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Coming May 2017

A Dragon Speaks Her Name

A Nocturne Falls Universe Novel

“I have this feeling you’re trying to be nice to me so you can get into my purse.” She hugged her oversized bag close to her chest. “Not happening.”

“One feel. That’s all.” He pressed his hand flat over his heart. “Promise.”
Kaylae gaped at him. Zareh laughed—oh boy, that laugh made her belly flutter—and pulled into an empty parking spot along the sidewalk. He was still smiling when he rounded the SUV and did the gentleman performance again. His chivalrous actions did amazing things to warm her. She was finding it difficult to be skeptical of the man who sat with her at the clinic, didn’t question the existence of the voices she heard, and still insisted on taking her to dinner, even though she had not confided her real first name.
It took a special man to take that in stride.
Or a crazy one.
Like you’re one to pass judgment on crazy.
Amidst her world crashing down and the grief waiting to surface, this impossibly handsome stranger managed to make her smile and forget the pain she would soon have to face. He provided an unseen support to her shaky foundation, one she hadn’t had before Zareh crossed her path, not even with her father.
For now, she’d enjoy Zareh’s company and his eye- candy appeal.
“Think we can do take-out?” Kaylae asked as they approached the front doors of a place called The Poisoned Apple. It looked like a pub. She stared at the doors, apprehension making her drag her heels. She finally looked up to find Zareh scrutinizing her with something like concern etched into his expression. “I-I don’t know if I have the energy to deal with”—she scrunched her nose— “cross conversation.”
“Do you truly know nothing about who you are?”
Zareh pulled Kaylae to the side of the door. Kaylae frowned at the sudden hard-lined expression that touched his face.
“Isn’t all this dragon-Keeper talk just propaganda? I mean, look at the town we’re in.”
Zareh said something she couldn’t hear under his breath and rubbed a hand over his chin. “Yeah. Take-out it is. You will be coming back to my house. We have a lot to discuss.”
“Are you usually so bossy with women whose names you don’t know?”
“I’m bossy where you’re concerned.”
“Why?” She straightened her shoulders and crossed her arms over her chest. “I get that you knew my father, but why are you concerned about me?” A thought made her stiffen. “Oh, I see. You think I’ll be an easy one-night stand—”
“Whoa!” Zareh threw up his hands in surrender. Shock flashed through his eyes. “Absolutely not, Doe.”
He groaned, tugging a hand through his hair. Strands fell right back over his eyes, making her itch to do her own combing and tugging and whatever else a woman could do with hair that looked like pure black silk.
“Then why?”
Zareh glanced up at the sign over the pub’s doors. “Okay. Let’s get take-out and we’ll eat in the SUV. I’ll lower the back seat and we can have a picnic.”
“A trunk-nic.”
Zareh nodded. Kaylae couldn’t stay skeptical when those darn lips curled in such a heart-melting grin. He could make her believe in anything with his smile.
“We can’t talk in the open about the things I need to talk to you about. It’s too dangerous. Now that we know the Baroqueth are on the trails of the Keepers, and most likely tracking their movement to us, there is no room for error.”
Kaylae licked her lips, wondering how much of what Zareh told her he actually believed. She heard voices and thoughts and suffered panic attacks because of her lineage. Zareh was trying to convince her she was some Keeper and dragons might actually exist. She wanted to believe because it meant maybe she wasn’t crazy after all.
Zareh’s gaze dropped to her mouth. His eyes smoldered and somehow steamed up her head before he cleared his throat and pulled his glance away. “You think you can bear the voices for a few minutes while we order? I’ll do my best to help keep them at bay.”
Kaylae nodded, unsure how he could help. Earmuffs didn’t work. Neither did hands or ear buds. She had tried everything. “I’ve dealt with them all my life. A few more minutes won’t hurt.”
Truth be told, despite this rabbit hole called Nocturne Falls that she somehow stumbled down, she found renewed strength in Zareh’s presence. Strength, and a little something else she didn’t want to let go.