Singed Bonus Scene
Thank you so much for reading Singed! Here’s an alternate scene for you, with Lyssa and the Dragon Oracle at the cave bar!
“Well? What do you think?” asked Lia, after we’d finished our dinner. “Do you want to go back to the breeding cave, or do you want to come out with me tonight?”
“With you? To the shifter bar?”
“Nah. I’m off tonight. And besides, you don’t want to go there. The guys there are gross. Dried-up old douchebags.”
She made a face, and I couldn’t help but laugh.
“I’ve got a different place in mind,” she continued. “You’ll love it. I promise.” She arched an eyebrow. “What do you say? Wanna go?”
I paused, thinking about all the things I should be doing. Like returning to my mates. Figuring out another offering to the goddess. Doing everything I could possibly think of to help us on this quest.
But right now, going back to the fertility cave was the last thing I wanted to do. I didn’t want to feel the ancient breeding ground’s energy calling me in, urging me to fulfill things that I didn’t know were ever going to happen for me. What if I woke up tomorrow morning with even more disappointment?
I didn’t know if I could handle it.
“Come on. It’ll be fun.” Lia grinned at me. “You can deal with all the other crap tomorrow.”
I shot her a smile back. Why not? Better than returning to the cave to face the guys. And like the Oracle said, I could figure out another offering in the morning. “All right. I’m in.”
“Okay, great! Just one sec.” She disappeared from the room, and when she returned, she had Zeverini draped around her neck.
I eyed the snake warily. “He’s going, too?”
“Nope. But we need him. You’ll see.”
She set Zeverini onto the cave floor. He hissed and swayed, flicking out his tongue. He uncoiled his body, undulating slightly while he raised himself up. Flick flick. His snakey slit eyes locked on mine.
I glanced at the Oracle hesitantly.
She grinned. “Just watch.”
The viper began to grow before my eyes. Not that I hadn’t seen him do this before, but I still felt my jaw drop a few inches as he soon towered above me. He peered down at us, blinking once. Twice.
“Um…” I started, trying to figure out what in the fuck was going on.
Then Zeverini’s mouth opened to reveal his moist glistening fangs. Oh, shit! I cringed as his jaw elongated even farther. I looked at Lia in panic, but she stood calmly, not bothered in the least bit that her snake had turned into a mutant and was pretty much salivating on us.
“Come on,” she said, pulling me toward the huge, gaping mouth.
I gulped, my heart pounding. “What?” I managed to squeak out. “You want me to go in…there?”
Lia laughed and tugged me even harder. “Yeah. It’s fine! Trust me. It’s just a portal to where we need to go.”
“Oh, hell no!” I protested, but the Oracle’s grip was strong—really fucking strong—and I soon found myself dragged under the overhang of Zeverini’s mouth.
“Watch your head!” Lia called out cheerfully.
Oh goddess! I dodged the giant fangs and then quickly clamped my eyes shut, holding on to the Oracle’s hand for dear life. Warm moist air surrounded me while my feet padded on a squishy surface.
I squeezed my eyes even tighter as Lia led me farther into the rattlesnake’s maw. Oh, why did I ever agree to this?
The faint sound of rock and roll soon swirled around my ears. It grew louder as the humid snake breath air seemed to dissipate.
I took a few steps forward to find my feet no longer on soft ground. The music blasted around me, now mixed with the sounds of loud laughter and clinking glasses.
“We’re here,” Lia said into my ear. “Oh, and the Cha Chas are playing!”
“The Cha Chas?” I opened my eyes slowly to look around. A dim-lit bar, packed to the brim with dragon shifters. An all-girl rock band up on stage. A huge mass of dancers grooving to the upbeat tunes.
“Yeah, my favorite 80s cover band! All Blackfire dragon chicks. They’re awesome. Us Blackfire girls gotta stick together, right?”
I shot Lia an inquisitive look. Blackfire girls? Lia wasn’t a Blackfire dragon…was she? Now that I thought about it, I’d never actually noticed a tattoo on the Oracle, even though I’d seen her strutting around naked more times than I could count.
“But—” I started, unable to finish my sentence as a tall sexy dude suddenly pulled the Oracle in for a hug.
“Lia!” he boomed in a loud voice, a grin on his rugged face.
“Hey, Zander!” the Oracle answered. She gave him a friendly kiss on the cheek.
Zander tugged her even closer to him. “Guys, look who’s here!”
Almost all the guys and girls sitting at the bar turned around to look. A series of hollers and woots rang out, with more hugs for the Oracle. Hot damn, she was popular.
Lia pulled me along with her while people made room for us at the counter. “No one knows I’m the Dragon Oracle,” she whispered in my ear. “I’m just Lia the bartender. That’s all.”
