Caught by the dragon maiden to the dragon book 1

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CAUGHTBYTHEDRAGON MAIDENTOTHEDRAGON,BOOK1 MACFLYNN Copyright©2017byMacFlynn Allrightsreserved Nopartofthisbookmaybereproducedinanyformorbyanyelectronicormechanicalmeans,including informationstorageandretrievalsystems,withoutwrittenpermissionfromtheauthor,exceptfortheuseof briefquotationsinabookreview Wanttogetanemailwhenanewbookisreleased?SignupheretojointheWolfDen,theonlinenewsletter withabite! Wantingtofindtherestoftheseriesandcheckoutsomeofmyotherbooks?Hopovertomywebsitefor apeek! CONTENTS Chapter1 Chapter2 Chapter3 Chapter4 Chapter5 Chapter6 Chapter7 Chapter8 Chapter9 Chapter10 Chapter11 Chapter12 Chapter13 Chapter14 Chapter15 Continuetheadventure OtherseriesbyMacFlynn “ W eekendatlast!” ThatwasmycryasIstretchedmyarmsabovemyhead Aroundme werethrongsofmycoworkers Weleftthefifty-floorofficebuildinginagiant herdoftiredandeagerhumanity “Amen!”oneofthemcalledout “Anybodyseeingthegame?”anotheroneasked “I’mjustseeingmyeyelids,”aheftyguyquipped Thatgotalaughfromweoffice-dwellers,alaughthatextinguishedmuchof the exhaustion from a lot of faces I stepped out onto the wide, busy sidewalk and glanced around me The front doors spilled out onto a major intersection, andallaroundmebustledahumanityeagertogethometofamilyanddinner I onlyhadthedinnerpart,butpizzaawaitedme Still, being among such a large crowd of my fellow humans was a bitter reminderofhownormalmyboringlifewas “Hey,Mir!”Iglancedtomyleft Myfriendfromtheoffice,Heather,waved tome Beside herwasa cuteguyI’dseeninouroffice,arecenttransferfrom someotherlargecompany Myheartsank “Overhere,Mir!”Islappedasmile onmyfaceandwalkedovertothem Heatherturnedtotheguyandjerkedher headtowardme “ThisisthesexywomanI’vebeentellingyouabout,Blake.” Blakelookedmeover TherewassomethingdarkabouthiseyesthatIdidn’t like Heheldouthishand “Nicetomeetyou.” I shook the hand His fingers were clammy like his skin didn’t quite fit “Likewise,anddon’tletHeathertellyouaboutmybedlife It’spracticallynonexistent.” Heatherrolledhereyes “Comeon,doyoubothhavetobesoold-fashioned withthehandshake?I’mtryingtohookyouuphere.” Blakelaughed “Idon’tthinkthisisgoingtowork,Heth She’sontome.” Heatherblinkedathim “Ontoyou?” Heshookhishead “It’snothing Anyway,nicetohavemetyou.”Hewaved andwalkedoff I turned to my friend “This is the third time this month, and it’s only the seventhday.” Shesighedandshrugged “I’mjusttryingtogetyouhooked You’retoonice nottodeserveagoodmanandreproduce.” IglancedatBlake’sretreatingbackandpursedmylips “Thenstoptryingto helpme Theguysyoukeepshowingmearegettingcreepier.” Heatherfollowed mygaze “I don’t think he was that bad A little strange, yeah, but who isn’t?” She turned back to see me ten feet away and gaining ground “Hey!Waitup!”Shehurriedaftermeandcameuptomyside “Wanna getabitetoeatbeforeyouholeyourselfinyourapartmentfortheweekend?” Igrinned “Onlyifyou’rebuying.” Heatherrolledhereyes “Fine,fine,butIexpecttogetadanceoutofthis.” I cringed as we walked side-by-side down the sidewalk “You know I hatethat.” “Theonlywayyou’lldanceiswithsomeoneyouknow,andI’llprobablybe theonlyoneyouknow,”shepointedout “Thenhowaboutweskipthedancing?” “Nope Ineedtheexercise.”Heather stepped ontothestreetandraised her hand “Taxi!”Sheglancedbackatme “Besides,it’sgoodpracticeforwhenyou getmarried Thebride’sgottadanceatherwedding,youknow.” Isighedasataxidroveup “You’reimpossible.” We slipped into the taxi Heather leaned forward “To the Bar Room, and steponit Weneedtogetdrunk.” Thedriversmiledandnodded “Yes,ma’am.”Hepulledusoffthecurband