"This newest installment in the increasingly fun and fascinating series about dragon and wolf shifters pulled me in from the moment I read the blurb and did not disappoint. I love the concept of the series to start with. I mean, dragon shifters are one of my favorite group of supernatural beings, and having them trying to bury centuries of warfare with the much more prevalent wolf shifters is a wonderful idea. In this world, dragons came out fairly late in the game, compared to other shifters, and ended up in a war with humans to the point they rearranged parts of the landscape. Some humans, like the Templars in earlier books, still don’t like the dragons, and most wolves will have nothing to do with them. Not so the pack living at the foot of Black Mountain; they have been trying to increase the chances of peace by intermarrying, or rather, intermating, members of the dragon clan with some of the wolf pack. In this ninth book, it is one of Alpha Simon’s older sons who finds his mate. But not amongst the dragons of Black Mountain—Stan is on a diplomatic trip to an obnoxious neighboring pack when he meets his mate. Stan may not have been looking to settle down, but the moment he realizes who Bentley is to him, he also knows he will do anything to claim the dragon. No matter that he’s clearly been abused, no matter that the alpha in charge of the pack will not want to let Bentley go, and no matter that even attempting to interfere might end in war between the packs. Stan knows what he wants, and, as an alpha wolf, he is used to going after it. Bentley broke my heart. He was orphaned when the wolves killed his clan, and has been manipulated into thinking he “owes” them anything they ask of him to make up for the “expense” of feeding and clothing him over the years. No matter that he’s underfed, walks around in other people’s discarded clothing, is being treated like a salve, has to ”heal” wolves who got in fights by taking their wounds as his own, and is told to give his scales to improve the pack’s finances. He bears the physical scars of all those painful scale removals, as well as the emotional scars of not being accepted, but he doesn’t know it. He is so grateful for even the smallest kindness, and once he understands that Stan is his mate, even though he can hardly believe it, he begins to see things differently. I cheered him on each step of the way, but he has a long way to go! Luckily he has Stan to encourage him! If you like the dragons and wolves series so far, if you might be interested in the story of a strong alpha wolf coming in to rescue an abused dragon who is trying to be upbeat about his miserable life, and if you’re looking for a sweet romance underneath all the psychological abuse and angsty drama, then you will probably like this novella. I loved Stan and Bentley and hope to see them return in a future volume." -- Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews
Then Stan finally took in the scars.
These weren’t battle scars, and they definitely weren’t the pockmarks of acne scars either.
He recognized these. A year or two ago he might not have, but now that so many of his brothers were mated to dragons, he’d learned quickly what the signs were of a dragon who was being abused.
Long and thin slits, as if strips of flesh had been torn away. There was only one on his cheek, and the rest seemed to be isolated on his arms and legs. No doubt there were more on his back. The longest of these scars was about two inches long.
They were the scars that came from having dragon scales being forcibly ripped out.
No wonder Balin was trying to talk Stan into not looking at him.
Those pale green eyes flicked up at Stan’s face, and then back down again. Cream-colored cheeks darkened with rosy color, but it was humiliation, and not Stan’s lust being returned.
Stan was staring, and he was embarrassing the hell out of the kid. Fucking smooth.
“Bentley, do you think you can get to work on our friend?” Balin asked, all smiles as he nodded to Stan, as if he had no idea of what was going on around him.
This man had been an alpha for a long time, and with good reason. He knew that Stan had just figured it out.
Stan looked back at Bentley, who nodded before wetting his lips. “I can do it.”
Fuck, his voice was so damned soft. Was he afraid to speak up? Either way, the sound of that voice, as small as it had been, made Stan’s wolf howl and scratch at the thin layer of willpower that separated man from beast.
Focus. He needed to focus.
“He hasn’t even looked me over yet,” Stan said. “He doesn’t have a first aid kit, either.”
“Doesn’t need any of that,” Balin said, and then he looked back at Bentley.
“Go on, kid, show him what you can do.”
