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       Aiden_House of Flames_Dragon Rockstar Warrior Romance, p.1

           Scarlett Grove
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Aiden_House of Flames_Dragon Rockstar Warrior Romance

  Aiden: House of Flames

  Dragon Guardians 3

  Scarlett Grove



  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Also by Scarlett Grove


  About the Author

  Copyright © 2018 by Scarlett Grove

  All rights reserved.

  No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

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  An Omega’s fire … Charity Morning is a werewolf Omega held captive by Raze, a cruel Alpha who wants the power her mating thrall can give him. When a vision shows Charity her true mate, she flees to him. But will the cool, controlling man she finds be any better? An Alpha’s strength … Aaron Blake must prove his worthiness to become his pack’s new Alpha. To claim Charity as his Omega, he must fight off the other males who want her … and then pleasure and dominate her in bed until he earns her trust. Only then, with her true submission, will their mating be complete. A deadly challenge … As Aaron and Charity realize that their mating is much more than a tradition, Raze and his pack track the Omega to her new home. They want her back--at any cost. Can Aaron defeat them all, or will Charity lose him before they can confess their true feelings? Super hot read. 18+ Steaming hot love scenes and mild violence. HEA Standalone novella.

  Under the light of the full moon, Avery experiences a night of endless pleasure in the arms of a seductive stranger. When she witnesses his transformation into a wolf, she's convinced their passionate encounter was part of an otherworldly dream. But her pregnancy test confirms it was all too real and now she must find the father of her child.

  Chapter 1

  Aiden spun, slicing his laser blades across a vampire’s throat. Blood spurted from the wound as the vampire fell at Aiden’s feet. He grinned as his crew fought beside him. The magic of the songstress had filled them with power, and now they could defeat the vampires on Earth. The vampires had been a scourge to the human race for ten thousand years, and now the dragons could finally do something about it.

  Another six vampires charged at him from out of the shadows and from behind the wide trunks of trees. He danced and twirled, spinning his blades as he struck the vampires with his swords. After months of impotence, making contact with these foul creatures was so satisfying.

  Since the dragons of the House of Flames had awakened, they had made the vow to protect humanity from the bloodsucking vampires who fed upon them. But vowing to protect humanity did not bring with it the ability to do so. They had been unable to even injure their foe until Aria, a Dragon Soul and the mate to one of his crew, had discovered how her magic empowered them. With the power of Aria’s song coursing through him, Aiden felt invincible.

  “How many have you taken out?” Aiden asked Dax, Aria’s mate.

  “I lost count at twenty,” Dax said through their mental link.

  “I lost count at thirty,” Aiden bragged, one-upping Dax.

  “Would you to stop competing and focus on the matter at hand?” their leader Kian said.

  “This was supposed to be a treaty meeting,” said Cato through their mental link as his laser sword shot through the dark night.

  “What can we do when the vampires lie to us?” Aiden said. “We all knew this was another trap.”

  “You think they would have learned by now,” Kian scoffed.

  “No one ever accused vampires of being intelligent,” Cato said.

  “Maybe they thought the last time they attacked our compound was a fluke.”

  “And that’s why I’ve stayed home this time,” Kian said. “We won’t leave the ladies unattended again, even with the safe room.”

  Aiden thrust his laser swords through the bellies of two vampires. He pulled them out and the vampires fell to the ground.

  “That’s just more for us,” Aiden said.

  “Finish cleaning up there and get back to the compound as soon as possible,” Kian said. “We have more tests to run.”

  “We still don’t know how long Aria’s song lasts. We wouldn’t want to get caught out in the world without her power to strengthen us,” Cato agreed.

  “The power of my mate’s song lasts forever,” Dax declared.

  “I know you’d like to believe that Dax,” Cato said. “But we don’t have the proof. It could be dangerous to assume that is the case.”

  Cato’s laser bullets sliced through the still air as Dax, in his dragon form, bashed and smashed a dozen vampires. Aiden, in half-shift, tried to keep up with the larger, stronger dragon. He and Dax had a running competition that Kian pretended to discourage. But even a million years ago, when the crew had been fighting vampires back in their home system, it had been the same. He acted like their competition was a distraction, when in reality it made them both fight harder.

  “That’s one-hundred-fifty-seven,” Dax said.

  “There aren’t even one-hundred-fifty-seven vampires here,” Aiden scoffed.

  “Count for yourself,” Dax said.

  “And stop to let you get ahead?” Aiden asked, twirling as his swords buzzed through the air. “Never.”

  “That’s the last one,” Cato said, his bullet piercing the skull of the remaining vampire in the forest.

  “Victor and Marco are not going to be happy about this,” Kian said.

