“Dad, you know as well as we do, our mate is not on Dragonose.  If you ever want grandchildren, we need to go to Earth to find our mate,” Adrian implored to his father, the king of Dragonose. 

     King Thoran sat back in his office chair and raised an eyebrow at his twin sons sitting directly across him.  On the side of his desk, Opalite, his catagon, lay quietly swishing his tail.  It was no secret that his half-cat/half-dragon didn’t get along with his twin sons. 

     “Okay, I’ll agree to let you go,” he stopped and raised a finger to prevent his sons from displaying their exuberance, “but only after you agree to a few rules.” 

     “What rules?” Aiden, the second twin, inquired. 

     “Oh, just a few things like you two will find employment while on Earth and support yourselves.  I think it will do you good to step away from being royalty and learn how normal people live.  Now,” the king stalled for a few seconds as he reached in his desk drawer and pulled out a velvet sack.  “I’m not sending you empty-handed; that would be setting you up for failure.  I’m giving you the means to get started, and if you are smart, you will use it wisely and make it stretch.  But if you don’t, just know that you are on your own once this runs out.” 

     “Okay, that doesn’t sound so bad.  Aiden and I are both educated and resourceful men; I don’t see a problem with that.” Adrian reached over and took the bag from his father’s outstretched hand.  “But we do thank you for helping us get started.  This will at least get us by until we can find a place to live and gainful employment.” 

     “The second thing I demand is that you put all of your resources into finding your mate.  I’m only giving you a leave of absence of six months.  Now, I’m not demanding you find your mate in six months; she could be anywhere on that planet, but I better see results of you searching,” King Thoran continued. 

     The king noticed his twin sons exchange a look between them before Adrian shrugged his shoulders.  “I don’t see a problem with that rule, either.” 

     “Good, good.  You see, boys, I am not an unreasonable father.  Go to Earth to find your mate with my blessing.  I’ll see you in six months.” 

     As both young men stood up to leave, King Thoran noticed the smiles on his sons’ faces.  Little did they realize he had no intention of letting them travel to Earth alone.  No, he would send one of his best guards to shadow them and report back to him periodically.  As the boys reached the office door, Opalite picked up his head and hissed at his two sons.  His catagon had never gotten along with the twins.  His boys had a love/hate relationship with his favorite pet ever since they were young children.  It probably had something to do with Opalite considered himself a parental figure of the boys when they were young, and the catagon had stopped the boys from getting into mischief more than once.  At least the boys waited until the office door was shut to announce, “I freakin’ hate that creature!” 

     King Thoran reached over to calm his favorite pet as he reached under his desk to push a button.  One of his top guards, Bernard, walked through a secret door into his office a moment later.  “Ah, Bernard, just the one I wanted to see. I have an extraordinary mission for you.  How do you feel about traveling to Earth for six months?” 

     “Me? I guess so.  May I ask why you want me to travel to Earth?” 

     “Adrian and Aiden are packing as we speak to travel to Earth on the pretense of finding their mate.  I want you to shadow them and report back to me if they deviate from the agreement.  Judging by their body language, I have little doubt they have something else entirely up their sleeve for this visit.”  The king didn’t mention that he was also well aware that both of his sons had thrown up a mental block when they entered his office.  He shook his head.   After twenty-eight years, you would think they would know they couldn’t outsmart him.  But, alas, they tried.  And today was no different; they were definitely up to something. 

     “Understood, sir.  I will keep an eye on them and report back to you directly.” 

     “Thank you, Bernard.  I know I can trust you.  If you will, can we keep this little mission just between the two of us?  You should be able to shadow them fairly easily since they are twins and are always together; the scent of a dragon is constantly in the air.  You should be able to stay near without them ever being the wiser.” 

     Bernard bowed to his king.  “You can count on me for discretion, my king.  I won’t let you down.” 

     King Thoran smiled over to his guard.  “I know you won’t, Bernard.  That is why I picked you for such a mission.  Go pack; I expect the twins will be leaving by morning.  You will need to be ready to follow them.” 

