Treoir Dragon Chronicles of the Belador World #3 – Dianna Love

Casidhe froze. She couldn’t speak, couldn’t catch her breath. She stood all alone with the most powerful dragon shifter to ever live. Her family’s greatest enemy. Daegan of Treoir, the scare-the-spit-from-her-mouth red dragon. Right here in her ancestral archive centre. Her heart tried to catapult out of her chest and run screaming for help. Daegan of Treoir had started the Dragani War. Like trying to avoid watching a train wreck, she couldn’t peel her gaze from him. Towering over her, he could be mistaken for a human man in worn jeans, a dark long-sleeved pullover, and boots. But that formidable body and those silver reptilian eyes glowed with the enormous power inside that body. No one outside the centre in this small village could save her. Plus, Daegan had cloaked them to reach this point unnoticed. He could keep whatever he did to her hidden. “Breathe, dammit,” Daegan ordered in a deep voice.

“Ya wanted the truth, now ya have it.” He straightened, giving her space, but the force of that gaze held her locked in place. Growling a curse, he turned away, taking long strides, then paused at the opening to the front reception area. She sagged, suddenly free from his overwhelming presence. From the freakin’ red dragon who claimed he had not burned any forests in Europe reported torched by a dragon. As if two red dragons existed today? A lot of people questioned if the stories of a dragon in today’s world were true. A lot of people had never walked in her shoes. At least Daegan hadn’t killed her. That didn’t mean he wouldn’t snuff her out of existence if she lost her usefulness. Her limbs came back online and started functioning again.

She still had her backpack on, pinned between her and the wall from where she’d reversed course to this point. Nowhere to go. Why try to run? If he wanted to kill her, he could. Then she realized why he had not killed her. He needed her to find the grimoire. Her life was being royally screwed because he wanted a damn ancient book of majik? The hell with backing away from this dragon shifter. Her fear dissolved under all of what had happened to her from the minute he broke into her cottage. Not breaking and entering. He’d teleported into her cottage in the middle of the night. Imortiks and demons had attacked her because of Daegan.

Casidhe had missed her meeting with Cathbad because of Daegan. She could go on and on, dammit. He needed her. That gave her power, too. “Have ya calmed down yet?” Daegan stood in the passway to the reception area, staring straight ahead in an angry profile. Powerful arms crossed and jaw muscles flexing. Did he feel bad for trying to scare her out of a year’s growth. “Don’t flatter yourself by thinkin’ you rattle me, dragon.” Lie, but it made her feel good to sound confident. Her pulse still hammered as fast as a gerbil on crack.

He angled his head in her direction, but made no reply. Dark eyebrows lowered over narrowed eyes now a natural gray. If she had an open mind about him, she’d say he looked tired and sad. But she couldn’t spare him the consideration she would a friend. They were not friends. What now? She leaned away from the wall, planting her two feet, prepared to deal with him. She unsnapped the strap anchoring the backpack around her chest as she walked forward and shrugged off the pack. His deadly gaze tracked her every step. When she could go no farther, she ordered, “Move.” No please.

No manners for this being. He stepped aside, allowing her passage. With every muscle she flexed, she felt her strength renew. As long as finding the grimoire remained at stake, she had a few things to get off her chest. She dropped the backpack hard next to her desk and turned on Daegan. “What. The. Hell? You call me a liar every time you take a breath when you’ve been lyin’ about who you are the entire time.” He swung that deadly gaze at her. “Ah, there’s the little termagant who berates me with every breath.

’Tis your turn to explain who ya are, Luigsech. I realize to speak truthfully tasks ya sorely, but attempt it anyhow.” As if she weren’t pissed enough already? “Listen, buster. I’ve been tellin’ you a lot more truth than you’ve yet to tell me.” He gave her a dismissive glance. “’Tis no scoresheet to be kept. Lies are lies. I told mine to protect my people. Why did ya tell yours?” “For the same reason.” She cocked up her chin in a righteous pose, daring him to question her honor.

“If such is true, then who are your people? Ya know who mine are … or ya should if ya are truly a Luigsech.” He’d walked her right into that trap. She was not about to speak a word about Herrick. That left her only one answer she could give, which had served her well through college then working here for ten years. “The Luigsechs are my people.” Daegan stepped into the front office and sat in her reading chair. “Ya still step too far from the truth. The Luigsechs were all human. Ya are not. This means ya are not of their blood.

Do ya deny this?” Did he think this was a social visit? She wanted to scream at him for all he’d done to Herrick, but those words couldn’t be spoken, dammit. “Get out of my chair.” “I think not. ’Tis quite comfortable. At the speed ’tis takin’ ya to form a thought, I require a place to relax as I wait.” Miserable dragon shifter. “Insinuatin’ I am slow-witted is a poor way to gain information.” She curled her lips at him. “I’m merely considerin’ if it’s worth the effort when you’re not goin’ to believe me.” Daegan’s fingers draped over the chair arm curled tight, his only sign of anger.

“’Tis not a game I play. Ya wish to find your friend, Fenella? I must find my friend as well. I promise ya Cathbad has a plan afoot and will remove anyone in his path, even an innocent female. If ya want to know what Quinn learns from our people in Atlanta, ’tis time for ya to be forthcomin’. I am not a man of great patience, particularly when my people are in danger.” She’d had it with him. Storming across the room she slapped one hand on a chair arm and the other on his wide chest, leaning close to make sure he heard every word clearly. “Listen up, dragon. I was orphaned as a child. The Luigsech family raised me.

