Heart of the Dragon Preview

Copyright © 2021 by T.J. Quinn



A loud wheeze disturbed the surrounding silence.

It was so powerful, so strong, it startled every single creature nearby. The birds fled in flocks, squirrels rushed to hide, the rabbits disappeared into their burrows, and the few leaves left on the trees trembled.

I could swear I felt its warmth caress my skin, but that was impossible. No creature could do that. And yet, I was sure of what I had heard, of what I had felt. 

Something was wrong. No one had seen enormous creatures around these woods in years. They had been hunted down by my people in the first years after the attack. The scarcity of food and the toxicity of the water had killed those that escaped us. 

These days, we were lucky to find a few rabbits or some skinny deer. But this was definitely coming from a giant beast. 

With my heart thundering in my chest, I took a few steps towards the clearing from where the sound had come, debating if it was best to turn around and run as fast as I could or to see whatever caused such a disturbance. I wasn’t the most courageous person around, but I had to admit I was probably the most curious, so the result of that debate wasn’t that hard to guess. 

A few more steps took me closer to the clearing, and it happened again. This time I was so close I was able to smell ashes and char in the air, and my heart stopped for a moment, my worst nightmares coming to life. Fueled by the urge to know the truth, I took the few steps that separated me from the edge of the clearing, as silently as possible, considering I was stepping on the fresh snow. 

My hands covered my mouth just in time to silence the cry of despair that struggled to burst out of my suddenly dry lips. 

How was this possible? Why was he here? They had never strayed from the cities before… at least, not as far as we knew. But there was no doubt. My eyes weren’t fooling me; I didn’t imagine things. 

There was a dragon in the woods. A black dragon, none the less… one of the most vicious ones… 

Frantic, I slowly stepped back as soundless as possible, doing my best not to awake the beast so that I could run back to the mountain and warn the others. 

My booted feet stepped on a twig, and the sound of it breaking resonated throughout the barren woods as if it was a shot, and I cursed my luck. 

Freezing in place, I waited, praying to all Gods above to hide me from the creature. 

But I wasn’t so lucky. The beast lazily raised his enormous head, sniffing the air, looking for whatever disturbed his sleep. A second later, his red eyes were fixed on me, and his entire body stiffened. 

I crouched into a still ball and waited, hoping I would become invisible in the white snow around me, with the white clothes we wore to blend with the snow in the woods. 

The sound of the gigantic beast getting up told me I had failed miserably. 

I choked on a cry, knowing I was as good as dead. But I wasn’t ready to go down without a fight. Where he was big and powerful, I was slim and fast. He couldn’t follow me through the trees, at least, not fast enough, and though he would be able to see me while flying above the trees, he wouldn’t be able to capture me. Not if I stayed under the trees, and hopefully, not before I found a burrow big enough for me to hide on it. 

He spread his wings and roared. 

The bloodcurdling sound prompted me forward, and I started running, as fast as I could and as far as possible from the creature, never looking back. My heart thundered in my chest so loud, I barely heard anything else. 

He tried to follow me. I heard the trees being ripped out of the ground and the howl of the small creatures as he crashed through in his attempt to follow me, but I never stopped. Not even when he set the trees behind me on fire with his powerful breath. My only chance to survive this encounter was to keep running and stay under the trees, taking him as far away as possible from the mountain where we lived. 

My foot slid under an exposed root, and I fell flat on the ground, hitting my chin against a buried rock. The crisp snow was instantly covered with my red blood, and I sobbed. 

The excruciating pain took my breath away for a couple of seconds, time enough for the dragon to find me and swirl a few times over the trees that stopped him from reaching me. 

His victorious roar churned my stomach, and bile reached the back of my mouth. For a moment, I thought he was going to roast me alive, right there and then, but for whatever reason, he didn’t. 

Gathering all the strength I had left, I jumped up and kept running, still not ready to give up. I had no idea where I was or where I was going, but I didn’t care. All I wanted was to escape. 

I heard his raging roar, but I ignored it while I ran through the woods, dodging trees and bushes, my hands and face scratched all over, my feet hurting like hell from the unwonted effort, but nothing mattered. Only getting to a safe place if there was one. 

