Wyverns mate, p.1
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       Wyvern's Mate, p.1

           Deborah Cooke
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Wyvern's Mate

  Wyvern’s Mate

  The Dragons of Incendium


  Deborah Cooke

  Once, in the Kingdom of Incendium, there were twelve princesses of the realm, each a dragon shifter. Each fiery and passionate. Each possessed of an appetite for pleasure that only her destined mate can satisfy. Twelve men are expected in Incendium, each with special powers of his own, each with the gift to claim one dragon princess’s heart forever.

  Troy will do whatever is necessary to earn his freedom from solitary confinement on the penal colony of Xanto, even assassinate a princess of Incendium. Being a MindBender, he has a serious advantage as a predator and thinks the princess in question doesn’t have a chance. Only one of them can survive and Troy knows who it will be—until he meets Drakina.

  Royal dragon shifter Drakina has a quest of her own, to seduce her destined mate and conceive the crown prince of Incendium. Her father will free her from all other responsibilities if she completes this one task. Drakina craves her independence enough to seduce the unattractive Terran who is the Carrier of the Seed. She’s sure it will be a quick seduction—until she meets Troy.

  Worlds collide when Troy and Drakina meet, and passion flares. The attraction is so powerful that they both choose to put their goals aside for one night of passion together. When their respective secrets are revealed, will the truth turn one against the other? Or will destiny allow this star-crossed pair to save each other and their unborn son?

  Dear Reader;

  In the fall of 2015, I was invited to participate in a joint project led by Susan Smith, who writes science fiction romance as S.E. Smith. I was very excited about the world of this series, as well as by the arrival of Drakina in my office. After writing the majority of her story, I realized that she was introducing me to a new world, and one that would take more than a single story to explore. As a result, I declined the opportunity Susan offered and began my adventures in Incendium.

  Incendium is a planet in a distant galaxy, with a ruling family of dragon shape shifters. The king and queen have twelve daughters, all dragon shifters, and Drakina is the oldest. There are two occupied planets orbiting the sun in their system—the other is Regalia, where Queen Arcana has twelve sons. Although Incendium and Regalia have frequently been at odds over the centuries, the fact that their sun is dying is drawing them into reluctant alliance. The two imperial families decide that their children should marry, to fortify this alliance. The first match, between Drakina and the crown prince of Regalia, doesn’t proceed well, and Drakina has caused a diplomatic incident. Wyvern’s Mate her story of redemption—all she has to do is seduce an ugly Terran to conceive a crown prince for Incendium, then she’ll be free of royal responsibilities. It sounds easy, but neither Drakina nor her parents are aware of the part the astrologers neglected to tell them: Troy is the Carrier of the Seed, the only man who can create a child with Drakina, but he’s also a MindBender. Is Drakina stepping into a trap?

  Although this paranormal romance series features dragon shifter heroines, it’s not connected to my Dragonfire series. Incendium is in a different world. Not only are the heroines the dragon shifters, but the heroes all have special traits of their own—it takes a special kind of man to fall in love with a dragon shifter princess! The Dragons of Incendium series will alternate between novellas and short stories that introduce characters and details of the world. They have their own website at


  Until next time, I hope you have lots of good books to read.

  All my best


  Wyvern’s Mate

  by Deborah Cooke

  Digital Edition

  Published by Deborah A. Cooke

  Cover by Frauke Spanuth

  Formatting by Author E.M.S

  Copyright © 2016 by Deborah A. Cooke

  All rights reserved.

  Without limiting the rights under copyright preserved above, no part of this book may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright holder and the publisher of this book.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

  Table of Contents

  Title Page


  Dear Reader



  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Next in the DRAGONS OF INCENDIUM Series

  About the Author

  More Books by the Author


  Thursday, August 18, 2016—the town of St. Anthony, Canada

  The night sky was filled with shooting stars. There weren’t many residents here, in the smallest town on the “wrong” side of Dinosaur Provincial Park, but the local population always swelled for the Perseid Shower Festival in August. It was dark in St. Anthony, far beyond the light pollution of any metropolis, which provided the best viewing conditions for meteor enthusiasts. The festival had been held the previous Saturday, the biggest ever, but now most of the visitors had departed.

  This was the night of the full moon, the least optimal time to watch the meteors, after all. Most residents had had their fill of meteors and were watching television instead. The local bar, MacEnroe’s Pub & Eatery, had closed down at midnight and the streets were empty.

  By the wee hours of the morning, all four hundred and twenty residents of St. Anthony were asleep and the meteor shower illuminated the sky unobserved. No one noticed that a single larger meteor hurtled toward the earth. It streamed white fire across the sky and crashed into the badlands not far outside of town with a thunderous crash.

