Book Three of The Dragon Heat Series
By Ella J Phoenix
Copyright 2014 by Ella J Phoenix
Published by Ella J. Phoenix at AllRomanceEbooks
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What others are saying about Ella J Phoenix’s romances.
“Dragon Heat (Book 1)”
3rd Place Winner, Best Paranormal Romance Novel,
2013 PRG Reviewer's Choice Awards
“Magic, Dragons, Vampires, and more! A Paranormal Fan's Delight.”
“Loved the heat! (It) had some amazing world building and mythology. It was magical and unique.”
“Sexy and delicious. Awesome book!”
“An almost Romeo and Juliet story featuring the Draconian (dragons) and Vampires!”
“Vampire Thirst (Book 2 of the Dragon Heat series)”
“And the story continues with more Dragons, Vampires, Shifters, and now Werewolves – oh my!”
“Phoenix does it again!”
“Awesome! Any fan of the genre will fully enjoy Vampires Thirst!
“An amazing addition to the Dragon Heat series!”
“Wolf Hunger (Book 3 of the Dragon Heat series)”
2nd Place Winner, Best Paranormal Romance Novel - Shifter Category, 2014 PRG Reviewer's Choice Awards
“This series is a must read for anyone who loves paranormal romances. Every book leaves you wanting more!”
“Awesome book three in the series. It just keeps getting better!” “The battle against evil continues to rage in this intriguing paranormal world that is thrilling and mesmerizing.”
“This series is my form of crack! Ella J. Phoenix has repeatedly hijacked my attention, emotions, and imagination with her spellbinding creativity.”
“A sweet romance built on a mystery based in American Indian folklore with elements of paranormal, Indian magic, and a backstory that pulls in the belief of reincarnation – everything I could desire in a story.”
“Kudos to Ms. Phoenix for a unique story.”
“This is a great read. It was full of steamy sex scenes and, I have to say, Phoenix is one of my favorite fighting-scene writers.”
To my fantastic husband, amazing mother, and my family, who are always there for me no matter how many crazy manuscripts I write.
Thank you for your support and constructive feedback.
Love you all,
group of five gods, creators of life on Earth and the Universe
the Land of the Souls, the afterlife
– someone who can cross to the Land of the Souls and return unharmed
Draco or Draconian
– a dragon in human form
– the Underworld
– the soul
lizard people known for their lack of intelligence
– the three witches of Destiny
being, offspring of the union between two different races
the Land of the Living, the Earth
– God of Death, lord of the Land of the Souls
– Goddess of Life
Who’s who in the Dragon Heat series
– A draconian demigoddess, daughter of the God of Death, Ucidhere, and a calathor, who can cross to the Land of the Souls and return unharmed. In Dragon Heat (Book 1) she falls in love with Tardieh, the vampire king.
– Originally from Romania, Tardieh, the vampire king, now resides in New York, where he runs his operations, with the assistance of his band of warriors. He first met Zoricah 200 years ago, and falls head over heels for her when they met again in Dragon Heat (Book 1).
One third of Zoricah’s team of fighters, she is human but a rough upbringing in London in the 1920s has awarded her with supernatural powers and virtual immortality. She and Hikuro hook up in “Vampire Thirst” (Book 2).
Tardieh’s second-in-command, comes from a royal Japanese family. His carefully controlled life goes out the window as soon as he meets Samantha.
The third “half” of Zoricah’s team of female fighters, she’s a witch from Brazil, who was cursed to share her body with a black panther.
Part of Tardieh’s loyal group of bodyguards, he’s the master of intelligence and technology, who enjoys female company and a good fling.
Descendant of a Cherokee shaman, he’s the last piece of Tardieh’s personal security detail. He always finds a way of “saying it like it is” without being too blunt or rude. Like his other peers, he is unconditionally loyal to Tardieh.
Dragon shifter, master of intelligence, who double-crossed Zoricah more than once by turn-coating on her in “Vampire Thirst” (Book 2).