Images of my family and friends rushed through my mind, and I sobbed but didn’t slow down. I fell a couple more times, but I got back on my feet and kept running, his enormous shadow and the flip flapping of his wings letting me know he was still after me. He hadn’t given up. 

When I started to lose the battle, I finally saw what I had been looking for a big burrow dug into a small hill. It was probably used as a lair by wild animals, but right now, my biggest threat was the gigantic dragon following me around. 

Pushing myself harder, I ran faster, and a few moments later, I was entering the burrow, going as far away as possible from the entrance until I hit a rocky wall. There was no way out. 

Breathless, I allowed my wobbling legs to buckle, sitting me down hard on the dirty ground. 

A loud thud and the crumbling of small rocks and dirt warned me the dragon had landed on the top of the hill. I was trapped. 

His frustrated roar echoed around me, and I wrapped my arms around my legs, my heart still frantically drumming in my chest. 


All I had to do was wait for him to leave. With luck, he would get tired soon, or a bigger prey would lure him away, allowing me to go back home. 

A heartfelt sob ripped through my shuddering body, and I struggled to keep my tears at bay. I was not safe yet and probably wouldn’t make it out of this burrow alive, but at least I had led the beast away from the mountain where my people lived. 

I prayed the guards had heard his roars and had warned the others there was a dragon nearby. In the ten years since the aliens arrived at our planet, the dragons had never wandered into the woods. This was unheard of, and its implications were too dreadful for me to even consider at this moment. 

Rumors spread that the aliens were running out of human hosts for their parasite forms. If that was true, it could explain why this dragon was so far away from the nearest town. They were expanding their hunting grounds. 

Another roar boomed through the woods, and I trembled harder. He was still there, waiting. 

I ran my fingers through my tangled hair. It used to be golden, but with barely any water, bathing was a luxury few could afford. There were no rivers, streams, or lakes nearby, just a measly water spring that kept us alive but not much more. We had tried to melt the snow, but soon we realized it had an irritant substance that caused severe skin rashes. It happened the same with the rain, probably because of the toxic smoke from the apocalyptic fires that destroyed most of the cities around the world. 

Even the water from the spring had to be boiled, filtered, boiled again, and filtered a second time before we could drink it. 

Laying my head on my knees, in sheer exhaustion, I remembered the night our lives changed forever. 

We were celebrating Christmas. Our little town was lit with all the Christmas lights adorning people’s houses, and the air was crisp, predicting a white Christmas. 

I was only twelve, and the idea thrilled me like few things did back then. My younger sister and I were walking home hand in hand from the neighborhood church. I chanted my favorite carols, while Janis tried to guess what Santa Claus would bring us that year. I already knew the truth about Santa, of course, but I kept the illusion for my younger siblings. 

There was nothing more precious than the Christmas magic, or so I thought. We were about to enter the house when bright balls of fire lit the night skies, and hell was set free. 

My father rushed us into the house. We had a concrete underground basement, and we figured we would be safe there until this, whatever it was, ended. The loud roars and shrieks kept us all awake. not knowing what was happening seemed to make things even worse. 

My father had a small radio in the basement, but no matter what station he tuned in, all we got was static.

It was the worst night of my life. I don’t remember ever feeling so much fear as I did that night. It felt like the end of the world, and unfortunately, that assumption hadn’t been so far from the truth. 

Our house trembled and creaked as if the most powerful tornado had just hit, and there were moments where we feared we would be buried alive. Heavy stomps rushed through the house and down the street, but we remained safely in the basement. 

Morning light came with a thick, sinister silence. Against my mother’s wishes, my father went up to see what had happened. Opening the trap door that led to the outside was more difficult than expected, and my mother and I had to help him. 

When we finally pushed away whatever obstructed the door, we couldn’t believe our eyes. My siblings were still asleep, oblivious of the disaster, and that was probably for the best. 

Our small town was up in flames. houses on our street were still burning or destroyed. It looked as if smashed by something that demolished everything roof, walls, windows, furniture, all were gone. The cars parked on the streets or in the driveways had been smashed so thin, you couldn’t tell one from the other. It was horrifying. 

