June 17, 2024

Last Mortals – short

Chapter One

Glen’s skin tingled, fire racing spreading through his veins, kindling his desire like dry leaves that caught flame. He knew exactly where he was; one of the backrooms of *Wicked Whispers*. The nightclub/brothel that kept drawing him in like a moth flew to the light.

Except that it wasn’t the club itself that caught his attention.

It was the person in the bed with him, underneath him; the catalyst for his lust.

Silvan Nightshade.

The slender man’s hair framed his face like a chocolate-colored halo on the pillow, his eyes sparkling with tints of gold as he laughed at the awed expression on Glen’s face. His warm, soft skin showed no blemishes, no flaws. Of course not. Silvan was an incubus, a creature that exuded sexual perfection, and he had Glen caught in his charms. Absolutely and utterly caught.

It wasn’t only Glen’s skin that tingled. It was the scales on his tail too, the very tips of his wings. Every part of him was entranced.

He’d admired the incubus for days—nights, really—but to think he finally had him…

Silvan reached a hand up, the backs of his fingers brushing Glen’s cheek. “You gonna fuck me, dragon?”

A roar lodged itself in Glen’s throat. He didn’t let it out. He might be a dragon, but he was *not* a beast. Still, he couldn’t keep himself from dipping his head to kiss the junction of Silvan’s neck, suck at it until a breathy noise escaped the smaller man, fuel to Glen’s madness. He wanted to hear more of those noises, wanted to make Silvan moan and forget about volume control. He wanted both of them to forget everything but this moment—and each other.

He wanted to own the man beneath him.

His cock twitched, painfully hard.

He jerked himself, suppressing a shudder.

Fuck.

He couldn’t remember ever needing something as much as he needed to be inside Silvan.

Except this was nothing more than a dream. The same dream that had been haunting him ever since he’d first caught sight of the incubus.

They were crafty bastards, taking over his mind, over his dreams to make him pay for sex in the waking world.

Glen wouldn’t fall for it.

People called him simple-minded—and he’d never understand why that was an insult–but even he wasn’t *that* dumb.

None of which changed the fact that he was still hard when he woke up.

He rolled over on his bed of coals, groaning to himself as the sun peaked through the castle windows.

It would have been easier to cope with the dreams if they didn’t always end before the good part.

Fuck it. He was done with this shit.

Tonight, he would go down to the club and tell the incubi to stop messing with his mind.

***

Silvan clutched his pillow to his face, grumbling into the soft material. Sex was his job. It was how he made his money. It was what he excelled at. It was the family business. He was fine with all that, really.

But did he have to *dream* of sex too?

He didn’t used to.

His sleep used to be dreamless, and he liked it that way, damn it.

These days when he woke up, he hardly felt rested. Letting go of the pillow, he rubbed his face and sat up. His morning wood rested uncomfortably between his thighs, but he refused to rub one out. If he did, his thoughts might just go back to the dream, and that was the last thing he wanted. Besides, there was no way he was gonna lay a hand on himself when people paid him to get him off.

His dick was going to get *plenty* of action later tonight.

Although… maybe not. Wasn’t it his night off tonight?

He’d have to reconfirm with his parents. Kai or Ray, whoever was making all those cluttering noises in the kitchen right now. Probably Ray, they’d always been the noisier parent.

Silvan threw on a blue robe made out of thin cotton and left his room, following the smell of bacon toward the kitchen. His family lived in the building above the night club they operated, and though Ray and Kai had done their best to make the place look cozy, painting the walls in earthy colors and putting lots of throw pillows everywhere, the pipes that stuck out of the walls in the hallway still gave the apartment a somewhat industrial feel.

In the kitchen, Ray stood in front of an open window, frying eggs. Today, their hair was long and silvery, flowing down to their breasts. A feminine form. Silvan made a mental note of that as he poured himself a much-needed cup of coffee. His parents could cycle through genders at will, changing anything about their appearance and the way they presented themselves as they pleased. The one thing they could not do was to make themselves taller or shorter, and their voices did not change too much. Things that helped Silvan know who he was dealing with at any given moment.

In the old days, Silvan had learned, people used to differentiate between female and male incubi, but that was a misconception. Some incubi chose one body, one gender to stick with, but that was their choice. Most incubi were fluid. Ray could be Dad one day, and Mom the next.

Silvan had taken to calling his parents by their names, because it was easier.

“You’re up early,” Ray commented. “Weren’t you working late last night?”

Silvan leaned over the kitchen counter and mumbled into his coffee. It was true that he was rarely up before breakfast.

“Still got trouble sleeping?” Ray shot him a look of concern, one of those ‘mother knows all’ looks.

Except that they *didn’t* know, of course, because Silvan would never tell them that he kept dreaming of a dragon.

“You’ve been taking more clients, I noticed,” Ray said, as if this was the root cause of Silvan’s issue, rather than a symptom. Their voice softened. “You don’t have to proof anything to us, you know?”

Silvan bristled, because Ray had touched on a sore spot. His parents had done their best to make him feel like he belonged, like he was just as good as any other member of the incubi community, but deep down, Silvan knew that wasn’t true. He was adopted. He didn’t possess magic of his own. He couldn’t change his appearance or his gender at will, and without the glamor charms his parents applied to him, he’d look quite ordinary.

Ray and Kai had found him after his biological parents had thrown him away like so much trash, abandoned him in a dark alley. The fact that he’d been found, that he’d survived, was nothing short of a miracle, but Silvan didn’t feel the least bit miraculous.

There was a reason mortals like him had died out. In a world run by magical beings, they were inferior, plain and simple.

This city was ruled by dragons. All sorts of shifters, mages, fae and vampires roamed the streets. His community was made up of magical sex demons.

Silvan couldn’t measure up.

He tried, though. He brought in just as much money as his older sibling, if not more, some nights. He worked hard, and he took pride in that.

“I’m not trying to proof anything.” 

Ray turned the stove down and eyed him closely. “Why the long nights, then? Are you trying to save up for something, or…” Ray’s eyes widened as a thought struck them. A grin followed. “You’ve had a lot of incubi clients this week. You’re trying to find your mate.”

Silvan choked on his coffee. Damn his parents for knowing him so well.

Young incubi had sex with as many people as they could fit into their schedule, because they would only recognize their true mates after sleeping with them. Silvan was not an incubus himself, but his parents had promised him that he could still find a mate, that, before mortals had gone mostly extinct, incubi had often mated with them. One night, an incubus Silvan invited to his room would recognize him for his fate. 

And then Silvan would finally belong in this community for real.

He swallowed the thought down with more coffee as Ray patted his back.

“Am I on shift tonight?” he asked to distract from the topic.

“I thought you might help Chris at the bar, if you’ve got nothing better to do. Skylar called in and canceled.”

“All right,” Silvan agreed. Pouring drinks wasn’t his favorite thing in the world, but he would help wherever help was needed. Not everyone who visited their establishment came to fuck—though many did. They had some patrons who preferred sitting at the bar and drinking in the atmosphere, as well as some expensive liquor.

Ray turned back to the stove. “Remind me to reapply your glamor before tonight. It’s getting a little weak.”

“Sure.” Silvan stared into his mug, wondering, for just a second, what it would be like to live in a world where he didn’t have to hide what he really looked like.

He scoffed at himself.

What he really looked like…

Fuck.

He couldn’t even remember.


Chapter Two

Glen knew he should never have set foot in this club. He wouldn’t have, except for his damned curiosity. Anything that was off limits, he needed to try, and an incubi-run brothel was *definitely* off limits. His parents would be having fire-breathing kittens if they knew of the undignified ways he spent his evenings recently. They’d stopped trying to keep him from partying in the city years ago, but there was a difference between dancing the night away in a haze of pixie dust at the *Glowing Sticks* and… well… this.

People at the *Glowing Sticks* had whispered about this in hushed tones, amazement etched into their features.

It was the thrill of the forbidden that had drawn Glen here. At first, anyway.

The building looked unassuming from the outside, located near the hills at the edge of town, rather than the red-light district. Once Glen stepped inside, he was bathed in the kind of soft, dim light that made everyone appear a little more handsome than they were.

Not that the club’s employees needed that kind of lighting to appear beautiful. You could clearly tell who was working here and who wasn’t, who was an incubus and who was not.

Low music tried to lull Glen into a sense of safety, and the scent of expensive wines drifted into his nostrils. 

There was a well-stocked bar at the far end of the room and a few round tables where people could sit. Some of the tables had candles for their center pieces, their flickering contributing to the soft lighting. The place might have looked a bit like a restaurant, if not for the dancing poles on the tables that didn’t have candles.

This night, Glen had arrived so early that no one was dancing yet, though a few patrons already sat at the tables, sipping drinks out of tall glasses.

Most nights, Glen sat at the back and watched the incubi work with a sense of illogical fascination. No, that wasn’t quite right. All the incubi were mesmerizing to watch, but only one of them was the reason Glen kept coming here.

Silvan.

The man of his dreams. Literally.

He must have cast some sort of incubus spell on Glen the first time he’d come here. There was no other way to explain his recent obsession with the man. Silvan was stunning, no doubt about it, but that alone wasn’t reason enough for Glen to get stuck on him. Magic had to be involved in some shape or form.

Silvan must have recognized that Glen belonged to the royal family and put a spell on him to keep him coming back here, to milk money out of him.

As if Glen would ever pay for sex.

His feet took him to the bar. Two incubi were tending it tonight. One of them, Glen didn’t recognize, but the other one was Silvan. Glen’s heart leaped into his throat at the sight of him—which was dumb. Probably something to do with that spell he was under.

Silvan’s gaze flicked to him as he sat down. “Just drinks again tonight?”

“Silvan,” the other incubus, a curvy brunette lady, admonished, “is that any way to speak to our guests?” She turned to Glen. “Please excuse him. He’s normally much better behaved.”

Silvan laughed, a sound exactly like the one in Glen’s dream—a sound that went straight to Glen’s dick, and things only got worse when Silvan’s eyes focused on him. “She’s lying. I never behave.”

The way he smiled as he said that sent a thrill through Glen’s body. “Never?”

Glen knew he shouldn’t be asking, shouldn’t be taking Silvan’s bait, but damn it if he could help himself. The man was gorgeous, and Glen wanted a piece of him. Fuck that. He wanted more than a piece of him.

Because of the magic he was under?

Glen couldn’t tell. All he knew was that he couldn’t tear his eyes off the incubus as he uncapped a bottle and poured a drink, sliding it across the counter to Glen. “That’s your usual, isn’t it?”

Black liquid swirled in the glass, interspersed with gold glitter that shone like starlight. It was the club’s special mix, a drink as beautiful as its staff. Glen wasn’t sure exactly what was in it, and a smarter man would probably not have drunk it, but Glen figured the club wasn’t trying to poison its regulars, and besides, it tasted really good. That was the main thing, really. It glittered and it tasted nice.

What dragon could ever withstand the shine of gold?

Glen lifted the drink to his lips. It smelled like vanilla, with a hint of something spicier that Glen couldn’t place.

How bad was it that he already had a ‘usual’ drink at this place?

He really needed to stop coming by.

Still, the thought that Silvan had watched him closely enough to know what he liked…

That thought stirred something deep in his guts.

This incubus was definitely targeting him, one way or another.

He took a sip and set the glass back down. “You’re working the bar all night?”

His question earned him a cocky grin from the incubus. “Were you hoping to see me dance instead? Or…” he drew the word out, “were you hoping to buy some of my time?” The way Silvan’s eyes pierced him as he posed the question made it impossible to look away.

Glen leaned forward. “That’s what you want, isn’t it? Why you put your spell on me?”

Confusion played over Silvan’s features, but it was gone in less than a second, as if he was an experienced actor in a play and the director had just given him new directions. “Are you saying that you feel enchanted by me?”

“I’m not just saying that. It’s the truth. I can’t go a single night without dreaming of you. That’s not normal.”

This time, Silvan didn’t get his features back under control quite so quickly. Glen’s words rattled him. Glen wasn’t surprised. He tended to have that effect on people. Time and time again he’d been told to choose his words more carefully, but that was not who he was. He’d come here to voice his issues, and that was exactly what he’d just done.

“Sounds like someone’s got a crush,” the incubus behind the bar with Silvan commented while polishing one of those tall glasses. “Don’t feel too bad about it. It happens all the time. Danger of the job.” She patted Silvan’s shoulder. “This one’s got his fair share of admirers.”

Glen’s hackles rose. He wasn’t sure what it was, but the idea of a nameless sea of men and women who all wanted to get with Silvan… who regularly did get with Silvan… It made him want to punch the wall.

A dumb reaction, considering this was an incubus they were talking about, an incubus who worked in a brothel. Of course Silvan had sex with several different people. It was literally his job.

That didn’t change the fact that Glen hated it.

And he would *not* become one more face in the crowd of people who ‘paid for Silvan’s time.’

“I don’t have a crush,” he stated. “I don’t get crushes. Not like that.” Sure he met guys or ladies he found attractive, and yeah, he was down to fuck with them when the opportunity presented itself. He’d never been one to turn down a fun night.

He didn’t obsesses over people, though. Not even over the ones he’d slept with multiple times.

His gaze focused on Silvan. “This isn’t normal for me. You did something. Incubus magic or whatever. You guys are sex demons, right?”

A sharp intake of breath from the lady next to Silvan. “We don’t call ourselves that anymore.”

“Sorry.” Glen scratched the back of his neck. God, people could be so touchy.

“You think I used magic on you?” Silvan asked, drawing Glen’s attention back to him. “That’s a little insulting.”

“How is that insulting?”

“You seem to believe I couldn’t get you to hire me without cheating. Do you think that’s what we do here? That we trick paying customers into desiring us? That they come here because we cast a spell on them, not because we’re good at what we do?” Silvan paused. A confident smile replaced his frown. “One hour with me and you’d know that’s bullshit.”

Silvan’s words sank under Glen’s skin and settled there, a temptation that stayed with him, even as his logical mind rebuffed it. “I don’t pay for sex.”

Silvan shrugged easily. “You get what you pay for, and if you’re not paying, it’s not me you’re getting.” Without another glance at Glen, he went to the other side of the bar to tend to a patron who’d sat down a few seconds ago. A scantily clad lady with fluffy wolf ears. Glen liked wolves from time to time; they were real animals in bed—pun fully intended. Tonight, though, he wanted to tell that lady to go away.

He took a sip of his drink, savoring the smooth flavor on his tongue as he watched Silvan pour a drink for the wolf.

Why was it that the scene made him jealous?

If this wasn’t magic, what the fuck was it?

***

Silvan could feel Glen’s eyes on his back as he moved. He’d half expected the dragon to move away from the bar after he’d told him that nothing was going to happen between them without cash involved, but Glen stayed glued to his spot, watching him. Did he not understand? Did he think Silvan would change his mind?

That was ridiculous.

Silvan wasn’t going to treat him differently from every other client who walked through the door to the club. He was a professional, after all. If Glen wanted him, he could damn well pay for him.

And Glen *definitely* wanted him.

He’d been in this business for long enough to know when someone wanted him.

He could sense it in the dragon’s gaze, in the heat in those deep blue eyes.[

Glen dreamed of Silvan every night, he’d said.

