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Her Elemental Dragons: Kiss the Sky: Chapter 2

KIRA

Jasin practiced flying for another few hours while Reven and Auric guided our boat with waves and wind. Slade disappeared below deck, claiming all that open sky bothered him. He’d always been distant, but I sensed after my night with Jasin it had only gotten worse. He’d also been hit with a bad case of seasickness, which probably wasn’t helping matters.

The area below deck was cramped and dark, almost like a cave, which was probably why Slade preferred it. This ship had been given to us by Calla, the High Priestess of the Fire God, and her four mates. It wasn’t very large, just big enough for a small crew to maneuver, and I imagined it had once been used by them for fishing or for travel when needed.

I hoped Calla and her men were still safe. After we’d fought off the Onyx Army soldiers and escaped the Fire Temple, we’d spotted Sark, the Crimson Dragon, flying over it. Would he hurt Calla or her priests to get information out of us, even though they all served the Fire God too? I wasn’t sure, but from here on out we had to assume that the Dragons knew about us. We could no longer hide in the shadows and hope that would protect us. Soon we would have to face them.

As night fell, my mates and I converged on the deck to eat supper together. We’d left most of our gear and supplies behind with our horses in the Fire Realm, which would soon prove to be a problem. Calla and her men had been thoughtful enough to stock the ship with food and other necessities, but that would only last us a short time. Once we reached the Air Realm we’d have to get more supplies and find another way to travel.

I broke off a piece of bread and passed it to Jasin, who did the same before passing it to Slade. “How many days will it take us to reach the Air Realm?” I asked.

“It depends where we’re planning to dock,” Auric said, as he took the bread from Slade. “We’re making good time though.”

“What are the options?” Slade asked.

Auric cocked his head as he considered. “There’s the capital city, Stormhaven. It’s the closest to the Air Temple, although we’ll still have to travel on land for another week to get there. From a logistics perspective it’s the clear choice, since we can reach it in three days and will be able to obtain new horses and supplies there.” He drew in a long breath, his face grim. “The problem is that my family’s palace is in Stormhaven.”

“And the other option?” Reven asked.

“We continue past Stormhaven and around the bend for another five days to Galeport, then backtrack on land to the Air Temple.”

“How much longer will that add?” Slade asked.

“Almost three weeks.”

“Three weeks?” I asked, with a sigh. “I don’t think we can spare that long. Not when the Dragons might already be hunting for us.”

“If so, they’ll eventually head to the temples to try to stop us,” Jasin said. “The faster we get to them, the better.”

“No, the less time we’re on this ship the better,” Slade grumbled, pushing his food away while clutching his stomach.

“We could disguise Auric and slip him into the city unnoticed,” Reven suggested. I suspected he had plenty of experience doing that sort of thing from his former career as an assassin.

“Stormhaven it is,” I said. “We’ll sneak into the city, get what we need, and leave as soon as we can for the Air Temple.”

Auric nodded. “I’ll make the adjustments to our course with Reven.”

It was the right decision, but I was disappointed I wouldn’t be meeting Auric’s family, even if that was probably for the best. Auric was a prince who had grown up in a life of luxury. I was a commoner who’d once made a living as a huntress, a bandit, and a traveling merchant. We weren’t exactly suitable for each other, and even though Auric claimed he didn’t care about our difference in status, his family certainly would. And then there was the whole Dragon thing we had to keep a secret too.

“Now that that’s settled, tell us what happened the other night,” Auric said. “You told us about the Fire God and what he said, but you didn’t talk much about the actual bonding.”

Jasin arched an eyebrow. “What, you want all the naughty details?”

“No, of course not,” Auric replied quickly. “I simply want to know what to expect. Did anything…unusual happen?”

I glanced over at Jasin. “You did set me on fire.”

“What?” Reven asked, his head snapping up.

Jasin grinned. “Yes, when we uh…completed. I assume that was the bond taking hold and passing my powers to her.”

“Kira,” Slade said, in that low, rumbling voice I would never grow tired of hearing. “Are you in any pain?”

“No, why?”

