Hatched(Dragons of Preor Book 6)

By: Celia Kyle

Taulan joi Lana Coburn, War Master of the Preor third fleet, is finally having his wishes granted. He has a mate and will soon have two dragonlets to protect and love. But only if he can live to see them born. Or, as his Lana says, hatched.





1





People who tell pregnant women to walk during labor because it will make things “easier” had never pushed a watermelon out of a hole the size of a lemon. Lana was fully prepared to take a watermelon and shove it up the next person’s hole if they even talked to her—though she did stop short of imagining what she’d do if they gave her additional advice. That was one bloody fantasy she wouldn’t mind indulging.

Unfortunately, it’d have to wait a little while. Specifically, until she gave birth and recovered. Then she was all over being War Mistress and mate to the Preor War Master, Taulan.

All over it.

She’d bloody him up, too, while she was at it. He was the one who’d gotten her pregnant, and not with one alien baby, but with twins.

Twins. Two. More than one. She still hadn’t quite wrapped her head around that concept. Twins didn’t run in her family and the Knowing—the blood history of the Preor that she gained when she met Taulan—couldn’t provide her with probabilities since human-Preor matings were still a bit of a mystery.

She breathed deep and reached for a nearby piece of furniture, one of the chairs she’d had brought to the ship from Earth. Since her mate didn’t have large dragon wings like other Preor, they hadn’t needed the backless seating that populated others’ quarters.

Wings… tears stung her eyes when she thought of all her mate had lost. Even more blurred her vision when she realized she was crying—again. She cried because she was crying. And then she cried harder because hormones made her cry.

But how could she not shed tear after tear when she knew…

When she knew that Taulan’s great purple wings were gone because of the hatred and disdain of others. The males who’d attacked the ship—initiating a battle that’d cost Taulan his wings—were dead and gone, but how many others remained? Lana ran her hand over the large, hard mound of her stomach, gritting her teeth when yet another tightening rolled through her mid-section.

She breathed through the resulting pain, digging deep for the rhythm that was supposed to make labor more tolerable. She called bullshit on that.

The cramp gradually eased, releasing the strangle-hold on her pregnant belly and allowing her to draw in a slow, complete breath once more.

She fought to calm the rapid beat of her heart and sought inner-peace—one that lingered just out of reach. But she had to find her center and relax before she tried to walk again. Because, damn, she had a long walk.

Long.

Like, from the War Master and Mistress’ suite and all the way to medical. She should have given in when Taulan demanded medical be relocated and moved to one of the nearby quarters. She hadn’t wanted anyone to be displaced and blah, blah, blah… Fuck being considerate. She really hated all those blahs. Like, a lot.

Lana leaned into the seat—neck propped on the back of the chair, hips resting right on the edge of the seat cushion—while she caressed her stomach. The clock projected on a nearby wall by the ship allowed her to time the things that weren’t contractions. She wasn’t ready to be in labor so… she wasn’t.

She was simply relaxing, smiling when her attention landed on Taulan’s couch and she recalled how much fun they’d had there. And also the wall to the left of the entry. And the kitchen table, which he thought was unneeded until he draped her across the surface and discovered the joys of synchoc syrup.

It wasn’t just sex that crept into her thoughts. There were the quiet times too. When they’d had a rough day and simply had to be close to each other. When she’d simply needed to be held while he needed to hold her.

Every event, every emotion, suffused their quarters, and a soft smile teased her lips. Happiness. Happiness lived and breathed in every nook and cranny of their space. Sure, they’d had troubled times, but now… now life was good.

Until another contraction hit. The roll of pain gradually crept forward, sliding around her waist and slinking those pain-tinged fingers across her stomach. The mound hardened, muscles squeezing tight, and she breathed through that one as well. Breathing, breathing, and more breathing. She rubbed the firm roundness, wishing the pain away just as much as she welcomed its presence.

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