Dragon Loved by Riley Storm
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“Are you okay?” he asked. “Are you sick? Running a fever?”
Jordyn laughed. “What? No, I don’t think so. Why?”
“Because how can you like being stuck down here?”
“Stuck?” she said, shaking her head. “They’ve tried to promote me twice. I want to be here, Tars. I like it. Love it, really.”
“How?” he asked, stunned.
“How? Well, besides all the cool history contained here about Five Peaks that I get to dig into and learn, there’s the fact that I don’t have an outside world harassing me, besides the odd researcher like you. I don’t have idiot customers who don’t understand that they’re idiots. No snooty members of the public quoting ‘but the customer is always right’ to me, not realizing that no, the customer is almost always wrong. What’s not to love about it?”
“I don’t know,” he said with a shrug, finding it hard to refute her logic. “I guess it’s just not for me.”
“Well good!” she exclaimed with a laugh. “I just got a little bit more job security.”
Tars blinked, and then he found himself laughing alongside her at the flippant response. It was nice to be around someone who could just treat him as a person, and didn’t get so caught up on his last name that they felt they had to treat him like royalty. That was something he didn’t want.
Especially, he realized, from Jordyn.
His dragon lifted its head again, and Tars felt the smoke curling from its nostrils, the heated intensity of its desire for her, the burning of its fires. His eyes flared, and at that moment Jordyn decided to look up at him.
The laughter in the room went out as they locked stares, the breath stolen from their lungs as if the very flames he was fighting to control had sucked the oxygen from the room. Neither of them spoke. Neither of them moved.
His muscles were locked tight, forcing him to stand there rigidly as he battled with his inner beast, once more having to fight it down as it went berserk.
What is wrong with you? Get a grip! Down. Enough!
While he fought his inner battle, the silence between them lingered on. And on.
Jordyn shifted uncomfortably. Yet she didn’t look away.
It was up to him.
“Um, I should probably get back to it,” he said, his voice thick, taut, sounding utterly unlike himself.
“Right,” Jordyn said hoarsely.
With a monumental effort of willpower, Tars tore his gaze away, and retreated back inside the vault, putting bookshelves, and a wall—even if it was just a mesh wire—between them, hoping that it would calm his dragon down.
The instant she was out of eyesight, he was able to regain some semblance of control, but he didn’t know for how long…