Dragonfire, Book 4
by B.J. McCall
eBook ISBN: 05954-01910
Livia is aware that Byrne doesn’t want a Hazac for a mate and for him keeping the covenant is a matter of honor, not desire. She has one shot to capture her dragon on her terms. She attends Byrne’s party with seduction in mind.
Phaya Hazac Thornkill eyed the two lawyers entering her living room. Both in their early sixties and dressed in dark suits, the two men were the legal counsels for their respective clans. Oren Tregaron represented the Tregaron dragons and Armont Hazac the Hazac dragons.
Phaya was two weeks shy of her one hundredth birthday, and her legs were too weak for her to walk. Seated in her favorite chair, she let the lawyers come to her.
“Thank you for coming. Please, make yourselves comfortable.”
The lawyers settled into chairs and refused her offer of refreshments, telling Phaya both were eager to get to the business at hand.
Amber eyes bright with interest, Armont leaned forward. “I speak on behalf of the Hazac clan council. We’re very interested in your proposal.”
Tregarons were distrustful of Hazacs and Oren was more cautious. “My council is willing to consider your offer.”
Oren’s silver hair gleamed in the glow of the lamplight and his eyes were the same unusual blue-green color as Drasen Tregaron’s.
“You look like your grandfather,” Phaya said, recalling the handsome dragon that long ago had been the object of her affection. Although decades had passed, memories of love, pain and anger still resided in Phaya’s failing heart.
Oren smoothed the perfect crease on his charcoal gray pants, then centered his gaze on Phaya. “I’ve often been told of the resemblance.”
Phaya wondered if Oren knew about her love affair with Drasen. Old history. Old wounds. She’d had a good life.
“Your proposal was vague. Can you illuminate us?” Oren asked.
Her proposal had mentioned an offer of gold in exchange for a favor. “My offer is a twenty percent interest to each clan in the Draca Creek gold mine.”
Phaya adjusted the warm throw covering her legs and let her lucrative and unexpected offer hang in the air.
Armont’s eyes sparkled. “Your birth clan is honored by your offer.”
Oren said nothing, but his gaze searched her face.
Draca Creek was an untapped gold mine and Phaya was offering a prize worth many millions of dollars. Dragons would do just about anything for gold. Deals and alliances were made despite the painful, personal consequences such agreements might inflict. Phaya had firsthand knowledge of the price exacted.
Oren cleared his throat. “Will the Thornkill clan have an ownership share?”
Phaya had inherited Draca Creek from her deceased mate and his clan had all but demanded she relinquish her rights to the unmined gold.
She smiled at Oren. Her heart might be failing, but Phaya’s mind was still sharp. “Not if we three come to an agreement and your councils sign a covenant.”
Oren didn’t return her smile. “What are your terms, Mrs. Thornkill?”
“A bonding between a member of each of your clans.”
“As long as the member isn’t promised, I don’t see a problem,” Armont said.
As Phaya well knew, any promise could be broken if the price was right. Her heart was shattered for ten thousand pieces of gold offered to Drasen Tregaron’s father eighty years ago. But covenants were never broken without dire consequences to the offending clan.
“Do you have a member in mind?” Oren asked.
“I do,” Phaya said. “Your grandson, Byrne.”
Oren stiffened, his relaxed posture vanishing in a heartbeat.
“At the conclusion of the bonding ceremony, Byrne will receive a quarter interest in Draca Creek and his parents will receive a five percent interest.”
Oren’s eyes widened.
Got you. Phaya let the offer sink in. She’d just made Byrne a multi-millionaire.
“And the Hazac female?” As expected, Armont was champing at the bit.
Phaya saw recognition light in Armont’s eyes, then a flicker of puzzlement as to why she’d chosen a female without a dowry or a college education as the mate for Byrne Tregaron, a dragon from one of the richest families in the area.
Livia wasn’t a relative, just a young woman who while flying over one day happened to see Phaya fall in her garden. She’d landed and helped Phaya into a chair. They’d struck up a conversation and over the years the friendship had grown. Livia visited every Wednesday afternoon and had never missed a birthday. The girl had shared her dreams and warmed Phaya’s heart with her laughter.
Phaya had learned of Livia’s love for Byrne Tregaron and the girl’s heartache. Because of Livia’s clan affiliation, the handsome Tregaron would never give her a second glance. Phaya had lost the love of her life, but she could give Livia hers.
“Will Livia receive a quarter interest in the mine?” Armont asked.
“She will. And her parents will also get a five percent share. Do the two of you foresee any problems?”
“Livia’s family will be honored by the match,” Armont said.
Oren’s lips thinned. Phaya knew Oren’s family wanted a better match for Byrne, but the amount of gold offered would seal the deal. “I see no problem with the match.”
“Just one more thing,” Phaya said.
Oren’s gaze narrowed.
“No one other than the members of your councils and the two of you can know my part in this. Tell the parents what you must, but if my name is even whispered, the covenant will be void. If Livia and Byrne are not bonded before I die, the Thornkill clan will inherit the mine. Am I clear?”
Oren looked relieved. “You are.”
“Yes,” Armont said.
“My heart is failing, gentlemen. Time is of the essence. My personal attorney has drawn up the agreement and will visit each of you before noon.”
The two lawyers stood.
Phaya remained seated and raised her hands. “Your hands, gentlemen.”
Oren took her right hand in his and Armont her left.
“On behalf of your clans, do I have your word this covenant is sealed?”
“On behalf of the Tregaron council, I agree,” Oren said.
“On behalf of the Hazac council, I agree,” Armont said.
Phaya’s heart thumped with an excitement she hadn’t felt for a very long time. “I’ll expect the signed covenant returned to me by sunset. Good day, counselors.”