Onyx Dragons: Malachite
Onyx Dragons: Malachite
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Dragon shifter CEO Malachite “Mal” Onyx doesn’t have time for relationships. But the domineering billionaire has no choice - either marry a human female and produce dragonlets or return to his home planet Draconis and take the claw of Empress Horribus.
Where can he find a willing bride? Preferably one who is lush and curvy, with soft brown hair and sparkling green eyes, and who makes his soul light on fire. Like his shy intern, Cheryl...
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Hilarious and Incredibly Imaginative! Don't miss this book! No other book can hold a candle to this one for its insanely funny take on dragon shifters and the humans they pursue. (Except perhaps for the other books in the series) Starla Night has masterfully created some of the most endearing, funny, often clueless, yet strong and loyal characters I've ever had the pleasure to meet. Even the villains are a hoot. Notwithstanding all the chuckles, you'll still enjoy the romance. Just like me, you'll want to read the rest of this wonderful series. And I can tell you, the second installment, Pyrochlore, will not disappoint! Enjoy!!
- Boss Dragon
- Virgin Heroine
- Alien Abductions
- Curvy Woman
- Shy Heroine
- Heat Level: 3 out of 5
She’s been crushing on her boss for months.
He’s not just smoking hot. He’s a literal dragon.
And she’s a painfully shy intern who’s about to be unemployed.
Today, he handed her an application for marriage.
He wants it signed and on his desk by five.
It turns out he noticed her crush after all.
And the wicked fire in his green eyes promises that if she doesn’t come willingly to his lair, he’s prepared for an abduction…
This is a complete novel with steamy love scenes, fiery tempers, and a happy ending. A dragon male has never dared to turn down the Empress. The entire universe is about to be rocked by a shy, curvy female from a backwater little planet named Earth!
Intro Into Chapter One
Intro Into Chapter One
Mal’s interplanetary empire was crumbling around his claws.
“You will, of course, drop everything and return to Draconis to be married,” his mother declared from the wall screen.
His blood beat in his ears.
Each word stabbed into his all-too-human chest.
His mother was in full dragon form. Jewels tinkled from the two long, tapered horns above her eye ridges. Silver studs twinkled in her scaly gold lips and snout.
The red skies of their ancestral home, a rim planet outside Draconis, gleamed behind her.
“You are wordless with happiness,” she said.
He tried to swallow. His throat closed. He managed to choke out his question. “What punishment is this?”
“Punishment?” She laughed gaily. “No, my dragonlet, be proud of your accomplishments. You have done extremely well on this backward little planet, Earth.” Her gaze moved to take in the rest of the conference room. “I’m exceedingly proud of all of you.”
His siblings sat around the conference table at the Onyx Corporation headquarters, an office building in the middle of a field in Vancouver, Washington.
Only five could be gathered on this short notice. They all had red eyes, sick expressions, and strong cups of coffee.
“That is why the Empress of Draconis has recognized you, Mal, with her offer of marriage. As I told you two hours ago. Why did you call this conference instead of leaving Earth immediately to take her claw?”
“We must discuss the future of my company.”
“It has no future. The Empress will claim it as part of the marriage, and she has chosen to dissolve it.”
The blood in his ears beat louder. “But why? We rank second of all businesses operating outside Draconis!”
“The Empress sees no need for two clothiers.”
Curse Sard Carnelian for existing!
Mal paced at the end of the conference table. His gray houndstooth suit flapped.
The Onyxes and the Carnelians had both arrived on Earth five years ago, surprising the locals. Earth lacked essential minerals for space travel, and humans lacked the gene for shifting, so their planet had been ignored as a backwater on the edge of the Empire for centuries.
But their isolation had inspired them to create ingenious works of art, music, and culture. Clothes—for decorating the dragon shifters’ human forms—became an instant hit on Draconis, and the two companies couldn’t import it fast enough.
