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Yule Spell

Yule Spell

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One last dragon must find his mate to set the Smoky Mountain thunder free. Jax thinks I’m his mate, but he has no idea what I’ve taken from him.
Problem is, neither do I. Ever since I’ve arrived in Summerland, my memories haven’t lined up with those of my bandmates or the dragons. Someone’s stealing them.
That doesn’t stop Jax from taking me on the same date over and over until I remember one of them. His kisses are unforgettable, but it’s the music that makes me remember my connection to this dragon.
When he finds out what I’ve stolen from him, will he banish me to a life of darkness? Or will the memories be enough to give these dragons their power back?

Main Tropes

  • Growly, protective dragon shifter
  • Past lives
  • Musician heroine
  • Sassy Grandma
  • Mountain Man
  • Samhain celebration

Read Chapter One

A double bass drumbeat pounded in my head
when I woke up. There was nothing grosser than starting the day with a hangover. Alcohol was like one of those frenemies who told me I looked pretty and then
talked shit behind my back.

I woke up feeling like this any time I spent time close to the Smoky Mountain thunder, and it was a massive red flag.
Something was wrong. Even without the eleven-billionty other warning signs that I didn’t belong in Summerland, Tennessee.

Padding through the apartment I no longer shared with my bandmate Isla, I challenged myself to remember what happened at her mating ceremony last night. Blackouts terrified me. Hearing about my life second-hand was mortifying. I poured a glass of cold water and downed it immediately.

It started coming back to me in flashes and fragments. Just like Cecily and Rafe’s Mabon ceremony, last night was
beautiful, too. My body warmed as I remembered the way Tanner had looked at Isla. Pure adoration, but more than that, acceptance. Like she was the key that unlocked a whole other world for him.

An emotion took me by surprise and wound around those blank spaces in my brain like an invasive weed. A profound sense
of loss, and a strange sense of déjà vu, like someone had looked at me like that before.

My mind was definitely playing tricks on me. If someone had ever looked at me like that, I’d remember.

The room stopped spinning, and I chanced brewing a pot of coffee. But I couldn’t shake that feeling. Craving a love so strong that it shattered the glass globe that I was trapped in.

No wonder I liked country music so much. I’d found a tribe of heartbroken souls that hadn’t lost hope their day was coming.

My bandmates had found their soulmates shortly after arriving in Summerland, and I was in this weird limbo with the last remaining single dragon in the thunder.

I was still having a hard time believing these men could shift to dragons. But no matter what he was, I couldn’t stop thinking about Jax.

My first sip of coffee wasn’t what warmed me. I remembered how gorgeous he looked in his suit, and grinned as his adorable innuendo came back to me.

Had he really offered to recreate the last sabbat celebration? No, that couldn’t be true. I’d thought we’d had an amazing time at Cecily and Rafe’s ceremony. But according to my bandmates and
the thunder, all supernatural hell had broken loose, inciting a month-long battle to save the valley and possibly the world.

And somehow, I’d missed it.

That should’ve been all the reason I needed to burn rubber out of Summerland.

The memory was clearer now. Jax offered to recreate the last sabbat celebration the way I remembered it. That made my stupid, traitorous heart skip a beat. Ugh. I needed reasons to leave, not excuses to give these dragons one more
chance. Then I remembered him approaching Cecily and encouraging her to join me
on stage. Isla had already gone to the honeymoon suite, so it was just Cecily with an acoustic guitar, and me pulling one of the drums away from the setup
that had been patiently waiting for the debut of Dragon’s Kiss.

My body was tingling, and I didn’t feel sick anymore. It was the first time we’d played together, and it was as amazing
as I’d hoped it would be. We burned through most of the playlist we’d planned and fire lit up the sky.

Tanner had shifted into his dragon form. Leave it to him to steal the show.

But when I squeezed my eyes closed, I couldn’t remember what he’d looked like. I could only remember the music. And
of course, Jax.

That was more than enough. I headed over to the window. The sky was a milky gray. The sun should’ve risen hours ago, but
it looked like it had given up.

What was wrong with this town? It was easier to blame a place than decide I had a major issue.

