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Fury of Fire (Dragonfury Series #1)

Fury of Fire (Dragonfury Series #1)

Titel: Fury of Fire (Dragonfury Series #1)
Autoren: Coreene Callahan
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Chapter One
    The flash of strobe lights struck with the force of a hammer. Bastian squinted against the glare and scanned the dance floor, taking in the exposed skin and barely there skirts writhing to the rhythm of hard-core techno. His practiced eye picked up all kinds of trace, the faint glow of female energy swirling in dark corners. He downed another shot of Blue Label.
    The whiskey went down smooth. His mood headed in the other direction.
    “Anything?” Rikar slid into the booth across from him.
    “Did you expect there to be?” He glanced at his friend, registering the shimmer in Rikar’s pale eyes. The iridescent glow meant one thing. His friend had fed, taken his ease in an obscure corner of the club with a willing human female. No surprise there. Dragonkind appealed to women, and his first in command never wanted for company.
    Rikar palmed his microbrew and took a pull from the bottle. “Pick one and be done with it, for fuck’s sake.”
    If only it were that simple. In the quiet of their lair, his decision—and the rationale behind it—had made perfect sense. Now, surrounded by thumping bass and the swell of perfumed female flesh, Bastian wondered what had possessed him. It wasn’t that he didn’t want a woman. Hell, he enjoyed them as much or more than his brothers-in-arms did, but the thought of taking one to mate made his blood run cold. “I still have time.”
    His friend threw him an amused look. “You’ve less than a week.”
    “Lay off, Rikar.”
    “Hey, it’s your crazy-ass plan, not mine.”
    Yeah, crazy. That pretty much summed it up. But it didn’t matter. His hands were tied. The war had gone on for so long that Bastian had lost count of the casualties. Centuries of fallen comrades, of hunting and being hunted. It would never stop. A clean victory was an impossibility for either side now. With only a handful of warrior dragons left, little choice remained but to replenish their numbers…and that meant breeding the next generation.
    The idea sat like a stone in his stomach. He wanted a mate like another hole in his head, but he must lead by example: be the first to commit, to have a son, to lose his female in childbirth.
    Bastian swirled the ice in his glass. Christ. He didn’t even know what she looked like and yet, he mourned her. Already felt sorry for the life he would take. It wasn’t murder. Not really. He would never willingly hurt a woman, but that didn’t change what he must do. To save his kind he must breed, and females never survived birthing Dragonkind.
    “You take too much on yourself, B. Dragonkind is healthy enough.” Glacial eyes flicked over the scene before returning to him. Bastian read the censure in his friend’s gaze as well as the truth. Rikar knew, just as he did, there was no other way. “You should feed. It’ll improve your mood.”
    No doubt, but the suggestion left a bad taste in Bastian’s mouth. He only indulged when forced by hunger and desperate need. Foolish, maybe, but despite his nature he disliked taking what didn’t belong to him. Women deserved better than to be used and have their memories wiped. Besides, the low-level energy in the club wasn’t enough. One of the oldest of his kind, he required a female capable of drawing pure power from the Meridian to feed him.
    The electrostatic current nurtured Dragonkind, an all-male race born of human females. Without the energy exchange, his kind would starve to death. And the only way to draw from the source was to get close to a female. So close that bodies clashed and skin met skin. Not that any ever complained. Begged for the pleasure he gave? Always. Never once in all his years had one objected. Even now, the women closest to him watched, waiting for the slightest encouragement.
    Normally, he took what they offered, but not tonight.
    Tonight was about leadership. About showing the warriors under his command that sacrifices needed to be made for the greater good of the race.
    Bastian scanned the club again. Dancers were getting animated, pairing off in twos and threes, female skirts rising, male hands roaming whatever real estate they could reach. Tipping his head back, he swallowed the last of his Blue Label and found the waitress in the crowd. A redhead, pretty enough, but too Goth for him. He liked his females fresh-faced, without the layers of makeup the women in clubs always favored.
    He issued a mental command anyway.
    Her kohl-lined eyes blinked once before she spun on spiked
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