Because it was decorative rather than functional, its possession was unrestricted. Every strata of society, from the lowest bastard male dragonlet to the Empress herself, enjoyed draping their human forms in stunning patterns and soft cloths.
But no matter how many new outfits the Onyx Corporation launched, Carnelian Clothiers beat them.
Was it because the CEO, Sard Carnelian, was an aristocrat?
No. The Onyxes would pull ahead. It would happen at the next launch. So what that Mal hadn’t slept in three weeks? He scrubbed his red eyes. He just had to work harder.
Except now the Empress wanted to marry him and shut down his company. “Can’t you save it?”
“And I don’t see the need for two clothiers either.”
Her declaration hit him like a fist.
The ground fell away. His loafers dangled.
Trace elements of stellarium present in dragon shifter bodies activated during a shock. Even though he was in human form, he floated several inches off the ground.
“You may very well be surprised.” Her dragon eyes flashed with anger. “For while you have all been off amusing yourselves at the ends of the Empire, you forgot the one thing I required you to produce.”
“Which was?” he asked faintly.
He hit the ground with a thump. “Dragonlets?”
“Ferocia Carnelian has twenty-five! Her last grand dragonlet was just born. Do you know how many fire teas I have attended where only I have no grand dragonlets? You are my only hope, and you have failed me!”
He gritted his teeth. “After we reach number one, we’ll attract the best females.”
She blew a raspberry. “You could marry a brimstone miner for all I care.”
His siblings rustled uncomfortably in their suits. Their father had been a brimstone miner, and she’d had seven dragonlets with him.
“But since you haven’t married a brimstone miner or anyone else, I will take the marriage arrangements that have been offered.”
Back on Draconis. Ending the business he had poured his life, soul, and pride into.
This betrayal felt as hot and as raw as the Lower Academy Commencement Day. He had broken all the rules to present himself to his mother—and she, knowing his snooty grandparents were looking on, had ruthlessly forced herself to turn away and deny him.
He raked a hand through his hair. “This is too sudden.”
“I have waited months!” His mother rested the back of a clawed hand on her scaled forehead. “I’m going to be dead before I see any grand dragonlets.”
His brother Alex leaned forward. His unusual two-tone eyes, one lavender and one teal, accented his handsome looks. “Mother, you’re too young to have grand dragonlets. Ferocia must be half dead if she has so many.”
Their mother fanned herself, mildly appeased. “Yes, well, you mustn’t say such things aloud.”
He smiled and shook his head.
“Anyway, Mal, come home now. Your wedding to the Empress will take place tomorrow.”
He flexed his fingers. His green scales shimmered beneath his human skin. “Why me? We are not an important family. And I am a low caste!”
“The Empress recognizes a winner when she sees one.”
His chest warmed. There was no glimmer of doubt in his mother’s eyes, only steadfast belief. She honestly thought his own qualities made him worthy of the Empress.
He didn’t. “There must be some other reason.”
“I didn’t care to ask. You will marry her and get to work making me bouncy, adorable, ferocious little dragonlets.”
Mal’s sister Amber, chief financial officer, cleared her throat. “Isn’t the Empress too old for dragonlets? She’s nearly on her deathbed.”
Their mother shrugged. “A miracle is possible.”
“And didn’t she chew the arm off her last husband?”
“Rumors.” Their mother tutted. “And anyway, Mal, you are a good son and will not make her angry.”
Amber—as well as the rest of the siblings—widened their eyes and rolled their lips to keep objections from bursting out. They had spent a good deal of time in the office building with Mal on Earth. Their mother had not.
“Please reconsider,” Amber said tightly.
“Please,” Alex said. “Mother.”
“Mal is forceful,” Jasper, steadfast chief operations manager, said in his reasonable way. “He wasn’t raised in the palace. They won’t understand the ways of a dragon from the Outer Rim.”
Mal’s chest warmed again. His siblings, who had once barely shown an interest in meeting him, were now fighting to protect him.