Oh, who was I kidding? These memory problems weren’t new. They were only more frustrating because this time, instead of just being a scatterbrain, people around me were experiencing
something completely different.

Usually, I spent my days in Summerland writing and practicing music I wasn’t sure we’d ever get to play. As a drummer, I relied on the rest of the band to finish my songs. I thought in terms of beats and rhythms. I couldn’t go solo like a guitarist or a singer.

Maybe nothing would ever happen with Dragon’s Kiss. On paper, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a chance to break into the next level. Where I could finally be a musician, instead of a
drummer slash a dozen random things that kept a roof over my head. But like everything else in Summerland, it remained a dream separate from my reality.

I should leave. My heart twisted at the thought and I braced myself against the windowsill. Leaving felt like giving up. Not only on the band, but on these dragons.

WTF, girl. Why do you care about this craziness that you can’t explain? The best thing you could do is walk away…

I liked the people I’d met here. Even if we kept failing to connect. They’d been infinitely patient, and they kept trying to include me. Not to mention staying gave me the chance to work with
someone who’d experienced success.

Maybe the craziness was a sacrifice I had to make to get what I wanted.

I texted Isla and Cecily and called a meeting of Dragon’s Kiss. I’d expected some resistance, since Isla had just gotten married last night. The wedding night traditions had been very carefully
followed, but no one said much about what happened afterward, like honeymoon plans. Or maybe they did, and I didn’t remember. One thing I was sure of — the
dragons seemed to stick close to the mountain they called home so they could guard the secrets they kept there.

The gray mist didn’t lift as I drove to the mountain. Only my bandmates waited for me in the common room where everyone
loved to gather, which I was thankful for. I didn’t want to break up with them in front of an audience.

I was even more thankful for the party leftovers. I was starving, and my head had hurt too bad to even think about eating before I left the apartment. Being here, close to the music again, made
me feel better. 

I loaded a plate with apple crumble and joined the ladies at the table. “I’d ask you how last night was, but… I will.
Because I have to make sure my memories line up with yours.”

“This time I’m the one who missed the ceremony.” Isla’s golden skin glowed. “Tanner could barely wait to shift. We
got up to the suite, and we had to wait for the flames to subside before we could… is this TMI?”

“No,” Cecily said quickly. “We saw him fly.”

I closed my eyes again, hoping more of the image would come to me. The flash of light was a start. “Is that why the sun hasn’t come up today? Is it like supernatural debris?”

“I’d never thought of it that way, but it’s probably a good description of why we’re having trouble seeing the sun.”
Cecily rubbed her round belly. She was pregnant with a half-dragon baby, and nobody knew what to expect while she was expecting. “The sky’s looked like this since my mating ceremony. No one understands why it’s lasted so long. Even after freeing the gods and the ancients, we can’t get the sun to rise
completely.”

“Today’s the first day it’s looked like that for me.” I fought a shiver. Was I finally remembering the same things as everyone else? Why now? “I remember you running off with Tanner—on fire­—too.”

My bandmates gave me the most genuine smiles I’d seen from them since I came here. For once, it wasn’t out of pity, or while they tried to decide how much of the truth I could digest.

“Do you remember us playing together?” Cecily asked.

“What?” Isla exclaimed. “You played without me?”

“We did.” Electricity danced on my skin. Maybe I wasn’t the outcast anymore. “Jax suggested that we recreate what I
thought happened at Cecily’s wedding…”

“How romantic.” Isla clapped her hand over her heart. “We should totally write a song about that.”

“We could.” Then I’d never be able to forget. “I think it was only supposed to be dancing, but once we got near the
stage, he knew how much I wanted to get up there. So he asked Cecily if she’d
play.”

Cecily turned to Isla. “It was an
acoustic set, and we pretty much stuck to the playlist we’d planned.”

“I missed our very first show.” Isla
pouted.

Cecily laughed. “You were a little busy having hot dragon sex.”

“Was I ever.” Isla fanned herself. “How was the show?”

“It took me a minute to get my ear for the songs, since we haven’t practiced much yet.” As thrilled as I was that
Cecily remembered the same thing I did, I had to stick to the purpose of this meeting. “That’s what I want to talk to you about. Isla and I have been here
for six weeks. Last night was the first time we’ve played together. If we keep up that pace, I’m not sure I can stay.”

