Author Charlie Richards
His Draconic Leanings
A tale set in the Wolves of Stone Ridge world
Gaping through his windshield, Dean Croman instinctively eased the pressure on the accelerator as he took in the sight before him. He swept his gaze over the beautiful, stunning—hell, amazingly gorgeous—three story mansion. Never in Dean’s wildest imaginings would he have thought such an impressive structure was hidden three quarters of the way up the mountain.
When Dean had first been given the assignment, he’d been frustrated. He was the best technician at the computer repair company where he worked. They were high end, working mostly with corporations. Getting sent to some mountain hick’s home who had probably just knocked the wrong cable out of the wall should have been given to one of their low ranking technicians.
Dean’s feelings of irritation at being given this extremely out-of-the-way house call slipped into gratefulness. If the interior matched the stunning stone and wood exterior, Dean would never find another opportunity to enter such a structure. He bet they had marble floors and everything.
As Dean swallowed hard and resumed his approach to the mansion, now the instructions made sense. After asking for Mistress Dianna—weird—he was to take the first branch of the driveway which would lead to a side service entrance. When he did that, driving down a slight descent toward where the backside of the home abutted the rock wall, he barely managed to keep his mouth from sagging open, again.
The place had a freaking loading bay!
Shaking his head, Dean parked his car near a service entrance to the left of the loading dock. He opened his sedan’s door, grabbed his satchel, and eased from his vehicle. After slipping the strap over his head, he closed his car’s door and headed toward the service entrance.
Following the instructions, Dean pressed the buzzer. Almost immediately, a female voice responded. “Yes? Who is it?”
“Uh, I’m Dean Croman with Pronto Repair Specialists. I’m here to see Mistress Dianna.”
“Just a moment.”
That moment turned out to be about ten seconds. The door before him opened to reveal a slender woman in a dark navy skirt suit and matching heels. Her auburn hair was pulled into a fashionable bun and she used deep brown eyes to sweep an assessing gaze over Dean’s frame.
Dean forced a nervous smile, clenching his left hand around the strap of his bag. He held a clip board with his work orders in his right. Those he held out to her.
“I understand I’m here to work on a computer for a Mister Axel Rosenwood.”
The woman—Mistress Dianna, presumably—reached out and took the clip board. She perused the papers. Then, she handed them back.
“Of course. I am Mistress Dianna,” she stated, confirming her identity. “Please follow me.”
Dean did as he was told. She quickly led him through the cavernous loading bay to one of several doors, moving through what appeared to be a massive pantry. That led into a large kitchen where a woman was humming and cooking. The slightly plump blonde-haired woman smiled brightly at him, then turned her attention back to whatever she was stirring.
Following his silent guide, Dean crossed into a hallway.
It took every ounce of self-control Dean contained to keep from stopping and just…staring. Everywhere he looked screamed money. From the state of the art appliances and stainless steel cooking surfaces to the marble floors in the hallway to the rich carpeting it gave way to when he was led into a massive study with floor to ceiling windows.
Finally, Dean did stop. On the wall to the right, across from the windows, was an impressive stone fireplace with two large chairs situated before it. Above the mantel, instead of a family crest as Dean would have thought, was something else. Using stones of various colors, some incredibly talented mason had created the image of a dragon. The eye was what appeared to be a chunk of embedded glass, but Dean suspected might be something more valuable.
His fingers practically itched to go and trace the stunning feature. Dean loved dragons, much to the amusement of not only his parents and siblings but also his coworkers. Somehow, he managed to move past the beautiful creation and cross to the desk where a laptop waited.
* * * *
Master Axel Rosenwood stared out the window, sweeping his gaze repeatedly over the grounds. His dragon felt restless, growling in the back of his mind. Something had his other half on edge. Most of the time, sharing his soul with a large reptile gave him a hell of an advantage over others. He could see in the dark, was stronger, had faster reflexes, healed more swiftly, and had better senses. It also meant he had a far more aggressive and possessive nature.
He hated strangers in his home—what he considered his territory—and he knew there was one there now. A human computer guru—that was what his buddy, Roman called him. When his computer had stopped working, he’d called his friend, but the electronically inclined dragon shifter had been busy with a personal issue of some kind and had been unable to help him. He’d referred him to Pronto Repair Specialists.
