The dragons wing, p.1
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       The Dragon's Wing, p.1

         Part #2 of Kit Davenport series by Tate James
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The Dragon's Wing


  Table of Contents

  Acknowledgments

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  About the Author

  Also by Tate James

  Elements of Mischief

  The Dragon’s Wing

  Kit Davenport Book 1

  Tate James

  Copyright © 2017 Katrina Fischer

  Cover design © 2017 Covers by Combs

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or used in any manner without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. If you have obtained this book via piracy, or suspect it has been duplicated illegally, please do the right thing. Advise the author and purchase your own copy. No one likes a pirate, unless he’s Jack Sparrow.

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

  Contents

  Acknowledgments

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  About the Author

  Also by Tate James

  Elements of Mischief

  Acknowledgments

  Thank you to my son, for at least having the grace to be cute when he interrupted mummy’s writing, and my husband for his unique brand of supportiveness.

  As always, a huge thank you to my incredibly talented editors Heather and Jax, and to my critique partners Rebecca and Lucy for encouraging the crap out of me along the way.

  To Goldie, the goldest goldfish in the bowl… yeah, you know you’re awesome. Thanks for keeping things interesting! xxx

  For Rasputin, the cat.

  May your headless offerings forever provide story inspiration.

  1

  My stomach flipped somersaults like a Cirque du Soleil performer as I reached with shaking fingers for the gun River offered.

  I’ve got this. I can do this. Deep breaths.

  “You okay, love?” he murmured in his sexy British accent, tilting my face up with a cold finger to meet his heart stopping golden gaze. For a man I was used to seeing so incredibly controlled and stern, the excitement dancing in his eyes was enough to make me forget what I was so nervous about. River was the leader of our team and took his job very seriously, which was unbelievably hot. He was also a major control freak, and I loved to push his buttons.

  “Of course.” I smiled, laughing off my reaction as though my hands weren’t shaking so hard I could actually hear the ammo in my gun rattling. River just smirked and placed one of his hands over mine.

  “You’ll be fine. Cole and I have your back, and your marksmanship is impeccable. Even Austin has admitted as much.” River’s comment must have been overheard because a scoff came from the boys waiting behind me. He shot them a sharp look then turned his intense attention back on me, cupping my face with his free hand.

  “Trust me, Kitten, this will be fun.” He punctuated his statement by pulling me closer and pressing a lingering kiss on my mouth. His rough stubble brushed my skin and made my heart race, eager for more. The heat of his lips threw a stark contrast to his icy hand on my face, and a rogue whimper of protest slipped from my throat when he pulled away all too soon.

  “Right, if you two are done over there? I’d like to actually do this today,” Austin interrupted in a bored voice, and I bit my lip to hold back a bitchy response. I was really in no hurry to start this mission, but they all seemed so excited I couldn’t back out.

  “Fine,” I muttered. “Let’s get this over with. But just remember, if I fail, it’s on you as my teacher.”

  Austin snorted and rolled his emerald eyes, but I could see a tiny smile pulling at the edges of his mouth as he expertly disconnected his ammunition magazine and flicked out one of the bullets. Every now and then I was struck by just how identical he and Caleb really were, and each of the rare times Austin smiled brought his sweeter twin instantly to mind. Without his signature scowl on his face, the only way to tell them apart would be to see Austin’s abundance of tattoos, and given it was snowing outside, they were all covered by clothes.

  “You see that, princess?” he asked, shaking a stray lock of dark hair out of his eyes and holding the little ball up to my face.

  “See what?” I frowned, unsure what new line of insult he was heading down.

  “It’s red,” he informed me helpfully, as if I was colorblind and couldn’t clearly see the red ball six inches from my face. “Just making sure you know who’s responsible when you start getting pelted with these bad boys.” He smirked at me, and I got a bad feeling about how the day was going to go.

  “Guys, I don’t know if paintball is really the best test for my skills. You’ve all had way more training than I have, not to mention you’ve all played this before.” I tried one last ditch effort to get out of the training exercise, but it was a lost cause. The grins on the boys’ faces said it all. There wasn’t a chance in hell I was getting out of this baggy white jumpsuit unless it was covered in paint.

  It was the week before Christmas, and the boys had dragged me out of bed at this ungodly hour of the morning to go paintballing as a “reward” for having just graduated early. So far I was failing to see where the reward was for me, though. Despite having spent almost every spare minute of the past two months in training, I still knew I was going to get my ass handed to me. The best I could hope for was that my superhuman speed would help me dodge the worst of the paint pellets fired my way.

