Authors: Jane Hunt
|Crimson Frost Books (2013)|
When emotionally fragile Fleur Curwen decides she wants excitement in her boring life she signs up for a Murder Mystery Weekend in the wilds of the English Lake District. She enters a paranormal world where danger and death are common occurrences.
Demon slayer Lukas Draco is a loner. He lives by two simple rules: No emotional entanglements and duty must remain his first priority.His beliefs are challenged when he’s inexplicably drawn to Fleur, a human woman with an unusual psychic aura. Sparks of sexual attraction ignite threatening both his search for the dragon’s egg he buried a thousand years ago and Fleur’s life. Under the cover of a murder mystery weekend an apocalyptic hunt begins’
Copyright © 2013 by Crimson Frost Books
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and events are fictitious in every regard. Any similarities to actual events and persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names, or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if any of these terms are used. Except for review purposes, the reproduction of this book in whole or part, electronically or mechanically, constitutes a copyright violation.
Copyright © 2013
Cover Art Designed: Christy Carlisle
Edited By : Jess Driscoll and Ann Roberts
To my loving family for helping me fulfill my dreams.
Reading is the best form of escapism. The Dragon Legacy will transport you to another dimension where you can enjoy the thrills free of consequences. I hope you enjoy your adventure into my imagination.
Tracey my lovely friend for her advice and encouragement.
Megan my daughter for proof reading and being my sounding board.
Susan for her wise counsel and belief in me.
Jennifer for her enthusiasm.
Crimson Frost Books for loving The Dragon Legacy as much as I do.
A thousand years ago in the English Lake District.
The dragon lord's golden eyes focused on the grey sky above the rock-strewn hills. Dawn mist hovered around the summit like a silken web. It drifted through the rocky outcrops until it reached the valley where he stood alone.
The elusive turquoise-scaled dragons appeared through the haze. Their minds united by a single aim: the dragon egg's safety, the reason they risked exposure to the human world.
He chose the secret hideaway with care, a valley nurtured with spiritual and physic power. His fiery dragon's breath blazed across the morning sky and scorched the earth in front of him. The dragon lord hid the egg below the dark earth. Their quest completed, the dragons disappeared as one into the mist. A faint smell of sulphur lingered.
Present day 2013
Lukas found the crowded bus from Penrith a hindrance to quiet reflection. He shut down his senses and blocked out extraneous distractions. Within his circle of protection, he meditated on how he could stop his old adversary.
A burst of psychic energy distracted him. Intrigued, he tracked its source. To his surprise, it originated from the woman who sat across from him. Her aura was a dichotomy of strength and vulnerability. She appeared human, yet...
Fascinated, he watched her as she read with her head bent in concentration; he admired the delicate curve of her neck. Her bow-shaped lips murmured the occasional word as she ran her elegant fingers through the soft, silkiness of her dark blonde hair. His gaze feasted on her silken tresses, shot through with highlights of copper, gold, and platinum.
Lukas forced his mind back to his mission. He studied his murder mystery character profile. His fellow participants mustn't find out his identity. Or the real reason for his presence at Hallows House. His character traits memorized, Lukas' attention returned to his mystery woman. She'd finished reading. Now she stared at the misty scenery through the steamed-up window. He settled back and enjoyed the view.
Frustrated with the slow bus journey from the market town of Penrith, Fleur peered through the dirty window. Ice covered the road. Mists floated across Lake Ullswater and cloaked the twisty lanes in an impenetrable shroud. She'd studied the details of her character for the weekend's event. Fleur smiled at the irony. She knew all the nuances of Megan Wilde, so different from herself. At twenty-four, her life lacked the direction and excitement of her murder mystery character.
“Next stop, Glenhows.”
Fleur gathered her bags from the floor. The bus skidded. The sudden jolt catapulted her into the opposite, occupied seat. Hard muscular arms closed around her. Her rescuer, obviously male, pulled her even closer. The rumble of his deep voice vibrated through her body.
“Are you okay?”
Her mind struggled to understand his words. A monosyllabic answer was all she could manage. “Yes." His body pressed against hers. The intimacy comforted her until their gazes locked. She froze, mesmerized like a wild animal caught in a car's headlights. Her face heated. “I’m so sorry. Did I hurt you?”
Something flashed in her rescuer’s expression. Laughter, then it vanished. A darker, sensual look appeared. “No. Keep still.” His obvious arousal pushed hot and insistent against her.
“Oh!” she gasped her lungs devoid of oxygen. A fiery red blush stained her neck and face. Her body trembled under his arrogant scrutiny.