While hating human’s increasing dependence on technology, Axel had learned just enough computer skills to continue managing—and increasing—his fortune. Just because he didn’t care for electronics, didn’t mean he didn’t use global news to read the future. He was over six hundred years old. He probably knew human nature better than most humans did.
Giving in to his need to move, Axel turned away from the gorgeous mountain views and headed out of his suite of rooms. He stalked toward the stairs, pausing at the top. Peering into the main foyer, he inhaled deeply.
A scent tickled his senses. A pleasantly sweet, fruity smell…like freshly diced strawberries drizzled with honey. To his surprise, his blood flowed south, causing his prick to thicken. His pulse sped up, thrumming through his veins.
Axel completely agreed with his dragon. Whoever had left the scent trail, he would find him. He would make him his own.
One thing could be said for dragons. They were decisive.
Stalking down the stairs, Axel followed the smell toward his study. He paused outside the open door, listening to the sound of tapping keys. Licking his lips, he couldn’t resist smiling, anticipation flooding him.
Taking in the dark hair on the head that he knew must belong to the human technician where it was bowed behind his laptop, Axel eased into the room. He couldn’t see much else of the man, but he did notice the open satchel on the desk and the book inside it. It was a book he recognized. He knew the author—the mate of a fellow dragon.
True to Axel’s order, Mistress Dianna remained in the room. She sat in one of the chairs before the fire. Her attention focused on the screen of her handheld computer, and every few minutes, she glanced over at the technician.
Axel cleared his throat, announcing his presence.
Mistress Dianna’s head came up. Her dark eyes settled on him. For just an instant, a look of surprise crossed her features, obviously not expecting him to make an appearance, since he’d had her set everything up. She blanked her expression as she rose to her feet.
Axel didn’t miss the fact that the tap of keys had also ceased. For the moment, he ignored the technician—his mate. Instead, he stopped before Dianna. The woman—a small feline shifter—had been with him for over eighty years and was damn good at her job of running his household.
“Master Rosenwood,” Dianna greeted with a tilt of her head. “Can I assist you?”
Giving Dianna a slight smile, Axel responded, “Introduce me to the technician.”
Dianna’s scent gave away her shock at his request, but she quickly nodded. “Of course, sir.” She turned and headed toward the human.
The man’s hazel-eyed gaze glanced between them. Although, to Axel’s pleasure, the human’s focus lingered more on him. Also, the scent of nerves and arousal perfumed the air.
Good. My mate is just as effected.
* * * *
“Mister Croman, I’d like to introduce Master Rosenwood,” Dianna stated.
She indicated the stranger who’d entered the study—as if the man needed any introduction. To Dean, the golden-blond-haired man exuded power and confidence. It was damn sexy, and he found his prick responding to it, especially considering the relaxed clothing he wore. The view was amazing, broad shoulders and wide chest encased in a form-fitting blue sweater. His torso tapered to a narrow waist and long legs in, surprisingly, pale jeans which had obviously seen better days.
Holy shit! I’ve never seen a man look so good.
The obviously rich owner stepped forward, reaching out with his suntanned arm, offering his hand. “Axel Rosenwood,” he stated. “Call me Axel.”
Still, not wanting to appear rude, Dean responded, “I’m Dean.” As he spoke, he took Axel’s hand. As their palms touched, a zing of…something traveled through his palm and up his arm. His nipples beaded and his cock thickened. Dean just managed to hold in his gasp.
The corners of Axel’s lips curved up into a heated smile, as if he knew exactly the effect he had on him. He rubbed his thumb lightly over the back of Dean’s hand. A wave of goose bumps spread up his arm.
When Dean attempted to pull his hand away, Axel squeezed lightly for an instant, then released him. Dean lowered his hand to his side, flexing and relaxing his fingers while trying to find his tongue. It was tough, what with how all his blood had flooded his dick.
Axel turned and focused on Dianna. “Please bring me a macchiato,” he ordered, then turned back to Dean. “Would you care for a coffee, Dean? Or something else, perhaps?”
“Uh, c-coffee would be great. Thanks.” Maybe something hot would get his hands to stop trembling.
“Yes, sir,” Dianna responded before striding from the room…leaving Dean alone with the sexy man.
