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Dating A Dragon

By:Georgette St. Clair

k of meat, and held it up for a brief moment before tearing into it.

Not even that discouraged them.

“Get away from him, whore, he’s mine,” the brunette snarled at the blonde.

“Gold-digging bitch.”

“Slut. I’ll cut you.”

As luck would have it, they were both cat shifters. The two started circling each other, claws out.

He glanced at them as he chewed, mildly curious to see what would happen next.

Fortunately, the maître’ d hurried up and chased them both off. He returned his attention to the plate in front of him.

Once upon a time, he’d dated that type of woman, to fill the emptiness inside him. It had satisfied both his superficial needs and theirs; he’d draped expensive baubles on them, and they’d helped to temporarily slake the ache that he felt deep inside.

Not anymore.

Orion was old. He was one hundred and fifty, although he looked no older than thirty. The craving for a life mate, a dragon to fly beside him, was bone deep now. That and dragonlings.

Unfortunately, modern technology had proved to be hell on dragons. Pesticides, air pollution, water pollution, GMO crops…dragon eggs these days had such thin shells that few survived all the way to their hatching. And many dragon women suffered from low fertility. It took them years to conceive, and when they did, their hatchlings didn’t make it.

He had finally accepted the bitter truth, that he was not going to have both – he wouldn’t find love and a fertile female dragon who could carry his eggs.

That was what he had tried to convey to the woman at The Mating Game. He didn’t need love. He wanted a woman who could successfully bear his eggs to term. She didn’t even necessarily have to stick around to raise them afterwards; if she wasn’t maternal, he’d raise his dragonlings himself, and the woman would be very well compensated for her trouble.

He’d begun reciting his list of requirements for the mother of his dragonlings – attractive (after all, he would have to have sex with her), intelligent, college degree, physically healthy, not a drug addict, no criminal history – and Wynona, the owner of the mating agency, had booted him out.

Him. Orion Garrison.

Dominus of the Garrison Clan, CEO of Garrison Gold Industries, one of the richest dragons in the world.

He’d never been thrown out of anywhere.

Was it something he’d said?

Probably. He would be the first to admit that he was hot-tempered, and not always tactful.

Well, he’d been stupid to come to North Carolina anyway. He’d been stupid to hope.

Because of the severe decline in the dragon population, all female dragons were required to undergo fertility testing when they were of age, and if they were fertile, they had to place their names on the Mating Registry to be paired with an appropriate male. Most female dragons in America lived in his area, but he knew that some were scattered across the country.

He had heard great things about the success of The Mating Game in finding life-mates for shifters. He’d prayed that Wynona could find him a mate who wasn’t yet listed with the registry.

Currently the registry had no eligible female dragons who were listed as fertile, of childbearing age, and not related to him.

His phone rang, and he glanced at it. His mother, Cynthia. He hadn’t told her he was coming to North Carolina; she was probably wondering where he was. He wasn’t ready to discuss his utter failure with her just yet.

Chapter Two

Cadence stood in the living room of her small rented house, looking around with regret. She’d only moved in a few months ago. She had just finished decorating it and had gotten it exactly the way she wanted it. On her limited budget, she’d bought her furniture at thrift stores and painted it in bright sherbet colors and reupholstered the chairs in matching shades. She’d sewn curtains the color of lemon sherbet and added raspberry-colored pom-pom trim. She’d arranged plants throughout the house to give it a lush, tropical look.

Now the results of her fertility test meant she was going to have to leave all of this behind. Quickly.

“Goodbye, Petunia,” Cadence said with a heavy sigh. “Goodbye, Violet. I’ll miss you, but you can’t go where I’m going.” The landlady had agreed to take all her plants.

“Who are Petunia and Violet?” Daisy called out. She had walked in the front door without Cadence noticing. “There’s nobody else here.”

Once upon a time Cadence would have been able to scent her approach before she got there. Not anymore.

“The plants,” Cadence said, gesturing at the two potted plants she’d been talking to. She pointed. “That one’s a petunia, that one’s a violet. Come on, Daisy, that’s basic botany.”

“Thank you, oh sarcastic one. I see you lack a daisy.”

Cadence gave Daisy a sweeping glance, taking in her enormous stomach.

“Oh, I’ve got more than enough Daisy,” she said drolly.

“Everyone’s a comedienne,” Daisy grumbled. “I’d smack you upside the head, but for now, you can outrun me. Just remember, I won’t be pregnant forever.” With a sigh, she waddled over to an armchair. “Sure feels like it, though.” She sank into the chair with an “oof”.

“So, what are you up to today, other than sneaking around and eavesdropping?”

“I wouldn’t have to sneak if you would just tell me what’s wrong. We’re best friends, and you’re hiding something from me. So spill it. Now,” Daisy said sternly. “Are you actually going away somewhere? And what’s been bothering you lately?”

Cadence bit her lip. She knew she could trust Daisy with her secret, and she’d have to explain why she was leaving anyway. She’d already given her landlord notice, and handed in her resignation at work.

“Remember when I told you that I literally couldn’t go for a run?”

“I do.”

“I meant it. As in, I can’t shift anymore. Not into a wolf, anyway. My father was a dragon.”

Daisy’s mouth opened in surprise, and her eyes widened. Cadence braced herself, tension squeezing in her

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