Saturday, October 09, 2010

Dragos: Burned by Amber Kallyn



by Amber KallynCover art: ReneƩ George
ISBN: 978-1-60521-482-5
Genre(s): Paranormal
Theme(s): Elves, Dragons & Magical Creatures, Men and Women in Uniform
Series: Dragos
Length: Novella


When Calla, a dragon shifter, heads to a sleepy mountain town to investigate their recent arson outbreak, she doesn't expect to come face to face with the dark dragon who killed her mother, or find her destined mate beneath the burning rays of the moon.
Firefighter Scott O'Neil can't fight his attraction to her, even after he finds out what she is, and the shocking secret of his own past.

Dragos: Burned

Amber Kallyn

All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2010 Amber Kallyn

This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

The Other was here.

Lowering the truck window, Calla Dragos sniffed the chilly afternoon. Pine trees, asphalt. All overshadowed by the distinct stench of sulfur. Her stomach lurched, vileness rising to choke her. As she drove into the blink of a town, it grew stronger, overpowering all other senses.

Drawing closer to the Jasper Fire Department, she focused on keeping her clammy hands on the wheel, her concentration on the light traffic. Keeping her foot on the gas pedal, rather than slamming the brakes and fleeing.

How could he be here?

It was bad enough her job as an arson investigator brought her to this small, mountaintop town of Jasper, Arizona. Bad enough she'd left her family behind in the midst of yet another argument about her independence. The possibility of facing Eric brought tremors to her body.

Parking her cherry red pickup in front of the station, Calla shaded her eyes from the late afternoon sun and searched the colorful wood-front buildings. The stench faded.

Eric marked her, then fled. Like a coward. And he was a coward. She needed to remember that fact. Otherwise, the fear coiling in her heart would drive her batty.

After a couple deep breaths, she calmed the nausea a little. She could do this. She would do this. And if that bastard decided to show up, she'd face him with all her strength.

Calla stepped from the truck on shaky legs, smoothed her navy skirt and slipped on the matching jacket. Reaching across the seat, she grabbed her oversized black bag, which held a notebook, pens and her kit. After another soothing breath, filling her lungs with the crisp mountain air, she headed around the corner to the firemen's entrance.

Giggles drew her attention to a group of teenage girls scantily dressed. And the man they huddled near.

In nothing but low-slung jeans, the top button carelessly undone, the man gave off the rugged air of a male underwear model with a sexy, take me to your bedroom now look. His blond hair, slightly too long for a clean-cut look, dripped water, from a recent shower maybe. Or a drenching with the hose. The scruff on his chin, a shade darker than his hair, enhanced the bad boy aura.

Gods, he was just like Petey. Playboy and chick magnet, an older version of her youngest brother.

"So can we have your autograph? Please?" one of the girls begged, her voice high. The other girls giggled some more.

"Certainly, ladies." The man's voice was as smoky and smooth as his gray eyes.

His gaze flicked to Calla. The intensity shooting from his eyes made her tense, caught like a rabbit in the headlights. His lips twitched. A flush spread up her cheeks. Calla stared at her feet, hurrying along the flower-bordered sidewalk. Before she reached the door, the teen girls filed past, happily waving calendars with mostly naked men.

Figured. A playboy, just like Petey. Which month was he?

Bare feet filled her view. She took in the long, jean-clad legs, the scruff of hair above the gaping waistband. A blond trail led up a golden, ripped abdomen and chest, to dark eyes. This close, flecks of green and blue mixing with the gray were visible.

His scent, suntan lotion and hay, punched into her, dissipating the last remains of the sulfur.

Her libido woke and started clamoring. She gritted her teeth. Not why she was here. And besides, she had no business being attracted to this man. This human.

"Howdy, ma'am." He tipped an imaginary hat, a lusty smile twitching at his lips.

"Excuse me," she replied, her voice steady and cool, the payoff from years of practice working around other untouchable hunks. "I need to see the fire chief."

Something unreadable flashed in his gaze and the smirk disappeared. "What would a beautiful woman like you want with him?"

"Frankly, it's none of your business." Knowing the best way to turn him off, she put a hand to her hip, jutted her chin and raked her gaze over his long, lean form. Unfortunately, her normal barriers weren't working. The only thing she wanted to do was reach out and touch his glistening tanned skin. Instead, she added in a sharp tone, "Let me guess. Mr. October."

His face hardened, all amusement fleeing. The playboy took a step back as if she'd actually offended him. Then, his grin came back, along with a devil-may-care shrug. "Actually," he drawled, "I'm December. I wanted a Santa hat on my lap, not a pumpkin." Leaning closer, his minty breath a whisper on her cheek, he added, "Why? You need a calendar?"

A shiver worked its way down the back of her neck. With a dry mouth and fluttering stomach, Calla strode past him and pushed into the icy air of the building. His stare burned into her back. She welcomed the cool relief when the door snicked closed. Without pausing to lean against the wall for support, Calla straightened and forced her feet to move.

A typical fire station layout confronted her. She headed down a short hall with two doors, one most likely to the truck bay. The tan walls led into a kitchen/living room combo. Crossing around beat up furniture that should have been relegated to the dump many years ago, she entered the hallway on the far side of the room.

With her luck, she'd end up running into one of the bedrooms and another half-naked hunk before finding the chief's office.

An older man stepped out of the first door, blocking her way. Faded brown eyes widened when he spied her. "I'm sorry, miss. You can't be in here."

Calla slipped her ID from her jacket pocket. "Calla Dragos. Arson investigator. Your department called me."

Smiling broadly, face wrinkling, the old man nodded. "Good, good. I didn't know such purty young things were in the business nowadays."

"Um. Thanks." She nibbled her lip. Did all the men in this town flirt so shamelessly?

"Well," he said, taking her hand in his bear-like grip. "Come along. Chief's office is just down here."

"You're not the chief?"

He slapped his leg, chuckling. "Ah, no, miss. I'm surely not. I'm Fred. Call me the mascot, though I don't have no spots or tail."

She followed him to the last door on the left and entered behind Fred, into an empty, disorganized office. Paperwork spread haphazardly across the desk. Books lay piled on the windowsill. At least the place seemed clean, just scattered.

"Guess the chief's outside. I'll go get him for you." Fred hurried out.

Stepping lightly, she pushed a chair from the desk and sat down, hands itching to straighten some of the piles.

The door creaked open as Fred peeked back in. "Sorry. You want anything to drink?"

Calla smiled at the man's simple spirit. "No, thank you. Just the chief."

Fred nodded as he disappeared once more.

She wrote a heading on the page with the date and time, then glanced around the office, impatient to get started. With Eric in town, she needed the details of the four fires. Gods, she hoped she was wrong and it wasn't him. But she had to find out for sure, before something happened beyond buildings destroyed. For her, the past was all too clear on everything that could be taken away, things unable to be rebuilt.

He hadn't bothered her family recently. Well, as far as she knew. Being one of the few women in a houseful of overprotective males, she rarely heard anything directly. No matter how much she grumbled and complained.

But why come to this small town and stir up trouble? He couldn't have been sure she'd be sent.

Nerves stretched taut, Calla set her notepad precariously on the desk, then strode to the window, needing the calming heat of the sunlight to soothe her. Weak rays fell over her face and arms, warm enough to push the ball of ice from her chest.

A minute later, a creak came from the hall. Calla hurried back to her chair. Her hip bumped the desk and a picture frame teetered. She grabbed it before it crashed to the floor. As she reached to put it back, the picture caught her attention.

She groaned silently as the smiling face of the playboy stared at her, young blonde girls plastered to either side of him.

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