Chapter 1 Dustin
Dustin Horde rubbed his head. This publishing party was starting to be more trouble than it would be worth. He and his twin brother Brett were celebrating fifty years of being in business. As dragon shifters, they lived for a long time. Brett was currently MIA. Dustin had called him several hours ago to check on the printers and the book they would give away as the gift to their party guests.
“Mr. Horde, your brother is on line one,” Layla, his assistant, called through their intercom.
“Thanks, Layla.” He picked up the line.
“Brett, where are you?”
“At the printers, they said one book had an issue. It is the new graphic novel by Justin Fae. I stopped in to see what the problem was.”
“It looks like one page sent to us from the artist didn’t process correctly. I need Layla to get in touch with the artist and have them resend the page.” Brett sounded irritated, Dustin echoed his feelings.
“Just what we need before our party tonight. No one hears about the issue. Have we have sent any of the books to the stores yet?”
“No, they caught the mistake when the first book came through the machine,” Brett answered with a growl.
“Grateful for minor miracles.”
“Except the book is the party favor for all our guests tonight,” Brett pointed out and Dustin groaned.
“Fuck. I’ll get Layla on it now.” Dustin hung up and walked out of the office.
“Layla, I need you to get in touch with whoever illustrates Justin Fae’s books,” he ordered passing through the office.
“That is Jenny Wexley. I can try to get in touch with her, but she isn’t awake usually at this time.” Dustin stopped and looked at his watch. It read, twelve.
“Why would anyone still be asleep at this time? How do you know?”
“Jenny and I are friends from high school. She is asleep because she draws through the night. She isn’t very social,” Layla explained, picking up her phone. Dustin watched and waited, using his shifter hearing he heard the phone ring and ring, but no answer.
“Doesn’t look like she is awake. Is something wrong?” Layla asked, putting the receiver down. Dustin looked over at his assistant. She had blond hair and pretty blue eyes. Many of his clients made comments about her beauty. He liked her because she did her job well and got results.
“One of the pages she sent is missing. The download must not have been complete. It is the book we are handing out at our party tonight.” He watched as Layla’s eyes went wide.
“That doesn’t sound like Jenny. She is very thorough with her work.”
“Call Brett and have him talk to the printers again. Maybe they messed something up on their end. Can you give me Jenny’s address, I want to talk to her now. We don’t have time to wait for her to wake up.”
“Yes, sir.” Layla handed him a sticky note with an address written on it. Looking at it, he realized she lived an hour from the office.
“Call me when you hear from Brett.” Dustin marched out of his office straightening his tie. He unlocked his sports car and climbed in. Slamming on the gas, he tore out of the underground garage and away from the city. He hated driving slowly and once he drove onto the highway, he let his car fly. In thirty minutes he was pulling up to a beat down apartment building. Did all his authors and artists live in such shoddy conditions? His dragon bristled in his chest as he climbed out of his car. Something was upsetting his dragon. The faster he spoke to Jenny Wexley, the faster they could go back to their penthouse in the city. Checking the posted note, he saw she lived on the third floor, which was smart of her to live away from the streets. Knocking on her apartment door, he waited. If what Layla said was true she would be asleep and needed time to register someone knocking. He pounded loudly to hopefully gain her attention. A petite, curvy brunette haired woman with snapping green eyes opened the door with a scowl that would have kowtowed a less imposing man.
“What the hell do you want? It better be a good reason to interrupt my sleep?” she asked, blocking her doorway. Dustin took a minute to admire the woman. She wore a large t-shirt that stopped at her thick thighs. Dustin imagined himself burying his face between those thighs and tasting her. She was amazing. His dragon sat up and huffed. It wanted to touch her.
“I’m looking for Jenny Wexley,” he replied, not letting her prickly personality get to him.
“That’s me. Can I help you?” Her exhaustion was clear, making him want to pick her up and carry her back to bed.
“I’m Dustin Horde.” He let his name hang in the air before her eyes went wide.
“Did I do something wrong?”
“There might be something wrong. You are not in trouble though,” he replied, he didn’t want her to fear him.
“Come in,” she answered, moving out of the way. Dustin looked around her small apartment, seeing clothing hanging off the back of the couch. The kitchen had piled dishes, and the trash needed taking out.
“Sorry about the mess. I had a deadline I needed to meet,” she explained with a blush on her face. Dustin thought she looked even sexier with the blush.
“Let me get dressed.” She slipped into a bedroom door, and he heard the snick of the lock. Smiling, he couldn’t help but clean up her kitchen. He couldn’t stand the mess, but he understood many people didn’t mind. His brother Brett was like that, he would leave his things everywhere. By the time she came back out, he had cleaned the dishes and taken her trash to the dumpster. She wore a pair of faded jeans and a large sweater.
“Oh my god, you didn’t have to do that,” she protested, rushing around to grab all her clothing and toss it into her bedroom. He tried hard not to wince, this wasn’t his place.
“I wanted to help.” He settled on the beat up couch and motioned for her to take a seat. She sat in a worn out recliner, one he suspected didn’t recline anymore.
“You are my boss. I am embarrassed you had to see my place at all,” she whispered. Her fiery spirit vanished now that she was awake and knew who he was, he suspected.
“It seems one page is missing from your most recent novel with Justin Fae. We have our anniversary party tonight and were planning to give it out as a party favor. The printer noticed the mistake this morning as they began printing the books. Brett called me to ask us to get in touch with you. Layla Smith, my secretary, tried to call you, but you didn’t answer. We couldn’t wait for you to wake up, so I came out here to talk to you personally.” He watched her eyes go wide, and she jumped to her feet. Her breasts bounced as she hurried into her bedroom once more. Dustin groaned, watching her large ass slip through the door. He had to work hard to keep his dragon from coming out to claim her.