I will never forget it. Especially the moment when I realized Maya’s house was up in flames, completely destroyed. Desperate to find my best friend, I let go of my father’s hand and rushed to the burning wreckage, crying out her name. The neighbor next door stopped me just in time, wrapping her arms around me. 

“She’s gone, baby… they’re all gone,” she had murmured, while I cried incessantly, calling her out. 

By the end of the day, we had a pretty good idea of what had happened during the night. 

A horde of flying creatures had attacked our country, destroying everything in their path. Most of the town’s inhabitants had been either killed or taken prisoners, in what many people called spaceships. but it was hard to know what had really happened. 

There was no power, no cell phone service, no internet, no means to communicate with the rest of the world, nothing. No one knew exactly what was going on, and each rumor that reached us was worse than the last one. We were in shock.

Tales of vicious dragons and powerful aliens taking over the world sounded impossible, taken out of a sci-fi movie, but soon we realized they were quite real. 

Somehow, we managed to survive those first days after the attack, in town, hiding in our basement and gathering as much food and bottled water as we could. 

Massive smoke and ash columns from all the fires worldwide formed dark clouds that covered the skies, hiding the sun. Breathing the toxic air was hard and later proven lethal, so we had to improvise masks to filter the air we breathed as much as possible. 

As soon as my father considered it was safe enough, we left with the few survivors from our town and headed to the mountains. 

Dad was an ex-military, and he knew of an abandoned bunker hidden in the mountains a few miles from our town. He convinced people we would be safe there until things calmed down, and after they gathered all they could carry, we left. 

There was nothing left for us back in town, and we all knew it. 

On our way to the mountains, we met other survivors. Some asked to join us, but others had succumbed to fear and paranoia and preferred to go their own way. 

People were scared, afraid of their own shadow, and with all the rumors running around, it was easy to understand them.

According to the reliable information, we had gathered so far, the aliens were parasites that couldn’t live long without a host. Humans were their new hosts, and the gigantic dragons were their warriors and hunters. No one was safe, mainly because, at first, it was hard to tell the infected people from those who weren’t. 

People started to kill each other, desperate to stay safe at all costs, and chaos spread faster than the aliens and their dragons. 

Like a true parasite, the aliens consumed their human hosts, so their need for humans never ceased. It became easier to identify those infected, and soon people knew that killing the host killed the alien. 

Unfortunately, nothing seemed to kill the dragons. They were impervious to human attacks. Despite their size, they were fast and lithe, capable of dodging whatever missile was sent their way.

A single dragon could set an entire city up in flames, especially if it was a black one. Those quickly became famous for their cruelty and viciousness. 

After a while, our group started avoiding the towns and cities on our way, trying to stay safe. 

And now, I had a dragon guarding the cave I was in. How lucky can one be?

Another loud thud echoed in the burrow, along with the crashing of trees and bushes, and I pushed myself against the rocky wall. 

What the hell was he doing? Why was he still here? I was too small to feed him properly… so what did he want from me? To take me back to the aliens? Was I worth the trouble? 

Apparently, yes, because he started hitting the burrow, digging his way up to where I was. The surrounding walls began to crumble, and I freaked out. If he persisted, he would kill me. 

“Stop!” I yelled, covering my head with my arms, in a vain attempt to protect me. “You’ll kill me,” I insisted. 

Clearly, I was losing my mind. Dragons didn’t speak, and if they did, I doubt they understood English, but I was so terrified, I had to try, right? 

He didn’t stop; if anything, he started digging harder and faster. 

I couldn’t believe I had run so hard just to die in a crumbling burrow. It was so unfair. Desperate, I delved around, trying to find a place to hide, or at least, to cover myself from all the dirt and rocks falling all over the place. There was nothing as far as I could see, so I went for the bold move. 

Perhaps I could walk by him while he was distracted, destroying the burrow. I just had to be extra careful with the rocks and dirt falling all over, but it was that or wait for a bigger to rock to crush me to death. My chances were dreadful, either way, so I started moving around the burrow, always glued to the wall, looking for the exit. 