A cold trickle went down Silvan’s spine. In an odd way, he felt caught. He hadn’t told Glen about his own dreams, and still… he felt as if the dragon knew, or if he didn’t, that he was moments away from finding out. ‘It’s not normal,’ Glen said said. Silvan couldn’t disagree with that.

The truth was, though, that he hadn’t put any sort of magic on Glen. He couldn’t weave spells. It was simply not possible for him. The only magical aid he had was the glamor his parents cast on him to make him appear more attractive than the average human. Was that cheating? Maybe, but to Silvan, it only evened the playing field between him and the other incubi.

As time passed, the club became busy. Silvan was glad for the many customers that came to order at the bar. At least the work distracted him from the dragon, who still hadn’t vacated his seat. His presence unsettled Silvan. What did Glen want here if he wasn’t going to pay?

He didn’t even seem interested in the dancers who’d set up on the tables in the front—and they were really good tonight. Even Silvan found himself mesmerized from time to time, when his gaze drifted that way. It wasn’t because he wanted to fuck his coworkers. It was the fluidity of their movements that fascinated him, the sensuality present in the sway of their hips. It was art in motion. The dancer in the middle, Drew, changed the shape of his body mid-turn, switching from a masculine to a feminine form, his hair growing at the same time as his breasts.

It took a lot of practice to get the change to look that natural. Silvan had seen his older sibling struggle with it for months.

Glen didn’t care about the dancing, though. He wasn’t among the people vying for the performer’s attention.

Chris brushed up against Silvan during a lull in orders. “Want to take your break? I think I can manage on my own for a bit.”

It was a tempting thought to slip out of the club for his break and see if that would finally make Glen leave. His eyes must have wandered Glen’s way, because Chris chuckled.

“That one’s got it bad for you, huh?”

“He doesn’t want to hire me, though.”

“You’re gonna give it to him for free?”

“Why would I?” Silvan turned his back toward the dragon as if he didn’t care about the dragon one way or another.

“Because you’ve been distracted all night and I think he’s the reason.” A knowing smile lit up Chris’s features. “You’ve been avoiding that side of the bar.”

Silvan stiffened. “Maybe he creeps me out.”

“No, you know you could simply have him thrown out if he was being a creep. That’s not it.” Chris glanced at Glen. Silvan forced himself not to follow her gaze. “I can see why you want him. He’s hot. Poor taste in fashion, but you can take that terrible hoodie off him.”

“I know better than to give in to a patron who doesn’t want to pay.” It would set a terrible precedent if his regulars caught wind of the situation.

“So, convince him that you’re worth the money. We both know he’s got enough.”

That much was true. Glen sure as hell didn’t *look* like royalty in the green hoodie he wore, but that wasn’t enough to fool Chris and Silvan. By the second night the dragon had come here, they’d noticed that ‘Glen’ was really short for ‘Glendan of the Firewings’.[ This was the king’s nephew. There was no way he didn’t have the funds to afford a night with Silvan.

“So how do you suggest I convince him?”

Chris playfully hit him over the back of his head. “C’mon now. You’re not a newbie. You’ll think of a way.”

Silvan poured himself a glass of water and sipped it slowly. Chris was right. This shouldn’t be a difficult task. There were ways to talk reluctant clients around. It was sex work 101. Many people were shy the first time they came here. Silvan didn’t think Glen was *shy*, exactly, but maybe some of the methods he used with anxious clients would work on him too.

“I’ll take my break,” he told Chris, setting down his glass.

“Good luck,” was Chris’s only response.

Silvan nodded at her. His pride was on the line now. Right here and now, he had to prove his powers of seduction, and that they weren’t lacking behind any other incubus, even if he didn’t have magic to back him up.

He could do this.

Easy.

This dragon was no match for him.

With as much confidence as he could muster, he approached Glen’s spot at the bar. Resting his arms on the counter, he leaned forward. “Enjoying your night?” Noticing that Glen’s glass was empty, he added, “Need a refill of that?”

“Nah, thanks. I don’t wanna get drunk.”

Silvan let himself smile. “Scared what you’ll do? Or… who you’ll do?”

Glen smiled right back at him, except that his was a predator’s smile. A smile that sent a flush of heat creeping over Silvan’s skin. Fuck. Silvan drew in a breath, settling himself. He’d gotten so wrapped up in his need to prove qualifications as an incubus that he’d forgotten why he’d wanted to avoid this man.

Glen wasn’t like his other clients.

His other clients didn’t make his heart speed up and his head go soft.

His other clients didn’t star in his dreams.

“I’m not scared of anything,” Glen said.

Silvan believed him.

Swallowing, he straightened and walked around the bar until he stood behind Glen. “Did anyone take the time to show you around the facilities?”

“You mean the back rooms where you fuck?”

Silvan’s lips quirked. “There’s more to this club than that.” He motioned for the dragon to follow him through the club and toward a door to the right. “We take special pride in being at the top of technomagical innovation.”

“What’s that?”

“You never visited our website?”

“I did. I read your profile.”

“But nothing else?”

“I wasn’t interested in anything else.”

Silvan made himself smile to hide how those words hit him. He was no stranger to being desired, but Glen’s intensity, his *honesty*, set him apart from Silvan’s usual clients. He gripped the handle of the door tightly to center himself. “This will interest you,” he promised.

The door opened into a large room sectioned into two smaller cubicles, each with its own privacy curtain.

“What is this?” Glen asked. “Do you watch porn in there?”

“Oh please, porn is so last year. This is way better than that.” Silvan pulled one of the curtains aside to reveal the set-up inside the cubicle. There was a large bed with a small console to its side. A visor and a pair of gloves rested on top of the pillows. “You put your credit card into this device.” Silvan pointed out a slot in the console, “and then you use this screen to select your partner of choice. Once that’s done, you put on the equipment, lay on the bed, and enjoy the action.”

“Is this some sort of virtual reality set-up?”

“It’s a little better than that because you can feel everything that happens as if it were reality. That’s where the magic comes in. We’ve even got smells included.”

“That can be a good thing or a bad thing.”

Silvan laughed and offered the visor to him. “I’ll give you ten minutes for free. Consider it a trial run. It’s a service we offer to all our patrons.”

“To get them hooked.”

Silvan showed Glen a teasing smile. “You’re not scared, right?”

Glen considered the visor without taking it.

“You can choose any one of the club’s employees.” Silvan looked straight into Glen’s eyes as he said this. “You’ll get to do whatever you want with me. And it won’t cost you anything.”

“Ten minutes?”

“Longer if you put in your card.”

“Ten minutes,” Glen repeated, then he shook his head. “It won’t be real. It won’t be any different from my dreams.”

“It will *feel* real,” Silvan promised.

“So do the dreams.” Glen scoffed. “That’s the problem. They’re too fucking real.”

Yeah, Silvan knew exactly what Glen was talking about. If the dragon’s dreams were anything like his… He swallowed hard, heat pooling in his guts. He offered the visor to Glen once more. “With this, at least you can take control over what happens.”

“And you’ll stand here watching me?”

“Of course not.”

Glen hesitated for another moment, then, finally, he took the visor. 

Silvan watched him put on the gloves and then turned to the console to set everything up. “Enjoy,” he said, well aware that Glen probably wouldn’t hear him as he laid down.

Silvan hadn’t lied when he’d said that he wouldn’t stand here and watch. He’d watch from somewhere else instead. The cubicle next to Glen’s featured a similar set up. Silvan used his employee card to overwrite the settings of the console before he took the visor. The digital version of him that existed inside of this simulation was programmed to act autonomously, but it was no problem for Silvan to take control if he felt like it. Usually, he was supposed to tell a client before he joined in on the experience like this, but for Glen, Silvan made an exception.

He wanted to know what Glen would do when he thought he *wasn’t* being watched.

Chapter Three

Glen found himself standing in a bedroom that was illuminated solely by the light of several candles that flickered in every corner of it. If Glen hadn’t been a dragon, he might have been scared of a fire hazard. As it was, though, he only had eyes for the naked man who lounged on top of the large bed. Silvan.

The simulation of him looked every bit as mesmerizing as the reality of him. Glen had never seen the incubus naked in real life, but in his dreams he had. This set-up came eerily close to his dreams, almost as if it had been drawn from his unconscious mid. Could the technology do that? Could the magic inside of it?

“Are you okay with this setting?” Silvan smiled at him. “We can change it if you’d like.”

Truth be told, Glen didn’t care too much about the lighting or the layout of the room. To be perfectly honest, he didn’t even care if there was a bed or not. Any horizontal surface would do—and if there wasn’t one, he had no issue with fucking Silvan against the wall either.

All that mattered was that he got to touch, to feel, to *claim.*

That was the desire that always drove him in his dreams. It was no different here.

It was a need that rose from deep within himself, rising to the surface every time he looked at Silvan.

No one else did this to him. No one else spoke to the beast within him.

“I don’t care where we are,” he announced, approaching the bed. He had ten minutes, and he was going to get the most out of them.

It wasn’t until his leg brushed the edge of the duvet that he realized he was just as naked as Silvan inside this virtual reality. Well, at least that saved him the time it would have taken to get rid of his clothes.

Silvan’s eyes roamed his body as Glen neared the bed.

Glen realized the lust in Silvan’s gaze wasn’t real, that this was a computer program, but it stoked the flames in him nevertheless. The incubus before him looked exactly the same way he did in real life—exactly the same way he did in Glen’s dreams, and Glen had exactly the same response to seeing him naked that he did when his conscious mind abandoned him each night.

The dragon inside of him roared to life.

Silvan smiled as Glen climbed over him. A cocky expression that seemed to offer an unspoken challenge. “What are you going to do with me?” he asked.

Glen didn’t vocalize his response. He chose to act instead, driven forward by the need to touch, to become one with the man underneath him. His tail wrapped around Silvan’s lower thigh, pulling his legs apart as he positioned himself between them. Silvan made a surprised little sound—a sound that Glen swallowed with his mouth as his lips met Silvan’s.

Silvan’s mouth was hot, and it tasted of forbidden things, sweet and sinful at the same time.

This simulation felt so real, Glen almost forgot that it wasn’t.

If Glen kissed Silvan in real life, Silvan might not tilt his head like that to give him better access. He might not dig his fingernails into Glen’s hips to draw him lower.

Glen groaned at the sensation of Silvan’s touch, at the possessive note in it.

He lost himself.

It was as if a switch in his brain flipped. One second, he was in control of his actions. The next, he was all dragon. He didn’t shift—he couldn’t—but primal instincts took over, guided his actions. Apprehension spiked in the back of his mind, a rush of adrenaline that soaked his brain as he claimed Silvan’s mouth, and got ready to claim the rest of him. One of his hands found Silvan’s cock and gave it a rough tug. Silvan groaned into the kiss. He was already hard.

So was Glen.

He was so hard it hurt, and sinking himself into Silvan was the only thing on his mind.

He flipped the incubus over.

Silvan’s hole twitched as Glen dragged this thumb along his rim.

Glen wanted to believe that the reason he didn’t go looking for a lube and condom was because this wasn’t real, because Silvan wasn’t real, and because he didn’t know how much time he had left in this simulation. The truth was that he simply couldn’t stop himself.

That hole was his.

He shoved a finger inside, Silvan’s tight heat enveloping him, sucking him deeper.

His cock pulsed, ached with need.

Silvan spread his legs wider, offering his ass.

Glen drew in a sharp breath as his self-control shattered once more.

He stabbed another finger into that perfect little hole. Silvan’s hips jerked, but there was no resistance, no sound of protest. The incubus took his fingers readily.

Glen reached around with his other hand to stroke Silvan’s cock once more, swiping away a drop of precum at the tip. Silvan shuddered and his inner muscles contracted around Glen’s fingers. Glen stroked him harder, working his fingers deeper inside. “Mine.” The world left him in a low growl.

“Yours,” Silvan confirmed in a breathless, keening voice, as if he was as desperate for this as Glen was.

It was an illusion. Glen knew this, but hearing the incubus accept his claim like that… Silvan might as well have poured gasoline on the flames that fanned his desire.

All thoughts abandoned Glen as he withdrew his fingers from Silvan’s hole to guide the tip of his cock there instead. Silvan’s breath hitched, but he didn’t tell Glen to stop.

Glen thrust into him, slowly but firmly. He kept one hand on Silvan’s cock as he sank deeper, jerking him through the process. Silvan groaned, clutching a pillow and burying his face in it. Glen’s eyes closed as heat overwhelmed his senses.

He’d told Silvan this simulation wouldn’t be any different from his dreams, but it was more intense than that. He would have sworn to anyone that he truly did have his dick inside the incubus, that they had become one. That Silvan had become his.

Glen thrust deeper, until he bottomed out, until Silvan groaned into the pillow that muffled his sounds.

It wasn’t enough yet. 

The beast inside of him wasn’t satisfied, wouldn’t be, until they both came, until he made Silvan scream his pleasure.

He barely gave the incubus time to adjust before he started fucking him in earnest, setting a punishing pace, because fuck it, he was not going to let the timer run out like this. Silvan didn’t protest, though, not once, as Glen thrust into him again and again. Stuttered syllables that made no sense fell from his lips. His hips rocked back against Glen.

He wanted this.

Glen let him have it. He deep and fast, the way his inner dragon demanded. His balls drew tight. Silvan’s mouth opened in a voiceless cry. Glen’s fist tightened around Silvan’s cock, keeping him on the edge as he plunged into him again. Silvan’s whole body jerked beneath Glen, tight with tension, with need. Glen growled and fucked him harder.

A low, desperate moan fell from Silvan’s lips.

It was this sound that made Glen spill. His vision tunneled as he spent himself inside of Silvan, as Silvan’s hips bucked and hot seed coated his hand. They came together. Glen took a ragged breath as pleasure sliced through him and made his thoughts swirl.

It was perfect.

Fucking perfect.

He dipped his head to kiss the back of Silvan’s neck, tasting sweat on the back of the incubus’s skin.

“Mine,” he mouthed once more without giving voice to the sentiment. He didn’t need to. It was understood.

He was about to roll to the side and draw Silvan against the chest when the scene before him faded and reality set back in.

***

Glen took the visor off and rubbed his face, taking a minute just to sit and collect himself. His pants weren’t sticky, so… had he actually come or not?

Fuck.

None of it had been real, had it?

*Including* his orgasm.

He searched the walls of the cubicle to see if there was a clock anywhere, but he couldn’t find one. Still, he had to have spent longer than ten minutes in that simulation. Had Silvan given him extra time?

Was he going to try to charge Glen for it?

Where was Silvan?

Glen got up from the bed and left the cubicle. The curtain to the second cubicle had been left open, but there were was no one in there. Glen looked around, but couldn’t find the incubus.

Weird.

He would have expected Silvan to wait for him with a smug smile and a teasing joke.

Maybe his break was over?

He went back into the club, but Silvan wasn’t behind the bar either.

“Looking for another drink?” Silvan’s colleague asked as Glen approached.

“I was looking for Silvan,” Glen admitted.

“You just missed him,” the incubus informed him. “He went back up. I don’t think he’ll come down again tonight, but he’s on shift tomorrow—and not behind the bar.” She winked at him.

Glen swallowed hard. “Thank you,” he made himself say, even as everything inside of him rebelled at the thought of Silvan working tomorrow night, sleeping with other men and women.

