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Dating A Dragon

By:Georgette St. Clair

chest. Was her best friend going to reject her now? A lot of people were afraid of dragons.

But Daisy just nodded to herself, and then looked at Cadence with sympathy.

“Well, that explains it,” she said. “I wasn’t going to say anything, but I had scented something different on you. So…your dragon genes are becoming dominant.”

“Yes, they are.”

“Well.” Daisy folded her hands in her lap. Cadence could see the wheels in her head turning. Daisy was always the problem-solver. “If you wanted to hide that, there are scent-disguising solutions that you could buy. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a dragon, but some people might freak out,” Daisy continued. “And then there’s that whole registry thing. And possibly being forced to agree to a mating that you don’t want.”

Cadence nodded. “Yes, that’s exactly why I’ve kept it under wraps. But my secret is out now. A few months ago I went to the hospital with a fever and they ran some blood tests. They discovered my dragon ancestry. They reported me to the registry. So I went and took a fertility test, and I was honestly hoping that I wasn’t fertile, because that would have meant that I might not have to register to be paired with a mate. But I am. Very fertile.”

She sighed. “It’s not that I don’t want children. I always have. It’s just that there’s a very small pool of potential mates out there, and most of them are way too old for me, or they’re real bastards. I’ve been doing research.” She sank down onto the sofa, nervously drumming her fingers on the wooden arm.

“How would you know that someone’s a bastard if you’ve never met them?” Daisy asked.

“When I was forced to register, some relatives of mine got in touch with me. I’ve been talking with my cousin Maude. She’s not fertile, which in a weird, sad way is lucky, because she could marry whoever she wanted. She was trying to scout out someone decent for me, but she didn’t come up with anything. There’s only a few families to choose from, and everyone’s either too closely related to me, or really old, or an abusive dickface.”

“Well, you definitely don’t want to get hitched to a dickface. How did you keep your secret for so long? I thought all dragons had to register at birth.”

Cadence summoned up a sad smile. “My late mother was a waitress at a Nevada resort which my father owned. He was married, but when he came to visit the resort he had a brief fling with my mother. When my mother found out she was pregnant, she knew that by law, the dragon clan would be able to claim me, and since she wasn’t a dragon, she wouldn’t be able to raise me. She wasn’t about to have her child taken from her, so she just left the state without telling anyone she was pregnant. Moved to New York, changed her last name. And then we lucked out, because my wolf side was dominant at birth, so nobody knew. I always prayed that my dragon side would stay dormant, but it’s not.”

“I’ve heard that there’s a private clinic in Nevada that’s experimenting with dragon fertility. They’re working on compounds that might make dragons more fertile, and they’re also developing some kind of special incubators for dragon eggs,” Daisy said hopefully. “It’s supposed to be ungodly expensive, but then, there are a lot of rich dragons out there.”

Cadence nodded. “I’ve heard about the clinic too, but it’s still early days yet. It will be years, maybe decades, before it will make any difference to dragon birth rates. And that’s even assuming it works. It won’t happen in time to save me from a forced mating.”

Daisy frowned at that. “So now you’re back in touch with your father’s clan?”

“Oh, heavens no. I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that I’m not to come anywhere near them. After all, I’m the bastard child who’s living proof of my father’s infidelity.” Cadence laughed lightly to hide the sting that she felt. “The ones who reached out to me are the clan of my uncle, Draken, from my father’s side. They live all the way on the other side of the dragon plains from my father. The two brothers don’t get along.”

“But surely at least your father’s clan would try to protect you from a forced mating?” Daisy said hopefully.

“Ha.” Cadence scoffed at the notion. “My father’s clan are the ones trying to pimp me out. They’ve got people bidding on me, offering them gold and silver mines. I’m a womb for rent.” Then she managed a rueful grin. “Get it? Womb for rent? Womb with a view?”

But Daisy looked worried, not amused. “Yeah, yeah, no one’s better than you at joking in the face of disaster.”

“Beats crying, puking, or curling up in a ball in the corner.” Cadence shrugged with more nonchalance than she felt.

“Well, we’ve got to make plans. Time’s a-wasting. I’ll help you run. I’ll give you money,” Daisy said decisively.

Then Daisy’s eyes lit up. She clapped her hands together with glee. “Wait a minute. Oh my God. It’s meant to be. I knew it. Yes! I am a genius!” She began stamping her feet on the floor with happiness.

Cadence reared back and stared at her friend with alarm. “You’re not making any sense. Is it the pregnancy hormones? Are you having a stroke?”

“No, dimwit. I have a dragon for you. He came to Wynona’s agency looking for a mate who could have his children, and he’s as handsome as sin. It’s crazy how good-looking he is. I mean, I don’t know whether or not this would be a love match, but I can assure you, you won’t mind making babies with this man.” She looked gleeful. “Oooh, I’ll be auntie to your dragonlings!”

Then her expression turned alarmed. “Oh my God, my aunt is right. I am turning into my mother-in-law. I am Dirty Harriet! How did this happen?”

“Can we please focus on me, here?” Cadence said impatiently. “What’s his name?”

“Orion Garrison. And even better, I know where he is right now. I have a friend who’s a waitress at Mount Olympus, and she just called to tell me that he was there. That’s how much of an impression he makes.”

“Wow. He isn’t related to me.

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