"Frederico, the kingdom has fallen. We haven't much time!" Lady Lisbeth Delgaard rushed to where the babies lay, sleeping in their crib. Knowing she wasted precious moments-nevertheless, the Dragonlady gazed upon her children. The twins looked so different, yet she loved them equally as fierce. Ragnar took after her with his fiery temper and the telltale bulk that spoke of his dragon heritage. Whereas Gio was smaller, with dark eyes that changed color according to his mood, and there was no doubt that he held his father's wolf genes. Mixed species couples were killed on sight in Desdayos, and as the war reached the inner sanctum, a difficult decision needed to be made.
The sound of the door being rammed downstairs caused Lisbeth to grab Ragnar and Gio, holding onto them protectively as Frederico burst into the nursery, "The guards are here, my love. There is no more time." Lisbeth handed Gio over with a gentle kiss, and her eyes filled with tears as she looked at the man she loved, "Til we meet again," She vowed, kissing him fiercely, and then she was running. With a giant leap, Lisbeth went through the window with Ragnar held tightly to her chest. A flash of gold followed by thunder caused Frederico to avert his eyes, and when he opened them again, the dragon queen was flying, flanked by her guards as they escaped the brutality of war. With a heavy heart, Frederico watched as his mate became little more than a speck in the distance.
"Well, my boy, it's just you, and I now-what say we disappear for a while until things cool down?" The wolf didn't bother removing his clothes; there wasn't enough time for that. Instead, he put the backpack on that Lisbeth had made and prepared especially for their journey and let his beast free.
The door broke down seconds later, and the wily black wolf dodged his own kind as he flew through the entrance in a blur. Frederico didn't stop until he was in the heart of the city, and when he phased back to his human form and opened the hatch leading to the underground systems, he sent a prayer to the Moon Goddess to keep his family safe, no matter what side of the world they were on.
Ten years later...
"Ragnar? Where on earth is he now?" The Nanny started muttering, looking under the covers and in the wardrobe, but the mischievous child couldn't be found anywhere.
"Lady Lisbeth will have my head if I've lost the little shite again, Ragnar!" The heavyset woman left the room, deciding to try the library, hoping she'd have more luck there. As soon as the door closed, the ceiling shimmered, and the golden dragonling landed lightly on the floor. Ragnar Delgaard was a confident child. Despite the war that raged on between Dragons and werewolves, he would still venture outside to play in the orchards or breathe in fresh air-much to his mother's dismay. Today he had a sneakier objective in mind.
Late last night, Ragnar had overheard something. Tales of when the war first began were always whispered about among the staff in the halls, but whenever he tried to talk to his mother about her experiences, a sad look would cross her face. She would tell him that some things were better left in the past and then close herself off so completely that he'd given up asking until he overheard a phone call that changed everything.
Now he was on the hunt for a photograph. A family picture that would contain all the answers a curious dragonling needed. Because late last night, when he was supposed to be in bed, Ragnar Delgaard learned that he had a twin brother.
Gio swung his legs back and forth as he sat on the side of the underground train tracks. His father was busy with the latest pack business, and the little wolf pup waited for his best friend Con to arrive and keep him company. Being the son of a Mafia Don meant a lot of time waiting around, and the ten-year-old learned early on that complaining about this was fruitless.
"Sorry I'm late," Con muttered breathlessly, dropping to the space beside him, "Mum was nagging my ear off about finishing my veges. I had to wait till she left the table before I could bury them in the cactus. I love my Mum, but she can't cook to save her life." The pups laughed, and Gio knew Con was telling the truth. Marigold Murphy would always ask Gio to stay for a meal if he was hanging in his friend's room. He figured it probably had something to do with him not having a Mum. Mrs. Murphy had been widowed during the latest Dragon attacks, and with Gio's father also alone, there was a stage where Marigold thought they'd make a great blended family. Frederico had let the beta wolf down as gently as a mafia boss could, but it made things awkward for a while.
