Dragon's Fire:A Reverse Harem Romance(2)

By: Lili Zander & Rory Reynolds


He’s a good guy, but he’s also a slippery bastard. If we leave here without the dragon blood, I know, as surely as my name is Aria Archer, that I won’t get paid. Leaving isn’t an option. “Silas, the bags have a serial number on them. Can you hack into their database?”

“Nope,” he replies at once, his voice regretful. “I’ve already tried. Their research database is locked down tighter than Fort Knox. Whatever they’re doing, they don’t want people to find out about it.”

Shit. Maybe Pieter is right. Maybe we should walk away.

I stare at the back walls of the lab. This is worse than finding a needle in a haystack. The lab has more than a dozen refrigerators, all filled with blood. We need to find three bags in a thousand.

No wonder they don’t need guards.

Pieter is throwing open refrigerators at random, his hands shaking and his eyes wide. I lift my head to tell him to be quieter—security is lax, but there’s no point tempting trouble—and I see it.

Three bags in the back are glowing softly, pulsing with a warm light. They call to me, whispering into my heart, telling me to touch them, to hold them, to take them…

And I can’t ignore the siren call. I stride up to the shelf and reach for them. “These,” I say, in a voice I can’t recognize. “These are the bags.”

Pieter gives me a strange look. “I can’t sense the magic,” he says. “Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

The moment I remove the bags from the refrigerator and place them into my specially insulated backpack, all hell breaks loose. A high-pitched alarm fills the air, and in the distance, drawing closer, I hear the sounds of shouting.

The doors click shut, cutting off our escape route. I sprint to the nearest exit and hold up my access card, but the light stays red.

We’re trapped.

Footsteps march closer. “They’re in the lab,” a man yells out.

“They could be armed.” A different guy and he sounds more nervous than his gung-ho buddy. “We should call for backup.”

Two Norms I can take, especially if they’re unarmed. Before Silas took me in, I spent three years on the streets, and I learned quickly to defend myself.

“They could be shifters, Aria,” Silas points out. He must be going out of his mind with anxiety, but his voice is as calm as ever. “If the doors are locked, there’s only one way out.”

“The windows.” We’re on the third floor, and it’s bitterly cold outside. The glass is coated with frost, and the ledges will be slippery. Ugh.

“There’s a fire escape at the corner of the building,” Silas says. “It leads to a back alley. I’ll be there. Aria,” the concern in his voice intensifies, “You can’t get caught with dragon blood. Leave the South African behind if you must, and get the hell out of there.”

Pieter can’t hear Silas, but he’s staring at me as if I’ve grown a second head. “The windows? You can’t be serious.”

Once again, this is why I work alone.

I’m already looking around for a chair with metal legs. Finding one, I lift it up and slam it against the window, and the cheap glass breaks into a thousand sharp fragments. A rush of icy air fills the room. I hate winter.

“Did you hear that?” A man shouts. “They broke the window. They’re getting away. Where’s Carlos?”

Whoever Carlos is, I have no desire to meet him. “How did this building get through a safety inspection?” I muse aloud, widening the hole so it’s Aria-sized. Seriously. One pane of glass so thin that someone leaning against the window could shatter it. “Come on, Pieter. We’ve got to go.”

He’s as white as a sheet. “I’m scared of heights, Aria,” he forces out through stiff lips. “You go.”

Fuck that. I might not like people, but there’s a code. No one gets left behind.

I grab Pieter by the collar and propel him to the window. “You’re stealing from a dragon,” I hiss into his ear. “What do you think is going to happen when they find out?” Everyone is terrified of dragons for good reason. People that steal from them disappear and are never heard of again, and I can guess why.

I have no desire to be a breakfast treat.

Neither does the tattoo artist. Pieter comes to his senses. “Let’s do this.”

The two of us make our way out of the window onto the icy ledge. My heart is hammering in my chest. Silas is silent, but I can feel his anxiety coming through my headset in palpable waves. We inch along the side of the building, Pieter with his eyes tightly closed, his fingers gripping the walls. When we get to the corner, I tap his shoulder to get his attention. He opens his eyes by a sliver. “We need to go down.”

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