26. Falling
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Hope knew she had to try everything in her power to make Drake snap out of his bubble. The next day, she took him for a walk in the forest to help him find balance in nature, or at least that was what she told him.

Hope drove him through the woods till they reached a vast deep ravine. She went near the cliff and turned her back on the precipice. "Tell me, if I jump, you will catch me?"

Drake didn't have time to say anything because she already leaned on her back and dived into the abyss. Without thinking even for a second, Drake ran and jumped after her. He went with his head down and managed to grab Hope, who was falling slower than him, but the ground was rapidly approaching, and they almost reached the top of the trees.

They had no more time. Drake went inside, begging for the help of the Fire Dragon. Barely a fraction of a second before reaching the ground, Drake transformed. Hope was safe sitting on the belly of the Fire Dragon and wrapped in his wings.

The woman jumped off, seemingly not having any care in the world. "This is your first complete transformation. Great job! I knew you wouldn't let me fall. Now, you must admit that you care about me."

Hope didn't have time to take a good look at his dragon form because Drake reverted back to normal in a blink of an eye. The whole forest was now a massive clearing where the dragon hit the ground.

"I don't care about you. I am just protecting you until you finish helping me. You are only a tool for me."

"That might have been the truth. Not anymore. I know you, Drake Springwood."

"You know nothing. I am not Drake Springwood. My name is Drake Draconian, the heir to the throne. The Draconians rule this world for countless generations, and I am the first black sheep that have ever existed in this family. I am the first one not able to reach unity with his dragon. If I want to challenge my brother and reclaim my throne, I need you to mend my relationship with the dragon. It is all simple like that."

Hope wasn't going to be impressed by his background or his lineage. This man was driving her crazy. She clenched her fists and gritted her teeth. "I hate you, Drake Springwood or Drake Draconian, or whatever your name is!"

"Well, I hate you too, Hope, the shield of humankind, the Aegis, the animal whisperer, and whatever titles and powers you may have!"

She yelled even louder. "You are a weak and pathetic man, not being able to express yourself in any way. The Fire Dragon is right by calling you that every time. You are an arrogant coward who doesn't deserve any attention at all."

Drake's eyes were sparkling red again. Hope knew that she was winning. The only way to get to him now was by getting his dark side out. Any emotional response, even hatred, and bloodlust were better than nothing. Hope prepared herself for the worst-case scenario. She could already see her head spinning on the grass.

She closed her eyes, awaiting her end. Hope knew it was close when Drake pushed her onto the thick tree stump behind her, making her backbone hurt from the impact. He grabbed her head tightly with both hands, his mouth founding hers, and a wild kiss started in which Drake found all the corners of her mouth, leaving her breathless.

His tongue was sweet as honey, and she wanted to taste this kind of passion every day for the rest of her life. Hope responded to the kiss, and her arms started playing with his hair, driving him even closer if that would be possible.

Getting carried away by all that passion, Hope realized she loved that man more than she could understand. The woman felt they were soulmates, two beings so alike that it could not be seen where one ends and the other starts.

Drake went further down on her neck, starting to lay waste there now. Hope released moans of pleasure when his bite sent a wave of pleasure through her whole body, making her torso arch. That will undoubtedly leave a mark, but it was well worth it.

Hope raised her left leg and put it around him, pulling him closer. She wanted to feel all of him. Suddenly, Drake stopped biting her neck and raised his head till their eyes met. "Why do you do this?" he asked with sadness in his eyes. "You are still just playing games. I told you I don't want to play games anymore."

Hope grabbed his face and pulled him closer. "You can decide if I play games after this."

She managed to halt her burning desire and landed a soft kiss. Then she started touching Drake's lips slowly, only with the tip of her tongue, till his lips started to open involuntarily. Then was her turn to explore his mouth and not leave anything unattended. She was still holding his head, ruffling his soft hair. This was heaven.

Drake again interrupted the session, grabbed her arms, and looked deeply into her eyes. "What do you want from me? Tell me!"

That moment lasted an eternity inside Hope's mind. If she were to give the wrong answer, she could lose him forever. The woman knew that she was in love with him, but her pride wasn't going to let her be the one to say that first. She already enticed him to have sex, and that didn't appeal to him.

Damn it! Sometimes you can tame an alpha male only by letting him believe he has complete control. That meant to let him believe he won the deal they made at first. Screw pride. She promised she will win this challenge.

Hope took a deep breath, almost like preparing to be slaughtered. "Drake, I love you, and I want to be yours."

He turned his back and walked away.