Authors: Julia Mills
Sealed with a kiss. Watch
out, assholes, here we come.
Alicia was relieved when her
mom, her sisters, Melanie, Jace, and Liam showed up. She’d began to wonder if
they were still in the tunnel and was about to go find them. There hadn’t been
a lot of time to connect with her family during Drago’s convalescence and she
really missed them. Especially after hearing from Kyra, all they’d had to do to
get through the spelled tunnel.
Everyone was talking at once,
explaining what had been happening while Alicia was otherwise engaged. She
tried to listen to all the different conversations going on around her but lost
focus when she noticed Drago sitting to the side, all alone, deep in thought.
Extracting herself from her family, the young witch made her way to her
“Whatcha thinking about?” she
asked, knowing what was on his mind but needing to hear him say it.
“Just appreciating how
different my life is now than it was a hundred years ago. Thinking about how,
back then, I would have run off without a second thought, with no regard to my
own welfare and battled the
to the death if that is what it
He finally looked at her and
the love she saw in his eyes was staggering. When he reached up, took her hand
in his, and pulled her onto his lap, she went willingly. Alicia instinctively
cuddled into his chest without a thought about her friends and family seeing
their public display of affection. For the first time in her life, the young
witch knew where she belonged and was going to hold on to her future with both
Drago wrapped his arm around
her waist before he laid his cheek on the top of her head and again started to
speak. “Now, I have you. I have something to come home to. I even have the
family I was sure would be dead and gone if I ever got out of that hole in the
ground. It is an understatement to say my perspective has changed, but it has.
So I was just sitting here thinking that I want to make sure we rid the world
once and for all.”
Sitting up so she could look
her mate in the eyes, Alicia lifted his dark glasses to the top of his head.
She was thankful the sun had gone down and they were in the darkest corner of
the house so she could see the deep, dark brown of his eyes. Alicia put her
free hand on his cheek and smiled. “Go do what you do best. Take down the bad
guys. Make the world safe for the rest of us. Watch your back and remember… I
His smile was brighter than
she’d ever seen and when Drago kissed her, something inside her clicked into
place. It was as if the final piece of the puzzle that was her life had been
found. Alicia had heard Melanie and Hannah talking about what it felt when they
truly accepted their mates, but nothing could’ve prepared her for what she was
feeling in that very moment in the embrace of the man she was destined to spend
the rest of her life with.
Their kiss went on and on.
Alicia wished she and Drago were alone and was just about to suggest it when a
round of applause and cat calls sounded behind them. Moving back just far
enough to look into Drago’s squinted eyes, she chuckled, “Guess we better
Leaning his forehead against
hers, he answered. “Only for now,
, only for now.”
She put his glasses back over
his eyes, winked, and jumped off his lap. Turning to everyone else, Alicia
pretended to be annoyed, “Show’s over people. Let’s get ready to kick some
wizard butt, okay?”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah…” her
brother-in-law, Liam, teased before ducking just in time to miss the throw
pillow Alicia aimed at his head.
“Alicia is right. We need to
get everything decided and get back down to that tunnel before Cleland knows
we’ve found him,” Rian commented.
The Leader of the Blue
Dragons seemed unusually agitated even considering the fight they were facing,
but Alicia decided not to worry about it. She had no doubt he had a hundred times
more concerns than she could imagine, being the Head Elder of the Blue Thunder
Clan at such a young age.
Drago stood next to her and
asked, “So what’s the plan?”
“You’re not leading the
charge?” Rayne questioned with half a grin on his face.
“No, I’m going to follow on
this mission, but you can be sure I’ll cut down every wizard who dares breathe
in my direction.”
Rayne nodded, as did all the
Guardsmen, followed by every member of her family. Drago had given the call to
action. The dragons and the witches were going into battle together to
exterminate their common enemy. Alicia was nervous, excited, apprehensive, and
more than ready to put an end to the ones that had taken so much from her.
“Are you staying here with
Kyndel or going to your mother’s?” Drago asked.
“I’m going with y’all.”
Her mate turned, brow
furrowed, his lips thin with a frown of disapproval, and shook his head. “No,
you most certainly are not.”
Taking a step back, Alicia
put her hands on her hips and started to argue. “What do you mean ‘I most
certainly am not’? Of course I am. In case it has escaped your notice, I’m a
witch, just like her and her and her.” She pointed to three of her sisters as
she got madder by the second. “If they go, I go, and from what I heard it’s
gonna take all the magic we’ve got to sneak up on Cleland, take out all the
in the place, and save Calysta. Not to mention, I’m hoping like hell we find my
little sister, Mara, while we’re at it. Did you forget about her? Did you
forget that I told you she’s been missing as long as the Grand Priestess? Well,
I didn’t. I didn’t stand in your way when you said it was something you had to
do. What right do you have to keep me from going?”
