Author Charlie Richards
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Warming Up to the Ice Dragon
A Mile High City Collection Short Story
A simple ski trip sends one man careening into the unknown.
Stefan Renaldo's ski trip to Steamboat Springs was supposed to be a fun vacation with friends. Instead, he ends up alone and injured on the mountain. Even as Stefan fears he's going to die of exposure, he sees something that must surely be the product of his pain-addled mind. A dragon. He wakes in a warm bed and being cared for by Kazeem, a sexy recluse. Needing surgery on his leg, he can't stay. In the hospital, Stefan hears from his friends how crazy possessive and aggressive his rescuer is. While fleeing seems like a good idea, why can't he get the mountain man out of his mind?
Excerpt - Warming Up to the Ice Dragon
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His grin of excitement turned into a wash of fear as the ground disappeared up ahead. He threw out his arms, trying to catch a tree and stop himself, but he failed. The snow sloped sharply, and seconds later, Stefan tumbled down the rocky, snowy cliff-face.
When Stefan’s ski caught between rocks, it twisted his leg at an odd angle. The weight of his body caused him to continue falling, yanking his foot. He heard the crack at the same time fire spiked through his limb, unlike anything he’d felt in a long damn time.
Even the pain that shot through his shoulder when it slammed into a rock at the bottom of whatever cliff Stefan had fallen down didn’t compare to the agony coursing through his leg. Lying in the snow, Stefan focused on breathing. Black spots hovered at the edges of his vision, and he knew it wouldn’t take much to pass out.
Stefan also knew that would be a very, very bad thing.
I pass out, I die.
I’m not ready to die.
Stefan took in another deep breath, then slowly let it out. He peered around, moving his neck in small increments. When that didn’t hurt, he eased to a sitting position.
He immediately regretted it. Bile rose up in his throat as the shift of his hips jostled his leg. He spotted the bloom of red expanding on the outside of his lower right leg.
“Oh my god,” Stefan whimpered, his heart feeling as if it skipped a beat in his chest.
Closing his eyes, Stefan breathed slow and deep. He focused on calming his racing pulse and easing his spinning head. When he managed to get the roar of the blood pounding through his head under control, he heard something else instead.
The crunch of snow beneath feet.
Fear and hope spiked through him in equal measure. Fear because he knew blood drew wild animals. Hope that people were already looking for him, and he’d been found.
Stefan opened his eyes and slowly looked in the direction of the noise. His jaw sagged open, and he blinked once, twice, not believing what he saw. The creature was about the size of a Shire horse but covered in the palest blue scales he’d ever seen. It had a long tapered head with sharp teeth set on a sinewy neck. Thick legs supported a scaled body with white wings.
“No fucking way am I seeing a dragon.”
That was the last thought Stefan had before his brain shut down, and he couldn’t stop himself from passing out.