Title: Take These Broken Wings, Book 5 in the Destiny Paramortals
Author: Livia Quinn
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Jack Lang knows first hand about Destiny’s secrets. Turns out he was one of them. On Mardi Gras eve he and his unlikely band of heroes defeated some particularly nasty creatures intent on taking advantage of the Paramortals’ vulnerability during the Chaos. Jack figured they called it Chaos because the word “Armageddon” was already taken. Destiny survived with the help of their dragon and some special friends, then Jack received the biggest shock of his life. And that was saying a lot.
He’d chosen this town the year before for the normalcy and safety it could provide his teenager after a life of bedlam with Jordie’s mother. He’d been looking for Mayberry. Instead he’d found, not a town, but a world full of magical beings, odd occurrences, and scary creatures. There’d been one shock after another and yet, instead of leaving and taking Jordie somewhere “safe” … he’d stayed.
Now he suspected he’d felt the pull of this special place long before he’d known it existed. But that hadn’t been the only reason. It had all begun the first time he’d seen Tempest Pomeroy. That was when his world had turned upside down—along with half the town. He’d surprised himself with his acceptance of the supernatural. He’d even almost accepted this latest blow, but that had been before he found out he no longer belonged anywhere.
Not with humans, and not among supernaturals. Something had gone haywire in his family DNA.
Now he’d abandoned the women in his life, his responsibilities, everything except for the need to quench the gnawing hunger in his gut and this compulsion to jump off the highest levees in the parish. And he was only sorry there were no mountains in Louisiana.
The long cry intensified, as it grew closer. Then a bright silver streak whizzed by me, the reason for the sound suddenly apparent.
I watched my boyfriend, in silver dragon form, run toward the top of the levee at full speed—actually more like like a clumsy lope—and leap, sun sparkling like diamonds from his crystalline scales before he disappeared from sight. The sound cutoff abruptly followed by a huge splash. Zeus’ missing molars!
I made it to the crown of the levee just in time to watch Jack plummet, wings flapping furiously—to no avail—into the river below. “Below” wasn’t that far and “river” was too generous a word for the swampy backwater where he now sat, covered in duck weed and gumbo looking like a dejected dragon on a Saturday morning TV show. And tired. Poor baby.
His handsome dragon face looked up at me, beautiful silver green eyes revealing more than a little distress. I’d thought he could shift, but for some reason he didn’t. Instead he pushed up out of the muck, his enormous backside making a loud wet swhuuuck as the gumbo released its hold.
I stood out of the line of fire while he gave a mighty shake and great globs of slimy mud flew in all directions, leaving his scales sparkly and shiny once again. At least he was getting a grasp of some aspects of his change, or it was instinct. His powerful hind legs lifted from the swampy water and one step at a time he walked toward me, then hopped onto the bank. The ground quaked. I widened my stance to keep from falling over. From my position on the levee I was nearly eye level with him.
“No luck, huh?” I asked.
He opened his mouth to speak and remembered he wasn’t able to, yet. Our dragon friend, Conor, thought speaking in his shifted form would come in time. Apparently, nothing was certain. Jack shook his crystal-bright head and rainbows bounced off the water.
“That sucks,” I said, shading my eyes. He glared at me and I shrugged. “Sorry, no pun intended.”
He turned away. A trudging dragon was a sorry sight. All of his frustration and uncertainty was apparent in the slump of his massive dragon shoulders, in the way his wings dropped to his sides, and in the ground-shaking thump of his feet. For a second I thought about having a t-shirt made for him with MY BUTT IS DRAGIN’ emblazoned on the front. I’m really not that mean, just as frustrated as my man.
“Jack. Wait.” I ran down the levee after him as he plodded, a fatalistic air to his stride. Boom…thud, boom…thud.
Jack’s problem, the disappointment that was eating at him after the initial hope that had helped him come to terms with his dragonness, was that he couldn’t fly. He simply could not believe that a former Navy jet pilot-turned-dragon would not be a flying dragon. And obviously, it wasn’t for lack of trying.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw him in his backyard under the moonlight looking alternately disconcerted and elated. He’d denied the elated part right off, because it simply wouldn’t do to admit that as much as he wanted to fly again, admitting to the desire to fly as a dragon would just not do. First, he had to admit he was a dragon. Maybe I could find him a Dragons Anonymous meeting. Jack’s problem is denial. He’s old hands with the emotion.
I watched his steady progress toward the woods. He’d apparently given up for the day. The sun was rising and humans would be about. I wished he’d return to his job as sheriff of Destiny. That and his parental responsibilities would keep him grounded.
Oh, Zeus, another pun.
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A DC native, Livia Quinn moved to the wilds of stormy Louisiana, and with a lifelong fascination (read that: phobia) of lightning, it was only natural that it would play a big part in her world. Her paranormal books take place on the west end of Storm Lake and contemporaries to the east. But that doesn’t mean there’s no magic. What would life be like without a little magic?
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