About The Dragon’s Dilemma
Author: Julia Talbot
Word Count: 21800
Page Count (pdf): 98
Series: Midnight Rodeo 11
Date Published: 10202020
Publisher: Turtlehat Creatives
Heat Rating: 3 Rainbows
File Types available: pdf, mobi, epub
Ed Chang is happy working at the Midnight Rodeo. Mostly. He’s got way more responsibility than his family ever let him have at home, he gets to care for his longma, the mythical dragon horses of China, and he travels the world. The only problem is that Ed is lonely, and no one at the rodeo wants to scratch his itch.
Seamus is just a little dragon, not at all like his sister, who rides at the rodeo. He’s also used to causing trouble. He doesn’t mean to set things on fire or knock things over. His brain just moves too fast for his body to catch up. No one has any patience for him, at least until he meets Ed.
Ed and Seamus just might be perfect for each other, but someone else wants Seamus, too, and his intentions aren’t good. Can they keep Seamus safe and fall in love at the same time?
Ed Zhang sat beside the stream that ran through the meadow Kingston had found in the mountains, watching his longma play in the water. His dragon-horses, as a lot of the folks at the midnight rodeo had taken to calling them, since that was what longma meant, were happier than he’d ever seen them.
They had a purpose. They had space and things to see. They had him.
Ed reckoned he was pretty happy, too, because he wasn’t always under the strict eyes of his three older brothers, his mom and his bà. The travel with Darque and Knight rodeo was amazing, the pay was good, and the food…
Oh, Ed could rhapsodize about the kitty caravan feasts for hours.
He glanced around, making sure his warding spells were still working. Kingston, in unicorn form, was romping a few hundred feet away, January on his back.
Now, that was his problem. Oh, not Kingston and January. They were cute as bugs’ ears. No, his problem was he was lonely as all hell. Everyone had been super nice. He got along with most of the other handlers and stock contractors. The cowboys loved his animals.
But no one wanted to hang out. No one would even come over to his trailer for a beer and a kung-fu movie.
And not one person in the whole damn traveling circus had looked his way with any sexual interest at all. In that, he might as well be invisible.
“Oi! You shit! You get out of here!” One of the dragon ladies tossed a big silver ball out of her trailer. The ball went bouncing, the thing slowly resolving into a tail and spindly legs and sparkly scales.
Ed blinked, but then he was up and running, knowing Fen and Yuan could take care of themselves if they needed to.
Huge, bright eyes stared at him from the silver being, and then a soft voice spoke from all around him. Good evening.
“Hi. Uh, are you okay?” Ed asked.
The voice had to come from the sparkly ball, but it didn’t look like it should have a voice yet.
Dusty. Sorry, friend. My sis, she’s in a bit of a flurry.
The voice had a bit of a lilt to it, and a lot of wryness. Ed glanced at the trailer. “That’s your sister? Here, let me help you up.”
She is. They’re a mite bigger than the males, eh?
“She’s—yeah.” He reached out, but he wasn’t sure where to touch a dragon. A real live dragon. “Uh. There’s a really nice stream if you want to wash up.”
Thanks. I ought to, hmm? Ed got a slow blink. Can you point the way, then?
“Sure. Come on. My longma are having a bath. They’re super gentle, though.” He led the way back toward the stream, trying not to shake his head. The dragon ladies were the barrel racers of the Darque and Knight rodeo, and they could look human, but as dragons they were large and in charge. This was like, a pocket dragon.
The voice was male and not childlike, so he assumed this one was grown, but that was all he could guess. The silver scales were pretty, but they needed polishing. Someone needed to wallow in sand.
Longma? The dragon-horses? They’re about as pretty as they can be.
“They are. Fen and Yuan. You’ll like them.” The stream was running nice and full, and his babes were just playing tag, slipping in and out.
And you are? That felt like flirting. Was it flirting?
“Am I what?” Ed’s cheeks heated. He was a half-Chinese cowboy from Texas. He sucked at flirting, even if he wanted to.
Ed swore he could feel the laughter wrapping around him like a thousand bubbles. Oh! I like you! Your name, I mean. I’m called Seamus.
“Nice to meet you, Seamus. Your scales are very pretty.” Was that weird? He hoped not. He was just going with what he felt.
The dragon preened and stretched, pleasure flooding him in a rush.
Wow. That was intense. Ed shivered, his cock twitching. That mental talk thing was better than phone sex.
Seamus was slinky and lovely, pure sex in the way he moved. It was like being hypnotized. Ed had never really had a lot of experience. Cowboy. Texas. But he was looking hard.
Seamus slid into the creek, staying close to the shore as he slipped, quicksilver fast, through the water.
Ed watched, knowing it was too damn cold for him in there, but tickled enough to watch those silver scales shine as they got clean. So damn pretty.
Do you swim? The question was clear as a bell.
“When it’s not so cold, yeah. I’m used to Texas, huh? Everything is warm there.”
Is it? I’m from where it’s cold. Cold and high.
He nodded. He could see that. Some of the dragon ladies were red and black, clearly from hot climes. The cooler the tones, he figured, the colder the weather where they originated.
What’s your name? I don’t speak the same language as your longma.
“Ed.” Ed seemed like such a plain Jane name next to this guy.
Ed. Ed Ed Ed Ed Ed. It was like a song. Someone thought his name had music in it, which had never happened to him.
His chest got tight, his belly pulling in. That was… How could he be hot for a dragon?
I like your name. I like it very much.