God, I want to jump his bones so frickin’ bad.
Shit! I should not be thinking that.
But his handshake sure indicated he was interested.
Still not good. I could be fired!
Yeah, but it’d be soooo worth it.
“Are you about finished, Dean?” Axel asked, ceasing Dean’s internal debate. “I’d love to talk computers with you for a moment. I’m sure by now you’ve figured out that I am not technologically inclined.”
Unable to help but smile upon hearing the man’s self-deprecating tone and wry smile, Dean struggled with a way to respond.
“Oh, come on,” Axel teased. “It’s okay. I know my failings.” Smirking, he continued, “One doesn’t get to my position without knowing his short-comings and how to work around them.”
Dean found himself drawn in by Axel’s surprisingly friendly banter. “Uh, yeah. From working through the issues on your computer, plus seeing your amazing home, I’d say technology isn’t your top skill.” Feeling his cheeks heat, he grimaced. “I apologize.” Geez, why did I say that? “Yeah, I’m about done. I can show you how to avoid ending up with so many viruses,” he offered, hoping to smooth over what could obviously have been interpreted as an insult. “And I’ve installed better detection software.”
Axel chuckled softly. “Thank you.” Without missing a beat, he reached down and fished out the book Dean had in his bag and held it up. He tapped the green-hued, iridescent-scaled dragon on the cover. “What part are you at?”
If it had been any other question, Dean probably would have felt defensive. He knew it was odd for a grown man to love the fantastic creatures as much as he did. He even had dragon statues on his desk at work. His coworkers had teased him about it more than once. Instead, Dean glanced at the dragon motif over the fireplace.
Did Axel share his love of all things dragon?
* * * *
Axel listened as Dean explained where he was in the book. He recognized the portion instantly, since he’d read it several times already. Nodding, Axel admitted, “I love the vivid imagery the author uses to describe the green dragon’s thickly scaled hide.” Eyeing his soon to be lover closely, he softly added, “It’s so very close to the truth.”
For a second, Dean opened his mouth as if to respond. He blinked as he snapped his jaw shut. His brows furrowed in confusion for a few seconds, then he scoffed. His plump lips—lips that Axel desperately wanted to taste—curved into an amused smile.
“Did you just say it’s close to the truth?” Dean asked. “As in…you think dragons actually exist?”
Chuckling low in his throat, Axel placed the book back in the bag. “I don’t think dragons exist,” he responded confidently. “I know dragons exist.” When Dean opened his mouth—most likely to counter him or laugh at him—Axel held up his empty hand, palm out. “I have proof. Would you like me to show you?”
Dean’s jaw snapped shut.
Axel watched the man. Standing next to the desk, he was close enough to not only read the myriad of expression that crossed his mate’s face, but confirm what each meant by scent. Confusion, disbelief, followed by wariness and curiosity…even amazement. He wondered which would win out.
Deciding he needed to tip the scales in his favor, Axel slipped around the corner of his desk. Dean stared at him, his lips parting in surprise as he took a step backward. Axel reached out and took his hand, tugging him forward, again.
It didn’t take much strength to gather the surprised, confused human into his arms. He slid one arm around him, palming his lower back. The other still held Dean’s hand, and he brought it up, pressing Dean’s palm to his chest. In Axel’s opinion, no one had ever felt better tucked against his solid frame than the five-foot-ten human in his arms.
Dipping his head, Axel nuzzled Dean’s temple. He felt the human tremble against him. The scent of arousal flooded the air. Axel hummed as he slid his right leg forward just a little, rewarding him with the feel of Dean’s hard cock against his thigh. His own erection throbbed, straining against his fly. Settling it against Dean’s stomach, he let his mate feel what he did to him.
Dean gasped and peered at him. His hazel eyes had darkened with lust. An expression of shock and disbelief etched across his features.
“You don’t seem to realize your own appeal, Dean,” Axel rumbled, his voice husky with arousal. “I have half a mind to strip you down, sprawl you across this desk, and lick every inch of your body.”
Somehow, Dean’s eyes managed to get just a little bit wider. He roved his gaze over Axel’s face as he swiped his tongue over his bottom lip. His face flushed, giving his neck and cheeks a rosy glow.