It was *wrong.*

He wouldn’t let it happen.


Chapter Four

Silvan parked himself under the cold, cold spray of the shower.

Jesus fucking Christ.

That had *not* gone according to plan.

The plan had been to tease Glen, to make him want more, to stop the timer just as things were getting good.

He couldn’t do it. He’d gotten too wrapped up in the scene.

Those simulations were too damn good. Too much like his dreams, and he’d never woken from his dreams voluntarily.

Silvan looked up and let the water hit his face. What was wrong with him? Why was he so obsessed with this dragon? He shuddered as he heard Glen’s voice in his mind, his low growls claiming him. His dick pulsed as if he hadn’t just had the best fake orgasm of his life.

Sighing, Silvan turned the shower off.

Obviously, it wasn’t helping.

He was *beyond* help.

Toweling off, he stepped out of the bathroom, only to run into Ray in the hall. Shouldn’t they be down at the club?

“Everything all right with you?” Ray asked. “Chris let me know you checked out.”

“I’m sorry about that.” Silvan ran a hand through his wet hair. He wanted to tell Ray that he was fine, but then how would he explain leaving Chris to tend the bar by herself? “Just…”

“If that dragon bothers you, we can ban him from the premises.”

“He doesn’t bother me,” Silvan said quickly. Heat rose into his cheeks. Ray had noticed his preoccupation with Glen?

“You played with the sim?”

The heat intensified. “No one was using it, so I figured it was fine.”

Ray’s expression softened. “I’m not scolding you. I’m trying to piece together what’s going on.” They smiled. “It’s not like you to get so flustered.”

“I’m not flustered,” Silvan lied, even though his cheeks were still red.

“Of course not.” Ray’s smile turned knowing, then it faded. “Did you hear the rumors about the prince?”

“What rumors?” The prince was Glen’s cousin. Silvan had looked into Glen, but not the prince.

“It’s only speculation at this point, but people are whispering that Prince Curren is taking a mate, and he’s mortal.”

Silvan’s heart stopped. There were other mortals? And dragons mated with them?

“That doesn’t have anything to do with me,” Silvan sputtered. “He doesn’t know that I’m… not an incubus.” The word ‘mortal’ didn’t pass his lips. It felt too enormous in this situation. Besides, it didn’t matter. Glen would never find out, and dragons didn’t usually mate with incubi, did they? Silvan scratched the back of his neck. Truth be told, he didn’t know. He hadn’t *heard* of anyone in his extended family who’d mated with a dragon, but that didn’t mean it was impossible.

Ray looked concerned. “It’s best if he doesn’t find out.”

Silvan nodded. There was nothing special about mortals, except that they had become rare enough to count as extinct in most circles. The only times Silvan heard of other mortals were in rumors. Rumors about how a shady witch had acquired mortal organs for a new spell, or rumors about how much a gallon of mortal blood fetched on the black market.

Ray didn’t need to tell Silvan to keep his secrets to himself.

“The dragon seems a little too interested in you.” Ray glanced into an oval mirror that hung to the side of the door, a convenient place to check your appearance before heading down to the club. Their hair was a bit shorter this evening than it had been in the morning, but they’d added vibrant streaks of gold to it.

“He’s no trouble,” Silvan said. “I doubt he’s looking for his mate in our club.”

“Let’s hope so.” Ray rubbed at the corner of their left eye, where some of their make-up had smeared. Most incubi didn’t use make-up, preferring to rely on magic instead, since that was easier, but Kai loved doing make-up, and they insisted on doing Ray’s. Ray liked to claim that it was tedious, but the tradition of the two of them getting ready together each night before work had continued unbroken for as long as Silvan could remember.

Ray rubbed at the spot once more. “I’ll have to ask Kai to redo that.”

“You could glamor over it.”

“I’d never hear the end of it.” With a sigh, Ray turned to the door. “The things we do for love.” Hand on the door knob, they paused, shooting one last look at Silvan. “You let me know if that dragon’s causing you any trouble, hear me?”

“I’m fine,” Silvan insisted.

Ray didn’t look convinced, but they went back to work—or rather, to find Kai.

Silvan blew out a breath. When he thought of his future, when he thought about mating…he wanted to have what his parents had. He wanted an incubus mate. Someone who would fit into his family, into his life.

He’d never wanted a dragon.

Back in his room, Silvan flopped on his bed and scrolled on his phone. The world-wide-witch-web was littered with pictures of Glen. Candid and hastily taken shots as well as ‘official’ photographs. Silvan stopped scrolling at one that had him obviously flirting with whomever was holding the camera. Silvan recognized the look, the suggestive glint in his eyes. It made Silvan’s heart stutter, even on film.

Fuck.

Silvan made his thumb move over the phone’s screen once more.

Glen showed his face in the city a lot more than the rest of the royal family, and the media loved him for it, even if they didn’t always write the most favorable articles about him. He was described as outgoing, warm, friendly… and ultimately, as someone of no consequence. In spite of lineage, he’d never been awarded an official title. He had no official duties within the castle. He was related to powerful people, but he was not powerful himself.

Aside from being a freaking *dragon*, anyway.

There was some speculation as to why the castle did not entrust any important jobs to him, but no definite facts.

Silvan figured it was probably because Glen preferred to piss his nights away at the clubs instead.

He’d be back here tomorrow night, wouldn’t he?

Unless that VR session had given him all he’d wanted…

Something tightened in Silvan’s chest.

Putting the phone aside, he groaned into his pillow.

It was time to catch up on all the sleep he’d missed out on thanks to Glen.

***

VR sex was nice, but it was not the solution to his problems. Glen knew that by the time he woke up late the next morning. Unlike the nights before, he hadn’t been plagued by dreams. He’d been plagued by something else instead.

For the past twenty years, he’d slept on this patch of coals with no issue. Not once had he thought that his space was too large with just him in it, but the past night he’d felt so restless he’d found it hard to find any sleep at all.

At first he’d thought the coals might be too cold, but getting them reheated didn’t fix his problem.

It wasn’t the coals that were too cold. It was his entire room, his entire *existence*, somehow.

Something was missing.

As if he’d left a piece of himself behind at the club.

Stretching, Glen got up and rubbed his face. Maybe he should spend an hour or two with his hoard. Surround himself with the things he loved. Maybe he’d feel better then.

Except that there was a knock on his door.

Hastily, Glen threw a loincloth on and opened it, only to come face to face with his cousin, Prince Curren. Before Glen could ask, the prince thrust a newspaper at him. “Seriously, Glen?”

“Seriously what?” Glen looked at the paper. It had a picture of him… entering the *Wicked Whispers*.

Crap.

“I can explain!” Glen said, even though he couldn’t.

“Spare me.” Curren looked as if he’d been up for hours already and he didn’t particularly want to spend his time on issues concerning his cousin’s sex life. “Are the guards not good enough for you anymore?”

Glen choked on air at that accusation.

“Please,” Curren cut him off before he could say anything. “I know you’ve been with Ailin and Ronan, at least, and I don’t particularly care who you sleep with, or where you do it, just keep it out of the papers. I sent your parents out to deal with a negotiation in Rivertown, so they won’t be on your ass about this today, but I suggest you come up with a way to defend yourself by the time they come back.”

Glen slapped his cousin’s shoulder. “You’re a good friend.”

“Pay me back by staying away from brothels in the future.”

Glen’s smile faltered.

Curren raised an eyebrow at him. “Problem?”

“Problem,” Glen confirmed against his better judgment. “One of the incubi put a spell on me or something. Keeps me coming back.”

“I’m sure we have a law or twenty against that sort of thing. Tell them to lift the spell if they don’t want their business to be put under official investigation.”

Glen nodded. His cousin made it sound so easy, so reasonable. Why could he never think of shit like that?

Chapter Break

The Wicked Whispers was a little busier than usual tonight. Silvan figured it must be due to that article portraying Glen as a regular customer of theirs. No such thing as bad press, as his parents liked to say. Kai had even winked at him and told him he’d done good, keeping that dragon coming back. Glen hadn’t made use of their more exclusive services, but the media didn’t know that.

Silvan held a hand up in front of his lips to hide a yawn. He hadn’t been plagued by dreams last night only because he hadn’t slept. He’d half-toyed with the thought of calling in sick, but that would have meant staying out of the club tonight—an idea that was equally tempting and repulsive.

He sat at a table near the back, the way he often did when he was on shift, waiting for his clients to find him. He could be making the rounds, trying to attract first timers—and there were a lot of those tonight—but that sounded like too much effort. It wasn’t the thought of fresh meat that had made him come down.

Glen would be here soon.

Silvan could feel it, as if the dragon’s presence had etched itself into a corner of his being. It was unsettling only when he thought about it with his rational mind. To the rest of him, it felt only natural—which honestly made his mind race more. This was what had kept him from finding any sleep, and also what kept him from staying away.

Glen would visit the club tonight, and when he did, Silvan needed to be here to meet him.

A man dressed in a black tank top and leather pants approached his table. It wasn’t Glen. Of course not. He couldn’t even picture his dragon in leather pants.

“Hello, Timothy,” Silvan said to the man. Timothy was a wolf shifter, and one of his regulars. He wasn’t overly attractive in the conventional way, but the fine scar across the bridge of his nose made him interesting to look at for a little while.

Timothy pulled out a chair across from Silvan and sat, a flirtatious smile curling his lips. “All alone tonight?”

Silvan leaned back. “Isn’t that what you were hoping for?” An unusual unease settled in the pit of Silvan’s stomach, but he didn’t let that show. Timothy had never caused him any trouble in the past. There was no reason for Silvan to feel weird about the wolf’s attention.

Timothy’s dark eyes focused on Silvan as if he could sense the tension Silvan tried to hide. “Rough night?”

“Didn’t sleep well.” Silvan’s glamor hid the bags under his eyes, and he wouldn’t normally admit to not feeling well, except that he’d already decided not to take the wolf to one of the back rooms tonight.

“Sorry to hear that.”

Silvan was about to wave Timothy off when something tugged at the edge of his focus. Letting his gaze slide to the left, he spotted the cause for it. Glen was walking toward his table. He wore a less conspicuous hoodie tonight, its color a warm chocolate brown. It looked comfortable, like something Silvan wanted to take off him and wear himself, breathing in the dragon’s scent while he studied Glen’s naked body.

Fuck, he couldn’t get the image of Glen’s naked body out of his head, even though he’d only ever seen it in VR—and in his dreams.

Timothy saw the dragon too, eyeing him with a curious expression. “Seat’s taken,” the wolf said, as if he was staking a claim on Silvan.

Immediately, Glen’s features shifted from friendly to looking as if someone had pissed in his coffee. “Good thing there’s other chairs, then.” He dragged one over from a table to the left and sat in it with his arms resting on the back, glaring at Timothy.

Unconsciously, Silvan held his breath. He knew he should put an end to this, whatever this was, before it started.

Except that this was a perfect opportunity to tease Glen, and he couldn’t pass it up. “Be nice,” he said to the dragon. “I’m working, and Timothy’s my favorite.”

Glen looked as if Silvan had slapped him right across the face. His expression turned from shock into a deep scowl. “How is he your favorite?”

Silvan grinned. “He’s fluffy.”

“I am!” Timothy beamed, letting his ears—and only his ears—change form.

Glen’s mouth opened as his gaze darted between the two of them as if he was wondering how to compete with fluffy wolf ears and drawing a blank. Mouth closing, he swallowed hard. “Whatever he’s paying you, I’ll pay more.”

“Oh?” Silvan’s heart beat kicked up a notch. “That’s new. Since when are you paying?”

“I’m not paying for your services. I’m paying you not to serve *him.*” Glen gestured at the wolf.

“Rude,” Timothy said.

He was right too. Silvan couldn’t let Glen treat his customers like that. It was bad for business.

Even if the note of possessiveness in the dragon’s voice made heat trickle down Silvan’s spine.

He turned to Timothy. “I’m terribly sorry about this, but would you excuse us? I believe I need to remind this one of his manners.” He glanced at the bar. “Let Chris know I’m sending you and she’ll make sure you’re not charged for your drinks tonight.”

Timothy nodded his understanding. “I’ll see you another night. Maybe this weekend?”

“Of course.” Silvan hoped the brightness of his smile outshone the seven days of rainy weather Glen’s face displayed. Once the wolf was out of earshot, Silvan focused on the dragon. “Would you like to pay me not to serve anyone tonight? That’s…” He did some quick math in his head. “Roughly a thousand credits. Much more than you’re usually spending here.”

“I don’t care about the money”

“If you don’t care about the money, why don’t you just hire me outright?” Silvan pierced Glen with his gaze. “I know you want to.”

“Because I don’t pay for sex.” Glen’s nose wrinkled as if he’d caught a bad smell. “That’s… I don’t want that. Least of all with you. I don’t want this to be like a business transaction. I’m not *buying* you.”

“But you’re happy to pay so I don’t sell myself to someone else.”

“I would do anything to keep you from selling yourself to someone else.” Most people would look at least slightly self-conscious about uttering those words, but not Glen. The dragon was simply being honest.

Silvan didn’t know how to respond to that. His heart was pounding and his skin felt uncomfortably warm. His skin felt like it needed to be touched. “Anything?” he made himself ask.

“Well, most things.” A smile cracked Glen’s serious expression. “Don’t ask me to dance on one of these tables.”

“You wouldn’t dance for me? That’s a shame.”

“Not in public. Imagine there’s a reporter in here and what kind of images would get leaked… I’m already in trouble for being here.”

Silvan laughed, picturing Glen’s naked ass caught on camera. “Must be hard, being royal.”

“It’s a royal pain in the ass.” Glen’s smile faded away. “Seriously, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I’m not… anyone important.” He gestured vaguely. “That’s a good thing, I guess. My cousins could never come here.”

“No, we don’t usually count princes among our clientele.”

“I shouldn’t be here either.” Glen leaned in. “Whatever spell you’ve got on me, I need you to lift it.”

This again? Silvan groaned. “I’m telling you, there’s no spell. We don’t do that kind of shit here.”

“You say that, but I know what I feel, and it’s not normal. My cousin suggested putting the business under investigation to figure out what’s going on.”

Silvan drew in a sharp breath. “You’re threatening us?” Even if that investigation turned up nothing—as it would—the press around it would leave a bad mark on the club.

Glen lifted his hands. “I don’t want to, but I also don’t want to keep coming here like I have no choice.”

Silvan’s lips drew into a thin line. He believed Glen when he said he didn’t want to do this. He simply didn’t understand. He didn’t know that it wasn’t remotely possible for Silvan to work magic on him.

But hell if it wasn’t infuriating to be threatened like that. Silvan wanted to tell the dragon to go fuck himself, but that wouldn’t solve this problem. He needed to nip this talk of investigations in the bud.

His stomach churned as he rose from his seat. “Come with me.”

A look of surprise from the dragon. “Where are we going?”

“You’re paying me a thousand credits. Don’t you wanna get something for your money?” When Glen opened his mouth to protest, Silvan cut him off. “Don’t worry, I’m not taking you to a sex room.”

He’d take Glen to his own room instead.

Somewhere they could talk in private, somewhere away from the club. 


While Silvan worried about how best to approach the conversation he needed to have with the dragon, Glen’s eyes grew wide as he took in Silvan’s room. His gaze was drawn to the bookshelves that lined the wall to the right, opposite Silvan’s bed.