“Is this your stop?” Her rescuer’s drawl penetrated her dazed state.
The blush staining Fleur's cheeks deepened. She scrambled about in her unhelpful brain for a coherent response. She needed to get off the bus if her treacherous body would cooperate. Back in control, she pushed against his strong arms. "Sorry, I need to get off here." He let her go without demur. Desperate to get away, she gathered her scattered bags. “Thank you.” She walked towards the bus' open door and freedom.
Fleur headed for the lake shore. The wake of the lake steamer created gentle waves on the water, which soothed her frazzled nerves. She breathed in through her nose, the hammer of her heartbeat softened. Calmer, she pictured her unusual rescuer. Arousal turned his green eyes a hypnotic golden color. Shaky fingers combed through her silky hair; no sign of a bump from the fall. She shuddered.
The young woman stared across the lake. When she didn't turn round, he shrugged his wide shoulders, retrieved his luggage, and crossed the road. He needed a taxi.
“You're Mr. Draco," Jasmine said.
Lukas eyed the ancient truck and its much younger driver with undisguised interest. “Yes. Is this a taxi?”
The young titan-haired beauty smiled. “I’m Jasmine from Hallows House, the venue for the murder mystery weekend.”
“Good to meet you.”
"I can give you a lift if you like?"
“Your bags can go here.” Jasmine indicated the tarpaulin-covered back of the truck.
Lukas lifted his luggage under the tarpaulin and walked towards the truck cab's open back door.
Fleur pushed her anxiety away. She admired her surroundings. The inhospitable weather enhanced the uniqueness of Glenhows, nestled in a valley alongside the southern tip of Lake Ullswater with the mountainous Helvellyn as its backdrop, a hub of civilization amid the wildness of Cumbria. The insistent noise of a car horn interrupted Fleur’s muse. A young woman stood by an old truck, her pretty face framed with striking auburn, wavy hair.
“Are you Ms. Curwen?”
“Hi, I’m Jasmine. Do you want a lift to Hallows House?”
Relieved she didn't have to walk far with her heavy luggage, Fleur smiled back. Case stowed, she turned round. Her body hit a solid wall of muscle. Arousal flushed her skin and pebbled her nipples. No, not again. Hands reached to steady her. A familiar voice, full of laughter, added to her embarrassment.
“Falling for me again?”
"I..." The impact forced the breath from her body.
“What's your name, dizzy lady?”
Their gazes clashed and confirmed what her body knew, the man from the bus. Help. Jasmine stepped forward.
“Why don’t I introduce you? Fleur Curwen, meet Lukas Draco, another murder mystery participant.”
“I’m pleased to meet you, Fleur.” Lukas' wicked grin, coupled with his heated stare, negated his formal greeting. A shudder escaped as he lifted her small, delicate-boned hand and enclosed it in his.
“Hi, it’s good to meet you too, Lukas,” Fleur smiled. Introductions completed, Lukas still held her hand in his possessive grip. Her face heated.
“Have you two met before?” Jasmine's voice breached their sensual haze.
Lukas chuckled, a dark rumbling sound, and Fleur's response intensified. A shaft of awareness hit her. It radiated from her hand, still captured in his. She licked her lips in a vain attempt to bring moisture to her parched mouth. Her voice sounded husky when she answered Jasmine. “Yes.” Lukas’ eyes betrayed his arousal as they darkened from green to burnished gold.
Fleur’s tongue caressed her full bottom lip. The faint rasp in her voice incredibly sexy, Lukas' shaft hardened as he imagined her tongue there. He focused on Jasmine and elaborated, “We bumped into each other earlier on the bus." Fleur's bow-shaped lips curved in amusement as if they shared a private joke.
Jasmine smiled. “Let's go.”
Lukas released Fleur’s hand. “Ready?” He indicated the truck.
“Yes, lead the way.”
Fleur walked around the truck. Lukas leaned across the seat and opened the rear passenger door from the inside. She considered the front seat next to Jasmine. His hot look dared her,
take a risk
. She climbed inside next to him. His slight smile warmed her; she had passed his unspoken challenge.
Jasmine started the engine and maneuvered the ancient vehicle into a clear pocket of road. They turned away from the main street onto a much quieter lane and climbed the scenic hills into the wildness.
“It’s about a five minute drive from here.”