  Even that didn’t rouse any townsfolk from their sleep.

  The ball of flame rolled a distance, then stopped. The meteor was in fact a ship, a ship carrying a MindBender, the most powerful MindBender ever born in the galaxy. He had cloaked the ship in invisibility, a wasted effort since there was no one in the vicinity.

  He wanted to arrive without notice.

  When the ship halted, the flames were abruptly extinguished. The sphere cracked in half, revealing a seam too straight to have been naturally forged, and the lone occupant stepped out. He stretched when he stood on the ground, then surveyed his surroundings.

  Didn’t it figure that they’d sent him back to Earth. Troy shook his head. The sneaky bastards. The gamblers of Xanto always kept a few aces up their sleeves. He hoped this was the only surprise, but doubted it.

  He was going to win, even so.

  Anything he had to do was better than being executed.

  Troy had never imagined he’d return to Earth, but here he stood, on terra firma once again. He studied the town and felt surprise. Not just on his home planet, but outside the town where he’d grown up.

  Two surprises in as many minutes. They really were trying to stack the odds against him.

  And thanks to the High Priestess of Nimue, no one would recognize him. Was that good or bad? Troy knew that no one would believe where he had been.

ere were times when he didn’t believe it himself. If it hadn’t been for the ship—which was already decomposing—and the persistent ache in his muscles from working in the mines of the penal colony of Xanto, he might have thought he’d never left St. Anthony, that he’d just taken a walk on this night in the wilderness.

  But Troy knew better. He was changed. He was bitter and he was angry. His heart had turned to stone at the injustice done to him. He had one chance to make it right, to earn his freedom, and even if they stacked all the odds against him, he was going to win.

  Or die trying.

  It had to be better than execution.

  Troy had forty-eight hours in local time to succeed in his mission. Two rotations of the Earth to kill a dragon shifter princess. A simple transaction. His life for hers.

  He had no idea why anyone wanted to have the princess Drakina executed, and he didn’t particularly care. If he cared, he might not be able to finish the job. Caring was a luxury Troy couldn’t afford.

  He was here and he had a job to do. He started walking.

  Earth might be less developed than the other civilizations he’d come to know, but the planet itself wasn’t bad. The temperature and humidity were pleasant, the air smelled good, and the oxygen balance was excellent. The force of gravity was a little lighter than Troy had become accustomed to, but he’d get used to it again easily enough. Out here, far from most humans, it was perfect.

  Funny how he hadn’t thought that when he was younger. He’d thought himself trapped and hadn’t been able to get away. As he strode toward slumbering St. Anthony, Troy appreciated what he’d left behind.

  He had one chance.

  He had it all planned. He’d MindBend her, disarm her, and finish the mission. His gift would mean that he’d be able to anticipate her, even read her mind. Troy would do whatever he had to do, and not regret it one bit.

  He wasn’t going back to Xanto.

  The gift that had gotten him off this planet would save his butt now.

  When Troy reached the perimeter of St. Anthony, he was glad to be unobserved. The sight of the familiar jolted him with emotions he didn’t need to feel and he fought to be impassive again. But the Grand Hotel was just the way he remembered. MacEnroe’s Pub & Eatery where Ruby used to give him extra fries. Old man Wilcox’s garage, where he’d left his beloved Harley. His parents’ graves were in the cemetery behind the church on the far side of town. He remembered those funerals all too well. He’d gone to school over to the left and turned, haunted by happier memories. He’d ridden his bike down that trail and out to the badlands.

  Hunting dragons.

  Some things didn’t change.

  Home was home, even if he couldn’t stay.

  Troy felt the hairline crack in the surface of his heart like a wound and set his jaw. It was all part of the game. They were deliberately messing with him, trying to undermine his abilities with sentiment.

  The gamblers of Xanto weren’t counting on Troy’s desire to survive.

  He would win.

  * * *

  “I won’t do it,” Drakina insisted, folding her arms across her chest. She was in the royal audience chamber of Incendium’s main palace, confronting her parents yet again. The chamber was large and luxuriously appointed, even the walls touched with gilding. The floor was a mosaic pattern that was actually a puzzle, made of inlaid stone from every territory governed by the monarchy of Incendium. The power and expanse of her father’s domain was evident in every detail of his palace and, as leader of one of the most advanced societies in the galaxy, the claw of the King of Imperium reached far across the universe.

  His influence within his family, however, was often challenged.

  Usually by his oldest daughter, Drakina.

  Drakina stood tall before her father, undaunted by his glower of disapproval. Her eleven sisters hovered behind her, watching avidly.