Silvan half-expected Glen to mock him for his hobbies—what serious adult collected comic books, after all?—but Glen seemed awed instead. “You got the anniversary edition of Glam Girl!” He grinned. “I don’t even have that.”

“You read Glam Girl?” Silvan’s brain took a moment to catch up to what Glen was telling him. This was so not how he’d imagined this night going.

“Yeah, and Super Sage too.” Glen traced a finger along the spines of the comic book, then quickly drew it back. “Sorry, didn’t mean to touch your collection! It’s just so cool. I don’t often meet another fan.”

Silvan shrugged. “I gotta spend my money on something, right? I don’t mind if you touch the books. Just be careful.”

“Right. You’re not a dragon.” Glen turned to the shelves once more, a smile lighting up his features. “If this was a dragon’s hoard, I’d be super rude to be touching it.”

“Dragons hoard comic books?” Silvan found that hard to imagine. When he thought about a dragon’s hoard, he pictured precious jewels, ancient coins, that sort of thing. Dignified stuff. *Boring* stuff.

“Dragons hoard all sorts of things.” Glen pulled a book from the shelf. ‘Sonic Succubi #143 – The Adventures of Miss Melody.’ “I know a dragon who hoards condoms,” Glen said casually while studying the comic.

“Used ones?”

“Most of them were still in their wrappers.”

Most of them… Silvan filed that information away in the mental drawer where he kept all the things he never wanted to think about again. He took a few steps closer to Glen to look at the comic he was holding. It was one of his favorites. Miss Melody had been an orphan, but then it had turned out one of her parents was a demigod and she had super powers. Typical comic book stuff, but that was why he liked it. Orphans never turned out to have super powers in real life. That stuff only ever happened in fiction.

Glen put the book back in its place and looked at Silvan. “I’ve got a whole room stacked with comics. I wish I could show you.”

“But you wouldn’t take me to the castle.” Silvan’s lips curved. “Imagine the scandal.”

Glen gave a soft laugh that made Silvan’s heart grow light. How odd. He’d taken this dragon to his room expecting to have a fight. Now instead it felt as if he was having a clandestine meeting with a friend. A friend, because he never took clients back to his private room. No, Glen was not a client.

Which didn’t mean that Silvan wasn’t going to ask him for the money he’d promised.

Money Glen was happy to pay just so Silvan wouldn’t take a client tonight. The thought gave Silvan pause. It seemed Glen was the jealous type. Or maybe that was all dragons. The real question was, what made Glen think that he was entitled to a claim on Silvan? They weren’t a couple. Hell, they hadn’t even touched each other.

Not in real life, anyway.

Silvan wanted to, though. He wanted to run his fingertips along the edges of Glen’s fiery red wings. He wanted Glen’s arms to close around him and hold him tight while their naked bodies writhed together.

He took a deep breath, willing the thought away even as his dick stiffened.

Glen turned to him as if he could sense the shift in his thoughts. “I don’t know what magic you’re working.” Glen’s eyes darkened. “But you’re gonna get me in trouble.”

Silvan exhaled. There was an easy way to prove to the dragon that there was no magic at work here, but could he risk trusting Glen with his secret?  On the other hand, could he risk *not* trusting Glen with his secret? What if there really was going to be an investigation? Kai and Ray had worked too hard on this club for its reputation to be marred by something like that. After everything his parents had done for him, Silvan didn’t want to be the reason they suffered.

“There is no spell,” Silvan repeated. His gaze met Glen’s. If only the dragon would simply believe him.

Glen shook his head. “There’s *some* magic here.” He gestured in the air between them. “I can feel it.”

The oddest thing was that Silvan couldn’t deny that. He felt it too. A weird sort of pull between him and Glen. He chalked it down to attraction, but was that really all it was? He’d been attracted to people before. He could identify that feeling of wanting to jump someone’s bones so bad your own skin itched with the desire, but this went beyond the physical. It wasn’t just that he wanted to fuck Glen—which he did. It was that he wanted to make Glen the *only* man he fucked.

The sentiment was entirely alien to Silvan.

But he’d heard that freshly mated incubi sometimes went through a phase of only wanting to sleep with each other.

He swallowed down the emotion that wallowed up in him at that thought. ]

“There is no spell,” he said once more, as calmly as he could, as if the words were the lifeline he clung to. The last line of defense between him and a truth he didn’t want to acknowledge.

Glen’s brows furrowed. “You’re hiding something.”

Bull’s eye. Silvan turned away from Glen. He picked up one of the comic books from his shelf. The anniversary edition Glen had been so excited to see. When you flipped it open, the first page was a special print, imbued with magic to make the comic book characters move. The way that spell worked, though, it drew on the reader’s own magic to set the images into motion. For Silvan, the characters always remained still and lifeless. He stared at the book without opening it.

“What’s wrong?” Glen asked.

Silvan looked at him. “I can’t have put a spell on you, because I don’t have magic.”

“What do you mean you don’t have magic?” Glen asked as if Silvan had told him that he didn’t have a heart, or lungs.

Silvan couldn’t blame him for that. He’d always considered his lack of magic a disability himself. Holding the comic book out between them, he opened it. Glen watched as nothing happened.

“Take it.” Silvan shoved the book at Glen.

The moment Glen’s fingers touched the comic, the drawings began to move on the page. A long-haired blond girl waved at them. A teenage boy winked.

“What? How…?” Glen processed slowly. “But you’re an incubus.” His eyes narrowed in thought. “Were you born with very little magic? Wait, is that rude to ask?”

“It’s fine to ask.”

“I get it!” Glen said quickly. “I’m not the most magically talented either.”

Silvan showed Glen a weak smile. “You’re magically talented enough to make the pictures move.”

“Yeah, maybe.” Glen shrugged as if it didn’t matter. His expression turned serious. “You probably know that most dragons can’t shift these days. I can’t do it either, and that’s not a big deal, but we take the fire-breathing thing kinda serious.” He scoffed. “You can’t do it and you’re not ‘blessed’ or whatever. It’s like I’m defective.”

“You can’t breathe fire?” Silvan had always thought that breathing fire was a given for fire dragons. This was the first time he heard of one who couldn’t do it. He scolded himself for not being gentler about his question, but Glen’s words had taken him by surprise.

“There’s a reason my only function at court is decorative.” Glen said it as if it didn’t matter, but the pain in his eyes belied the nonchalance in his voice. Silvan understood. Being ‘defective’ was a difficult thing to admit.

Unable to stop himself, he reached out to touch Glen’s arm. He’d thought that he and Glen lived in completely different worlds, but maybe not. “At least you make for very good decoration,” he offered. “Very pleasing to the eye.”

Glen allowed himself a smile. “I try.”

Silvan squeezed Glen’s arm. “You believe me that I didn’t cast a spell on you? I literally can’t.”

Glen studied him quietly. “Then how do you explain the magic between us?” The dragon’s brows furrowed once more. “Are your parents responsible for it?”

Silvan blew out a breath. “I promise you they didn’t. There’s no need for you to launch an investigation or anything. There’s nothing to find.”

“In that case…” Glen trailed off. It didn’t seem like he didn’t believe Silvan, but he still struggled to accept what he was hearing. “There’s gotta be something. What if…” His eyes widened a fraction. “Wait, are you really an incubus?”

Even though the words were expected, they still hurt. “What if I asked you if you weren’t really a dragon because you can’t breathe fire?”

Glen’s expression shattered. “Shit. Sorry. I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just, my cousin…and his mate…” Glen scrambled for words. “I figured if you might be mortal, then…”

“Then what?” Silvan’s heart beat in his throat.

Glen’s gaze focused on him as if he’d already arrived at the answer and knew it to be true. “Then you might be mine.”

“Yours?” Silvan hoped he didn’t stutter, but he felt oddly caught in the dragon’s gaze, in the sudden intensity of it. Glen claimed he was a ‘defective’ dragon, but as he regarded Silvan now, as if Silvan was *his*, Silvan could sense the presence of the beast that resided underneath Glen’s skin. There was nothing defective about it. Glen was a dragon like any other, and if he viewed Silvan as his treasure, he would never let go again.

All the fine hairs on Silvan’s skin stood up. His mind flashed back to the time they’d spent in VR.

He’d agreed to be Glen’s, then.

Fuck, he’d wanted it.

His cock pulsed with the memory.

Glen took a step forward, smiling. “I’m right, aren’t I?”

He looked excited about this. How could he be excited? This couldn’t be what he’d planned. It *certainly* wasn’t what Silvan had planned. Regardless, when Glen cupped Silvan’s chin, Silvan’s heart fluttered.

He wanted a repeat of their VR time. Except not in VR.

Silvan swallowed hard. This wasn’t supposed to happen. “You didn’t pay to touch me.” His eyes narrowed on Glen, though he could not make himself step away. “Are you going to?”

Glen only smiled again. “Why would I pay to touch what’s mine?”

Silvan opened his mouth to protest, only for his lips to be caught in a kiss by Glen. Not the hesitant, soft, first time kind of kiss either. Glen kissed him as if he meant business, as if it was his right to claim Silvan’s mouth—and all the rest of him—for himself. Silvan had had assertive clients before, but they’d never made his nerves light up like this. Glen said he couldn’t breathe fire, but his kiss was as if he was breathing fire into Silvan.

Silvan’s knees grew weak. A soft sound escaped his lips. He’d meant for it to be Glen’s name, so he could tell him to stop, but it didn’t come out like that. It didn’t come out like anything at all.

He couldn’t say no to this dragon. What was worse, he didn’t *want* to.

If he didn’t, though, if he let Glen claim him… if he was to be a dragon’s mate, he’d have to leave all this behind. His life, his job, his family. He would never be a proper incubus.

Placing his hands on Glen’s chest, he pushed.

It was easy to surrender in VR. Not so easy in real life.

Glen stepped away, but his gaze never left Silvan’s face. “Is it that important to you to get paid?”

“I’m a professional,” Silvan said, as if that was his only issue. “And I like my job,” he added. “You’d hate that, wouldn’t you? If you claimed me and I kept working, servicing other people. You couldn’t deal with it. I know what dragons are like.” He’d felt it too, the possessiveness in Glen’s kiss. He wouldn’t want to share.

“You’d want to keep fucking other people? Why?” Glen seemed equally repulsed and puzzled. “If it’s about money then you don’t have to worry about it. I might not have a title, but I’m not poor. You don’t have to work.”

Silvan gave Glen a grim smile. Of course he wouldn’t get it. “It’s not about the money. It’s about helping my family. It’s about who I am.” An *incubus.*

“But you’re not—”

“Don’t say it,” Silvan warned. “I trusted you with my secret. Don’t you dare throw it in my face. I was raised by incubi, and I will always *be* an incubus, get it?” If Glen couldn’t understand that much, he would never understand Silvan at all.

For a second or two, Glen looked as if he was about to argue, then, his expression softened. “Okay.” His hands fell to his sides.

“It’s okay?” Just like that? Silvan could hardly believe it. He’d expected this dragon to fight with him, to try to get his way. Everything else seemed improbable.

“I hate it,” Glen said, openly. “But I can’t tell you who to be, can I?” He pinched the bridge of his nose. “At least I know now what’s going on with me. That makes it like a million times easier to handle.”

“Does it?”

Glen huffed a laugh. “No, not really.” He ripped his gaze away from Silvan, turning toward the bookshelves once more. “I don’t want to think about what happens after tonight, about you going back to work. I can’t process that shit.”

Silvan’s gut churned. Glen was being honest; he could tell. He was asking a lot of his dragon mate. No, not mate. Not yet. An intangible force connected them, but it was incomplete.

Still felt solid as hell.

Had Silvan screwed up, getting into that VR session with Glen? He should have kept his distance, even in virtual space.

“You can’t tell me what to do,” he said, both to remind Glen and to remind himself. Whatever bond existed between them, Silvan was still his own person.

“Don’t you think I know that?” Glen pointedly did not look at him.

“It’s not like you could claim me as your mate, anyway,” Silvan continued. “The papers would tear you apart if you brought a sex worker back to the castle.”

Glen’s fists clenched, and Silvan sensed the frustration rising in him. “Fuck the papers.” Finally, he faced Silvan. “I’d run away with you if I had to.”

“And cause an international scandal?”

A quiet fire burned in Glen’s gaze. “If that’s what it takes.”

Silvan’s breath caught in his throat at the truth he heard ringing in those words. Nothing he said could dissuade Glen from pursuing him. Nothing except for the fact that Silvan wasn’t going to give up his life—or his lifestyle. “I’m not leaving my family behind.”

Glen blew out a breath as if trying to dial his fervor down a notch. “I get it,” he said in a measured tone of voice.

“So…” Silvan glanced at the door. “You’re gonna leave, then?”

Silvan’s question seemed to surprise Glen. “Your shift’s not over yet, is it?”

“No,” Silvan confirmed, “but we’re not gonna fuck and I’m not running away with you.” Silvan shot the dragon an uncertain look. *So why would you stay?* The unspoken question hung between them.

Glen shook his head as if Silvan was being ridiculous. “So we don’t fuck, so what? You’re my mate, and I still wanna get to know you.” He paused, as if processing something inside of his head. His lips quirked. “You got any idea how rare it is for a dragon to find his mate these days? I’m damn lucky.”

“Lucky,” Silvan repeated the word to make sure he’d heard right.

“Yeah, lucky,” Glen insisted. His features brightened. “I’ve got the most handsome mate on this planet, and I get to spend this whole night with him.”

“And what about tomorrow night?”

“I’m not gonna think about tomorrow. Future-me can figure out a plan for tomorrow.” He said it as if it was easy. He meant it too. Silvan could feel his joy via the string of magic that connected them. It was an odd sensation, to be feeling another man’s emotions that acutely, to the point it was difficult to separate them from his own, but there was a gentle, warm sort of energy to it. The energy of an eternal optimist that took life day by day, believing that nothing could stand in his way.

It was a quiet, but incredible source of strength.

Silvan felt his own worries soothed by it, if only for the moment.

“What would you like to do?” he asked.

Glen shot him a grin. “What can we do that won’t clash with your professional code of conduct?”

“Fair question.” Silvan thought about it. “You said you wanted to get to know me.”

“I do.” Glen looked around the room, taking in the posters on the walls that featured Silvan’s favorite rock bands, as well as the acoustic guitar that sat in its stand near the door. “You play?”

“A little.” Silvan shrugged, unwilling to admit that making music had always felt like its own sort of magic. You didn’t need superpowers to create something beautiful when you had a guitar.

Glen picked up the instrument as if it was second nature.

“You play too?” Silvan asked.

“Nope, no idea what I’m doing.” Glen smiled as he plucked at the strings, producing sounds that were the opposite of beautiful.

“Give me that.” Silvan grabbed the guitar from the dragon with a shake of his head. As he started playing, he vaguely felt that he’d been tricked into doing this, but as he felt Glen’s happiness make his own heart beat faster, he really didn’t care.

He sighed.

What a ridiculous dragon.

Dipping his head, he hid a smile.

