Prince Karloff does not want a personal babysitter.
That's the first thing through his mind when he meets Joshua Benjamin from the Iron Horse Security Agency.
But after the deaths of his parents and younger sister, his big brother, the new king, is taking no chances.
The instant their hands touched, Karloff got an immediate sensation that this stick in the mud, handsome, completely sexy stiff, is his mate.
Joshua is a professional. He's been attracted to clients before, but never has he made a move and never have they known it. Karloff is different.
As a human defending a dragon prince, this is Joshua's chance to help bridge the divide between two distrustful species, but Karloff is having none of it, and Joshua's defenses are down so fast it makes his head spin.
A dangerous intruder sneaking in while his guard is down is the worst possible moment for that to happen. So of course it did.
No fucking way! I don’t want some goddamned bodyguard! A human bodyguard? Are you fucking kidding me?”
Joshua sucked back a deep, calming breath through his nose, steeling himself, keeping his face neutral. The sunglasses helped.
He’d hoped that being assigned to Prince Karloff Amund Draupnir the Third would be a great opportunity, and it still could be.
He just didn’t expect a grown man to throw a fit like this.
King Gungir was having none of it as he stared down at his younger brother, ice-blue eyes narrowed into thin slits.
“You are getting a bodyguard, and you’re not going to say another damned word about it. Do you understand?”
“Oh fuck off.” Karloff waved away the icy words of his brother.
Only a prince could tell a king to fuck off without any consequences.
Suddenly, Joshua was a lot more jealous of Noah. He wished he’d been put in the other man’s place.
Prince Odin stood quietly, staring at Noah, as though already resigned to his fate of being followed around.
He was probably a much better subject to be shadowing.
Karloff looked like another spoiled rich kid. Except the guy was in his late twenties, and he acted like every shrieking daddy’s girl Joshua had ever been assigned to.
Fuck his life.
Gungir growled at his younger brother, blue scales forming across his throat and hands. He was pissed.
His wife, Queen Erika, reached across her own seat and took her husband’s hand.
It didn’t make the scales melt back into his skin. It seemed to do little to calm the man, but it did something.
“You’re so fucking lucky your nieces aren’t here to listen to you talking like that.”
“So assign these stiffs to them! I don’t need a bodyguard!”
“You do, and you’re going to take one. The girls already have enough staff watching over them anyway. You’re the one who got away with this garbage for long enough.”
Joshua took another glance at Prince Odin. The man was pale. He stared down at his feet. He looked almost ashamed of himself.
Karloff finally stopped being angry, and he tried to move into begging.
“Gun, for real, it was a mistake. I don’t need a bodyguard. Odin, if you’re all right with one, then fine, you can have two.”
“It’s one bodyguard. It won’t kill you,” the king said.
Karloff growled low under his throat, and he glared at Joshua, as though he blamed him for this.
Joshua didn’t care. He’d been given dirtier looks in his lifetime.
The guy was handsome enough, but he was a spoiled prince, and this was a job. Joshua had every intention of taking it.
He needed the money.
“I won’t go out again, all right.”
“You’re lying,” the king said.
“No, I’m not. Well, I won’t go out at night. I’ll come home, and I’ll make sure the chauffeur is there to give me a ride, and no more hotel rooms. Okay?”
The king seemed entirely unconvinced. Then he looked at Josh and Noah, gesturing with his hand for them to step forward.
So he did.
Karloff snorted and stepped out of the way, crossing his arms.
It was so unbelievably annoying.
Joshua had hoped that being assigned to adults, even if they were dragon royals, would mean he wouldn’t have to deal with this shit anymore.
Apparently it was too much for him to hope for anything like that.
He and Noah stepped up to the throne. The two massive chairs the king and queen sat on was on a pedestal that needed to be walked up. There were only three steps, but the idea was to make sure the king was above everyone else, even when he was seated.
Thirteen months earlier, it had been Karloff’s mother and father on that seat, the previous king and queen of dragons.
They were dead now, and dragons everywhere still mourned the loss of their previous king and queen and the young princess who had been with them with the limo crashed.
Gungir, though only crowned a few months back, was clearly making an effort to be a good king, and to show restraint when his brother was determined to test him.
“I don’t want anything happening to either of my brothers. Which one of you will be working with Karloff again?”
