SNEAK PEEK of Mated To The Dragon King: Purely Paranormal Pleasures (unedited - not for sharing!!!)
Mate. Mate. Mate. Shit. The second Cora stepped foot inside the gleaming palace or castle or whatever the hell it was called she’d picked up on one irrefutable fact, someone in this place was hers.
Someone who smelled like delicious like smoky hardwood and clean pine. Her inner Lynx tensed, demanding she go in search of the owner of that tantalizing fragrance.
“Are you from Merlin Banking Solutions?” a thin guy who looked more like a geek than any kind of supernatural asked her from behind the enormous gilt door.
She held her breath for a moment, hoping beyond hope this person was not whom fate had chosen for her. Shit. She didn’t mean to be an ass about it and guilt assailed her immediately.
She knew better than to judge any book by its cover, having been slightly overweight most of her life. It wasn’t just his lack of appeal, but the fact he was looking at her like she was a piece of junk mail. Not hatred really, but close enough.
It wasn’t easy being chubby in a family of super fit Shifters. Iberian Lynxes were endangered in the wild, and the Shifter species was also considered quite rare. Unlike Wolves and Bears, they did not have Packs or Clans, and relied upon their families to teach them what they needed to know about Shifter life.
Though solitary beasts, because of their small numbers they tended to get together for social events to encourage mating between non-related Shifters. Eurasian Lynx Shifters and Bobcats often joined those events as they were similar enough to the Iberian Lynx and suffered with the same population crisis.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how she felt about it at the time, Cora had only attended a handful of the events. Her mother, being a hopeless romantic, insisted she only go to see if her Fated Mate was there. And he hadn’t been.
In fact, she’d had no inkling that the universe had even thought about gifting her with her perfect half. Until now. Uh oh.
“Hello? I asked if you are from Merlin?” The skinny young man inquired yet again. She could see form the look of him, he was not big into his looks. His hair was too long, his glasses were crooked, and his clothes were too small even for him.
“Uh, yes,” she answered. The action caused her to breathe and when she did, she exhaled with relief that his was not her one. Especially since he was a normal, and she had no interest in walking on eggshells her entire life.
Even a chubby Shifter had some serious pack to her punch. She’d gotten into trouble a few times as a cub for using it against normals. Not that she felt too bad about it. After all, Hayden Jones had called her a fatso on plenty of occasions to warrant the punch to the nose she’d given him in fifth grade.
It didn’t matter now. She was a lot more confident than she had been in grade school. Had dated a couple of really nice men who liked the way she looked. Besides, she no longer thought of herself as fat. She preferred to think of herself as curvy. Hey, a girl had to eat and being a Shifter meant she had a pretty large appetite.
Hopefully, whoever her mate was would be fine with that. Curiosity and fear warred with each other as she slowly followed skinny dude down the tastefully decorated corridor.
She was momentarily dumbstruck as she looked around. The place was remarkable. Modern art hung next to classical pieces in perfect harmony. Her heels clicked on the highly polished marble floors, occasionally cut with impressive delicate rugs. The freshly painted walls were light, with gold moldings she couldn’t tell were real or not.
She had a feeling they were as they gleamed like metal rather than wood. Wooden chairs with rose colored cushions and a matching antique sofa were arranged in front of a fireplace. A beautifully finished coffee table sat at the center.
Floor to ceiling windows overlooked the mountainside bringing a rush of green and life into the castle. Tall vases with freshly cut flowers were spread throughout the space. She even spied a potted tree or two.
It shouldn’t have worked, but it did. Wonderfully so, she thought to herself with a small smile. Whoever had designed this space had done so with a distinct eye, creating a striking and yet comfortable atmosphere. She wondered for a moment if her client was him. It could just as easily be a servant or one of the contractors she saw milling about the place.
Was she even ready for a mate? How could she handle this? True she’d been living a life of work and traveling keeping that little apartment in Weehawken, New Jersey as her home base but having no real life of her own. What would this mean?
Would she have to live here? South America was awesome, but what about her friends? Her mom? Oh no, she couldn’t leave her mom.
Slow down, Cora. The tasteful opulence of the room she wound up in was suddenly suffocating. Maybe the guy who owned this was a jerk?
Just look at all this stuff, she forced herself to try and find fault with it, but it was difficult. Yes. It was definitely too a lot for a middle-class girl from New Jersey. But she had read the file on this guy and knew it was a drop in the bucket of his vast wealth. She swallowed hard.
Crap. If this was her mate he might think she was nothing but a gold digger.
“Just breathe,” she murmured to herself.
“Oh, nothing,” she said to the young man and turned down yet another corridor. How big was this place anyway?
He stopped in front of a pair of heavy wooden double doors carved with a mountainous landscape and she wondered for a moment if it was this mountain.
Then the incredibly thin young man opened the doors and the scent was back. Smoky hardwood and pine, she stilled and spotted him.
The air left her lungs and her mind went blank as she stared. She couldn’t help herself. He seemed to attract her complete attention like a moth to a flame. Her Lynx roared inside her mind’s eye. Mate!
The stranger was devastatingly handsome. Tall and muscular, she could tell even from his present position. He sat behind a beautiful antique desk in a chair that was more of a throne with its velvet cushion and gilded ornaments.
The juxtaposition between such lavish luxury and his simple cotton tee should have been funny, but Cora found nothing humorous. In fact, it only made his impossible masculinity all the more seductive.
Long, black hair tied tightly at his nape, he blew back a few strands that escaped to fall around his face. She wanted to go to him and fix it, but she stayed rooted to the spot. Struck dumb as it were, until he opened his mouth.
“Alameda, send her away. Tell the bank to send a man.”