Chapter Break

Glen woke to warm rays of sunlight shining in through the window of Silvan’s room. He closed his eyes once more, holding on to the warmth of his dreams, to the heat of the body cradled in his arms. Inhaling, he breathed in the scent of Silvan’s hair. They both still wore their clothes, and they lay on top of the covers, cuddled up together the way they’d fallen asleep the night before as the sky was starting to lighten up in the distance. Silvan had played him songs, and Glen had sung to him in the most terrible way. They’d chatted about their favorite comic book series. They’d traded stories about their families and shown each other videos on the internet while eating pizza. It was during this last part that they’d moved closer to each other. Eventually, they’d dozed off.

A perfect night.

Totally worth the money.

Eyes still shut, Glen nuzzled the back of Silvan’s neck, placing gentle kisses on his skin.

Silvan let out a soft noise, not quite awake, not quite asleep.

Glen’s tail wrapped around Silvan’s leg without thought. This incubus was his to cherish, to hold, to pleasure. His right wing extended over Silvan’s still form as if he needed to shield his treasure from other people.

Silvan turned in his hold to look at him. “Morning,” he mumbled with the most adorable sleep-addled expression Glen had ever seen on anyone.

Glen kissed his forehead, and, when no protest came, he kissed his nose, and then his lips.

Another soft sound, but not a protest. Silvan’s brain hadn’t come back online yet, but his heart was cooperating with Glen, making Glen’s own heart speed up. He’d worked hard not to overstep Silvan’s boundaries the night before, but this felt natural, felt necessary. He needed to be with Silvan. Not in a simulation, not in a dream. For real.

His dick swelled as Silvan’s head tilted, allowing for a deeper kiss. One of Silvan’s hands moved, reaching out to twists in the fabric of Glen’s hoodie while his other hand traced the line of Glen’s wing. Glen inhaled sharply, interrupting the kiss.

Silvan smirked. “Sensitive?”

He said it as if he already knew. Of course he did. He worked in a brothel in a city mostly populated by dragons. Glen wouldn’t be his first. With a pang, Glen shoved the thought aside. This, right here, wasn’t about what other men—or women—Silvan might have fucked. This moment was about them.

He gave Silvan another quick kiss. “I don’t let everyone touch me there.”

Silvan smiled. “And I don’t let everyone sleep in my bed.”

“This a first for you?”

“Waking up like this? Definitely.”

Glen would take it. His hand slipped under the cotton of Silvan’s shirt, touching warm skin, waiting for the incubus to stop him. Silvan didn’t, though.

“Well, go on,” he said. “You gave me a hard-on. Take care of it.”

Glen’s cock pulsed at those words. Fuck. This man was going to be his undoing. “What about being a professional?”

Silvan glanced at the window. “Pretty sure I’m off shift.” He stretched, accidentally not so accidentally brushing his groin against Glen’s leg. Yup, Silvan definitely knew what he was doing. Leaning in, he spoke into Glen’s ear, hot breath ghosting Glen’s earlobe. “Your cock stays in your pants,” he murmured. “But you can touch mine.”

Glen swallowed hard. He could work with that.

He knew exactly what he wanted to do.

Pulling Silvan’s legs apart with his tail, he rolled on top of Silvan and unbuttoned the leaner man’s jeans. Silvan gasped as Glen reached inside his pants only to find that he’d gone commando. No underwear. Glen didn’t hate that. It only meant that he got his fingers around Silvan’s hard-on that much faster. He’d seen Silvan’s cock in his dreams and in the sim, so he wasn’t surprised by what he saw, but getting to touch it in real life made heat roll through him as if he was about to spit fire for the first time.

Silvan drew in a sharp breath as Glen took him into his mouth without a second’s hesitation. He might not be the sex expert between the two of them, but he had enough experience to know what to do with a cock between his lips—and more than that, he was driven by the unshakeable desire to please his mate. He took Silvan deep, past the point that used to trigger his gag reflex when he was younger.

This cock was *his.*

The moan that escaped Silvan’s mouth vibrated through Glen’s body and traveled straight to his groin.

Silvan looked down at him, and Glen met his gaze as he sucked. Silvan’s eyes fluttered shut. Glen pulled his pants down farther so he could roll his balls between his fingers while his tongue rubbed the underside of Silvan’s hard cock. Silvan’s hips bucked.

“Like that,” he moaned. “Fuck, that’s good.”

Glen let his fingers travel from Silvan’s balls to his rim, circling his hole.

Silvan squirmed, moved on the bed, and finally tossed a small bottle of lube at him.

Glen uncapped the bottle and poured a generous amount on his fingers before returning to play with Silvan’s ass. If he couldn’t fuck him with his dick, this was the next best thing. His own eyes closed for a second as his finger entered Silvan’s hole to be embraced by the tight heat inside. Gods, Glen wanted to bury his cock in that heat.

Especially when Silvan squeezed around him.

The sensation shot straight to Glen’s cock.

“So good,” Silvan moaned once more.

Glen sucked him harder, crooked his finger inside of him, plunged deeper until the sounds Silvan made turned incoherent. He added a second finger, a third, fucking Silvan with his hand the way he wanted to fuck him with his cock. He watched Silvan’s features contort in pleasure, watched his jaw work as he tried to hold back.

Glen didn’t want him to hold back.

Glen wanted him to surrender.

Hollowing his cheeks, he took him deep once more, hitting his prostate at the same time, making him cry out, making him spurt. Glen didn’t protest when Silvan fucked his mouth as his orgasm hit him. This was what he’d wanted, for Silvan to lose control, to give himself over to the moment. He swallowed Silvan’s thick cum, and he savored it.

All his.

He only let the incubus slip out of his mouth when Silvan squirmed away, over sensitized.

Silvan took a deep breath, face flushed. “Not bad.”

“Not bad?” That was a lukewarm review for a spectacular performance, if Glen was any judge.

The way Silvan’s lips curved took the edge off his judgment. “Good way to start the day.” His hands landed on Glen’s shoulders, pushing him back into the mattress. Before Glen knew what was happening, Silvan had crawled over him and opened Glen’s pants.

“What are you doing?” Glen asked.

“Payback’s only fair, don’t you think?”

“You said my cock had to stay in my pants.”

“You want me to stop?”

Glen shut up.

Good decision, as it turned out. Fucking *excellent* decision.

Glen thought he’d done a good job at sucking Silvan off, but his skill level was nothing compared to Silvan.

Silvan smiled at him, leaned down to touch Glen’s straining hard-on with his lips, and the next second, Glen was in heaven. He’d received a fair number of blow jobs in his life, but nothing like this. Silvan knew exactly how to read his body, when to suck and when to let up to keep him from getting too used to the sensation, when to change things up and when to go harder. He was in complete control of Glen’s cock, and Glen could do nothing but hold on for the ride as Silvan drove him out of his mind faster than should have been possible.

But it was when Silvan *looked* at him that he knew he was done for. When their eyes met and he saw the raw desire in Silvan’s gaze, Glen’s dick stretching his lips.

It was that vision that sent him over the edge and spilling his seed in Silvan’s mouth.

The incubus swallowed around him like it was second nature, sending another wave of pleasure rocking through Glen’s body.

Silvan licked his lips as he straightened. “Good way to start the day,” he repeated.

Glen could only agree.

Silvan rose from the bed, combing his fingers through tousled hair that appeared a little darker than it had the night before. Glen’s eyes followed his every motion. It was as if he couldn’t look away from the man, even sated as he was.

So this was what it was like to be with your mate.

Glen’s lips curved into a grin.

He really was lucky, wasn’t he?

Silvan laughed at him as he changed into fresh clothes. “You look like you’re high.”

“I feel high.” Sitting up, Glen tucked himself back into his pants.

“Promise I didn’t slip you anything.” The note of amusement in Silvan’s expression made him look even more handsome. Pausing, he listened to sounds coming from another area of the house. The kitchen, maybe? Glen thought he heard a coffee machine. Coffee would be good right about now.

Silvan focused back on him. “I don’t want to kick you out, but if you show up for breakfast, I’ll never hear the end of it from my parents.”

“I get it,” Glen said, though he couldn’t completely dampen his disappointment about having to leave. “I’ll be back tonight.”

Something changed in Silvan’s expression, going from amused to hesitant. “You want to keep me from doing my job again?”

“You’d rather be working?” Glen shot back at him.

“My regulars will get unhappy if I become unavailable every night.”

Bile rose in Glen’s throat at the thought of Silvan’s ‘clients.’ He tried to keep his jealousy suppressed out of respect for Silvan’s autonomy, but he couldn’t deny that he hated this part of his mate’s life. “You don’t need your regulars. I can pay whatever they’re paying.”

A soft laugh fell from Silvan’s lips. “Such a change of tune, and one blowjob was all it took.”

“It wasn’t the blowjob.”

Silvan didn’t try to argue. He knew as well as Glen did what this was about. “Whatever we are to each other, you don’t own me,” Silvan said evenly. “If you want an incubus for your mate, you’ve got to deal with what that means.”

Glen clenched his lips shut to keep from saying something unfair. It had been a good night, and an even better morning, and he wasn’t going to ruin that by pointing out that his mate was not, in fact, an incubus. He’d learned that that was a sore spot. “Fine,” he made himself say. “But I will be back tonight.”

“Do what you must, but try not to piss off all of my clients.”

Glen couldn’t promise that, so he chose to say nothing as Silvan opened the door and motioned for him to follow. There were definitely other people moving about in the house, but fortunately, they didn’t run into them on their way out of the apartment and down the stairs to the club. It looked different in the pale light of the morning, without any music playing and with no one sitting at the tables or standing behind the bar. Innocent, almost.

“There’s a back exit,” Silvan explained, leading Glen to it.

Glen paused with his hand on the door before leaving. “I wasn’t kidding, you know? I would run away with you. Anything you need. Anything to be together.” His gaze focused on Silvan, hoping to instill in him that he meant every word he said. He didn’t care about his role at the castle. He didn’t care what his parents thought, what *anyone* thought, really.

Being with his mate was worth a scandal or two.

Silvan’s features softened. “You’re not the first person to promise me the world after an orgasm, you know.”

Glen took Silvan’s hand and squeezed. “Maybe not.” He pulled his mate closer. “But I’m the first person who means it.” He pressed his lips to Silvan’s, claiming his mouth the way he wanted to claim every last part of him. Silvan said that Glen didn’t own him. In a way, he was right, but in all the ways that mattered to Glen, he was wrong, and after a moment’s hesitation, Silvan leaned into the kiss as if he knew this too. Glen’s pulse sped up, the dragon in him wanting to take control.

He held it back, barely.

This was not the time or place.

Silvan looked dazed when they parted.

Glen shot him a grin, swiping his thumb across Silvan’s chin in parting. “I’ll see you later.”

***

Silvan spent a second or two staring at the door Glen had left through before he could make himself move again. This dragon rattled him. Everything about him seemed to react with something inside of Silvan that he couldn’t control. Because they were mates?

Silvan’s brows furrowed.

He hadn’t asked for this.

Lips still tingling, he turned around and went back up the stairs. Kai stood in the open door to the kitchen as if they’d been waiting for him to show up. They had chosen a masculine form today. ‘Dad-mode’, Silvan thought as he took in the neatly cut short hair and the comfortable sweater. “Coffee?” Kai asked, holding out a mug as if the two of them weren’t about to have ‘a talk.’

Silvan took the coffee. “Thanks.”

Kai motioned for Silvan to join them at the kitchen table. “Sit with me.”

Silvan pulled out a chair and did as he was told. It wasn’t like he hadn’t known this was coming. After all, it wasn’t a secret that he’d spent his whole night with Glen. He hadn’t charged the transaction to Glen’s credit card yet, but he’d let Chris know that he’d be unavailable for the rest of his shift before he’d slipped out of the club with the dragon. “He’s paying for it,” he said before he could be accused of sneaking out of work.

Kai seemed a bit taken aback by Silvan’s statement.

“I know you want to talk about Glen,” Silvan explained. “He’s paying, so it’s all good.” He didn’t mention that Glen was becoming a little too attached. They had a protocol for dealing with clients who ran the risk of turning obsessive. Glen was different, though. Obsessive, yes, but not in a way that made Silvan want to protect himself.

Glen wouldn’t hurt him.

“It’s not the payment we’re worried about,” Kai said, including Silvan’s other parent in his statement. “It’s a bit unorthodox to take a client home.” Kai didn’t mention that they’d heard Silvan and Glen this morning, but they didn’t need to. It was all in the look they gave Silvan.

Silvan refused to blush. “Last time I checked, it’s up to me what I do in my free time.”

“It wasn’t your free time last night, and yet you chose not to use one of the club’s rooms.”

“Because we weren’t going to have sex,” Silvan said before he could consider whether or not it was wise to mention that. “He got it in his head that someone in the club had put a spell on him and he was going to have us investigated, so I talked him out of that.”

Kai’s brows rose. “What would make him think that?”

Silvan was stumped on how to answer that question without giving too much away. Maybe this wasn’t worth trying to hide. Kai and Ray would be on his side, right? They always had been. Except that this felt… almost like a betrayal. Silvan could never be the incubus they raised him to be if he turned into a dragon’s mate. That wasn’t the life they’d wanted for him. He choked on his words. “He’s… got a crush on me.”

Kai showed him a kind smile. A real ‘dad’ smile, one of those smiles that seemed to say ‘whatever your problem is, we can get through it.’ “It’s not unusual for someone to have a crush on you, but it’s a bit unusual for you to take it so hard.”

Silvan blew out a breath. Kai was right that this wasn’t a rare thing, in their business, but this thing between him and Glen went way beyond an innocent crush. His mind flashed back to their time in VR, to the blowjob this morning, to the way Glen kissed him, and how much he wanted to give in to those kisses and give Glen *everything* with an intensity that was downright scary.

Glen would be back tonight, and Silvan didn’t know what he would do then.

“How do you feel about him?” Kai asked.

“I don’t know,” Silvan lied.

Kai reached out to him. “It’s normal to be nervous about this kind of stuff.”

Silvan shook his head. “I’m not a virgin.”

“I’m not talking about sex, son.”

Ugh, Silvan wanted to sink into the ground and disappear. “It’s not… I’m not dating him!”

Kai had this expression like they were about to start laughing but they controlled themself by taking a sip of their coffee. “Okay,” they said, understanding. “You’re not dating. Why not? You don’t like him?”

“It’s not an issue of liking him or not. We’re not compatible. He’s a dragon who lives in a castle and I’m an incubus who works at a sex club, and I *like* being an incubus who works at a sex club,” he stressed. “I should be with another incubus who gets it. Like you and Ray.”

Kai leaned back and considered him carefully, obviously contemplating what pearls of ‘dad wisdom’ to dish out here. “You don’t need to follow in your parents footsteps exactly. Ray and I were always aware that you might choose a different life for yourself one day.”

Silvan’s insides twisted into knots. “Because I’m not a real incubus?”

Kai laid a hand over Silvan’s, features sympathetic. “Because you’re your own person, son. Not every incubus sleeps with multiple partners every night. Not every incubus takes money for sex.”

“But no incubus mates a dragon.” Silvan couldn’t help the bitterness that laced his voice.

Kai only smiled at him. “You could be the first.”

Could it really be that simple?

Silvan wasn’t ready to believe it.

“Ray said they were hoping Glen wasn’t looking for his mate here.”