In a few minutes, I was closer to the entrance, and I could see and hear the beast, as he tried to make the burrow bigger so he could reach in for me. Was he that hungry that he would go this far just to get me? It didn’t make any sense. Besides, no one knew for sure dragons ate humans, which made this hunt even more incomprehensible. 

I scurried a bit further out and examined my chances. The dragon was focused on crashing the top of the burrow, and he was doing a hell of a job of it, so I should be able to slide past him. 

The major problem was all the rocks and dirt falling all around. I could get hurt by them, but I was ready to take my chances. Going back was not an option. 

Taking a deep breath, I walked towards the exit, dodging the debris, and I was almost out when a rock hit me in the leg. I covered my mouth to muffle the cry of pain and prayed he hadn’t heard anything. Blood quickly soaked my white pants, and I whimpered in silence. 

This was terrible. 

The beast slowed his moves but didn’t stop, so I felt safe enough to try to make a run for it, despite the pain in my leg and the blood sliding down. 

It was now or never, so I started running, as fast as I could, even when I heard him sniff the air loudly and stop whatever he was doing. 

He was on to me. 

That certainty washed over me at the same time, his claw trapped me. 

I sobbed and closed my eyes, waiting for the worst. 

Slowly, he pulled me up and sniffed me one more time. I could feel his warm breath all around me, and I prayed he would finish me quickly and painlessly. 

His victorious roar shook every bone of my body, and the monstrous creature flapped his wings and flew away, still holding me close to his chest in a tight grip. 

I couldn’t see where he was taking me, nor was I sure I wanted to see. I had never flown in my life, and I sure as hell had never dreamt my first time would be on a dragon’s claw. 

After a few minutes, he circled over someplace and finally landed on the top of a barren cliff, in something that looked a lot like a massive nest, made not of twigs and leaves but of tree trunks entangled weirdly. It was the perfect prison. The only way out was up. 

As far as I could see, there were no trees, no bushes, no big rocks around, which probably gave the beast a perfect view of the hill. No one would come or go unnoticed. Any attempt to escape would be rapidly spotted. 

That was probably the reason why he let me go, before he stood on his four legs, folding his vast wings on  his back. I had no way out. 

Trembling, I took a few steps away from him, but he snarled at me in a clear warning. 

“Yeah… I get it… I’m not going anywhere…” I mumbled as I fell on my knees, my legs too wobbly to support me. “What the hell do you want from me? Why did you go after me?” I asked though I had no hopes of ever getting an answer. 

His huge red eyes were locked on me, and he followed every move I made. but there was something strange about the way he was acting. 

From time to time, he would shake his massive head, side to side, as if he was trying to clear his mind. Which was absurd, of course, but for some obscure reason, I couldn’t shake that feeling entirely. 

It was then when I noticed it—The white scales on his forehead, forming something like a four-point star. 

I had seen that before. Frowning, I looked at him thoroughly, trying to figure out where I had seen him before. As far as I remembered, I hadn’t seen a dragon before. One didn’t usually survive a meeting with a dragon, and that simple fact only made it even more unlikely. 

However, I could swear I had seen him before. He was Not just a black dragon, this dragon. He tilted his huge head while sniffing the air. and it was then when I remembered. 

It had been the night of the attack. As fireballs started crossing the skies, my father had rushed us to the house and down to the basement. But I had stayed behind, looking for my cat, Miss Lolla. I hadn’t seen her when we entered the house, and I couldn’t go downstairs without her. 

The sounds coming from outside were bloodcurdling, but I had ignored them all, while I called my cat, desperate to find her. Our house had crumbled, and for a moment, I had thought I would be crushed to death underneath the debris falling around me. 

Something ripped the ceiling from over my head, and I let out a terrified cry as I stared up through the hole. A black dragon was staring back at me, one with a white four-point star on his forehead. 

His red eyes were locked on mine, and for a moment, it felt as if we were the only creatures left in the entire world. 

My father had shown up in that very moment, snapping me out of my trance and dragging me downstairs to the basement. Miss Lolla was there waiting for me, and for some reason, I had buried that memory in the back of my head. 

A stab of pain rushed up from my leg, and I whimpered, shaking my head, as I crashed back to the dreadful reality around me. 