Axel wanted to see that pretty color all over his body. First, though, he wanted to taste those plump, damp lips. Lowering his head, Axel sealed his mouth over Dean’s. Taking advantage of his parted lips, he swept his tongue into the man’s mouth.
Dean’s sweet, yet masculine taste exploded across Axel’s tongue. He hummed appreciatively as he released Dean’s hand at his chest and moved it to his jaw. Using the new hold, he tilted his mate’s head, aligning their mouths more fully and gaining better access.
Reveling in his human’s taste, Axel plundered his soon-to-be lover’s mouth.
* * * *
Whimpering, Dean brought his free hand up and clung to Axel. He pressed close to the other man, practically vibrating with the sensations crashing through his system. Never had he become so hot, so needy, so fast.
Dean didn’t know what it was about Axel, but his blood fired in his veins. He welcomed the other man’s tongue, shocked at how much he enjoyed his taste, scent, and touch. The way the fingers of Axel’s hand on his back massaged his spine caused his balls to roll and his dick to leak.
When the base of Dean’s spine tingled, he ripped his mouth away from Axel’s lips and moaned. “Wait,” he gasped. No longer claiming his mouth, Axel lowered his head to Dean’s neck, licking and nipping at the tendon. “Oh, god! S-stop,” he hissed. “Please.”
“Don’t want to,” Axel growled even as he ceased kissing him and rubbed his nose along his jaw. Finally, he lifted his head enough to meet his gaze. “Why?” His eyes suddenly narrowed as his jaw tightened. “Are you already attached?”
Realizing what Axel must think, Dean shook his head. “No,” he whispered quickly. “There’s no one. I, just—” He felt his face flame as he fought his embarrassment.
Evidently, Axel didn’t need him to finish. A feral smile crossed his features as he loosed his grip on his back. At the same time, Axel moved his hand from Dean’s jaw to his groin, cupping his length through his slacks.
Dean gasped. His body bucked as a shudder worked through him. Flames of need erupted through his cock and balls.
“Master Rosenwood, here are your—” Dianna’s voice came from somewhere toward the doorway.
Axel continued to hold Dean’s gaze, not even looking her way as he growled the order, “Out.”
Seconds later, the soft snick of a door closing reached Dean’s ears, but he couldn’t take his gaze away from the bigger man’s feral expression. Unbelievably, even that interruption hadn’t softened him one little bit. He’d never been one to express desire in front of others, so he wasn’t sure how that was even possible.
Dean pushed the odd reaction from his mind. Who cared, anyway?
“I want to suck your cock, Dean,” Axel rumbled, his voice gruff with arousal as he massaged Dean’s cock head through his slacks with his thumb. “Tell me I can taste you.”
What sane man could resist that offer?
In the next instant, Axel eased his hold on Dean’s cock. His groan quickly turned to a gasp as he watched in shock as Axel lowered to his knees before him. While he stared, the sexy, blond-haired man open his fly with deft fingers. Dean reached out with one hand and grabbed the edge of the desk in an effort to steady himself. He clenched the fingers of his other hand in a fist to keep himself from grabbing the man on his knees before him.
As Axel pulled his cock out of his pants, Dean could only stare in shock and wonder. This sexy rich man is about to blow me! Axel’s deep blue eyes peered up at him, full of lust and desire as he opened his mouth and drew Dean’s leaking head into his mouth.
Warm heat enveloped Dean’s erection. Coupled with the tight suction and erotic sight before him, Dean’s balls tightened alarmingly fast. He moaned as tingles spread out from his groin. Goose bumps broke out on his arms.
When Axel grabbed Dean’s free hand and moved it to his own hair, Dean obeyed the unspoken command and threaded his fingers through Axel’s thick blond hair. He groaned at the myriad of sensation and lost all control. He bucked his hips, thrusting his dick deeper into Axel’s mouth again and again.
Almost immediately, his balls pulled tight and his orgasm swamped him.
* * * *
Axel hummed in pleasure as he swallowed Dean’s seed. He continued to suckle lightly, teasing his tongue along the length of his pulsing vein, extending his mate’s pleasure. Dean rewarded his efforts with several more shots of his heady-tasting goodness.