I nodded and sat on one of the bar stools. It was sort of cold and hard under my butt, and upon further inspection, I realized it was made of rock. My gaze flicked around the space to discover that, as a matter of fact, everything was chiseled out of stone—the counter, the stage, even the liquor shelving. I perched higher on my seat as a thrill of excitement shot through me—oooh, a cave bar! I’d never been in one of these before.
“This is my friend, Lyssa,” Lia said, and after a million introductions that sent my head reeling, a dark ale was pushed in front of me.
“Cheers!” everyone yelled, clinking their glasses, sending sloshes of ale splattering all around.
All sets of eyes focused expectantly on me. “Oh! I don’t think—,” I began, staring down at my beer. I hadn’t had any alcohol in a while, because I’d been trying to conceive. But…I wasn’t pregnant. And no matter how hard I tried, it didn’t seem to be working out for me. So what was the point anymore? I had to face the truth—it just wasn’t going to happen.
I grabbed my mug and flashed a big grin at everyone. “Cheers!” Another raucous roar and more clinking of glasses ensued. Soon the rich, nutty flavor of the ale zinged through my mouth and I sat back to take in the wild dragon energy that permeated the space.
Rowdy dragon chatter surrounded me. The Cha Chas continued to rock out on the stage. I downed my beer, and another was immediately placed in front of me. I shouldn’t…oh, but then I did. Soon the entire cavern seemed to spin a bit pleasantly before my eyes.
“Hey, are you okay?” asked Lia, turning from her conversation with Zander to peer at me with concern. “How many drinks have you had?”
“Not many,” I admitted. And I hadn’t, but I was a lightweight. A few beers for me meant tipsy land.
“Well, let’s get you some water and—”
Lia’s sentence was cut short by a loud roar. A series of shrieks and yells filled the cavern, and the music suddenly stopped.
I whipped around on my seat to find a huge red dragon in beast form, smack dab in the middle of the dance crowd.
“Oh fuck!” exclaimed Lia. “It’s Derrick. He’s shifted again!”
“Dammit,” swore Zander. “This happened last week, too. He gets drunk and then shifts, even though that’s against the rules at this bar.”
Which made complete sense. Derrick’s huge form took up half the space of the dance floor. If dragons were allowed to shift here, there would only be room for a few of them—not a super fun party, in my opinion.
The red dragon lumbered across the floor. His tail lashed out behind him, sweeping a few people off their feet, and sent them crashing into the side of the cave wall.
“It’s okay man, just go back to human form!”
Shouts rang out to the dragon, but he didn’t appear to hear. Or care.
“Shit!” I said. “Is he pissed off about something?”
“No,” Lia answered. “Actually, he’s having a kick-ass time. He has no idea what he’s doing. Just look at him!”
Derrick indeed seemed too inebriated to have any clue of his whereabouts or actions. He halted his drunken lumbering to sway his body as if he were dancing to music only he could hear. Another set of female shrieks rang out while his tail lashed happily back and forth.
Then he hiccupped. Once. Twice. And on the third time, a lick of fire streamed out of his mouth to ignite a wooden side table.
Of course, he just had to pick one of the only non-stone items in the entire establishment to set on fire.
“Fuck!” exclaimed Zander, easily hurtling himself over the bar counter to grab a fire extinguisher. He tossed another one to Lia. After hopping back over, he rushed toward the blaze, the Oracle on his heels.
I followed them through the mass of panicked dragon shifters and carefully approached Derrick. He danced with his head thrown back and his eyes closed. I did my best to stay out of the way of his tail, and called up to him. “Derrick! You have to shift back!”
No response. More swaying and dancing.
Then Lia stepped in and aimed the fire extinguisher directly at the red dragon’s face. The stream hit him full force in the snout and his eyes popped wide open in surprise. He coughed and snorted, and gave a giant roar.
Lia blasted him again. “Shift, you big stupid oaf!”
Derrick stumbled backward, and tripped drunkenly over his own feet. He went crashing to the ground. Everyone inched closer to get a better look.
The red dragon lay with his eyes tightly shut, next to the still smoking, but thankfully doused table. A loud snore erupted from his big, toothy mouth.
Passed out cold.
“Well, when he wakes up, he has to buy everyone in the bar a drink,” said Zander.
Everyone cheered. The Cha Chas struck up another song. Soon the entire floor was filled with dancing dragons—being careful not to stomp on Derrick, of course—as if not one damn thing had happened.
“Wanna come dance with me?” asked Lia, grinning, moving her hips to the beat.
I glanced at the lead singer on stage. Her purple hair stuck out like a mane around her face as she bopped across the stage and belted out Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want to Have Fun.
My gaze flicked back to my friend and I returned the smile. Yeah. I did want to dance. So, I began to move my body, right there in the midst of all the other dragons—so happy and free, shaking their asses without a care in the world.
I didn’t have a clue as to how I was going to save the future of the dragons, or even if I could. To be honest, I’d probably fucked everything up already.
But, for tonight, I was going to have some fun.