intotraffic Heather fell back against the seat and looked to me “Speaking of losing weight,Iwasthinkingofgoinghikingoneoftheseweekendswithafewother girls Wannacomewith?” Ishookmyhead “I’mnotmuchfornaturewalks.” Shefrowned “It’sthesociety,isn’tit?” Iwinced “It’snotthat It’sjust-well,Ijustdon’tfeellikeIfitin LikeI’man outsiderorsomething,youknowwhatImean?” Heathershookherhead “No, andIwon’ttake‘no’forananswer thenext timeIaskyoutogowithmeonanadventure Youneedtolivealittle,Miriam, beforeyourwholelifeisgone.” Iglancedoutthewindowandsighed Theworldspedbyusasashadowplay ofcolorfullightsandfigures “Iknow I .IjustfeellikeI’msupposedtowait forsomething Likemytimewillcome.” Thetaxidriver’sloudvoiceinterrupted us “Hey,ladies I think someone’s followingyou.” “Really?”Heatherwonderedaswebothturnedandlookedthroughtherear window Thetaxidrivernodded “Yeah,thatredone Heatherglancedatourdriver “Yousureit’snotforyou?” He shrugged “I don’t know I ain’t picked up no one but you in the last halfhour.” Heathersquealedandclappedherhands “Youthinkyoucanlose‘em?” Thedrivergrinned “Noproblem,butfortheriskit’llbeextra.” “I’lltakethatrisk!”myfriendaccepted Iwhippedmyheadtoher “Waita-ah!”Thedriverturnedasharpcorneronto asidestreet Iwassentintothewaitingarmsofmylaughingfriend “Isn’tthisgreat?”sheyelled “Yeah,wonderful,”IrepliedasIextractedmyselffromherarms “It’sgoing tobegreatsittinginjail,too.” “Thisisliving!”Heathergleefullyexclaimed Thedrivertookanothersharpcornerintoanalleyandspedup Iclutchedthe oh-shithandleabovemydoor “Thisisn’tliving!Thisisthepreliminariesbefore death!” “Justenjoytheridealready!”sheinsisted We took another ninety-degree corner that sent my stomach reeling “I wantout!” “Justanotherblock,misses!”thedrivershoutedasheweavedthroughtraffic andontoanotherbumpyalley “Letmeoutnow!”Iyelled Heatherpointed atthealleyintersectionahead ofus “Stopthereandwe’ll getout Thenbookitlikewe’restillaboard.” “Whataboutmyfare?”heremindedus She grabbed some cash from her pocket and tossed the bills into the seat besidehim “Thatshouldcoverit.” Hiseyesflickeredtothecatchandhegrinned “Yes,ma’am!” Heslammedonthebrake Islidforwardaninchbeforemyseatbeltduginto myskin Thecarslidtoastopinthecenteroftheintersection Heather tore off her seat belt, unbuckled mine, threw open the door and pulledmeout “Thanksforthefun!” ThedriversalutedusandspedoffasecondafterHeatherslammedthedoor shut She tugged me into the side alley and behind a large dumpster We croucheddownasacarspeddowntheperpendicularalley Theredcarzoomed pastusandcontinuedtofollowourformertaxi Heatherjumpedtoherfeetandwipedherarmacrossherbrow “Wow,that wasclose.” I stood on my shakier legs and grasped the edge of the dumpster My stomach was in tumbling knots I staggered past her and down the alley that we’dcome Heatherreachedoutforme “Hey,wait!Whereareyougoing?” Ididn’tlookback “Home.” “Butwhataboutfindingaguyatthebar?”sheremindedme “Ineedtofindmystomachbackherefirst,”Iquipped “ThenmaybeI’llcall youtomorrowaboutbar-hopping.” Heather stamped her foot on the ground and slopped puddle water all over herself “Fine!Ifyoudon’twantmyhelpthengoandfindyourownguy!” Iwavedtoherwithoutlookingback Itwasn’tsuchabadsuggestionifFate hadn’thadotherplans T he bus commute took longer than I hoped, so I didn’t get to my apartment building until forty-five minutes after the harrowing taxi incident Nightbeatmetothestoopofmyapartmentbuilding,andwith itcameitsfriendsshadowanddarkness Thebusstopwashalfablock awayfromwhereIlived,soIhadtowalkpastrowsofapartmentbuildingsto gettomine Analleyseparatedmybuildingfromaneighboringone