Page 10 of Hadley

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“As am I.” She looked at the entry in the book, making out the dragon language as she made her way through the writing. “It says here when you touch her name for her ancestors that she was born of a fae and a dragon. And her lineage also is dragon and fae all the way back to the first Colby. I don’t know how that worked out. I mean, I’d not created dragons before meeting with the first Colby.”

“You’ve said that she was there, showing you around, and you noticed things about her that you didn’t before. Could any of those things have influenced you in any way in making your dragons?” Shaking her head at first, she nodded. “Clear as mud, Imp. What did you do?”

“Tears. For one. Then there was the…she was changed with the creations. And in doing so, she passed on those traits, whatever they were down through the generations until Colby met Hadley.” She handed the book back to Cooper. “She might not have understood what was going on, but she would have had to of felt the changes. And as the daughters were born, they would get a little more. From the earth, I’m sure, but all the elements until this Colby was ready and strong enough to be mated to a pure dragon. To birth pure dragons too. The first of many, I’m thinking.”

“There are only a few pure dragons born anymore. Even with my family, the way you created us wasn’t pure. I mean, to think that Hadley’s parents were of the same breed is astonishing to me. As I’m sure, it is to you.” She said that she’d not thought about any of them being pure of anything when she created them. “Yes, you wanted beauty, and I believe you accomplished that.”

“Thank you.” She got up to pace a little. “I don’t understand how it is that the first Colby was considered a dragon. Or even if she was before I met her. What am I supposed to do about this?”

“Why would you feel you need to do anything, Imp? They’re happy, aren’t they?” She said that she thought they were incredibly happy. “Then there is no reason for you to stress about what you’ve done, if anything. The very fact that they’re diamond dragons and whatever that might mean is nothing compared to the things that could have happened between the two of them. And I have great faith in the fact that the two of them will make sure that what is needed will be done because of what the two of them give to it. And nothing at all to do with what their backgrounds are.”

She didn’t like it, but she supposed he was correct. They were incredibly happy. They were matched perfectly, and she knew enough about Hadley to know that he’d make sure that things were taken care of in a timely and well-thought-out way. Sitting down again, she asked Cooper what sort of plans he had going on now.

“Going home. I love this area, I do, but I miss the comfort of my own things around me. I’m too old to like change.” She said she was older than him and enjoyed changes. “I miss my bed, my yard and my friends. Also, I like being in charge. When you’re around, I feel as if you’re the one in charge. I don’t like it.”

They both laughed. It had been an ongoing joke between the two of them since she married his nephew George. The fact that they got along so well seemed to surprise the king of dragons. However, Imp did enjoy pissing him off on occasion just to put him in his place again. Yes, she loved the big doofus but wouldn’t readily admit that to anyone.

Going home after talking to Cooper about some of the things that were going on around the town, Imp was glad to see that things were progressing on a couple of more things that she was working on. One of them was the large herd of cattle that would soon be delivered to her brother’s ranch to help feed the dragons once they were ready to be hatched. Hundreds of eggs, left without parents when humans started to kill them off, had been distributed to other dragons to raise as their own. Imp thought it one of the most wonderful and scary plans they’d ever undertaken as a family. And she couldn’t wait to see them flying the skies once again.


The ride to the top of the mountain was more than she could ever have imagined. Not only was she able to see so many things that she’d not been able to before, but she had a better perspective on the amount of land that her family owned. Even the fields, which were laying fallow right now, were beautiful in their simply waiting for spring again to be filled with the seeds that they’d saved over the decades.

Standing at the mountain’s steep edge, she thought about what it would have been like when her family first moved to this new area. When Hadley, as his human self, wrapped his arms around her from behind, instinct had her leaning into his strength as she told him what she’d been thinking about.

“I would imagine that it was mostly wooded and scrub all around. It would have taken a great deal of either magic or strength—perhaps even both to have made it look as it does today.” She asked him if he thought that there had been a great deal of magic. “Oh yes. As we have no idea who or what created your ancestors, we can only assume, like Imp, she was born with it. Then when Dawn and Imp made her a mate, he too would have had magic as well. Their combined magic would have made them powerful, I believe.”

“I guess I never thought of that.” Hadley told her that she was strong, too, that she had a great deal of magic. Which had her turning in his arms to look up at him. “I didn’t realize that we all did in some form or another until I met you. I mean, you really start to look at things differently when you finally notice that glasses at the table refill themselves. That refrigerators are never empty. Even with all the little creatures around, it never occurred to me to—not to notice but to pay attention to how things were being done. The farm, all the things that are grown on it is because we’ve had the help of magic all along.”

“Yes, but you never squandered your magic.” She asked him what he meant. “You shared your bounty with the townspeople. I’m sure that if you were to ask around, some of your relatives had even healed people when it was needed. I was talking to Mr. Gimbel, the man who runs the hardware store. He swears that once when he was working in his store that he had a heart attack. Even telling me that he’d been on the floor with no hope of surviving. Then he found himself talking to your mom at the counter. When he asked her about it, she told him that he must have imagined it that she’d been with him the entire time. I think she saved his life.”