“That would be me, your majesty.”
Dragons did not rule over the humans. But it was good to keep to their customs if any progress was to be made between the species.
Gungir nodded. “Right, well, Karloff is a stubborn idiot, but he’s still my baby brother.”
“Don’t call me that.”
The king ignored him. “I just want to keep him alive. The investigation is still ongoing, and until the person who made a mess of that hotel room is found, I don’t want him out of your sight. Do you got that?”
Joshua had already read the contract. He knew exactly where he was supposed to be and what direction he was to be looking in.
“Good. That same thing goes for you.”
Noah nodded. “Yes, your majesty.”
Gungir looked at the both of them, as though he wasn’t sure he should place his trust in two humans, or anyone at all, but then he looked at his brothers, and Joshua pitied him.
It was kind of messed up to be pitying a king who was fabulously wealthy and had the adoration of every dragon on the planet. He wasn’t just the king of dragons in this country—he was king of every dragon in the world. That was the way this seemed to work.
Even Joshua didn’t entirely understand it, but there were humans out there who did not like that the dragons had a monarchy with their own set of laws and rules different from the laws the humans obeyed.
Whenever a dragon broke the law, if he happened to be put in front of a human court, the dragons made a fuss about it. If he wasn’t held to the same standard, the humans complained about dual systems.
In fact, it was highly suspected that the limo crash had been caused by human tampering with the breaks, and now there were dragons out there whispering that humans were responsible for that poor bastard being murdered in Karloff’s hotel room.
This was clearly a publicity stunt. Get some humans to take command of the two princes’ safety, and it might do something to help with growing tensions between the species.
Joshua wasn’t sure if it would work, and he was pretty sure he didn’t care. Not when the pay was as good as it was.
The king sighed, finally seeming to make up his mind about whatever it was that had been going through his mind.
“All right. Karloff, shake the hand of your new bodyguard.”
“Kiss my ass, Gun! I told you I don’t need another bodyguard!”
“He’s not another bodyguard. This one is to be on you 24-7. You understand me?”
Joshua thought Karloff did understand, which was likely why the man was taking it so badly.
When Noah held out his hand to Odin, the other prince quietly took hold of it, shaking his hand and accepting his fate.
He was to be watched like a hawk from now on, whether he liked it or not.
Joshua held out his own hand to Karloff, waiting for the man to take it.
“Karloff, I swear if you do not shake that man’s hand, I will assign three more men just like him to be your personal escorts, do you understand?”
Karloff snapped his head to his brother, his mouth dropping, disbelief and betrayal in his eyes.
Joshua felt kind of sorry for him.
“Fine,” Karloff hissed, though he allowed his green scales to appear across his neck and face, his golden eyes flashing angrily as he stuck his hand out and took the one Joshua held out to him.
The sudden spiny sensation on his hand made the handshake uncomfortable, but that feeling was quickly pushed away when something else made itself known, and Joshua was gripped by something so much more powerful.
At first, his instincts flew into high gear. He thought he was being attacked. There was no other way he could explain such an overflowing rush of tingling pleasure through his hand and up his arm.
Not to mention the sensation that pulsed through the rest of his body.
Joshua held perfectly still while the prince kissed him.
This…was not happening. Nowhere in his fucking life did he ever think this would be a possibility, or that he would allow himself to do it.
Getting involved with the clients was one of the worst things he could ever do, yet here he was, letting the prince kiss him.
He wasn’t kissing him back, but he wanted to.
And Joshua wasn’t pushing the other man away from him either. That was the big thing he couldn’t ignore.
Because then Karloff gently slipped his tongue between Joshua’s lips, and God help him, Joshua groaned. He grabbed on tightly to Karloff’s shoulders and pulled the man even closer.
Until their bodies were pressed tightly against each other. Until he could feel the heat of Karloff’s body, and it was more of an annoyance than anything else that the man was wearing clothes.
Joshua took command of the kiss quickly. He didn’t care what he was supposed to be doing, and it didn’t matter that he was the prince’s bodyguard.
Or that he’d been fired from that position twenty minutes ago.
A client was a client, but Karloff tasted amazingly good, and Joshua could feel the throb of his hard cock through his slacks.
He’d already seen it. Joshua had already watched the prince masturbate to orgasm.
Maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if he decided to give in to what they both clearly wanted.
Grabbing a fistful of Karloff’s hair, Joshua yanked himself back from the other man, growling.
“This does not mean you and I are mates.”
It seemed important to get that idea through the man’s head right now.
The stupid prince smiled at him, as though he knew Joshua was lying, at least to himself.
“Yes, it does.”
That irritated Joshua so much to hear that, but what could he do?
He could show the spoiled dragon prince who was really in charge in here.
Joshua grabbed the man by the waist, and where Joshua would have only ever dreamed of manhandling a client like this to get him, or her, out of the way of immediate danger, it seemed incredibly dangerous to not get Karloff onto his bed, right now.
So Joshua threw him onto the bed.
Karloff bounced a little, his expression shocked, then pleased, and he reached for Joshua’s jacket, holding on tight as he pulled Joshua onto him.
“This is going to be amazing.”
Joshua knew it, too. Not that he knew it, but he felt it.
That was the difference.
“This is just to get it out of your system, then I’m done. You understand me?”
Karloff frowned. “Not really.”
Joshua knew the man was lying. “You know exactly what I’m talking about. You want to fuck? Fine. Might as well go the distance, but when it’s over, it’s over. You’re not going to convince me or anyone else that this is some sort of meant-to-be thing. I know what you want. You all want the same thing.”
For a hair of a second, Joshua might have thought that was a little too cruel of a thing to say to the man when they were about to get hot and heavy on his own bed, but it wasn’t as if there was much that could be done about it now. Not when Karloff was already working on Joshua’s belt.
“All right, fine, have it your way,” the prince said. “Just know that when this comes back around and you’re wrong, you’ll owe me a serious fucking apology for that.”
Joshua was not impressed by the threat, or worried he would end up owing Karloff for anything.
This was about fucking. Karloff wanted to get off, clearly, and since Joshua was already screwed seven ways from Sunday, he might as well go along with it.
And the prince wasn’t exactly hard on the eyes, from what Joshua had seen.
And he’d definitely seen a lot of him.
It was a scramble to get out of their clothes. Joshua was honestly pleased by how much enthusiasm Karloff showed in getting naked again, especially after what had happened with his brother.
Joshua wanted to harden his heart, but he couldn’t force himself to do it. Not when Karloff’s mouth kissed and nibbled in every inch of exposed flesh he could reach. His hands roaming wildly, as though they had a mind of their own, his leg curling around Joshua’s thigh as he thrust up against him.
The heat of their still clothed cocks rubbing together brought a moan from Joshua he wanted to hold back. One that he needed to hold back.
But it was all for nothing.
Joshua damn near tore himself out of his clothes, and he realized Karloff, gasping for breath while dry humping him, was doing the same thing with his claws.
God damn, that was hot. Those claws running down his back, pulling against his flesh, the pain intermingling with his pleasure only seemed to increase his enjoyment.
“Christ, why are you wearing so many clothes?” Karloff whined, but then he moaned, throwing his head back as Joshua attacked his throat with his mouth.
So Karloff continued tearing at his jacket and button-down, his hands seeking flesh to touch, to stroke.
This suit wasn’t exactly cheap. Maybe he could send Karloff the bill for it when they were done here.
He was a prince. He could afford it, after all.
They kept egging at each other. The ruination of his clothes stopped annoying him, and it started making him feel good.
Better than good. The more Karloff ripped away at his clothes, the more erotic the air between them became.
The more skin that was exposed, the more Joshua lost his control.
The less he cared about his career being destroyed by this.
Even if they weren’t mated, which he wasn’t about to believe for one damned second, at least he could say that the chemistry between them was fucking amazing.
Fine. If he was going to throw away his reputation and career, he might as well get some good sex out of it.
Karloff thrust nicely against him. He moaned sweetly, and his mouth, his hot and wet mouth continued to intoxicate Joshua, to pull him deeper into that pit.
To make his body go wild in ways he’d never allowed himself to be.
Not even when he’d had other lovers.
Maybe being with a dragon was meant to be unlike anything he’d ever experienced in his life.
“You want my cock inside you?”
Karloff growled at him, his eyes flashing to that brilliant shade of gold. The color of a dragon. “I wanted you in me when I was in the shower.”