The Hidden, Novella 1
Grand Central Publishing (June 4, 2013)
Hot Dragons, cool angels, and seductive magic! Discover the Hidden, Jaime Rush’s series about humans with the essence of gods who walk the knife’s edge between Miami and a magical world of passion and danger. They must fight their own kind, demons, and the lure of their darkest nature.
The first release in Jaime Rush’s Hidden series!
His Dragon, her magick, a dark mystery, and hot sparks!
One year ago, Ellie made the mistake of a lifetime: she fell in love with a man who is a bitter enemy of her people. A Red Dragon shifter, the handsome Kirin was at once forbidden—and irresistible. Now Ellie’s mother has disappeared and everyone believes that Kirin is responsible, including Ellie. His dangerous secret endangers her mother and makes Ellie lose faith in love forever…
Summoned home when his own father goes missing, Kirin must track down the very man who cost him his chance at happiness. When he discovers that Ellie’s father has vanished as well, Kirin knows that he and Ellie must combine his Dragon power with her magick to find the ones they loved and lost.
But as they feel their old desires flare up again, can their burning passion overcome their past—or the danger that the future holds?
Don’t miss DRAGON RISING, the spin-off novella that features Kirin’s twin sister, a fallen angel, and the completion of the overall story arc!
Read an Excerpt
The closer Kirin got to home, the more his Dragon unfurled, yawning and stretching, eager to run. The “tattoo” that represented the beast’s essence shifted across Kirin’s skin, growing hot with need. Dragons were the only class of Crescent whose magick was an independent entity intertwined with their soul.
Calm down there, buddy.
Dragon Crescents usually spoke telepathically to their Dragon, though the beasts could also hear spoken words. Dragons could only communicate telepathically, and fortunately they didn’t talk much.
Kirin passed a sign announcing he was approaching Miami. Two and a half million people working, sunbathing, and partying, oblivious to the thousands of magick-struck humans among them. While Mundanes couldn’t see Elementals or most demons, they could see Deuce magick, a Dragon, or the sight of the rarer human/angel Caidos in full wing. Thus the need for rules of restraint.
Kirin huffed. Restraint. Yeah, most Crescents did show restraint when using magick in public but not with using it against each other in private. The dissent between the classes of Crescents had started back on the legendary island that lured ships to its shores and trapped the passengers there. Spaniards, Europeans, Africans, pirates, and natives were all crammed onto one large island governed by a pantheon of tribal gods—Deuce sorcerers and Dragons—along with angels to balance their power.
Fluctuations caused by an enormous solar storm allowed them to take physical human form. They’d ended up getting it on with the humans and making half-god, half-human babies dubbed Crescents.
The setting sun made Kirin squint as he neared the aerospace factory where he’d worked during one high school summer. Where he’d met Ellie Becker, who handled secretarial tasks under the watchful eye of the owner, who happened to be her father. The last thing he’d wanted was his beautiful Deuce daughter falling for a Dragon.
Bushes obliterated the BECKER AEROSPACE sign. Off to the left, in a clearing within acres thick with pine trees, the big metal warehouse looked forlorn.
His Dragon strained toward it. Need to run.
Soon after moving to Atlanta for the engineering contract, his Dragon had broken loose—once in an alley, twice in his apartment. Embarrassing as hell when the woman he’d brought home thought he was suffering a case of gastrointestinal upset, locked in his bathroom. Especially when, after hearing grunts and one roar, he’d come out twenty minutes later wearing a towel, his shredded clothes stuffed in the cabinet.
Kirin felt the magick now, throbbing through him.
Go where we played last time. Too long ago. Plaaaaaay.
Either that or it was going to take over him right there in the car. With talons extending from four fingers and one thumb, he could tear into both scales and flesh. He could—and had—closed those talons around another Dragon’s throat. But he couldn’t steer, downshift, or think about the road rules when the Dragon ruled. All he needed was to crash the pretty red Porsche and have some Mundane stop to help, only to find a red-and-white Dragon busting out the windows.
“We’re stopping already, pushy beast.”
A sense of satisfaction rushed through him.
Kirin drove past the NO TRESPASSING signs. A faded realtor’s sign flattened a space in the overgrown grasses by the road. He’d heard that Huff Becker had sold the business but not the building. Waist-high weeds filled the grassy areas and pushed up through the cracks in the asphalt parking lot.
The Porsche rolled to a stop. Memories of Ellie rushed at him: stolen kisses behind the oak tree, lunch at the picnic tables, and a few hot and heavy sessions around the back of the building. He’d been sixteen and flat-out in love.
He got out and ran to the back entrance. Ran because the Dragon wasn’t going to wait much longer. His Dragon clawed at him. Let me out.
Kirin wrenched the back door open. Dust and stale air assaulted him as he stepped inside. The huge, empty space was the perfect spot for a Dragon to let loose.
Light poured in through the high windows, illuminating squares on the concrete floor. He looked up at the offices, built in the upper space with mirrored windows so the administrative staff could watch the floor. He should make sure no one lingered up there, but there wasn’t time.
He stripped out of his clothes, a cloud of dust rising when they dropped to the floor. His skin stretched and thickened to accommodate a long, large body. Fangs pushed through his gums as his mouth morphed into a snout. Blood coursed hot through his veins. He let the Dragon take over and raced into the shadows.
* * * * *
Elle Becker hated being here in the abandoned factory, but this was her only real lead to her father’s whereabouts. His Range Rover was parked in the garage around the back, but he wasn’t anywhere in sight. This was too much like the days after her mother had gone missing. Daddy, where are you?
A sound sent her heart leaping. If that was her father, she wanted to see what he was up to before revealing her presence. Elle ran up the metal stairs that led to the administration area. She walked to the two-way glass as the back door wrenched open. A man stepped inside and pulled it closed. In that flash of sunlight, he looked like…
No. It couldn’t be Kirin.
The man walked through a patch of shadow and stepped into a square of sunlight. Her body tightened all the way down to her toes. She knew that man, his confident gait, the strong set of his shoulders, and…what was he doing? Stripping, that’s what. Kirin tore off his shirt and shucked out of his pants as though they were on fire. The sunlight cast the contours of a magnificent physique in shadow and limned his dark blond hair in a golden aura.
He threw his head back and morphed, stretching, growing as he became Dragon. Also magnificent—the beast was larger than a horse, with blood-red and white shimmering scales.
The moment the metamorphosis was complete, he took off with the muscular grace of a mountain lion. More feline than lizard-like despite the scales, he leaped from one assembly table to another with his tail whipping behind him. She watched him race into and out of shafts of late afternoon light, rolling and bounding to his feet again.
Ah, that’s why her chest hurt. Even after several breaths, her heart still felt constricted. She didn’t even realize she’d pressed her hand against the glass, her breath fogging a circle. He wouldn’t see her up here, but his Dragon senses would eventually pick up her presence. She should go before that happened.
Wait a damned minute. Why should she sneak out? He was the trespasser. She would march down there and demand he leave.
When she could get her feet to move, that was.
Praise & Reviews
“What a fantabulously brilliant and unique world Jaime Rush has created in The Hidden. I am a HUGE fan of her Offspring series and have been chomping at the bit for DRAGON MINE, the prequel novella for her new series. So much awesome packed into this novella; great plot, intriguing characters, suspense, mystery, and a seriously smexy dragon.” —Mel Thomas, SmashAttack Read, 4.5 Stars
“This was a great introduction to this new series. It left all sorts of threads dangling.. telling us just enough to intrigue us and draw us into her web Ms Rush tells a tantalizing tease!! Read it and enjoy…” —Shauni, Tea and Book