“Could be. My mom could heal people. But I’d never seen her do it around the town. You know, a cut here or an injury out in the fields. I hadn’t witnessed her using magic, not per se, but I did see her wrapping up wounds with the cotton wrap she had on her at all times.” She smiled at him. “Likely, she was aware of her magic enough to hide it from the people she was helping. I can see her doing that too.”

“I can as well. I really like your mom, and your GGMa is a hoot. I’d give her immortality just to be able to keep seeing her riding around in that cart with the goats on it with her more. They seem to understand, too, that they have to hunker down with her or risk falling off the thing. Your mom is as bad as she is, too, at times.” She told him a story of her being taken to school in the thing. “I can see them doing that. Picking up kids on the way in just so that they’d not be late for school too. She must have been a hellion during school meetings.”

“I’ll have you know that I was and still am an excellent student. Your mom told me that you were so brilliant that teachers wouldn’t want you in their class. Poor baby. You had to be homeschooled until you got to the age where you could go off to college.” Hadley told her that he’d been to several universities and had a great education. “Good, we’ll use it all when we start running this place as a not-for-profit.”

“You’ve been talking to Dover. He said he was going to suggest that it be a nonprofit but that you don’t take any government handouts for it.” She told him that she thought that they could live off of the things around the place rather than have to take handouts from anyone. “You could at that. Even living off of the money that we now have as a couple, we’d never have to worry about funding. You’d have to charge people to come in, or things will start to get out of hand. Like they’ll think that since it’s free for them to come and go when they want that they can do whatever they want. We’ve had that happen before. There were squatters on the land that thought that since we weren’t using the land at that time and that it was free, they should be able to use it for themselves. It got to the point where we had to close up some things simply because we didn’t look ahead that far.”

“Dover suggested putting up barriers too, especially to the homes.” He nodded, then leaned down and kissed her gently on the mouth. “You keep that up, my dear husband, and we’ll be late in going out to dinner with your family. I guess they’ve been planning this for a few days.”

“Yes, for some reason, they want to welcome you to the family. I thought for sure they’ve been doing that all along.” She smacked him on the chest, and he smiled at her. “You’re the most beautiful creature I’ve ever encountered, love. Even with all this before me, the lands, trees and magic beyond, you stand out as a beautiful gem to me and my heart.”

“My goodness. A romantic too. Whatever will my heart think of if you’re like this all the time.” He kissed her again, taking his time with a wonderfully claiming kiss. When he lifted his head, she looked into his eyes. They were as crystal clear as his dragon had been when he’d brought her up here. “Whatever did I do before you came along and became my world, Hadley? Now it’s my first thought in the morning to find you. My last thought before I go to sleep, that I wish you the best. And during the day, I find myself looking for you, seeking you out for something so mundane as a touch to my skin. A small kiss to my mouth.”

“I feel the same way.” They were both panting when they broke the kiss off this time. They really were under a time constraint, and she hated it. Soon, she told herself, soothing her heart with the fact that his family was taking up too much of their time and that they’d be gone soon, and it would only be the two of them. Forever. Or at least until the kids came around, and they would have them too.

As soon as he went back to his dragon, she climbed up on his back. She realized something while buckling herself in that she didn’t know how she’d gotten up there this time. Sure that she didn’t want to think of what she had seen out of the corner of her eye were wings. On her own body, she finished her task of being secure and enjoyed her trip to the field again, where her family was waiting for her. Her mom looked just as upset as GGMa did.

“There’s been some trouble brewing in town. Well, it’s actually boiled over into a mess. Levi senior has been arrested. Donny is all right, but he was hurt when his father found out that he was living up here with us.” She asked about Levi, the son. “The police are looking for him now. He’s been stealing from the merchants in town for a while now, as you know. When his father was called out, not having any of the muscle that he claimed that he had, Levi thought that he could continue doing what he’d been doing before. Miss Crawly caught him loading up his pants with things from the pharmacy that he was going to sell around town. I don’t know what he’d been thinking. Nobody in their right mind would buy a plugged nickel from the moron. And all he managed to get out of the store with was some of those reading glasses that they sell on the strips and some baby formula. As far as I know, nobody in town is breeding right now. Like I said, moron.”

“I can find him. I’m sure that you can as well, Colby.” Hadley explained to her how they both had a good connection to the earth and only had to ask it where the idiot was. GGMa said she was going to start calling Levi junior Dipshit from now on. “He’s in his father’s yard trying to figure out how to get into the house. The police have cordoned it off and chained the doors. I don’t think he’s going to be getting in there anytime too soon.”

Hadley left to get the man while she comforted her mom. She was upset that Donny had been hurt when she’d promised him that he’d be safe. It was an hour later when not only Hadley showed up with a dirty shirt and torn jeans, but his brother Finn looked just as bad. However, they were both laughing, so she didn’t think it had gone well for Dipshit.

Chapter 4

Hadley couldn’t help but laugh every time he looked at Dipshit. He thought the name was perfect for him and was sort of sad that he’d not thought of it himself. When his dad cleared his throat, he looked up at the judge who was hearing the case against Dipshit and his father. Donny was having a meltdown on the stand, so he simply stood up and went to the younger man.