A Little Unsteady by April Kelley
April Kelley has a new mm paranormal romance out, Wingspan Book 4: "A Little Unsteady." And there's a giveaway.
Nigel wouldn’t mind if Asher called him Daddy if the age-gap didn’t bother him so much.
Nigel Blackburn has lived a full like as a private investigator. His job means he travels solo a lot, which is something he enjoys. He’s a grouchy, stubborn dragon shifter who is better off alone. The last thing he wants is a mate and certainly not one so young. It doesn’t matter that he finds little bobcat shifter, Asher Burkhart, sexy. But all Nigel’s dragon wants to do is protect, which is good because danger drives into town.
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By the gods, Asher looked young. How young, Nigel didn’t know, but he needed to find out.
No one would mistake the age difference. Nigel had life etched into his skin. Not all of it bad. Sun and laughter did their best after he hit his prime.
He shook his head and ran a hand down his face. The kid made him feel every damn year he’d lived, and all Nigel had to do was look at him. Considering he was a dragon shifter, there had been many.
“Are you asking me if I’ll let you find your brother?”
“You’re not a damn prisoner. I’d rather you didn’t wake them, though. They’ve all had a long day and need the rest. So do you, for that matter. Why don’t you lay back down and try to sleep?”
Asher darted his gaze to the closed bedroom door. “Can I have clothes, please?”
Nigel stood and walked over to the dresser. He opened the second drawer from the top and pulled out one of his t-shirts before closing it again. Sweatpants were in the third drawer down. Nothing he had would fit, but that wasn’t the point. He wouldn’t have the kid thinking he had to stay, not after being held captive in the panel room and then at that lab. Somehow, Nigel thought the hostage situation with Terrance caused the most damage. Still, Nigel would follow the kid around like a pet dog before letting him believe his captive status extended to Nigel’s home.
He’d never have to go through anything like that again.
Nigel carried his bundle to Asher, handing it over. He sat on the bed next to him. “The sweatpants have drawstrings.”
Asher nodded and held the clothing to his chest. His eyes shifted to his cat, and his teeth dropped down. Despite the physical response, he sat there as if scared of Nigel.
They were strangers, so the uneasiness made sense. Still, he didn’t like it. “My name is Nigel.”
Nigel smiled. “I know yours. Leaf talks about you often.”
“How old are you?”
Asher narrowed his eyes and met his gaze. To say Nigel was surprised by the sudden change of emotion was an understatement. It made him question his assessment of Asher’s earlier behavior. “I could ask you the same thing?”
Nigel lifted his eyebrows and tried not to smile again. “I would answer that I’m a lot older than you.”
The corner of Asher’s mouth turned up in a half-smile. “Fine. Then I’m a lot younger than you.”
“Are you over the age of eighteen?”
Asher smirked and rolled his eyes. “I can even legally drink alcohol. Imagine that.”
“How many years have you been able to drink alcohol legally?”
“Two.” Asher covered his mouth with the back of his hand when he yawned. Some of the tension in his shoulders disappeared.
“Just a kid.”
Asher shrugged and lay his bundle of clothing on the bed beside him. “Compared to you, probably.”
“Was that an old-man joke?” Nigel stood, taking the clothes and placing them on top of the dresser.
Their age difference might bother Nigel, but talking about it eased Asher’s tension enough that fatigue washed over him. Asher forgot about being guarded. Nigel could tell by the way he lay back down on the bed. “Will you talk to me until I go to sleep? Leaf does that back at home.”
Nigel pulled the covers up around him before turning back to his chair. If he stayed too close, he’d push the kid into bonding. His dragon already roared in protest that he hadn’t mated Asher yet. Nigel sat down, keeping the room between himself and a kid who seemed far too traumatized by the last few months of his life. “What do you want to talk about?”
April Kelley is an author of LGBTQ+ Romance. Her works include The Journey of Jimini Renn, which was a Rainbow Awards finalist, Whispers of Home, the Saint Lakes series, and over thirty more. She’s a main contributor at Once and Books.
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