  My temper was already running a bit short as it was, with my mounting frustration at our lack of progress with anything related to the bombshell Dupree had dropped before committing suicide by cyanide. The lack of real answers still devastated me.

  Her wild story of magic and supernatural creatures and the subsequent encounter with Mr.
Gregoric had all, in my opinion, fizzled out to nothing, which was depressing to say the least. The address Mr. Gregoric had provided should have led us to one of those surviving supernaturals Dupree had mentioned. When we’d investigated, however, we hit a dead end—or, rather, a “closed for winter” roadblock. The address was located in a tiny village in Alaska, but the owner was apparently taking a vacation on a Caribbean island and wouldn’t return until late January. Despite Wesley’s best efforts, he had been unsuccessful in tracking this mysterious lead down, and the lack of progress was driving me insane.

  “Come on, Kitty Kat.” Caleb interrupted my melancholy musing, draping a well-toned arm around my shoulders and pulling me into him for a hug. “You’ve totally got this. I’ve seen you in target practice; you’re pretty good!”

  “Hey! Quit fraternizing with the enemy, Cal,” Austin snapped, punching his twin in the arm. For this game, we had separated into two teams. The twins and Wesley versus Cole, River, and myself. Lucy was still stuck in a rehab facility, much to her disgust, working on regaining movement in her left hand, where she had undergone several surgeries to try and reattach the nerves and set the bones straight. The beating she had taken at the hands of Dupree’s men had very nearly killed her, so I was secretly glad she was stuck in rehab and out of danger for a while.

  “It can’t be helped,” Caleb replied to his brother, tightening his arm around me. “The enemy looks so damn good in her jumpsuit.” With his free hand, he tucked a loose piece of hair behind my ear, then trailed a fingertip down my face, lighting up all my nerves in its path.

  Damn if these boys aren’t getting to me today.

  Despite the fact it was lightly snowing outside, I needed a cold shower because all of these casual touches were lighting me on fire.

  Ever since my brief, horror-filled stay at Blood Moon Laboratories, when Simon had used my worst childhood memories against me, I had been a bit standoffish from any sort of sexual contact with the guys. Not intentionally, but the first time one of them initiated something more than just a kiss, I’d had some sort of panic attack, so I had been careful to keep my distance. They had understood, too, never pushing me until I was ready--which made me see just how decent they really were. But from the way my skin lit on fire at every touch, I would say I might be ready again.

  “Let’s get this over with,” I muttered, reluctantly pulling away from Caleb’s tempting embrace and yanking the zipper up on my oversized white jumpsuit. It was my first time paintballing, but I intended to put up a decent fight before undoubtedly losing to these vastly more experienced paintball fanatics. I needed to focus on the upcoming skirmish, not daydream about why I was suddenly responding to these touches like a cat in heat.

  Head in the game, Kit. Quit thinking about what Caleb’s lips might taste like!

  “Let’s head outside, Vixen,” Cole murmured, taking my hand in one of his huge, scarred ones and leading me out into the freezing cold with River close behind us. “All right, now listen closely. We have five minutes before the actual game begins to spread out and make it a bit more of a challenge. In addition to shooting the other team with paintballs, we also each have a flag we need to protect.” He pulled a black and white striped piece of fabric from his pocket and showed it to me. I nodded in understanding, then he continued, “stealing the other team’s flag automatically ends the game, regardless of how many shots you manage to land. Shots are only tallied if no one manages to steal a flag in the allotted time. Understood?”

  “Got it,” I confirmed. “Protect our flag, steal theirs, shoot Austin as many times as possible.” Both Cole and River snickered. It was no secret the pair enjoyed the war between Austin and I far too much, even if he had thawed marginally in the time we had been forced to spend together. I was still living with them, and while I’d been working my tail off to complete my early graduation, the twins had been stuck playing teenager in order to keep me safe at school. Not that I needed them. Since Dupree’s death, no one else had made any new attempts to kidnap or kill me.

  So far.

  Lately it had been feeling very much like the calm before the storm, and something told me trouble was lurking around the next corner.

  “Unfortunately, I don’t think you’ll have the chance, love.” River glanced back through the window to where the twins and Wesley were discussing their own game plan. “Austin is the strongest marksman, and he always guards the flag, which means it will be either Wesley or Caleb coming after ours.”

