Currently "Good With Dragons" is on sale for nothing on Amazon.com. This sale lasts two days (February 4 & 5). If you download it, I hope you like it!
Lyle races dragons for a living—if you can call it living, being a slave. Then he meets Saul. A slave has no rights, but that can't stop him from falling in love. Even though maybe it should.
A fantasy-themed gay romance or m/m romance.
Length: approx. 9,000 words
Heat level: low
Tearjerker or angst level: medium
Happy ending: Yes
Good With Dragons
by Hollis Shiloh
They were at it again. Grunting and straining together in the next stall. You'd think they'd be tired out after a long day of racing dragons, the way I was. I curled smaller in the straw, pulling my ragged blanket around my shoulders. Dragon number 34 was asleep next to me, her scales warm. I closed my eyes and tried to join her in sleep, but to no avail. Now they were groaning. I tossed back the cover, leaped to my feet, and strode from the barn.
Out here, the air was cooler, and I could breathe. Far away, a star sparkled in the night. The light of a cigarette glowed in the dark, and I glanced over at the shadowy form of the person smoking it. A man? Yes, and bigger than me. He probably wouldn't be much of a racer, then.
"You new here?" I asked. "Stable help?"
"A racer." He took a long drag and then moved towards me. I stiffened, getting ready to defend myself, but he just handed the cigarette over. After a moment's hesitation, I accepted it and took a long drag. It tasted of warmth and smoke and his breath; it covered the smells.
"You're too big."
"No taller than you are." He sounded offended. But he had a nice voice. I handed the cig back.
"Come on. I'm light. You're solid. If he told you he bought you for a racer, he lied." I'm kind of long-legged and tall, but they keep my weight down by not giving me much to eat.
"I'm damned good," he insisted, sounding slightly wounded.
I snorted; it came out as smoke. "How come I've never heard of you then, a man bigger than me and a racer?"
"I'm from the south. Up on all the news, are you? Bet you can't even read."
"I read. A bit." I reached for the cigarette again, and he let me have it. "So why are you out here?"
He was silent a moment, and I realized something had changed in the air between us. I wished it hadn't.
"Can you sleep with that racket?" he asked, softer now. "Made me feel like a sad sack listening all alone." He shifted back against the wall and finished his cigarette with slow deliberation. I wanted more, but I didn't ask. I leaned back against the wall too, one foot raised to rest against it. I felt all hard edges, hot and cold at the same time. I wondered if I was about to do something foolish.
"Goodnight." I turned and left, feeling disappointed but also relieved. At least nobody was hinting, inside.
"Lyle," he called softly, and something twinged inside me. He knew my name.
I stopped. "What?"
"Wasn't going to ask. It's fine. Just stay and talk to me for a minute. I've got another smoke."
I turned back with a show of reluctance. He let me have first drag, lighting it for me with my hands cupped around it. He was leaning close, but not touching. His fingers were careful, and I thought, he would be a kind lover, it wouldn't be so bad. I smoked hard, and put the thought away. It still made me squirrelly inside, thinking about sex, with anyone.
"What d'you wanna talk about?" I slurred the words, flopping the cigarette at the side of my mouth, not taking it out to speak.
"Give me that." He gave me an incensed, affectionate look and snatched it away. He took a deep, jagged breath like a sigh. "Wondered about you. That's all." He sounded so lost and lonely. "What's it like here and all that? Bad place to belong or a good one?"
I snorted. "You know by now there's nowhere really good, or you should." I slid down the wall till I sat. The ground was hard and cold on my bottom, which lacked the padding to make it comfortable. He slid down beside me, a soft sound against the wall, and looked more comfortable.