Hiya! I’m here as Holly today! I have a new book out called The Book Dragon’s Lair, and I’ve been looking forward to telling y’all about it! 😁
I wrote it to celebrate Bookstore Romance Day, and when I planned my year, it was one of the few days I’d decided I was gonna write. Normally, I don’t look too far ahead. My goal is to have one release a month, and while I have days I want to do, most months are open for changes. Not all. Like in December, we’ll have a story for Crossword Puzzle Day, I knew I was gonna do that back in the spring. Not because I solve a lot of crosswords, I don’t, but I had an idea 😊
It was the same thing with this story. I saw Bookstore Romance Day, and I instantly thought of a romance developing in a bookstore. I saw an evil dragon hoarding books – a book dragon 😆 – and then another more pleasant dragon taking over.
Ryu the Ravenous is a sought-after bachelor in the dragon realm. He’s close to royal and he has a lot of gemstones, but he’s jealous of Draken the Dreadful. Draken the Dreadful is a dreadful dragon, and he doesn’t appreciate what he has, so when he’s killed in battle, Ryu pretends to be him. He’s injured in the same battle Draken is, so he pretends he’s the one who was killed and takes Draken’s place in the human realm.
There he has to learn to be a book dragon, which isn’t easy since books aren’t really treasures – they don’t sparkle! And how is he to take over Draken’s human mate? The man does his best to avoid Ryu and he wants him to stop.
I had so much fun writing this one, sooo much fun! 😄
The Book Dragon’s Lair
Egil Olsen is running The Book Dragon’s Lair, a bookstore on Dragon Row, while Draken the Dreadful, his mate, is away fighting a war on the other side of the veil. The relief of not having Draken around is great. For the first time in years, Egil doesn’t have to watch every move he makes. When word reaches him that Draken is on his way home after having been injured, he considers running away.
The dragon stepping over the threshold to The Book Dragon’s Lair isn’t Draken, though. He claims to be, but Egil knows his mate, and while all dragons are dangerous, the male standing before him is nowhere near as cruel as his mate. Ryu never wanted to be a book dragon. Books don’t sparkle, but if it’s the price he has to pay to be in the human realm, he will pay it. He’ll take over Draken the Dreadful’s treasure, and he hopes he can take over his mate, too. Egil doesn’t want to be mated to a dragon, but without a mate, he’d be homeless and without a job.
A few hours after having met Ryu, Egil thinks being mated to him might not be too bad, but how will they be able to fool the people around them into believing Ryu is Draken? And what will happen if the real Draken comes back?
Gay paranormal romance: 33,671 words
Ryu stared at the tall building. The old gray bricks reached toward the sky. The arched mullioned windows had to be from floor to ceiling on the ground level. On the other floors, the windows were smaller and sparser except for one in the tower room large enough for a dragon to get through. Ryu smiled. It was so he could shift and fly.
Filling his lungs, he focused on the bottom floor again. A large sign above the door announced he was looking at The Book Dragon’s Lair. He snorted. Book dragon. Pathetic. Then he shook himself. He was Draken now, which meant he was a book dragon.
The cold light of dawn gave the building a magical, almost sinister look. He stepped forward. The key burned in his pocket, and he longed to unlock the door and step inside.
He’d been terrified someone would’ve figured out he wasn’t who he claimed he was these last few months while he’d been treated for his burns. Wincing, he hesitated. What if he disgusted Draken’s mate? His mate. How would he fool him? The nurses back home had told him the scarring wasn’t too bad on his face. He stared at a monster whenever he looked into the mirror, but they claimed he still was handsome. Though they wouldn’t dare say anything else. No sane dragon would risk upsetting his mother. They didn’t know he was Wyvern the Wicked’s son, though. So why would they lie? Nurses tended to be kinder than other dragons.
Ryu snorted. More than once, he’d cursed his looks. Now he’d do anything to see the familiar face when he looked at his refection.