Alicia knew she was yelling
by the time she paused to take a breath, but she was too pissed to care. She
had absolutely no idea how she could love a man as much as she loved Drago and
be so incredibly mad at him at the same time. Thoughts of kicking his ass and
kissing him silly tumbled over one another in her mind, adding fuel to her
anger until she was sure steam was rolling out her ears.
Her friends and family had
become suspiciously quiet and her mate was just standing staring at her as if
he wasn’t sure how to respond. All of that combined made Alicia even madder.
Gearing up to start railing at Drago again, she lost all focus when her mate
nodded and calmly said, “You’re right. I had no right to tell you what to do.
You are a grown woman whose opinion and judgement I respect. All I will say is
that should you get hurt, I will nurse you back to health just so I can spank
your precious bottom every day of our very long lives together.”
Drago’s words took all the
fight out of the young witch. Shaking her head, she chuckled, “And you had to
use my own words, or your version of them, against me didn’t you?”
“Would you have it any other
way?” The Assassin didn’t wait for her response before swooping in and kissing
her until she couldn’t remember what they were fighting about.
Pulling back but turning her
around and tucking her close to his side and then wrapping his arm around her
shoulders, Drago asked, “Are we all ready now?”
“We’ve been ready, old man,
just waiting on you,” Rory teased as he headed out the door.
“We will see who is the old
man,” was Drago’s response as Alicia grabbed her knapsack and took his hand.
Here we go. Goddess
protect us all.
“What are you doing,
?” Drago asked as Alicia sat down on the side of the crater leading to
the tunnel where he’d been kept.
“I’m gonna slide down this
hill on this burlap bag like I always do, why?”
“You most certainly are not,”
he growled, scooping up his mate, laying her over his shoulder, and jumping to
the cavern floor. Setting her feet on the ground, he grinned. “There
advantages to having a dragon as a mate.”
Attempting to tame her curls,
Alicia huffed a few stray hairs out of her face and glared at him. “Yeah, but a
the caveman routine would be nice.”
“So not gonna happen, Ally,”
Melanie laughed as she walked by. “These guys thrive on caveman.”
“Hey! Not fair,
not fair at all,” Jace protested with a grin on his face.
“Whatever,” Melanie rolled
Drago had to smile at the
comradery they all shared. It was something he had sorely missed and was
thrilled to have back. Looking around, he saw his nephew striding toward them
with a look of command on his face.
“All right, time to get
moving. I’m ready to put these bastards in the ground. What about you?” Rayne’s
question was more of a command but it didn’t stop everyone from wholeheartedly
Positioning Alicia behind
Royce and in front of himself, Drago prayed she would be protected from
whatever they were walking into. It wasn’t that he didn’t respect her power;
the Heavens knew he could feel its magnitude coursing through every fiber of
Alicia’s magic was amazing
but she was his mate. His to protect. Knowingly letting her walk into danger
went against everything the man
the beast believed in. His dragon
chuffed in his head to let the Guardsman know he was most definitely not
thrilled with their mate being anywhere near the black magic they had already
sensed. Drago agreed but explained it was what they had to do.
All too quickly, the group
arrived in the exact spot the Assassin had spent the last hundred years of his
life. Lying to the side were the remnants of the silver coffin he’d been
imprisoned in. Bit and pieces of broken chains and shackles littered the floor,
haunting reminders of what he’d endured. Drago recalled Alicia telling him how
Rayne had lost control when he saw his uncle, partially calling forth his
dragon and ripping the silver collar from Drago’s neck and the chains from his
The nightmare was over but
the pain would live on. Drago knew killing Cleland and his minions wouldn’t
give him back the years he’d lost, nothing could do that, but it would stop
them from hurting anyone else. No, the reigning
wasn’t the wizard
that had locked the Assassin away but from what Drago had been told, Cleland
was just as menacing, just as detrimental to anyone that opposed him, and that
meant destroying him and all he stood for.
Alicia looked over her
shoulder and reached to him.
Taking her hand, he smiled.
. That is the past.”
He glanced one last time at
the broken coffin.
“You are my future.”
Drago felt the love Alicia
was pouring through their bond and for the hundredth time since waking thanked
the Universe for the gift of his mate. The group continued through the hole in
the cavern wall the dragons had created. The air was oppressive. Although the
black magic from the sigils had been banished, there was still the unmistakable
stench of sulfur and brimstone. Demon magic was heinous. It left not only a
mark on the soul of the user but a scar on the earth itself. It was an
abomination against nature, against life itself, and brought only death. That
Kyra and the McKennons had dealt with such an enormous amount of the offending
magic was amazing. Drago hadn’t thought it was possible but he respected them
even more than he had before.
Approaching the archway, the
Assassin could see the excavation left to be done and grabbed a pickax.
