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Gold

By:Terry Bolryder

hized with Adrien and his discomfort with the handsy humans, some of which had no compunction about reaching for even groins or rears, thinking wrongly that men couldn’t be offended about such things.

Or perhaps the dragons were so good looking that they obliterated all control the women had.

Who knew?

“Thank you,” Citrine said. But just as he was standing to shake Dante’s hand, there was a knock on the door. “Oh, right. I have an appointment. You may want to stay for this.”

Two

“What kind of appointment?” Dante asked, sitting back in the chair hesitantly.

“This is interesting,” Citrine said, getting up to open the door. “A lady called me earlier, offering her business consulting services in exchange for hiring one of our dragons.”

“How do you explain that name to humans again?”

“Our men are so hot they’re almost mythical?”

Dante wrinkled his nose but stayed in his seat as Citrine walked past him.

“I’m Ella,” a woman’s voice said.

“Hi,” Citrine replied, lowering his voice politely. “My name is Citrine, and this is Dante. I believe he is who you are interested in hiring?”

Dante perked up at that. When he saw the woman at the door, he stood subconsciously, snapping to attention to get a better look.

Despite her utterly unremarkable appearance, something about her almost instantly drew him.

As the door opened and Citrine moved out of the way, Dante found himself face to face with one of the most unsettling women he’d ever met.

Maybe ever.

Her dark-brown eyes devoured his appearance as he took in hers. She was his opposite. Pale, short, curvy, her body tucked into a sharp, boxy suit that seemed tailored to hide her curves. Clunky shoes that did nothing for her legs, which were probably nice under that too-long skirt.

Her hair made him tilt his head in confusion. It was hard to tell what it even looked like because it was tortured into a huge, tight, frizzy bun at the nape of her neck. So tight it seemed her face should be strained.

But she wasn’t strained at all. She was all calm and coolness, even as her chocolate eyes lit on each part of his body in turn, making him heated and uncomfortable.

Almost… predatory?

But then her eyes moved to his and she put out a hand, stepping forward with a smile that could only be called businesslike and a tone that could only be described as brisk.

“Dante, is it?” she asked coolly, shaking his hand firmly. She was strong for a round little thing. She walked past him to sit at the desk, and his eyes narrowed in consternation as she took his chair.

Or was he just disturbed at how easily she passed him? No gasping, no frozen expression, no openly gaping in admiration or arousal. No attempts to grope him as she passed.

Just a handshake and she was back to work.

He suppressed a grumble as he pulled over another chair and plopped into it beside her. She gave him a quick look and a grin, letting her eyes dart over him once more, and then turned back to Citrine.

She handed him a few pages of paper, stapled together, and began to talk to him about her plan as Dante sank into his chair, trying not to pout.

What did he care if this businesslike little frump didn’t look at him like other women?

Wasn’t that a good thing? Wasn’t he getting annoyed by all the over-the-top attention?

Then why was he so irritated by the fact that he sort of wanted it from this woman and couldn’t get it?

He could win over princesses. Why was he letting this little shrew get the better of him?

She let out a laugh that was more like a cackle, totally unladylike, at something Citrine said, and Citrine smiled warmly at her, totally won over.

Jealousy prickled through Dante.

Mate.

What?

His brain must be misfiring due to the complete wound to his ego. That had to be it. He stood. “If you don’t need me here…”

Citrine looked up at him as if he’d forgotten he was there. “I can handle this, Dante. You can go wait with Sever and Adrien. They should know about the appointment and be in there as well.”

Dante nodded, pulling his eyes away from their fervent inspection of Ella’s body. He couldn’t make out exactly what she was smuggling under that suit, but he wanted to.

He loosened his collar, forced himself to calm down, and went to wait with his team.

Ella hoped it wasn’t obvious that her heart was pounding like crazy as she followed Citrine out of his office to the main club where she would meet the men.

She’d already met one, and it had been almost too much for her hormones to handle.

She’d never known a male could be so… male. It was as if the air all around him were saturated with his maleness, and his pure, masculine beauty made her want to fall at his feet.

Sorcery.

If she’d been any less than the totally unromantic woman she was, she might have succumbed.

But she’d given up on men a long time ago, content to simply read about them or observe from afar. So she was pretty sure she could handle these beautiful creatures, pheromones or not.

Citrine put his hand on the ornate, silvered handles of the huge, white double doors. “I hope they don’t scare you away.”

“I’m not that easily frightened,” she said, waiting as he pulled the door open.

She stepped inside the room, refusing to hesitate, and felt as if the world froze around her as she took in everything.

The room was beautiful, a mix of modern and ornate. Everything in gray or white or silver, except the couches, which were black velvet. The tile was gleaming marble flecked with gold and silver that sparkled as she watched.

Who had built such a beautiful place for them? Everything, from the crown molding to the elegant chandelier, was of the utmost workmanship.

She needed to get the name of the contractor so she could give a referral to other businesses.

The lights were dimmed just enough to provide a feeling of relaxed elegance, but she could easily see well enough to make out the

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