Every Miraculous MomentBy: R. E. Butler
Hyena Heat Book Six
Dragon shifter Miracle Caprice has finally set herself free from her twenty-year arranged mating to an alcoholic, philandering male. As one of the few female dragons in her clan, she finally has an opportunity to make her own mating choices. With her elderly parents’ blessing and the encouragement of her best friend, she heads to a shifters-only island in Florida to participate in the supernatural version of a singles’ party. Armed with a new tattoo symbolizing her freedom, a few sexy bikinis, and the weight of her unhappy mating off her shoulders, she’s ready for anything.
Mack Callahan, alpha of the Beyton wolf pack, has spent the last twenty-three years alone, since his mate was killed during a full moon hunt. Now that his adopted children are mated and starting their own families, he’s finally ready to focus on himself. After accepting an invitation to a shifter island with the purpose of finding his future mate, he says goodbye to his kids and steps down from his position as alpha for thirty days. He’s not sure that spending a month on an island with a bunch of unmated shifters is going to pan out, but he’s looking forward to the time away.
When Miracle and Mack meet, sparks will fly, but they won’t be the only ones who notice. Miracle’s ex isn’t about to let his mate fly off into the sunset with a wolf shifter; he wants to make her pay. Can Mack protect Miracle, or will their life together be over before it’s begun?
Miracle Caprice dipped the end of the metal blowpipe into the melted glass in the furnace, picking up a glob and drawing it out of the heat. Her best friend Tonya, a dragon shifter like herself, was sitting on a large pillow on the floor, drawing in her sketch pad.
Miracle rolled the blob of melted glass across a metal table until it formed a cylinder, blowing air into it until a bubble formed inside the glass. She reheated the glass and moved to the tooling area to begin to shape it into the form she wanted.
“What are you making this time?” Tonya asked, her charcoal pencil making scratching noises as it moved.
“A coffee mug. My dad broke his the other day and he’s mad at himself.”
Tonya’s brow arched. “The one you made for him?”
Nodding, Miracle worked the opening of the mug until she was satisfied, and then moved over to the oven to let the glass set. After tapping the mug off the end of the pole, she closed the lid on the oven and rolled her neck. “The tremors in his hands are getting worse. He was holding the mug and just lost his grip. I really don’t want to make another one for him because I’m afraid he’s going to be upset if he breaks it again, but he loves my glasswork so much I can’t say no.”
Her parents were both ninety and lived next door to her in their clan’s gated community. Their clan was small, with only twenty members. She and Tonya were two of the few females. Tonya’s mate had been killed during a territory battle seven years ago, before the clan had moved to the quiet Pennsylvania mountain town of Delfi. The clan had built their gated community on the outskirts of the mostly-human town. Miracle made a living there with her glasswork. Everyone wanted to buy glass items made by a fire-breathing dragon. Well, everyone except the dragons, because her abilities were nothing special when everyone could breathe fire.
Except Tonya, who was a rare ice dragon. Her breath was downright frosty at times.
“What are you snickering at?” Tonya asked, looking up once more from the sketch pad.
“I was just thinking how cool you are.”
Miracle made a circular foot for the bottom of the mug. After marrying the two together, she worked on the handle.
“Oh ha ha. Is this where I tell you how hot I think you are?”
“Of course not. If Tais has ever said a remotely truthful word, I’m not hot, fire abilities or not.”
Tonya tapped her pencil on the top of her sketchbook and made a face. “I told you not to mention his name. You’re free.”
“Not yet,” she said, sighing as she put the finished mug back in the heated chest.
She was bitter – she could admit that, even though it made her feel weak. She’d spent the last twenty years in an arranged mating with a male who’d only wanted a cook and a maid. Half the time he didn’t even come home, and when he did, he would stink of human females and booze. Miracle had been given no choice in the matter, however. According to dragon law, all females were required to be mated at age eighteen, but Miracle had never done anything right.
First, her parents had struggled to even have her. She hadn’t been born until they were in their fifties, and her mother nearly died during the birth. Then Miracle hadn’t shifted until she was almost eighteen, when most dragons shifted at age twelve. Her scales weren’t right – they were a deep forest green splotched with brown and black, perfect for camo in the woods, but not perfect for a group of shifters who prided themselves on having perfect, single-color scales. And her eyes, one amber and one green, had forever taunted her as she’d looked in the mirror.