What I #AmReading ~ The Dragon Next Door by Holly Day ~ A Penny for Your Thoughts by K.L. Noone

Rounding out the purchases I made last month during the pride week sale at JMS, this week I read a novelette that made me laugh throughout (The Dragon Next Door by Holly Day) and a super short story that made me go “Awwww!” (A Penny for Your Thoughts by K.L. Noone). And bonus, both are included in summer sales throughout July!

The Dragon Next Door by Holly Day

First off, in case the title makes you think this is Paranormal, it’s not. It’s a Contemporary story with one of the characters having an active imagination (Adrian Green), picturing the other (Lorcan Walsh) as possibly a dragon shifter, or sometimes maybe a bear or wolf. It gave me a chuckle every time.

All of this is from Adrian’s 3rd-Person POV.

Here, the “dragon” has just moved in, and Adrian and his best friend Jesse are talking about it. This one gave me an extra giggle because of Adrian’s comment at the end, which accurately gives us a little insight into Adrian:

Jesse shook his head. “A bearded dragon and his lover?”

“I never said that.” Had he?

“You did. Whatever swishes through your mind usually comes out your mouth.”

This one sets up the fun premise. Got another good chuckle out of the path of Adrian’s reasoning:

It had been two weeks since the dragon on crutches—Mr. Walsh, Adrian had checked the name on the mail slot several times—had moved in, and Adrian hadn’t seen or heard him. It was worrying.

No one had been to visit him and Adrian had tried to see past the divider separating their balconies several times.

There was no weird smell, so he assumed he hadn’t died in there.

This one is for the unexpected LOL it gave me. Adrian and his active imagination cracked me up every time:

Lorcan’s arm slid off him, leaving a burning heat in its wake. Probably his dragon powers.

Mixing it up with some werewolf thoughts:

“Doesn’t matter.” The growl told him otherwise, and Adrian was back to thinking maybe there was werewolf blood coursing through Lorcan’s veins.

LOL…just say it right out loud to him, Adrian!!! 😂

Lorcan gave him another of those impassive looks. “I watch stuff on my phone.”

“But what if you wanted to invite your dragon friends over to watch a football game or something?”

Gonna cut it off with one last snippet. If I snipped every line that made me laugh I’d run out of room fast!:

“What do you do?” He couldn’t see Lorcan anywhere but guarding treasures in a cave and that wasn’t a modern kind of job.

Blurb & Links

GENRE: Gay Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 14,488 words / Novelette
RATING: 3 flames

Adrian Green’s new next-door neighbor isn’t really a dragon, but he does snarl an awful lot.

The first time Adrian saw Lorcan Walsh, he knew he needed Adrian’s help. Lorcan has a fractured leg and an empty apartment. Luckily, Adrian doesn’t mind helping him fill his lair with gems, and Doris’s second-hand shop has everything a dragon could possibly want.

The problem is, Lorcan doesn’t seem to want his apartment decorated, and sneaking presents past a grumpy dragon isn’t easy.

All Adrian wants is to cheer Lorcan up, but when Lorcan’s ex appears at the door, Adrian fears not even vintage coffee cups will get them their fairy-tale ending. What if the way to a dragon’s heart isn’t lined with treasures?

A Penny for Your Thoughts by K.L. Noone

This lovely story is super-short, so only a few snippets despite it being a fabulous story with plenty to choose from.

Love this beautiful passage where we see Averet through the eyes of Morgan. It also develops a bit of the magical world where this story is set:

Averet didn’t turn his direction right away, dark head bent over what looked like a small quicksilver mechanical kitten, the last words of a spellwork drifting low and happy through the air. The kitten, now infused with magic, yawned and stretched metal toes and arched its spine. Averet laughed, and petted its silver back.

Aw…this is where I fell in love with the characters and became fully invested in their story:

Morgen loved him. Helplessly, hopelessly, foolishly: head over heels for the most beautiful kind-hearted magician ever to exist in the world. Any world. Any time, any place.

And Averet Coral would never look twice at Morgen Hob. Why would all that magical sweetness give even a single silver cup for a big awkward artifact hunter, one who got red and flustered at public praise for returning said silver cup to the village it’d been stolen from? How could that enthusiastic intellectual grace ever consider too-long shaggy sun-scuffed hair and callused hands, and decide to want to kiss him?

The blurb and title let us know what to expect (Morgan and Averet secretly love each other and will accidentally touch an enchanted penny that makes them blurt out their true confessions to each other (squeeee!!!!)), but what’s lovely about good books is that the enjoyment is in the skillful journey whether or not we essentially know what’s going to happen. Still, I’m trying not to give away those lovely scenes, but here’s a nice one that helps to set the stage for what will happen, while at the same time giving us a nice glimpse of Morgan’s character:

He’d been bringing Averet his magical artifacts for just over two years now. Specifically, the artifacts that shouldn’t be out in the world in the first place, the ones that caused harm or compulsion or injury to others. He’d made it his mission to find and dispose of as many pieces of pain as possible.

And I’m going to end it here, because this is a super-short “hot flash” story, and I’m trying to give you just enough of a taste to whet your appetite!

Blurb & Links

GENRE: Gay Fantasy Romance
LENGTH: 3,981 words / Short Story
RATING: 2 flames

Morgen Hob spends his days traveling the kingdom, collecting dangerous magical artifacts and bringing them to his local magician for disposal. He’s good with his hands and good at his profession … but not very good at telling Averet how he feels.

Averet Coral, newest magician in the kingdom of Lea, likes helping people. He likes inventing magical toys and solving puzzles. And he definitely likes the shy, kindhearted, heroic artifact hunter who keeps bringing him new challenges. He knows what he wants … but he’s less sure about Morgen’s feelings.

But when Morgen’s latest find comes with a truth-telling curse, Morgen and Averet will have to admit their hidden desires.

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