Copyright © 2016 Terra Wolf
Silas, Desired by a Dragon
All Rights Reserved worldwide.
No part of this book may be reproduced, uploaded to the Internet, or copied without permission from the author. The author respectfully asks that you please support artistic expression and help promote anti-piracy efforts by purchasing a copy of this book at the authorized online outlets.
This is a work of fiction intended for mature audiences only. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Some may be used for parody purposes. Any resemblance to events, locales, business establishments, or actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is purely coincidental.
All sexual activities depicted occur between consenting characters 18 years or older who are not blood related.
another box out of my trunk. This one was heavier than it looked. My fingers and forearms burned in seconds from the weight. I wasn’t sure what made me think I could tackle this all on my own. While it wasn’t the first time I’d moved from one town to another, it was definitely the first time I’d done so by myself.
It was something I was proud of.
I had gathered the boxes, packed them, and crammed them into the tiny trailer I rented from U-Haul all by myself. While I was proud of all this, it was driving my SUV across three states with the trailer hitched to the back that had me ecstatic, considering my ex never thought I could drive worth a shit. I’d made it in one piece. Screw him.
Being careful not to drop the box full of dishes in my trek across the gravel driveway, a smile spread across my face as I thought of everything I’d already accomplished.
The box in my arms grew heavier with every step I took, forcing my smile to melt away. I glanced ahead, measuring the distance between myself and the weathered steps to my new porch. It wasn’t far. I could do this.
After a few more careful steps, my muscles burned to the point of no return. I cursed myself for over-packing the box. Would it have killed me to have hunted down one more box? Maybe I should have taken my sister’s advice and hired a crew to help unload my things.
, I scolded myself. It most likely would have been a crew of men, and I didn’t need a man’s help for anything. I’d decided that months ago.
The whole purpose of my move was to prove to my family, as well as myself, I wasn’t weak-minded and dependent on my ex-husband like everyone thought. I didn’t need a man. I was perfectly fine alone.
Clips of the conversation between me and my mother flipped through my head. I could hear her telling me to hang around town at least another month, so when the other shoe fell I’d be close when I needed her. My lips flattened into a thin line at the thought. I hated that she was waiting around for me to fall apart so she could glue me back together again like she always had in the past. My back stiffened. This time would be different, because that was the old me. The woman who would rather look the other way and pretend she didn’t see her husband pinch someone else’s ass than deal with it. I was a different person now, and there was no way in hell I was going to fall apart because things between me and that asshole hadn’t worked out.
I gritted my teeth in frustration as images of Jackson and my so-called best friend Kimmy having sex in our bed crept into my mind. My blood boiled as the sounds of her fake ass moaning and panting filled my ears for the millionth time. My feet picked up their pace as anger fueled my steps toward the porch. In my mad rush, I didn’t see a boulder-sized rock in my path and rolled my ankle, jerking my body to the side. The box of dishes fell from my arms as pain shot through my ankle, spreading across the top of my foot. I managed to right myself before falling to the ground, but couldn’t save the box. It landed at my feet and the sound of dishes breaking filled my ears. A slew of curse words flew from my mouth as I stared at the stupid thing, gripping my hurt ankle.
“Colorful choice of words,” an unfamiliar male voice said from somewhere close. There was a level of amusement in his tone that irked me yet intrigued me at the same time.
I glanced around to find the owner of the voice, unsure how I felt about having someone witness me when I wasn’t at my finest. My eyes landed on a tall, devilishly handsome man standing on the porch of the house next door. Heat rushed to my cheeks. He was the last person I’d want to see me in such a mess. He had a head of thick, dark hair and a chiseled set of abs. His broad shoulders glistened in the hot afternoon sun, and a set of fierce eyes that had me wondering what color they were up close stared back at me. The guy was like a freaking Greek god dressed in a pair of sneakers and athletic shorts.
I let go of my ankle, and put as little pressure on it as I could while trying to right myself. “Yeah, sorry about that.”
