Windy City Dragon (The Treasure of Paragon Book 2)- eBook
Windy City Dragon (The Treasure of Paragon Book 2)- eBook
- Purchase the E-book
- Receive Download Link via Email
- Send to Preferred E-Reader and Enjoy!
A dragon prince. A vampire heiress. A kiss that could bring Chicago to its knees.
For decades he's posed as a human...
It's been a long time since Tobias spread his wings. The exiled dragon prince has worked hard to blend into the human world and practice his love for healing as a pediatric cardiologist.
She awakens the dragon within...
As a vampire-human hybrid, Sabrina is used to being different from the rest of her community. But all vampires need to feed. The night she chooses Tobias as her next meal, everything changes. He's far more than he seems, and if she doesn't protect his secret, it could cost him his life.
Can love remind him of who he truly is?
One kiss thrusts Tobias into the dark underground world of Chicago's vampires, where his dragon nature is his only hope of protecting Sabrina. But Sabrina knows the only way to keep him safe is to push him away.
Winter in Chicago cut deep. It raged with wind that snapped and cold that gnawed, a four-month attack by Mother Nature that ravaged the city like a relentless, icy beast. For Dr. Tobias Winthrop, whose core temperature was normally a blistering 113 degrees, the cold was shocking but harmless to his constitution. Dragons couldn’t freeze to death or catch human ailments. He hadn’t suffered so much as a cough in over three hundred years.
Tobias didn't like to think about his dragon nature. After so many years alone, he'd put it behind him and swore to live his life as close to human as possible. Anything else was far too painful.
His resolve had been tested when his brother had phoned him out of the blue weeks ago. Gabriel had needed his help combating a life-threatening voodoo curse. Despite his reservations, Tobias had done all he could for his brother and his mate, a witch named Raven. He hadn’t heard from the pair since.
He was afraid to look too closely into his brother’s fate. Tobias had sacrificed his principles to try to save his brother’s life. By helping him, he'd tacitly accepted Gabriel's forbidden relationship and broken his queen mother’s final command to stay apart from his siblings. But the turbocharge on his slip and slide into hell had been helping the two go back to Paragon. All these years, he’d worked tirelessly to put his dragon past behind him and become the healer he was meant to be. Helping Gabriel had ripped a scab off a wound he’d thought had healed.
But that was over now. He’d returned to an almost human life.
Tobias toyed with the amulet in his pocket. Helping his brother hadn’t entirely been a selfless act. He’d asked for one thing in return, a healing amulet that once belonged to the indigenous guide who had led him and his siblings through the wilds of early America. Tonight, he hoped the amulet would save a child’s life.
Despite decades practicing medicine with superhuman precision, one case had been his nemesis. He hesitated outside room 5830, looked both ways to confirm the hall was empty, then slipped inside his patient’s room.
The child, Katelyn, slept curled on her side, the tubes and machine she was wired to lording over her tiny body like a mechanical monster. Her pale blond hair curled against the pillow, her eyelashes softly feathering her alabaster cheeks. He frowned at the dusky-blue rim of her bottom lip.
Katelyn suffered from a complicated condition. A nasty, yet-unidentified virus had infected her heart and was slowly, torturously bleeding her life away. A heart transplant was her best chance of survival, but it was risky. No one understood this virus; therefore no one could say if it would attack the new heart as well. Active systemic infection was a contraindication of a heart transplant. As long as the virus was in her blood, she would not get the heart she needed.
Without his help, Katelyn would die.
Sick children died every day. Tobias should have faced the inevitability of human death and dealt with it as all doctors did, with grace and acceptance. Instead, he’d sold his soul for a miracle. Silently, he removed the one-of-a-kind, ancient healing amulet from his pocket and positioned it around her neck.
By the Mountain, he was pitiful.
Her eyes blinked open, and she drew a heavy breath through her nose. The oxygen tube there cut a line across her cheeks, and the air bubbled in the humidifying chamber with her effort.