  “That’s why you will be guarding ours.” Cole finished River’s explanation as though they were sharing their thoughts. “The two of them will be much more reluctant to shoot you, so you stand a much better chance of keeping our flag safe than either of us.”

  They were probably right on that, so I just shrugged and took the striped fabric from Cole’s hand, shivers dancing up my arm where his skin brushed mine.

  “Let’s go find our base location. Game begins in two minutes.” River led the way across the snow crusted grass, his boots crunching as he walked and his jumpsuit almost camouflaging him into the surroundings.

  They quickly located our easily defensible position, which turned out to be a small raised platform with walls to hide behind and holes to shoot out of.

  “All right, you know what to do?” River asked me once more, checking his watch.

  “Defend the flag, shoot anything that moves.” I held my gun up with a grin, and he shook his head, a small smile pulling at his lips.

  “Bugger, you look too damn sexy holding that gun, Kitten.” His eyes seemed to be turning my insides to molten lava just with the intensity of his stare.

  “Find somewhere to tie the flag, Vixen,” Cole said, breaking my focus from River. “It doesn’t really matter where, but most people use that flagpole.” He pointed to the short flagpole sticking out the top of the structure.

  “Any rules that it needs to be visible?” I asked, a better idea already in mind. Cole shook his head in response, so instead of tying it to the flagpole I unzipped the front of my jumpsuit once more and tucked it down the front of my v-neck sweater to nestle in my cleavage.

  “What?” I shrugged in response to their raised eyebrows, zipping my suit back up again. “It was drafty.”

  Cole opened his mouth to say something but was interrupted by a bored sounding employee’s voice over the crackly loudspeakers, counting down from ten.

  “Guys, be careful today,” I said seriously, chewing my lip.

  “Love, it’s just paintball.” River laughed and Cole grinned, but it did nothing to ease the twisting in my gut.

  “I know I sound paranoid, but I feel like something bad is going to happen…” I trailed off, hearing how silly it sounded. I should have been happy that the last two months had been so uneventful after the madness that Dupree had rained down on us, but I just wasn’t convinced that was the end of it.

  “Fair enough,” Cole told me, all traces of joking gone from his face.

  “We don’t know enough about your abilities not to take feelings like that seriously, love. We will stay alert.” River nodded, then smacked a quick peck on my lips before jogging back in the direction we had last seen our opposing team.

  “You be careful too, Vixen.” Cole frowned, also giving me a quick kiss but holding my face still for a moment in one of his huge hands. “You’re too important.”

  He was gone, following River before I had a chance to clarify what he meant, and I was suddenly alone with my thoughts. My teeth worried at my lower lip hard enough to draw a little blood, and my palms were sweating. What the hell had me so on edge?

  Twenty minutes later, without a single taste of action, I was regretting having made such a fuss about not wanting to paintball. Being left to defend our team’s base and flag was downright boring. The paranoia hadn’t eased; in fact it seemed to be getting worse. My skin was crawling with the sensation, as though I was being watched, and I had chewed my nails down so badly it looked like I had trimmed them w
ith a cheese grater.

  After pacing the small platform for what must have been the seven thousandth time, I had to do something. Anything. Just something that wasn’t this. As I knelt to climb down from our team’s base, I spotted movement coming down the field towards me, ducking from obstacle to obstacle so stealthily that I almost didn’t see him.

  His hair was too dark for it to be Wesley, and if Austin always guarded their base, then it must be Caleb. Too easy.

  I chuckled quietly to myself at their foolish move, sending Caleb against me. He was by far the least likely to shoot me with a paintball, so protecting our flag should be a breeze. I took aim from my raised structure and waited for him to dart out from his hiding spot. I grinned with a surge of glee when he emerged in the exact spot I had anticipated. I squeezed my trigger several times in quick succession.

  Damn. So close!

  As much practice as I had been putting in with Austin at the gun range, this was my first real experience firing at a moving target. My pellets had missed him by mere inches, splattering glittery pink paint all over the hay bales he had dived behind. Wesley, of all people, had presented me with the girly ammo when we were getting ready, a cheeky smile on his face at my reaction to the sickening color. I was not a pink girl.

  “Give it up, Caleb!” I yelled, laughing. Paintball wasn’t so bad after all. “I’ve already spotted you, and there is no way you’re making it across this clearing without getting painted head to toe in my sparkly Barbie paint!”

 
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