Dragons by Jaycee Edward

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SKU 978-1-77233-289-6
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A chance encounter in a hospital waiting room between twenty-two year old Will Messina and sixteen year old Josiah Pinkerton ends with a gift of a stuffed dragon off the hospital gift cart and a memory neither of them can shake. 

Five years later, when a lonely, buttoned-up Will ventures into a gay club, he spots a pale, leather-clad specter with violet eyes tracking his every move. Will realizes he’s being watched by the grown version of the boy who’s haunted his thoughts for years. 

Joey recognizes Will, but he’s no longer the sweet, brown-eyed boy worthy of Will’s attention. He’s damaged and defective and lives in a different world than Will now. When his childhood crush makes his way across the bar, Joey doesn’t have time to decide whether to be enchanted or dismayed because, unless he turns and runs, those worlds are about to collide.

Be Warned: m/m interaction

 

Excerpt:

Joey felt out of place in the posh, downtown steakhouse.  He’d heard of Messina’s, of course, but he’d never been inside.  Will, however, had to be a regular customer there, because everyone seemed to know him and they were quickly ushered - ahead of other customers, even - to a large booth at the back of the restaurant.  The hostess - Will called her Trish - handed them heavy, leather-bound menus that felt more like a book.  Joey had been aware of people gawking at him as they’d made their way across the dining room, his leather club clothes and assault boots completely out of place in the high-end dining room.  After scooting into the booth, he glanced out from under his bangs.  No one was paying him any attention.  He was used to both reactions.

He pretended to read the menu, but couldn’t help watching Will instead.  Why would he bring him someplace nice like this?  Someplace he’d have to explain - to people he knew - why he’d brought a freak to dinner?

“You should be looking at the menu.  The waiter will be here any second.  You can stare at me all you want after we order.”

The blood rushed to Joey’s face and he ducked behind the big menu. “I wasn’t staring,” he grumbled.

Will laughed.  “You mumble when you lie.  Got it.  See?  Learned something new about you already.”

He raised the menu higher so Will wouldn’t see him grin.

The waiter came and they placed their orders.  Will studied him and Joey fidgeted, feeling off-kilter and lightheaded.  Maybe it was because he hadn’t had anything but Coke today and the smell of wood-fired meat was making his stomach growl.

“Relax, Joey.  You look like you’re waiting for a mob hit or something.”

Joey slumped, but then immediately straightened and smoothed the tablecloth.  “It’s just… this is a nicer place than I’m used to.  It’s fancy.  Everyone’s in suits.”

Will looked around and shrugged.  “It’s just a restaurant.  No different than Steak N’ Shake.  Just better decorating, different menu, lower lighting, and higher prices.  I didn’t bring you here for any of that anyway.  I brought you here because I know we’ll get a good meal and because I want to get to know you.”

“Why?”  The question was out before Joey could stop it.  Will seemed surprised.

“Because I like you?”

“How do you know?  If you don’t know me?”  He had no clue why he was being such a dick.  It was like his subconscious was trying to drive Will away, when, in truth, that’s the last thing he wanted to do.

“Fair point, well played.”

“Why would you bring me someplace like this?”

“You don’t like it?”

“No!  I mean, yes!  It’s… nice!  It’s just, people know you here.”

“So?”

“Why wouldn’t you go somewhere no one knows you.”

“What the hell difference does it make?”  Will scrunched his face in confusion.

“So you don’t have to, you know… explain.”

“Explain what?”

“Me,” Joey whispered and fidgeted with his place setting.  Will reached across the table and took Joey’s hands in his.  Joey looked up in shock, but Will’s expression was calm.  The waiter came with their salads and Joey frantically tried to pull his hands out of Will’s, but Will didn’t release them until he absolutely had to, in order to make room for their plates.  The waiter placed their salads and a basket of rolls wrapped in a linen napkin on the table and took a step back.

“Can I get you anything else right now, Will?”

“No, thank you, Trevor,” Will said and the waiter vanished.  Will immediately turned his attention back to Joey.  “Why in the hell would I have to explain you to anyone?”

Seriously?  He couldn’t be that clueless, could he?  Was Will really going to make him spell it out?  Joey huffed in frustration.  “Look at you.”  He waved a hand at Will before sweeping his arm in an arc that encompassed the entire room.  “Look at everyone else in here - like you.”  He looked at Will and tried not to shrink. “Now, look at me.”