Once Dean ceased shooting, Axel eased off his new lover’s softening prick. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand as he rose to his feet, keeping his other hand on Dean’s waist, assisting the panting, swaying man with balance. Once Axel stood before his mate, he eased his slacks and underwear back up his hips, then closed them. He ignored his own throbbing cock as well as his dragon’s urging to turn Dean over his desk and sink deep inside his channel, to claim him.
“Oh my god,” Dean whispered, tentatively resting his hands on Axel’s chest. “Wh-why did you do that?” Peering up at Axel, he appeared so confused. He rubbed his hands over Axel’s chest, his brows furrowed as he moved his gaze to where he touched him. “Wow. So firm.” Then, his cheeks flushed as he looked up at him through his lashes. “I’ve never done something like this before.”
Axel’s dragon growled in the back of his mind. “Surely you’re not a virgin,” Axel rumbled, rubbing his hands over his new lover’s sides. “Someone as sexy as you must have many admirers.”
Dean scoffed and rolled his eyes. One side of his lips turned up in obvious amusement, but at least he relaxed in Axel’s arms. “Uh, no,” he responded. “Definitely not. You’re the sexy one,” he stated, sweeping his gaze over Axel’s chest where he touched him. “Way out of my league. You looking for a discount or something? Because that’s not something I can offer.”
Choosing to ignore Dean’s implication that Axel would or even needed to trade sex for a discount, he barked a laugh, instead. “Not at all,” he responded. “I came on to you because I could easily see that you are special. Now, are you ready to see that proof?”
The corner of Dean’s lips twisted in confusion. “Uh, I don’t mean to be rude,” he stated, easing backward. “How could you believe that dragons actually exist?”
“Come with me,” Axel urged, stepping away from him and holding out his hand. “Come with me, and I will show you why I believe in dragons.”
For a few seconds, Dean hesitated. His brows furrowed as he swept his gaze over Axel’s face. Axel waited patiently, leaving his hand out there. Finally, Dean’s lips curved into a smirk, and he slid his hand into Axel’s.
“Okay,” Dean murmured. “I suppose it’s worth a look.”
Chuckling softly, curling his fingers around Dean’s hand, Axel assured, “Oh, this will be more than worth a look.” He drew his mate forward, leading him out of the room and up the stairs. “Out of curiosity, when did your fascination with dragons begin? Uh, how old are you, anyway?”
Axel turned down a side hallway, peering at Dean. He noticed the way the human glanced repeatedly at their clasped hands, then around the plush hallway, which happened to be adorned with pictures of dragons. What Dean couldn’t possibly know was that the beasts depicted were actually his ancestors. Some of them were even still alive.
“I’m twenty-four,” Dean answered absently. “And I’ve always been fascinated by dragons.”
“I can’t say I’m surprised,” Axel responded, opening a door to a massive cavern.
It was a round space, eighty feet in diameter. The ceiling was fifteen feet above them at the sides and sloped upward toward the center, creating a dome. Axel had bored the space into the rock mountain, abutting his home decades before. The roof actually opened by the switch of a lever, but he didn’t do that now.
Instead, as Dean peered around the space, his scent full of confusion, Axel subtly locked the door behind him, assuring that his mate wouldn’t be able to flee. “Come,” he urged, heading toward a bench off to the side. Once beside it, he gently cupped Dean’s jaw and pressed a chaste kiss to his lips. “The reason you have been fascinated with dragons all your life, and the reason you and I have such explosive chemistry, is because I am a dragon, and you are my mate.”
* * * *
Dean snickered. “I’m sorry. Did you just say you are a dragon?” He smirked as he watched Axel step backward and grab the hem of his shirt. “Are you on meds? I’ve heard that if someone who’s delusional is rich enough, they’re called eccentric.”
Axel whipped his shirt over his head. As he folded it, he grinned at him. “I’m not on meds,” he assured as he placed his shirt on the bench. “And I don’t expect you to take my word for it. I told you I’d show you proof.”
Seeing Axel reach for his fly, Dean gaped. He watched him shove his jeans down his legs, he nearly swallowed his tongue. Commando! Axel’s thick, maybe nine inch erection jutted from his groin, curving toward his stomach. His mouth watered. His asshole clenched. Blood flowed south and his prick—which had been sated in nearly the best way possible not ten minutes prior—thickened so fast he swayed on a wave of dizziness. Crazy or not, Dean wanted the sexy man before him.