The streets were deserted as I made my way down the sidewalk Ireached thealleyandpaused HadIheardsomethingclatteringaroundinthere?Ileaned forward and squinted into the darkness Hulking shadows of trashcans and broken boxes stared back at me Puddles reflected the darkness that was only broken by a few feeble attempts by the streetlights to illuminate the deep interior Nothingmoved Nothingclattered I shrugged and kept going to the stoop MykeysrattledinmyhandasIdrewthemfrommypurse Ifroze Arattlehadmimickedmyown Ihalf-turnedandlookedatthemouth ofthedarkalley Somethingflickeredinthecornerofmysight,butdisappeared beforeIcouldcatchafull,tellingglimpse Mypulsequickened Ifumbledwithmykeychain Thedamnkeywouldn’t comeout There!Itseparatedfromtheothers Ishoveditintothelock Aquick turnandIfellinside Islammedthedoorbehindme Theentrancerattledandthe noiseechoedthroughthelonelylobby shortashestudiedmewithhisteasingsmile I looked around the room and shrugged “I mean, this isn’t exactly a nice apartment,butit’llwork.” Hechuckled “IfImighttellthetruth,theHighCastleisnotmyhome.” Istoppedmyperusingandcurtainmeasurementstofrownathim “Thisisn’t yourplace?” Heshookhishead “No Itisonlyagatheringplaceforwedragonlords,a place of compromise that sits at the point where our five kingdoms come together.” Mymindimaginedastonehovelinsomedistantland Icringed “Sowhere isyourkingdom?” “A moment and I will show you.” He leaned back and pulled on the cord ThedoorsoonopenedandDardastoodinthedoorway “Themapofthelands,if youwill.”She bowed her head and retreated, shutting the door behind her He turned to me “There is an excellent library here managed by those in the adjacent village Within its collection are maps of the known world, and thensome.” Dardasoonreturnedwitharollofpaper Isatontheedgeofthebedwithmy legs dangling over as she handed the paper to Xander He unfurled the paper acrosshislap Alarge,brownedmapspreadoutbeforehim Theroughleather was covered from corner-to-corner with seas, mountains, oceans, lakes, and so muchmore XandertappedonthecenterofthemapwherewasscrawledthenameHigh Castle “Thisiswhereweare,andthis-”hedrewhisfingeracrossthemapina southwesterlydirection,“-ismykingdom.” Hiskingdomwasalargeplainthatabuttedalargebay Alargedotsatonthe bay,andthenameonthemapread‘Alexandria.’ Hestudiedmyexpression “Doyoustillwishtoseemyhome?” I looked up at him and grinned “Whynot? But-” I slid off the bed, “-first youneedtoobeythedoctor’sordersandgetsomerest.” Xandergrabbedmy arm “Staywith me I fear your return is but a dream, andIwouldnotawakenwithoutyouatmyside.” “Onlyifyou’regoingtorest,”Iwarnedhim Hechuckled “Asyouwish,MyMaiden.” W E SLEPT TOGETHER in his bed, and when the bright morning came I blinked against the harsh light I willed my eyes open and looked up at the head of thebed Itwasempty Isatupandwhippedmyheadleftandright Myeyesfoundtheobjectiveof my design, and desire Xander stood beside his dresser only half dressed His chest was stillbandaged,butthecolorof hisskinwasoncemorepinkishthan white Heslippedhisshirtonandturnedtomewithateasingsmile “Areyoupreparedforthejourney?”heaskedme Iblinkedathim “Forwhat?” Xanderchuckledandwalkedovertothebedside Hepickeduptherolled-up map “Wehaveagreatdistancetotravelbeforewereachmydomain.” Ifrowned “Isitthatfartoflythere?” Heshookhishead “No,butasItoldyoubeforethedragonformisagreat strainonthebody Thatiswhywewilltravelbyhorseback.” Iwincedandrubbedmybehind “Ohgoody.” Xander tossedthemapontotheunmadebedandwrappedhisarmsaround mywaist Hepressedmeagainsthimandlookedintomyeyes “Doyoudoubt