About Dragon Scholar
Author: Minerva Howe
Word Count: 54700
Page Count (pdf): 234
Series: Dragon Hoard
Date Published: 11172020
Publisher: Turtlehat Creatives
Heat Rating: 4 rainbows
File Types available: mobi, pdf, epub
This title has been moved to Kindle Unlimited.
Devon Marks loves books more than just about anything. They’re his job and his passion, and they’ve brought him to an auction where he meets the hottest guy he’s ever seen. When Brand Drake offers to let Devon come and value his extensive collection at an old mansion high in the Colorado mountains, he knows life as about as good as it gets.
Brand Drake knows he wants Devon the moment they meet, so he goes about adding Devon to his hoard the same way he would an amazing old book. But when Devon starts eating him out of house and home and showing signs that he has emerging dragon traits, he knows he hasn’t just found a lover, he’s found a mate.
When Devon starts to show signs of something even more amazing, Brand calls on his brothers Eagan and Tyson to help him figure out what to do, as well as how to tell Devon what’s going on with his body, which is life-changing, and also dangerous. Someone always wants dragon magic to use, and Brand has to find a way to keep them safe, and to keep Devon with him, hopefully forever.
Brand Drake didn’t need to look at the catalog to know exactly what volume he wanted to buy at auction today. Which was good, because his tension had caused him to crush the thick paper in his hand, leaving it crumpled in the extreme. Smoothing it out to read it now would be a futile exercise.
As far as he knew, this was the only remaining copy of the illuminated manuscript Baelocraeft Dennum in existence, even though every monastery in the thirteenth century had made one up at one time or another…
Magic Beasts. The whole thing was full of beautiful, illuminated letters and stunning illustrated cryptids of the stylized medieval kind. Dragons and manticores and basilisks. It would be the centerpiece of his collection, which was, admittedly, vast.
“Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Our next lot is the exquisite medieval volume, Balocraeft Dennum.” The auctioneer indicated the glass box where the book sat on a tilted platform, the leather binding intact and gleaming in the carefully directed light. “In exceptional condition, with amusing notes from the illuminator in the margins. Such a wonderful example of this period of monastic works, while still unusual in that it is a relatively secular text. The book is complete, with an intact binding. Bidding to start at seventy-five hundred dollars. That’s seven thousand, five hundred dollars. Do I have $7500?”
The catalog dropped to the floor, and Brand gripped his bidding number with his other hand. He would wait a bit and see how it went. The last medieval he’d bought had gone for a paltry three thousand, and that had been for a bound book like this, not just loose pages. This kind of book was out of fashion, so maybe he could buy low.
A single number went up across the room, and he gritted his teeth, then told himself to breathe. It was no crime to bid at an auction, even if it was against him.
No one else nibbled right away, so the auctioneer started his spiel. “I have a bid at $7500.00. Do I have seventy-seven five?”
The man was on his second “going” when Brand raised his paddle.
“Seventy-seven five,” the auctioneer said, clearly relieved. “Do I hear eight?”
One thing became quickly apparent. While no one else in the room gave one thin fuck about the book they were bidding on, the guy he was bidding against wanted the manuscript pretty damn badly.
“Eight thousand six hundred. Do I hear seven hundred?”
Brand lifted his paddle, mouthing, ‘Nine thousand’.
“Nine thousand to the left. Do I have nine one?”
The other number went up. Damn it.
“Nine five,” he said silently paddle up again.
“Do I have nine—ten thousand! I have ten thousand.”
Growling, Brand felt a tendril of smoke trickle out of his left nostril. Too bad this wasn’t really the middle ages, where he could just morph into his other self and breathe fire until the peasants gave him what he wanted. Which was usually a good meal and a pretty book.
“Twelve,” he stated flatly, waving his number. Time to see how far this guy would go. A long glance told him the man was not a big guy, lean, with a fall of dark brown hair and glasses that hid his eyes as the light reflected on them.
If he could just loom a little…
“Thirteen,” was the comeback.
“Fifteen.” He would have that book. Period.
“Twenty!” He had to hold back his roar, which would shake the rafters. His mental dragon tail twitched madly.
A ripple went through the crowd anyway, and his fellow bidder’s shoulders slumped. He shook his head, and the auctioneer went through the motions.
“Going once. Going twice. Sold to number forty-two for twenty thousand dollars.”
Satisfaction curled through him, and he wanted to flick out his claws and groom them. Instead, Brand stood, heading to the back of the room to arrange payment.
Nothing else at this auction fit his… collection.
He was waiting for the billing attendant when his counterbidder joined him at the desk. He glared repressively, peeved that he’d had to go so high. Not because he didn’t have the money, but because he really missed the days of smash and grab, where he just took what he wanted.
Undeterred, the guy cleared his throat. “Hello. Sorry, uh, Mr. Drake. I can tell you’re annoyed with me.”
“And yet…” he drawled.
Those lean cheeks went pink. “Well, I represent a collector who’s very interested in the volume you just bid on.” He held up a hand. “I can tell how determined you are, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t try. Can I give you my card? That way if you should change your mind, you can call me.”
Once a book entered Brand’s hoard, he never let it go again. Still, his interest was caught by this dapper little man.
“Wait, so you buy books for people so no one knows who bought them?” Maybe he needed to get out more. That would be handy.
“Among other things.” The guy handed him a business card. Nice card stock. “I also do appraisals and collection sales for estates.”
“Hmmm.” He glanced at the card. “Well, ah, Devon Marks. I can promise this one I won’t sell. But I might give you a call.” He could use someone like Devon when he didn’t want to tip his hand at a sale.
“Oh.” Those eyes were blue. He could see them now, with a little ring of gray around the iris. Devon licked his lips, flushing darker, which made Brand perk up. Hello. That was interesting. Someone was a little turned on. “Well, you can. Anytime.”
“Thank you. I suppose you can’t tell me who your client is?”
“No.” Devon’s expression went rather sympathetic. “Sorry.”
“Not to worry.” He had a feeling he knew who it was. There was another collector who tried to snap up any books about cryptids or mythical beings. He was annoying, and somewhat slimy, but the chances of him actually doing anything to a dragon were slim. Food chain and all.
Devon shifted from foot to foot. “You’ll call?”
“Mmm. I have yet to determine if it’s business or pleasure.” He let his eyes flash to his real self. Brand expected Devon to jump back in fear, but his lips parted, and he swayed closer. Fascinating.
“I hope you decide soon,” Devon murmured. “I—I should let you go.”
“I’ll see you soon,” Brand promised. Suddenly he was interested in something other than books.
“I’ll be waiting.” Then Devon did run, the scent of arousal a tantalizing perfume on the air.