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My idol offered me a position in a brand-new country band, and I’m off to Summerland, Tennessee for a fresh start. The visions that haunt me have always felt real, but never more so than here. Tanner is the thunder historian, and he’s as sexy as he is studious. So I take a chance and share my visions with him.
When the dragon’s goddess is captured at a mating ceremony, my vision is playing out in real time. The only way to get her back is to go deeper than I ever have before. Tanner says my visions line up with his thunder’s legends, but the rest of the dragons think I’m working for their enemy.
With each kiss from Tanner, we see more, and step onto a dangerous battlefield to save the goddess. The rules are different here. He says I’m his mate, but is love enough to make him follow my lead if it means turning his back on tradition?
- Growly, studious, protective dragon shifter
- Decades-old curse
- Musician heroine
- Sassy Grandma
- Mountain Man
- Samhain celebration
Read Chapter One
Read Chapter One
Cecily Lovewell, formerly of Double Barrel Republic, asked me to be in her band, and I could hardly keep myself from fangirling all over the place. Well, when no one was looking. I did some serious happy dancing in the room I rented in Atlanta when I got the call. Answering Cecily’s help wanted ad for musicians who believed in magic was like
entering a sweepstakes for the last chance at having a music career.
I still couldn’t believe I’d won.
Now, here I sat, with the woman herself and Piper, our new drummer. My new drummer. As a bassist, it was super important the two of us were on the same page. We’d be laying the foundation for the songs that Cecily wrote. I hadn’t totally given up on art when I left
Nashville for Georgia. Recently, I’d been working as a makeup artist, but that was a completely different type of creation. I did what my clients asked of me…and it was usually to make it look like I hadn’t been there. Don’t get me
wrong, doing a clean, natural makeup was completely satisfying in its own way but
I craved letting my imagination run wild and recording it in song the same way I craved a piece of gooey chocolate cake.
Cecily wrung her hands and let out a deep breath.
How could she possibly be the nervous one?
“I’m so excited about everything we’re about to create with Dragon’s Kiss. Have you had a chance to read over the contracts?”
“Yes, I did,” Piper said it in a way that made me think she probably had a lawyer look it over too. She handed the packet over to Cecily.
“I did too.” I skimmed it, periodically stopping to pinch myself. It was actually my name legally bound to a famous
person’s, with the promise we’d create music together. I hoped she didn’t notice my hands were shaking when I gave it to her. I shoved them back in my
pockets once she accepted it, hoping the black tourmaline and blue lace agate stones would calm my nerves.
I literally could not start this venture off on the wrong note.
“Before we head over to the rehearsal space, I have two questions for you. I won’t countersign the contracts until
you agree to both.”
My heart sank. Cecily Lovewell would never extend an invitation to join her band without an extensive background check. On the surface, I should come up clean.
Piper raised a skeptical brow and gave me a side-eye. We didn’t need to have the bandmate mind-melding thing down to hear the WTF in her expression.
I had to wonder if she had a secret too.
“The first one …” Cecily blew out another breath. “I’m pregnant. You two are the first to know. I plan to surprise Rafe with the news after our mating ceremony.” She kept calling it that and not a
wedding. Unusual, but I was no stranger to eccentric artists. “I’m hiring you as a band, and that will affect our schedule.”
That was a relief, unless this was a
“Maybe we can use that time to write songs and record an album,” Piper suggested. “In six to eight months, we’ll have built a pretty good repertoire, and if we record, it will keep our fans
satisfied while you’re busy with the baby. And money coming in while you start your family.”
I wasn’t sure what Piper’s background was yet, but it was pretty obvious this wasn’t her first rodeo. She was all business, and not the least bit nervous.
“I love that idea.” Cecily bounced in her seat. “Isla, what do you think?”
Every time she said my name, it sent a jolt of excitement through me. I still couldn’t believe this was happening.
“Absolutely. That sounds great.” I gave the stones another squeeze. Relax, this is your life now…
“Okay. That’s settled. The second question is what’s your experience with the supernatural?”
“I don’t think I understand the
question…is that a brand of equipment?” Piper asked.
“No.” Cecily let out a nervous chuckle. “I mean tarot cards, crystals, things that aren’t always easily explained.”
I pulled the stones out of my pocket and laid them on the table between us. “I won’t say I’m an expert, but I dabble.” That sounded vague as hell. Signing a contract was no guarantee I’d continue to be a member of Dragon’s Kiss. But being honest always backfired. “I believe.”
Piper crossed her arms in front of her chest. Like a shield. “Why do you ask?”
