Magic and Mayhem: How To Date A Dragon (Kindle Worlds Novella) (Baba Yaga Saga Book 2), page 1
Text copyright ©2016 by the Author.
This work was made possible by a special license through the Kindle Worlds publishing program and has not necessarily been reviewed by Robyn Peterman. All characters, scenes, events, plots and related elements appearing in the original Magic and Mayhem remain the exclusive copyrighted and/or trademarked property of Robyn Peterman, or their affiliates or licensors.
For more information on Kindle Worlds: http://www.amazon.com/kindleworlds
Table of Contents
Note From the Author
About the Author
How To Date A Dragon
Cover by Blackraven’s Designs
Edited by AJ at Blackraven’s Designs
Thanks to Robyn Peterman for inviting me into her fabulous Magic and Mayhem world.
Heather L, thank you for reading Book 1 and letting me know you liked it. I saved Nathaniel just for you. One recycled hero coming soon to another new series. LOL
Tucked in the shadows of several misshapen ash trees, two richly dressed figures smiled widely while they also glared at each other with battle-locked gazes. Their conversation was anything but friendly. However, should someone spot them in Morgana The Red’s sacred grove, they knew smiles would serve their covers best.
Lord Byron’s green eyes blazed as they met laughing blue ones. “Do not forget your place, Mage. My family is descended from the Vardlokkur. The power of the Norse Gods is at my command.”
Nigel shrugged. “And I am descended from Merlin Ambrosius—the Greatest Mage of all time. You don’t see me throwing that in anyone’s face, do you? You sent me to do a job and it didn’t go as planned. No one has power over what the Fates decree.”
“Nonsense. You failed because your assassin is a toad.”
Nigel snorted. “Now what would you think if I went around calling your brother names, M’lord? You’d probably try to kick my conniving arse, wouldn’t ya?”
Lord Byron huffed. “Fool. I wasn’t calling the man names. He’s been imprisoned by the Jezibaba and someone spelled him into becoming a literal toad. The spelling has a powerful witch signature none of us have seen before. Do you think becoming a dragon has done something to increase the Jezibaba’s magic?”
Nigel shook his head, sending his mane of long black hair swinging with denial. “No. Lovey has a fondness for small amphibians—that’s all. It’s just her thing. She’s the toad lover. Been turned into one myself.”
Nigel grinned when Lord Byron glared harder, though he knew it wasn’t wise to anger the Counsel of Witches favorite warlock. He was only the council’s mercenary because of the money. Of course, harnessing more magical power for himself would be very nice as well.
“Beg your pardon for my dark humor, Lord Bryon. Your concern is appreciated, but unnecessary. I was in the council’s prison for a quite a while. It wasn’t so bad. I’m sure Everett will adjust.”
“How can you be taking this so calmly? We’re running out of time. And by the way… you look deplorable. What’s wrong with your face, Nigel? Even the glamour can’t hide your neuropathy.”
Nigel shrugged and rubbed his one sagging cheek. His face did not wrinkle as he frowned about it. His lack of control was the price of what he’d done and he hadn’t found a way to reverse the effects yet.
“Evidently my fondness for Wraith travel has given my mortal form a bit of amnesia about how it’s supposed to look. But then again that circumstance made it quite easy for me to take our dearly departed Lord Magna’s form. Shagging the Jezibaba’s grandmum isn’t really my idea of a good time, but I’m making the best of things. She’s nothing like the woman her granddaughter is in any regard—if you catch my meaning.”
“I assure you I wouldn’t know, nor would I want to,” Lord Byron said tersely.
Nigel chuckled. He knew Lord Soft Sausage was lying. The man would have loved to know. Every male on the Council of Witches probably fantasized about doing the Great Jezibaba. Some long-serving members even had… like him, for instance.
“I must say it is your loss then, M’lord. The Jezibaba is the only shag I never forgot. What I wouldn’t give for another go with her—not that I’m willing to challenge the dragon. Bloke incinerated his own son. You can’t get more fecking wrong than that.”
“The dragon’s lack of morality is not my concern. Neither is the interference of the Jezibaba in our plans. Morgana exacted a sacred promise from all of us never to kill her outright. As the deity still in control of the council, we have to adhere to the letter of Morgana’s law—for now.”
“Highly inconvenient,” Nigel complained, one side of his mouth tilting in a smirk.
Lord Byron nodded. “Tell me about it. That’s why I care only for the destiny of the Chosen Ones. I want them found and made dead as soon as possible.”
Nigel tilted his head. “Wouldn’t another Chosen One just come along? Isn’t that how it works?”
Lord Byron nodded tightly. “Yes, and the whole council is eagerly awaiting that circumstance to become reality. You see, the Baba Yaga was actually foretold to be a trio of witches, not just two. We’ve managed to keep that little secret even from Jezibaba and her Warlocks. Several members of the council, including myself, have been secretly training the third candidate for years.”