“Try to remember, Dean Croman,” Axel rumbled, his tone intense. “I will never hurt you. No matter what form I’m in.”
Dean snapped his gaze to Axel’s face, seeing the twinkle in his green eyes. He was about to ask what he was talking about, when something started to happen to Axel’s skin. It rippled, then blue spots formed. Those spots expanded, overlapping, as the man’s body, his limbs and even his face, grew and changed.
Backing slowly, Dean’s eyes widened in shock as the sexy man who’d just sucked him off…changed. Before he could even figure out what he witnessed, the changes stopped. He found himself gaping at a…a dragon. A large, blue dragon with wings that nearly touched the ceiling peered down at him.
“Oh my god!” Dean whispered. His body began to tremble and his knees weakened. His heart pounded in his chest on a mixture of fear and excitement. A dragon! They’re real! On unsteady legs, he took a step backward, then another, until his back smacked into the wall. “A-A-Axel?” Dean glanced around swiftly, afraid to look away from the creature for too long, searching for the man.
“I am Axel.”
It took Dean a few seconds to realize the low, rumbling words came from the dragon. He watched in amazement as the beast lowered to his belly. He even rested most of his perhaps six foot long neck on the stone floor. It was then that Dean looked at the massive beast, truly looked at him, and realized intelligence shown from his large blue eyes…deep blue eyes so much like Axel’s.
“Axel?” Dean whispered in disbelief. “How?”
“I am what is called a shifter,” Axel the dragon claimed. “I share my soul with a dragon. I am both a dragon and a man.” As he spoke, he eased his head closer.
“Why are you telling me this?” Dean murmured, his fingers twitching with an odd urge to touch. “Why are you showing me? Are you going to eat me?”
“You are my mate, Dean Croman,” the dragon replied. Evidently, he’d noted Dean’s hands, for he told him, “I would never hurt you. I would protect you with my life…and I would love for you to touch me.”
Dean gave in to his urge. He reached out and touched. Feeling the hard scales, he reveled in how smooth and warm they felt. “Wow,” he whispered. “Amazing.” He rubbed over the creature’s several foot long head. Excitement pulsed through him at experiencing something he just knew most people would never have, let alone believe. Hearing Axel the dragon rumble, Dean realized the beast was purring. “Why are you telling me this?” he asked again, still confused.
The dragon pulled his head away, and a reversal of the process commenced. In seconds, a human Axel stood before him…a very naked, aroused Axel. Meeting the man’s gaze, Dean gasped at the heat and lust shining from his eyes.
“I tell you because you are my mate, Dean,” Axel insisted, closing the distance between them. “You are the other half of my soul.” Pinning him against the curved wall, he gripped Dean’s wrists and twined their fingers, pressing them into the stone behind him. “I have been waiting for you for centuries,” he claimed roughly, rocking his erection into Dean’s stomach gently. “Now that I have found you, I will devote my life to pleasing you. I will never let you go. There will be no other for either of us for the rest of our days.”
Dean moaned at the hella possessive words. His cock, which had softened somewhat during Axel’s changes—once again went ramrod straight. While he knew he should be concerned at Axel’s claims, all he felt was…excitement. Something in him yearned for exactly what the man—dragon shifter—offered.
This is what I’ve been missing. Someone to need me, to care for me, and only me.
“Oh, god, yes,” Dean pleaded, rocking his own erection against Axel.
Axel’s face lit up in the most pleased grin. “Yes?”
“I have so many questions,” Dean admitted. “But, yes. I want what you’re offering.”
“I will answer anything, everything,” Axel assured. Then, his grin turned feral. “But after. I need you now, my mate.” Rocking against him, he stated, “I wish to take you to my bedroom, fuck you into the mattress, and claim you.”
Moaning, Dean’s prick throbbed at Axel’s words. “Yes, please!”
Axel didn’t ask again. He swept Dean into his arms and sealed his mouth over his own. Clamping one large hand to Dean’s ass, Axel lifted him.
Dean eagerly climbed his lover, wrapping his arms and legs around him. As he felt himself being moved away from the wall, Axel never breaking the kiss, Dean realized he’d finally found someone who understood and accepted his love of dragons. After all, he was being carried away by his very own winged beast…and he loved every second of it.