"Well, what are we doing today, Alpha?" Con ducked in time to avoid a slap to the back of his head as Gio muttered, "First off, don't call me that. Dad said, we don't have ranks here. We're all equal, remember? And today, I want to do something stupid."
A look of dread settled on Con's face, his brown eyes darkening in worry, "No way Gio, tell me we aren't going up. Anything but that."
Gio stood and dusted off his pants, "Look, you don't have to come if you don't want to, but I don't think it's fair that those giant lizards get to see the sun while we're stuck down here like sewer rats." Gio looked over to where his father was conducting business with his Capo's and knew by his tense body language that Frederico would be there for a good part of the day. There wouldn't be a better time than this.
"Aw, come on, Gio, don't get your balls all twisted. I was joking-when do we leave?" Con sprung to his feet and feigned a right hook, followed by a left uppercut. Gio chuckled, "Look at you, all Mohammad Ali and shit, jeez Con." They bumped shoulders, looking at the shifter community that lived in the subway system. It was a hard life, and the wolves hardly ever saw the moon, but the underground was the only place where the massive forms of the dragons couldn't fit in. They were safe as long as they didn't go to the top. Above them, the city grew larger. Dragons controlled the business empire, growing wealthy off of humans' ignorance, while a life of crime was the most the wolves could look forward to.
Bitterness grew in Gio, and his heart hardened as he witnessed how hard his father hustled to put food on the table. How was it fair that they lived in squaller while the dragons grew fat and lazy off the wealth. One day Gio would turn things around, and the wolves would rule in Desdayos again. Maybe then a new day would dawn—the day of the werewolves.
A CENTURY LATER "Charlie,Charlie, Charlie!" Charlotte hid in the deep recesses of the school library. She wanted to do well in school-particularly because of who her father is, but her friends didn't understand. This was the end result. At fifteen, most young women obsessed over boys and hair and makeup; Charlotte Ren felt the same way about algorithms, biology, and physics. The Rens were an upper-middle-class Asian blended family. Her mum was Filipino, and her Dad was french, so Charlotte was already fluent in three languages. Now that her Mum had remarried an American, the Executive Director of the local university, Charlotte traveled between both houses, so it wasn't easy to get extra study. But she was determined. Her biological father, Griffith Ren was the lead scientist for Greenway, Low, and Fitzgerald; he graduated from university two years before his peers and went straight into the firm while it was s
Muscles rippled as the fighters tore into each other. Gio watched from his private box as the underground wolves placed bets on their favorites, his lips set in a hard line as he surveyed his empire. He had long ago lost count of the years, knowing only that due to some freak genetics that his father wouldn't explain, Gio hadn't aged like the other wolves. Con was in his seventies now, and although that was still considered young in shifter terms, the wrinkles were slowly making themselves known. Gio didn't look a day over twenty. It was as though someone took a snapshot of him in his prime and built an alternate reality around it—a reality where the Alpha never grew old. Frederico Lupo had succumbed to the rigors of age a year ago. Leaving the underground empire and all it's interests to Gio-and that was the day his young adulthood officially ended. He had to be more ruthless than his father ever was, dominating the fight ring and becoming a boogeyman to his peers. Gio need
Ragnar looked at his watch, impatience written all over his face as he waited for the new employee. She was reputed to be the best in her field- yet tardiness in science was rarely tolerated, and she had kept him waiting for almost forty minutes. This was the problem with hiring humans. If it weren't for her father's name and where he worked, Ragnar wouldn't bother with her. But he desperately needed that formula. Dr.Ren was the first to invent a serum that reversed the effects of lethal bites. After a few modifications, he was able to tailor the serum to any poison he chose, and Ragnar needed it to keep him ahead of his competitors and save his mother. In this century, humans were at the forefront of medical breakthroughs. Thanks to the neverending war between dragons and werewolves, their test supplies kept getting stolen en route. Wolves had resorted to crime to fund their underground research, while dragons dipped into their private treasure to help fund theirs. Humans had found
