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A brokenhearted dragon awakened the fire inside me. Can I teach him how to love again when I’m not sure how to do it myself?
Heartbreak is my specialty. I’m in the hottest band in country music, and my songs about loving and losing hit the top of the charts. But no one knows I wrote them. Our lead singer, my ex, claimed my songs as his. So I can spot Rafe’s heartache a mile away. It draws the music from inside me, willing me to put pen to paper.
I’m only in Summerland for my best friend’s wedding. I can’t stay since I’m due back in the studio with the band. But when Rafe announces I’m his mate, I want to help him return to his true glory. Unfortunately, nothing’s ever that easy.
Rafe’s taking a chance by giving me his heart. Can I help him break the curse and finally shift into his dragon form or will falling for me, and all my baggage, destroy him?
- Growly, brokenhearted, protective dragon shifter
- Decades-old curse
- Country music superstar heroine
- Sassy Grandma
- Mountain Man
- Mabon celebration
Read Chapter One
Read Chapter One
I still saw fireflies when I closed my eyes.
That one line had taken up residence in my head, playing on constant repeat, complete with music and a melody. It would
make such a good song, if only the rest of the words would come to me.
Damn writer’s block. It was cruel,
teasing me with this gorgeous earworm but hid the rest of the song from me like I didn’t deserve to hear it.
This song would change my life. If only I could finish it.
I definitely wasn’t suffering from a lack of inspiration. I’d just been to a beautiful mating ceremony celebrating my best friend, the most practical woman in the world, Dr. Monique Whynot, and her new husband, Chance Drake. The ceremony didn’t quite go as planned after Chance shifted into a dragon and kicked some major supernatural ass. He also
discovered that Monique was a goddess—a supernatural creature in her own right—and he’d been worshipping her for his entire life.
The attack put a damper on the planned celebration, so we moved the operation to the forest, with close friends and
family only, and Monique and Chance exchanged vows illuminated by firefly light.
Whoever said romance was dead had never paid a visit to Summerland, Tennessee.
I just had to figure out how to tell the rest of the story as a song.
Lying in bed, unable to sleep, I wondered if there was any way to keep the song for myself. I toured the world with Double Barrel Republic, which happened to be the hottest band in country music
right now. I counted my blessings on the regular, and on paper, keeping the song to myself seemed like a stupid move. Why would I go solo when it was
pretty much guaranteed to hit number one with DBR?
Because the lead singer and my
on-again—permanently off again this time for real, I swear—hookup partner Jonathan Lackey would take the song from me and claim he wrote it. I learned
that lesson the hard way. At one point, I’d thought I was in love with Jonathan. That turned out to be a lie.
Which changed the question to why would I stay, when those were my songs hitting number one? Because I got to work with incredible musicians and see the
It was a good life, even though I was frustrated. I knew what it felt like to lose everything, so I was grateful for what I had. Eventually, it would be my turn to be in the spotlight. Karma was a
ruthless bitch and I trusted she had my back. Girl code and all that.
Jonathan didn’t deserve the fireflies.
In the morning, I planned to drive back to Nashville. Double Barrel Republic was about to start jam sessions, which was how we began writing a new album. Working in the studio was my favorite part of being in the band. When a song was on point, it was like magic. Under normal
circumstances, I’d sing that one line over and over while Jonathan came up with guitar licks and riffs, and the rest of the words would come. But these weren’t
Tonight, I met someone else I might like to collaborate with. Even though I should walk away. Drive back to Nashville in
the morning, fueled by coffee and regrets. Pour all that emotion into my music. Not a drop would be wasted.
My inspiration was named Rafe, and he was a dragon, too.
The fireflies had been pretty spectacular to knock the image of a dragon fight out of my head. Monique’s new husband, the
dragon, had been called out in the middle of their mating ceremony by a rival dragon clan, and there was only one way to settle things. High above
Summerland, in their dragon forms, with fire. Rafe kicked some major ass upthere, and then floated back to earth and shed his scales like this was no big
It had been a day. No wonder I couldn’t sleep.
I wished I’d brought my guitar with me. This was supposed to be a quick trip to stand up for my best friend as she got
married. After everything that had happened, I wasn’t ready to leave. I hated getting out of this cozy bed in my cavern guest room, because it meant I was
that much closer to hitting the road. After touring for years, I should’ve been used to it. I never stayed anywhere very long.
Padding down the jagged hallway, I headed for the main room of the caverns, where the dragon thunder liked to gather.
We’d toasted Monique and Chance here tonight after we’d come back from the forest. I’d shared some longing looks with Rafe, but the dragon didn’t seem in the mood for flirting.