Will studied him for an uncomfortably long minute, never breaking eye contact.  Then, to Joey’s shock, he leaned way out of the booth and eyeballed Joey’s entire length, his gaze raking slowly up and down. Will returned to a normal sitting position and leaned in, lowering his already deep voice.

“Thanks for that little opportunity.  I’ve been dying to check you out all night, but I wasn’t going to be quite that obvious about it.”

A minute ago, Joey was blushing at his own self-consciousness, but when he met Will’s heated gaze, the blood rushed to his cock, making his inappropriate attire even more inappropriate.  He squirmed in an effort to discretely adjust himself, but Will’s sultry smile told him it was no use.

Product Reviews

Score: 5 out of 5 (based on 18 ratings)
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4/5
Reviews @ TRS
Written by Beverly on 13th Sep 2015

Twenty-two year-old Will Messina sees sixteen year-old Josiah Pinkerton in a hospital waiting room, looking like he lost his best friend. Without conscious thought, he gives the forlorn teen a purple stuffed dragon from a nearby hospitality cart. That is just the beginning of a time neither will forget. Fast forward five years, while at a gay club Will spots a beauty with violet eyes. Those eyes watching him are mesmerizing and belong to Josiah whom he never forget. Joey is not that young boy any more, but the feelings he had for Will have never changed. After a moment of uncertainty, everything clicks. This time things will end differently, all in the name of love. I adored this wonderful little gem of a book. I was engaged from the first page and my enchantment never wavered even after the end. It is a very well-written testimony of love and undying support especially significant given the short length. The characterization is strong which accounts for my giddy praise of this book. I loved both of the main characters and their connection was everything. The author paced the story so well from it’s sweet beginnings to a really lovely ending. I was expecting something quite different but wholly satisfied with this charming tale. Be warned it’s very emotional ,but well worth the tug on your heart. I enjoyed every word and consider it a must read.

5/5
GGR Review
Written by Warren on 10th Jul 2015

Dragons is a short, extremely sweet story of two boys from very different places, how they meet, lose each other, and then find each other again. Funny how one small act of kindness can leave an impression that can stay with a person for years, and this is the basis of this story. It is also the story of how one person, due to circumstances beyond his control, can view his life as totally changed, totally ruined, when those around him can ignore the relative small distortion of body, to see through into the heart and soul of a person. I loved this story. It made me laugh, and even more so, it made me weep. It is touching, and emotional. Jaycee Edwards has brought two boys together in a moment of sweet kindness, and then taken them away from each other again, only to meet and find the bond that so many of us wish we could find. Joey is a boy with cancer, feeling like the results of his radiation and surgery have left him scarred and different, and therefore unlovable, just as I imagine many women with mastectomies would feel. He therefore escapes into a world where feelings and emotions are secondary to pleasure, where no long-term relationships happen. Will is a volunteer at the hospital that Joey is being treated, and first sets eyes on him while pushing the gift cart through the radiation department. They see each other several times, but then, as things go, the treatments are over and Joey disappears. They meet again five years later, and thus begins the story of their relationship building. For a short story, I found this well written and very enjoyable. The characters are developed quickly, and to an extent that you immediately feel compassion for them. It is very emotional. I could empathize with Joey, and couldn’t help feeling a very warm feeling for Will. I didn’t feel like the story was rushed, and thought it was as well written as a short story like Dragons could be.

5/5
A Simply Wonderful Book
Written by Suzanne Ellis's on 20th Jun 2015

I was given a copy of this book for my unbaised review. AHH! What a simply wonderful book! Yes, it was a short story but it held so much emotion in those few pages! Will and Josiah "Joey" were both simply irresistible and I fell in love with them immediately. My heart went out to then 15-year-old Josiah, who was at the hospital for cancer treatments when 21-year-old Will ran across himm. I loved the double meaning of the pruple dragon that Will gave Josiah. It was something to hold tight to as he fought his own dragon - cancer. 5 years later, they cross paths again and both remember the feeling they each had with their initial interaction and they build on that feeling. Though I would have loved to have read more about their story, I still smiled and was a bit damp-eyed at the end. A true "feel good" story.

5/5
Prism Book Alliance
Written by Beverly on 31st May 2015

A gentle, confidently written short story. The characters are interesting and adorable in equal measure. The short format restrains authors from using the ‘misunderstandings in every dialogue’ to create angst, and Jaycee Edward shows that the reader can empathise with characters and feel their pain without it being spoon fed to them. This is a lovely, gentle bedtime read. I think we all need a ‘Will’ and a purple dragon.

