Dragon Bodyguard by Jean Stokes

Chapter 1- Cordelia



Running from a possibly psychotic ex is never fun. But when your ex has connections in every town you run to, it becomes very difficult to hide.

There has to be a tracker on my car. How else is he able to find me? I park my car on the side of the road in small-town Adam’s Claw and stare at the fading welcome sign. It looks like this town has been around for a while but it must not welcome a lot of new residents. I am reluctant to transform into my dragon form when I don’t know how I will be greeted, but I plan to give the town a little distance until I figure out if my kind is welcome.

I rummage through the car and grab my bag. Nothing else is really worth taking with me right now. Then, I step away from the car and begin my transformation. It’s the same feeling as when you crack your back after having sat still for a long time. I want to groan with the feeling of release.

Finally, I’m in dragon form, and I take flight, surveying the town from above. Adam’s Claw has some nice properties, but I notice a strange set of trailers parked to the west side of the town, far enough away from the rest that it’s almost it’s own little village. Looks like someone isn’t welcome.

I pass over some nice properties with lush, green lawns, like perfectly green squares in a patchwork quilt. Then, I’m flying over fences with tiny animals inside. There is some sort of ranch on the edge of town.

After the ranch, the town ends at the edge of the forest. I land on the edge of the ranch’s property, judging by the fences, and take a few deep breaths. It’s been a while since I’ve flown like that. The town seems nice, but there’s no sign of a dragon. Dragons are the only ones who can protect me if my ex decides to come after me. I sigh. Looks like I won’t be staying.

Just as I’m about to turn around, I see a dragon rising up between two houses, executing a perfect turn, and flying further away from me. I immediately rise into the air and follow him. He notices me and turns, circling me. I know he is taking in my distinctive purple spot and realizes I’m not from around here.

He nods toward an open lawn. I’m not sure whose it is, but he dives toward it. I follow him and land. I’m so excited to find one of my own kind here that I can’t wait to see if there’re more. What if everyone in town is a shifter? I know that’s too much to hope, but I want it anyway.

When we transform into humans, we can finally talk.

“Are there more shifters here?” I ask excitedly.

“Sure, lots of us,” the man responds. “Who are you and how did you find us?”

I’m not ready to cough up all the details of my failed love life, so I go with a slightly different approach. “I’ve been living in a place where I’m the only shifter, and I was looking for other dragons. I’m Cordelia, by the way.”

“Luke,” the man responds, shaking my hand.

“So,” I say. “Where are the others?”

“We live all over the town,” Luke says. “I can introduce you to a few if you want. Most people are friendly to us, but there are always a few who think humans and dragons shouldn’t mingle.”

“Always someone,” I agree. I look over my shoulder, a compulsory act at this point. I’ve been looking over my shoulder for three days, and I can’t seem to stop. I feel embarrassed to explain my situation to Luke, but if I don’t say something, then I won’t feel safe staying here.

“Is this town run by humans or dragons?” I ask.

“Dragons,” Luke confirms. “Why?”

“I’m leaving a bad situation,” I finally admit. “I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself, but I wouldn’t mind knowing that another dragon has my back. Do you think it would be possible . . .?”

Luke reads between the lines “Yeah, I’ve got the perfect dragon for you. He’s strong and will take it seriously. I’ll go speak to him, but I’d like to do it on my own. Why don’t you get something to eat? I’ll find you.”

I agree to Luke’s plan, and he takes off immediately. After a moment of going over the warm welcome, I start walking toward the part of town that seems to be more commercialized and find a diner. The smell of bacon draws me in.

The friendly waitress greets me and immediately starts up a conversation. I get the feeling that not a lot of new residents move into Adam’s Claw, but she proves to be a great source of information as I tentatively ask about dragons.

“Oh, there are so many dragons here! I’m not one, you see, but I’ve never had a single problem with them. Are you a dragon?”

I nod, and the waitress seems content to carry the conversation on with herself. “Oh, that’s wonderful. What town do you come from? We don’t get a lot of new dragons here.”

“I’m from a town in Louisiana. It’s not too far from here.” I don’t want to give away my exact hometown, especially after everything that happened with my ex. The last thing I need is him asking questions and the waitress giving away all of my personal information.

“I’d like to order,” I tell her, and she leaves the table and me to my own thoughts. The town seems nice, but as I look over my shoulder toward the diner’s door, I realize that I won’t feel comfortable living anywhere until I know for sure that my ex won’t hunt me down. Hopefully, this bodyguard idea will work.