Starting toward the wall with the other Guardsmen, he watched Alicia make her
way to where her family and Kyra were preparing more sachets. Drago couldn’t
help feeling like his mate shouldn’t be anywhere near the
or black magic no matter how powerful she was, or that she had her own score to
settle with the evil wizards and their leader. Shaking his head, he prayed for
the safety of everyone present—but especially—his mate.
In less than an hour, Drago,
Rory, and Rian had broken though the rock wall. Their sheer size dictated that
only three of them could fit shoulder to shoulder in the tunnel and even at that,
they’d bumped into each other almost as much as they’d hit their target.
The stench of black magic
combined with sulfur and brimstone permeated the air around them. Sarah Beth
quickly lit the copper pot full of herbs and roots she and her daughters had
earlier prepared to dispel any ill effects the noxious fumes may have on them.
It took only a few seconds for the witch’s brew to dispel the smog, but Drago’s
still healing eyes burned and watered so badly his limited vision was even
“Going to be depending on
those dragon senses. You up for the challenge, my friend?”
he spoke directly to his beast, who chuffed and pawed
the ground in his mind. It was obvious the winged warrior was happy to be part
of the fight in any way that he could.
Rayne, Kellan, and Royce took
over, kicking the remaining debris from the tunnel to make sure there was ample
room for the dragons to protect the McKennons as they entered the last but most
densely spelled part of the underground cavern. Kyra and Royce led the way,
with Rian and Sarah Bath right behind, closely followed by Drago and Alicia.
Had the Assassin had his way, his mate would’ve been farther back in the line.
However, the ladies had decided the order based on magical proficiency, and
from the look Alicia gave him when he opened his mouth to protest, the
Guardsman decided it was not a battle he was going to win, so shut his mouth
The witches were chanting
their Banishing Spell as the group cautiously moved through the tunnel, only
stopping when every witch and Guardsman was within the cursed cavern. The
sigils flamed to life but unlike the others, didn’t blink from existence or
change colors. These actually bled. Dark, inky gore seeped from the carvings
while a low, haunting moan rose from the dirt beneath their feet. The louder
the witches chanted, the brighter the sigils glowed. The blood flowed down the
walls and across the floor as if it was alive and coming to attack the witches.
Preparing to remove his mate
from harm, Drago reached for Alicia just as the witches raised their arms and
“A bheith imithe Demon!”
in unison while throwing the contents
of their sachets at the attacking fluid.
A loud pop and a bright burst
of light exploded before them. A blood-curdling scream echoed off the walls and
smoke filled the tunnel. Drago was left completely blind. Luckily, he could
feel Alicia’s elation through their mating bond. He could see in her thoughts
this was what Kyra and Sarah Beth had been preparing the McKennons for while
he’d been knocking down the wall.
As the smoke cleared and what
little sight he had returned, the Assassin could see the blood had been reduced
to ashes. The sigils, although not glowing, were still dark black and the
presence of black magic still palpable
“A little heads up would
have been nice. You could give an old man a heart attack.”
“Hold on, it’s not over
was Alicia’s only response
before Kyra shouted,
“Ara is go dti’ ifreann! Riamh ar ais!”
The McKennons echoed the tiny
witch’s spell in unison. The sigils receded into the stone only to burst forth
and float in the air above their heads.
Sarah Beth commanded just a second before flame lit
the candles the witches carried.
Holding the light above their
heads, the witches repeated,
“Ara is go dti’ ifreann! Riamh ar ais!”
One last burst of light and
the sigils blinked from existence. A sigh of relief filled the cavern as the
Guardsmen gave the witches a questioning look. It was Rayne who asked what the
others were thinking. “And you couldn’t have told us what was going to happen
before shaving at least a few years off our lives?”
Kyra moved away from Royce,
who was obviously less than happy about what had just happened and was letting
his mate know about it in no uncertain terms. “I…We weren’t exactly sure how it
was going to go down. Sarah Beth and I had a good idea, but nothing with this
much evil is ever set in stone, so we played the odds. I knew if y’all had any
idea what was going to happen,” she looked at Royce and winked, only to be regarded
with a growl and a frown, “there was no way you’d let us go through with it. I
knew we had the magic we needed, we just had to get in here and do it. Sorry
about the scare, but now we can move on.”
Shaking his head, the
Commander sighed. “I get your motivation, just do
agree with your
tactics. Let’s not do this again, shall we?”
“Yeah, I’m thinking I need
new boxers and bottle of hooch,” Rory joked, trying to ease the tension.
“There will be further
discussion, mate,” Royce growled when Kyra returned to his side after nodding
“Whatever, big guy. I got
this,” Kyra said as she turned her back on him before shouting, “Oh, my
Goddess! She’s close! I can feel Mom. She’s not far from here!”
For several heartbeats no one
moved. Drago wasn’t even sure if anyone breathed. Then it was as if a switch
had been flipped. Kyra looked to Royce and then Rayne. “We have to go! She’s
And with that, she was off