  “Since when do we care about their feelings?” Aiden asked.

  “It may prompt another attack. We need to be on the defensive,” Kian said. “Everyone back here immediately.”

  Aiden retracted his laser swords, burst into full dragon form, batted his wings, and launched himself into the sky.

  Chapter 2

  Winnifred Parker stood by the window of her tiny studio apartment, looking down on the group of young people loitering on the sidewalk under her building. She lived in one of the busiest neighborhoods in Seattle. On nights like these, there was no end of the commotion out on the street.

  She couldn't sleep and had been driven from her bed by the noise. Calling the police to complain wouldn't do anything. She was on her own. Winnifred had been on her own for a long time. Longer than most girls of her twenty-two years should be. She’d left home at sixteen to escape an alcoholic mother and stepfather who had relentlessly terrorized her. After a lot of struggle and determination, she had made a good life for herself.

  She lifted the paintbrush to dab dark paint onto her canvas. She hoped she could sell it to a gallery that had bought her paintings before. The payment would help her with her overwhelming student loan debt and assist with her bills for the rest of the month.

  If they didn’t, she wasn't sure what she would do. Her job as a barista a
t a busy café down the street didn't quite make ends meet. She’d considered leaving the city, going where there was a lower cost of living. But she could never make up her mind. So, she remained.

  She slipped on a pair of headphones, trying to drown out the sound of partying on the street below. She immersed herself in the play of color and the feel of the brush on the canvas. Painting always pulled her into a kind of trance that took her away from all her troubles.

  Winnifred had created a distinct style with her impressionist paintings, reflecting her feelings and experiences. There was a good profit over the cost of materials if she could sell one. It gave her confidence that she was on the right track with her career. However, between her job and her painting, she had little time for a social life. No matter how passionate she was about her work, she often felt alone.

  Winnie looked down at her phone and realized it was late. She needed to get back in bed if she didn’t want to be a zombie at work tomorrow. After washing her brushes, she set them out to dry. She closed the blackout curtains, turned up her white noise machine, and climbed into bed.

  Even the curtains and white noise couldn't drown out the streetlights, the sound of traffic, and the clamor of the kids on the street below. She groaned and pulled a pillow over her head. She had gotten used to the noise and the light, but tonight was particularly unsettling.

  Finally, at about 4 AM, she drifted off to sleep and woke with a start the next morning to the sound of a garbage truck crunching and banging along on the street below her window.

  She pulled herself out of bed and slid her feet into her slippers. Trudging across her tiny studio apartment, she went to the kitchenette. Starting the coffee, she poured herself a cup before the pot was finished brewing, fixing it with cream and sugar. Sipping her coffee, she opened the blackout curtains to let in the gray light of the day.

  A mailer caught her eye. She grabbed it and read the brochure for a day trip to one of the islands out on Puget Sound and wistfully dreamed about getting away for just one afternoon. Winnifred knew she needed to take a break from the city. The constant drain on her life force was going to sap her creative energy eventually. But it cost a hundred twenty-five dollars that she just couldn’t afford with the electricity bill, rent, student loans, and everything else. Maybe if she didn't eat for a week, she thought to herself with a sarcastic chuckle.

  She sat at her small round table near the window and turned on her computer to read the news of the day. As she drank her coffee, she tapped over to her emails, finding a message from her friend Tonya.

  "I've got free tickets to the Mortar concert tonight. Want to come?"

  Winnifred thought about it for a moment. She wasn't really much for going out and listening to loud music lately. Especially after a night like last night. But Mortar was one of her favorite bands, and she didn't want to miss an opportunity to hang out with her friend. She could use a night away from work and worry. Might as well live a little. She typed out an email, agreeing to meet Tonya at the club that night and went back to drinking her coffee.

  When Winnifred was done with her wake-up routine, she climbed into her tiny standup shower and drained the water heater of its contents. It didn't last long, but it was one of the most pleasant experiences of her day most days.

  When she emerged, she wiped the steam from the mirror and tried to decide what to do with her tightly-curled, dark brown hair. Usually, she just left it natural, using a dollop of hair product to loosen the curls.

  She poked at the purple bags under her eyes and groaned. Her caramel skin was dry and her round cheeks sunken. She really needed more sleep. But there was nothing she could do about it now. She needed to get to the café for work. Her student loans were killing her, and they were increasing all of the time.

  She dressed in a pair of black skinny jeans, a black and white striped T-shirt, white sneakers and a black motorcycle jacket. Pushing her sunglasses up the bridge of her nose, she slung her backpack over her shoulder and left the apartment.

  Winnie opened the door at the bottom of the stairs to the glaring sunlight and entered the bustling activity of the city. At night the art district of Seattle was dangerous and scary, but in the daytime, it was a totally different place.

