Big City: Uptown Dragon by Cynthia Sax
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (40 Pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Foxglove
Some women age well. Hailey doesn't age at all. She knows she must be some type of paranormal yet she's never met another being like her... until she meets Oro. This arrogant, handsome dragon shifter claims she is his mate, and insists they bond immediately.
Oro is a golden dragon shifter. He is handsome and strong and a dragon so he doesn't understand why Hailey refuses to bond with him. He covers her with molten gold and sets her body ablaze, yet she continues to refuse his advances. What more can a female dragon want... than him?
Life can be complicated when you know you aren’t human, but don’t know exactly what you are. Hailey has no idea what she is, only that she doesn’t age, and men rarely can handle more than one romantic encounter with her. When she and her companion, Ember, step across the threshold to Oro’s high end jewelry shop, she's drawn to the gold in the cases, and decides this is the job they will take: as assistants to the owner himself.
Oro recognizes immediately that Hailey's a dragon, and more importantly, his mate. He accepts her as his ‘assistant’ for the time being, and sets out to make her more than that. After all, he is a prime specimen of male dragon, rich and available: what more could Hailey desire? As for Hailey, she's delighted that Oro is a match for her, but she wants to be wanted for herself, not just because she's that rarest of beings, a female dragon. She wants his heart, not just the mating bond. Can Oro give Hailey what she wants as well as what they both need? Is there a perfect match or just the shared attraction of the gold between them?
Cynthia Sax has written a hot but endearing story of one dragon’s search for love, liberally laced with lots of lust and passion. This world is an intriguing place, with paranormal living side by side with humans, and strange friendships in place. The characters are well defined with humor and personalities unique to each. I like that Hailey’s best friend, Ember, is a wolf shifter with a pet Chihuahua, and is fully aware of the pitfalls that surround Hailey.
Hailey is a wonderful character, loyal to her friend, and determined to find her place in the world. There's a vulnerability to her, in spite of the dragon strength she has, because she wants to be loved, not because she's a dragon, but in spite of it. When Oro tries to claim her as his mate, she holds back, hoping he can prove that she means more to him than just what she is. I love Hailey’s determination to be reckoned with as an equal, not a mating toy. She's smart, sassy and gives as good as she gets.
Oro is strong, rich and yet lonely. He has despaired of ever finding his true mate, and has been willing to settle for much less before Hailey appeared in his store. Once he sees her, touches her, he knows she's his mate, but must find a way to win her, proving to her how much she means to him. I like Oro’s sense of humor, and his sneaky ploys to try to win Hailey to his side.
There's a terrific cast of secondary characters in this, from Ember the wolf shifter sidekick to Russ, Oro’s partner, a red haired, freckled vampire with a wanna-be vamp girlfriend. Each character brings a unique bit of flair to this hot little story, and nothing is hotter than Oro’s seduction of Hailey on his office desk. The subterfuge he uses and the lengths he goes to win Hailey will delight anyone who likes hot and delicious happy ever after in a story.