A Courtship of Dragons is a M/M Romance short novel (approximately 60,000 words) told in short scenes, between two young dragons, Estenarven kin Boulderforce Clan Stoneheart and Mastekh kin Rainstorm Clan Flowflight. It’s pure fluff ‘n’ stuff and not intended to be anything other than that.
Even in amongst all the Storm Rising stuff, I haven’t forgotten about you, my dear ol’ Courtship readers. Especially not when Khennik’s about to put his foot down.
“I AM SORRY about this, you know,” Elder Blazeborn said, as he and Estenarven walked back to their suite. “I had no idea this would turn into so many meetings. I’m not even certain what they’re discussing anymore.”
The elder had never been one for trade diplomacy. Not that Estenarven could blame him. He hadn’t been able to work out what all the meetings were about either, until he’d caught a glimpse of Reglian’s betting book and discovered Goryal’s stake in the proceedings.
“It’s not your fault,” Estenarven said, entirely truthfully.
Elder Blazeborn rubbed a hand over his head and blew out a weary sigh. “Perhaps not, but since neither of you will help yourselves, I’m putting my foot down. We’re all taking tomorrow off.”
“But the meetings…” Estenarven protested, a little less forcefully than he probably should.
“Burn them. I have nothing to contribute and won’t be missed. And if I’m not there, nor will you be. Let them fetch their own blasted food and drinks for once. My patience has ended.”
A huge smile of relief broke through Estenarven’s tiredness. The Blazeborn elder had never been well known for his patience, but while he continued to attend it was up to Estenarven – and Mastekh – to support him. But if he wasn’t there…
Khennik waved a dismissive hand and pushed open the door to their suite. “Just don’t wake me in the morning. In fact, I don’t want to see either of you all day long. Finish your courtship. I have sleep to catch up on.” So saying, the grumpy elder walked into his private room and shoved the door shut behind him.
Estenarven watched him go with a fond smile. Khennik would never be the friendliest of dragons, but beneath his grumps and growls, there was a good heart. Even if it wasn’t particular gracious at accepting gratitude.
“Thank you,” he murmured again, yawning as he glanced over at the closed door to Mastekh’s room. He’d noticed his Puddle slipping out early from the dinner and sighed with disappointment. So much for coaxing Mastekh into a cuddle or two before bedtime. Ah well, he wouldn’t disturb him now. His poor Rainstorm had been run ragged over recent days, back and forth to the kitchen, up and down the stairs. Estenarven would let him sleep. He could surprise him with the news of their reprieve in the morning.
Rubbing his hands together in anticipation, another yawn overtook his smile and he rubbed his hands over his eyes instead.
“Time for bed,” he muttered, pushing into his room and collapsing onto his blankets.
Not only was his bed not nearly as soft as he remembered, it also contained a frenzy of thrashing limbs. Estenarven jerked back and hit the floor with a bone-rattling thud.
“What the blazes!” Khennik arrived in a swirl of fire and light – and froze in the doorway, taking in the sight before him.
Estenarven lay sprawled on the floor, wincing as he sat up on his tender backside. Meanwhile, the pile of blankets on the bed continued to thrash and moan, until Mastekh’s head popped out, squinting at the bright glow of Elder Blazeborn’s power.
“Mastekh?” Estenarven and Khennik asked together, one slightly more incredulously than the other.
Moaning, Mastekh pressed his arm over his eyes and curled up tighter, wincing as he moved his legs. Estenarven winced in sympathy, remembering how heavily he’d fallen on his bed. Because he’d expected it to be empty. He’d thought he was alone.
“Ah, ahem, well,” Elder Blazeborn cleared his throat awkwardly and Estenarven looked at him properly for the first time since his arrival. Bronze skin glowing with power, Khennik’s robe hung half off his shoulders, the silk still smoking. It seemed like they’d given their elder as much of a shock as they’d given themselves.
“I’ll just leave this here, I think.” Khennik let a small golden globe drop from his fingers. “Good night.”
“N-n-night,” Mastekh whimpered from the bed.
“Good night,” Estenarven called, picking up the globe and gingerly climbing to his feet to shut the door. “And thank you!”
Khennik made a grumbling reply about keeping it down as he returned to his own room. Leaving Estenarven alone with Mastekh. Finally.
“Puddle?” he murmured, placing the glow globe on a high shelf and crawling onto the bed. “Are you all right? Did I hurt you? Speak to me.”
Silk sighed as Mastekh shook his head, his face still hidden by his arm. “Sur-p-prised,” he mumbled.
Estenarven snorted in agreement and carefully eased down until he was lying alongside the other dragon. “You and me both, Puddle.” He pulled his Rainstorm closer.
Mastekh flinched and rolled away, hugging his knees tight against his chest, back to Estenarven. “I’m s-s-sorry,” he gasped, covering his head with his arm again.
“I’m not,” Estenarven grumbled, inching closer. Mastekh inched away. Estenarven followed and, since he was on the wall-side of the exceedingly narrow bed, Mastekh swiftly ran out of space and was caught. Estenarven pressed his chest against Mastekh’s back and buried his face against the nape of his neck. He sighed. “You’re in my bed. Best surprise I’ve had all century.”
Trembling, Mastekh uncurled a fraction and peered over his shoulder. “T-t-truly?”
Estenarven took advantage of the slight softening and wrapped his arms around Mastekh’s waist, hauling him as close as possible. “Truly,” he rumbled in reply, kissing his Puddle’s wet cheek. “As long as you’re not hurt.”
“I’m not h-hurt. Just em-b-barrassed.”
“Mm,” Estenarven hummed, yawning against Mastekh’s shoulder. “Never mind now. Leave it to tomorrow. Sleep.”
Mastekh hummed in agreement, shifting around until he could tuck his head against Estenarven’s chest. “You’re not h-hurt?” he whispered.
Ignoring the throbbing in his tail bone, Estenarven breathed in a lungful of Rainstorm scent and smiled. “No.”
“G-g-good,” Mastekh yawned, and went boneless with relaxation.
Running a hand up his back to stroke the Rainstorm’s soft cloud of hair, Estenarven wondered if he should offer to take Mastekh back to his own room. Except his Puddle seemed exceedingly comfortable where he was and Estenarven was in no mood to move either. He wanted to sleep, needed to sleep, and having Mastekh in his arms made everything ten times better.
So he closed his eyes and breathed deeply, aware that tomorrow was a free day in which he didn’t have to do anything. Neither of them did. They could stay in bed all day if they wished.
Mastekh snuggled deeper into his arms and made a sound of contentment as he wriggled his way beneath Estenarven’s robe and pressed his cheek against bare skin. The Rainstorm was cool to the touch but perfect. Utterly perfect.
Estenarven released the last of the day’s tension and sank into the depths of sleep.
~ Next Part ~
If, like Khennik, you’re fed up of waiting to find out what happens next, get the ebook – it’s free!
Whatever you choose to do, take care, my lovelies.