Charlotte was on fire, burning from the inside out. How they got to Gio's quarters was a blur, as the sexual haze she was in blinded her to anything that wasn't him-and Charlotte couldn't care less. For the first time in her life, she felt like a sexual being and not just a brain. It was addictive. Gio's clothes littered the floor as he stripped in a rush, unable to keep his hands off of her for long, and with confidence she didn't know she had, Charlotte lay on the bed and spread her legs wide in invitation. The growl that came from Gio's throat was animalistic, and his eyes were drowning in lust as he crawled up the bed, pushing her legs wider before burying his head in her pussy. Charlotte moaned in ecstasy as his talented tongue parted her wet folds and began to lick her like ice cream, pausing at the top every now and then to suck on her clit."Oh my God," She panted as he slowly inserted a finger into her, pulsing it in and out as she shamelessly fucked his hand. He lau
Ragnar wasn't used to feeling impatient. He resisted the urge to look at his watch, turning instead to gaze out the window of his high-rise office. The scientist had sent her apologies explaining how she found herself lost amongst the underground hubbub yesterday; it was a perfectly reasonable explanation, and yet he felt himself grinding his teeth. There was something about the breathless quality of her voice on the phone... "Maybe I need to spread my wings," He told himself, shrugging off the nagging feeling that something big was about to change for him, and then he smelled her. With undertones of freshly fallen rain, the light honey-sweet aroma of dragonfruit filled his nostrils, pulling Ragnar's dragon to the surface...Mate... The door swung open in slow motion as his secretary announced the scientist's arrival, and in the span of a deeply drawn breath, Ragnar's world turned on its axis. Even in a lab coat with glasses perched on her button nose
Con was still laughing as Gio downed his third shot of tequila. Being interrupted before he could fully claim his mate had called forth all the fury of hell as the Alpha wolf barrelled out of his apartment, running straight into his best friend. No other wolf would have been able to calm him down, but years of dealing with Gio's legendary temper had prepared Con well. It didn't take much to guess the cause for the boss's foul temper either. So, after a few wrecked pylons and some walls that would need further reinforcement, the two found themselves at the bar. Con was nursing a suspected broken rib, but he'd have to see the medic later; right now, he couldn't risk letting Gio out of his sight."...Fuck! Why would she just up and leave like that?"Con almost swallowed his tongue in his effort not to answer that with a smart retort, knowing he would probably be signing his death warrant in doing so. But his features shook with suppressed mirth as Gio eyed him warily, pou
Lazareth gently lay the Queen on the plush cushions as the Demaggio twins set themselves against the dragon-proof doors. It was a frightening sight to see Ragnar barrelling after him like a bat out of hell and the first guard fully intended to throw back a few shots of whisky as soon as the opportunity presented itself. From under impossibly long lashes, Lazareth gazed upon Demelza as she fussed with her potions. She was an enigma, and he was intrigued by the soft-spoken witch. Though they had only a handful of conversations, Lazareth found himself thinking of Demelza in the wee morning hours when he should have been fast asleep, her gentle smile pulling him wordlessly towards her."Lazareth, are you okay?"Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, Lazareth walked over to the women, noting that one of them must have muted the caterwauling happening beyond the door as only dull thuds were coming through."I'm fine; it's Ragnar I'm worried about. He's going to do hi
Gio felt the skin across his shoulderblades undulate and knew his wolf was close. Con looked unharmed at the woman's feet, but who knew for sure? If she could sneak up on two wolves in alert mode, who knew what else she was capable of. "You must be looking for Charlotte?" The stranger remarked, tilting her head to the side, and Gio had the sensation of being knocked off balance. Here was one of the very few people who were still able to take him by surprise, and it wasn't a good feeling. The feral sensation began to recede as they slowly regarded each other. " Well, I'm Matilda, one of Charlotte's friends, and you must be the Alpha? Oh right, where're my manners? It's hazardous for you out here in the open, so I suggest we catch up at my apartment with your permission. Sound good?" Gio nodded, and the world spun briefly, releasing a panicked growl from his throat. When he opened them again, they were standing in a home. The woman-Matilda busie