I’ve a strong educational background, plus knowledge passed down to me by former Luigsechs. Do not dare to call me a liar about who I am.” Daegan’s nostrils flared and his chest rumbled. The sound reminded her of Herrick’s chest when his dragon became agitated. His energy hummed. Her energy hummed. She’d just challenged the red dragon. Had she lost her mind? Don’t poke a dragon. And never poke the red dragon. She started to lift up.

He caught her wrist, the one attached to the hand still splayed against his chest. Heartbeat ramping up again, she swallowed hard and stared into the molten silver in his eyes. His heart thundered beneath her fingers. Heat soaked into her skin from his touch and made her lightheaded. That didn’t make sense. Neither did touching Daegan. She shoved away from him hard, thinking he’d try to hold her in place. He released her immediately. Momentum from the push sent her flying backwards to land on her bum. She might have recovered her dignity if his lips hadn’t twitched with fighting a smile.

Damn him! She jumped up to her feet. “We made a deal. Quinn has to send word if your people can find Fenella. What about your honor?” Daegan sighed on a long exhale. She caught a tinge of smoke and outdoors, a distraction when she had to pay attention. She tugged on one of the delicate gold triple-loop earrings Fenella had given her as a birthday gift. Fenella had pointed out more than once that Casidhe should never play cards for money with that nervous habit. She dropped her hand. If Fenella had been captured, she had no one to depend upon but Casidhe. Contacting Herrick would put him in danger the minute he came out to confront Daegan, who had followers called Beladors.

Small details such as that kept popping into her mind. Daegan claimed to have many followers. If he spoke of Beladors, he had a force of warriors with telepathic and kinetic powers. That Quinn guy had to be a Belador, too. While not immortal, they physically appeared to be humans, allowing them to blend in with any population. Daegan had a supernatural army if he had as many followers as he claimed. Too many for Herrick to fight. Lose Fenella and Herrick? Over Casidhe’s dead body. Daegan surged to his feet and stepped close, tension vibrating the air. “’Tis the truth no one has tested me as greatly as ya in a long time.

Quite a feat considerin’ the Imortiks I have fought.” “Really? I’m annoyin’? Don’t flatter me. I’m accustomed to people askin’ questions politely and not standin’ in my face when they do it. You have zero respect for personal space.” He pulled his head back, appearing stunned. “What is wrong now?” She should be used to someone as old as him not understanding terms like personal space, because Herrick had the same problem at times. With Herrick, she showed patience and explained terminology. With Daegan, she made it simple with blunt words. “Back the hell up and give me room to breathe. Your power is makin’ me claustrophobic.

” When he frowned, she gritted her teeth and jumped to explain before he asked another question. “Claustrophobic means you’re makin’ me feel like I’m suffocatin’.” “Have ya always suffered this ailment?” “For the love of kittens … move! In fact, have a seat, again. Clearly at your age you tire easily.” His intimidating gaze darkened, but he hadn’t set his dragon on her yet. She’d consider that a victory if not for reminding herself she held a value to him only until she found the grimoire. If she allowed Daegan to push her around in her own territory, she would never get a handle on this mess. Daegan put his hands behind his head and walked away, shedding frustration like water falling off a pitched roof. He turned an angry human gaze on her. “Ya continue to dodge my questions, yet ya want my help findin’ Fenella, who may or may not be captured.

But the druid does have my man and I do have people sufferin’ from Imortiks. They are dependin’ upon me to find a grimoire. Ya said I had to prove I was of the Treoir family. I have done so yet ya have failed to prove ya are a Luigsech. Do not ask me for anythin’ else, even findin’ Fenella, if ya have no real proof of bein’ a Luigsech. If not, I have sorely wasted my time. Convince me who ya are or I shall look elsewhere for the grimoire and ya can hunt for Cathbad on your own.” He had her there and he knew it, damn his scary self. She’d been trained for battle, but had been in few verbal confrontations over the years due to spending her life with her nose stuck in books. That put her at a disadvantage for arguing with Daegan.

When he settled once again in her reading chair, she gave him a narrow-eyed glare and took the seat behind her desk. What would she do if Daegan just disappeared? He might be her best hope for finding Fenella. Regardless, she could not allow him to put her on defense or he would do nothing in exchange for hunting his blasted grimoire. She spun her chair to face him. “I am not an imposter. I was adopted and brought into the Luigsech family. Don’t waste your breath askin’ for their contact information. I will not bring danger to their door when they have shown me nothin’ but kindness.” Daegan sat very still for a moment then stretched out his long legs. “Why would they not choose one of their blood to carry the Treoir history?” Her erratic pulse slowed a bit at his less abrasive words.

Or maybe it was how his speech had devolved into what he may have sounded more like long ago. Had he lost some of his natural language by being away from the world locked inside TÅμr Medb for so many years? Did she give a flying crap? No. She drew in a calming breath and chose her words carefully. “I was brought into the Luigsech home at a young age. I studied next to their oldest daughter, the one they’d chosen to carry the spoken history of many things, not just the Treoirs.” He arched a dark eyebrow at her. “The Luigsech squire family my father brought into his castle were to retain and pass on only Treoir history. I am findin’ it harder and harder to accept ya know anythin’ about my family … or that ya can locate the grimoire.” “This is why it’s hard to talk to you.” “What do ya mean?” “You expect me to accept anythin’ you say when you aren’t willin’ to hear me out.

” Her fingers fisted, but she put her hand on the desk and forced her digits to open. Daegan wanted whatever she knew about him and his Treoir family? She’d love to tell him she knew the stories of how his red dragon had murdered everyone long ago, plus how Herrick stepped in to save the Luigsech squire family. Not happening. That would require admitting she knew about the ice dragons and … oh crap. She froze at the rest of that thought. Sitting before her might be the only person who knew where to find Skarde.

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