“Hi, Dr. Toby,” she said in her sweet child’s voice. Her giant blue eyes locked onto him. Total trust. Total innocence. She did not question what he was doing even though he and the nurses had poked her limbs with needles and performed every manner of painful procedure on her over the past several months. She showed no fear. The brave girl only thought to say hello. No tears. No complaints.
“Shh,” he said. “I didn’t mean to wake you. I need you to wear this special necklace for a few hours. I’ll be back to get it later.”
“Why?” She looked down at the pearlescent white disk against her skin.
“It’s a secret.”
“Where did you get it?”
“Where do you think?”
“It looks like a seashell. I think you got it from a mermaid,” she said between breaths.
Who was he to deny a sick little girl a fantasy?
“Our secret,” he responded, placing a finger over his lips. “I’ll be back later to retrieve it. The mermaid king loaned it to me for one night only.”
“Whoa.” Eyes wide, she strained to smile. “Really?”
“Close your eyes, Katelyn,” he said. He was relieved when she obeyed. “Good girl. Now, dream of a mermaid kingdom. I’ll check on you later.” He tucked the blankets around her.
A few hours with the amulet should heal her, although he couldn’t recall it ever being used on an illness like this. If memory served, Maiara, the native healer who had created the amulet, had used it mostly on injuries, not illnesses. It didn’t matter. Indeed, he had no other choice but to try. His own magic wasn’t right for this situation. Dragons could heal but only by binding, and binding one so young would be unforgivable. No. This was his last hope. He was sure it broke all sorts of ethical boundaries.
It was not like Tobias to break the rules. He wasn’t proud of his newfound flirtation with rebellion. Not one bit.
He left the room, completely distracted by his conflicting emotions on the issue, and slammed right into a blur of red and surgical green careening down the hall. Coffee splashed. A box flew and skimmed across the floor. He squatted down to retrieve it.
“Sorry,” he said. “I didn’t see you.” When he handed the box back to the nurse he’d collided with, he did a double take. Sabrina Bishop. He didn’t work with her as often as he’d like, but when he did, the experience was memorable.
Sabrina reminded him of cherry pie—fresh, sweet, warm. She was the type who always asked about a patient’s feelings, who held a parent’s hand during a procedure, who spent way too much time talking to the hospital chaplain. Her hair, which was the bright red of maple leaves, and her milky complexion didn’t hurt the comparison either. He frowned at the coffee stain on her scrubs. “Let me get you something for that.”
“Never mind. I’ve got it.” She rounded the corner of the nurses station and took a seat behind the desk. Grabbing a fistful of tissues, she set the red box he’d retrieved down on the counter and dabbed at the spill.
“Animal crackers?” Tobias eyed the snack box, the corner of his mouth twitching upward. “Are those for you or a patient?”
She flashed him a smile. “For me. Why?”
“It’s just I haven’t seen anyone over the age of five eat animal crackers in a while… like ever.”
Leaning back in the chair, she raised her chin and stared down her nose at him. “I’ll have you know I do it as a mental health exercise.”
He snorted. “How is eating animal crackers a mental health exercise?”
“Have you heard the saying ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time’?”
“Well, how do you eat animal crackers? One elephant at a time.” She tore open the box and popped a cracker into her mouth. “It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.”
He narrowed his eyes and shook his head. “That makes no logical sense.”
“Logic is highly overrated, Doctor. You should ditch logic in favor of magic.”
Their eyes caught and held. Her use of the word magic unsettled him. It hit too close to his open wound. Could she see through his facade to who he actually was, not human but dragon? Did she suspect he’d just slipped a healing amulet around the neck of a dying girl?
He pushed off the counter. “I should continue my rounds.”
“Sad case, huh?” She gestured toward Katelyn’s room with her head.
“We work in a pediatric hospital, Sabrina.” He cracked his neck and sank his hands into the pockets of his lab coat. “All cases are sad. Children do not belong in hospitals.”
She popped another cracker in her mouth and stared at him with a piercing green gaze that seemed to cut straight to his soul. Was she assessing him? The look on her face was strange, unreadable. He didn’t need this right now. If a woman like her pulled the right string, he might unravel like an old, worn sweater.
