Chinese Morning is the third and last book of my Dragons Schooled series. Writing these books has been a fast-paced and exciting ride, and I’m so excited to travel the last leg of the journey with all of you.
The story: Travis longs to remain in the magical world which has given him so much pleasure. The only problem: he’s terrible at his job, and without his job he cannot stay. To distract himself, he seeks out the challenge of sexually dominating a dragon.
Chen enjoys being submissive in bed but cannot admit this. Such would mean shame and disgrace. But as he falls for Travis’s mouth and hands and mind, he is forced to accept the truth: submission is where he’s meant to be.
Chen and Travis face off against Chen’s heritage and powerful mother. Will their attraction, bordering on love, be enough to rescue them?
You have been granted a place in history. Lady Dàdì Nûshén has requested you, with your excellent genes, to be one of the fathers of a brand-new line. As you should but probably don’t know, her lineage has been polluted with genetic drift. The third of five sons was born blind, the fourth with Down syndrome, and the fifth without arms. Deformities will only increase unless she and her daughters breed with males outside their usual pool.
I know you had every intention of remaining at SearchLight Academy, and I had every intention of allowing you to pursue your foolish dream, but the necessity of repairing the genetic drift of an ally’s line trumps short-term satisfaction.
I expect you home on the next plane.
Her Majesty, the Grand Matriarch,
Queen Lóng Zônglî
Panic closed Chen’s throat, only to be swallowed in rage. He tore the letter into rough halves before dropping it. Whirling, his blood singing in his ears, he punched the nearest dorm suite wall. Strengthened by his dragon abilities, he didn’t break his fingers or his wrist. But neither did he make a dent in the concrete. That wouldn’t do.
Chen shifted to his full eight feet of height and punched the wall again, this time with his taloned, diamond-hard, scaly right hand.
This time he made a satisfying hole.
“You’ll have to pay for that.”
Chen turned his head and snarled at the human standing in the doorway to his bedroom.
The man crossed his arms and smirked. Go ahead, his posture seemed to taunt. See if you can scare me.
Chen had no intention of scaring anyone, but this nonchalance pissed him off. He showed his roommate’s boyfriend his eyeteeth.
The human said nothing, did nothing, only watched him.
Chen turned his head away, studying the wall rather than the human who was obviously trying to annoy him. It’s not about him anyway. It’s about her. Spotting the letter sticking out from under his left foot, Chen stepped back. Then he incinerated the page with a small flame that trembled as if in a strong wind. By such a tiny display was Chen’s anger shown even more than the hole he’d made in the wall. And he hated that someone was observing him.
He shot another look at James’s boyfriend–wasn’t his name Henry?–and glared, narrowing his yellow-green eyes. Between his feet, the cheap carpet burned.
Henry still lounged in the doorway, although his posture seemed a little faked. He was watching the flames eat through the indoor/outdoor material that covered the floor.
Chen stomped out the flames, feeling no pain, nothing beyond boiling rage at his mother’s assumption that he would drop everything and return to stand stud for who knew how many western Chinese females?
“Feel better?” Henry asked.
Just like that, Henry was gone out of the doorway. But he was replaced by Chen’s roommate, who didn’t look so happy. Standing at only seven feet in dragon form, James was a runt. Yet here he was, moving Henry back and placing himself in Chen’s path.
In Chen’s face.
“Get out,” Chen said, trying to control his fury. This wasn’t about James either. It was about her.
But he couldn’t get at her. He could only confront what stood right in front of him.
James’s glare was robbed of power because he had to look up into Chen’s face. “Stay away from Henry.”
He invaded my room. Chen took a step, showing his eyeteeth again.
James didn’t back down.
Chen charged him, knocking the smaller dragon off his feet and into the common room that formed one quarter of the suite.
Something small and annoying as a gnat bounced off Chen’s left side. He turned his head and snarled at the human who was picking himself up off the floor. He opened his mouth to issue a warning–
–and was shocked when his jaws slammed closed.
Henry got up, hands fisted and upper lip raised in a pitiful imitation of a predator’s display.