yourdecisiontojoinme?” Itoyedwiththestringsthatclosedhisshirtandsmiled “No,butIhopeyou enjoyedmybutt Itmightnotmakethetrip.” Xanderchuckled “IwillbesuretoprotectitasmuchasIcan.”Therecame aknockonthedoor “Enter,”hecalledout Thedooropened Dardastoodinthedoorwayandbowedtous “MyLord, thehorsesarereadyandLordCaydenawaitsyou.” “Thenthatisourcuetoleave,”Xanderannounced Helookedtome “Ihope you won’t be displeased with their following us Cayden’s kingdom abuts myown.” Ishookmyhead “Nope.” Hegraspedmyhandandguidedmetothedoor “Thenletusbeoff.” The hallways of the High Castle were alive with servants They flitted toand-fro, some with luggage in their arms and others returning for more The servants stepped aside and bowed to us as we passed Many of them snatched looksatus,andsomeofthemweren’ttoofriendly I stayed close to Xander’s side and we navigated down to the courtyard Horsesandgroomsfilledthearea,andsomehowtwodozenwagonsfitintothe space People shouted and pointed, and others stumbled or rushed through the crowds Theluggagecarriersdroppedtheirloadsintothewagonswhilethelords mountedonthehorseswatchedovertheproceedings InthechaosIsawthethreeotherwomanchosenasMaidens Alexsatona horse with the brown-bearded lord close beside her on his own sturdy steed Close behind them on horses sat Olivia and Cindy, the first beside the darkhairedlordandthesecondclosetothewhite-hairedlord Olivialookedascross as ever, and I didn’t catch any affection from her as she snatched glances at herlord Alex noticed me and waved her hand “Miriam!” She urged her horse forward to us where she leaned down close to me and winked “What you thinkofmylord?” I glanced past her at the bearded fellow He sat proud and erect, and then belched Iwinced “He’s-um,nice.” Shegrinnedandwinkedatme “Yeah,andniceinbed,too Andhe’salready promisedtoteachmehowtorideallhisstallionswhenwegettohiscastle.”Her eyesflittedtoXander “Notabadcatchyourself.” Ismiled “He’lldo.” “Alex!”herlordbellowed Alexstraightenedandtightenedhergriponthereins “I’llmakesuretowrite toyou,andyoudothesameforme,okay?Wemightbestuckhere,butwecanat leastenjoyit ” Inodded “Surething,andhavefun.” Shelaughedandturnedherhorseaway “Definitely!”Shegallopedaway I furrowed my brow and looked to Xander “Couldn’t she go through the Portallikeme?” Xander pursed his lips “You are the first of anyone from this world to survivethePortal’stouch Iwouldnotwishtoseeanyoneelseattemptthefeat.” Iarchedaneyebrow “SohowdidIlivethroughit?” Heturnedtomeandgavemeateasingsmile “BecauseyouaremyMaiden.” Irolledmyeyesandtheyfoundourtwofamiliarcompanions Stephanieand Cayden sat on a pair of fine tan steeds not too far from the gate Besidethem weretworiderlesswhitehorses Xanderofferedmehisarm “Shallwe?” Igrinnedandacceptedhisoffer “Definitely.” And so began my adventures in this new world with my new dragon boyfriend ANOTE FROM M AC Thanksfordownloadingmybook!Yoursupportmeansalottome,andI’mgratefultohavethe opportunitytoentertainyouwithmystories Ifyou’dliketocontinuereadingtheseries,orwonderwhatelseImighthaveupmywriter’s sleeve,feelfreetocheckoutmywebsite,orcontactmeatmac@macflynn.com Wanttogetanemailwhenthenextbookisreleased? SignupherefortheWolfDen,theonlinenewsletterwithabite! CONTINUETHEADVENTURE Nowthatyou’vefinishedthebook,feelfreetocheckoutmywebsitefortherest oftheexcitingseries Here’salsoalittlesneak-peekatthenextbook: R EALMS OF THE D RAGONS : ThelifeofaMaidentoadragondidn’tseemsoglamorous Actually,at thatmomentitwasdownrightmiserable “Awarmfire Anelectricblanket Aroofovermyhead.” That was my dream mantra as our group of two dozen riders rode through