     The king watched his guard turn smartly on his heel and quietly walk back out the secret door he entered.  Now to wait and see what his sons had up their sleeve. 

Chapter I 

     Aiden finished placing the last of his clothing in his suitcase and zipped it shut.  “Did you find dad’s response almost too easy?” he threw over his shoulder to his twin brother. 

     “Yeah, he’s got something up his sleeve.  I was cautious about blocking him out of my thoughts while we were in the office, but I’m sure he is suspicious of us leaving Dragonose.  But hey, once we leave, what difference is it going to make?  It’s not like he is going to know what we are doing, right?  I mean, as long as we find a job and make an attempt to find our mate, who says we can’t have some fun in the process?”  Adrian countered. 

     Aiden placed his hand on his brother’s shoulder.  “You are right.  Once we leave the portal tomorrow morning, he won’t know what we are up to unless he decides to spy on us.  Either way, I figure we should have a couple of months of freedom and parties!” 

     “Quiet, you never know who is listening!  We don’t need one of dad’s guards snitching on us when we are hours away from freedom!” 

     The following day both young men were standing at the edge of the portal.  Their father had accompanied them to send them off, something they had hoped to avoid.  Now, the king knew precisely where his sons were headed.  The boys had chosen New York as their destination.  From what they had gathered, it was a large area, and they hoped they could blend in and go unnoticed.  Besides, as far as either of them knew, there was no other dragon in New York, and they were thankful no one would be around to report back to their father. 

     “I’ll see you boys in six months,” King Thoran stated as he hugged each of his sons.  “Now, if you need anything, don’t hesitate to call.” 

     “We won’t.  Bye, dad, stay safe.” 

     King Thoran watched as his sons changed over to their dragon form and step into the portal.  Within seconds, they were gone.  They would land in upper New York, where a hidden portal remained protected.  But King Thoran was smart enough to know his young sons would quickly make their way to New York City.  Within a minute of the boys leaving, Bernard stepped out of the shadows, carrying his bag. 

     “They just left, and I have no doubt they will head straight to New York City as soon as they arrive.”  King Thoran stopped and placed his hand on his guard’s shoulder.  “Good luck, Bernard.  Keep an eye on them, and please keep them safe for me.” 

     Bernard placed his fist over his heart.  “You have my word, my king.  I’ll report back to you as soon as I know something.” 

     Once Bernard disappeared into the portal, the king let out a long sigh.  He had done what he could to ensure his sons were safe while on Earth.  He turned around and headed back to the castle, knowing he had a pile of paperwork sitting on his desk waiting for his attention. 


     “Can you believe all the women that are here, brother?  It’s like we are at an all-you-can-flirt-with-buffet”, Aiden yelled above the loud music. 

     “Speaking of flirting, did you see that hot little number in the blue mini-skirt? Can you imagine any of the women from home wearing something similar?” 

     “None of the women here are your mate, and you know it!” Fadri, the twins' dragon, boomed from within the two boys.  Fadri resided in both of the twins, but when released, he was a two-headed dragon.  One head represented Adrian and was ice blue, and the other represented Aiden and was a combination of yellow, red, and orange, meaning fire. 

     “Fadri, stop being such a tightwad spoilsport, and sit back and watch the fun,” Adrian exclaimed to his dragon.  “Besides, even though none of these women is our mate, what harm are we doing in practicing our flirting?  We need to know how to handle human women so when we do meet our mate, we can impress her.” 

     “Maybe Fadri is right, Adrian; maybe we should put a bit more effort into finding our mate.  We also need to work on our security business if we ever want to get it off the ground.  I, for one, don’t want to have to call dad and ask him for money.  Remember, that was one of his rules, that we support ourselves.  I just never dreamed it would be this difficult.  How do these people do it constantly?  From what I’ve observed, the men in this country don’t seem to support their mates and children, forcing most women out into the workforce.  Have you noticed what kind of life the females lead on this planet?  They have to take care of the home, raise the children, AND work outside the home to help pay the bills.”  Aiden stopped and shook his head.  “Our women would be appalled to learn what kind of life these women are forced to live.”  He stopped and glanced around for a moment.  “And the men in this country?  Pathetic!  Take a look at how many men standing in this bar are wearing wedding bands.  Where are their mates?  Probably home taking care of the kids while the men are out having a grand ole time.” 

