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How to Date a Dragon

By:Ashlyn Chase

pressed on. “I’ve worked so hard to make it this far. If I lose my work, I’ll never catch up. I’ll wind up presenting a half-assed portfolio, and not only can I forget about winning, but it could ruin me!”


Drake couldn’t believe what he was hearing. His weakness might be beautiful brunettes, but did she honestly expect him to risk his life for an object that could be replaced? Could she not see smoke pouring out of the building? Sure, he could probably manage it, being fireproof and all, but after the chewing out he got the last time…

“Don’t you keep a backup file online?”

“No. I don’t trust the Internet,” she said with the saddest expression in her beautiful brown eyes. “There are too many hackers out there, and this greeting card competition is outrageously competitive. Pleeeease!”

All this hoopla for a piece of paper that reads, “Roses are red. Violets are blue?” The brunette didn’t appear to be insane, no matter how stupid this reality show sounded. There were crazier things on TV.

His chief had already warned Drake about risking his neck and told him to knock off taking stupid chances. He’d lucked out the last time. The mayor, a big dog lover, heard that Drake had gone back into a two-alarm blaze to rescue a greyhound. Then Mr. Mayor made the chief disregard any thought of suspending Drake by giving him a medal. But that sort of luck wouldn’t hold, especially if this insubordination was about an inanimate object.

Drake reached out and physically turned the woman around so she could see the inferno behind her. The feel of her soft, warm skin sent an unexpected jolt of awareness through him.

Her hands flew to cover her mouth, and the same sad, desperate sound all fire victims made as they witnessed the destruction and loss of something precious eked out. The tears forming in her eyes did him in.

If he weren’t fireproof, running back into that building would toast him like a marshmallow, but being a dragon, he knew he could do it.

“Ah, hell.” Before anyone could stop him, he dashed in the side entrance. He could always say he thought he heard a call for help.

“Stop. Oh, crap,” was what he really heard. Apparently the brunette had changed her mind, but he was committed now.

Second floor, halfway down the hall, he repeated to himself until he found it. She had left her door open. Fortunate for him, not so much for her apartment. Smoke and flames were everywhere. He felt the familiar tingle just under his skin that signaled an impending shift. Fan-fucking-tastic. Skin became scales. Fingers became claws. His neck elongated, and out popped his tail, creating an unsightly bulge in the back of his loose coveralls. His wings were cramped and folded up under his jacket, but it couldn’t be helped.

His sight was greatly improved in his alternate form, and he spotted the Mac on her glass tabletop. The flames hadn’t reached it yet, so he did his best to grab it with his eagle-like talons and carry it against his chest.

Lumbering down the hall, he wondered where, and if, he’d be able to shift back before anyone saw him. Maybe it’s cooler in the basement—but what if I get trapped down there?

Instead of heading down another level, he opened the emergency door just enough to toss the laptop onto the grass outside. The outside air was so much cooler that he thought he might be able to shift back right there.

Concentrating on his human form, he inhaled the fresh air and sensed his head and body shrinking and compacting. He glanced down and saw his human hands again. His back felt enormously better without squished wings digging into it.

Ah… I made it undetected.

Or had he? The brunette was standing a few feet away, wide-eyed and open mouthed—hugging her computer.


“What the…”

The handsome firefighter, who had appeared like some kind of dinosaur in the smoke only a moment earlier, stepped out of the building and stretched as if trying to work a kink out of his spine. He whipped off his mask and stared at her.

Bliss scrubbed her eye socket with the heel of her hand. My eyes must have been playing tricks on me. There was no other possible explanation. Between her jet-lagged brain and smoke-filled vision, her mind’s eye had concocted a reptilian form that was really her hero firefighter.

Oh, fuck it. “Thank you!” He deserves a reward. She rushed up to him and cupped the back of his head, dragging him down until she mashed her lips to his in the mother of all adoring kisses. He wrapped his arms around her back and pulled her against him, returning her kiss. She fit his body as if they’d been made for each other. The fire he’d just rescued her from had nothing on the heat in his kiss.

Unfortunately for both of them, the chief came striding around the corner along with the paramedics. The paramedics led her away while her hottie fireman received the dressing-down of a lifetime, complete with explicit and crude language.

“Please don’t be mad at him,” Bliss called over her shoulder. “It’s my fault. I asked him to go back in.” But it was too late. A paramedic slapped an oxygen mask over her face as she heard the chief sputter the words “suspended” and “get the hell out of my sight” to her hot hero. She tried to wrestle off the damn mask, but by the time she did, he was gone.


Upon their return to the fire station, the guys whistled at a curvaceous blond waiting for them with a camera. Drake vaguely remembered the chief saying something about their posing for a calendar.

“Terrific,” he muttered.

The chief spotted her and groaned. Then he pointed at Drake. “He goes first.”

As they hung up their jackets, the chief strode to his office.

“Drake, buddy,” Benjamin said, “I’d hang around and watch, but I gotta shower.” He slapped Drake on the back and jogged up the stairs with the rest of them.

Drake glanced down at his filthy hands as the blond sashayed over to him.

“Hey there, handsome,” she said.

“Look, I h