QSFer Rachel Langella has a new MM urban fantasy book out in the shared Magic Emporium series: Stop Dragon My Heart Around.
Sometimes Fate has a bizarre sense of humor.
Or at least it seems that way to Gus, owner of the Rainbow Room, Asheville’s main hangout for gay paranormals. He’s seen Fate catch up with the patrons of his bar while he served drinks and listened to their stories for three hundred years. He found all of it amusing, until his fated mate walks in and suddenly the twists aren’t so funny any longer!
Bear Hickes is a mage who specializes in fire, but life has lost its spark since his twin brother got married and left him alone. His older brother, Whimsy, is determined to help Bear find happiness no matter how much Bear objects, but meeting Gus gives Bear a wonderful idea: if Gus will pretend to be his boyfriend, Whimsy will get off his case. And somewhere along the line, Bear finds he wants it to be for real.
But there are secrets Gus is keeping from not just Bear, but the whole world. And when those secrets catch up with him at last, the danger won’t be just for Gus alone.
Stop Dragon My Heart Around is part of the multi-author Magic Emporium Series. Each book stands alone, but each one features an appearance by Marden’s Magic Emporium, a shop that can appear anywhere, but only once and only when someone’s in dire need. This book contains explicit scenes and a guaranteed HEA.
The heavy wooden front door swung open, letting in a gust of the chilly fall night air as well as two more patrons, one of whom Gus recognized. Whimsy Hickes-Edgewood was a long-time regular, although he was usually part of the mid-week crowd since he’d gotten married. Gus didn’t know the man with Whimsy, but if he had to guess, he’d say either a brother or close cousin based on the similarity of their features. While the stranger was taller than Whimsy by a good four or five inches, they had the same wiry build, dark eyes, high cheekbones, and deep toned skin. They both wore their hair in a long, sleek braid that reached mid-back, but Whimsy’s was adorned with an eagle feather, which had been bestowed on him to acknowledge his heroism in helping stop a recent demonic incursion in the area. Both men were dressed casually in jeans, cabled wool sweaters, and sturdy boots, and the stranger’s jeans revealed he had legs that seemed to go up to his shoulders—which was more than enough to make Gus take an interest.
The stranger glanced around the room and pivoted back toward the door, but Whimsy looped an arm through his and forcefully dragged him over to the bar.
“Hey, Gus!” Whimsy offered a friendly smile and a wave with his free hand while maintaining a death grip on the man’s arm with the other. “I’d like you to meet my little brother. One of them, anyway. This is Bear Hickes. Bear, this is Gus. He owns the place, so be nice.”
“Hey.” Bear gave a terse nod, but his furrowed brow and thinned lips said he’d rather be anywhere else.
Gus let his gaze go slightly unfocused to read the newcomer’s aura. But when he did, he almost reeled back in utter shock and dismay. Mr. Cranky’s aura gleamed with the purple of a mage, just like Whimsy’s, but more than that, it was edged with a fiery gold that was almost as dazzling as the sun. Never in all his long, long life had Gus ever expected this to happen; in fact, he’d gone out of his way to make sure it wouldn’t. But Fate was a fickle mistress, as he well knew, and as he dropped his gaze down to the familiar wood of the bar, Gus felt an almost irresistible desire to run—though he wasn’t sure if he wanted to run toward the man or away from him and out of Asheville forever. Away from the man Fate had decided should be his mate.
The other part of himself stirred, and he pushed it firmly back, grateful for the amulet he always wore. Not only did it keep others from seeing his true nature, but it helped to keep the more volatile half of his inner self in check, though it was still a struggle.
It couldn’t have taken more than the space of a few seconds, but Gus was aware the silence was dragging out too long. He raised his head, forcing himself to look in their direction. “Welcome,” he said, making himself smile. “Nice to see you, Whimsy. What can I get you?”
“Whatever local IPA you’ve got on tap. Two, please.” Whimsy studied him while Bear seemed intent on appearing as put upon as possible while surveying the crowd. “You okay, Gus?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Gus reached for the ever-chilled glasses he kept under the bar, then tilted his head at Whimsy as he reached toward the tap, which was shaped like a rearing unicorn. “So what brings you out on a weekend?”
Not that Gus wanted to know. Much. Really, Whimsy Hickes-Edgewood’s little brother? He couldn’t be much more than twenty years old, could he? Given how many centuries Gus had been around, it made him feel even more ancient.
“Bear needs to get laid.” Whimsy hopped up on a bar stool and leaned his elbows on the bar while he watched Gus draw their beers.
“For fuck’s sake!” Bear’s cheeks flushed deep pink, and he avoided making eye contact with both Whimsy and Gus. But Whimsy grinned wickedly.
Rachel Langella is a creative writing teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She loves all things spooky and/or vintage, and she’s given in to Ari’s corruptive influences and learned to sew so she can make her own vintage-style clothes and costumes. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Ari McKay to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.