Stan looked back at the kid, at Bentley, just as he nodded and slowly walked over.
The young man got to his knees on the side of Stan, and then it was just fucking amazing to watch as those hands closed in and gently covered the nasty, gaping slice that ran along the side of Stan’s arm.
He sighed, he couldn’t help it. The relief was too damned much. It was like a cool, damp cloth being placed over a burn. Stan even moaned a little.
Balin, the ass, was smirking at him. “He’s good, right?”
“Fuck, yeah,” Stan said, and as Bentley pulled his hand away, allowing Stan to see some of that blue light his hands were emitting, he also got to see the way his flesh was knitting back together.
Werewolves healed quickly, but not that quickly. Bentley was working a fucking miracle, and Stan barely suppressed another moan.
Until he heard the soft sound of Bentley’s hiss.
Stan started at that sound. He looked down, and he would be damned if Bentley’s brow wasn’t furrowed, his lips bitten shut, as he was the one who was now suppressing pain of his own as beads of glistening sweat gathered at his forehead, and then it was more than obvious something was going on.
Stan wasn’t sure why his eyes were drawn to that spot. Maybe it was the splotch of red that was blooming over the gray colored T-shirt. The sleeve was so damned big that it hid most of Bentley’s upper arm, but then that didn’t even matter as the red got to be more and more.
“You’re hurt!” Stan said, and he reached for the sleeve faster than Bentley could pull away.
“Stan,” Balin said, a clear warning, but Stan ignored him.
He gasped, and all the heat drained out of his face as he saw what had to be a near identical wound to the one that Stan had just had. There was a bleeding, open slash wound from a nasty dagger, right in the exact spot where Stan’s wound had once been.
He understood the power of this dragon now. Bentley wasn’t a healer. He could just take other people’s pain, and their injuries, too.
“What the fuck?” Stan snapped, and he glared over at Balin. “You didn’t tell me this would happen!”
“Does it matter?”
“Did I do something wrong?” Bentley asked, and for the first time, Stan realized the younger man was staring at him with fear in his eyes, but he kept on glancing right over at Balin, as if expecting the man to save him.
Balin patted the kid’s shoulder, and Stan growled a little at that touch, which Balin ignored.
“Not a thing, kiddo. Don’t you worry. Go off to the kitchen now and tell Gretchen that you get an extra slice of meat with your supper.”
Bentley nodded, but then he looked at Stan, still afraid, still waiting for him to let him go.
Didn’t he know? Couldn’t he feel what Stan was feeling?
Stan had no choice, he let the kid go.
Despite the injury, Bentley jumped to his feet and ran as fast as his legs would take him, away from Stan, and away from Pinky and Balin.
“That kid needs a healer. A real one. Not something to eat.”
“Protein helps dragons with their healing abilities, the same as it does for werewolves,” Balin said, getting to his feet and dusting himself off.
“You know what I mean!” Stan snapped. “You just suggested that I might’ve been poisoned. What if he took the poison? At the very least he’ll need stitches until he does heal. And what the fuck was going on with all those scale scars on him? He’s a dragon. I can tell he is.”
“Just like I can tell how much you want to fuck him,” Balin said, glaring right back at Stan.
His, Bentley was his and no one else’s, and Stan was going to do everything in his power to take the dragon out of this hellhole and give him the life he deserved.
Stan might’ve been overcome with animal lust and urgency, but he was still in control enough to know not to grab onto Bentley’s arms. One of them was injured, because of him, and Stan had to be gentle. Or, as gentle as the animal side of himself would allow.
He took Bentley by the shoulders and pushed his back against the heavy base of the tree that the dragon had been sitting in, pleasuring himself only a few minutes prior.
“Mph!” Bentley said, but then he reached up and grabbed onto the back of Stan’s neck and his shoulder.
It was his injured arm that didn’t reach as high as Stan’s neck. God, he was going to kill Balin for ever forcing Bentley to use an awful power like that.