Chen thought, Stay down. Stay out of the way. He opened his mouth to say this.
“Don’t,” James ordered.
His teeth clicked together for the second time. He recognized the voice as coming from James. So he turned his full attention on the smaller dragon and tried once more to speak. He was allowed a single word–“I’m”–before it happened again. How was James controlling him?
Chen stood, backing away a few steps. Then he faced the human and said, “Get b–” before his mouth was sealed.
Still on the floor, James said, “If you try to roast him, I’ll make you slit your own throat.”
That was impossible. And yet Chen didn’t get the feeling James was being ridiculous or boastful. So instead of addressing the human, who seemed to have subsided at least for now, Chen looked at James and said, “I’m trying to get him to leave.” When James didn’t silence him, he went on. “Your lover is human. The chances of him getting hurt when we’re changed are high.”
James got to his feet. He looked so tiny, so weak standing there. But…
“How did you control me?”
Henry said, “I told you it would come in handy.” He smirked and walked to James’s side, slipping into the circle of James’s scaly arms as if he wasn’t afraid of being so close to two killers. “It’s telepathy, Zhîxíng.”
Chen bristled at the nickname that Blau Lepa had come up with last semester before Halloween. It meant “papier-mâché” and implied the way dragons were represented in Chinese art among the humans of that culture.
Before Chen could think of what to say that wouldn’t get his mouth sealed shut again, James squeezed Henry closer and rumbled, “Stop teasing him. He’s trying to be careful about not roasting you.”
“Your mouth gets you into a lot of trouble, human,” Chen said, hoping to intimidate Henry into some good sense.
Henry smirked but said nothing. Instead he stroked his delicate-looking hands down James’s arms. He looked so comfortable in the small dragon’s embrace, as if nothing threatened him while he dwelt there.
“What did you do to me? Telepathy isn’t for controlling people; it’s for mind-to-mind communication. And you’re a dragon–you shouldn’t have very much telepathy.”
“I’m the second son of Rodney Tavery,” James said as if that meant something.
“He’s also Agent Tavery’s brother,” Henry put in, and that did mean something.
Chen’s heart beat a little faster. He could still see himself, thirteen and surrounded by his family, watching and listening as Agent Mark Tavery of SearchLight negotiated a peace between Chen’s mother and the dragons of Okinawa. The water dragon in human guise had been so handsome, so absolutely powerful, standing there confronting the female dragons of two countries as if it were his God-given right. As if all male dragons were equal in the eyes of their female counterparts.
But surely there was more than one Agent Tavery. “You don’t mean Mark Tavery,” he said with authority.
“How do you know my brother?” James asked.
Henry snickered. “I think everyone knows Mark. I was just the last to meet him.”
You met him? In person? Jealously ate a hole in Chen’s heart. He hadn’t been allowed to exchange five words with the negotiator. He’s only been able to admire Mark from afar. “I met him when he negotiated the peace between my people and the water and land dragons of Okinawa. How did you meat him?” Human? he thought but did not say. If he was to be worthy of joining SearchLight and someday following in Agent Mark Tavery’s footsteps, he must remember that humans were no longer food. Not even the consenting ones.
Henry shrugged, and for a moment, that seemed to be the only response he would give. But then his eyes crinkled with laughter, and he said, “James invited me to the awards ceremony where Mark Tavery’s husband, Luke, received an accolade.”
Mark was married? The shock and pain that accompanied this thought were doubtless childish, but Chen couldn’t help the feelings.
Then a moment’s triumph overwhelmed the pain. Mark was homosexual, or at least bisexual, as Chen was. He’d known that from the first glimpse he’d caught of the handsome dragon.
James abruptly shrank from his seven feet of height down to his five-four. “I’m going to get dressed. Unless you have some other reason for charging around in your scales?”
That brought back the memory of his mother’s letter, and Chen eyed the door. It was too small for him to get through without doing damage–more damage–to the room. He also returned to human guise, standing a little taller than James. “No.” And he stalked back to his room, refusing to be embarrassed about his nudity. Especially if James wasn’t.