a torrential rain All around us was a world of mud and thick forest WewerethreedaysoutfromtheHighCastle,andaheadofuswas anotherfourdaysofoutdoorfun Thedirtroadwetraveledonwasnowa mudpitfitforanyhog Mycloakwassoakedthroughandthereweretwo puddlesalwayswithme,oneineachofmyridingboots Icouldbarelyseetenfeetinfrontofmyhorse’snose,andwhatIsaw Ididn’tlike Morerain “Awarmfire Anelectric-” “Do you know how to create electricity?” Xander, my personal dragonlord,askedme Herodeclosebesideme,andinfrontofuswere halfourguards Behindusweretheotherhalfalongwithafewservants andourtwofriends,StephanieandCayden Iraisedmyhoodedheadandarchedaneyebrowatmydragonlord “Doyouevenknowwhatelectricityis?” He smiled and gave a nod “Yes Darda spoke often of your world when she first came into my mother’s service Her tales of electricity, powerwithoutphysicalforce,havestayedwithme.” “She’sfrommyworld?”Iaskedhim He nodded “Yes The Portal is always open, and because of that people have been known to fall through The rules demanded she not return to warn others, and so she was pressed into the service of the priestsofthePortaluntilshewasgiventomymother.” Iglancedovermyshoulderattheshortwomanwhofollowedbehind us Her stooped servile posture and primitive attire didn’t bespeak of a person frommy world Still,thatdid explain hertalktowe girlsinthe stableandaboutwhatwewereleavingbehind “Sohowlongagodidshestumbleintothisplace?”Iaskedhim “Nearlysixtyyearsago.” Iwinced Thatwasalongtimewithoutelectricity Xanderstaredaheadandpursedhislips “Ihavelongwishedtosee thismagicofyourworld,andthatiswhyIaskedifyouhaveknowledge enoughtocreatethiselectricity.” Ishookmyhead “Nope,notathing IdoubtIcouldcreateanelectric shock by dragging my feet, much less enough that could power a light bulborsomethingsimplelikethat.” Xanderlookedaheadofusandasmallsmileplayedacrosshislips “ThenIstillmustcontinuemydream.” I felt a little guilty at having dashed his hopes “Maybe you can go theresomeday,”Isuggested He shook his head “That is not possible You yourself witnessed whatwouldhappenwereItoeventouchthePortal’ssurface.” “ButIgotthrough,”Iremindedhim Xanderreturnedhisgazetomeandstudiedme “Yes,butyouarethe first Ishouldnotconsidermyselfanexceptiontoarulethathasstooda thousandyears.” Iwrinkledmynose “SohowcomeI’manexception?” Heshookhishead “Thatisamysterythepriestscouldnotsolveand our books could not answer for us However-” A teasing smile played acrosshislips,“-Iwouldnothaveyoumaketheattemptagain.” Iraisedmyheadandsalutedhim Theraindropsnearlydrownedme “IpromiseI’llbeagoodlittleMaiden.” He chuckled “I expect you to be something other than that, but I wouldasknothingelseofyou.” Ismiled,butthesmilesoonfaded ThinkingaboutwhatIleftbehind remindedmeoftherain Ihuddledinsidemywetcloakandshiveredas thedampsankintomybones Theforestaroundusseemedsovast,andI feltlikejustatiny,wetlittlespeckinit Xander pulled his horse closer to mine and reached behind himself forhistravelblanket Heletgoofhisreignstodrapetheblanketacross my shivering shoulders The weight of the thick woolen blanket was precededbytheheatittrappedinsideme I grabbed the front-top edges to keep the blanket on my slick shoulders and smiled at him “Thanks.” I glanced around us at the tall forestwithitsthick-trunked trees andundergrowth “It feels like we’ve beeninthisplaceforever Howmuchfartherdowehavetogobeforewe getoutofthisplace?” “TheViridiSilvaisoneofthelargestforestsinourworld Wewon’t reachitssouthernboundaryforanothertwodays,”hetoldme Xander looked at the guards ahead of us Their heads were topped withroundedmetalhelmetsandtheirhandswerehiddenbythickleather