My Relentless Dragon: A M/M Dragon Shifter Romance
Nolan Warren has always been a list guy, so of course his plans for the coming weekend had one. Maybe the most insane list of his life:
Travel to a secret dragon safehouse with his parents. Check.
Cross an international border illegally. Check.
Attend his little brother’s equally illegal wedding to a dragon-shifter. Check.
Ignore said brother’s gorgeous dragon liaison, Airon’s, flirtation…
Hmm…that last one might be a little tricky.
While Nolan certainly doesn’t have a problem with the thought of dating a dragon-shifter, the unfortunate reality is that a huge chunk of human society does, including the government. Forsaking the life in Dallas that he has built like his brother was forced to do with his dragon-shifter mate isn’t something Nolan is prepared to do. Nor would he ever ask Airon to do the same for him. Yet, there’s no denying the fierce attraction and affection they feel for one another, especially when Airon believes Nolan is the fated mate he has been waiting for.
Will societal fears about dragons prove stronger than fate, or will Nolan and Airon get their happily ever after?
Release date: April 1, 2021
Publisher: Fantastical Press
Print pages: 306
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My Relentless Dragon: A M/M Dragon Shifter Romance
“Mom, Airon won’t be here for another thirty minutes, so you might as well sit down,” Nolan Warren said calmly as he watched his mother pace near the front window, earning himself a glare that made him feel oddly nostalgic.
Had it been a decade earlier, that sharp look would have been followed by a lecture about “his smart mouth” or something similar and the loss of his cell phone for a week rather than the “As if I could!” admonishment his mom was currently radiating. Jule had always cheered him up afterward, refusing to let Nolan drown in teenage angst. Never judging, just the steady rock of support everyone could always count on.
Well, maybe feeling nostalgic about past parental discipline wasn’t so odd considering what they would be doing in a little over twenty-four hours.
His mom moved from the window over to the couch, but she didn’t sit. “Airon…” she echoed, her mouth pursed in something like disapproval. “How is it that a dragon from another world can have such a human sounding name?”
“It really is his name, if that’s what you’re asking,” Nolan said with a chuckle.
“I’m so glad that you’re finding all of this insanity so amusing,” his mom huffed.
“I don’t think Julian would appreciate you thinking of his upcoming wedding as ‘all of this insanity,’ honey,” his dad cut in with a wry grin.
His mom scowled. “The wedding is probably the only normal thing happening these days, so don’t give me that. You know exactly what I mean.” She gestured around the strange living room they were currently waiting in with an exaggerated sweep of her hand that would have made P.T. Barnum proud. “It’s the morning before my son’s wedding. I should be running around with his future mother-in-law panicking over last-minute details like flowers or catering, not covertly shuffling around Crowley, of all places, to a ranch in the middle of nowhere as though we’ve just entered witness protection!”
“Well, this place is considered a ‘safehouse’ by the dragons, so you’re not entirely wrong,” Nolan agreed.
“How did they even manage to buy this place without drawing suspicion, anyway?”
“Among the million things I want to ask Sevek once we’re face-to-face again,” Nolan replied earnestly. “You don’t get to be as old as some of them are without becoming pretty resourceful, so I imagine the answer will be quite the story.”
“And what’s to stop a bunch of ‘resourceful,’ self-professed immortal dragon-shifters from taking over the world?” his mom asked quietly.
Nolan winced. That was a worry that hadn’t taken long to rear its ugly head from the day of the rather unimaginatively named “Dragon Summit” when King Dagon and his entourage had shifted from their seemingly human forms into huge, red-black dragons in front of the world. How many of his clients had voiced that very fear in the months after? How many people considered the Draknos as merely beasts rather than people?
Too many, if what he was seeing on social media were any indication. Yet…
According to Julian, Sevek is definitely all man no matter what else he can shift into…
Nolan looked at both his parents and cleared his throat. Yeah…this wasn’t the best time for his thoughts to go into the gutter.