Kai licked his lips. “You can’t blame Ray for distrusting a strange dragon who takes an interest in their baby.” A pause. “We’ve talked about this, and if the two of you are truly mates…” Kai let the sentence hang. “We know what that’s like. It’s inevitable.”

*Inevitable.*

Silvan swallowed. That word sounded so final. Like he had no choice but to go with Glen in the end.

“It has to be what you want, though,” Kai said, as if sensing Silvan’s thoughts. “We’ll support you no matter what. If you don’t want to see the dragon anymore, we’ll ban him from the club.”

Something deep inside of Silvan rose up in protest at those words. “No! That’s not… necessary.” He caught himself. He didn’t know what he wanted to do about Glen, but the idea of never seeing him again… That felt like tragedy.

Fuck.

“I don’t know what to do,” he admitted.

“Think about it. You don’t have to decide right away.” Kai said it as if it was easy, though the set of their eyes betrayed that they knew how heavily this was weighing on Silvan. “We’ll be here for you if you need help. Always. Whether you choose to go with the dragon or not isn’t going to change how Ray and I view you, not a bit.”

A heavy lump lodged itself in Silvan’s throat. He couldn’t speak around it, and he didn’t try. He only nodded.

It was good to know that Kai and Ray weren’t going to see him differently.

Now it was all down to how he would see himself.


Chapter Break

Glen’s parents were oddly cheerful that morning. Glen had expected to be reprimanded over staying out all night. He’d expected to be questioned about where he’d been and if he’d gone to ‘that place’ again after being reminded not to. His parents had been quite firm about him keeping his ‘position’ in mind.

Except now his mother was all smiles and his father—while not smiling—actually looked up from the news he was reading on his tablet once or twice to regard him while Glen and his mother were talking.

Glen’s mother looked a lot like him. Her frame was more petite, but her scales were the same shade of red, and when she smiled, she had the same light in her eyes that Glen felt inside of him when he laughed at life’s troubles. His father was more on the serious side, always busy. Looking at the pair of them, you might think that it was Glen’s father who made all the hard decision, but in truth, it was his mother who always got what she wanted.

“You’re in a good mood,” Glen commented in between taking bites of his bacon.

“We had a good day yesterday.” His mother glanced at his father, who nodded.

‘A good day.’ What did that mean? “Curren told me he asked you to deal with something in [.”

His mother agreed. “It’s lovely there this time of year. Really takes your mind off things.” She eyed her son from top to bottom as she said this.

Somehow, Glen managed not to squirm in his seat. Fortunately he’d remembered to discard his club wear before meeting his parents. Casual clothing was generally frowned upon within the castle. A shame, really. Glen liked his hoodies—not that he needed them to stay warm. Dragons had no real need for clothes, and most of them wore as little fabric as necessary. A black loincloth covered Glen’s groin, but that was it. His mother wore a bra made entirely of gold jewelry which served more to emphasize her status than to hide her breasts.

“Your father and I know what you’ve been doing,” she said, taking Glen off guard.

“Only because the paparazzi love me.”

“Because you lack discretion,” she scolded before her good humor returned to her. “I suppose it’s only natural. You’re at an age where most dragons settle down, but we haven’t given you an opportunity to do so.” She gazed into her coffee mug, somewhat sadly. “With everything this family’s been going through over the past year, we neglected to think about your future.”

Those words immediately made Glen wary. It was true that the last year hadn’t been easy for anyone at the castle, but Glen had not exactly felt neglected. “What future?” he asked, fully aware that nothing much had been expected from him since he’d failed to produce any fire from his lungs by the time he reached adulthood.

“You can’t hold a title,” his father cut into the conversation, “but you can still marry someone who does. You can still do your part to strengthen this nation.”

Glen’s mouth dropped open. “You can’t be serious.”

“This is not a bad thing,” his mother insisted. “It’s time for you to become an adult. Find someone you can be happy with. Someone more appropriate than whoever you’re meeting in those seedy clubs.”

Glen loved his parents. Truly, he did. They were decent dragons, and they’d never blamed him for his lack of magical prowess when he failed to become their heir. Sure, they were annoying from time to time when they reminded him of the rules and etiquette and all that, but that was just sort of what parents did, right?

He’d never expected them to blindside him like this. “I can’t believe you want to sell me off to some other kingdom.”

“There’s lovely kingdoms out there. Take [ for example. Everyone was so friendly, and Lady Catelina—”

“You’ve already picked someone?” Glen stared at his mother. His cousin had sent his parents on that trip so they wouldn’t give Glen too much shit about appearing in that one article, but his parents had used the trip to play matchmakers instead. Gods, this was so much worse.

“She’s shown herself very open to the idea,” his mother explained, failing to see why Glen wasn’t as elated about this turn of events as she was. “I was worried about the reputation you’ve built for yourself, but it turns out you’re quite popular with the young ones, if not their parents.”

Glen felt like burying his face in his hands. “How many did you ask?”

“Oh, I didn’t ask anyone outright.” She waved him off. “I only made some suggestions that you might be interested.” She laughed to herself. “You know how quickly news like that spreads by itself. All we have to do is sit back and wait.” As she spoke, she did exactly that, raising her coffee mug to her lips.

Sit back and wait…

Yeah, no.

Fuck that.

Glen wasn’t going to marry anyone but his mate. “I’ll tell anyone who asks that they heard wrong,” he said firmly. “I’m not looking.”

His father shot him a sharp look. “Don’t be unreasonable. You can’t be a bachelor forever.”

“I’m not planning to be.” Truth be told, he *might* have planned that… until he’d run into Silvan, anyway. “I’ve already found my mate, so I don’t need your help settling down.”

His parents’ confusion at his words was evident in their expressions.

His mother set her coffee down and straightened in her seat. “What are you talking about?”

Glen couldn’t blame his parents for being surprised. It was as he’d said to Silvan; it had become exceedingly rare for a dragon to find their fated mate these days. Dragons still fell in love and chose partners, but it was never fate. Almost never. “I found my mate,” Glen repeated. “So I can’t marry another person.”

His mother’s expression gentled, as if she thought her son was being delusional and she needed to find a way to break this to him. “What makes you think this person is your mate?”

“You might as well ask me why I think the sky is blue,” Glen replied. “It’s that obvious.”

Obvious, but difficult to explain to someone who hadn’t experienced the pull of fate for herself.

His mother regarded him quietly. “Who is this person? Why have we never heard of them?”

“Because he works at the brothel,” Glen said, since it wasn’t in his nature to hide things. “You wouldn’t approve. I don’t care, though. He’s the one. No one else.”

Silence laid itself over the room like a thick blanket that made it difficult to draw breath. Glen’s mother and father looked at each other as if trying to decide what to do with this curveball they’d been thrown.

It was his father who spoke first. “You want to claim an incubus for your mate?”

“Yes.”

Glen’s mother huffed. “Do you care at all how this is going to look to the public?”

“I don’t,” Glen admitted, because this was way more important than what the public thought of him. He hated that his parents might get dragged into the scandal along with him, but he couldn’t help that. “

“You won’t reconsider?” his father asked.

Glen hoped his determination shone through in his voice as he spoke. “If you had any idea what it’s like to find your mate, you wouldn’t ask.” 

His mother looked hurt, raising a hand to her chest. “I should never have filled your head with these tales when you were a child. They’re only tales, Glendan.”

Glen shook his head. “Prince Curren would disagree with you.”

After all, his cousin had found his mate as well.

“The prince has had a lot to deal with lately,” Glen’s mother said in a quiet tone of voice .

“You think he’s wrong about his mate?” Glen could hardly believe what he was hearing. If that was what his parents thought, there would be no reasoning with them. “Believe what you will. I’m not changing my mind.” He rose from his chair. “I’ve got nothing to lose. No title, no power.”

His father’s disapproving gaze cut into him. “Life in the castle affords you luxuries you’re clearly too spoiled to be aware of.” 

Glen gave his father a grim smile. “I’m not worried about going without luxuries. My mate earns a ton of money every night. He’s really good at what he does.” With that, Glen turned and headed for the door, pretending his own words didn’t make him sick to his stomach.

***

Silvan stood in front of the body-length mirror on the wall next to the door that led down to the club. His glamor needed to be reapplied before he could go. Streaks of brown showed in his blond hair, and there was a dark spot on his arm. A mole. Silvan eyed it curiously, running his fingers along the skin of his arm. How many more moles did he have that he couldn’t see?

He combed a hand through his hair. When he tugged at a strand, a few hairs came loose, catching between his fingers. The moment they detached from his body, they returned to their original coloring. Silvan glanced at the hairs, then spread his fingers and let them fall to the floor.

He was an illusion, all of him. Not a real incubus, not truly pretty.

But if he wasn’t a being of otherworldly beauty who fed on sexual energy…

Who was he?

Just a sad little mortal who didn’t have a place in this world.

A gentle hand landed on his shoulder, shocking him out of his thoughts. It was Ray. Still feminine, but with a pixie cut now. “Everything all right?”

“Fine,” Silvan said, without meaning it.

Ray squeezed his shoulder. “Take the night off if you need it. You can’t make other people happy if you’re not.”

“I’m *fine*,” Silvan insisted. “Just need some glamor touch-ups and I’m good to go.”

Ray hesitated. “Okay,” they said eventually. “You’re too old for me to tell you what to do.” They carded their fingers through Silvan’s hair as they worked their magic. It glowed softly as it enveloped Silvan’s form. “There.” Within seconds, the glow dispersed and Silvan looked as perfect as he ever did for his job.

He eyed himself once more. The mole was gone. He touched his fingers to the spot where it used to be, but couldn’t feel it. “Thanks,” he murmured.

“Always.” Ray stepped around him to put a hand on the door. “Ready to head down?”

“Yeah, sure.” Silvan let go of his arm.

Glen had called him the most beautiful man on the planet. What would he think of moles?

***

As it turned out, it had been silly for Silvan to worry about what Glen might think, because Glen wasn’t there. Silvan couldn’t spot him at the bar or at any of the club’s tables.

A lump of disappointment settled in the pit of his stomach. The dragon had promised he’d be here, and Silvan didn’t know who he was angrier at—Glen for lying, or himself for being so upset not to see his dragon.

It was ridiculous.

He wasn’t supposed to drink any hard liquors while he was at work, but as he sat in his usual spot and waited for a client to approach him, he felt tempted to disregard those rules. Maybe a little bit of liquor could take the edge off his thoughts. It was a slow night, anyway, with barely any patrons filling the room. And there was Chris, walking by his table.

Silvan caught her by the arm.

She sat down with a smile. “Rare to see you all by yourself.”

“I need a drink.”

Her face fell. “You heard the rumors?”

Silvan frowned at his friend. “What rumors?”

“Oh, it’s nothing. I just thought maybe that’s what got you down, but if you haven’t heard, then I guess it doesn’t matter. Just pretend I didn’t say anything.”

Like hell. “Tell me. What rumors?”

Chris fiddled with her silver bracelet. “I heard Drew and Skylar talking earlier about your dragon.”

“He’s not my dragon,” Silvan said automatically.

“Sorry.” Chris didn’t sound sorry. “Anyway, it sounds like he’ll probably stop coming here, since he’s looking to get married.” 

Behind his glamor, Silvan felt all color leave his face. “What are you talking about?”

“Those are the rumors! I don’t know. Maybe it’s just rumors. Something about the royal family looking for a mate for Glen in [.” She gestured wildly. “They say Lady Catelin of the Scarlet Tides may be interested.”

Lady Who? Silvan had never heard of this person, but he already hated her. What did she have that Silvan didn’t? A fancy title? Silvan rolled his eyes. As if shit like that could live up to his particular qualities. “Glen’s not looking to get married.”

At least not to *that* bitch.

“Okay.” Chris held up her hands. “Like I said, it’s just rumors.” She looked around the club. “You think he’s coming tonight?”

Silvan’s lips drew into a thin line. “I don’t know,” he said, instead of telling Chris about Glen’s promise, because that would make him look naive if the dragon didn’t show up after all.

Chris leaned in. “Where did you two go last night?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know?”

“Duh, that’s why I asked.” Chris smiled. “You got him to pay?”

“Of course I did.” Not for sex, but Chris didn’t have to know that. In fact, Silvan didn’t want to answer any more questions about Glen.

In a way, he was almost glad when a client strode toward his table, because it meant Chris had to get up and excuse herself. “Enjoy yourselves,” she said, heading back to the bar, leaving Silvan to wonder whether he was going to get his drink or not. He looked after her for a moment before focusing his attention on the customer.

The man wasn’t someone he know very well, though he’d seen him around the club a few times. A blue-scaled dragon. He stood a little taller than Silvan, though not as tall as Glen. His eyes didn’t look as kind as Glen’s either, and his hair was streaked with silver.

Silvan made his lips form a smile he didn’t feel. “Did I finally catch your eye tonight?”

The man smiled back as he sat. “I’ve heard good things about you.” He offered his hand. “Sheridan.”

“Pleased to meet you.” Silvan shook the stranger’s hand. His grip was firm, sparking a vague sense of unease in Silvan’s guts as he introduced himself to the dragon. He shook the feeling off. There was nothing to make him wary of Sheridan. The man wasn’t a newcomer, and if he was problematic, Silvan would have heard about it.

The only thing making Silvan feel uneasy was that he’d stupidly expected to be spending this night with another dragon.

Inwardly, Silvan scolded himself.

Maybe he wasn’t as much of a professional as he claimed to be.

***

Silvan had sort of hoped that his new client would be easy. When he’d shown Sheridan to one of the back rooms, he’d sort of hoped to be asked for a blowjob or some standard variation of anal sex that he could autopilot through. Anything that could be done with minimal focus because his thoughts kept spinning in directions he didn’t like.

Naturally, Sheridan didn’t have anything ‘standard’ in mind.

This became obvious when he pulled out a dog collar for Silvan to wear.

Silvan suppressed a sigh as he took the object into his hands. He’d worked in this business for too long to be surprised—or for his dislike to show on his face. He wasn’t often asked to get down on his hands and knees and pretend to be a puppy, but the request wasn’t completely out of the ordinary. It wasn’t a reason to reject the customer or press the panic button on the other side of the bed’s headboard. There had been nights when Silvan had appreciated a kinky client or two for a change of pace.

Tonight was not one of such nights, but that didn’t mean he was going to shoot Sheridan down. It only meant he was going to have to work a little harder at faking his enthusiasm.

Trying to mute his thoughts about how *wrong* this felt, he fastened the collar around his neck.

“That’s a good puppy,” Sheridan praised as Silvan obediently went down on his knees. “Bark for your master.”

It was not the most humiliating thing Silvan had ever done, but it came close.

His cheeks burned.

Fuck it.

These things had long since stopped bothering him. Why was it bothering him tonight?

He was only doing his job. So what if he had to pretend that he was this dragon’s puppy?

Unsurprisingly, Sheridan unpacked a leash, as well as a butt plug with a tail.

Silvan’s stomach churned at the sight of the leash. Was that really necessary?

*Calm down,* he told himself. He had to think of something sexy, because Sheridan was going to pull Silvan’s pants down in a minute to make him wear that plug and then he’d discover that Silvan was not the least bit turned on by him or his kink. It was an issue that was unique to Silvan in his position as a mortal. All his incubi colleagues had complete conscious control over the hardness of their cocks. Silvan had learned to mimic their skills by directing his thoughts a specific way, but some nights that was more difficult than others.