gloveswithholesattheends Theyworesilverarmorcoveredincloaks, butIcouldseethearmorhadslitsinthebackneartheirshoulderblades The look was similar to what the priest of the Portal had, and I knew whatthatmeant “Arethereanyhumansinthisworldbesidestheonesfrommine?”I askedhim Xandernodded “Yes,buttheirsettlementsarefewandfarbetween Manymatedwithdragonslongagoandthedragonbloodoverrodetheir humanline Othershavesimplyfadedintohistory.” IglancedovermyshoulderatDardaandStephanie “Sowe’re kind ofanendangeredspecieshere.” “I am afraid that is very close to the truth,” he agreed He straightenedinhissaddleandclearedhisthroat “Spiros!” Thehelmetofoneoftheguardswasmoreelaboratethantheothers Ratherthanasmoothtop,hishadacrestlikethespineonadragon’stail He pulled his reigns back and turned toward us The man was about thirtywithascaracrosshisleftcheek Hisfacewasmarredwithcare,but thecornersofhislipshadahintofasmile Therewasalsoatwinklein hiseyesthatremindedmeofXander “Youcalled,MyLord?”heshoutedback Xander nodded “Yes I wish for your presence at my side for a moment.”Spirosgaveafewbriefinstructionstoayoungmanoftwenty who traveled at his side before he galloped over and joined us Xander gestured to me “I haven’t properly introduced you to my Maiden Miriam,thisismycaptain,Spiros.” Hisbarely-concealedsmileappearedashebowedhisheadtome “It isanhonortomeetyou,MyLady.” Inodded “Ditto.” “SpirosandIgrewuptogether,sodonotbealarmedifheappearstoo impertinent,”Xanderwarnedme “IfIamimpertinentitisbecauseIfeelmyadvicewilldoyousome good,MyLord,”Spiroscountered Xanderchuckled “Domegood?Aswhenyoucoaxedmeintoriding myfather’sfinestbulltoseeifitsnameof‘Devil’befittedit?” “Yourodehimverywell,MyLord,andnoonedoubtedyourbravery afterward,”hiscaptainargued “ButsomedoubtedverymuchIwouldsurvivemyinjuries,”Xander pointedout I raised an eyebrow, all my discomfort forgotten “Did the bull goreyou?” SpiroleanedforwardsoIcouldseehimasheshookhishead “No, MyLady Theoldking,MyLord’sfather,beathimquiteprofusely.” Xanderwincedatthememoryandrubbedhisarm “Iamashamedto sayIdeservedasmuch InridingthebullIhadbrokenhisstrictorderto stayawayfromthebeast.” “So you see, My Lady, My Lord is in great need of my counsel to savehimfromhisrashdecisions,”Spiroscommented Isnorted “Withfriendslikeyouwhoneedsenemies?” Spiroschuckled “Averyinterestingsaying,MyLady Ishallhaveto rememberit.” “Andwhereitasabadgeofhonor,nodoubt,”Xanderteasedhim He leanedtowardhisfriendandstudiedhimwithasharpeye “Thoughon thesubjectofgoodadvice,IdorecallyourattempttoflyovertheGrand Canalbeforeyourwingsweresoftened.” “Softened?”Iaskedhim “The wings of a dragon child are at first very hard and brittle,” he explainedtome “Theexposureofthewingstoairandexercisesoftens themusclesandallowsthemtospreadtotheirfulllength.” “Ifyouwillrecall,MyLord,myfatherwouldnotallowmetoenter knight training until my wings were softened,” Spiros spoke up “I sought to show him that they had softened, at least far enough to supportme.” Xanderchuckled “Theyhadsoftenedenoughforyoutofallintothe Canalandnearlydrownedyourself Ifmyguardescorthadnotfoundto wherewehadeludedthemwewouldnotbehavingthisdiscussion.” I looked from Xander to Spiros “You guys got away from the guards?” Spiros’smischievous eyesflickeredtohislord “My Lordwasvery adeptateludinghiskeepers.” Any more conversation was cut off by a sudden worsening of the already-worse weather The torrential rains fell faster and drowned out morethanjusttheprimitiveroad Icouldbarelyhearmyselfthinkmuch less overhear the conversation between the two old friends WhatIdid