Zadri(Dragons of Preor Book 5)(3)

By: Celia Kyle

They remained there, side by side, and watched Delaney breathe. Watching her breathe drew his attention to her chest and subsequently the fullness of her breasts. His wred firmed further, his need growing with the glance at those pale mounds.

Zadri mentally cursed himself for behaving like such an animal. Worthy warriors did not lust after females in Delaney’s condition.

The Knowing shoved its way to the front of his mind, dumping information and overriding his thoughts. Mates would always crave each other’s bodies. Always.

But he was not her…

Raised voices came from outside medical, a deep tenor countered by a high soprano that scraped against his ears. It was more a screech than actual speech.

“Delaney’s sire and dam approach,” the war master murmured and Zadri’s gut clenched. They would wish to take Delaney, to put her out of his reach.

His dragon reacted to that thought, surging forward with its rage filled objection. It did not wish to release Delaney into any other’s care. She was… his. Theirs.

No. That was a lie the dragon chose to tell itself. She was Ballakin’s.

Zadri remained silent, not reacting to his superior’s statement.

“And the nooz is still demanding information about the battle over their Gulf of Mexico.” Apparently the nooz had not yet learned it was an error to demand anything of the Preor war master.

Zadri pressed his lips together, choosing to cling to his silence. He did not believe Taulan would reveal the truth—that Ballakin kidnapped a female and he and Rendan recovered her. It was more—much bloodier—than those simple words.

“Zadri,” the war master hissed. Strong, claw-tipped fingers gripped his bare shoulder and spun him around, forcing him to face the other male. Taulan invaded his space, stepping forward until their chests nearly touched. “Her pare-ents are demanding her release. They want her returned to them. Can you give me a reason to deny them?”

Because I do not wish it.

But that was not enough.

“No,” he rasped, ignoring the rush of the Knowing in his soul. It suffused his blood, burning him from inside out with its denial. No, he would not allow the blood history to control him.

Taulan narrowed his eyes but did not argue further. Especially not when medical’s doors parted, granting two humans entrance.

Zadri saw some hints of Delaney in their appearances. She had her sire’s nose and her dam’s chin. When her dam turned furious eyes on him, he noted she shared the color with her dam, as well.

The woman’s attention shifted from him to Taulan and then to Delaney. Those eyes hardened, flicking over Delaney’s body, going cold when they landed on the roundness of her stomach.

Cold. Heartless. Angry?

Zadri stepped to the side, blocking the female’s view of Delaney. A feeling of distaste rolled through him, his dragon’s breath filling his lungs. The feral heart inside him ached to let the smoke escape his nose, remind the humans that they did not face one of their own kind.

But he did not. For all her hardness, she was still Delaney’s dam and to be respected. He did not have to like her to treat her well. They had arrived—finally and days after Delaney’s collapse—to care for their offspring.

Dam Cole’s lip twitched, as if she wished to sneer at their small group but then thought better of the movement.

Zadri’s wings trembled, his distaste for Delaney’s dam growing with that hint of expression. His skin stretched and stung as his shoulders broadened, his dragon heart aching to defend Delaney from… what? Dislike?

Taulan would say such a reaction was unacceptable.

Zadri’s dragon’s heart disagreed.

Dam Cole spun and sought out another, her gaze scanning medical until her stare landed on Healing Master Chashan. Then she stomped toward the male, her human mate right behind her, his gaze missing nothing.

And Zadri… remained in place, body blocking Delaney from them both. As if she needed protection from the duo. He was unsure what motivated the reaction, but he did not suppress it.

Not when unease plagued him so strongly around those two.

Taulan sighed and stepped away from Delaney’s medical platform. “If you cannot provide a reason, then,” the war master grimaced, “I shall go speak with them.”

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