Bentley sure as hell knew how to kiss, though. If anything, it was how the man returned his kiss, pressed his lips back against Stan’s and eagerly swirled his tongue against Stan’s that made him forget all about any thoughts of revenge against the other alpha.
And the noises he made. God, they were so fucking sweet, and Stan’s dick pulsed as if he was already inside of the younger man, thrusting into him, claiming him.
Stan pulled back from their kiss and immediately dropped to his knees.
“What are you doing?” Bentley asked, but then he shivered and sighed when Stan pressed his tongue to the drying cum that was still on the man’s stomach.
Bentley’s hands immediately went into Stan’s hair and gripped him tight. He moaned and shivered, and Stan was willing to bet that not many people had done this with him before.
“You taste so fucking sweet,” Stan said, and he licked the man clean, delighting in the knowledge that now Bentley’s seed would be inside of him, right before he put his seed into the other man. “I could do this all fucking day.”
“Uh huh,” Bentley said.
Stan had to look up at the other man just to see what was happening with him. Bentley was staring up into the canopy of branches and leaves above his head. His eyes were wide but glassy.
Yeah, he was definitely getting off on this. Stan was going to make it even better for him.
He pulled down the loose waist of the baggy shorts the dragon wore, exposing his hard, dark cock.
Stan had always thought that dragons didn’t have the stamina for sex that werewolves had. Maybe Bentley was just that horny from scenting his mate so nearby.
Still, with every inch of flesh that Stan exposed, he revealed more and more long scars, more slits in Bentley’s skin that were proof he’d been having his scales taken from him.
Those deep creases were on his belly, his chest, and there were even some scattered around his legs, but none came close to his private area, which Stan was grateful for.
If having scales taken out was supposed to be painful, then he couldn’t imagine how mind numbingly horrific it could be to have them taken from his cock or his testicles. Did dragons even have scales on that part of their body? He supposed he was going to eventually find out, considering he’d just made with this dragon.
Bentley stared down at him expectantly, and with Stan’s face so close to his cock, it was clear to see what the man wanted.
His face was so damned pink, and he’d lifted his hands over his mouth, as if to silence any moaning noises he was going to make, that Stan doubted the man would have the courage to voice his desires.
“You shouldn’t cover your mouth like that,” Stan said, and he wrapped his fingers around the heavy base of Bentley’s dick, stroking him once, and then twice, always while keeping his eyes on the other man.
Bentley didn’t remove his hands. He just shook his head.
“Come on, you can speak to me,” Stan said, still leisurely moving his hand. The shaft was still smooth, and a little slick, from what Bentley had been doing earlier. He must’ve brought something with him to make it better. A cream or a lube, which was a good thing since Stan hadn’t thought to do anything like that at all.
Bentley removed his hands, but only long enough to briefly reply. “No one should hear us,” he said, and then he put his hands back over his mouth.
His cheeks became even redder.
Though it was the best plan, Stan couldn’t rationalize it in his mind. He didn’t care if anyone heard them. Even though this was a dangerous thing for him to be doing, the wolf part of his mind was in too much control, and it wanted everyone in that pack to know that he was taking Bentley for himself.
He just smiled up at his mate, and he leaned in and pressed his lips to the head of Bentley’s cock. Kissing and licking it, making his mate shiver and moan beneath his hands.
Let Bentley hold his hands there if that was what he wanted. It was just a challenge for Stan to get him to be as loud as the man really wanted to be.
Bentley immediately thrust his hips forward as Stan sank his mouth down around the swollen crown, and then the shaft of Bentley’s dick.
Just as Stan predicted, one of Bentley’s hands came away from his mouth to press against the back of Stan’s head, pushing him down farther and farther, until Stan felt the head of Bentley’s prick touching the back of his throat, right where he wanted it to be.
He moaned, using the vibrations to his advantage, and Bentley’s other hand came away from his mouth to go down and grip Stan’s hair, and he moaned long and loud into the sky.