“Summerland Valley has its share of supernatural activity. Soon you’ll meet Nora Whynot, who you’ll probably wind up calling Gran. That’s what I call her. She’s Monique and Sophie’s
grandmother. You’ll meet them soon, too. Anyway, Gran owns a tarot and crystal shop. Once you meet Rafe and the rest of the”—Cecily cleared her throat—“his
friends, you’ll hear talk of a love spell. Oh hell, I need to be completely honest with you. Rafe and his friends, they’re dragons. They’re pretty close to immortal, and lately, they’ve been challenged.”
Holy shit. Dragons? Immortal? Challenged?
Piper’s jaw dropped, and she gripped the arms of her chair, like she was trying to convince herself not to run out of the room. A piece of me was ready to follow her.
I’d always been afraid of things no one could easily explain. From the vibes she was throwing off, I had a feeling Piper was too.
“You’re not in danger,” Cecily added. “But if you hear or see anything unusual, I wanted you to know why. I totally understand if you change your mind about working with me. I’ll answer any
questions you want. You deserve to know what you’re getting yourself into.”
“That sounds ominous,” Piper said.
“It’s not. It can truly be magic.” A
dreamy smile played on Cecily’s lips. “Isla, what did you mean by dabbling? Are you interested in learning more?”
My heart slammed to a complete halt in my chest. How could I tell her I was absolutely terrified to learn more?
“How much contact will we have with these dragons?” Piper said the last word like it tasted rotten on her tongue.
“Very little, unfortunately. They’ve had trouble shifting for about five decades. The reason for that is up for dispute. I’m fortunate enough to have seen it happen. At first, I could hardly believe my own eyes. And then I enjoyed the show.”
“What did they do?” I asked, thankful to have the subject shift away from me.
“The first time I saw them shift, they had been challenged.” Cecily steeled herself, like she was headed to battle herself. “By another thunder. They breathed fire and battled in the sky.”
Piper sucked in a sharp breath. “Do they only shift when they’re challenged?”
She was either calling some serious bullshit, or she had a damn good reason for being on edge.
Cecily shook her head. “They shift whenthey claim their mate too.”
Oh. “So, at your mating ceremony….”
She nodded. “You may not see anything, except for extra lights in the sky that night. But you should be prepared for a
variety of scenarios. The guys are securing the valley, so we don’t have a repeat of last time at our mating ceremony. Dragons are natural protectors, so
they won’t let you get hurt.”
My gaze darted between Piper and Cecily. Piper was just as amazing as Cecily, her beats were tight and her ideas for the
band were totally next level. I didn’t want to freak her out, more than she already was. But there was something in her eyes that told me even if she wasn’t comfortable with Cecily’s revelation, this was a woman who’d seen some things.
And here I was, fantasizing like the hopeless romantic I was about a man turning into a supernatural creature simply
because we were in love. I had that power inside me, I’d just never known what to do with it.
But that fantasy quickly turned dark. No surprise there.
A lump rose in my throat. The crystals, the candles, and the card readings always felt harmless. Accepted. But there was another side of me, a deeper side that I’d always been afraid of.
Cecily had gone out on a major limb telling us about this, especially about the dragons. We couldn’t create at our highest level if we weren’t transparent with each other. Magic didn’t keep secrets.
Which worried me.
“I’ve seen things.”. They’d stayed in the shadows, protecting me, accompanying me in my darkest moments. Sometimes
leading me there by the hand. “I’m not sure how to explain them. They’re people who only exist to me, and flashes of things I can’t prove that happened.”
A weight lifted, finally giving words, gravity, to these visions.
Cecily nodded. “Thanks for sharing.”
I expected more questions, but instead, I was greeted with an awkward silence. Great. Now they were both freaked out.
“Summerland is hungry for live music. The
Summerland Saloon is standing room only every time a band comes here from Nashville,” Cecily changed the subject back to the band. “They’re ready to
welcome their own house band, and we’ll have a chance to stand out here.”
“Can’t wait to get started,” Piper said. She wouldn’t be scared away.
I sat there, grinning like an idiot. I
was still reeling from Cecily’s big reveal, paired with my own, and the fact that Dragon’s Kiss—the name totally made sense now—was about to write their
very first chapter.
I hoped to give it a kick-ass soundtrack and finally get the upper hand on the unexplained things that lurked in the
“Ready to play?” Cecily reached for her guitar. “The first song I want to work on is one I want to play for Rafe at our
Cecily was larger than life, supernatural in her own sense. She’d broken all the barriers and played on the world’s biggest stages. She was a rock star. I wouldn’t let her, dragons, or the
visions that played in my head down.