  Twenty-two royal advisors and astrologers hovered around the perimeter of the room, also observing, but they were more wary of the king’s wrath than his brood of daughters. There were already sparks in the air, leaping between father and daughter.

  “I won’t,” Drakina repeated. Sparks shot from the tips of her long red hair, circling the pair like brilliant butterflies before they fell to the floor and blackened to ash.

  “Of course, you will,” Ouros countered. Drakina’s father was regal and commanding, but he had been king of the realm for five centuries. Getting his own way had become a habit.

  It was also Drakina’s habit. Oldest of the brood, she was the most stubborn.

  “It’s your destiny, dear,” her mother said, her tone soothing. “You can’t escape a prophecy.”

  “That’s what you said the last time,” Drakina replied tartly. “It’s your own fault I don’t believe it now.”

  Her mother shifted shape in her agitation and fluttered at the reminder of the fiasco. In her dragon form, Ignita was a thousand hues of mauve and pale blue, as ethereal as a morning mist. She liked to disguise her will of iron behind her feminine wiles. “There was no need to create a diplomatic incident,” she said.

  “I tried saying no,” Drakina replied. “That didn’t work.”

  Her mother’s expression became exasperated. “Well, we had signed the betrothal agreement.”

  “You should have asked me first.”

  “You are a royal princess!” her mother cried. “No one asks royal princesses who they wish to marry.”

  “They should,” one of Drakina’s sisters whispered. It was impossible to tell which one, but Drakina would have bet it was Gemma.

  She’d been quiet since her betrothal to Prince Urbanus of Regalia had been announced. Drakina would have bet that her sister was planning something. Revenge? Rebellion? With Gemma it was always hard to guess.

  Their father heard the words. Drakina could tell by the way his eyes narrowed.

  “Did you ask me first before you responded?” He glowered at his disobedient daughter, clearly seeing that she was sowing dissent in the ranks. Drakina could see that he, too, was on the cusp of shifting. Her father changed shape to ensure that he got his way. She bounced a little on her toes, ready to go one-to-one over this and more sparks took flight from her hair. “No one says that destiny is always easy, Drakina,” he said, as if trying to make peace. She wasn’t fooled. He didn’t believe in doing anything against his own will, either.

  “You must have needed that humiliation,” her mother argued. “There must have been a point.”

  Her mother had been talking to the astrologers again, it was clear.

  “Obviously, she’s much more humble,” her youngest sister Peri whispered behind her. Peri was the mischievous one and the pretty one. The other sisters giggled and jostled for a better view.

  The results of Drakina’s defiance were often spectacular.

  Their father’s nostrils flared and a small puff of smoke emanated from one of them. “Drakina did not learn from the experience, because she was too impatient!” he declared. “Too impetuous.”

  “Too hungry,” added a sister. Again the words came from their ranks but couldn’t be readily attributed to any of them. Flammara, Drakina thought. The outspoken one.

  Ouros seethed that the defiance was spreading.

  “I don’t want anything to do with destiny,” Drakina argued. “I just want to choose for myself.”

  “Then think of this as a way to achieve that,” her father countered. He sounded reasonable but his eyes were glittering. “Do this for the kingdom, then you can do whatever you want.” He held up a finger. “One concession and your life will be yours.”

  Drakina regarded her father with suspicion. Ouros did have a reputation as a slippery negotiator. “How exactly would that work?” she demanded, hearing all the skepticism of a wyvern much younger than herself in her own tone.

  Her father smiled, showing a vast collection of teeth. He was doing that annoying thing again, the one that really irked Drakina, of hovering on the cusp o
f change. If she looked at him with one eye, he was in his human form. With the other, she could see his majestic dragon form, all imperial blue and gold. With both eyes open, the view was troubling. Many people agreed to whatever he requested when he did this, just to make him stop.

  “This could be the last errand you do for me and for the kingdom,” he said smoothly, sounding like the voice of reason. “Do this and I will never ask another thing of you.”

  “I don’t believe it. You’re exiling me. It’s punishment.”

  Her father’s eyes flashed and the dragon was briefly ascendant. He remained in human form with an obvious effort. His gaze bored into hers and she felt the weight of his will. “I swear it to you, daughter of mine.”

  Drakina averted her gaze. “Even if that’s true, it’s a lot to ask. It’s not easy to bear a dragon shifter.”

  “Your father requests no more than what is natural,” her mother countered. “I had twelve children for the sake of the kingdom. Why can’t you bear just one?”

  “For the sake of your kind,” her father added.

  “To ensure the future of all you love,” her mother urged.

  “To defend your home,” her father added, his voice booming.

  Drakina hesitated.

  “What if she doesn’t do it?” Callida dared to ask. She always had to know the details.

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