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HERE IT IS! The FIRST Chapter of ASSASSIN: A Dragon Guard Paladin Story - JUST FOR YOU!!!



“You wouldn’t be sneakin’ out to check out the nightlife in the small town of Valentine, Tx, now, would you?”

“No, not me,” Creed lied, spinning on his heels, trying to act casually even as he felt like a little boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

“Let me guess, you fell asleep in jeans and boots then found yourself out here sleepwalking. Is that it?” Raising his eyebrows and crossing his arms over his chest, Gunnar, the Viking Healer, stood and stared with a gleam in his eye and a smirk on his face.

“Would you believe me if I said yes?”

“Not if I was blind, deaf, mute and standing on my head.” Leaning against the wall of the garage attached to the cabin Owen MacAllen and his lovely wife, Barbara had given them to stay in, he chuckled, “Since we’re both about two days younger than dirt and have pretty much seen it all, how about you just tell me what’s goin’ on? It’ll save us both a lot of time.”

Following the man, his friend, the one he’d known longer than most into the kitchen, the Leader of the Paladins sighed, “You’ll just laugh if I tell you. Hell, it’s so far outta character, I’m pretty sure I need to go see that little Witch mated to one of Owen’s boys to have my head examined.”

“Hey!” Gunnar griped, making a show of furrowing his eyebrows and acting put out. “Like I wasn’t a Healer before she was even a twinkle in her daddy’s cauldron?” Slapping himself in the chest with his fists. “You think I can’t mess with your mind better than a Celtic conjurer you’ve known for five minutes?”

“I’m not saying she’s better. I’m saying by talking to Brynn, I wouldn’t have to deal with a load of bull crap and three centuries of jokes at my expense.”

“Oh, so you want my professional advice for free?” The Viking chuckled.

“No, I’d really just like to go to bed and forget all this ever happened.”

“Aww, come on. Don’t be that way.” Holding out his hands, palms up, he shrugged and poured on his old world Norse accent, “Try me, Lad. I swear to be fair and keep the commentary to a minimum.”

Shaking his head and running his hand through his long curls, Creed mumbled, “I know, I’m gonna regret this, but here goes.” Looking Gunnar right in the eye, he hurriedly admitted, “I’m going to that new bar J.D., one of Owen’s boys told us about.” Snapping his fingers, he huffed, “What was the name?”


“Yeah, Rodeo,” Creed nodded. “I know it’s stupid, and I’m old enough to know better. But…”

“But we haven’t been off the Isle of Skye in over a decade unless we were saving the world or rescuing some poor soul. You’re here now. Why not live it up? The meetings with Owen and the Sampson Wolves didn’t take near as long as we expected. I get it. You’re not getting any younger…”

“And neither are you.”

“That was rude, you’re at least a week older than I am.” Gunnar rolled his eyes, going right back to what he was saying. “You want to have some fun before it’s back to Scotland and back to work?”

“You got it in one.”

“I usually do.”

“And you’re so humble about it.”

“Hey, look, humility never was my thing. I leave that to you and the others. I paid my dues,” Gunnar laughed, opening the refrigerator, and getting out a bottle of water. “Seriously though, I think you should go. You haven’t had a night on the town in this century.”

“It’s not that bad.”

“Damned near,” Gunnar insisted. “And you can catch up with Bonnie and Maggie Sampson. It’s been years since you guys did any more than say hi and bye at some meeting or another. We used to get into some real trouble with those twin Alphas back in the day.”

Chuckling even as he began to feel older by the minute, Creed sighed, “I forgot it had been that long.” Looking back up, he shook his head, “I’m pretty sure the last time I actually spoke to either one was at their parents’ wake. The Shifter world lost two of their finest on that day.”