My track record with trying to figure out what men wanted stayed painfully intact.
“What are you doing up?”
I almost screamed at the sound of Gran’s voice. She wasn’t my grandmother—but that was how Monique introduced us, so
that’s what I called her. Gran didn’t object. The old woman had that motherly vibe that made everyone feel at home. I’d seen my own grandmother so few times in my life, and my memories of her were faded and fuzzy. I was more than willing to adopt a surrogate. But as my heart pounded, I felt like I was being scolded.
“Want some tea? I can make you the sleepy kind.” Gran was up and on her way to the kettle before I responded.
“Sounds good.” I ran my hand over my hair. It was always a little crazy, but it never survived sleep. My bandmates always laughed at me first thing in the morning. And Jonathan’s bunkmate du jour would give me a coy smirk before
she left the bus…
Nope, that man wasn’t getting any more of my energy. Not when there was so much magic all around me.
Oh. Maybe that was one of the lines in a song. I needed to write that down. “Is there a pen and paper anywhere?”
“On the table. That’s where the boys like to do their research.” Only a woman like Gran could get away with calling a bunch of muscled, sexy men who shapeshifted into dragons ‘boys’. “Do you usually write songs at night?”
This wasn’t the first night I’d lain
awake, thinking of words that wouldn’t come, wondering if I could make it as a solo artist. No Jonathan, no Double Barrel Republic. Just Cecily Lovewell—singer, songwriter, all-around badass.
“Inspiration is a fickle mistress, and I’ve learned it’s best not to ignore her or she won’t come knocking again for far too long.” I sighed as I approached the massive table. It was thick, with
live edges, like someone had carved it out of one giant tree. Everything here was amazing. “What kind of research do the guys do?”
“They mostly search for ways to break the spell they asked me to cast over them decades ago. Not a book in this mountain gave them the answer.” She chuckled as she leaned against the counter. “They need to be careful what they wish for.”
The spell Gran cast was infamous. Fifty years ago, the thunder had asked her to cast a love spell. They had thought they were the only remaining dragons in North America, and they needed a little
supernatural assistance finding mates. Gran and the dragons still held major differences in opinion on why it didn’t work.
“What made them finally shift?” I watched them transform in front of my own eyes. Either that or I’d gone crazy.
“Love,” Gran said as the kettle whistled. She poured water into my mug, and after dunking the metal tea ball—no prepackaged bags for Gran—she handed it to me. “They were doomed and bitter until they met my girls.”
I smiled as the steam from the mug rose in front of my face. “I thought Monique’s powers changed them tonight.”
The entire thunder had shifted to fight. Even the ones who had yet to find mates.
Gran shook her head. “Monique still doesn’t believe in her own magic. Never has. She doesn’t take the credit for everything’s she accomplished. Don’t be surprised if she holds herself back
from casting again.”
Watching my best friend step into the role of a goddess was the most amazing thing I’d seen in my entire life. Pure power had radiated from her. I thought it would melt my skin clean away from my bones. That’s exactly what it did for the dragon thunder. She’d given them the
power to shift.
“What will that mean for the dragons that haven’t found love yet?”
“Frustration. Blame. Monique will be questioned. It will make her uncomfortable with her new position.”
I was fascinated. Gran was an
enchantress. She could read cards, cast spells, and see fuzzy visions of the future.
“What can I do to help?” There was nothing I wouldn’t do for Monique. That woman had saved my ass more times than
I could count. She let me sleep on her couch when I didn’t have the money to pay room and board in college. Once I got the gig with Double Barrel Republic, she instantly became my biggest fan. And she listened to me vent, without judgment, every time I let Jonathan play with my heart.
“How long can you stay in Summerland?” Gran asked.
“I’m supposed to hit the road in about four hours.” My mind raced. What would happen if I didn’t go back to Nashville?
No doubt Jonathan would be pissed. But it was just a jam session. We weren’t due back in the studio until the end of the summer. “What did you have in
“Monique will need your help to stay on track. Sophie’s here, but Monique doesn’t trust her opinion like she trusts
yours. And I saw the way Rafe was looking at you tonight.” A slow smile spread across Gran’s face. Whether her love spell was successful or not, it didn’t
stop her from planting new seeds. “When can you come back?”
I closed my eyes for a long blink. The fireflies were back, and this time, a bigger fire rose from the forest floor. It was Rafe, in all his dragon glory. But something told me that it wouldn’t be that easy. Nothing good ever was. “Let me make some arrangements.”
“Want some help? I can send you with a crystal or some herbs. It’s not foolproof, but it will help you get what you want.”
It had been a long time since I’d
considered what I really wanted. “I’ll take all the help I can get.”