Dragon Void (Immortal Dragons Book 2)By: Ophelia Bell
Brooklyn, New York
Love at first sight wasn’t a dragon thing—the turul had the honor of that particular, crippling feature of their romantic lives. Dragons had the honor of choosing their mates, but Ked knew enough about dragon magic to know that some of the same rules applied to them, too. Fate so often chose for them, and she was pulling his strings at this very moment.
He stared at the photo for way too long. Evie North’s brothers had given the faded Polaroid to him moments ago. It was hard enough for him to even process the static image of the turul woman. He’d been away from the human world for so long. He cursed himself for his disorientation. He should have come out more often. Acclimated to the changes every few centuries so he didn’t wind up in this situation where he was staring blankly at a piece of paper with a too-realistic painting on it and getting a headache over how it worked.
The woman in the photo was in danger. And he couldn’t even process her tiny, beautiful countenance on the square piece of paper he’d been handed.
His heart hurt looking at the photo, which was impossible. He didn’t have a heart. Contrary to what his siblings believed, he knew his chest had been occupied by a swirling void of nothing for centuries.
Still… something inside him ached to find this woman. The sensation was new and uncomfortable, but it felt right. She was his.
His pulse quickened and he clenched his jaw.
This beautiful woman—the image from his recurring dreams—was his. And she’d been taken from him.
The voices around him grew louder and he jerked to attention. Losing track of a conversation probably wasn’t a good quality in an immortal. Ked forced himself back to the present and said something he hoped was at least coherent, though he wasn’t sure what it was. He kept looking at the image of Evie, unable to tear his eyes away from her, hoping there might be clues in the picture that would help him find her.
She wasn’t alone in the photo. Beside her stood a hulk of a man in a pilot’s uniform, his gaze raptly set on Evie while Evie beamed at the camera.
That man was the enemy. Ultiori to the core, though maybe only a new recruit, from the look of him. He looked so full of love and hope in the photo—with not a hint of the devious hunger the other Ultiori that Ked had encountered possessed.
Marcus, he said to himself. Evie’s brothers had met him, had told Ked everything they knew, which wasn’t much. Marcus had been her seducer. The Ultiori hunter who had stolen her away. The man Ked would kill to get her back.
She was his. Fate said so. Or his dreams did, at least, and they were the only connection he had anymore to what Fate intended.
But the image of Marcus intrigued him as much as Evie did. Partly because of how he looked at her, and partly because his presence in her life back then was a conundrum. If he hadn’t already become a hunter, he must have become one very soon after the image was captured. Iszak and Lukas would have known him for a hunter, as would Evie, if he’d already joined the Ultiori ranks.
“Are you sure he wasn’t turned yet?” Ked asked, looking up from the photo to meet the gazes of the two turul males across the table.
Iszak shook his head. “He was harmless. We’d have never let her keep seeing him, otherwise. She would have known better, anyway.”
Lukas nodded in agreement. “She had this crazy idea that she could find love with someone other than her true mate. Every decade or so, she’d get impatient and find some poor schmuck, blow his mind for a few years, then move on when the mystery wore off. She’s had more marriage proposals than we can count.”
An amused chuckle carried from the other side of the sunlit kitchen they sat in. Ked looked over to the back of the elderly woman who was chopping vegetables and shaking her head. She paused and turned, pointing the knife at Lukas.
“You two used to do the same thing. Ever since you were old enough to notice a pretty girl, you were chasing them, no matter they weren’t your Belah. I could set a clock by your escapades.”
“Oh, do tell me more, Nanyo,” Belah said, smirking at her mates. She stood to join their grandmother at the counter.
“In time, my dear,” the elder North said. “Right now, your brother must focus on my granddaughter. What do you see in the photo, boy?”