5/5
Awesome
Written by Cheryl on 31st May 2015

I absolutely loved this story and the only complaint I have is that it ended. The is about Will and Joey who initially meet in the hospital, where Will volunteers and Joey is a patient. I was gripped from the start. The subject matter is sad but is in no way depressing and the way the connection between the two MC's is written is spot on. Their first meeting occurs when Joey is 16 and Will 21 and although they only meet twice briefly, they both feel a connection. They don't bump into each other again until five years later, when their mutual attraction is as strong as ever. You can't help but fall for both boys and want the best for them. The HEA is well written and completed in such a way that the reader isn't left hanging. I'd happily read more by this author.

5/5
Brigham Vaughn
Written by undefined on 17th May 2015

From Will and Josiah’s very first meeting to their chance encounter five years later “Dragons” is a very sweet yet substantial story. Sometimes sweetness implies a lack of depth, but Jaycee always seems to know how to tug at the heart-strings and create full, fleshed-out characters. She consistently gives those characters an emotional, layered depth in a relatively short period of time. She made me want to scoop up Joey and hug him. He’s been through so much. I am a fan of short stories, so you certainly won’t hear any complaints from me about the length, but I did think it would have been interesting to explore more of what happened in Joey’s life in those five years and how he got to the point he’s at when Will runs into him at the club. I loved Will as well and the fact that he had such a deft touch in dealing with Joey’s fears. He knew when to push and when to back off. The epilogue was perfect and had me grinning and laughing through it. “Dragons” was a wonderful story that you shouldn’t miss!

4/5
Night Owl Review
Written by BookGirl on 13th May 2015

This was a nice, sweet, short story about 22 year old Will who is volunteering in a hospital. One day he comes across Josiah who is a teen waiting for chemo. The two have a brief but meaningful interaction but then don't see each other again for year. Another random meeting happens when they are adults and a relationship develops. The story was well written and the characters developed nicely. Because of the length of the story the relationship moved along a little too quickly to be believable but I still enjoyed it. I would have rated it higher if it had been longer with more depth. If you like short stories I would check this out.

5/5
Prism Book Alliance
Written by Beverly on 12th May 2015

A gentle, confidently written short story. The characters are interesting and adorable in equal measure. The short format restrains authors from using the ‘misunderstandings in every dialogue’ to create angst, and Jaycee Edward shows that the reader can empathise with characters and feel their pain without it being spoon fed to them. This is a lovely, gentle bedtime read. I think we all need a ‘Will’ and a purple dragon.

5/5
Short, sweet, and fabulous!
Written by Kendra T. on 8th May 2015

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review For a short story, this sure packed a big punch! There was so much story for so few pages. It wasn't that there was a huge, tremendously big story to tell, but I wasn't left wondering about so many things that often happens when I read a short story. We meet Joey and Will, and understand the connection between them with just a few pages. It was written so well. I was grateful that the story didn't immediately jump to a sexual connection like many do. Joey is 16 and Will is 21. While there might be some attraction in some way, that wasn't the focus of their connection. For Joey, it was like a simple, basic need for human connection and understanding at a time that seemed unlikely. For Will, there was something about Joey that just called to him. Again, even thought it was just a few pages, I FELT that connection between them. The dragon melted me! When Joey and Will meet up years later, it is clear to see that they were both affected by those first meetings, much like I was. They knew who the other was just by seeing him across the room. Poor Joey had so much emotional stuff on his plate, but Will (true to the character that we meet 5 years earlier) just plows right through it and does not let that bother him. My heart broke for Joey and I found myself cheering as he opened himself up to Will. I do wish we had gotten more story regarding Joey's relationship with his mother, but I did not find that the lack of information deterred from the story or kept me curious. Will and Joey were the stars here, and they sure did shine. One thing I really wish we had in this book? MORE. I would've loved to see them work through some of Joey's emotional growth. I really loved these guys and 40 pages was not enough.

