Today, I welcome one of my favorite people, Holly Day, back to the blog. She’s here to talk about her latest release, dragons, bookstores, and romance. I don’t know about you, but that sounds awesome to me! So Holly, please, make yourself at home, and tell us more about your new book! ❤️
Hello, everyone! Thank you, darling Nell, for allowing me back on the blog again. This month, we’re celebrating Bookstore Romance Day. It has to be one of the better days out there if you ask me. Who doesn’t love a bookstore?
The story I’ve written to celebrate is called The Book Dragon’s Lair, and I have to say it’s pure indulgence on my part. Interspecies couples are my jam. I love writing them. The differences, the slight misunderstandings and misinterpreted meanings, and so on. In The Book Dragon’s Lair, we have Egil who is human, and Ruy the Ravenous who is a dragon.
Most often, I pair my interspecies couples with a fated mates trope, but in this case, I didn’t. Dragons mate, but they have a choice in the matter. When they find someone they want to live their life with, they share the breath of life and tie their lives together.
Egil is unaware of this and believes he is mated to Draken the Dreadful, who is a dreadful dragon and his worst nightmare. He’s been taught dragons stay together for life and therefore see no escape from the abusive relationship he’s in.
Did I mention that on top of interspecies couples and fated mates, I do love a traumatised hero? Well, I do. The worse the past, the better. Poor souls.
When we first meet Egil, Draken has been called to the dragon realm because there is a war brewing. Egil can finally breathe without fear and spends his days running Draken’s bookshop. When he gets word Draken has been injured and is on his way home, his world falls apart.
But it isn’t Draken who comes back. The dragon entering the bookstore claims to be Draken, but he’s not.
Ruy saw Draken die, and since he wanted to go to the human realm, he switched out their belongings and pretended to be Draken. Once in the human realm, it’s harder to pretend. For one, Egil doesn’t believe him, and two, he knows nothing about books. Who in their right mind wants to be a book dragon? 😆
As you can see, pure indulgence – dragon shifters, traumatised hero, bookstores, and a slow-burn romance building among the bookshelves.
Egil Olsen is running The Book Dragon’s Lair, a bookstore on Dragon Row, while Draken the Dreadful, his mate, is away fighting a war on the other side of the veil. The relief of not having Draken around is great. For the first time in years, Egil doesn’t have to watch every move he makes. When word reaches him that Draken is on his way home after having been injured, he considers running away.
The dragon stepping over the threshold to The Book Dragon’s Lair isn’t Draken, though. He claims to be, but Egil knows his mate, and while all dragons are dangerous, the male standing before him is nowhere near as cruel as his mate. Ryu never wanted to be a book dragon. Books don’t sparkle, but if it’s the price he has to pay to be in the human realm, he will pay it. He’ll take over Draken the Dreadful’s treasure, and he hopes he can take over his mate, too. Egil doesn’t want to be mated to a dragon, but without a mate, he’d be homeless and without a job.
A few hours after having met Ryu, Egil thinks being mated to him might not be too bad, but how will they be able to fool the people around them into believing Ryu is Draken? And what will happen if the real Draken comes back?
Gay paranormal romance :: 33,671 words
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Egil was shaking so hard he feared the bookshelf would fall over from the vibrations. There was something wrong with Draken. He didn’t dare look at him properly since he was scarred, and if he caught Egil staring, he’d beat him bloody, but he was bigger than Egil remembered. Could dragons grow? Or had his memory failed him?
His skin tone was darker. Draken had never been as fair-skinned as Egil, but now his skin was a richer brown. He didn’t know if they could choose what they looked like in human form. Maybe he’d been fighting in dragon form, and when he shifted back to human, this was how he appeared. Maybe this was his true self, and the way he’d looked before was a conscious choice.
He grimaced. No. If he could choose how to look, he’d have hidden the scars. Dragons were vain, and Draken was the vainest of them all. He’d never let anyone see him scarred if he had any control over it.
Who was in the room with him? Shit.
“I’ll put on some coffee.” He hurried out from behind the bookshelf and dove for the stairs. The kitchen was on the third floor. It was small, and Egil hardly had anything edible at home. Money was tight. He didn’t dare take more of what the bookstore earned than he did when Draken was around. He only took what he needed to cover his expenses; the rest went into the bank. Business was better when there was a dragon in the building. They attracted the tourists, but Draken had been away for months, and word had traveled fast. He feared Draken would be disappointed in what he’d accomplished while he was gone. A disappointed Draken wasn’t something he wanted to think about.
When Draken had been gone for three months, he’d considered breaking into one of the rooms on the second floor and selling one of his valuable books. If he picked a book Draken wouldn’t notice was missing, it could have given him money he could spend, but he hadn’t dared to. He didn’t know what they were worth.
Now he was glad he hadn’t done it. It had been seven months since Draken had left, and he’d had to scrape by on what little he dared take from what the bookstore earned. He’d survived, and Draken couldn’t accuse him of stealing.
The bottom floor was new books only. Draken had no interest in new books, so Egil was the one ordering, shelving, and displaying. It was the only part of his life he loved. He could have any book he wanted, could display them as he saw fit, and there were so many pretty books.
He wanted to have a corner with a coffee machine and some easy chairs so people could stay and read, but Draken had refused. He didn’t want humans to linger longer than they had to. He didn’t like when they leafed through books or spent too much time looking at them.
Egil put on the coffee, and since Draken hadn’t joined him on the third floor, he ran up to the fourth. Their bedroom was in the tower. There was only the bedroom and a bathroom, and the cold, stone walls were curved. There was a hearth, and Egil quickly pulled his thin mattress off the bed and placed it next to it. It was as far from the bed as he could come and still be in the room. It wasn’t far enough to protect him from Draken’s desires, but it was where he spent his nights.
He then opened the chest by the end of the bed and pulled out clean bed linen for Draken.
With a mournful look at the bed, he exited the bedroom. He’d loved sleeping in a bed these last months. The stone floor was freezing even in the summer, not to mention uncomfortable with only a thin mattress pad to sleep on.
A yelp escaped him as he caught sight of Draken halfway up the stairs. His heart drummed so fast he feared it’d give up. Thank heavens he’d had time to make it look like he’d slept by the hearth the entire time. He squeezed his eyes shut as he waited for Draken to get closer.
The rustle of his clothes as he moved had Egil holding his breath, but there were breaths. Egil frowned. Draken was panting. He never panted. How injured was he?
He cleared his throat but kept his gaze on his scruffy shoes. “I can move the bed if the stairs are too hard on you.”
He waited for a blow, or at least to be shouted at, but all Draken did was grunt. “I need the exercise. I’ve been on my back for too long.”
He dragged himself up the last bit of the stairs and looked around as if he’d never been there. A knot formed in Egil’s belly, and the voice in his head told him the reason he looked around as if he’d never been there was because he hadn’t. The new Draken was a stranger.
“Do you, erm…” He swallowed hard and moved down a couple of steps so he wouldn’t fall as far if Draken hit him. “…remember what it looks like up here?”
The sound of soft footsteps was followed by a long silence. Egil couldn’t breathe. Why had he opened his mouth? Stupid, he was so stupid.
“I was thinking I should wash up.”
Oh… “Of course. Do you need… eh… Your clothes are still in the closet and there are clean towels on the shelf in the bathroom.” He slipped down another step. “I’ll eh… erm… prepare to open the shop.”
About Holly Day
According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.
Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.
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