Nigel laughed. The machinations of the Council of Witches never ceased to amaze him. He wasn’t even shocked to hear about the third child, but Elenora would certainly be. “Your protectoress is going to be royally pissed when she finds out you’ve hid one of her replacements from her.”
Lord Byron snorted. “Precisely why she must never know until it is too late. The girl is powerful, but no match for the Jezibaba. She’s not even a match for either of the other two girls from what I’ve heard. That’s why the Jezibaba’s charges must die as soon as possible. Afterward, the council will gladly arrange for the Witch Protectoress to be taken out by a species she can’t defeat.”
Nigel chuckled. “I’ve kept tabs on my girl and so far my Lovey’s got a better game average than any mortal sports team, M’lord. Just what species does the council think can defeat her?”
Lord Byron glared. “I can’t believe the council insists on paying you. If we knew that information, the witch would already be dead.”
Nigel held up his hands and chuckled. “Wow, Governor. That’s some serious mad you got going on for Morgana’s pick for protectoress. What did my little Lovey ever do to you?”
Lord Byron stepped away to pace.
“She is crude, violent, and her brand of magic is a mockery of all the witches and warlocks have worked centuries to achieve. Someone like her should not have the right to wield magic for justice. By divine Celtic right of the Old Norse Guards, that honor should fall to m
He lifted both arms and let them fall as he fought to keep his anger constrained.
“Plus she subjugates herself for no reason. Our so-called protectoress now allows the goddess to defile her form whenever it suits her to do so. The Jezibaba becomes a ridiculous red dragon with Morgana’s symbol on her wings.”
Nigel nodded, his gaze taking in the man’s angry pacing. “Yes. I heard about the whole becoming a dragon thing. That’s nearly enough to wilt my Willie, even though he really, really likes her. But the dragon thing is Morgana’s doing, not the Jezibaba’s. How can anyone fight the goddess?”
Lord Byron huffed as he glared. “You’re missing the point, Nigel. I don’t care if the dragon witch morphs into the goddess herself. That undeserving witch will not remain our overseer. I’ll spend my last breath making sure of it. But before that can be accomplished, I must clear the inheritance path for my niece, Isobelle. She will be the next Witch Protectoress. When the Baba Yaga witches are no more, she will become the next Jezibaba. Perhaps then one of my deities will step forward to be the council’s champion.”
“So let me get this straight—your niece by blood is one of the Chosen Ones?” Nigel repeated in surprise.
“Yes. Soon Isobelle will be the only Chosen One left to step into the role. Not even Morgana The Red would cross the Fates and stop that from happening. So you better come up with a plan that moves this along or the reigning Jezibaba won’t be the only one meeting death shortly.”
“Oh, don’t get your shorts twisted, El Grumpy M’lordship. Everything I’m working on is well under control. I’m already in the process of fighting fire with fire—if you’ll excuse the pun.”
“I don’t know what that means and I really don’t care. I want results, Nigel. I want them soon. Do not fail us again.”
Nigel let out his breath slowly as he watched Lord Byron storm off without saying goodbye.
Now he had to cover his ass, his brother’s ass, and the rest of his family’s. They were indeed descended from Merlin the Magician, but you couldn’t pull off any magic trick if the foundation for it was not in place.
May the Goddess forgive him. He should never have signed up to help Lord Crazy Wand and his corrupt rebel crew of council witches and warlocks. Now he was all in with their destructive plans and there wasn’t really a way out of his servitude.
“Yoohoo… Lord Magna?… Where are you hiding, handsome? I need some Freddy time.”
Sighing, Nigel returned to the role that let him hang out under Morgana’s nose. He just hoped the goddess had a keen sense of humor when Lord Freddie Magna disappeared from the grove. Of course when the real Lord Magna came out of his stasis, the goddess would figure it out then too, but he couldn’t worry about that now. There was more to do.
“Your sweet Freddy is here, Luv. Sorry I disappeared on you. Let’s go for a romantic walk, shall we? I need to clear my head.”
Jezibaba tossed her wet bath towel over a chair and walked naked to the closet. She stood there enjoying her own nudity while she ironically pondered what to wear to cover it up.
Today was an important day for the girls. She couldn’t show up skyclad to their Dedication Ceremony, as wonderfully shocking as it might be to do so. Since that option was out, she needed to come up with just the right outfit—something drool worthy yet smacking of omnipotent magic. Should she go full-out Celtic goddess? Or modern siren with a flawless fashion sense?
Behind her bare ass she heard a long-suffering sigh as Damien strode out of the bathroom naked and damp himself. His possessiveness made her smile as it always did. His nakedness was as inspiring as it always was. Unfortunately, there was no time to enjoy it this morning.
“David Bryne said ‘real beauty knocks you a little bit off kilter’. I never understood that poetic sentiment until I started seeing you naked every day. Now it makes perfect sense,” Damien complained.
“My, my, Professor. Poetry so early in the morning. You usually save that for bedtime. I can’t tell though if that was a complaint, a compliment, or both.”
