Dragon it OUt: Blackhaven Manor, Book 3
As some of the last remaining dragon shifters in the world, Uriah Maddock and his siblings are regarded as something akin to royalty in the paranormal community. It’s one of the main reasons their hotel has become such a coveted destination for Otherlings. All he wants, though, is to be left alone. He’s not looking for love or romance. In fact, he actively avoids relationships and all their damning consequences.
Too bad his meddling sister didn’t get the memo.
Kit Meyers is pretty sure he’s hit rock bottom when his car breaks down in the small, mountain town of Echo Falls. He has no money, no place to live, and no prospects. When a not-so-chance encounter leads him to the infamous Blackhaven Manor, he figures he’ll stay for a few weeks, earn some cash, then head back to the safety of the road. But all that changes when he meets a surly dragon shifter with wounded eyes and even more baggage than himself.
Uriah can’t commit to a houseplant, let alone to being someone’s mate. Convinced that Kit is better off without him, he’s prepared to leave everything behind if that means the skittish human will be safe and happy. Yet, as the days pass, he keeps finding new excuses to stay, until he’s finally forced to admit that he’s not going anywhere.
Especially when he realizes he’s not the only dangerous person in Kit’s life.
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Uriah resisted the urge to roll his eyes as he returned to his desk. He didn’t like conducting interviews, and he certainly didn’t have the knack for it that Skye did. However, he wasn’t completely useless. Besides, as much as it pained him to admit it, if he did decide to take over the new hotel, his sister had a point. Hiring a new staff would be one of his first duties, so he might as well get used to it.
He took a moment to straighten his black T-shirt and smooth any wrinkles from his dark-wash jeans. Then, he tidied up his desk as best he could without disrupting the work he’d been doing. On the bright side, if he did the interviews, maybe he could talk Skye into finishing the inventory.
A soft knock sounded at his office door just as he settled down in his desk chair. A young woman with a pixie cut in a startling shade of bubblegum pink entered the room when he waved her in. She approached his desk cautiously, her hand shaking when she passed him what he assumed was her application and resume.
He skimmed it quickly, asked her a few appropriate questions, then hired her on the spot—pending a background check—to replace one of the missing housekeepers. Sadly, the next three interviews didn’t go nearly as well.
One guy had spent the entire interview flirting with him. Another young lady had been so terrified she had actually burst into tears and ran from the room. The other male had been decent, but unfortunately, Uriah had no choice but to send him away when he realized the kid was only sixteen.
An hour later, he had conducted eleven interviews and only managed to find one more member for the housekeeping staff and one porter. He didn’t even know if they needed another bellhop, but the girl had been sweet, and she’d clearly needed the job.
For all his bravado, by the time he reached the last name on the list—according to the two-word text Skye had sent him—he was starting to remember why he didn’t do interviews.
Tentative, muffled footsteps reached his ears first, followed by a nervous cough and a long, shuddering sigh. Goddess, he could smell the anxiety wafting in the air, and the guy hadn’t even reached the office door yet. Taking pity on the poor soul, Uriah arranged his features to appear as non-threatening as possible.
As the footsteps crept closer, however, the scent began to change, gradually deconstructing all of his careful preparation. The nervousness was still there, still the most prominent fragrance, but it was now tinged with something sweet and almost earthy. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it, couldn’t place the scent, but it was the most intoxicating thing he’d ever smelled.
It called to him, beckoned him closer. As if lassoed by some invisible line, he found himself halfway out of his seat by the time the newcomer reached the threshold of the doorway. That close, the scent hit him like a battering ram, nearly knocking him off his feet. If that wasn’t bad enough, it emanated from the most gorgeous man he’d ever seen.
Thick, wheat-colored curls haloed a round, youthful face with soft lips, a petite nose, and big, mesmerizing eyes the color of cinnamon. A baggy shirt and loose-fitting khakis flared around a slender, narrow frame, and the little bit of exposed skin on display looked too pale, too delicate.
That single word boomed inside his head, finally shaking him free of his hypnotic state. His mood plummeted, his emotions spinning from elation to fury in the span of seconds. And to think he’d actually believed his lying, conniving, meddling sister.
“Practice my ass,” he grumbled under his breath.
“Umm…Mr. Maddock?” The young man came forward a couple of steps. “I’m—”
“Sit,” Uriah barked, cutting him off and pointing at the armchair in front of the desk.
“Oh. Right. Okay.” He hurried to do what had been asked of him.
Sparing him only a passing glance, Uriah stalked past him and marched toward the door. “Stay there,” he commanded. “I’ll be back.”
“Is there a problem?”
Even in his anger, his instincts wouldn’t let him leave the room without offering some type of comfort to his mate. “You didn’t do anything wrong.” He still couldn’t bring himself to look at the guy. Instead, he stared through the open doorway and growled. “I just have to go murder my sister.”