4/5
Love Bytes
Written by Amber on 4th May 2015

Crazily enough, I thought this was going to be about dragon shifters. And I’m not saying it’s NOT about shifters because I don’t want to spoil anything for anybody. I actually loved how “dragons” played into this very sweet short story. This is an instalove story; it seems right when they see each other there is something more. It’s hard for Will because he knows Joey is only 16 but they both feel the something more. Josiah Pinkerton is beyond awkward. Not only that, he’s defensive, secretive, and sensitive. But when he first met Will Messina something within him came to life. He was only 16, he was in the most difficult place of his whole life but those few moments with Will gave him so much happiness. Will Messina never got “Joey” out of his head. There was something about the kid from the cancer ward that struck his heart. Only having spent a few precious moments in his company it seems like he’s more important to him then he should be. They meet 5 years later at a gay club. The attraction is still intense and immediate. Will takes Joey out to his family’s restaurant and the chemistry continues to grow between them. Joey is a mystery to Will. Will can tell Joey has a lot of self worth issues, he just doesn’t know why. Joey feels defective due to having testicular cancer when he was 16. He thinks no one would want him or should want him because of the cancer treatment. Will embarks on a mission to prove to Joey that he is desirable. That he is wanted and that he is not defective. This book is a feel good read. Will is Joey’s knight in shining armor. You can really get a feel for how much these two care about each other. The chemistry is electric. I really enjoyed reading this very sweet short story. Even though it delved in some pretty serious topics it still managed to make you feel good. Totally recommend.

4/5
Hearts On Fire Reviews
Written by undefined on 1st May 2015

Review by Lucy Josiah Pinkerton is terrified in the hospital waiting room when volunteer Will Messina sees the fear and impulsively presents him with a stuffed dragon. Years later in a gay club Will sees that younger boy he never forgot, but now he’s grown up and he’s not so innocent. This short story is high on emotion. Josiah hasn’t had a lot of luck, from the cancer to his family’s reaction to his sexuality to his present place. He doesn’t pity himself, though, and that shows through. When he and Will come together, it’s a little sad and a lot hopeful. The moment when Will sees Josiah’s room is heartbreaking, and then when he sees what is on Josiah’s bed, well, my heart broke a little more even as I was so happy Josiah was going to finally get to be happy. Will is a strong, lovely person, a good person and he’s perfect for Josiah. I loved the idea that one random act of kindness can be the one thing someone holds onto through some terrible times. And the epilogue made me happy.

4/5
Rainbow Book Reviews
Written by Serena on 26th Apr 2015

Dragons and fairy tales go well together, but this story shows they can also play a role in very “normal” lives. Having said that, nothing about Joey and Will’s lives is normal, and especially not when they first meet. But that is the charm if this story: it all seems very bleak until a small ray of hope appears in the form of a stuffed dragon given to Joey when Will wants to cheer him up on the day they meet. And while they don’t see each other for five years, it is that small seed of hope that grows into a wonderful surprise and a very special relationship. It is a touching story, and as improbable as is sounds, it moved me like any modern-day fairy tale about shining knights and brave young men slaying their dragons. Will can’t forget the young cancer patient he met when he was volunteering in the hospital. He was just a sixteen-year old kid back then, but when Will runs into him again five years later, he is just as fascinated by the young man. All grown up now, but clearly in trouble, Joey is fascinating and Will goes after him with single-minded determination and great sensitivity. Will knows what he wants, and he won’t take no for an answer. Joy hasn’t had an easy life. His father died when Joey was young, he had to got through treatments fro testicular cancer when he was a teenager, and now sees himself as “damaged” and a freak”. To top it all, his mother disowned him when he came out. Joey cannot believe anyone as perfect and “whole” as Will could possibly be interested i him, but he has never forgotten the kind gift of a small stuffed dragon that helped him through his years of loneliness. Joey thinks he can hold it all together, but who could resist Will? Luckily, Joey can’t. If you like sweet romances with a touch of drama, if men fighting for their lives and ending up the victor are worthy of your admiration, and if you’re looking for a read that is as deeply emotional as it is heartwarming, then you will probably like this short story.

5/5
Short, Sweet, Clever
Written by DiverseReader "Meredith" on 24th Apr 2015

This was a super sweet short read. I normally shy away from novellas and shorts because I'm always left wanting more. I DID want more but I was perfectly satisfied with this. Such a clever idea for a story and now I want a stuffed dragon LOL. Cover lust too BTW!!! Jaycee Edward has become a really relaxing and enjoyable author and I look forward to more of her work.