catch,however,wasachangeintheirexpressions Theygazedoutonthe rains with pursed lips and furrowed brows before they glanced at each otherwithknowinglooks Spirosbowedhisheadandtrottedofftoretake hispositionattheheadoftheguards CaydenfilledtheemptyspotvacatedbySpiros,andStephaniecame up on his left side “What you make of this weather?” he shouted abovethepoundingrains Xander shook his head “We cannot journey much farther than the bridge.” “Ifthebridgeistobehad,”Caydenpointedout Therewasnousetalkingatthetopofourlungs,sothenextcoupleof minutes was devoid of all but the thunderous rains that fell around us The muddy road opened up ahead of us and revealed a small river At least, small when there wasn’t a flood warning As we approached the watersIcouldheartheroarofthestreamasitturnedovertherocksinits bedandsweptawaythetreesthatlineditsbanks The bridge was a wooden makeup of logs strapped together with heavyropeandsealedwithatar-lookingsubstance Thicktreesaswide asIwastallwerethesupportbeamsthatforcedthebridgetocurveover thewaterinagentlearch Belowthearchwerethefastwatersofthewild river IwincedeverytimeIheardatreeorrock slam intooneofthose pillars Spiros stopped his guards at the edge of the bridge Xander trotted forwardtostandbesidehisoldfriendandIcautiouslyfollowed “Idonot likethis,MyLord,”thecaptainshoutedabovethepoundingrain Xander pursed his lips as he studied the bridge The thick logs swayedsidetosideateachknockoftheirpillars “Wehavelittlechoice Thereisnootherbridge.” “Then allow my men and I to cross and test the logs, My Lord,” Spirospleaded Xandershookhishead “Thereisnotime Thebridgemaycollapseat any moment We cross now.” He turned his horse so he rode perpendiculartothelineandstoodonhisstirrupssoallcouldseehim “Wecrossatonce!Maketwolinesattwoabreastandfollowtheriderin frontofyou!” The riders grouped themselves into the long lines I clutched my reignsandtensedmylegsagainstthebodyofthehorse Mysteedthrew itsheadbackandwhinnied Xander sidled up to my horse and leaned close to me “Would you ratherridewithme?” Imanagedashakysmile “Andmissallthisfun?Notonyourlife.” He glanced past me at the roaring water beneath the bridge and frowned Ihardlyheardhismurmuredwords “Ipraynot.” That’swhenanear-splittingroarbashedmyears Iwhippedmyhead totheleftandupstreamofthebridge Ahugetreewithasix-foottrunk floatedonthecurrentsofthewhite-waterwaves “Across!”Xanderyelled Toolate Thetreeboredownonthebridge,andus Itslammedinto the left side and sank deep into the thick timbers Many of the horses whinnied andrearedup Myhorsewasn’tanexception Itrearedupon bothitsbacklegs Oneofthetworemaininghoovesslippedonthethick logs The horse staggered backward and into the downstream wall We hitithard Icouldn’tkeepmypositionontheslicksaddleandfellinto theroaringabyssofthewildriver OTHERSERIESBYMACFLYNN ContemporaryRomance BeingMe BillionaireSeekingBride TheFamilyBusiness LovingPlaces PALESeries TrappedInTemptation DemonRomance Ensnare:TheLibrarian'sLover Ensnare:ThePassenger'sPleasure IncubusAmongUs LoversofLegend OfficeDuties SensualSweets UnnaturalLover DragonRomance BloodDragon DragonBound DragonDetective MaidentotheDragon GhostRomance PhantomTouch VampireRomance BloodThief BloodTreasure VampireDead-tective VampireSoul UrbanFantasy DeathTouched OracleofSpirits WerewolfRomance AlphaBlood AlphaMated BeastBillionaire ByMyLight DesiredBytheWolf FallingForAWolf GardenoftheWolf HighlandMoon IntheLoup LunaProxy MarkedBytheWolf MoonChosen MoonLovers ScentofScotland:LordofMoray ShadowoftheMoon Sweet&Sour WolfLake
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