The Romanian dragon lord and one of the Draconian Senators, whose tiff against the vampires goes back to 1800s when he started the war between his race and the vampire king, Tardieh’s father.
The Draconian Senate –
Assembly of five rulers of all dragon territories, composed of Long-Chi, the Chinese dragon lord; Evren, lord of the seven seas; Lindworm, the Scandinavian dragon lord; Wyvern, lord of the British territory and Balaur, the Romanian dragon lord.
“The past cannot be changed, forgotten, edited or erased.
It can only be accepted.”
The crowd was clearly not in the mood to cooperate tonight, or the current fighters weren’t doing their jobs properly. Either way, shit was going to hit the fan very soon. The usual cheering had been replaced by curses and boos just 3 minutes after the bell rang.
Hidden in the shadows, Yara cracked her neck, left, then right, then carried on wrapping her hands with the protective cotton straps. After ensuring both her wrists, knuckles and thumbs were safely strapped, she pushed off the stool and stretched her calves. From the corner of her eye she saw Dyam, her vampire friend and brother-in-arms of sorts, leaning against the bar. His silky-smooth long hair and olive skin contrasted heavily against those of the other patrons, who were basically a bunch of supernatural, stinking low-lifes. His chocolate gaze briefly met hers. He gave her a quick nod, then returned his focus to the octagonal cage-like ring in the middle of the club. Yara roamed her eyes over the crowd and spotted her other co-pilot in the mission, the vamp Joel, standing a few feet from Dyam. Just like his counterpart, the royal bodyguard exuded a calm that was as reassuring as it was deceiving. Yara had no doubts that he was ready to pounce at anyone or anything to protect her.
Joel lifted a blond brow at Yara, as if asking if she would still go ahead with the plan. She narrowed her eyes at him. By the gates of Hiad, of course she would! Ever since they destroyed Dr. Burvis’ laboratory in the U.K., where the psycho was attempting to mass market a bullet-size H-bomb, they had been trying to track down the last box of the little atomic fellas – the box
had let be stolen. Damn the Soartas! She was still kicking herself for that. Yara had come face to face with the mugger and what had she done? Did she kick his ass and snatch the box away? No, she stood there, like a deer headlights, hypnotized by gods knew what! Now after almost three months chasing ghosts and dead ends, they had finally got wind that the thief was going to sell the bullets tonight, and the deal was going down here, at this fighting joint. And since she had been the only one with access to the place – let’s just say she enjoyed the occasional bet – it was only natural for her to set their plan and get that freakin’ box back. They had carefully planned it all out – while the patrons were focused on the fights, Joel and Dyam would go in disguised as regulars and search the general area of the club. Sam and Hikuro, Yara’s best friend and the vampire king’s second in command, were outside, ready to jump in if needed. Yara would be working on the inside, since she had easy access to backstage. It was all mapped out and calculated by the second. In no time, Yara would be able to spot the buyer and the seller, then she’d call Joel and Dyam, they’d break the deal up, get the box back and tah-dah! Mission accomplished.
However… it was easier said than done. The Dungeon, the fighting joint in question, was famous for holding the most brutal and ruthless fights to ever take place outside the umbrella of the law. They were usually quick, some even lasting less than a minute, but the best ones – the ones that really drove the crowd wild – lasted ten times as long. A massive scoreboard located just above one of the ends of the cage-like ring displayed the sad tally of the current battle. The ten-foot iron net shook with another blow from the contestants but the crowd wasn’t impressed.
Yara turned around to see her “guy” staring back at her. CJ was the Dungeon’s master of ceremony. Despite his many shortcomings, he had been her contact for a lot of her “hobbies,” like her underground fights and her poker nights with morally-questionable individuals. He had even introduced her into her favorite past-time of late. A naughty smile lifted the corner of her lips. Yep, it was worth keeping him around, and his half-demon/half-human nature had come in handy more than once. The S.O.B. had an incredible knack for sensing bad news, and tonight his gaze carried a weight that didn’t match his relaxed greeting.
