Sneak Preview Look at Dragon Kin Chapter 5

Cecily

 

I’m afraid, sometimes, of the surprises that always seem to change the course of my life. I wouldn’t give up those things for the world, though. Still, I have to wonder how many surprises can occur before one of them leads to pain. I hope they never do.

I haven’t regretted any of the changes that have happened yet, and I’m starting to think I shouldn’t be afraid of change at all.

 

 


CHAPTER 5

 

 

Four weeks later…

Cecily looked over the group of friends piled into her living room who’d grown so close to her. The study group was there along with Derek, Tariq, Tara, Daniel and her dad.

“I’m going to miss you!” Tara’s face was wet with tears as she threw her arms around Cecily.

Cecily felt her eyes burn and hugged Tara back. “I’ll miss you too,” she gave a teary laugh, “but I know who you’ll miss more.”

Tara’s face flushed as she shot a mournful glance toward Daniel who was chatting with Aaron, Miguel, Nathan, and Derek and Tariq. “Yes,” Tara murmured, her eyes welling up. “He promised he’ll come back for me though.”

Cecily’s heart ached for Tara and she nodded. “Two years isn’t very long.” She gave Tara a squeeze. “Go on over there. You know you want to.”

Tara gave her a teary smile, turned and headed toward Daniel.

Cecily swallowed against a strange pang of happiness mixed with regret as she watched Tara join Daniel. Everything had changed in such a short amount of time. Daniel’s knee was fully healed and the scouts from New Oxford had offered him a full scholarship. Tara would start at Lyman’s along with the rest of the guys from the study group in another week.

And Cecily would be heading off with Daniel, Solon, and Cassia to New Oxford the next day. At least one thing hadn’t changed: Derek and Tariq would be coming along. She smiled at the thought. Derek was finally going to get to fulfill that promise he’d made months before.

“This is for you, Cecily.”

Cecily jumped and turned to look at her father who placed a worn, faded journal in her hands. She frowned down at it. “What is this, Dad?”

There was warmth and concern in his eyes. “I started this journal on my eighteenth birthday.” He reached forward, opened it and pointed to the very first entry. “See? The date starts when I was eighteen.”

She raised her eyebrows. “Why are you giving this to me? You don’t need it?”

He didn’t seem to hear her question. His gaze was still focused on the browning pages of the journal. “I wrote these entries for years. It was a safe way to vent about dragonkind.” He met her gaze. “There are things in there I have a feeling you will need.” He closed the book and gave it a soft pat as it rested in her palms. “Read it. You’ll need what’s inside.”

She looked back down at the aged book lying in her palms and furrowed her brow.

“What’s going on, Cecily? You okay?”

The book almost slid out of Cecily’s hands and she laughed. “You startled me, Derek.” She turned and looked up into his eyes.

He smiled down at her and drew her into his arms. “Sorry about that. How are you enjoying the going away party so far?”

She shrugged. “Just thinking how I’m going to miss everyone.”

He gave a sympathetic nod. “It won’t be for long, just–”

A loud banging started on the door.

Everyone fell silent and turned toward the noise.

Derek saw Cecily swallow, and frowned. Who could be at the door? It was nowhere near curfew, and everyone Cecily knew was here inside the house. He glanced at Cecily’s father who looked grim.

“I’ll get it.” Cecily’s voice sounded uncertain as she made a move to walk toward the front.

Derek caught her arm. “No, I’ll get it.” He motioned Tariq to follow him and stalked the short way from the living room into the foyer and opened the door. When he saw who it was, he nearly cursed. “Anos, what the hell are you doinghere?” he hissed.

Anos’ face was pale and haggard. “Derek, things are worsening at the enclave.”

Derek pressed his lips together. “We discussed this already, Anos. I have no intention of leaving Cecily.”

His cousin nodded. “I know, but can you not listen? I’ve spoken to the rest of the coterie.”

Derek raised his eyebrows. “Well?”

Anos shifted, seeming uncomfortable. “Beon has joined Sahak.”

Derek stiffened. “I…see.”

“But the others in the coterie are still on your side,” Anos said hurriedly, “accept for Alyssa.”

“She has joined Sahak’s cause then?”

“No, she says she still may not pick one side over the other.”

Derek snorted. “I don’t see how she has a choice at this point. Sahak will rip her apart.”

“No, she is protected by the laws of dragonkind.” Anos paused and sent Derek a speculative look. “She is gravid. She says she does not know whether the offspring is yours or Sahak’s.”

Derek went still. “You lie.”

“I do not.” Anos’ voice became tense. “Furthermore, in the midst of the Queen’s dereliction of the Dragon Throne, Sahak has reclaimed his residence in the human enclave.”

Derek felt his temper sparking. The draakon didn’t give a damn about Cecily or any other human. How dare they use the situation to manipulate him now. “Why would that be of concern to the draakon who do not seem to care one way or another for humankind?”

“We know that you seem to care, Lord Derek. We know you are planning to leave this place and travel to the east coast with your human.” Anos paused. “Perhaps, if your human knew the circumstances, she would not be so quick to drag you away from your responsibilities.”

Derek fell silent. When he spoke again, he lowered his voice. “The Queen relieved me of those responsibilities when she rejected Cecily as my true mate.”

“You are wrong, Derek. Your responsibilities remain. It is up to you to pick up the mantle.”

Derek shook his head. “I’m not going to argue with you about this. I am leaving. I will tell you where I am going in case anything else happens – on one condition.”

“Whatever it is, Derek, ask.” Anos pressed his lips together. “If it is within my clan’s power to provide it, we shall.”

Derek watched his face carefully. “I want you to watch over Cecily’s father – protect him while we are gone.”

Anos’ eyes widened, and he gave a slow nod. “I give my word. I’ll watch over the human.”

“Good. I’ll give the location where we will be staying.” Derek pau
sed. “Don’t abuse this. I won’t come back unless Cecily is accepted at my side.”

Anos’ gray eyes were intense. “The next time I come to you, Lord Derek, it will be with the news the draakon are ready for your… and your true mate’s… return.”

Derek gave a sharp nod. “You and any other of the draakon will be able to locate me at Orange, the human enclave closest to New Oxford.”

“Thank you, Derek.” Anos paused. “I will convince the coterie and the draakon. I have sworn it, Derek.”

Derek felt a pang of misgiving. He’d always hated the idea of court life. What would he and Cecily do if Anos was successful?

“Take care, Anos.”

Anos turned away down the stairs and Derek shut the door. What would he do if Anos convinced the draakon to accept Cecily? Derek had already given his oath, but would Cecily be able to handle the draakon?

Derek walked back to the living room, deep in thought – then noticed the dead silence of the room and looked up.

Everyone in the room looked at him, then at Cecily whose face was pale and her eyes wide. “So that snide female dragon I saw in your apartment is pregnant – and it might be yours?”

 Hell-fires. He’d forgotten Cecily had been listening. Derek reached for her. “Cecily, I’m sure she’s just saying that because she wants to keep her fingers on the throne.”

Her eyes welled with tears and Cecily jerked away and ran from the living room upstairs.

“Cecily!” Derek made a move to go after her.

Mr. Burns grabbed his arm and shook his head. “Let her have a moment.” He paused, his face darkening. “You better be sincere, Derek. I give my oath. You hurt her and I’ll figure out a way to take you down, leg missing or no.”

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