Though it was probably not a good idea, I needed to tend to my leg. It was hurting a lot, and the blood hadn’t stopped flowing. 

I was probably wasting my time since the beast would probably eat me at some point, but I needed to do something other than wait for him to attack. 

Carefully, I removed the leather strap that served as the pants seam and exposed the wound. It was worse than I thought. I looked around, wishing I had something to clean it, but other than tree trunks, rocks, and hay, there was nothing there. 

The minute I exposed the wound, the dragon sniffed the air and roared, almost blowing up my eardrums. 

“Damn it! You’ll make me deaf,” I protested, bracing myself for what was coming. 

Yes, it had been a bad idea to expose the wound. The smell of blood seemed to stir something in him, and now he was stretching his long, scaly neck to reach me. 

Up close, his huge face seemed scarier, with the sharp scales all over him, the lethal teeth, the pointy ears, and the two sets of obsidian horns that adorned his forehead, a pair longer than the other, but both equally destructive, with their slashing edges from the tip down. 

I closed my green eyes for a moment, refraining my desire to get up and run. There was nowhere I could run to. I was trapped against the tree trunks that formed the nest. 

His warm breath washed over me, and I trembled, waiting for him to bite my head off. 

But that never happened. Instead, I felt something harsh and wet, thoroughly licking my wound. 

Startled, I opened my eyes and watched him run his tongue a few times over my wound, cleaning it and miraculously, closing the wound and stopping the bleeding. 

“What the hell…?” I mumbled, looking up and meeting his enormous red eyes. 

I would have sworn he was in rapture… as if the taste of my blood was somehow unique, inebriant. 

The dragon stepped back and spread his wings, roaring his pleasure before he lifted off, straight up, so high I could barely see him before he came back down in a frantic spiral. 

I was so amazed, I failed to move, my eyes following the strange dance the creature was performing in midair. It was as if he was high… intoxicated by my blood. 

I had never heard anything about it, but the truth was we knew very little about the dragons or the aliens they protected and helped.


The dragon finally landed in the nest, not far from where I was, making the whole hill shake under his heavyweight. With one last roar, he locked his eyes on me. and then… the most shocking thing happened. 

Throughout the day, I had been surprised more times than I could count, but this was completely different. Not even in my wildest dreams nightmares, more likely could I have imagined this. 

The dragon disappeared, giving way to a man. Not a human man, clearly, but a male humanoid. 

Overwhelmed, I did what most sensible women would do: I passed out. 



I shook my head and stretched my sore muscles. It felt as if it had been a while since I had assumed my humanoid form, which was strange. We only took our dragon form when in combat. Had we been at war? Why didn’t I have any recollections of that? 

Confused, I looked around, looking for a familiar sight, but other than the dragon nest I was in, nothing rang a bell. 

My eyes finally landed on the person lying on the ground a few feet away from me, a female, judging by her size and frailness. I didn’t have to look at her face to know she was not one of my people. 

Her scent, though… it was alluring, inebriant… but also unfamiliar, nothing I had ever sensed before, and yet, its pull on me was undeniable. 

Running my hands through my long dark hair, I slowly walked to where she was. Along with her scent, I could smell blood, and surprisingly, I was almost sure I had tasted it. 

Kneeling next to her still body, I slowly reached out to her and turned her around so that I could see her face. I felt a glimpse of recognition, but I could have sworn I had never seen her before. Nor her species, for that matter. 

Curious, I examined her thoroughly. her tangled dark blond hair, hidden under the hood of her white coat, her long, dark eyelashes rested against her fair skin. She’d wrapped her petite figure in clothes, probably a couple of sizes bigger than necessary. She was beautiful, a delicate flower in a harsh place—The opposite of the Draccurian females, as strong and powerful as any male. And yet, I was drawn to her irresistibly.  

My eyes were drawn to a fresh wound in her leg, and after I scrutinized it, I knew why I had tasted her blood. I had licked her wound to heal it. Instead of a bleeding wound, all she had now was a few red scratches that would fade in a matter of hours, thanks to the healing elements of the dragon’s saliva. 