“Don’t apologize.” His lips curled into a half smile that had me thinking he was nothing but trouble. “I was enjoying the show.”
I didn’t need to know his name. I didn’t need to know his background. I could tell from one smile he’d cause me a shit ton of pain and suffering if I gave him an inch to work his way into my life. Distance was the only thing I needed to worry about when it came to this man.
As though he could read my thoughts, he started down the steps of his porch. I told myself I should pick up my box and make my way inside before he could reach me, but all I could do was stand there, waiting to see what he would do next.
The closer he came, the taller he seemed to be. He had to be close to six two. Which meant he towered over my tiny five foot three frame, something he seemed to have taken notice of as well, considering the way his smirk seemed to grow. I waited for the jokes of being “fun-size” or “a tiny, little thing” to fly from his mouth any second now. When he came to stop in front of me, I didn’t look up at his face. Instead, I fixated on his chest. The urge to trace over his sculpted muscles with the tip of my index finger was nearly overpowering. I’d never seen a man this beautiful.
“It’s possible you might need new dishes,” he surprised me by saying. The timbre of his voice was low and rich. It shot tingles through my core I hadn’t felt in years. “What do you think? Think they survived the crash?”
I blinked. “Excuse me?”
He pointed to the box I’d dropped. Not only did the bottom corner appear to be smashed, but the tape along the top had come undone as well, allowing full view of the crumpled up newspaper I’d used to wrap them in.
“Your dishes. I’m willing to bet most of them are broken.”
I caught a whiff of his body wash, or maybe it was his deodorant, and felt a tingling sensation between my thighs. Jackson had always smelled like sweat and grease and his hands had always been stained black from working on other people’s vehicles. I tried to tell myself he had working man hands, but the truth was I never believed it. I always thought the grime under his nails and grease staining his palms were the product of laziness. I bought him dozens of products over the years that were supposed to erase such things.
My gaze drifted to the hands of the Greek god standing in front of me. They were big and strong looking without a speck of grease or grime. The nails were trimmed short and clean underneath. While I couldn’t see if there were rough patches along his palms that might give me a clue as to what he did for a living, I found that I didn’t care. He could be an assassin or clock in everyday at one of the most disgusting jobs known to man and I’d still want him.
And, oh God did I want him.
The thought of his big hands skimming across my skin while inching toward my most sensitive areas, teasing me with the promise of pleasure, rippled through me.
“Can I help you carry some of this stuff inside?” His deep voice jerked me from my thoughts.
I shook my head. “No, I’m fine.”
What was wrong with me? I’d never wanted to jump a stranger so badly before. I’d also never come across one who looked like this guy though, either.
My gaze dipped to his chiseled abs again. It took me all of one second to decide his back muscles were probably just as mouthwatering. I imagined watching them ripple and move as he hoisted boxes into the air and carried them inside my new place for me.
I cleared my throat and flashed him a smile. “Yeah.”
“Can you walk?” He motioned to my ankle.
I’d forgotten about my mishap. Warmth rushed to my cheeks at the thought of him seeing me look like an idiot when I’d tripped. “Oh, yeah. I think I’m fine.”
I was. I just needed to get control of my damn hormones and walk away. I’d made it this far in my journey without asking a man for help and I wasn’t about to start now. No matter how hot the guy was.
“Really, because I’ve been watching and you haven’t moved from where you’re standing. How could you know if you were truthfully okay?” Another smirk twisted his lips, becoming the reminder I needed to get a hold of myself.
I shifted my weight, testing the ankle out myself. It hurt like hell to put any pressure on it, but I’d be damned if I was going to admit it. “See, I’m good. Thanks, though.”
He folded his arms over his solid chest. “Stubborn. I get it. I have a sister just like you.”
I tugged at the edges of my tank top, trying to ignore the fact that he’d placed me in the same category as his sister. No woman wanted to remind a hot guy of his sister, even if she wasn’t planning to date him. Generally, it was my being short and petite that had guys lumping me in the sister category. This was the first time it had happened because a guy thought I was stubborn.