Tonight, all he could think about was Glen.

And that had the opposite effect.

Glen would hate to see him like this, pretending like he belonged to another dragon.

Silvan held back a huff of frustration. What Glen thought shouldn’t fucking matter.

Except that this wasn’t what Silvan wanted either. He wanted Glen, and this blue-winged dragon wasn’t it.

But he had too much pride in his work to call this off and admit defeat. There were ways around this issue.

Surreptitiously, he reached into his pocket, only to find it empty. Crap. He’d forgotten to bring his pills with him because he hadn’t needed them in so long.

With a smile that was entirely fake, he rose from the ground. “So sorry to call for a break, but I just realized I failed to register this room for us, and we don’t want to be disturbed in the middle of our fun, right?”

That was a lie, since the door was charmed to register his presence when he walked through, but he didn’t have to let Sheridan in on that secret. He only needed an excuse to leave the room for a minute to get his supplies.

“I’ll only be a minute,” he said on his way out the door, not even bothering to take the collar off first. This wasn’t an uncommon sight in this club, anyway.

To get from the back rooms to the door that led to the stairs up to the apartment, he had to cross through the main area of the club. It might have been faster to find Chris ask her to hand her the emergency pill box that his parents had stashed behind the bar, but he didn’t want to admit that he needed the help. Or that he’d failed to bring his own pills.

He was halfway through the club when a flash of red wings caught his eye.

It could have been anyone; lots of dragons had red wings.

It was Glen, talking to Chris as she tried to serve other customers.

Silvan’s heart leapt into his throat. His dragon had come after all.

He wasn’t out there somewhere looking for someone to marry.

Glen turned, meeting his gaze, and just like that, Silvan didn’t need pills anymore for his dick to react. He took in a sharp breath, contemplating what to do as Glen abandoned Chris to approach him instead.

“Chris said you were with a client. I knew she had to be wrong.” Glen’s smile was so bright it warmed Silvan from the inside out.

It was only too bad Silvan had to disappoint him, because he had been with a client—was still supposed to be with that client, in fact.  “I, um…” Silvan didn’t find himself lost for words often, but this was one of those rare moments. “I needed to step out for a moment.”

Glen’s face fell.

A pang of guilt twisted Silvan’s guts, which was bullshit, because he had nothing to feel guilty about. “I’m popular,” he said. “If you want a chance at hiring me, you’ve got to be here early.”

Glen scratched the back of his neck. “I was doing some research and kinda lost track of time for a bit there.”

Research? Silvan shot the dragon a disbelieving look. He didn’t think Glen was stupid, but he didn’t seem the type to hit the books either. “Research on what?”

“You know not every country allows marriage between different species of paranormals, so I wanted to make sure that wherever we run off to, we wouldn’t have that kind of problem, ’cause I can’t stay here.”

Silvan’s eyes grew wider as Glen talked. “I’m not running anywhere. If you want to marry me, you’ve got to do it in this country.” The words flew out of his mouth before he had a chance to think about what he was saying. Why was he speaking as if they were already engaged?

The truth was, though, that he was glad it was *him* that Glen wanted to marry.

Not Lady Whatshername.

“The press will tear into you if we stay here,” Glen said. “Our scandalous relationship will be the cover story for weeks. I’m used to that shit, but I don’t want that for you, and since my parents are going to disown me anyway, I figured it would be easier to just start over somewhere new.”

Silvan’s jaw clenched as he gestured at the club around them. “This is my world. I’ve got my family here. I’m not going anywhere.”

In fact, he had a client waiting for him right this minute.

Not that he was in any hurry to go back to Sheridan.

“Okay,” Glen relented. “I get it.” His expression was so understanding, so warm that Silvan wanted to go to him and bury his face in his chest, drink in his presence and let it envelop him.

Sadly, he was still in the middle of a work night, and work was catching up to him—literally.

“What’s going on here?” Sheridan’s voice as he stepped out of the hall that led to the back rooms.

“Nothing,” Silvan said quickly, as if he’d been caught with his hand in the tip jar.

“Who are you?” Glen asked, moving between Silvan and Sheridan.

“I’m that sweet puppy’s master for tonight.” Sheridan motioned at the collar Silvan wore. 

Wrong choice of words. Silvan felt the tension ratchet up in Glen’s body as the other dragon laid his claim. Instinctively, Silvan’s hand went to his neck, touching the offending material. “He’s a client,” Silvan explained before Glen could take things the wrong way.

He didn’t think his explanation helped. If anything, the frustration he sensed in Glen only seemed to increase.

Glen looked at the other dragon as if he was ready to set the man on fire if he took a single step towards Silvan. “He’s not a puppy and you’re not his master.”

Sheridan scoffed. “This is a club. I’ve hired him. Take it easy. There’s plenty more incubi around if you want your own toy to play with.”

Glen’s eyes narrowed. “He’s not a plaything either.”

Fuck. Silvan really didn’t need Glen to defend his honor, but it was kind of hot when he did. Still, he needed to break this situation up before it escalated. 

He knew it was too late when Sheridan pulled out the leash. “Come here, puppy,” he said, gesturing for Silvan to join him by his side.

Silvan drew in a sharp breath as he felt something inside of Glen snap as if it happened inside his own brain. His gaze darted to Glen, only to see puffs of smoke flowing out of his nostrils, followed by a huff of fire from his lips. Silvan stared. Those had been real flames heating the air between them, if only for a flash.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Sheridan demanded. “Are you threatening me?”

“He’s not!” Silvan stepped between the two dragons before Glen could say or do anything. He glared at both of them. “I’m canceling this session, so there’s no reason for you to fight.”

“You’re canceling on me?” Sheridan sounded shocked. “You can’t do that.”

Glen growled.

Silvan focused on the blue-scaled dragon. “I have the right to cancel any session at any time for any reason.” He tore the collar off his neck. He kind of wanted to throw it to the ground, but he knew better than to disrespect a client like that, even if he was canceling.

Sheridan took the collar back from him. When he opened his mouth to argue, though, another incubus’s hand landed on his shoulder. Kai’s hand. “Terribly sorry you’re not having a great evening at our establishment,” they said. “Would you like to come with me to discuss how we can improve on your experience?”

The dragon looked between Kai and Silvan, undecided on what to do. This was clearly not how he’d expected his night to go. Silvan almost felt sympathy. This wasn’t how he’d expected *his* night to go either.

Finally, Kai managed to guide Sheridan away from Silvan and Glen, shooting one last look at Silvan to let him know they were going to talk about this in the morning.

Silvan grimaced. Technically, he hadn’t done anything wrong in refusing Sheridan, but he shouldn’t have let the situation turn into this kind of drama. Half the club was staring at him and Glen.

“I’m sorry if I got you in trouble,” Glen said.

Without a word, Silvan took his hand and led him out of the club, up the stairs and toward his room, where they could have some privacy.

While Silvan wasn’t saying anything, though, it seemed Glen couldn’t *stop* talking. “I thought I could handle seeing you with a client, but that was too much. I don’t know what came over me, except I really wanted to tear that guy’s throat out if he touched you. That sounds kinda extreme, doesn’t it? I don’t mean to scare you or anything, but man… Maybe it was worse because he was also a dragon? I don’t know. You love your job so I can’t ask you to stop, but… I guess I have to stop coming here? Except I don’t know how to stay away from you.”

Finally, the door to Silvan’s room closed behind them. “Glen?”

“What?”

“Shut up and kiss me.”

Glen’s eyes widened for a fraction of a second, and then there was that beautiful smile again, the one that had first attracted Silvan to Glen when the dragon had been nothing more than another customer at the bar. The one that had followed Silvan into his dreams.

Glen’s lips met his, and Silvan felt the tension he’d been holding on to drain from his body. This was way better than barking for Sheridan. This was right. This was natural.

This dragon didn’t need to put a collar around his neck to own him.

Deep within his soul, he felt Glen relax too as their bodies fitted together, holding on to each other.

They both needed this more than they needed their next breath.

Glen looked at him with his pupils blown, desire evident in his gaze. It sent a trickle of heat down Silvan’s back to see the hunger in Glen’s eyes, to know that he was the only thing on his dragon’s mind. Glen would do anything for him. Even leave this country. It was a heady feeling.

“You breathed fire,” Silvan said, leaning into Glen. “I thought you couldn’t do that.”

“I couldn’t.” Glen gave a soft laugh that made his chest vibrate. “I never could.” His thumb played with the hair on the back of Silvan’s neck. “Not until you.”

“What do I have to do with it?”

“You make me stronger. You’re my magic.”

“I’m not magical.”

“Wrong.” Glen laughed again, holding Silvan tight. “You’re pure magic to me.”

Silvan’s heart fluttered as Glen kissed him once more, his whole body tingling with the effects his words, his touch, his lips had on him. Silvan had had sex more times than he could count, but in this moment, he realized he’d never been truly intimate with anyone. Not like this. He wanted Glen to have all of him. *See* all of him.

See him for who he truly was and love him anyway.

The thought sparked fear in the back of his mind.

Glen seemed to sense it too, as his lips parted from Silvan’s. “What is it?”

“This isn’t…” Silvan blew out a breath, trying to organize his thoughts. “This isn’t what I really look like.” He gestured at himself. “I’m not really this beautiful. It’s all glamor charms.” It wasn’t very professional of him to admit this, but he didn’t want to be professional around Glen. Fuck that. He wasn’t at work right now. This was not a business transaction.

“I don’t care,” Glen claimed without even thinking about it.

“You praised me for being beautiful.”

“You’re my mate. You’ll always be the most attractive person in the universe to me.”

Silvan’s eyes narrowed in doubt, even as hope swirled in his heart. “Just like that?”

“Just like that.” A soft smile accompanied Glen’s words. “It’s why I lose my shit when you choose to be with someone else instead.”

The words Silvan wanted to say got lost on the way from his brain to his mouth. It was the sincerity in Glen’s gaze that melted his resistance. He didn’t want to give up his whole life for Glen, but he also didn’t want to make him suffer.

He also couldn’t honestly say that he still wanted to be with someone else.

Resting his head against Glen’s shoulder, he huffed. “I could work at the bar instead.”

There were things he could do around the club that didn’t involve having sex with other people. Helping out at the bar, monitoring the VR systems, coaching new hires… the only thing that had been holding him back from making that decision was his pride as an incubus.

He laughed at himself.

As much as he tried to tell himself otherwise, he was mortal after all.

Glen dropped a kiss on the top of his head. “You’re amazing.”

The joy in his voice made Silvan’s own mood lighten up. Maybe it wasn’t so bad, being a mortal, if it gave him Glen. He lifted his head. “You’re pretty okay yourself.”

With another smile, Glen sealed their lips together once more, this kiss more urgent, more heated than the last. It communicated a clear need for something that went beyond kissing. Silvan’s cock pulsed in the confines of his pants. He might technically still be on shift, and Glen wasn’t paying him, but he didn’t give a single damn. He wasn’t going to deny himself what he wanted anymore, and what he wanted was a repeat of what they’d done in VR, except for real.

He tugged at Glen’s clothes, impatience taking hold.

“Take ’em off,” he spoke against Glen’s lips. “Take ’em all off. I want your cock in my ass. I want you to fuck me so hard I won’t remember my own name.” He cupped the bulge in Glen’s pants and squeezed, finding it deliciously hard. “I know you can do it. I was with you in VR that day.”

Glen did a double take. “You watched?”

Silvan chuckled. “I didn’t watch. I promised you I wouldn’t. I took control of the avatar.”

“You sneaky little…” Glen shook his head. “You were there for all of that?” His gaze darkened. “And you liked it?”

Silvan traced the outline of Glen’s erection with the tip of his finger, leaning in to speak in his ear. “Loved it.”

“Fuck.” Glen’s fingers dug into the fabric of Silvan’s pants as if he needed to hold on to something. A second later, he was tearing Silvan’s clothes off. Literally. Silvan would never be able to wear those pants or that shirt again. Not that he cared. Glen wasn’t giving him a second to catch his breath either before Silvan found himself on his back. The way Glen was going, he counted himself lucky that his back hit the bed rather than the floor. He wouldn’t have stopped his dragon either way.

Turning his head, he watched as Glen got rid of his own clothes, revealing more of his skin, more of his muscles. He licked his lips. He’d seen a ton of beautiful bodies in the club downstairs, and especially in the back room, but there was something about seeing Glen naked that took his breath away every time, be it in VR, in his dreams, or in real life.

Maybe that was because they were mates.

Maybe it was because Silvan wanted him so damn much he couldn’t think straight.

When Glen joined him in bed, Silvan turned on his stomach, offering his ass up. “Fuck me,” he repeated his request. “I want you nice and deep.” Doing this face to face might have been more intimate, but this position would allow Glen to go harder—to go deeper. Silvan needed that tonight. He knew they both did.

And they didn’t have to be staring into each other’s eyes while they made love to be intimate.

Every moment Silvan spent with Glen was more intimate than anything he’d had with his past lovers.

It took nothing more than a look, a glance, for Glen to sink under his skin.

Glen laid himself on top of Silvan, his breath falling hot against Silvan’s neck while his hands reached around to find Silvan’s nipples. Silvan drew in a breath as his nipples stiffened under Glen’s attention, sharpening his desire. His cock twitched, wanting that same kind of attention. Mercifully, one of Glen’s hands trailed lower, reaching his groin. Silvan rocked back against him, rubbing his ass against Glen’s hard length.

“C’mon,” Silvan teased. “Make me yours.”

*Make me surrender.*

He didn’t say that last part out loud, but he thought that Glen understood.

Silvan threw the bottle of lube he kept by his bed at Glen, and Glen didn’t hesitate. He uncapped it, poured the lube on his hand, and sank his fingers into Silvan, two at a time. Silvan exhaled a long stream of air. He didn’t need prep. He always prepped himself before work. “Need more than that.” He squeezed his hole around Glen’s fingers. “Need your cock.”

A low growl escaped Glen’s throat. He wanted to plunge into Silvan as badly as Silvan wanted him to, no doubt. He worked his fingers quickly, almost aggressively, and it was good, fuck, it was, but it also wasn’t enough. Not for either of them.

Silvan could come like this, just from Glen’s hands, but he wouldn’t be satisfied.

Glen removed his fingers and lubed up his cock. Silvan spread his legs wider in invitation. He gasped at the pressure of Glen’s cocked against his hole. Yes. This was exactly what he wanted. When it pushed inside, he moaned, shameless.

He’d prepared himself, but not so much that he couldn’t feel the burn of penetration, of being stretched. He relished the feeling of Glen’s cock sinking deeper into him, every inch chasing shivers down his spine as his whole body pulsed with pleasure. His eyes squeezed shut, every fiber of his being focused on the sensation of that hot, hard cock filling him.

So good.

So fucking good.

Why had he fought this?

Glen bottomed out with a low sound that seemed to emanate from somewhere deep in his throat. He leaned down, warm breath whispering across heated skin as he spoke. “Mine.” His hips rocked forward, driving his cock impossibly deeper into Silvan, making Silvan’s fingers twist in the bedsheets as he held on to the last edges of his sanity.

“Yours,” he agreed, squeezing around Glen’s cock.