     “While I admit things are a bit backward in this country, I still say we take advantage of it and have some fun.”  Adrian stopped and took a swig of his beer.  “I just pray that our mate, wherever she is, is not having to deal with the stressful lifestyle I am noticing so many other women have to live.” 

     “Well, maybe if you boys would put forth a bit more effort into finding her, you could save her from such a lifestyle,” Fadri piped up from within the twins. 

     The boys continued partying and flirting, utterly unaware of their father’s guard taking photos of their actions nearby.  The king would not be pleased, but Bernard owed it to King Thoran to be truthful about the twin’s actions. 


     “Bernard!  Glad to see you!  What news do you bring me about my sons?  Have they had any luck finding their mate?”  King Thoran greeted his guard with a hearty handshake.  

     “Not exactly, my king,” Bernard replied as King Thoran motioned for him to sit down.  King Thoran walked around to his side of the desk and sat down, leaning back in his chair. 

     “What have those two been up to?” King Thoran sighed deeply, realizing after watching Bernard that he did not have good news to report.  After observing his guard hesitate to reply, King Thoran prompted, “Go ahead and lay it out for me, Bernard.  Since they left, I haven’t heard from my sons, so I already guessed they hadn’t found their mate.  Have they even been looking?” 

     “Well, if you consider partying at bars and strip clubs a way of searching for their mate, then I guess that would be a yes,” Bernard replied as he handed his king a manilla envelope full of photos. 

     King Thoran took his time and examined all the pictures.  “At least they took my words to heart about supporting themselves.  Is their private security business doing well?” 

     “Yes, their business seems to be doing very well.  Once they reached New York City, they realized how expensive rent is in the city.  They ended up settling down in a little town called Hoboken.  It’s in New Jersey but right across the river from New York City.   Hoboken is a pretty hopping town, and you might be interested to know a vampire runs it.  Antonio Maratelli, who goes by Tony.  I did my own investigation when the boys first arrived.  The mob ran the town at one time, and Mr. Maratelli went in and cleaned it up almost single-handedly.  He ran all crime members out of town, spent an enormous amount of his own money to clean things up and rebuild, and now owns a substantial amount of properties in the town.  He demanded to meet with the twins shortly after they arrived.  It seems no paranormal settles down in that town without his approval.  He also runs a security business and employs a lot of shapeshifters.  He has a wolf pack, a werebear, a werefox, and a werelion on the payroll.  He’s got a sweet setup, and he is known for being very fair.   He met the twins almost as soon as they hit the town and sat them down in his diner to interrogate them about their intentions.  I was surprised he didn’t have a problem when they told him they wanted to set up a private security company since he runs the only other one in town.  But he must have felt he could trust them because he rented them the entire top floor of one of his buildings and even sent some work their way to help get the business off the ground.”  Bernard stopped for a second and shook his head.  “This is my first time on Earth, and I admit I was shocked to see how a lot of people live.” 

     “What do you mean?”  King Thoran sat back in his seat. 

     “Well, I knew from talking to Blain that our homes here are considered castles on Earth, and while I didn’t see any castles there, I did see a few huge homes, called mansions, while flying around.  But what confused me are these buildings called apartments.  It’s one large building with multiple families and people living in sectioned-out tiny homes inside.  Even Mr. Maratelli houses his….I guess you would call it group, the shifters, vampires, and whatever else he has under his wing, in one of these large apartment buildings.  Tony resides on the top level of the building, and his group of shifters lives in the remainder of the apartments.  He does have one human woman; my sources say she already knew about shifters and others before meeting Tony.  She was a werewolf's mate, but her mate died, and his pack shunned her, so she sought out Tony.  She is supposed to have the gift of premonition, and my sources stated Tony uses her gift in exchange for a place to live and safety.  The boys are staying in another apartment building a couple of blocks away. Tony was nice enough to give the boys the entire upstairs floor, consisting of numerous small apartments.  The boys have been working on knocking down walls and joining several units together.  I overheard them discussing Fadri not being happy living in such tight quarters.” 

