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Forever (The Dragon Wars)

By´╝ÜRebecca Royce

Chapter One

The porch swing across the street creaked obnoxiously as someone swung back and forth too fast for its old hinges. The noise finally got to be too annoying for even Devin to sleep through. He opened his eyes. When he’d passed out on his father’s porch—whether it was from the alcohol, the painkillers, or the pain itself, he wasn’t sure—it had still been nighttime. Now the midday sun plagued his eyes.

He sat up and rubbed his head. This was the seventh day in a row he’d slept most of the day away. If he couldn’t get it together, he might as well have died in that Dragon prison. So many had put themselves at risk to save him, but the way his life had spun out of control didn’t warrant the rescue. They should have left him in that prison to rot.

Devin shook his head to clear some of the fogginess. The action didn’t achieve the desired result, but only added to the dull ache in the center of his forehead. Finally, he gave up trying to make the pain stop. It would probably go away on its own if he just ignored it. If it didn’t, well then, tonight he would have to dope himself up again.

In the meantime, he had to figure out who was abusing that swing across the street. The damn thing needed to be fixed or thrown out. He might be burdened with posttraumatic health issues, but his hearing still worked fine. Perhaps his fellow Werewolf across the street had gone deaf. Even the Dragons wouldn’t be able to tolerate that squeak.

He snorted at his thought as he stood up. Gods, he might as well be ancient. When had forty become so damn old? Staring through the screen of his porch, he found the culprit on the squeaking swing. It was one of his neighbors’ daughters. He had no idea which one. They had a huge family of only daughters. Devin thought he remembered there being seven of them, but there could have been eight. He’d been gone for fifteen years, so for all he knew there were fourteen of them now. Hopefully they’d continued to have just girls. Females weren’t forced to go to the front lines.

Devin pushed open his front door, not caring one hoot what he looked like. His mother had told him if he didn’t start shaving soon he was going to frighten little children when he walked down the street. She had never seen the crisscrossed scars lining both sides of his cheeks. His beard seemed preferable to that. Also, his leg, which he practically had to drag behind him when he walked, frightened the children enough.

It took him twice as long as it should have to make it the short distance across the street to his neighbor’s house. What was their last name? For a second he couldn’t remember, but it finally came to him. Knox. He’d known them his whole life—well, the portion of it that he had lived before the war. Now he didn’t know anyone who wasn’t in a military unit.

“Excuse me,” he called out, surprised by the gruffness of his own voice. The last bout of Dragon smoke that had been sprayed at him right before the Wolves had burst through the door to save what was left of his unit might have caused permanent damage to his vocal chords. Oh well. He wouldn’t be singing in a band any time soon. “Ms. Knox, do you think I could speak to you about your swing?”

A blond head popped up, and she climbed down off the squeaking monstrosity. She’d been lying on it, and it still had made that much noise?

“Sure.” She had a sunshiny voice to match her bright hair. “You can talk to me about it.”

The door to the porch swung open. It also squeaked and he winced. Did everything these Wolves owned make a racket? His thoughts died as she came down the steps. The Female approaching him stood nearly five foot ten inches tall. She had long legs shown off beautifully in shorts that barely covered her curvaceous thighs and a tight, toned stomach not covered at all by her white half shirt.

Her blond hair fell to her shoulders, drawing attention to the fact that the white half-a-T-shirt also happened to be a V-neck. The Knox daughter, whichever one she happened to be, had cleavage to spare. Her arms were shapely and toned. But all of this beauty didn’t come close to her extraordinary face.

High cheekbones framed pixie-like eyes. He was sure people who were jealous of her would call them blue, but they were really violet, a color now imprinted onto his soul. Her lips were full and red. She smiled so brightly he could see almost every straight white tooth in her mouth.

Whichever Knox woman she was, she had just done him a huge favor. The sight of her near perfection, the most stunning example of womanhood he had ever seen, had just made his cock jump to life. That hadn’t come close to happening to in just over five years.

It was such a startling sensation, even as wonderful as it felt, that for a second he was struck dumb.