Rebel Dragon (Pearls of Desire Book 1)(8)

By: Anna Lowe


Funny, though, how it felt like a bitter end, especially when Jenna drove off into the night.





Chapter Three


Hey, Connor, a low grunt sounded in Connor’s mind.

He spun around and broke into a grin despite his grim mood, setting a new course for the far end of the sidewalk.

“Hey, Timber,” he rumbled, giving his brother a one-armed man-hug.

They smacked each other on the back a few times then stood grinning like a couple of fools. A guy didn’t spend most of his life with a big lug of a bear shifter and not learn to love the guy, even if Tim had been a pain in the ass younger brother at times.

But man, they had come a long way since then. They’d grown up fast and learned a lot — mostly the hard way. And yes, they’d done their fair share of messing up too. The important thing was that they had both sworn to follow a new path, and that path started here. Now.

It starts with her, his dragon cried, pulling him back toward Jenna. Destiny.

He snorted. Destiny? Was any of that even true?

“Right over here,” Tim murmured, motioning toward a dusty white pickup at the curb.

Right over there, his dragon insisted, glancing in the direction Jenna had driven off. But all he caught was a glimpse of the Land Rover she’d gotten into, and then that, too, was gone.

Connor threw his bag in the back and slid into the passenger side of the pickup. Then he tipped his head and looked up at the stars, wondering what adventures — or misadventures — they would lead him to next.

“Some vehicle,” he murmured, eyeing the torn upholstery.

“Hey, man, it’s a start.”

Connor looked around. All of this was a start — a new start on a new life. His last chance.

“Oh, and by the way, it’s a quarter yours,” Tim announced. “We all agreed to split it evenly.”

Connor sighed. That was exactly how he’d ended up in trouble a couple of times — one of the guys coming up with a great idea and dragging the others along for the ride. Though, to be fair, he’d been the one to initiate a few misguided missions in his time.

He fingered a tear in the dashboard. Maybe it was time to shake that habit for good.

“What time is it here?”

“Twenty-two thirty,” Tim said as he pulled onto the road.

Connor blinked a few times, trying to stay alert. His trip had started several time zones away, making this one of those stretched-out days that spanned more hours than he wanted to count.

“I got this, man,” Tim murmured, reading his mind.

Connor let his eyes shut for just a little bit, not seeking sleep so much as visions of Jenna. But sleep found him, and he drifted off into dreams before too long. Dreams of him and Sleeping Beauty back on the plane. Replaying it in a way he liked better, with her putting her head on his shoulder before falling asleep.

This okay with you? she asked in that sweet siren-call voice of hers. At least, she did in the dream.

It was plenty okay with him, and apparently, putting his arm around her was okay too, because they ended up snuggled together like two halves of a happy clam. No more alarms in his mind, no state of alert.

It was a great dream until the mood slowly shifted to something more sinister. He dreamed the plane hit turbulence. Passengers started to scream, snapping him and Sleeping Beauty wide awake. The plane spun out of control, and all he could do was clutch Jenna as the plane barreled toward the ground. Down and down it went, whistling through the sky like the piece of hulking metal it was, doomed from the start.

Help, Jenna screamed, clutching his hand. Help.

Then the dream skipped a beat, and he and Jenna were hurtling through the air on their own — no plane, no other passengers, just hurricane force winds that whipped them around, trying to yank her out of his determined grip.

Hang on, he yelled, ready to shift.

For all the terror of the dream, it still felt good to sense her nervous nod, her trust.

The wind tore at his hair and screamed in his ears as he shifted into dragon form, but something was wrong. He couldn’t get his wings open, and a deep voice laughed at him from some unidentified place over on the far side of his dream.

She’s mine, the voice taunted, while the wind tried to pry her from his arms.

She’s mine, he roared back, desperate to keep her safe.

“Uh…Connor?”

He jerked his head up, startled and sweaty. Wondering why his brother was looking at him that way. Then he ruffled a hand through his hair. Jesus, what a dream.

Tim handed him a bottle of lukewarm water, and he took a long swig.

“How far to go?”

“Not long now. Ten minutes, maybe.”

Connor nodded, trying to anchor himself in time and place. Maui. Coming up on eleven p.m. New job.

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