“Damn straight,” Gunnar agreed, drinking almost the entire bottle of water in one gulp. Making a shooing motion with his free hand, he added, “So, go on. Tell which ever twin’s working I said hi. Kick your heels up, Old Man. Show the young’uns how it’s done. Who knows, maybe you’ll even get lucky. The Great Goddess knows it’s been years since you got laid.”

“You just had to go there, didn’t you? You almost made it through a whole conversation without bringing up my sex life,” Creed groaned.

“Or the lack thereof,” Gunnar barked with laughter.

“You are not funny. Not funny at all.”

“Sure, I am.” Holding up his thumb and finger as if he might squeeze them together, the Viking squinted his eyes and looked through the opening. “At least a little bit. Maybe not Don Rickles hilarious, but still worth a laugh or two.”

“Not even a snicker.”

“Okay, prove me wrong,” Gunnar suggested, back in the fridge, getting out the ham, cheese, lettuce, mayo, and mustard even though it was almost ten at night. “How long has it been since you had a date?” Holding up his index finger as he set everything on the table, he kept going when Creed tried to answer. “And I don’t mean, talking to the lady who rings up the steaks at the grocery.”

“I don’t do the shopping. Mac has the groceries delivered.”

Going on as if he hadn’t spoken, Gunnar added, “Or the girl who delivers the pizzas or the Thai takeout, I’m talkin’ about a real date. One where you got dressed up, picked her up at her front door, and took her to nice restaurant.”

One hand in the air and the other draped across his stomach, the Viking pretended to ballroom dance. Creed laughed out loud as all six-foot-ten of insane Viking twirled and spun around the kitchen, singing his next words. “Drinks at a classy lounge with a nice band and maybe some dancing, huh? Riddle me that big bad Paladin Leader. How long has it been?”

“Okay, I give. It’s been at least a decade…”

“More like three, but who’s counting?”

“Apparently, you are,” Creed groused. “But I could ask you the same thing.”

“Nope, no, you can’t,” Gunnar finally stopped dancing and shook his head. “’Cause I’m not the one sneaking out in the middle of the night like a randy teenager.”

“I was not…”

“Oh, really, you weren’t?”

“No, actually…”

Pausing, it was hard to hide his shock. For the first time in his very long life, Creed didn’t know how to express what he needed to say. Usually, the right words, the correct sentiment, the perfect tone – it was all just there. It was part of who he was – decisive, fair, quick to action, always putting the fate of Dragonkin, mankind, and all other beings of the Light before all else.

But this time…

“Okay, how about I just tell you what I’m feeling and…”

“You? Creed Mathers? You want to talk about feelings?”

“No,” he flatly answered. “But I think I need to.”

Pulling out a chair and plopping down, Gunnar pushed back his long blond hair. Pushing everything he’d just gotten from the refrigerator to the side, he laid his palms on the table and exhaled slowly.

“What are you doing?” Creed asked, unable to fathom what his Brethren was up to.

“I’m preparing myself from some earth-shattering news.”

“Earth-shattering news?”

“Yeah, it’s got to be,” Gunnar nodded furiously. “You’ve never said, ‘I think’ and damn sure never said, ‘You needed to tell me anything’. So, I’m thinkin’ earth-shattering about sums it up.”

“And that’s why I keep you around,” Creed snickered.

“No,” Gunnar went from nodding to shaking his head. Poking himself in his chest with his thumb, he went on, “I stay because we’re a team and I took an oath. It’s got nothing to do with you, Dude.”

“Okay, we’ll just go with that for now. We both know the truth, you’d be lost without me, but I’ll let you hold onto your delusion for now.”

“Well, thank you so much,” Gunnar groaned sarcastically.

“You’re welcome so very much.”

Leaning back in his chair, Creed crossed his feet at his ankles and his arms over his chest. “I want to find my Mate.”


“And? And? And that’s it?”

Shrugging and starting to make his sandwich, Gunnar nodded, “Yep, that’s it. If you want to find your Mate, then go find her.”

“Because it’s just that easy?”

“Nope, I didn’t say