Blood pumped through his veins, his beast wild from the battle and aroused by his mate, his savage emotions accentuated by something else, something lingering in the air — old and alien and primal.
“They’re… they’re beyond reason.” Jayla panted behind him. Skin rubbed against skin and a gust of feminine musk hit his nostrils.
“You’ve also been infected.” He groaned, his nose twitching, his beast’s attention diverted by his mate’s readiness to bond.
“Don’t worry about — Reisen!”
He spun, pivoting on his heels as the Vladiums surged forward in a synchronized attack. Reisen blazed them mercilessly with orange flames, releasing all of the fire and fury burning inside him.
Their skin blistered and popped. Their hair burned. The sweet aroma of charred flesh and vengeance filled Reisen’s nostrils.
The Vladiums screamed and flung their bodies backward, out of range. They rolled on the floor, dousing the flames, leaving patches of flesh on the metal tile.
“Mercy,” Jayla whispered, and the scent of her arousal increased.
“She belongs to me.” He snapped his teeth at the wounded Vladiums, his beast hungry for more fighting, his rational side giving them one more opportunity to concede defeat.
The Vladiums lunged to their feet, acting more like animals than humanoids, their eyes narrowed to slits, and their flesh hanging off their wide shoulders.
Inside Reisen, his drache paced with excitement, eager for the kill, viewing them as wounded prey.
“Our female.” The three half-dead males flew at him, sealing their fate.
Reisen swiped his deadly claws through flesh and sinew, cutting to the bone, the tang of blood filling the space and coloring his tips crimson.
The males staggered backward, clutching their chests with blood-soaked fingers, their eyes wide with disbelief. “Ours,” the largest male muttered, red dripping from his lips. They sank to their knees and fell face forward, one by one.
“My mate.” Reisen tilted his head back and roared his claim, his shoulders vibrating with the effort. His body pulsed with triumph, with need. He had fought for and won his mate, and now he would claim her.
He turned and met Jayla’s gaze, her unclothed form and open admiration pleasing his beast.
“Mercy,” Jayla repeated, staring at the magnificent naked male looming above her. Reisen’s eyes blazed with fire, flames flickering in the blackness of space. Blue scales covered firm muscle. Claws extended from his fingers. A lock of dark hair fell rakishly over his forehead.
The normally reserved, rigidly controlled bodyguard had shown her his wild side, acting more primitive and savage than her deadliest plants. He had protected her, killed for her, and that excited Jayla, thrilled her.