     “Hmm, I see what you mean.  I know Blain had a hard time with Sapphamire when he first arrived on Earth, and unfortunately, I forgot to remind the boys about that before they left.  Yes, many people live in these apartments, especially in the bigger cities.  But once you get out of the highly populated areas, you start seeing more houses with yards, and people have a bit more room.  Still, most all of their homes are nowhere near the size of ours, but then the humans don’t have a dragon within them demanding room to spread their wings.”  King Thoran looked over to his guard.  “How are you doing, Bernard?  Is being in a big city hard on your dragon?” 

     “It’s not been easy, my king, but the boys are already on month four, so I’m assuming I will only be on assignment for another two months?” 

     King Thoran smiled over to his guard.  Now that he thought about it, he knew Bernard’s dragon was not happy on Earth.  “I’m going to pay the boys a surprise visit, and maybe I can even find this gifted lady you were talking about, the one the vampire uses.  Maybe she can tell me if I’m ever going to be a grandfather.”  He stopped and studied his guard for a moment, noticing how tired and worn Bernard looked.  Why don’t you plan on taking the next week off while I’m gone?  Then you can return after my visit.”  King Thoran sighed before continuing.  “I think it’s time to remind two wayward sons that they can’t pull the wool over their father’s eyes.” 

     Both men stood at the same time.  “Go take a well-deserved rest, Bernard.  I’m going to pack and head out soon.  I’ll be back in a few days, and then you can return to Earth after your vacation is over.” 


     King Thoran arrived in the small town of Hoboken, New Jersey, the following evening.  If the boys followed their established pattern, they would be out partying until the wee hours of the morning.  The king walked down a sidewalk on his way to the boy’s apartment when he felt the presence of the vampire. 

     “Good evening.  Care to tell me why dragons are suddenly invading my town?”  the stranger inquired. 

     “Ah, good evening, sir.  Can I assume you are Tony Maratelli?”  King Thoran held out his hand.  “I’m King Thoran of Dragonose.  I believe you have been housing my two sons, Adrian and Aidan Barrymire?” 

     “Yes, your sons are renting from me, but that still doesn’t answer my question as to why I now have three dragons in my town,” Tony replied with an arched eyebrow. 

     King Thoran was taking back momentarily with the attitude coming from the vampire.  He had called Elijah, the head vampire on the council of others before leaving home, and Elijah had assured him that Tony was a good guy.  He frowned over to the vampire before shaking his head, amazed the vampire wanted to have this conversation out in the open where anyone could hear. 

     “Look, you may be king in your neck of the woods, but you are in my town now, and everyone here answers to me.”  The two men had stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and were sizing each other up.  A door opened to the building they were standing in front of, and a woman walked out.  “Gentlemen, I don’t mean to interrupt, but you both are making a scene.  Maybe this conversation would be better someplace quiet?”  Both men turned as one to stare at the woman. 

     “Yes, of course, thank you, Eva.”  Tony turned to his guest.  “King Thoran, I would like to introduce Eva St. Claire, who is under my protection.”  Tony leaned in and dropped his voice.  “Yes, she is human, but she knows about us.” 

     King Thoran took her offered hand and leaned down to place a gentle kiss on the back.  “It is so good to meet you, Eva.  You wouldn’t be the one who is gifted in premonition, would you?” 

     “Let’s take this conversation across the street to my diner,” Tony interrupted.  He wasn’t happy that King Thoran seemed to have a lot of information about his town and its occupants.  He placed a protective hand on Eva’s back as they turned to head to the eatery.  Before taking three steps, someone else exited out of the apartment building and called his name. 

