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Authors: Mell Eight

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Dragon Deception

BOOK: Dragon Deception
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Table of Contents

Dragon Deception

Book Details

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Epilogue

About the Author

DRAGON DECEPTION
MELL EIGHT
SUPERNATURAL CONSULTANT BOOK ONE

A life full of children and mysteries to solve doesn't leave much time for relaxation or each other, something Lumie wants to help fix for Dane and Mercury by way of arranging a picnic. But good intentions and life rarely cooperate, and Dane knows it's only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose.

Hell turns out to be someone using Quicksilver's name to destroy buildings, but there's no way to tell whether the enemy is an impostor or a trap—and only one way to find out. Hopefully it won't mean missing the picnic.

BOOK DETAILS

Dragon Deception

Supernatural Consultant 2

By Mell Eight

Published by Less Than Three Press LLC

All rights reserved.  No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission of the publisher, except for the purpose of reviews.

Edited by Amanda Jean

Cover designed by Aisha Akeju

This book is a work of fiction and all names, characters, places, and incidents are fictional or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people, places, or events is coincidental.

First Edition February 2016

Copyright © 2016 by Mell Eight

Printed in the United States of America

Digital ISBN 9781620047125

CHAPTER ONE

"A picnic?" Dane repeated, looking down at Lumie and Alloy's eager faces with skepticism and disbelief. These were Mercury's crazy kits. Why couldn't they have waited to ask Mercury when he got home? Daisy, once his part-time housekeeper and more recently his and Mercury's full time nanny, was at parent-teacher conference for her own kids, so she wasn't a possible savior for at least five more minutes. Dane couldn't stall that long, and Mercury hadn't yet gotten home from work. It looked like Dane would have to save himself. "Why a picnic?"

"You and Daddy work too much," Lumie explained solemnly as Alloy nodded in agreement. "You go, relax, and the answer will come to you."

"Like magic!" Alloy chirped eagerly.

Lumie and Alloy were in a neck-and-neck race for which kit was Mercury's strangest. Alloy should win for his looks alone. Unlike most dragons, he had hatched with two powers: fire and water. All other elemental dragons could only use one element, but Alloy was different—and that difference was reflected on the outside too. In human form, he had one red eye and one blue. His hair and his scales when he was in dragon form were an even mixture of the two colors. That the red and blue hadn't mixed into purple was odd, but Alloy actually enjoyed having two colors.

Alloy was the result of a cruel experiment done by humans looking to harness dragon magic for their own selfish use. One day Dane was going to crush those humans, as soon as he could find them, but that didn't mean he couldn't love the results. They had made Alloy into something different, something special—but even he wasn't as special as Lumie.

Lumie was also the result of experimentation. He looked normal for a fire elemental dragon. His hair in human form was flame red, as were his eyes. His scales in dragon form were a universal red as well. Whatever had been done to him wasn't reflected on the outside, but rather with his magic. Lumie had fire magic like all dragons of his kind, but he was also impervious to the magic of others. He could walk through wards that would stop Dane without feeling a twinge and sneak around Dane's house without Dane knowing he was there. Sometimes Dane wondered if Lumie was prescient as well, but since he didn't walk around prophesying all the time, Dane couldn't say for certain.

Both boys were five years old, although since Alloy liked to cuddle and play while Lumie had grown to be more aloof, it often felt like there were multiple years between them. They were just two of Mercury's seven kits, all adopted. Unlike the kits, who were all elemental dragons, Mercury was a bronze precious dragon. His kits were all young dragons he'd rescued from secret government labs. It was unusual for dragons to mix between elements, never mind between elemental and precious, but they somehow made it work. All of the kits—even Lumie and Alloy—were beyond the age that most adults would allow them to share territory, but Mercury wasn't most adults. He, and now Dane, were committed to raising them to full adulthood. Which meant occasionally entertaining the whims of five year olds.

Dane could tell that Alloy and Lumie were both eager to help given that they continued to stare expectantly at him and he found himself unable to say no.

"Tomorrow," Dane said, caving into their wide puppy-dog eyes. "Mercury and I will have a picnic lunch. Will that be okay?"

They cheered and smiled. "I have to tell Copper!" Alloy exclaimed, spinning on one heel and dashing out of Dane's office door. Dane could hear him yelling Copper's name all the way down the hall.

"I'll make sure you have all the right picnic foods ready," Lumie said before he followed Alloy at a much more sedate pace. Dane hid his grimace until he was certain Lumie was gone. Lumie and edible foods weren't exactly synonymous. He liked food with cinnamon in it, the more the better, and he couldn't quite grasp the fact that other people would throw up and die if they ate as much as he did.

Also, what were the chances that Lumie actually knew what foods belonged in a picnic? Pretty low, damn it. Maybe Dane could order a pizza and sneak it to the picnic spot without Lumie noticing. That way Mercury and Dane would be able to actually eat something and Lumie would still be happy.

It would take some finagling to get a pizza past Lumie, since he noticed everything, but Dane wasn't the son of a god for nothing. He would find a way or, knowing Lumie, die trying. Mercury would need to be warned too, Dane reminded himself. Still, that was a problem for tomorrow. Dane had a lead on his current case that he wasn't about to let grow cold.

Two weeks ago, a mother dragon and her three very young kits had been attacked. She had managed to get safely away with all three kits, but her mate had been badly injured in the attack. He had managed to send word to Dane, since Dane had made it widely known over the past five years that he was very interested in helping any dragon in need. The enemy had left the father dragon for dead, uninterested in a full-grown dragon when they had three kits to snatch. Dane needed to find the kits and their mother before the enemy did and get them to safety with the still-healing mate.

