Zadri(Dragons of Preor Book 5)(5)

By: Celia Kyle

More came to her then, filtering through the fog to suffuse her mind. She identified the symbols, learning that a defense master held her in his grasp. A defense master with peach coloring who’d been the one to—

Blood. Pain. Death.

“You,” she rasped, her throat sore from the scream.

“Me.” His deep voice rumbled through the air, the vibrations erasing some of the pulsating fear in her blood.

She knew those eyes. She knew that voice. She knew his coloring and what he’d look like when he shifted into his dragon form—two hundred tons of deadly beast that ripped out her throat.

Wait. She shook her head. She was still breathing, still alive, so he couldn’t have ripped out hers. Right? She wasn’t sure anymore and now her head throbbed. She pulled her arm to get free of his gentle grasp only to come up short when she realized it wasn’t just him that held her captive. She was tied to the bed.

Medical platform—ryaapir unit.

The words drifted through her mind, but she wasn’t sure where they came from. They were from her and yet not. She wasn’t sure how that could be, but it was true.

“I need…” She needed something.

“What you need—“ A familiar shrill voice pierced the air, one she’d recognize anywhere.

The male holding her turned his head and opened his mouth, a long, slow hiss escaping his lips. “Silence.”

Delaney jolted, violent images flooding her, pushing aside any thoughts that attempted to remain. She knew that voice, that exact tone, and the fact that it was a pre-cursor to emotional brutality.

When the Preor warrior refocused on her, his face had changed, angles sharpening and peach glittering across his cheeks. He appeared more like his inner dragon. Like the male who’d…

“You killed me,” she whispered. Knowledge that the dreams—nightmares—might not have been imaginary overwhelmed her. “You-you-you…” He reached for her and Delany yanked against her bindings. His face paled while words continued to trip off her tongue. “You ripped out my throat and I fell and the water…”

Pain filled his eyes. “I would never, shaa—“

He didn’t say the rest of the endearment, but Delaney’s mind supplied it for him.

Kouva. Beloved. Shaa kouva. My beloved.

She knew that because she experienced the Knowing. Her stomach rolled, unease joining her panic. She knew of the Knowing because this male was her mate.

Or was he?

That weird thing tried to push forward and supply her with answers, but it was too much for her mind to comprehend. Too much too quick and it all collided to turn her thoughts into living, swirling nightmares of fear and pain.

The other one was her mate but this one was her mate, and somehow she felt connected to two. Yet how was she alive if she’d been killed?

A wave of dizziness rolled through her and Delaney dropped her head back onto the pillow that cradled her skull, sinking into the comforting surface. It felt as if the room spun, swirling round and round, dragging her deeper toward unconsciousness once more. She wasn’t ready to leave this twisted version of the world. She needed to figure out what the hell was going on.

“You’re killing her!” That screech again, enough to pierce the lowering veil of darkness. “Winston! He’s killing her!”

Delaney stirred with a turn of her head and she met her mother’s stare from across the room. Her mother—the one person who was supposed to love her unconditionally.

Right. She nearly snorted. Nearly simply because she knew actual snorting was unbecoming of a Cole. So many things were unbecoming of a Cole. Including finding herself in a “delicate condition.” Delaney obviously wasn’t that delicate since she’d survived… something.

The loss of a mate and location of a new mate.

That-that-that Knowing thing again. She shuddered, the feeling of knowledge in her head—knowledge she shouldn’t have—unnerving her.

“Oooh,” the click and clack of high heels on metal followed the cooing sound. “My poor, poor baby.” The stench of her mother’s flowery perfume filled her nose, like an invisible dump truck of faux flowers bowling over her. “We won’t let them hurt you. We’ll take you—“

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