“Hey, CJ,” she replied as gravely. “What’s up?”
“The buyer is here,” he replied, scanning the area for eavesdroppers.
He lifted his chin toward the back of the room. Yara followed his hint, and spotted a tall blond man with grey eyes leaning against one of the pillars on the far corner.
The buyer was Phillip – the draco who was working with Dr. Burvis in London, the rat bastard who double crossed them one too many times.
Yara clutched her jaw tight. “What about the seller, any sign?”
CJ shook his head. “No, but I’ll keep you posted.” He started walking away, but stopped, turned back around and pinned her with his eerie snake-like eyes. “Look, be careful out there, alright?”
“If I had a penny for every warning I got, I’d be rich by now,” she answered.
“I’m serious,” CJ replied.
Yara frowned, then narrowed her eyes at him. “Is there anything else you’d like to share, CJ?”
He quickly scanned the area as if afraid they were being over heard or something. “Weird vibes in this place tonight. Weirder than usual. Just saying.” He shrugged then walked off.
Hmm, a knack for sensing bad news.
A loud thump followed by a painful grunt called Yara’s attention back to the mission. The crowd cheered rowdily.
And another one
bites the dust
, she thought. After a few seconds, a massive bouncer left the cage carrying one of the fighters over his shoulders. But apparently the audience wasn’t very supportive of the winner, because all he got was a shitload of boos and curses. The iron grid around the ring was the only thing protecting the winner from the empty bottles that went flying by. She bet that the he was thanking the Soartas right now. People thought the ring had been designed to keep the fighters in and protect the audience, but nah, it was designed to protect the fighters and keep the angry mob out.
Yara was very well acquainted with what went down in this sort of hellhole. Only one fighter was divulged before the showdown. His opponent was a surprise – supposedly “taken out of the hat.” This way the audience were kept intrigued by who would fight whom, and throw more money on last-minute bets.
“And now, for the second fight of the evening we have two very different opponents,” CJ declared from his safely guarded post near the sound booth. “On one side, we have the bulldozer of the east mountains, the beast who enjoys ripping his opponents guts out – Bulldozer Jones!” he chanted, pointing to the opposite direction.
From her vantage point, Yara couldn’t see much – the place was packed to the rafters – but she bet that someone who had been nicknamed after a tractor wouldn’t be scrawny.
Suddenly, a bushy head opened the sea of drunks and made its way into the ring.
“And to fight against the beast of the east,” CJ bellowed over the keyed up cheers from the crowd, “a queen of the underground circuit, a flower that would tear you apart and leave you smiling. From the depths of the Amazon jungle, I give you …”
“Yara, the Brazilian witch!”
The crowd went crazy, searching for a rose with thorns.
Yara took a deep breath, straightened herself up and pushed her way through the sea of smelly males. She didn’t bother using the little side door to the ring; she climbed the tall iron fence instead and landed expertly on the inside.
The drunken mob went completely silent. A coin would have been heard dropping on the sticky floor.
Yara roamed her eyes over them, clearly showing she wasn’t seeking anyone’s approval, and met a bunch of confused looks. Some guys stared at her face, others were locked on her red sports bra and spandex shorts, but none had any idea of what to make of her.
Then someone shouted, “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!”
And the cursing started again, followed by very creative indecent proposals.
Yara ignored them all. Having been in that ring a couple of times before, she knew the crowd’s disapproval would come sooner or later. Not worth wasting her time; instead, she focused on reading her adversary.
Being more than a head taller than her, Bulldozer Jones did his nickname justice. His neck was the size of her thighs; his chest was so puffed up that his bulging arms were resting on a 45-degree angle
from his body. His bushy red hair was thick and short, looking more like fur. Long sideburns framed his disproportioned face, and matched his fat nose.
Ai, Apa Dobrý, this was going to hurt.
With virtually no rules and no referees, there were only two ways to end a fight in the cage – as the winner or a corpse. You could do whatever you wanted to earn your cash in the ring, except shape-shift or use magical powers. That’s why it was very rare to see a female name on the scoreboard.