“Well, I should, er—” He moved away from her.
“Doctor, can I talk to you for a moment in private?” Sabrina gestured over her shoulder with her thumb.
He gave her a confused look. “We are alone.”
“It’s important. I need to show you something.” Sabrina pointed toward the corner stairwell. She led the way, holding the door open for him. Reluctantly, he followed her, trying to avoid noticing the way her scrubs hugged her backside. The tips of his fingers itched to stroke the silken red length of her hair. This was probably not a good idea.
He hurried after her.
Only when they were both in the stairwell and the door was closed behind them did she address him. “You don’t have to pretend with me.” She stalked toward him.
He retreated, keeping space between them until his back hit the wall and he could go no farther. “What are we talking about?”
“You don’t have to act like you don’t care about these kids. You’re not some kind of medical machine.”
“I watch you, Tobias. I see how much you love these kids, how much it kills you each and every time you can’t fix a patient’s heart. You say it’s all part of the job, but I can see that it’s an act. The more you deny it, the more it’s going to eat away at you.” She stepped in closer. By the Mountain, she smelled good, like honey and moonlight.
Tobias’s body responded. It had been decades since he’d been with a woman. Decades since he’d trusted anyone enough to be intimate. Trust was difficult when you were an immortal living among humans. Relationships brought with them complications, the risk of exposure, the reality that he could never truly share who or what he was with anyone. How could you have intimacy when the other person wasn’t just a different gender but a different species?
“Thank you,” he said curtly. “If I ever need a shoulder to cry on, yours will be the one.” He shifted to the side to walk around her but she blocked him with a hand to his chest. Her eyes searched his. A circle of heat bloomed where she touched him.
“Nothing rattles you, does it?” she said softly. “Nothing raises your blood pressure. Sometimes I wonder if you are a robot. Do you have a beating heart, Tobias, or are you made of chips and wires?”
“I am not a robot,” Tobias said firmly. His pulse quickened. Could she feel that? He had no control over it or his growing erection. He needed to get out of this stairwell. “Sabrina, this is—”
Without warning, her lips slammed into his. The kiss was hard, searching. He didn’t have the strength to stop her even if he’d wanted to. Something primal and urgent caused his hand to tangle in her hair and his tongue to sweep into her mouth. By the Mountain, she tasted good. He forgot where he was, forgot who he was. He gripped her ass, the beast inside him suddenly desperate to be inside her, to claim her.
All too soon, she planted both hands on his chest and pushed him away. “Not a robot.” She panted, breathless. She wiped under her bottom lip.
He opened his mouth to say something, anything, but his mind had gone completely blank. If he were truly human, he might tell her the kiss was inappropriate. But how could he do that when he desperately wanted to kiss her again? She placed a finger over his lips before he could say a word.
“Look me in the eye,” she commanded. He did and was surprised when her green eyes glowed a bright, silvery blue. “You will not remember this. If anyone asks what we did in here today, you will say we talked about Katelyn. We never kissed. You will wait here for five minutes and then go about your business.” Her eyes stopped glowing, and she smiled sweetly up at him, her cheeks rosy. Was it his imagination, or did her skin look more vibrant than a moment before? “Thank you, Dr. Winthrop. I find our talks incredibly refreshing. You have a good heart.”
She turned on her heel and strode from the staircase with a new pep in her step. Tobias blinked once, twice, three times. He pressed two fingers into his lips and chuckled under his breath. Was she a witch? No. He would have smelled her if she was. But she was something. Something that didn’t realize her mind control had no effect on him.
He wiped a thumb over his lips and grinned, striding for the door. “Miss Bishop?” She was gone, but there was someone else at the end of the hall, someone he hadn’t been sure he’d ever see again, and the sight of him was a bucket of ice water on his libido. He made no attempt to disguise his scowl.
“Hello, brother,” Gabriel said. “Aren’t you going to welcome me to the Windy City?”
- A dragon shifting doctor
- Heir to the Chicago vampire coven
- Forbidden love
- Family saga
- Witches & magic