Slade rubbed the back of his neck without meeting my eyes. “A woman’s first time can be…difficult.”

“Oh.” My cheeks flushed. “I’m all right. And if there was any pain, my healing powers must have taken care of it.” Another benefit of being the representative of the Spirit Goddess.

Slade nodded and blew out a breath. “Good.”

“You know I would never hurt Kira,” Jasin said, looking offended at even the suggestion. “Trust me, I took good care of her. Multiple times.”

Reven rolled his eyes. “Yes, we’ve heard all about your sexual prowess.”

Gods, could this moment be any more awkward? My skin felt like it was on fire all over again. I coughed. “Jasin made the experience very…pleasant.”

Jasin leaned back against the railing with a cocky grin. “I tried. Everyone should have a good first time, don’t you all think?”

Slade let out a soft grunt. “Good? Mine was fast and awkward.”

“Oh yeah?” Jasin asked. “Tell us about it. Who was the lucky lady?”

Slade’s frown deepened as he glanced at me. “I’m not sure this is an appropriate conversation for us to have.”

“It’s fine,” I said, waving it away. “I know you all had other women before you met me. I’m interested in learning everything about your pasts. Or whatever you’re willing to share with me, anyway.”

The men all hesitated and remained silent, but then Jasin spoke up. “Fine, I’ll start. My first time was with one of my brother’s friends. She was older than me and taught me how to please a woman.”

“How much older?” Slade asked, arching an eyebrow.

“Only a few years. I think she was secretly interested in my brother, but he preferred men and I was the closest she could get.” Jasin shrugged. “Both of us knew it wasn’t anything serious, and we made each other happy for a while before she married someone else.” He took a sip of water and gestured at Slade with the jug. “But if you’re so righteous, tell us your story.”

Slade stared down at the untouched food in front of him. “My first time was with a girl in my village. We grew up together and it seemed natural we would be married one day. Neither one of us knew what we were doing during that first time. But we figured it out together eventually over the years.”

“What happened to her?” I asked, unable to stop myself.

His green eyes focused on me. “We never got married, if that’s what you’re asking.”

I had a dozen more questions, but Slade’s tone implied he had nothing more to say on the matter. I sighed and turned to Reven. “And you?”

“You don’t want to hear my story.”

“Well, now we definitely do,” Jasin said.

Reven glared at him. “Fine, but it’s not all fond memories like your stories.” He ripped off chunks of his bread and threw them into the ocean without care. “I had to get by on the streets somehow after my parents were killed, and I discovered people will pay to have sex with young men. Quite handsomely.”

Stunned silence met his words. I had no idea his parents had been killed, only that he’d told me he’d gotten his swords from his father, and I never would have guessed he’d spent part of his life doing something like that. There was so much more about his past—and everyone else’s—that I wanted to uncover. But I had a feeling Reven’s would be the darkest…and the hardest to crack.

“I’m sorry,” I said, brushing my hand against his, where it rested on the deck.

He yanked his hand away. “Don’t be. I’ll do whatever it takes to survive. You should know that by now.”

“On that cheerful note, what about you, Auric?” Jasin asked.

Auric had been silent the entire conversation, and now he brushed crumbs off his lap. “That’s not something I wish to discuss with the group.”

Reven arched an eyebrow. “It can’t be any worse than my story.”

“Maybe he’s still waiting for his first time,” Jasin teased, and Reven snickered in response.

Slade shook his head. “Leave him alone.”

“I’m only trying to get to know my companions better,” Jasin said, spreading his hands wide. “If we’re going to be stuck together for the rest of our lives and sharing the same woman, we need to be able to talk about these things.”

Auric stood and cast a sharp glance at Jasin. “You may be comfortable discussing these matters with everyone, but I am not. And I’d prefer if you respected my privacy in this matter.”

He walked away and slipped below deck, while Jasin called out, “Auric, wait! I didn’t mean anything by it!”

I shot Jasin a harsh look before going after Auric, while Slade just shook his head again. Every time I thought the five of us might be getting closer, something like this happened. I was beginning to think sharing four strong-willed men was never going to work out.


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