of the kill.
Hatred and revenge fed his icy soul, and his angry screams spit shards of icicles across his path like a million knives. Kill. Maim. Damage. Leathery wings unfurled, and he cast an icy blast over caribou, seals, wolves—and warm hearts became mere spatters of red ice, life forces drained.
Immeasurable pleasure filled him, and he ascended over the aurora, wings taut against the wind, his mind deranged with bloodlust at the thought of the next kill.
As he soared and circled, he spotted a small village, its fires flickering in dark shadows against the white snow. Warmth flowed from the village, heating the air above.
He sensed it.
Beating hearts. Love and family.
Rage split his shriek, and he dove, nose down, toward the village. The first human he spotted was a young woman. Mouth open, she dropped her pack when she saw him, and he grinned as he speared a talon through her heart as he sped by, the hot blood draining onto his claw. He flung her away and tasted the last of her life force, a warm and coppery tang.
Within minutes, he’d torched the entire village and killed every living being there. It wouldn’t be long before the town would be reclaimed by the snow and ice of the Arctic. Desolate and lonely, it would cease to exist in reality or on maps—a fragment of the emotion that had once rolled into the air.
He’d sleep well. Satiated for the moment, he turned to go home.
Beneath him, a speck on the ground, was another man pulled by a dog team on a sled, headed toward the next village. He hadn’t been home for the bloodfest.
The ice dragon smiled. He’d wait till the man saw the destruction and realized what he had lost before killing him.
The more pain and suffering, the sweeter the slaughter.
The man’s cries echoed across the tundra as he approached the outskirts of the village. He urged the dogs closer, and they took a corner too quickly, dumping him into the snow. He lay still, crying for his wife and child, and the ice dragon grew near, savoring the pain he’d caused. The beast landed yards away.
He’d take his time with this one. He moved closer, his talons clicking on the hardened snow and ice.
Odd, the man didn’t stand to face him. The dragon blew out a puff of cold smoke when he saw the man’s legs were bandaged above the knees. He couldn’t run.
He had no legs!
The aurora brightened as the man’s shouts turned to angry threats.
What can you do to me? The dragon hissed and lumbered toward him.
“You killed my family,” the man shouted, his gloved fists biting into the snow as he tried to raise himself into a sitting position. The dogs whined and backed away.
“And I will kill you.” The dragon sped his pace.
A heated scream rocketed from the man and suddenly, the aurora dipped low, touching the ground like a thousand lightning bolts, sending a shockwave through the air that knocked the dragon back.
What the hell?
As the lights retreated, he shook his head at the sight before him. Where once lay a crippled man, now stood another dragon. Larger than him, magnificent in its silvery scales with four horns of black on its head, the creature held a look in its eyes the beast recognized.
The newly formed dragon grabbed his tail and swung him in the air, repeatedly hitting him on the ground, then blasting him till he moved no more and the land swallowed him whole. He was never seen again.”
“Then what, Father? The evil dragon is dead, but there’s a new dragon now. A silver one.”
He nodded. “Yes, and the new dragon is still out there, hiding somewhere above the aurora. Waiting. He seeks revenge for the loss of his family. We don’t know when he’ll strike again.”
“Don’t worry.” The daughter stood and tugged at her coat. “It’s just a story. It’s not real.” She skipped off to the tent.
The old man squinted at the aurora, watching its patterns waver in front of him. From a child’s lips to the gods’ ears, he hoped they’d never see the fearsome ice dragon.