“Right. That’s me. Stubborn through and through.” I took a few cautious steps toward my box of broken dishes. Bolts of pain shot through my ankle, but I did my best to ignore them. I needed this guy to go away before I did something stupid, like crush my lips to his or grab his crotch.
“Okay. I guess I’ll see you around.”
Even if we weren’t neighbors, I had no doubts he was right. Willow Vale wasn’t exactly a metropolis. “Yeah, see you around.”
The fast crunching of gravel caught my attention and I turned to see him breaking into a slow jog. I hadn’t given much thought to his choice of clothing, or lack thereof, until then. While he did look as though he was planning to go out for an afternoon jog, I didn’t think he actually was, especially not in this heat. This was the type of heat a person could suffer from a heatstroke in if they weren’t careful. It was barely three o’clock and it had to be close to ninety. How could he think this was jogging weather?
I smoothed my frizzy hair away from my face and placed a hand on my hip as I continued to stare at him, watching as those back muscles of his I’d fantasized about earlier shifted from the sway of his arms and glistened in the sunlight. There were two things about my new neighbor that twisted through my mind as my eyes continued to follow after him: One, he was trouble with a capital T when it came to matters of my heart, because no guy who looked that good was a damn gentleman. And two, living next to him was sure to recharge the sluggish libido I’d suffered from for the last several years, even if I kept my distance.
. The thought came to me too late. My feet had already propelled me too far away to turn back without making myself look like an idiot. I wondered if my sister Scarlet would know what her name was. She tended to know more about these things than I did. It wasn’t that she was a nosy gossip, it was that she put herself out there more than I did. I tended to be a loner, preferring to keep to myself.
As I cut toward my favorite trail that led through moss-covered trees and around the swampy glades bordering the edges of Willow Vale, I couldn’t keep from wondering why the woman was here. What could have possibly brought such a beautiful woman to this tiny town off the beaten path? If she’d been a shifter, I would have known my answer. We were drawn to this place by the promise of salvation. It was one of the few safe places in the states not corrupted by territories. However, since my sexy new neighbor had something about her that screamed human to me, her reason for moving here was a mystery.
A flash of her smile slipped through my mind, followed by an image of her ample chest. Tension worked its way through the muscles of my neck and back. My feet pounded against the packed dirt of the path beneath me harder as I picked up my pace. Sunlight beat down on my bare back, causing an added layer of sweat to coat my skin. It was close to ninety out, which was today’s max temperature, but I didn’t mind.
Unlike some of the others living in Willow Vale, I enjoyed the heat. It reminded me of home. An ache built inside my chest, but I pushed my mind elsewhere before it could settle in. I didn’t need to think of home, because thinking of home would only make me think of Vanessa. And that was something I couldn’t do. Not today, and quite possibly, not ever.
A splash in the distant murky waters of the swamp jerked me back from the brink of deadly thoughts and to the present. I inhaled a deep breath, sucking in the dampness and scent of decay hanging in the air. My gaze shifted along the water’s edge, but I didn’t see anything. The sound of a bird making noise as it flew by echoed in my ears. I wasn’t alone, but it was foolish to ever think such a thing in a place like Willow Vale. Especially this section.
This was the place where things of nightmares could be seen. It was hunting grounds for most, but to me, it was just a place to unwind. I wasn’t afraid of what hid in the shadows, because some might say I was something from a nightmare myself if they were to see me in my true form.
As I rounded one of the bends near the widest area of the marshlands, the sensation of someone watching me prickled across my skin. I was being tracked, hunted. I could feel it. I slowed my pace and surveyed my surroundings with more attentiveness, searching for any potential threat. While I had yet to run into any true threats to my dragon form, I was still new to town, which meant I hadn’t yet determined the different shifter breeds taking up residence.
I narrowed my eyes and let out a low growl to ward off anyone toying with me. It was intended to let them know I meant business, should they proceed in tracking me. When no one stepped forward, and nothing was heard again, I continued with my afternoon jog.