Their mother sniffed. “He will alter his behavior in ways befitting a full-blooded aristocrat.”
That was the other thing.
The Empress’s consort was automatically elevated to the aristocracy because she was the matriarch of the Empire. No one overruled her. As soon as she married Mal, he would have all the money, fame, and privileges he could ever desire.
The Onyx name would be inscribed on the walls of the palace. His mother would receive preferential treatment and a permanent seat at court. The family would gain an estate on Draconis and an exclusive apartment within the capital, along with all the goods associated with being centrally situated. Powerful families would try to gain their favor and make alliances.
If Mal did happen to father a female dragonlet with the Empress, she might even become a future ruler.
And after the Empress passed, assuming he still had both his arms, he’d be ideally placed to attract another aristocratic female for a second wife. He might consult in matters of state or foreign treaties. He could, behind the scenes, alter the entire face of the Empire.
It sounded great.
For someone else.
Mal didn’t want to be an aristocrat. He didn’t want to be elevated over his siblings. What might the Empress make him do? His grandmother had rejected their low-caste father and denied their existence. He would never do that.
Plus the Empress intended to destroy their company.
Even if she didn’t, he could never take pride in making his company number one. He wanted to prove a bastard male from the Outer Rim could beat the aristocrats. How could he if he was an aristocrat married to the Empress?
No. Leaving behind Earth, this company, and Sumatran extra-dry roast for a crusty old dragoness rumored to chew males’ arms off wasn’t the success he’d imagined at all.
He grabbed his cooling coffee and slugged back the sharp drink. He needed to think.
“The rest of you will marry aristocratic females the Empress selects,” their mother continued.
Jasper swallowed. “I’m sorry, Mother. I can’t do that.”
Her eyes turned a dangerous shade of black. Her nostrils flared, and smoke curled out of them. Little flickers of flames breathed through her prominent teeth. “And why is that?”
“I already have a female I love.”
“Oh.” Her eyes returned to normal, and the smoke dissipated. “Why hasn’t she been introduced?”
“I’m still pursuing her.”
Her eyes swirled to black again. “If you have not so much as performed a single mating flight, then I am no closer to grand dragonlets. End this foolishness and come home.”
He faced her anger steadily. “Earth females are different. They take more time to decide upon their mates.”
“It does not matter because I love her.”
Their mother shook her head, ruffling all her scales. A rainbow of colors shimmered across her iridescent coat. “Very well. I expect an introduction, or you will come home and marry Adviser Wrathmoda.”
He nodded, sat back, and folded his hands. The light- and dark-brown bands in his jasper-colored eyes reflected his steady mood. Although he did not look pleased, his execution had been stayed.
Wait. That meant—
“I too cannot return,” Alex said swiftly. “I also have an Earth female I am pursuing.”
Their mother’s eyes darted to him and narrowed. “You too? Really?”
“And I,” Mal said.
She rested on him for a long, burning moment.
He held his breath.
Her skeptical gaze flicked to Kyanite. “And you too, I suppose?”
The hulking, scarred security officer nodded silently.
She flattened her lips. “Where are Pyrochlore and Flint?”
“The vice president is in prison,” Alex said. “And our research and development lead is beyond the reach of our communicators tonight. I, uh, believe they also have females.”
Her eyes narrowed to glittering slits. “So, you all have Earth females you are pursuing. Fine. I will tell the Empress there has been a delay, and I will come myself to meet all these Earth women you intend to affiance. I will see you in two days.”
The broadcast cut out.
A long silence followed. All they did was breathe.
This was a disaster.
Mal rested both fists on the table. “She will not shut down the company. Ideas? Now.”
No one answered.
He looked at the empty seats. Too bad Pyro had decided to celebrate their last launch by disturbing the peace. The loudmouth vice president never had any trouble brainstorming. Even if half the ideas were to go to the Carnelian offices and rip their aristocratic spines out, his few useful gems had put their company on the Outer Planet Rank List and kept it there.