Fleur stole a sideways glance at Lukas as he conversed with Jasmine. His impressive physique exuded an aura of power personified by a fit, muscular body and long, lean limbs. Filled with suppressed sexual excitement, she half closed her eyelids, leaned back against the headrest, and continued her secret study of him. His face was the epitome of masculine beauty, characterized by well-defined angular cheekbones, covered with pale, almost translucent skin. Its apparent delicacy did not detract from his masculinity; he looked like a fallen angel. A tell-tale blush stained her cheeks rosy. A rush of heat pooled between her legs. Fleur shuddered. Shocked at her impulsiveness, she sat on her hands and admired the sleekness of his fashionable long, straight hair, which looked like silk. Neediness overpowered her cautious nature as her gaze feasted on its remarkable black color, reminiscent of an exotic bird or reptile with highlights of metallic turquoise and blue woven through it. Fleur stole another glance at Lukas from under her lashes. He stared back. Horrified, she blushed unable to avoid his inquisitive gaze. She waited for the smug look or the double entendre. Lukas’ smile hid a myriad of emotions. The fire in his heated look betrayed him, luminescent and golden, in stark contrast with the dying afternoon light.
Lukas slanted a glance at Fleur. The look of rapt absorption on her face stilled his breath. She looked at him hungrily, as if he was a delicacy she would love to taste. His blood echoed in his head as it thundered through his arteries. Arousal exploded in every inch of his body, highlighted by the uncomfortable tightness of his designer jeans, a testimony to his body's readiness to act. He stopped talking in mid-sentence. Jasmine looked at him through the rear view mirror. His body leaned into Fleur's, attuned to her hot gaze's invitation. No. He couldn't, not here or anywhere, with her. Lukas sensed the exact moment Fleur noticed him. He disguised all signs of his arousal. He hoped his expression revealed none of his inner turmoil.
The truck turned into a concealed driveway. Calmer, he resumed his light conversation with Jasmine, who didn't remark on his recent distraction. Fleur stared through the window. Moments later, the truck stopped with a shudder. Lukas smiled at her hasty retreat. He sighed as the truck door shut behind her. His lack of control bothered him. His mission needed all his attention. A dalliance with a pretty human was not on his agenda. It would jeopardize the dragon egg's safety.
“Welcome to Hallow House.” Jasmine walked around the truck for their luggage.
The grey, windswept house stood hidden among the hills. Paint peeled from the window frames and moss grew along the grey stone walls. A wave of coldness swept through Fleur. She shuddered. “It’s so atmospheric, perfect for a murder mystery.” She looked across at Lukas. He seemed preoccupied. A woman appeared at the house's front door. Lukas' face lost its shuttered look. He smiled.
“It’s lovely to meet you both. I’m Grace.”
“It’s lovely to meet you too,” Fleur smiled at the older woman, reassured by her kind smile.
“I’m delighted to meet you.” Lukas shook Grace’s hand.
Her gaze widened as their physic auras merged. Lukas controlled his response; his face remained devoid of expression. Jasmine frowned and touched her mother's shoulder. With one last puzzled look at Lukas, she said, “I’ll show you to your rooms. Afternoon tea is at three. The conservatory is at the back. You'll have an opportunity to meet the other guests there.”
Lukas smiled. He sensed her interest and strength. They'd met once, years before. She owed him, and he needed her help now.
Fleur unpacked her bags in her shabby-chic room. Her mind strayed to Lukas' surprising effect on her. Vivid recollections of his strong embrace and the hardness of his muscular body bombarded her. She splashed cold water on her face in an attempt to cool the burn from her inner heat. Why did she crave this man's touch? Intimate images danced through her confused mind. She sprayed perfume on her heated skin. Nothing in her life prepared her for this tangle of conflicted emotions.
Perhaps she'd hidden away too long? She needed excitement. Her ex-lover didn't understand her grief after the premature deaths of her much-loved parents. Instead, he chipped away at her self-esteem. Lukas saw through her layers of self-protection. He noticed her. The heat in his stare scorched her deep inside. She needed this man. She blushed at her wickedness. The alarm on her mobile sounded, almost three; time to go. She took a deep breath, determined to dampen her aroused state. With a final check of her appearance, she retrieved her bag and headed downstairs.
Fleur stood inside the conservatory until her eyes adjusted for the brightness. She walked further into the room and scanned the occupants for Lukas, but he wasn't there. Disappointed, Fleur looked around the room. Jasmine's companions drew her gaze. Something set the unusual men apart from the other people there. She saw a familiar face. Grace was deep in conversation with two of the older guests. She looked busy, so Fleur didn't disturb her. The designer-clad men recaptured her interest. The dark-haired man appeared fascinated with Jasmine. His face darkened as Jasmine interrupted his diatribe.
"You'll have to excuse me. I need to welcome Fleur." Jasmine headed in her direction.