Rebel Dragon (Pearls of Desire Book 1)(5)

By: Anna Lowe

“Maybe I can help,” he said, very quietly.

He put his left hand on the seat in front of him, blocking off any dangers that lurked in the aisle or beyond. That revealed another tattoo on the inside of his forearm — a sword crossed by lightning strikes.

Special Forces. A friend of Jenna’s had once crushed on a soldier, going on and on about every little detail of the man and those elite fighting corps.

Her heart thumped with new hope, and yes, please jumped to the tip of her tongue. But she bit her lip before the words slipped out, because the answer had to be no. She already had help — or rather, she would as soon as she got to Maui.

“Thanks,” she said, shaking her head. “I think I have it under control.”

His eyebrows went up a little, catching her lie.

“Well, if you change your mind, you let me know.” After another long minute of studying her, he nodded slowly and extended a hand. “I’m Connor.”

The moment her hand slipped into his, her whole body tingled, right down to her toes.

“Jenna,” she said a little breathlessly.

It was a good thing her sister wasn’t there to tease her about going all dreamy-eyed over a man, and Jenna couldn’t understand it herself. No one had ever affected her that way.

Her pulse skipped in a burst of anxiety. What if no one ever did again?

“Jenna,” he whispered, trying her name out like the first notes of a song.

She didn’t realize they were still holding hands until the plane shook with a little turbulence, making her grip her armrest. The second she did, something in her wept. Why couldn’t she have gone on holding his hand?

“So. Jenna,” Good Guy said in a low, secret voice that vowed never to expose her fears to anyone. “It’s a long flight. Too bad I’m not tired. But you could get a little shut-eye.”

Jenna smiled. Connor was definitely a nice guy, subtly promising to watch out for her. Not assuming or posturing, just suggesting. She bit her lip. How often did a guy like that come along?

“That would be nice. Thank you,” she whispered, hoping her tone said more than those overused words did.


He looked down the way men uncomfortable with praise did, and her heart thumped a little harder.

His words — and body language — didn’t leave much room for a response, so she closed her eyes and leaned against the window. Even if she couldn’t actually sleep, she could rest a little. Sleep had been tricky to find lately, and when it came, it brought dark, twisted nightmares.

But when she inhaled deeply, catching Connor’s scent, her mind went blissfully blank. Her shoulders slowly unwound, and instead of anticipating nightmares, she imagined guardian angels fluttering down around her. Angels with fluffy white wings sent by her mother to assure her a good night’s sleep.

Everything will be okay, the angels sang, lulling her to sleep. Everything will be all right.

The airplane’s engines hummed, and the cabin was quiet. And instead of vampires, her mind filled with serene images of sea life. Turtles grazing on sea grass. Fish flitting around in silvery schools. Coral bursting with color and life. Her favorite dreamscape — one she’d had since she was a little kid.

And slowly, gradually, she drifted off into a blissfully peaceful sleep.

Chapter Two

Connor spent the entire flight testing the stale air of the cabin with his keen dragon nose, studying the passengers with cool, darting eyes. Otherwise, he kept perfectly still so as not to disturb the sleeping beauty at his side.

Someone had threatened her. Spooked her enough to flee LA. He could see it in her restless, haunted eyes. Incredible blue eyes — blue like the purest part of the sky. The part straight overhead he loved to fly toward on sunny fall days, climbing until the air grew too thin to support his wings.

But someone had pulled a cloud of anxiety over her, and he strained for any hint of who or what that might be.

How he sat so still for so long, he had no clue, because his dragon was raging inside.

Find him. Kill him. Whoever it is who scared her.

He balled his fists against his thighs. What the hell was it about this woman that had such an effect on him?

Her name is Jenna, his dragon grumbled.

The beast said her name like it was pure poetry. Like he’d missed her for years even though they’d never met before.

That doesn’t matter, his dragon insisted. Not if she’s my mate.

Connor chewed the word over a couple of times. Frankly, he was a little hazy on the whole destined mate thing. His father was a notorious womanizer who never bothered to stick around for any of the children he’d sired around the world. Connor had only ever heard his mother cursing the fact that she’d fallen for that no-good son of a bitch. And when she finally did settle down with a man, it was a lackluster relationship in which her primary source of happiness stemmed from not being alone rather than being with exactly that person.