She moaned and whimpered, moving her head slowly. 

“I must be losing my mind…” she mumbled before she opened her incredibly green eyes. 

Her language was strange, unlike others I spoke, but I seemed to have enough data to understand her words, though I wasn’t sure I would be able to speak it. 

“Damn… damn… this is a freaking nightmare…” she grumbled, crawling away from me, her eyes locked on me as if she expected me to attack her. “Who the hell are you? And where’s the dragon? What did you do to him?” she asked when her back hit the logs that formed the nest. 

She had nowhere else to go.  

“Adruz…” I tried to answer one of her questions, unsure if I was pronouncing it well. 

“Adruz? What’s that? Your name?” she asked, pushing her hair away from her face. 

“Name… Adruz,” I confirmed, absorbing her words. “Your name?” I asked, curious.  

She looked at me with suspicion, as if questioning my intentions. “I’m Fallon.” 

“Fallon…” I savored the name on my lips, more and more intrigued with her, wishing I could talk freely with her. 

I had way too many questions. 

There was something special about her, but I still couldn’t figure what it was. I was still feeling too confused… as if I had stayed in my dragon form for decades. That usually bewildered us, but I had never felt like this before. 

She moved further away from me, her back still glued to the trunk’s wall. “Where’s the dragon, Adruz?” she asked me, in a slow tone. 

“Adruz dragon,” I replied, signaling my naked chest.

“You own the dragon? Good for you… but, where is he?” she insisted. 

I shook my head, smiling, allowing her to see my sharp fangs. “Adruz dragon,” I repeated. 

“You’re the dragon? I didn’t imagine it? Shit… shit…” she said, jumping to her feet, as she looked around, probably looking for a way out. I got up and took two steps towards her. “No… no… please, just stay where you are, will you? Stay away!” she begged, in a frantic tone that stopped me faster than any weapon could have. She was afraid. 



This couldn’t be happening. Why had no one ever heard of this? Dragons were just dragons… not… not… this… I was astounded and somehow freaked out, totally at a loss, unsure what I should do. 

With my hand over my chest, stupidly trying to calm its thundering beat, I let my eyes stroll over him once more. 

I could tell he wasn’t human at first sight. Taller and sturdier than most men, he stood out. His dark, long hair fell almost to his waist, covering most of the dark scales tattoos that went down his neck, covered his shoulders, and apparently, most of his back and hips. 

But his eyes were the definite clue. Black and shiny as two slivers of obsidian, with no pupils and no whites. Just this almond-shaped dark pool that seemed able to bore into my soul. 

Shaking my head, I clung to my self-control and tried to find a way out of this ordeal. Though in his humanoid form, Adruz was still a lot stronger than me. judging by the way he was looking at me, I doubted he would simply let me go. 

His speech was faltering as if he knew little of my language, but then again, people thought they were irrational creatures. That they could speak was mind-blowing. However, he seemed to understand my words well enough. 

I might be able to use that to escape. I just had to convince him to leave me alone. With enough time, I was sure I could find my way out of this nest. 

“Away…” he repeated, stopping. 

I sighed, rubbing my forehead with a shaky hand before I gave him my best smile. “I’m thirsty… can you get me some water?” I asked, with little hope he would leave. 

“Water?” he asked, cocking one of his eyebrows, drawing my attention to the four horns that barely protruded from his black hair. 

I remembered them from his dragon form, and I wondered if they were retractable. 

“Yes… to drink…” I tried to explain mimicking. 

With no warning, he shifted into his dragon form, displaying his dark, leathery wings, crowned with sharp claws, and stomped across the nest to grab me with his lethal foot. A second later, we were up in the skies. 

Scolding myself for the stupid idea, I grasped the creature’s claw and held on tight, afraid he would let me fall, not daring to look around while he flew, looking for the water I foolishly had asked of him. 

He flew for a few minutes, audibly sniffing the air here and there as if looking for something until he finally dived down.  

Scared by the sudden move, I opened my eyes to see where he was taking me. We were up on a mountain, covered in snow, with a vast lake of crystalline waters on top of it. White steam came out of the waters, and I wondered if he had taken me to the crater of an inactive volcano, which meant the water was probably acidic. 