     “Tony, is everything okay?”  Paul Cappuccio, Tony’s second, called out.  As Tony turned back around to address Paul, he whispered to King Thoran, “Now see what you’ve done?  You’ll be lucky if the entire building of others isn’t out here momentarily being nosy!”  He followed it up with a grin to let the dragon shifter know he was teasing. 

     Addressing the man who just showed up, Tony finished turning around.  “Everything is fine, Paul.  This is Adrian and Aiden’s father, Thoran Barrymire.  King Thoran, this is my second, Paul Cappuccio.” 

     Paul shook King Thoran’s extended hand.  “You’ve got two great sons.  The pack enjoys getting together with them on the weekends.  We’ve had them over for a couple of barbeques, and they’ve joined us occasionally on Friday night for pizza over at Benny Tudino’s.” 

     “How about we take this across the street to the diner?”  Tony injected into the conversation.  The four of them walked across the street, and Tony opened the door and ushered everyone inside.  He looked around to see how crowded the diner was.  One couple was sitting in the very back, but everyone else seemed to be enjoying the beautiful weather and was eating outside on the patio.  He walked over to a booth in the front and waited until everyone sat down. 

     A man approached the table before they could resume their discussion.  “Mr. Maratelli,” the man addressed Tony before turning to the werewolf. “Paul, can I get anyone something to drink?” 

     King Thoran noticed the vampire sit back as he attempted to hide his ire at being interrupted again.  “Eva, would you like a soda, or water, perhaps?” 

     “A bottle of water for me, Greg.”  She smiled over to the man standing beside the table. 

     “Same for me, Greg.”  Turning to their guest, Paul suggested, “If you order water while you are here, always order bottled water.  You don’t want to know what all is in the tap water.” 

     “Make that three bottles of water, thank you.” King Thoran stated after acknowledging Paul. 

     After the man left, Tony leaned forward.  “That is Greg; he is the diner manager, head cook, and works part-time for the security company I run.” 

     “I must say, I haven’t seen a lot of your town, but I do like what I’ve seen so far.” King Thoran replied. 

     “Now, I don’t like being rude, but I am curious as to why all of a sudden I am being invaded with dragons.  I didn’t even know your kind existed until recently.”  Tony kicked off the conversation. 

     King Thoran grinned.  “Oh yes, we exist.  But most of us do not call Earth home.  We live on Dragonose; it’s a world several light-years away, but luckily we have portals stationed around Earth that allow us to travel back and forth.  Most of the time, our males will come here for a short visit to find their mate.  That is what my sons are supposed to be doing.  I gave them six months to find their mate and return home, but I also assigned a guard before leaving.  Their guard has reported back to me they are not doing a perfect job of finding their mate.” 

     “Why do your men need to come here to find their mate?  Does Dragonose not have women?”  Eva inquired. 

     “We do have a few women, but nowhere near enough.  Our female population has been dwindling for the past several years, only making the situation worse.  I fear if something does not change and we do not breathe some new life into Dragonose, we will eventually die out.” 

     “So, you are only visiting?”  Tony verified. 

     “Yes, I am here to try to straighten my two sons out, and then I will be leaving in just a few days.” 

     “Okay, I don’t have kids of my own, but I can understand you want to check up on your sons.  Will you require a place to stay while you are visiting?”  Tony asked. 

     “No, I plan to stay with them.  As I said, I will only be here a few days, and hopefully, I’ll be in their way enough they will straighten out and won’t want me to return anytime soon,” King Thoran joked. 

     “And how is it you seem to know so much about us when I just recently discovered your kind existed?”  Tony demanded. 

     “Well, I’ll be honest, I sent one of my best guards to trail after my sons.  He wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t do a thorough background check on anyone the twins were around.  But,” King Thoran hesitated for just a second, “I also placed a call with Elijah at the council before arriving.  He spoke very highly of you.” 

     “Elijah, the head council vampire?  You know him?”  Tony was taken back momentarily.  These dragon shifters seemed to get around, which surprised him.  For not even being from Earth, he wouldn’t have thought the dragon shifters knew of the council. 

     King Thoran grinned over to the vampire.  “Yes, I’ve known Elijah for many years now.  I have a cousin who lives in Iceland, and Elijah has helped out occasionally.” 