“Definitely both,” Damien declared, grinning as his gaze swept over her curves. “Would you please wear something that doesn’t enhance your cleavage today? It would save me a lot of glaring and possibly keep me from killing any hormonally driven high school boy I catch ogling you.”
Jezibaba laughed and plucked a purple corset top, a frilly white blouse, and a pair of perfect fitting skinny jeans from the closet. Turning she marched to the giant king-sized bed in the middle of Damien’s bedroom. She’d given up zapping her clothes on so she could enjoy Damien’s gaze following her every move.
“You know I don’t even own clothing that covers my cleavage. The best I can manage is to promise you that I’ll be wearing twice as much material as the high school girls will be wearing. You won’t have to glare at all.”
Damien’s eye roll over her assurances made her laugh.
“I’m sure our girls will be giving the boys plenty to stare at. Carole likes her ugly skirts short enough to reveal the swear words she writes on her underwear. Hildy’s a doll, but the boys are afraid of getting turned into swamp creatures. It’s no wonder they’re nearly eighteen and not really dating yet. Though to be fair, I didn’t start genuinely appreciating men until I was well into my twenties.”
Damien lifted an eyebrow as he tucked in his shirt and fastened his pants. “It’s not beautiful clothes that tempt a male. It’s the power of the female wearing them. They’re young and just starting to develop their feminine power. Frankly, I don’t know how you ever get anything done. You probably spend most of your time fighting off testosterone driven males who think they must have you. I was nearly that bad when we met.”
“True… but I didn’t want to fight you off,” Jezibaba declared, fastening the corset top over the blouse. Under all the laces were snaps that easily held the garment in place.
A grinning Damien walked around the bed and leaned in to kiss her. The touch of his mouth was warm, satisfying, and felt very domestic. Something she liked but refused to admit liking. Morgana teased her endlessly over her growing affection for the sexy academic.
“I’ll be in the office all morning. Thane and I have some paperwork to complete. Save me a seat at the Dedication Ceremony,” he whispered.
Jezibaba nodded at the mention of Damien’s sexy young assistant. Dragon also, the boy professed to share Damien’s academic bent. She saw something else in the boy’s gaze, but she had no proof. Over the years, she’d learned not to offer opinions with nothing to back them up. That was the problem with academics. They didn’t just go on their gut feelings. They insisted on using their heads, which many times could be fooled.
To be fair, the boy had been around nearly a year now and nothing bad had happened. Yet she couldn’t shake the more subtle messages her intuition kept sending about the male.
She’d moved in with Damien the year Carol and Hildy had advanced to the equivalent of mortal high school on the Witchery U campus. By that point, she’d been spending more time with him than apart from him anyway. It had suited her to trade her small space for the Headmaster’s larger one. More importantly, being with the dragon suited her.
She was still adjusting to the idea of being part of a couple, but other things kept her from dwelling on her weakness. For one… she’d never found out who on the Council of Witches had spent so much money and time trying to kill Carol and Hildy when they were ten.
Her right-hand warlock, Nathaniel, had refused to talk about his odd reaction to them all those years ago. His investigations into the matter had proven nothing he cared to discuss.
The years since then had been mostly uneventful. There had been three assassination attempts, but that was to be expected even without the Council of Witches being involved. Many power hungry magicals would like nothing better than to wipe the young witches away.
Damien’s dragon guards had fried one attempted killer. Emer
Damien walked away only to turn and come back to her side. He leaned in to kiss her again, this time lingering over her lips. “Maybe we can go flying tonight. You need more practice,” he whispered.
What she needed was to not hurt like hell when she shifted, but complaining wouldn’t solve the issue. She’d stop voicing her complaints a couple years ago. “I can fly just fine,” she said, grinning at the flash in his eyes. “It’s just the landing that trips me up.”
“And rolls you into a free fall that ends with you naked on your hands and knees… unfortunately not in the good way.”
“Stop with the innuendo, Professor. Go swap quips of wisdom with your brainy dragon boy,” she ordered, pushing against a chest that never moved under her hand.”
When the door to the Headmaster’s quarters clicked behind her exiting lover, Jezibaba sighed softly and walked to the small chest that adorned a dresser full of her clothes.
Opening the polished elm chest, she lifted her portable wand and deftly tucked it into the sexy white lace bra she’d donned under her blouse. She was coming to need the wand more often these last few months.
Until she figured out what was going on with her magic, she couldn’t risk being unprepared, especially not now when life was finally getting good for her.
Hildy groaned as she came out of the bathroom and saw the boobtabulous purple sequined dress her best friend was trying to hang on her skinny, muscular, nearly boobless frame.
“You don’t look like her. You’ll never look like her. So stop trying,” Hildy exclaimed, pointing at Carol’s closet. “Wear the black mini-skirt, your light pink blouse, and the leather vest the Amazons gave you when you slashed both their arms. The ensemble will be Urban Kick-Ass Fantasy Chic. You can let your black ceremonial robe flap open rebelliously against your combat boots and show the whole thing off. Guys will be staring at your legs, which by the way, are your best feature. So stop trying to appeal to breast men. You have no breasts.”
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