Glen’s grip on his hips tightened.

“Fuck me,” Silvan urged. “Move.”

Glen didn’t have to be told twice. He fucked Silvan just as hard as he had in the simulation, except that this was nothing like the simulation. This was real, and way more complex than anything a computer program, even a magical one, could conjure. Silvan’s thoughts swirled, his heart pumped endorphins through his blood, and need spiraled into something too great to contain, increasing with every thrust of Glen’s pelvis.

It was only when he heard Glen’s moans that he realized it wasn’t solely his own desire driving him insane. It was Glen’s too. Their emotions mixed and combined and tied them together in ways that made it impossible for Silvan to catch his breath, to form a clear thought. He lost himself in the intensity of the moment, gave his mind over to it.

He was Glen’s.

And Glen was his.

They were one.

Silvan’s cock twitched, unbearably hard as the force of Glen’s thrusts drove it against the bed sheets over and over again. He could get off like this, but he didn’t want to. He wanted Glen to do it.

“Touch me,” he gasped. “Need to… fuck.” He didn’t get the whole sentence out, but it didn’t matter.

Glen’s hand wrapped around him and the feeling was pure bliss.

And when Glen jerked him, hard and fast and oh so perfectly, his orgasm tore through him like a force of nature, pleasure so strong, so sharp, he felt devastated by it. Glen bowed over him, pumping his seed into him as Silvan’s body throbbed and spasmed in the wake of his climax.

Silvan hardly managed to take a breath before Glen’s lips met his in a messy, desperate kiss.

Perfect, this was fucking perfect.

Glen pulled out and drew Silvan against his naked chest, extending one of his wings over Silvan’s body as Silvan nestled into him, feeling warm and safe, and, for the first time in his life, like he *belonged.* Truly and absolutely.

This was where he was supposed to be.

In his dragon’s arms.


Chapter Break

Glen wasn’t sure what time it was when he woke up, but the sun shone brightly into Silvan’s room and Glen’s phone was ringing in the pile of clothes he’d discarded the night before. He ignored his phone in favor of the man in his arms. Silvan looked different in the light of morning, not only because it wasn’t dark anymore, but because his hair had changed color, taking on a warm, brown tone. Glen ran a finger through the strands covering his mate’s face. Silvan’s nose—which seemed a little rounder now— wrinkled as if he was close to waking, but decided against it. A low chuckle escaped Glen.

Blond hair or brown, Silvan was adorable either way.

Curiously, Glen studied the rest of his mate’s body. His skin wasn’t as immaculate as it had been the night before, but still felt warm and soft to the touch when Glen lightly traced his fingers down Silvan’s side. Also, he discovered an interesting birth mark on the juncture of his shoulder that simply begged to be kissed. It was when Glen touched his lips to it that Silvan finally woke.

“What are you doing?”

“Getting a good look at you.”

“With your lips?”

“What can I say?” Glen shot his mate a grin. “I never outgrew that oral fixation phase.”

“So you’re basically a toddler.”

“Guilty as charged.” Glen kissed the side of Silvan’s neck before leaning up to meet his gaze. “You’re irresistible with or without your glamor.”

Silvan blinked at him, then slowly looked down on himself. The way he stared let Glen know that his glamor wasn’t *supposed* to disappear over night. His skin flushed as if he’d been caught out doing something embarrassing. “This is weird.”

“I like it.” Glen underlined his words with a kiss, and then another, and another, until Silvan stopped looking so damn uncomfortable in his own body. Until his dick was ready to go again, because this was what Silvan did to him. He could never get enough. Adjusting his position, he rubbed his hard-on against Silvan’s thigh, letting him know the effect he had.

Silvan’s breath caught. “Damn. You’re insatiable.”

“It’s a good thing I’m not paying you. You’d be taking all my money.”

“You know it.” Silvan gave him a cocky smile that made Glen’s heart skip a beat. There, that was the mate he knew.

He responded to Silvan’s proclamation by gifting him with another kiss, which led to Silvan’s hand finding Glen’s cock, which led to them spending another half hour in bed, focused solely on exploring each other’s bodies anew, giving and taking pleasure from one another. There weren’t many words exchanged, but Glen found he didn’t need to hear Silvan’s voice to understand him, not at this stage.

Silvan was happy.

They both were.

It wasn’t until they heard someone walk down the hallway that their conversation turned back to more serious topics.

“You want to meet my parents?” Silvan asked. “For real, I mean. As my mate.”

There was something vaguely scary about that thought. Even as the emotion bubbled up in him, though, Glen laughed it off. The bond they shared was way too strong to be threatened by whatever impression he left on Silvan’s parents. “Love to,” he said. “Do you want to meet mine?”

Silvan hesitated. “I doubt your parents would be very happy to meet me.”

“Oh, but they’ve heard so much about you.”

“Have they?”

Glen rolled out of bed and fished for his clothes. “They will have, by the time I make it back to the castle,” he explained.

“What are you talking about?”

“I figure the fastest way to stop the rumors that I’m looking for a spouse is to tell the press that I’ve already claimed a mate.”

Silvan’s eyes widened almost comically. “You’re serious.”

“Of course.” Glen pulled his hoodie over his head. “Unless you want me to keep this a secret.”[ He gestured between the two of them.

Silvan thought about it, brows crinkling as his mind worked. “I can’t believe you’re making me make this decision before coffee.” Butt-naked, he rose from the bed and walked to his closet. “First, I gotta pick some new clothes because you destroyed mine.”

“Sorry about that.”

Silvan shot him a stern look, but his lips twitched after only a second. “Forget about it.” He pulled a shirt and a pair of pants out of his closet. “I guess I don’t mind if you let people know. Coupling up with a member of the royal family isn’t exactly gonna hurt my reputation, and the scandal will probably attract more people to the club.” He turned to Glen. “What about you, though? You’ll be the one taking all the heat.”

“I’m used to it.” When Silvan didn’t look satisfied with that response, Glen elaborated. “Really, it’s fine. There’s been times I did this sort of thing on purpose. Landing myself on the front pages to distract the media from other things that were going on in the castle.” Since he didn’t hold any real power, he’d often felt that was the only way he could contribute. He couldn’t do much to help his cousin with the responsibilities of ruling a kingdom, but he could be a friend, a source of support… and a distraction.

Silvan must have been able to tell what was going on in his head because he said, “Couldn’t you take a title now? You can breathe fire.”

Glen shrugged. “They might still rule me out for improper conduct.” He couldn’t help a smile. “I don’t really care. I’ve got all I need.” His gaze rested on Silvan.

Silvan paused while fastening his pants. “Okay,” he said on an exhale. “Let’s go have breakfast, then. Mate,” he added with a smile. “I’ll have to think of a better nickname for you.”

“Glen doesn’t work?”

“It’s just so plain. Maybe I’ll call you Mr. Sparkly Scales, how would you like that?”

Glen huffed a laugh. “That’s ridiculous.” 

“So are you.” Silvan stepped up to him and pressed a kiss to his lips before dragging him out of the room.

Glen didn’t argue.

***

This is Glendan, my mate,” Silvan introduced Glen to his parents when they sat down at the kitchen table.

Glen found himself sitting a bit stiffly as the two incubi studied him. They both sported long red hair and a more feminine appearance. If not for the difference in height, it would have been difficult to tell them apart. Silvan told him this wasn’t how they usually looked, but something they did sometimes when they wanted to present a united front.

Whether that was good or bad, Glen didn’t know.

The taller one, Kai, offered Glen a smile. “It’s nice to meet you outside the club,” they said.

“So nice,” Ray agreed, although their smile seemed a little more forced. Silvan had warned that Ray might need a little more time to warm up to the idea of Silvan being mated to a dragon. Glen was fine with that. This was an unusual situation all around.

Kai sipped at their coffee. There were pancakes on the table in front of them, but nobody touched the food. Kai looked at Glen and then at Silvan. “It’s such a special thing to find your mate. I’m truly happy for you.”

“Thank you.” Silvan’s cheeks heated ever so slightly. Glen squeezed his knee under the table because that was adorable.

“No need to thank me.” Kai took another sip of their coffee and then their expression turned more serious. “I realize this may be a little early to be asking, but have you two thought about your future? Where you’re going to be living? Silvan’s work?”

“I’m not taking any more clients,” Silvan said before Glen had a chance to open his mouth. “I’ll work the bar or the VR machines or do coaching.”

“That sounds reasonable,” Kai agreed. “We’ll be happy to have you as part of our team in any capacity you choose.”

Glen felt Silvan’s relief through their link. He hadn’t truly doubted that his parents would support him, but it was good to get confirmation. Glen kept his hand on Silvan’s thigh. “I’ll live wherever Silvan chooses to live,” he said. “I have no obligation to the castle.” He would be where his mate was. That was only natural.

“What if I want to live in the castle?” Silvan teased.

“You’d have a longer commute to work, then.”

“I’d make you fly me.” Reaching back, Silvan casually traced his fingers along the edge of Glen’s right wing, making Glen suppress a shudder. “If you’re forcing me to earn less money, at least cover my transportation.”

“I’m not forcing you to do anything.”

Silvan considered this for a second. “True.” He smiled. “Fly me, anyway.”

How could Glen say no to that?

Truth was, he would fly Silvan any time.

Any time and anywhere.

***

Glen wasn’t kidding about announcing their status to the world. Silvan got his glamor reapplied and then they hit the city. They found the busiest street in the downtown area and sat outside a coffee shop for a few minutes, talking about mated life before they started kissing.

It barely took an hour for the news to blow up all over the internet.

People posted rumors and pictures about what they’d heard. Other people built on the story. Silvan had never seen a piece of news take on a life of its own so fast. There were some bloggers who speculated that Silvan must have employed dishonest magic to land a catch as big as Glen, while others thought similar things about Glen.

“Ignore them,” Glen said as they browsed the web on their phones at a different coffee shop a few streets over.

“I don’t care what they say,” Silvan claimed, although he did care a little bit. “At least they got a great picture of us.” He pointed it out to Glen. Their lips were locked in the photograph. “They caught my good side.”

“You don’t have a bad side.”

“Yeah, I do, you just haven’t seen it yet.”

“Can’t wait for you to show me, then.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Silvan caught a glance of someone watching them. A wolf shifter. Glen turned to look that way as well. “Oh, I know them,” he said in a low tone of voice before addressing the shifter. “Yes, this is my mate. Silvan Nightshade. You can put that in your newspaper. I’m off the market.”

The shifters browse rose, but he tapped furiously on his phone.

Glen laughed. “Before you ask, no I’m not taking questions at this time.” He stood from the table and took Silvan’s hand. “We’ve got places to be.”

***

It would have been a lie to say that Silvan wasn’t at least a little bit nervous about meeting Glen’s parents, but there was no way around it, and he preferred to tackle his problems head on rather than leave them for later.

“I don’t know if I’m dressed for this,” he whispered to Glen, because somehow, the large castle halls made him feel like whispering. How could anyone live here? This didn’t feel like the kind of place where people could live. The castle had none of the homely charm of his family’s little apartment above the club.

Glen chuckled. “You’re overdressed. So am I.” He gestured at a group of guards they passed, all of whom wore nothing more than loincloths. “Less is more around here.”

“Should I take off my clothes?”

“Keep them on for now. I need to keep my wits about me for a few more minutes.”

“Fair enough.” Glen’s words got a small smile out of Silvan. “You’ll show me your room later?”

“You can count on it.” Glen took Silvan’s hand and squeezed.

Silvan relaxed, until Glen led him into his family’s chambers. Just like the rest of the castle, they were nothing like the apartment Silvan had grown up in. They weren’t homely, but they were luxurious. Art nooks featured expensive-looking monuments, archways connected large open spaces and when Silvan stepped into the living room, he was faced with wall-length windows that opened onto a balcony larger than his bedroom back home. There were herbs growing there. “Mom’s hobby,” as Glen informed him.

“Uh-huh.” It was all Silvan could think to say as he took in his surroundings. Breathing in, he caught the scent of flowers in the air. It came from a vase with lilies and tulips that decorated the couch table. A homely touch.

“They’re dad’s favorites, though he’d never admit it,” Glen commented when he noticed where Silvan was looking.

“I like them too.”

The sound of steps to their left made Silvan’s nerves flare up. Glen squeezed his hand, and then they were facing Glen’s parents.

“Glendan!” Glen’s mom looked as if she was about to have a go at her son until she noticed he wasn’t by himself. Then, she caught herself. “I see you brought company.”

“Is this him?” Glen’s father asked. [I would use their names, except I forgot them and I’m too lazy to scroll up.]

“Yes, this is him.” Glen raised their connected hands. “My mate. I thought you should meet.”

Silvan watched Glen’s mother swallow down whatever she really wanted to say. “I hope you know what you’re doing,” she said instead. “Because there’s no way back from this now. Did you see what they’re writing online? What am I asking? Of course you’ve seen it. You wanted them to write those things.” Her scowl deepened. “You could at least have discussed this with us.”

Glen looked entirely unimpressed by his mother’s words. “You didn’t discuss it with me when you started those rumors that I’m available.”

Glen’s mother gasped and touched her hand to her chest.

“Be reasonable,” his father said, then he sighed. “I suppose that’s a bit much to ask of you.”

“We only did what we did because we wanted you to be happy.” His mother’s words.

“We are happy,” Silvan said, because he couldn’t just stand there and take all of this in silently. “I realize I’m not the kind of match you would have chosen for your son, but I will do everything in my power to make him happy.” He let a smile lift one side of his lips. “I even taught him how to breathe fire.”

Glen’s parents stared at him as if they didn’t know what to say.

“It’s true.” Glen drew Silvan against his side. “He taught me what you never could.” He let a small flame escape his lips.

His mother gasped again. His father watched in silent shock.

“But how?” they asked almost in unison.

“It’s fate,” Glen said, simply.

Glen’s mother looked as if she wanted to argue, except no arguments came to mind.

It was his father who took up the thread of the conversation. “You’re a grown dragon and we can’t stop you from making your own decisions. I can’t say that I agree with all of your choices, but it looks as if some good may yet come out of this, at the very least.”

“So you’re not going to disown me?” Glen asked.

His father’s sigh of exasperation had something almost comical to it. “Would it help?” he asked.

“Not a bit.” Glen grinned.

His father shook his head, but Silvan felt very proud of his dragon, and he showed this with a kiss, not caring who was watching. Glen didn’t seem to care either as he kissed him back. ‘Fate,’ Glen had said. Maybe that was what this was. It felt like it, anyway. Inevitable.

Maybe his parents saw it too, because they left the room.

When Silvan’s lips parted from Glen, he studied his lavish surroundings once more. “You would have given all of this up for me?”

Glen snorted. “It wouldn’t have been much of a sacrifice, considering.”

“Considering what?”

“That it would have earned me you.” Glen’s arms closed around Silvan’s back, a possessive note entering his voice. “You’re all I need.”

Silvan laughed even as his skin tingled where Glen’s breath touched it. “Me and a couple blow jobs, right?”

“Your blow jobs are magic.”

“And I won’t even ask you to pay.”

“I must be the luckiest dragon on earth.”

Silvan kissed Glen’s neck, his heart lighter than it had ever been, because he felt exactly the same way too.

Lucky.

More than lucky.

Magical.

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