Before I could say anything, the dragon opened his claw, and despite my efforts, I fell into the lake. 

My cry of despair echoed around us, but I had no time for anything. Before I knew, I was in the warm water, bracing myself for excruciating pain and horrible death. 

That never happened. The water was warm, not hot, and not acidic… not even an irritant. Just warm water, like the bathwater I remembered from our home, back in town, before the dragons’ attack. 

The planet was slowly recovering from all the destruction, but this was the first time I encountered clean water. 

Delighted, I pushed myself up to the surface, struggling with the extra weight of the wet clothes, and swam to shore. He was there, waiting for me, back on his humanoid form, with a wide smile. 

I opened my mouth to scold him and rant a little, but I decided against it while watching him enter the water with me. I couldn’t forget he was a dragon. Even in this form, I was sure he would have no trouble killing me. He probably kept some of his dragon strength. 

Mumbling to myself, I started unbuttoning my jacket. Since I was here, I’d better take advantage of it and bathe properly. 

“Help?” he asked, moving next to me, smiling as if he had given me the world. 

‘Arrogant prick!’ I murmured. “I don’t need your help, thank you,” I assured him, as I took a step back and sat on a rock to get rid of my pants. 

Underneath it, I was wearing a thin t-shirt and shorts from my old life that had seen better times, but they would do fine for a swim in this lake. 

I was about to go back into the water, shuddering due to the chilly breeze, when he grabbed my arm. 

“Clothes,” he said, pointing what I still had on. 

“That’s ok. I’m not getting naked in front of you,” I grumbled, pulling my arm to no avail. 

“Clothes,” he insisted, pulling me closer to him, his hand tightening its grasp around my arm, his black claws pinching me, reminding me of what he was. 

“No,” still, I persisted, but he didn’t listen. 

Before I could do or say anything else, he was tearing my t-shirt into shreds with his sharp claws. They cut through the fabric so quickly, my blood froze in my veins. 

My shorts had the same fate, and in a matter of seconds, I was standing in front of him completely naked, trying to cover myself.

Proud of his job, he finally released me, surprising me, so I lost my footing and fell on my ass into the lake. 

“Damn it!” I protested, crawling away from him, deeper into the lake, to cover my shuddering body with the warm water. “Just stay away, will you? Since you threw me in the water, against my will, the least you can do, is let me enjoy my bath.” 

“You asked water,” he pointed out, starting to sound more articulated. 

“Drinking water, asshole, not a lake full with warm water,” I grumbled, not really for his ears, but he heard me anyway. 

“Asshole?” he asked, cocking his eyebrow, intrigued. 

“Never mind,” I spurted before I swam away, relishing on the feeling of the warm water as I tried to overcome the fact that I was swimming naked with a man-dragon.

He followed me around but keeping what I considered a safe distance. I wished I had soap or shampoo here to properly wash my short hair, but the water was enough for now. 

When my skin started to wrinkle, I decided it was time to swim back to the shore. With no towel to dry me up, and my clothes soaked and dirty, I wasn’t very eager to put them back on, but it was too cold and too dangerous to stay naked. 

Shivering, I left the water and walked to where I had left my clothes. Sitting on a submerged rock, I tried to wash some of the dried blood and dirt from my clothes, wishing I had something else to put on. 

“Clothes wet,” he said as he approached me. 

“No, kidding! You did this,” I grumbled. “If you hadn’t thrown me into the lake, they would be dry.” 

“I dry clothes,” he offered, smiling. 

I looked at him, curious, my eyes getting caught on his magnificent naked body. So far, I had done my best not to look beneath his waistline. Nothing good could come from that, so why look for trouble, right? 

But, this time, it was impossible. sitting on a rock, his waistline was above my eye level, and I was confronted with his massive appendage. 

‘Dear God! Was that for real?’ I asked myself, as my eyes delved on the long, thick shaft that hung between his legs. As if size and girth weren’t enough, the damn thing was covered in perfectly round ridges. My very core clenched on itself, and I felt heat coloring my cheeks. 

Gulping, I looked away, trying to remember what he had said. 

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