“A king that wants his people to thrive in peace,” Nolan answered firmly. “Do you really think that Jule, of all people, would have fallen in love with a dragon-shifter if they were all just warmongering brutes? Meatheads are so not his type, and you know it.”
“Not everyone has had as much first-hand exposure to dragons as you. Not even us,” his father said pointedly. “The rest that have, well, they’re either politicians or people who have no idea they just talked to a dragon like our friend, Airon. Not the best sample size for accurate opinions.”
“And this is what I mean when I say things have gone totally insane,” his mom interjected. “You two are talking about dragons as though such creatures have been a part of actual human history all along and not just as creatures featured in fictional stories.”
Again, Nolan winced internally. He really wished his mom would stop calling dragon-shifters “creatures.”
His dad shrugged. “We’re just the pragmatists of the family, I think.”
“Lawyers,” his mom muttered, though with a hint of a smile on her lips that Nolan was relieved to see.
“Maybe seeing everyday life in Elysia South will help you adjust to the idea that we now share this earth with people that can shift into something that was one hundred percent fiction only a few months ago,” Nolan suggested. “I mean, take Julian, himself. He’s doing the same job at that dragon city as he did in North Point. The only difference is that he’s teaching adults now too, along with the children. They even have stuff like laptops, tablets, and Wi-Fi, for God’s sake!”
“I suppose,” his mom said with a sigh. “I just hate that he can’t come home because he’ll be arrested for breaking parole, that we’ll only get to see him in person maybe only once or twice a year.”
“It won’t be forever,” Nolan said firmly. “The dragons don’t want to stay cooped up within the borders of their energy shield for longer than they must. Airon says that King Dagon is pretty much in constant negotiations with the president and Congress about things like trade, currency, and travel restrictions. They have plenty of extremely valuable things to offer the US. You don’t have to look any farther than that energy shield to know that the military is just itching to get their hands on that kind of technology. Dangling those kinds of secrets in front of our government is like dangling a piece of raw meat over a tank of piranhas. I can’t imagine the Draknos won’t be granted requests for travel visas in the near future. After that, who knows?”
“I didn’t realize that you talked with Airon about those kinds of things,” his mom said worriedly. “After all, getting mixed up in the dragons’ business is the reason Julian got into such serious trouble with the law to begin with!”
“Of course I do! These kinds of things—trade, interaction between our two societies—they’re important for everyone, not just some politician wanting to capitalize on his or her position for their own self-interest.”
The sound of tires crunching over gravel had all three of them looking over to the front window before Nolan’s mom could retort. His dad cautiously walked to the window and peered through the slit in the dark curtains.
“A red SUV,” he announced. “It’s him.”
“We can talk about all the heavy stuff later,” Nolan said. He reached over to take his mother’s hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. “After the wedding. This is a time to have fun, to celebrate! Plus, we’ll be among the first humans to ever step foot in Elysia South. That alone is cause for excitement! Jule’s wedding will just be the cherry on top to an extraordinary weekend.”
His mom took a deep breath and then gave a sharp nod, squeezing his hand back. “You’re right. This is Julian’s big day. The last thing he needs is his worrywart of a mother causing that bright smile to dim even a speck.”
Three knocks sounded at the door, followed by a five second pause and then two more soft knocks. All this spy-movie-like caution made Nolan suddenly want to roll his eyes at its absurdity, and he wasn’t the type of person who rolled their eyes. However, if it kept both Julian’s secret safe as well as the dragon’s secret underground tunnel undiscovered, then he was willing to do anything asked of him, even if that something ultimately required him to crawl through vents.
“Right on time, as usual,” his dad said after letting the messy-haired, dragon-shifter spy into the house.
Nolan blinked in surprised and then quickly rose to his feet when he saw an older, silver-haired woman step into the house behind Airon.
“Everyone, this is Carol,” Airon said without preamble. “She’s an old friend of Princess Briana’s and will accompany us to Elysia South.”
Nolan immediately approached her and held out his hand with a smile. “It’s good to meet you, Ma’am. I’m Nolan, and these are my parents, Gerald and Shannon.”