     “Okay, well, it seems you know what you are doing, so I’m going to let you be on your way.  Just remember, if you run into problems while you are here, contact me immediately.  I have a security team that patrols the city twenty-four hours a day, so you’ll find the crime rate is meager around here.  We have a police department also, but everyone is human, so my team takes care of anything relating to the supernatural.” 

     King Thoran nodded his head.  “Sounds good.  I should only be here for a few days, and then I’ll be out of your hair.” 


     Aiden and Adrian got off the Path train in Hoboken.  It was almost two in the morning, and they were just returning from a night out on the town in New York City.  Taking the train meant they could drink as much as they wanted and didn’t need to worry about how they would get home.   They exited the depot and started walking towards their apartment, just a few blocks over. 

     “You know, this little town is growing on me.  For a small area, it sure does offer a lot.  The boys passed by Malibu Diner, proudly displaying a sign stating, ‘Open 24-7, welcome to Hoboken!’ 

     “I don’t like it.  It’s too crowded, too noisy, and I can only come out when it is cloudy and late at night.”  Fadri complained from within the twins. 

     Adrain sighed.  “I know you don’t like it but look at it as an adventure.  It’s not like we are planning on spending the rest of our lives here.  And you were the one to say you felt our mate was close.  What do you expect us to do, leave and walk away from the chance of meeting our mate?” 

     “No, but maybe if you put a little effort into trying to find her,” the dragon growled. 

     “We are, Fadri!  I’m not sure what else you want us to do?  We are out in town every day meeting new people hoping to stumble across her.  What else do you want us to do?” 

     Silence greeted the twins, and they knew their dragon was not happy.  He especially didn’t like the boys going out partying all night long. 

     “Did you want to grab a bite to eat?”  Aiden asked his brother. 

     “Nah, I’m good.  I just want to go to bed.”  Adrian replied.  He wondered if he should mention the thong hanging out of Aiden’s shirt pocket.  Damn, but the New York City people knew how to party! 

     “You know, there is a strip club right around the corner.  We visited the establishment once soon after we arrived in town,” observed Aiden. 

     “Oh, that’s right.  I forgot about that place.  Maybe we need to put it on our list to hit again,” Adrian replied, following it up with a wide yawn.  “After I get some sleep.” 

     The boys turned left at the corner.  They noticed the local drugstore, CVS, still had the lights on.  “I didn’t realize so many businesses stayed open all night,” Aiden observed.  

     “I think it is just in this area.  I can’t imagine smaller towns and the rural regions have businesses stay open twenty-four hours a day.  I doubt they would get enough customers in to make it profitable.”   About a block behind the drug store lay the Hudson River.  The boys had spent many afternoons in the park.  They soon discovered a lot of women used the park for jogging through or workout.  The streets leading down to the river were mainly old-fashioned cobblestone, lending to the town’s charm. 

     They continued down one of the main streets running through the downtown area.  At this hour, very little traffic was on the road.  They passed The Roost, a coffee shop they enjoyed visiting often, and Johnny Rockets, which served the best burgers and shakes they had ever enjoyed!  They walked past Benny Tudino’s Pizza, where they had met up with several other paranormals living nearby.  Once they hit the town, they soon discovered a vampire ran this area, and he had an entire group of paranormals working under him.  The men continued walking down the street until they came to Tony’s Diner.   The diner was almost a second home for them since it was owned by the vampire in charge, Antonio Maratelli, and a favorite place for the shifter population to hang out.   The apartment building directly across the street from the diner was where most of the other supernaturals lived. The men raised their hands and waved at Matt, a werelion currently patrolling the area. 

     “You guys have a good time tonight?”  Matt yelled from across the street. 

     “Yeah, but we are heading home to go to bed,” Adrian called out in reply. 

     “Good luck,” Matt called back before walking away, leaving the twins to wonder why they would need luck to go to bed.  They continued walking until they came to a Starbucks and made another left.  Their apartment building sat directly across the street from the coffee shop, but the boys preferred walking a few blocks to The Roost when they wanted coffee. 

