Dragon's Fire:A Reverse Harem Romance(7)

By: Lili Zander & Rory Reynolds


“That’s the one.” She holds up a silver necklace with an onyx stone that dangles low. “This would be perfect for it.”

I have to admit, she’s right. The stone hangs at just the right length that it would settle right between my breasts where the neckline plunges dangerously low.

You don’t have time to dream of frivolous things.

Before Silas’ illness, I might have indulged in the dress and the necklace, just because they made me feel pretty. Not anymore. I have too many responsibilities. I can hardly justify my girls-night-out with Bea tonight, let alone splurge on a two-thousand-dollar dress.

“Let’s just get this done.”





5





Rhys





“I cannot believe you’re going out.” Bastian eyes me with exasperation. “Have you not heard a single word I said?”

“All of them.” I roll my eyes at my friend. Bastian is wound so fucking tight that if he’s not careful, he’s going to start shitting diamonds. Life is going to pass him by, and he won’t even know it. “But I’m in New York. It was a long flight, and there’s a great Norm bar not too far from here.” I grin in anticipation. “I love Norm girls. So perfectly good on the outside, so deliciously wicked once they lose their inhibitions.”

“Magic is leaching out of all of us, and you’re hunting for pussy?”

Erik snorts. “There’s something reassuring about your shallowness, buddy. The end of the world is here, and you want to get laid.”

I stare out of the floor-to-ceiling window at the city spread below us. It’s dark, and Manhattan looks like golden treasure, bright and sparkling. The park is darker. The zoo is probably still open, since it’s lit up. Not that any of us can step into a zoo without spooking the animals. Dragon magic is powerful, and we can hide our essence from shifters and Norms, but true animals can always sense their predators.

We’ve owned this penthouse for the last nine years. It takes up the entire floor and has nearly tripled in value since we bought it. Not surprising. Dragons know treasure.

“We are dragon princes,” I point out to the others. “There’s always something to worry about.”

To my surprise, Casius comes to my rescue. “Rhys is right,” he says. “We’re doing everything we can. I’ve lost count of how many parties we’ve thrown in the last five years. We’re going to find our mates, and we’re going to break the curse. We must have faith.”

Bastian nods but doesn’t look convinced. He blames himself for Gideon’s curse. A night of drinking would do him good. “Come on, mate,” I tell him. “Let’s go get pissed.”

He shakes his head, but Mateo, who’s been silent so far, tosses back his drink and gets to his feet. “I’ll go,” he says. “Someone has to keep Rhys out of trouble, after all.”





6





Aria





Two hours later, I’m sitting at the bar in Cellar, nursing my overpriced cocktail while Bea is flirting her pants off with Jesse.

The small dance floor is packed. Cellar isn’t really a dance club, more a mix of trendy lounge and dive bar. This is one of Silas’ old haunts. Under his careful eye, I picked my first pocket here, a young man who’d had too much to drink.

Things are different now. Pete Solomon retired and sold the bar, and the new owner tried to cater to a younger crowd, thinking it would infuse new blood into the business. It’s worked to a certain extent. Cellar is an eclectic mix of old-timers and young investment bankers with more money than sense.

My palms itch to relieve them of their wallets, but, remembering my promise to Silas, I stay put and people-watch. It’s loud and noisy and too crowded, and I think longingly of my bed.

I don’t know why I let Bea drag me out like this.

“Aria Archer?”

A menacing figure settles onto the barstool next to me. I turn around, raising an eyebrow but not giving him any other acknowledgment. Even seated, I can tell he’s tall, at least six five. His shoulders are wide, and as Silas would say, he’s built like a brick shithouse. He’s bald, and he’s got a scary-looking wolf tattooed on his neck.

Shifter. I’d bet my life on it. What’s he doing in Cellar? Norms and shifters don’t tend to mix.

His tone turns impatient. “You are Aria Archer, are you not?”

“My mother taught me not to talk to strangers,” I say flippantly, taking another sip of my drink. Gah. It’s too sweet. Should have known better than to order the pink cocktail. Should’ve stuck to wine.

“No, she didn’t,” he replies calmly. “Your mother abandoned you when you were two. After that, you bounced around from one foster home to another, until you ran away when you were eleven.” He smiles humorlessly. “When you were fourteen, Silas Archer took you under his wing and taught you how to steal. You became quite good at it.” He takes a long drink from his bottle of beer and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. “Speaking of Silas, how is he doing? Those plasma infusions aren’t cheap, are they?”

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