Dane's newest lead was from a werewolf who'd stopped by Dane's office to tell Dane about the strange bag lady he'd run into two nights previously. It had been the full moon, so some of what he had seen was a little shaky in his memory, but he clearly remembered a harried-looking woman wearing what looked like two dresses and three coats pushing a shopping cart through the woods he and his pack were hunting through. He remembered three children in the cart, he had told Dane, but none of them had smelled like prey, so he and the pack had moved on.

Either that was the mother dragon ineffectively trying to hide with human clothing customs that she didn't quite understand—she was a wild dragon from the forest; she hadn't been taken in as a kit by humans like Mercury had been—or Dane had a lamia hunting in his territory. A lamia needed to be destroyed at once before she started eating children, so it was just as imperative that Dane locate whoever the werewolf had seen.

Dane heard Daisy talking in the kitchen and pushed his chair away from his desk and stood. He couldn't do anything more from home and his kits were in her care. The answer was somewhere in that forest. Dane had already done one grid search of the area, but this time he would widen his search. It was impossible to keep three young dragons corralled for long. Dane knew that from experience; Lumie and Alloy hadn't been easy to deal with when they were only a few months out of the egg, not that they were any easier five years later. The missing kits would have caused a mess somewhere that their mother couldn't hide. Dane just had to find it, especially before the enemy did.

Magic came to his call easily, and as Dane walked forward, he let it pull him away. The first step was on the hard floor of his home office, but a second later his feet crunched on leaves as he walked into the forest. The trees above were showing off their autumn colors of red, orange, and yellow, while the leaves on the ground were turning an ugly shade of brown. They hid the paw prints from the werewolf pack that Dane remembered from his last time here a day ago, but autumn was really starting to progress now and many of the tracks he had followed before were obscured. Dane hoped fervently there would be new tracks now.

He directed his magic to send feelers out around him, allowing him to sense more than his eyes could see alone. The magic delved up into the trees and down hills. Dane used it to dig underneath large piles of leaves so he wouldn't have to search them by hand. He wasn't searching for dragons like Lumie, who had been experimented on and therefore had the ability to hide from magic at will. These were ordinary, wild elemental dragons. When Dane got near them, he would know. He would also know if he found a lamia: their magic was even more distinct than a dragon's and always felt slightly warped to Dane. Any creature that did something as vile as eat children pinged wrongly on his magical radar.

The sun was setting earlier and earlier as winter approached. Soon it was difficult to see the difference between a pile of leaves and other debris and what was simply a shadow thrown by the trees. It was even more difficult thanks to the irregular shapes of the trees overhead. Some of them still had all of their leaves while others were nearly bare. The worst was the trees that had only lost half their leaves; they threw both bulky and barren shadows, their strangeness catching Dane's eye.

He spent two hours walking a large grid, back and forth through the forest, while his magic swept an even larger grid around him. There was plenty of evidence of the werewolf pack. Fallen leaves hid the visible evidence of footprints and claw marks, but Dane could sense lingering pack magic around the trees. Anyone with a hint of magic would be able to sense that the woods were owned and know to stay away. Which would tell a dragon with territorial urges to pass through quickly and quietly, of course.

Dane froze in place and called himself eighty different kinds of stupid. How had he missed something so obvious? He shouldn't be trusted with helping an old lady get her cat out of a tree, let alone saving dragons from an unknown enemy. Hell, Dane shouldn't even be allowed to leave the house if he kept making stupid mistakes.

Two days of exhausting work wasted, all because Dane hadn't bothered to think.

Elemental dragons, like the mother and kits he was searching for, would immediately know they had encroached on someone else's territory. When Dane's werewolf contact had seen her on the last full moon, she was probably trying to get out of the werewolves' hunting ground as fast as possible. And Dane, in his idiocy, had confined his search to the hunting ground. Dane would have been amazingly, impossibly lucky to find the tracks of a shopping cart underneath all the leaves, but he had kept up with his wild goose chase for far too long. The dragons were an additional two days ahead of him, and Dane doubted the enemy had made the same stupid mistake he had.

Dane needed a map and he needed to begin figuring out where he should have been searching. He strode forward and let his magic pull him away again. Dane reappeared at home in his office and hurried over to his desk where his laptop sat waiting for him.

He almost sat on Lumie before Dane noticed he was sleeping in Dane's desk chair. Lumie was upside down, his messy red hair flopping towards the ground while his feet were hooked over one of the armrests. His thumb was firmly planted in his mouth. Lumie had grown a lot in the five years Dane had known him, but Dane knew the one thing about Lumie that would never change was how strange he was. He was odd even for a dragon, but that honestly only made him more loveable. It also made him one of the more annoying kits living under Dane's roof, but it was an annoyance Dane was happy to live with.

Instead of waking him, Dane took his laptop and left his office. All the wards that kept everyone else out were still up and running. Dane double-checked them as he softly closed the door behind him and stepped into the hall. An ominous crash sounded from downstairs before Dane could move more than a few feet down the hall towards the bedroom he shared with Mercury. He rushed into the bedroom and dropped his laptop onto the sitting table by the fireplace in the corner, then turned around and quickly retraced his steps until he reached the stairs.

No one was screaming and Dane didn't smell smoke, but that didn't always mean much in his household. Dane reached the kitchen and Daisy wordlessly pointed to the set of double doors that led to the dining room. He followed her directions and pushed through the doors. The centerpiece of the room was a massive sixteen-seater oak table. It had been flipped over and the sixteen chairs had been scattered around the room. Dane sent his magic towards the table and lifted it up quickly, hoping he didn't find a squashed kit underneath. When Dane didn't see blood, he rotated the table and put it back where it belonged. He sent his magic after the chairs too. As Dane flipped the last chair into place, he found Alloy clinging to the cushion.

BOOK: Dragon Deception
13.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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