Rebel Dragon (Pearls of Desire Book 1)(10)

By: Anna Lowe


Tim waved a hand. “When we took the job, we knew we would have to share the place with someone else, right? Someone the owners put in charge.”

Connor scowled. Every instinct screamed for him to be in charge. But it didn’t work that way, not until he made a name for himself. He had to count himself lucky that Silas Llewellyn had hired him and his buddies as security for the sprawling estate. They would earn solid salaries along with free housing on the neighboring property. All in all, a pretty sweet deal, except it came with two stipulations.

First, the Hoving brothers had to clean up their act — no unassigned missions, no shenanigans, and no pranks, in Silas’s words.

Which was pretty unjust, since Connor and his brothers had never really meant to cause trouble. It was just that trouble found them.

Second, they had to accept whatever authority Silas — or Kai, his cousin and second-in-command — saw fit to put in charge.

That clause had made Connor rankle at first, but he’d signed on anyway, figuring they’d work out their own hierarchy as time went by. Silas could call anyone he wanted the boss, but the man truly in charge would be the one who earned that right.

He frowned at the sugar cane stalks that spiked up along the road. “Whoever Silas puts in charge will be keeping an eye on us, you know.”

Tim flashed a wicked grin. “Seriously, wouldn’t you keep an eye on us? Anyway, it’s not a guy. It’s a girl. A woman, I mean.”

Connor frowned. Silas had put a woman in charge of the place? Not that he had a problem with women in command — it just didn’t fit Silas’s brief description of the woman they would share the plantation with.

It will be you, your brothers, Dell, and a woman I know. A dragon shifter widow who’s been through some hard times. I expect you to treat her well.

Connor scratched his head. Silas hadn’t said anything about the widow being in charge. “Didn’t he say something about her being fragile?

Tim snorted. “Either he meant someone else, or he hadn’t met her when he said that. I swear that woman is tougher than half the guys we know. You’ve got your job cut out for you, bro.”

Connor bit back a sigh and stared at the moonlit sky. He’d had his work cut out for him from the day he was born. That was just the way it was. At least he got to live in a nice place like this, with a fresh breeze whipping his hair and the scent of the ocean tickling his nose. The hulking form of another island slumbered on the horizon in an additional reminder of where he was. Maui. No one out there aiming their cross hairs at him, no scheming enemies on the prowl.

Just a mate to track down, his dragon murmured.

He shoved the thought aside and went back to the business at hand. It wouldn’t take long for him and his brothers to sort out a new hierarchy, the shifter way.

Just don’t mess up, a familiar voice of warning whispered from the back of his mind.

“Anyway, you’ll meet her soon enough,” Tim said.

Connor made a face, trying to focus instead of making that her into Jenna.

Tim drove on until a long line of hotels and condos gave way to a quieter stretch of coastline with fewer homes. He made a left onto an unmarked road and continued at a slow pace.

“Over there’s Koa Point.” Tim pointed at a carved wooden gate that hinted at the understated wealth of the place. Then his finger swung forward and drooped a little bit. “This is us. Koakea Plantation.”

“Koakea?”

Tim shrugged. “It means white tree. Something like that anyway.”

They rattled past a plain metal gate that had been pushed aside and left open, hanging askew on rusty hinges.

“Used to be a coffee plantation,” Tim murmured. “But it went bust, and nobody has lived here for years.”

Connor sniffed, catching a dry, flowery scent that didn’t relate to coffee — not the brewed kind, at least. A tangle of low, scrubby bushes lined both sides of the driveway, and they drove past several sheds and barns.

“This is the best part.” Tim grinned as they turned a corner.

The bushes had been cut back there, opening up an incredible view. The property occupied a long incline that sloped downward toward the Pacific. The whole ocean lay glittering under the moonlight, as far as he could see. It was as if he’d shifted to dragon form, spread his stiff wings, and taken to the air to enjoy the view.

“That’s the main house.” Tim pointed to a long, low building set at a slight angle to the hillside.

The only sources of light came from there, though those only lit two or three rooms, giving it a haunted look. The porch had to have an incredible vista, though Connor doubted he’d have much time to enjoy it.

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