The smiles evaporated, replaced by wide-eyed concern.

“You’re still getting paid,” Cecily
reminded me.

“Yes, and I appreciate that. But I can’t keep taking your money for nothing, and there’s only so long you’ll be willing to pay me if we don’t start doing what we came here to do.”

“It’s been a crazy few weeks,” Isla said.

I scoffed. “So I hear.”

Cecily gave me one of those smile-frowns people did when they didn’t know what to say. “I’m new to Summerland, too. I’d
only come for Monique’s mating ceremony, and I never expected to stay. This town has a way of taking you by surprise. I’m sorry things haven’t been what
you’ve expected, and I know it’s harder on you because you’re not experiencing the same things as the rest of us.”

“Not that it’s been a cakewalk, either,” Isla added. “But there’s strength in numbers.”

“Misery loves company,” I said. “But none of you are miserable, even though you’ve gone through some serious shit in the
past month. I feel so disconnected. I worry that will affect how we play together if we can’t get on the same page.”

“I love how focused you are.” Cecily studied me, like she was looking for some way to make this better. “I used to
be like that.”

“Before Jonathan stole all your songs?”

She nodded. “He took those songs and copyrighted them under his own name. I’d stupidly left everything with him. My notebooks, all the scraps of paper where I came up with my very best lyrics. He’d said he
needed them so he could refer to them as he wrote the music. Then he destroyed any evidence that those songs were created by anyone but him. But one thing he
couldn’t take away from me was my passion for the music. The sheer joy it gives me to write a song, and the rush of stepping on stage and performing it. I felt
that last night, when it was just you and me up there, playing for our friends and family. I haven’t felt like that since the very beginning of Double Barrel
Republic.”

“Jonathan is an asshole.” I’d been
starstruck playing with Cecily, but I never understood why so many women went batshit crazy over Jonathan Lackey. Something about him always rubbed me the wrong way.

Another memory was coming through. I closed my eyes and savored the look on Jax’s face while he watched us play. It
mirrored the look Tanner had given Isla at the altar as they exchanged vows…

No way. I had to be making that up. There was no way he could feel that way about me. We barely knew each other.

I startled when I opened my eyes and found my bandmates waiting for me to say something.

“Last night felt special,” I finally
said. “But this place is messing with my head, and I’m not sure if it’s in my best interest to stay.”

“Someone cast a spell over you.” Isla pulled out the chair on the other side of me and bit her lip as she sat. I usually resisted this line of reasoning, because it made me look weak. Like something could take over my body and alter my reality. “We need to break it,
otherwise, it will follow you everywhere.”

As much as I hated to admit it, she was right. There was no walking away from this. I had to fight for my freedom.

Isla had recently discovered she was a goddess, with the ability to communicate with the spirit world. Maybe it would be easier to remember things if I could believe this even was my life.

It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in the supernatural. I had some experiences when I was younger, but I couldn’t remember any of them…

They’d been replaced by blackness, and not the forgetfulness that I usually experienced. This was a hole, like someone had ripped them away from me. The pain felt fresh.

My heart was pounding, and my spoon clattered on the plate as I put it down. Cecily and Isla were looking at me with some serious concern, but I couldn’t tell them I was losing memories. Like
I was only allowed to remember so much.

It was the first time I’d made the
connection. This had happened before. That had to be progress, even if it was freaking me out. Either someone was trying to protect me, or they had something they didn’t want me to know.

Cecily frowned. “Are you okay? We could go see Monique if you’re not feeling well. Kinda nice to have a doctor around.”

“No, I’m fine.” I turned to Isla. “Would you be able to break the spell?”

“Spell breaking isn’t in my wheelhouse. I’m more of a seer. A messenger,” Isla said. “You should talk to the Whynots. Sophie’s an enchantress, but Monique and Gran are goddesses. Maybe they can identify who doesn’t want you to join us and give you some tools to use to fight.”

“I’m ready to fight.” I wanted this to be over. Even if it meant I couldn’t stay here, play with Dragon’s Kiss, or spend time with Jax. Even if it would shatter my life as I knew it.

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