  She walked past the galleries, cafés, and techies drinking coffee while hurrying to their jobs dressed in raincoats and khaki shorts.

  Spring in Seattle was finally warming up and she hoped that later today they might actually see some sun. Winnie strode down the street and into the bookstore where she worked in the basement café. Moving past rows of children's books and self-help manuals, she trotted downstairs. Her coworker Adam greeted her from behind the counter.

  "Good morning, Winnie," he said with a smile.

  "Is it?" she said sarcastically.

  "I suppose it depends on who you ask.” He chuckled.

  "I need a lot more coffee before it's going to be a good day for me.”

  "What's wrong?"

  "Didn't sleep very well. A group of kids talked under my window all night.”

  "Must have been a full moon,” Adam said.

  She scoffed as she pulled on her apron and began to tidy up the café counter.

  "The tables out in the front of the house need bussing,” he said.

  "On it.”

  She grabbed a bus tub and hurried out into the café, lifting the plates, cups, and silverware into the tub that she held on her hip. The smell of coffee grounds and gourmet soufflé filled her nose and the chatter of conversation swirled around her. She liked working in the café, even though she wished she could be a full-time artist. With fifty thousand dollars of student loan debt, that wasn't going to happen anytime soon.

  Winnie took the bus tub back to the scullery and handed it to the dishwasher, Tony, who was listening to music on his earbuds. He turned to her with a smile and a wink, and then went back to spraying off plates. She stood behind the counter as another rush of customers entered the front door.

  Winnie took orders while Adam made coffee. The kitchen in the back pumped out spinach omelets and fluffy waffles. As she served the long line, she watched the tips grow in the brightly painted jar with the private sigh of relief. It looked like it would be a good day after all. After plating a blueberry muffin and closing the till, the rush died down and she noticed her friend Tonya walk down the stairs from the bookstore.

  "I'm so glad you're coming to the Mortar show with me tonight," Tonya said, her dyed red hair plaited in a fishtail braid over her shoulder. Her darkly-lined hazel eyes gleamed with excitement.

  Tonya worked at a local tech company as a graphic designer. They’d known each other since freshman year of art school. She was a good friend and one of the few people Winnie let get close to her for any length of time. Tonya had majored in graphic design, and Winnie had majored in fine art painting. Now, one of them had a well-paying job, a boyfriend, and a decent apartment, and the other lived in a studio and worked as a barista. Winnie wasn't envious of Tonya. They had both chosen their routes in life and she didn't regret her studies in school. What she did regret was the mountain of debt that she had on her shoulders.

  She had something in her heart, something she’d learned from all her pain and struggle early in life. That was something that had to be shared. Sharing it was everything Winnifred believed in. It was the reason she’d become an artist and not a nurse or something equally practical.

  She’d worked hard to get into the best art school in Seattle on a partial scholarship. With the artistic talent she’d shown, her instructors and counselors had encouraged her to follow her passion, and she didn’t need a lot of convincing. But life as an artist wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Winnie knew how to survive, but she was so tired of never getting ahead. So tired of taking one step forward, only to take two steps back.

  Sometimes she thought maybe she just didn’t believe in herself enough, having come from a traumatic home as a child. If she just had a bit more self-esteem, maybe she cou
ld make it work. But then her inner critic reminded her that barely anyone in the world made a living as a painter, and she’d plunged herself into debt for nothing.

  “Derick is getting us backstage passes,” Tonya said.

  "Really?" Winnifred loved this band. She couldn't help but feel a little giddy about finally meeting them. "You're kidding me.”

  "Nope. Here's your ticket. I'll see you tonight."

  Tonya left with her tall cappuccino and hurried upstairs into the bookstore. At the end of her shift, Winnie counted out her share of the tips and found that she'd made almost thirty dollars that day. Her eyes widened in disbelief as she pocketed the cash.

  "What are you gonna do with yours?" Adam asked her, pulling off his apron as the afternoon baristas walked behind the counter.

  "I'm considering taking a tour out on the islands. You know, get a little fresh air, spend some time away from the city.”

  "Oh, that sounds nice," he said. “I'm just gonna pay bills with mine."

  She pulled on her jacket and slung her backpack over one shoulder. “That's what I should do, too, but…I’m going to spend it on something fun anyway." She smiled sheepishly.

  The afternoon baristas started bustling around, and she and Adam walked from behind the counter to get out of the way.

  “See you later, Winnie,” Adam said, waving as he trotted up the stairs.

  She waved goodbye and turned to the door that led out onto the street. She hurried to her building as the afternoon sun tipped over the tall buildings. At home, she climbed into bed for a much-needed nap before getting ready to go out.

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