Kael Hammerson works at a research lab in Ireland. He knows that Ireland is a strange place for a herpetologist to work, but he's running from an abusive relationship and Ireland is the fartherest away he could get. It's been a year since he left his ex-partner and his heart is ready to heal. Hugh Price is interested in Kael, but he's not sure if being Kael's boss will hamper any budding relationship between them. One day, a strange sea creature is brought to Hugh's attention and he knows Kael's the only one who might be able to figure the origin of the specimen. Dragons have returned to the mortal world, but Gaia, the earth mother, needs Kael and Hugh's help to keep the creatures from making humans extinct.
"Hammerson, come and look at this."
Hugh's voice broke whatever spell had been holding Kael. He looked over to where his boss stood next to a crate. When he looked back to thank George and Ed for saving him, the men were gone. It was as if they had never been there, but he could still taste George in his mouth and feel the press of Ed's hand against his chest. Shaking his head, he figured they moved off so they didn't get in trouble for talking to him.
Arriving at where the captain and his boss were standing, he managed to stop a squeak when Hugh reached out, grabbed his arm and pulled him to stand in front of him. At first, he couldn't focus on anything except his body's fervent wish that there weren't so many layers of clothes between his ass and Hugh's cock.
"What do you think it is, Hammerson?" Hugh's cinnamon- scented breath danced over his ear.
Kael had to draw on all his strength so he wouldn't groan and rub back against the warm male body behind him.
"Kael?" His name was said in a soft whisper.
"Huh? Oh right, your snake," he muttered, than closed his eyes with a helpless little laugh when he realized what he'd said.
Opening them, he looked down at the creature placed on the crate. Within seconds, he forgot about the man behind him. He heard a sharp intake of breath as he bent forward to get a better look at the unusual specimen.
Searching his pockets, he muttered, "Should've brought my glasses."
"Here." His glasses appeared over his shoulder. "You dropped them when you fell down the stairs."
"Thank you," he said, patting the hip he could reach with his hand.
"Welcome." Hugh's voice sounded strangled.
Slipping his glasses on, Kael studied the strange snake-like creature. Its skin consisted of tightly woven scales. He poked it with a finger and yelped.
"What?" Hugh asked.
"It shocked me." Kael shot a glance at the captain. "You're sure it's dead?"
"It hasn't moved since we pulled it in."
"How did you find it, since you don't have nets?" He was suspicious, but wouldn't say anything to make Hugh angry again.
"One of our testing units snagged it when we were bringing it back up to the surface." The captain didn't address him. The man's eyes were pinned on Hugh.
Kael wanted to say something about the destruction caused by those machines, but a warning squeeze of Hugh's hand at his waist stopped him. Nope, he wasn't saying a thing. He'd learned the hard way it didn't pay to piss any man off.
"Well, it isn't a fish or a snake. Whatever type of creature it is, it eats meat." He pointed to the sharp teeth lining the creature's jaw. "I've only seen sharks with such impressive dental structures."
Whirling around, he asked Hugh, "Can we take it back to the lab?"
Hugh stared at him for a moment, than nodded. "I asked for it to be delivered to your lab as soon as possible."
Before Kael could thank his boss, Hugh moved away to talk to the captain. Kael turned back to the animal. At close to five feet long, it was only a foot shorter than Hugh. It looked like it wasn't fully developed yet. Four appendages grew from its sides as if it was evolving legs. The shape and rather prominent ruff around its head tickled a memory, but he couldn't grab a hold of it.
"Here be dragons."
Hugh had returned without Kael noticing. Kael glanced at him with a puzzled frown. "What did you say?"
"Here be dragons. Sailors used to put it on their maps when much of the sea hadn't been explored." Hugh reached out to touch the scales.
"Be careful. I'm not a hundred percent sure that thing is dead. Dragons." The memory popped into his head. "Dragon. It looks like a strange version of a Chinese dragon."
"How do you know that?"
"Will, my ex-partner, had one tattooed on his calf." Kael didn't explain how he had memorized every detail of the dragon. He wasn't interested in reliving those moments of pain and helplessness when Will had beaten him until he was lying on the floor.
Shaking himself, he drew away from those memories. Will wasn't around to terrorize him anymore and while he was lonely, at least he wasn't afraid.