The woman’s answering smile was all things cozy and warm. “It’s nice to meet everyone. It seems mine won’t be the only happy reunion this weekend.”
“Yes,” Nolan agreed without elaboration, wary of sharing more beyond their names. He assumed that was why Airon had only introduced his unexpected companion by first name only.
Airon’s eyes dropped to the two small, wheeled suitcases next to the couch and gave a satisfied nod. “Good. You packed light as suggested. You have quite the walk ahead of you. Shall we?”
Nolan purposely pretended to have trouble raising the handle of his suitcase to allow the others sans Airon to leave the house.
“That wasn’t subtle at all,” Airon remarked with a lazy grin.
Nolan shrugged. “You weren’t the intended audience. My mother’s been overly anxious about the trip, and I just wanted to ask if you noticed anything we should be concerned about without her present.”
“Sounds like she isn’t the only anxious one in your group.”
He snorted. “A little paranoia is good for everyone. While there’s no way I would miss my little brother’s wedding, I’d also like to keep my freedom and my career.”
“No one followed you out of North Point. At least physically. We still have yet to manage to hack into your country’s satellite systems, so we, of course, can’t guarantee that they didn’t follow you until you met my guards-brother in Dallas.”
“I don’t know which is more unnerving. The fact that you’re throwing around words like ‘hacking’ so casually, or the way my parents glowed blue for a minute or two after your buddy cast that glamour spell over them.”
Nolan shivered, remembering the way it had felt as if a cold, invisible film had settled heavily onto every inch of his skin after Airon’s comrade had cast the spell over him. It had almost been suffocating, but thankfully, the feeling had faded after a few seconds. He couldn’t help but think that Julian, the lover of all things fantasy and magic, would have been delighted by the experience. That he was marrying a dragon-shifter was just par for the course.
Airon chuckled. “Unnerving, huh. And yet, Vaizus said you appeared quite bored with the whole procedure. You must have quite the—oh, what was the phrase the princess used…”
“Quite the poker face?” Nolan offered.
“Yes! Quite the poker face. You Terrans have such delightful phrases.”
“Do you even know what poker is?” he asked as he followed Airon out of the house.
“Terran playing cards have become quite popular among the Guard. There are many helpful instructional videos available on various card games on your internet.”
Nolan sighed. “Of course they have. Well, you Royal Guards have that in common with human soldiers. And people say dragons are too ‘alien’ to ever assimilate comfortably into the human population.”
All the humor abruptly left Airon’s eyes. “Do they now?”
“No use sugar-coating something as important as human-dragon relations,” he replied bluntly.
That lazy smile returned. “I like a blunt man.”
Nolan almost tripped over an invisible rock as they rounded the back of the SUV. “Excuse me?”
Airon’s smile merely widened as he picked up Nolan’s suitcase to stash in the back with the others. “Better hop in the vehicle before your mother comes out here to retrieve you.”
Why do dragons have to be flirts as well as drop-dead gorgeous? Nolan thought resentfully as he turned on his heel without bothering to respond. He didn’t know if he wanted to knock those fake eyeglasses off the dragon-man’s face that he always wore as part of his cover or kiss that infuriating smirk until neither one of them could breathe.
After six months of interacting with this playful yet sometimes deathly serious dragon where he could at times see the weight of millennia in his eyes, Nolan could well understand how Julian could have fallen for Sevek so quickly, and that worried him. He had never been a sucker for a pretty face, and he was even less impressed with confident flirts. However, even he could admit to himself that he found Airon attractive in more ways than one.
That didn’t mean he planned to add the sexy dragon-man to his list of things to do this weekend.
“Is everything all right?” his father whispered into his ear as Nolan settled into the third-row seat beside him.
“Yes, just wanted to make sure there weren’t any problems on his way down,” Nolan whispered back with a meaningful glance to the back of his mother’s seat.
He nodded. “No news is good news.”
Nolan wasn’t so sure in this instance, but he wasn’t about to shatter his dad’s illusion. This had been a stressful year for everyone, and as his mother had said earlier, he wasn’t about to be the killjoy of the group.
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