He walked up the wide stairs and noted a few green leaves on a vein planted in the gravel. The human realm lacked the lush greenery of his home, and if this was what the soil was like, he understood why everything was gray and dull instead of rich and fertile. How could anyone live here?
Doubt seized him. Perhaps this was a mistake. He’d given up his treasures and the beauty of the dragon realm in exchange for escape, but would his soul wither here?
Knocking on the door, he waited. When no one opened, he knocked again, harder this time.
Soon after, a small human man with hair the color of spun gold appeared on the other side of the window. His eyes widened, and he took a quick step back, fear visible in every line of his face before he looked down toward the floor. Ryu tried not to wince. He shouldn’t have listened to the nurses.
He looked like a monster.
The man on the other side of the glass straightened his back, unlocked the door, but didn’t look up from the floor. “Hello?”
“Egil?” Or was it Eskil? The last few minutes in the watchtower were a blur, but he believed Draken had said Egil. “I’m back.” His tongue was unwilling to form the lie, but when Egil only nodded, his gaze still locked on the floor, he believed it had sounded plausible.
A second or two went by before Ryu realized he was waiting for an invitation. A male didn’t need an invitation to his own home, so he took a step forward. Egil quickly scurried out of his way, which made Ryu frown. He might not be pretty to look at, and scars licked at his cheek and lower lip, so he understood if Egil was hesitant to kiss him, but didn’t you at least embrace your mate when he came home from war?
Ryu ached for a hug.
Apart from the impersonal touches of the medical staff, Ryu couldn’t remember when he had been touched last. He longed for closeness, needed it, but Egil increased the distance between them.
“Reverend Goodwin will be pleased to see you.”
Ryu blinked before focusing on Egil. He had yet to see his eyes properly.
Reverend was a profession unless Ryu was wrong—something to do with religion. He wasn’t sure which religion. Humans were funny beings, making up several deities instead of praising the old deity like normal people.
“He will?” Was he the right pronoun or was the reverend female?
“He’s been asking for you.”
Ryu nodded; glad he hadn’t made a mistake in assuming the reverend was male. “And what does he want?”
“The Bible, of course. I told him you won’t sell.” He flinched as if he’d been hit. “I mean, I’m not telling you what to do. I only meant… You’ll of course do whatever you want to do.” His voice grew softer and softer with each word, and he ended the sentence with a bow. Strange. Was it human custom?
He hummed in reply since he feared whatever he’d say would give him away.
“Had I known you’d arrive today, I’d made sure we had more food in the house.” He flinched again. Could it be nerve damage or something? Draken wouldn’t have told him if his mate was flawed. And he had hinted at something, hadn’t he? Ryu had suspected there was something wrong with Draken’s mate, but he’d been too eager to fill his place to consider what it might be.
He’d taken the place of a lowly dragon, and now he had to suffer the embarrassment of a poorly chosen mate despite not being the one who made the choice. With his disfigurement, they’d never be taken seriously among other dragons, but he didn’t plan on returning to his homeland, so it mattered little. Heaving a sigh, he repeated that to himself.
He couldn’t scent Draken on Egil, but the smell of books was strong, and he’d never been close to a human before. Since they had no flame of their own, the scent might fade if it wasn’t replenished regularly. It was most likely the explanation.
“There is coffee and… erm… toast.” The wince was there again as if it hurt him to speak.
Ryu didn’t know anything about human foods, so he nodded.
“I’ll go shop as soon as the market opens.”
A spasm went through Egil—had to be some nerve damage—then wide blue eyes the color of his favorite topaz stared at him. Ryu couldn’t breathe. Magnificent. He’d had no idea eyes could come in that color. Heat filled him from within. The flame burst to life, and fire built in his veins. He reached for Egil, who quickly sidestepped his hand and dove in behind one of the many bookshelves.
A treasure. Pretty gemstone. His. Egil was his mate now. His precious. Ryu swallowed a purr.