“Good idea to invent a human lover,” Alex told Jasper.
“I didn’t invent her,” Jasper corrected.
Alex’s perfect brows rose.
Mal was also surprised. Jasper really did love a human? When had he found the time?
Earth humans and dragons were essentially the same. Any mixed offspring were dragonlets due to dominant dragon shifting genes. Earth mothers had to tie leashes around their dragon babies to keep them from drifting off.
“We must do something,” Mal ground out, bringing them back to the task at hand. “No one destroys our company. Not even the owner. What can we accomplish in two days?”
They were silent. It seemed hopeless.
He thumped his fist on the table. “We need more time!”
“Our uncle could delay her.” Alex pursed his lips. “She likes the outer nebulas. He could take her on a month-long nebula cruise.”
“Why would our uncle do that?” Amber asked. “He feels uncomfortable around aristocrats, just like our father did.”
“He would agree.” Alex looked away and scratched the back of his neck. “I just have to ask him.”
As their most beautiful and exotic sibling, Alex was one of the few invited to visit the manor during their grandmother’s lifetime. He knew how to speak to aristocrats and frequently seemed to “notice” secrets.
“Will our uncle really be able to convince Mother to go on the cruise?” Jasper asked.
“Yes. I’m certain if he asks, Mother will not refuse.”
“So long as we’re not risking his arms, then okay.” Mal pensively rubbed his own biceps. “That will only delay her. What will stop her in her tracks?”
“Grand dragonlets,” Amber said.
“We need time. Time…to produce grand dragonlets.” Right. That was it. He smacked his hand into his fist. “We need to marry human women.”
“That’s what we implied,” Alex said.
“We need to actually do it.” He wrote on the interactive table: Operation: Dragon Wife. “If one of us produces a dragonlet, Mother will shower her attention on it and forget the rest of us.”
“So you’re looking for a sacrifice,” Alex said. “One of us to go back to Draconis and marry.”
“No, I’m looking for one of us to make our lie real. If a human wife produces a dragonlet, Mother will leave us alone to get on with our work. Here, on Earth.”
He had their attention now.
They’d all had different reasons for crossing half the Empire and helping Mal found this company. Now they had different reasons for staying. He would harness those differences to execute his project and succeed.
“Who is closest to marrying a human?” His question cracked down the conference table.
No one answered.
The steady dragon’s lips folded in. He shook his head. “I am not close.”
Mal called on the others in turn. No one had a female to pursue.
“Think,” he demanded. “This is critical to the success of our company. One of us needs to drop everything and pursue an Earth female, and the rest will help him secure her. Who’s it going to be?”
He stared hard at Jasper. The operations manager avoided his gaze.
Amber turned to face him. “You’re the CEO. This company is your idea and your responsibility.”
“Agreed,” he barked. “So?”
She regarded him with golden eyes.
Realization heated him, filtering in slowly with tingles of destiny. “You think I should?”
“It is the CEO’s responsibility to manage the company,” she said.
“I must manage it!” he roared. “Not take weeks off to impregnate some Earth female!”
“You’ll have nothing to manage if you don’t.”
His jaw tightened so hard, his teeth ached. She was right. Everyone knew it.
But he couldn’t drop everything. He was the CEO. He’d pulled them all away from their other lives and gathered them here. He was necessary to keeping the company running.
Of course he was. He forced the sliver of fear away. His siblings needed him. They couldn’t throw him away.
He would have to do both.
“Fine,” he ground out. “But tomorrow morning, we also begin the hunt for our next sales product. It may be our last opportunity to challenge Sard Carnelian. I cannot allow the distraction of marriage to change our goal.”
“We will assume your company responsibilities,” Amber promised, and the rest of his siblings nodded in agreement.
The sliver of fear wiggled into a sharp pain. “Not all—”
“All.” Her set face brooked no disagreement. “We will manage the company, Mal. You concentrate on acquiring a wife.”