Aiding the Dragon
Twisting the knob, Teagan entered the small room. Aaron’s back was to her. While she appreciated his broad shoulders and his thick, dark hair, she smiled at how he was tapping his fingers. He always did that when it came to meeting with her, either in person or via a video conference. “Just make sure not to wear down my table with your nails.”
Aaron’s movements stopped. He turned and Teagan hid her surprise. The male had grown a close-cut beard since the last time she’d seen him. The dark whiskers made him look wiser.
And maybe a wee bit sexier. Not that she’d ever tell him that.
Then he frowned and she banished that thought. Grumpy wasn’t what she needed, among many other things.
Aaron growled, “I wouldn’t have to tap my fingers in the first place if you were on time.”
Killian took a step toward Aaron, but Teagan put up a hand. “I’ll deal with him. Eliza is waiting for you. Go with her and search Sadie’s things. Update me on any developments.”
Her brother nodded and exited the room. Like most males in her clan, he obeyed her orders without question.
Aaron, on the other hand, leaned back in his chair and propped his feet on the table. “Should I get comfortable whilst you use a power play to assert your dominance? Or are you actually going to tell me why I’m here?”
She walked up to his feet and pushed them off the table. “Keep your dirty bloody boots on the floor. Do that again, and I’ll make sure you always have a bucket and rag to clean up after yourself.”
His pupils flashed to slits and back, signaling he was talking to his dragon. “I’m not here to clean.”
She shrugged. “The way I understand it, you’re here to help me for the next few weeks. Bram didn’t say cleaning was off-limits.”
Aaron stood. His dark brown eyes met her green. They were exactly the same height, which was a nice change. Teagan was tall, even by female dragon-shifter standards.
She barely had time to note the flecks in his eyes when he spat out, “Cleaning is off-limits. As is babysitting or being assigned entry-level guard duty. I’m a trained Protector. If it’s not related to my job, then I’ll refuse to do it.”
She raised an eyebrow. “And what? Disappoint your clan leader and destroy his hard work at trying to strengthen our alliance?”
“Bram would see it my way. Besides, you need this alliance more than we do. We already have Lochguard at our back. Who do you have?”
His words stung and her dragon stood at attention.
He was correct that she needed the alliance, but she wasn’t about to put up with bullshit to achieve it. That was the wrong message to send to Stonefire.
She had dealt with many a male acting like Aaron Caruso. She knew what to do.
Fisting his shirt, she pulled him close. For a split second, her dragon reveled in his scent and the heat of his body so close to theirs, but Teagan quickly pushed her beast to the back of her mind. As Aaron’s eyes flashed, she swept his legs with her own. Aaron lost his balance and Teagan guided him to the floor, face down. With his hands behind him and her knee in his lower back, she leaned down to his ear and whispered, “Just because I’m female doesn’t mean you will treat me as any less of a clan leader, understood?”
He turned his head to meet her eyes. “I’m not doing it because you’re female. I’m doing it because you’re irritating.”
Resisting the urge to press a talon against his throat, she replied, “That just earned you guard duty. Maybe twenty-four hours without sleep will teach you a lesson in etiquette.”
She withdrew a key from her pocket and released Aaron. Before he could do more than rise to his hands and knees, she dashed out the sole door and locked it.
His voice was muffled through the door. “Let me out, bloody woman. This isn’t how you treat a guest.”
“Aye, you’re right. It’s how I treat a pest.”