     They took the elevator up to the top floor, and Aiden searched his pocket for a key.  Letting themselves in, the only thing on both of their minds was how fast they could nose-dive into their beds.  “Please tell me we don’t have anything on the schedule for first thing in the morning,” Adrian whined, exhaustion taking over. 

     “Oh, you most certainly have something on your schedule first thing tomorrow morning,” a familiar voice called out from the darkness. 

     Aiden flipped the switch by the door, and the room was bathed in sudden light.  “Dad!  What are you doing here?”  The boys inquired in unison. 

     “Hmm, why would dear ole’ dad show up unannounced to his sons’ apartment?  Could it be because I haven’t heard from either of you in four months?  Or could it be I’ve received reports and pictures, I might add, of the two of you partying your lives away instead of searching for your mate?” 

     The boys walked into the living room, where their father was sitting in Adrian’s favorite recliner.  Sitting on the couch, the boys knew they wouldn’t be heading to bed anytime soon. 

     The king took a moment to study his sons.  “Do I even want to know what is hanging out of your pocket, Aiden?” 

     King Thoran watched as Aiden yanked what looked like a piece of women’s lace undergarment out of his pocket and shoved it behind him.  “It’s nothing,” Aiden murmured, embarrassed and turning red in the face. 

     “Okay, well, how are the two of you?  If either of you bothered to call me once in a while, I might not have needed to make this trip and impose on you.  But then again, if you had called me, you would have either needed to lie to me or confess that you are not doing your utmost to find your mate.”  King Thoran took a second and sighed deeply.  “Look, boys, I’m not getting any younger.  Now, while I’m not old yet, I’d like to have grandchildren while I’m still in my prime and can enjoy them!  Besides, we need a couple of heirs to the throne.  It would be too easy for our enemies to take out the two of you and myself, leaving Dragonose without leadership.  I know we have Blain as a backup, and I have no doubt he would step up if needed, but I wouldn’t want to put that kind of pressure on him.  He has built an enormous business empire that would surely suffer if he had to move back to Dragonose full time. 

     “Meanwhile, the two of you have been groomed to take over for me at some time in the future.  It’s in your blood to lead.  And now is the perfect time to find your mate, settle down, and have a couple of children.  You two have lived a carefree life up until now, but it’s time to grow up and settle down.  You can’t continue acting like Earth’s playboys!” 

     “Dad, Fadri has told us he feels our mate is close.  That is why we settled in this town.  And we are out and about every day, walking around town, talking to people, trying to find her.  What else would you suggest?”  Adrian replied. 

     “Stop the partying, and above all, stop visiting the strip clubs.  What do you think your mate will think of the two of you when she finds out about your past?  Informing someone from this planet that you are from a different world will be hard enough; humans do not believe life forms live outside their planet.  But then you add in the information that you two have been playboys for the past four months?  How is she supposed to trust you will be faithful to her?  I certainly would not.  You two need to think about what you are doing.  I am happy to hear you’ve gotten your business off the ground, and I’ve already spoken with the vampire Tony who happily reported you had not caused any trouble.  But mark my words, if you don’t change your ways, you will never have a chance of keeping your mate once you find her!” 

     King Thoran stopped his tirade and looked over at his sons.  They were exhausted, and he knew trying to battle with them when they were this tired would not end well.  “Go to bed, boys.  I’ll be here for the next few days, and maybe we can come up with a way of finding your mate.” 

     As the boys wished their father a good night and headed to their bedrooms to go to sleep, they could feel Fadri getting ready to give his opinion of the matter.  “Not a damn word, Fadri.  Not now.  We will rediscuss this in the morning.”  Aiden growled at the dragon. 

     “Hmm,” the dragon grumbled from inside the boys.  “Told you so!” he suddenly piped up and then went silent. 

     “Fadri, I said not a damn word!” Aiden snapped as he reached his bed.  He stopped long enough to take off his shoes, then fell back on the bed.  He was asleep as soon as his head touched his pillow.