Rebel Dragon (Pearls of Desire Book 1)(9)

By: Anna Lowe

“How’s the place?”

Tim grinned and motioned to the ocean on the left. “Those guys from Silas’s unit really lucked out.”

Connor had heard about that. Silas Llewellyn, the dragon alpha of another shifter unit, had inherited an oceanfront estate and settled down there with his entire unit. They were all there — Kai, Hunter, Boone, and Cruz — and each had found a mate.

“It will be good to see them all again,” Connor murmured. They’d worked closely with Silas’s unit on several missions, and he’d grown close to his fellow shifters in that time. Of course, now that those men were all mated, maybe things had changed.

Tim laughed, reading his mind. “They’re still the same at heart. Really easy to talk to.” His voice grew hushed. “They understand, you know?”

Oh, Connor knew, all right. It was hard enough to relate to someone who hadn’t lived the military life, and even harder to find someone who understood shifter issues too.

He snorted at the word. Issues? Yeah, maybe he had a few. But, hell. Who didn’t?

“Their mates are great too,” Tim added. “And the estate we’re protecting — Koa Point — is out of this world. They’ve got everything you can imagine. Helicopter, fancy cars, private beach.” Then he laughed. “Just don’t get your hopes up. We get the run-down plantation next door. But we’ve survived worse, and there’s plenty of space for everyone to spread out once we settle in.”

Connor looked around, wondering if he had it in him to settle in anywhere. But maybe someday—

His dragon sighed, filling his mind with visions of a nice little seaside home, high on a cliff. A place where he could spend his days with steady work, open views. Dark nights in which to spread his wings. Maybe even someone to share it all with—

Like Jenna, his dragon said, fantasizing about the way the light had glinted off her hair. Imagine how shiny it would be in daylight.

Dazzling came to mind, but Connor frowned, remembering the dream. He cracked his neck from side to side. God, was he stiff.

“Is everyone here?” he asked.

Tim nodded. “Yep. You, me, Chase…”

Chase — their younger half brother, a wolf shifter. A guy who took reserved and quiet to a whole new level, unlike any wolf shifter Connor had ever met.

“How’s he doing?”

Tim tilted his head left and right. “Not bad, considering.”

Connor made a face. Wolves like Chase didn’t take well to change, and he’d had change forced on to him too many times in his life. Which only served to remind Connor how important it was not to mess up this new assignment.

“Dell got in earlier today,” Tim continued.

Connor relaxed a little bit more. Dell was a lion shifter they’d served with, a good guy to have around — and a near-brother to them all by now. Gregarious and funny, Dell was an expert in all kinds of skills that seemed pretty dubious until they saved a man’s ass.

How the hell can you three be brothers? he remembered Dell cackling the first time they’d met. A dragon, a bear, and a wolf?

Connor made a face, thinking of his deadbeat dad — a rare myriad shifter who could shift into a variety of forms. Each of his father’s offspring had taken a single animal form — at least, of the kids Connor had met. Who knew how many other Hoving half-siblings there were out in the world and what shifter forms they took? For him, Timber and Chase were enough.

“And then there’s that widow we have to share the place with,” Tim finished.

He said that widow in a carefully even voice Connor couldn’t decipher.

“So what’s the plan?” Connor asked, trying to focus on the big picture.

“We’re all meeting tonight, as soon as we get there.”

Good. A meeting would help get his mind off Jenna. He checked his watch and jerked his thumb up. “Why not drive a little faster?”

Tim shook his head firmly, and Connor stared. “Since when do you obey the speed limit?”

“Since this,” Tim grumbled, reaching over to pop open the glove compartment.

The pickup zipped under a streetlight, and Connor saw a sheaf of papers. “Speeding tickets?”

Tim sighed. “There’s this cop who’s always patrolling and never cuts anyone any slack. Not even for a fellow bear.”

Connor stared at the tickets. “A bear shifter cop? Who is he?”

“Who is she, you mean. A cop not to be messed with, I can tell you that. Officer Meli. Hunter’s new mate. Believe me, you don’t want to get on her bad side. Her and some other women around here.”

Connor tilted his head at his brother. What was that supposed to mean?