Available Now From:
Despite being a dragon shifter, Ridley Dragos doesn’t lead a life of adventure or excitement. Instead, he prefers the quiet solitude of his bookstore and the brief interaction with his customers. He has no aspirations of falling in love or living happily ever after, but all of that is about to change.
When he walked into The Book Attic that morning, Julian Haell harbored no expectations other than finding a new book for his ever-growing collection. Ridley intrigues him, though, and challenges everything he thought he knew about friendship and desire. A simple chat over tea turns into a comfortable, weekly routine, but as the months pass, Julian can’t help but want more.
It’s not every day a guy realizes he’s fallen for his best friend, but unfortunately, Ridley’s window of opportunity is closing fast. When Julian visits the mysterious Cupid Inc in search of a date for Valentine’s Day, Ridley finds himself facing an impossible decision—either seize the moment and confess his feelings, or let the love of a lifetime disappear forever.
Every Monday and Thursday for three months, Julian entered the shop at precisely nine in the morning without fail. He usually pretended to browse the shelves, though Ridley always had a new book waiting for him. Then he’d eventually make his way to the coffee shop in the back of the store where he’d flirt with the barista, Bridget, order a Moroccan mint tea with honey, and sit in the same seat at the same table to wait for Ridley to join him.
It became their routine, simple and dependable, and Ridley looked forward to their twice weekly conversations. Though they’d talk for hours at a time, surprisingly, they never ran out of things to say. Talking to Julian came easily, never forced or awkward, and as they’d gotten to know one another, his shyness and anxiety had eventually melted away to reveal a shining personality Ridley found as addictive as any drug.
“Is it here?” Julian demanded the minute he walked in through the front doors of The Book Attic. “Did it come today?”
“Well, hello to you, too, love. Nice weather we’re having, wouldn’t you say?”
Julian turned to look through the large display windows to the gray, sullen sky beyond. “Yes, just lovely.” Approaching the counter, he bounced up on his toes and leaned forward to place a friendly kiss on Ridley’s cheek. “Sorry, how are you?”
“Do you really care?”
“Not really,” he admitted with a mischievous grin. “Tell me. Did it come today?”
“Ever impatient, you are.” He teased, but in reality, Ridley adored the man’s excitement. “Yes, your bloody book came this morning.” It hadn’t been easy to track down the special edition Julian wanted, but Ridley had found a way to make it happen.
“You are truly amazing.” Julian held his hand out and wiggled his fingers. “Give me.”
Ridley retrieved the leather-bound book from the shelf under the counter and handed it over. “Flattery will get you everywhere.” While loathe to admit it, he’d do anything Julian asked of him, if only to see that infectious smile of his. “What plans do you have tonight, Julian?”
“I’m going to curl up with a blanket by the fire and admire my new treasure.” As he spoke, Julian caressed the spine of the book and traced the edges with the tips of his fingers. “What about you? Got a hot date tonight?” he teased.
“Nothing so exciting.” All month he’d been trying to work up the courage to ask Julian up to his apartment over the store. It wasn’t the possibility of rejection that held him back, though. He worried about how it would change their friendship, and he didn’t have so many friends he could afford to lose one. “I’ll likely order a pizza and turn in early.”
“Look at us, a couple of party animals.” Holding the book to his chest, Julian shuffled to the other end of the counter and tilted his head to the side. “I’m going to get a tea. Do you want anything?”
“No, nothing for me.” Asking Julian up to his place or out to a movie shouldn’t be so stressful. They were friends. Clearly they enjoyed each other’s company. Ridley couldn’t see a downside to asking Julian on an outing—not a date, definitely not a date—but still, something held him back. “Go on,” he added when he noticed Julian hadn’t moved. “I’ll be along in a minute.”
“Ridley, is everything okay?”
“Fine.” No, he didn’t feel fine, but he didn’t know what had changed or why he suddenly felt so off-kilter. Keeping his back to Julian, he stacked papers and sorted different odds and ends on the counter, though his mind drifted a thousand miles away from his task. “Go on, Julian. Go get your tea.”
Slipping behind the counter, Julian curled his fingers around Ridley’s elbow and tugged gently. “Hey, look at me.”
Since he didn’t have a good reason to refuse, Ridley choked down his sigh and turned to face his friend. “What is it, Julian?”
“I could ask you the same thing. Talk to me.”
Zayne Michaels is a small-town girl who grew up and ran off to the big city. She currently resides in the Midwest where she spends her days dreaming up dark, sexy adventures in between soccer games and the never-ending pile of laundry.
Zayne's fascination with old and discarded treasures has always been a source of inspiration for her tales. From antique clocks to old, dilapidated houses, her imagination turns to the "what ifs" and "what used to bes."
Maybe this love for the abandoned is why she is a firm advocate of second chances, or perhaps she's just a little crazy. Whatever the reason, Zayne believes everyone chooses their own path, creates their own destiny, and is the author of their own story.a Rafflecopter giveaway