Pushing my body harder than I had during any other run this week, I made a mad dash home. Normally, I enjoyed taking my time on my afternoon runs. Soaking in the heat and humidity of the air was what I lived for. Today was different, though, because my mind was consumed with other things.
When my sneakers touched the asphalt of the road, I felt the same tension I’d struggled to work away during my run tighten the muscles between my shoulder blades and along the base of my neck. The sensation had everything to do with the blue-eyed woman moving in next door. I knew it did, but that didn’t mean I understood it.
The struggle to not stare at her place as I passed by was more difficult than I thought it would be. I listened as I jogged by it, hoping she’d be fighting with another box. I vowed to help her this time instead of standing by watching.
Disappointment I hadn’t expected to feel clouded my mind when I didn’t see any sign of her. The front door was shut tight, but there were still a few boxes in the back of her trailer. She’d either decided to take a break or her ankle had gotten the best of her. I wondered if I should have been more persuasive in my offer to help. She was definitely stubborn, but it made her even more intriguing.
I jogged up the steps of my porch and kicked off my shoes. Scarlet hated when I wore muddy swamp sneakers inside the house. It was a rule she would chew me out for breaking, so it was one I forced myself to remember. Inside, the house was silent. I knew my sister was home though, because it was Tuesday. She never worked on Mondays or Tuesdays. I wasn’t sure how she managed to acquire both days off at the local diner, but somehow she had.
“Scar, you home?” I made my way through the downstairs without spotting her before deciding to check her bedroom upstairs. There was a good chance she was sleeping. “Scarlet?” I rapped my knuckles across her bedroom door.
“What do you want, Silas?” Her groggy voice filtered through the wooden door to my ears. “I’m trying to sleep.”
I cracked the door open and peeked my head inside. The shades were drawn, making the room dark, but I was able to make out her form beneath the pale pink comforter on her bed. “I wanted to see if you’d met our new neighbor yet?” My words sounded awkward as they fell from my mouth. I licked my lips and cleared my throat in the hope she was too tired to pick up on my discomfort.
Scarlet flung the blankets away from her face and moved into a sitting position. Her head tipped to the side as she stared at me with curiosity burning through her bronze-colored eyes.
She’d picked up on everything I hoped she wouldn’t.
“Why do you ask?” she demanded.
I pushed the door open wider, leaning against the frame while still holding her gaze. “Just curious.”
“There has to be a reason why you’re asking.” She slipped out of bed and pushed past me. I followed behind her as she descended the stairs, knowing she was headed for the kitchen, at the same time positive she wouldn’t give me the information I wanted until I told her why I was asking.
“I already told you, curiosity.”
She paused once she reached the coffee machine. I watched as she grabbed the pot and placed it beneath the tap to fill it with water. “Bullshit.”
“Excuse me?” I folded my tall frame into one of the uncomfortable chairs Scarlet had insisted we had to have at the breakfast table and stared at her.
“I call bullshit.” She poured water into the machine. “You and I both know there isn’t a single person in this town you’ve cared to ask a thing about. Not even their name, Silas. So what is it about this woman that has your muscles twisted into knots and your pheromones kicking?” She arched a brow.
“Not true.” It was, but I wasn’t about to admit it. Maybe the stubborn streak that always ran through Scarlet was suddenly becoming dominant in me as well.
After dumping more scoops than necessary of her coconut coffee into the machine and pressing the button, she twisted around to face me. “You like her, don’t you?”
“What? No,” I scoffed.
“You do.” She grinned. “Admit it. You have the hots for the new neighbor.”
“Whatever.” I stood and started toward the stairs.
“Violet,” Scarlet called after me. “Her name is Violet Hanner. She’s the new hairdresser at the salon on Maple you visit all the time. Camille’s place. That’s all I know about her.”
. A shiver rushed along my spine as the name linked with her beautiful face in my mind. I started up the steps, thinking to myself it was probably time I had my hair cut.