Author Charlie Richards

Giving love and imagination free reign


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Crashing the Summer Barbeque

A Summer Heat Anthology Short Story

The dragon king sees how Fate has smiled on a number of his subjects and seeks a little of that for himself.

King Leortis is no fool. As soon as he notices how a group of human friends all mated with dragons, he’s interested. After all, he’s been looking for his mate for almost two thousand years. Leortis drops in on one of the dragons unannounced—Agnoroth—and crashes his barbeque. His keen insight pays off. When Leortis meets the human Cardin Robinson, he knows he’s the one. Unfortunately, the cute redhead is struggling with self-esteem after discovering his boyfriend cheating on him—soon to be ex, as far as Leortis is concerned. Between getting rid of a cheating boyfriend and dealing with unrest with his family, can Leortis woo his jaded mate and bring him home?

Reader Advisory: This story follows events that happened in Capturing Autumn’s Airy Breeze, part of the Autumn Feast anthology.

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Excerpt - Crashing the Summer Barbeque

The excerpt below contain explicit adult language and sexual content.

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age.

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    Leortis peered out the tinted windows at the expansive lawn beyond the gate. As much as he wished he could have just landed in dragon form behind the fencing, that way he could have seen Agnoroth’s expression when he’d arrived, Leortis knew flying as a dragon in broad daylight was a big no-no. While his scales were a pale shade of brown, even flying in at night would have been risky, due to how populated the area was. Giving Warzer a grin, he ordered, “Let him know I’m here.”

    “Yes, Sire.”

    Warzer reached out the window, which he must have opened at some point, and in the next instant, a buzzer sounded.

    A few seconds later, a tenor answered, “Did you forget your code again, Stefan?” The voice held a clearly teasing quality. “Maybe if you came around more often, you’d remember it. Give me a minute, and I’ll buzz you in.”

    Turning his head, Warzer peered over his shoulder at him, arching one white-blond brow in silent question.

    Leortis smirked as he lifted his shoulder in a half-shrug. If he had to guess, he figured that was Kristof, Agnoroth’s mate. He would have to remind the human that he should check the cameras—or at least ask who was there—before just opening the gate.

    As Warzer started them forward again, he figured just their unexpected arrival would be warning enough.

    Watching the mansion come into view, Leortis chuckled softly as he watched the front door close. Evidently, Kristof had been watching, and he must have realized his mistake. Leortis really hoped the human was getting Agnoroth.

    Now I get to see his expression after all.

    As Warzer pulled the vehicle to a stop, Leortis saw the door open once again. Agnoroth exited the house, and as soon as Warzer climbed from the vehicle, he called, “Who are you?” As was typical of an air dragon, his voice was pitched surprisingly high, easily hiding just how lethal the male could be.

    With his superior hearing, Leortis heard Warzer reply as he walked around the SUV to the back door. “I’m Honor Guard Warzer. It’s good to see you doing so well, Agnoroth.” Then he opened the back door.

    Vicar climbed out.

    Leortis waited, knowing the dragon was peering around the space, not only looking for danger but scenting for it.

    “Honor Guard Warzer.”

    Agnoroth either repeated or greeted.

    Leortis wasn’t certain which.

    Then Agnoroth’s gaze strayed to Vicar and the SUV.

    Vicar stepped aside as he banged the top of the vehicle twice—the signal that it was safe to climb out.

    As if I couldn’t handle any trouble that came my way.

    Still, Leortis understood and followed procedure. He climbed from the SUV and smiled at Agnoroth. To his mild amusement, he watched Agnoroth’s eyes widen and his lips part in obvious surprise. Then the air dragon dropped to one knee and bowed his head.

    “King Leortis, it’s an honor.”

    Gods, sometimes I’m such an ass.

    Leortis shook his head as he lifted his hand and beckoned with his fingertips for Agnoroth to rise. “Hello, Agnoroth. I hope I’m not interrupting.”

    Agnoroth climbed back to his feet as the door opened, and a black-haired human stepped onto the front patio. “You kinda are, actually.”

    Even though the voice had come through speakers, slightly distorting it, Leortis realized this man had opened the gate. “You are Kristof, mate of Agnoroth.” He dipped his chin slightly. “It’s lovely to meet you.”

    Kristof huffed softly as he crossed his arms over his chest. “And you’re the head dragon honcho, eh?” Cocking his head, he swept a narrow-eyed stare over him. “Agnoroth did his time. Whadda’ya want?”

    “Kristof!” Agnoroth cried, clearly scandalized. As he grabbed his human and tucked him to his side, he lifted his free hand with his palm out. “I’m so sorry, Sire. I—”

    Leortis chuckled, unable to contain his mirth as he waved away Agnoroth’s apology. “It’s perfectly fine. Refreshing, actually.” Smiling at Kristof, he replied, “I want to meet you and your friends, and I’d hoped Agnoroth would give me a hand in that.”

    “Of course—” Agnoroth began.

    At the same time, Kristof stated, “Then you’re in luck, because—”

    Both were cut off by the sound of another approaching vehicle.

    Kristof grinned widely. “And that would be Stefan. I thought you all were him.”

    “We figured as much.” Leortis turned his attention to the approaching extended cab pick-up. It was an older model but sounded to be in good running condition. His keen eyesight helped him spot Kazeem behind the wheel. “Ah, we have crashed a gathering of some kind, haven’t we?”

    “You’re always welcome here, Sire,” Agnoroth told him. Then he added, “But, yes. We’re having friends over for a pool party and barbeque. Kazeem and Stefan were the last to arrive. The others are out back.”

    “Ah.”

    Leortis nodded, then opened his mouth, intending to offer to return the next day. After all, he knew Agnoroth wouldn’t take the out. Then his attention was snagged by the sight of a slightly stocky redhead sliding from the truck’s back seat.

    Knowing it wasn’t Stefan, since he was the dark-haired, toned guy who’d gotten out of the front seat, Leortis wondered who it could be. He didn’t really know what made him look twice, since he didn’t usually go for redheads. As an earth dragon who specialized in quakes, he preferred fair features and blonds.

    Then why—

    When the stranger’s scent hit him, Leortis knew. He couldn’t help it. “Well, hot damn,” he muttered, admiring the human who’d arrived with Kazeem and Stefan. “Seems I’m gonna have to change my ways.”

    Leortis looked forward to that.

    “Excuse me, Sire?” Vicar asked softly, touching his elbow.

    Tearing his attention away from the redhead, Leortis only managed to glance at his head guard for an instant. Then he refocused on the stranger. He couldn’t help but admire him.

    The human had freckles on his nose, almost hidden by his black-rimmed glasses. His untucked t-shirt didn’t hide the fact that he had a soft belly with a little extra. His frame appeared stocky, but there was plenty of muscle definition in his arms.

    Leortis wanted to strip him and see if the man’s legs were equally muscular…and more.

    “Who is he, Agnoroth?” Leortis asked softly, ignoring his head guard.

    “I’m sorry, Sire,” Agnoroth replied, his voice quiet. “I don’t know.”

    “Stefan texted me earlier,” Kristof told him. “He’s bringing a buddy from the ski resort he works at. His name’s Cardin.”

    Humming, Leortis unbuttoned his suit jacket and began removing it. Judging by what everyone else was wearing, he was overdressed. After handing the coat to a clearly confused Warzer, he began unbuttoning his dress shirt.

    “Sire, what’re you doing?” Vicar asked, his voice soft.

    Grinning at his head guard and friend, Leortis told him, “I’m going to a barbeque to meet my mate.”