Yara flicked a glance at the panel on the far wall. CJ’s assistant was holding her name in his hand, as if waiting to see if it was worth the effort to put it up or not.
“Last bets, fellas!” the bookie, and owner of the joint, shouted from somewhere near the bar.
A swarm of males surrounded him, waving dollar bills up high and shouting “On Jones! On Jones!”
Yara rolled her eyes but deep inside, she’d have bet her money on the bulldozer as well. She took the opportunity to scrutinize the room. Phillip had disappeared. The guy who stole the bullets from under her nose in London would have arrived by now. The cage was a few feet higher than the standing audience, so she should be able to spot him easily, but would she recognize him? Their encounter had been so quick and he had been protected by the shadows, so despite her acute eyesight from her panther inmã, all she could get was a glimpse of his amazing biceps and ripped abs.
Dyam moved from his spot near the exit to the crowded front row. His eyes were filled with concern. She gave him a reassuring nod, but deep inside her panther paced anxiously. She could do this; she had won many fights like this before. The main question was
at what cost
? She liked her limbs how and where they were, and would like them to stay that way.
The bell rang. Bulldozer Jones jumped forward, like an ugly bear in heat.
“I’m gonna make you beg, love,” he drawled. “And after I take you down, I’m gonna show you real fun.”
“Charming,” Yara replied.
She lifted her fists high up, to shield her face, and kept her feet light, skipping in place. It would be a lot harder for Heavy Jones here to hit a fast, moving target. Her only chance was to use her speed and agility against his sheer strength.
He came at her with the arrogance of a bulldog, drooling and all. Yara’s stomach churned at the sight of his ugly yellow teeth. Without ceremony, he threw a cross punch at her. She quickly shifted her balance and hunkered backwards, missing the guy’s wrist by a few inches. She then slid underneath his still outstretched arm and punched his exposed ribs, several times. Bulldozer hunkered down, obviously feeling the pain.
For the second time in the night, the crowd went silent. Sharp intakes on breath and curses of disbelief replaced the earlier slurs.
“Yara, look out!”
Dyam’s shout brought her back to the present. She turned around, forearms high for protection but it was no use. Jones’ fist connected to her right ear with such a force that she saw stars. She stumbled sideways and before she could recover, a tight bear-hug locked her in place, whooshing the air out of her lungs.
Not good, not good at all.
She tried to break free, but Bulldozer’s thick arms were like an anaconda around her.
“That’s it, bitch, struggle for me, I love a fighter,” her charming opponent drawled just inches from her nose. Then he clacked his teeth together, as if giving her a snapshot of what he’d really like to do to her. His putrid breath reached her, making breathing even harder.
The crowd went absolutely insane.
Dark spots filled Yara’s eyesight, her oxygen intake was running dangerously slow; a few more seconds and the Bulldozer would succeed in blacking her out, or worse, cracking all her ribs.
Right. Time to end this circus.
Yara lifted her knees up and planted her both feet firmly on his thighs. Using them as leverage, she pulled back as far away from the stinking rat as she could, and then rammed her forehead into the fucker’s nose. A crack and a grunt later, she was free to breathe.
“You fuckin’ bitch! You’re gonna pay for this,” he bellowed holding his bleeding nose. But in no time, he was charging at her again, arms outstretched, like a bull in Pamplona.
Yara swirled around, hooked her left arm on his and in a fluid movement, she dragged him down and over her, lifting his heavy body by her feet. Bulldozer did a cartwheel in the air and crashed down with a loud thump on the arena.
The crowd cheered and more profanities were suggested, together with marriage proposals.
Hmm, that’s an improvement.
But Yara didn’t have time to laugh at the crowd’s change of heart. Before Jones could recover, she climbed on the thick fence, then jumped, elbow first, on top of S.O.B.’s stomach.
“Oooh,” the audience shrieked.
Feeling the love in the room, Yara stood up and swirled around slowly, making sure they all saw the message stamped on the back of her shorts