5/5
Short and very sweet
Written by S. Asher on 18th Apr 2015

I was given a free copy in return for an honest review Twenty-two year old Will Messina first meets sixteen year old Josiah Pinkerton, or Joey, as he calls him, in the radiation department waiting room where Will volunteers while finishing college. Will is immediately taken in by the cute but shy Joey and gives him a purple stuffed dragon from the gift cart. Will doesn’t know it, but Josiah actually looks forward to going to the hospital now just to try to catch a glimpse of Will. Their brief visits don’t last long before they lose contact. Five years later Will catches a glimpse of a guy dressed in leather across the bar and immediately knows it’s Joey. They talk but are interrupted by a guy wanting a hook-up with Joey who Will quickly dispenses with. Joey takes Will to his room where the purple stuff dragon still sits on his bed. Will’s heart is warmed over this, but he’s shocked to see that Joey’s living conditions are less than desirable and the guy wanting a hook-up was a regular. Although Joey assures Will he doesn’t take money from them. It’s quickly apparent that Joey’s self-esteem is pretty low. The connection they once felt for each other is still there though and they go out on a date to get to know each other. Joey has a lot of issues regarding having had cancer and what it did to his body and it comes out on their date, but Will handles it very well. I enjoyed this story. It’s rather short at forty-two pages so it can be read in one sitting. The characters are likable and make a good couple. There are elements of the story that feel like they could be fleshed out more, such as Joey’s relationship with his mother. Clearly things are not good there but we never know what happened, although not knowing doesn’t detract from the story. There is good use of humor too. Overall I found the story believable and well paced. I would recommend it to my friends.

4/5
The Way She reads
Written by undefined on 15th Apr 2015

Dragons is a short but fully formed story about two adorable characters. The story strikes an almost perfect balance between sweet, touching and angsty. And I have to say that for a sex free tale, Dragons is rather hot. If you’ve got about an hour to spare and are looking for a thoroughly enjoyable read, you can’t go wrong with Dragons.

4/5
Reading is fun n' mental within these bounds
Written by undefined on 15th Apr 2015

I can’t imagine the struggles that a young man, barely 16, would have to endure living his teenage years in and out of a hospital. He feels like everyone looking at him - sees a freak. He’s overshadowed by a protective mother who wants to keep up appearances to the outside looking in. He’s taken back when a good-looking, somewhat older and vibrant young man takes notice of him. Being a hospital volunteer brings Will a lot of joy. When he introduces himself to Joey he never would have guessed he was the patient. Hoping to bring a smile to his face he offers him a purple dragon off his volunteer cart. He had no way of knowing then that the dragon would be so much comfort to that young man who would face many battles over the next five years. Dragons, by Jaycee Edward, is a short story of 40 or so pages. The crazy thing is that within those pages is a hell of a story. Carrying a stigma of being defective and feeling unwanted takes a toll on Joey’s self-esteem. Running into Will 5 years later is a turning point in both of their lives. If you want something quick, easy, and enjoyable, Dragons, is the book to read. It’s fast paced and covers a lot of territory with a well-deserved happy ever after.

4/5
The Novel Approach
Written by Sammy on 15th Apr 2015

Short stories are a tricky format. Either you hit them just right or they feel a tad unfinished, as if something has been left out that was necessary to the overall flow. Jaycee Edward’s Dragons comes very close to hitting the mark. It is a sweet romance that will tug at your heartstrings. To say much more than the blurb above about this story would be to give key moments away, and those should be read and savored as there are some lovely scenes in this story. Suffice it to say cancer has left its mark on young Josiah Pinkerton, and what was left behind in terms of self esteem took another huge hit when Joey’s mother found out he was gay. Now, alone and barely surviving, stoically finding sex and acceptance wherever he can, Joey lives a half-life steeped in sadness and a big heaping of self-loathing. Will Messina is in many ways equally adrift, although not career wise. Instead, he has more than his share of difficulty finding someone to love, someone he wants to spend his life with, someone he can cherish and feel cherished in return. When he happens upon Joey, the world shifts and all the feelings he once had that barely had time to take root, come rushing back. But both men have changed, and there is fear and reluctance on both sides. This sweet short story had a few rough edges, most notably the initial transition into the future, five years hence. It felt very abrupt, and I had to reread it a few times to make sure I understood the leap into the future. After that, however, the rest of the short unfolded nicely. Both Will and Joey had their share of fear over trying not to mess up this second chance life had given them. Joey’s self-view and his idea that he was not worthy of Will due to what the cancer had done to him was just heartbreaking. Joey’s transformation was defined by a beautiful awakening of self-worth and its ability to redefine one’s self esteem by seeing yourself through the eyes of love and not self-hate. I am eager to see a longer piece of work from this author. I believe she has some wonderful stories to tell us. If Dragons is any indication of the potential that lies inside Jaycee Edward’s imagination, then I think we are in store for some really exciting work down the road.

4/5
Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance
Written by Mackey on 15th Apr 2015

Short, sweet and satisfying describes Dragons perfectly. Not the longest read; this gentle, emotionally affecting little tale packed a lot of heart and soul. Not every short story delivers on that front but this one actually brought tears to my eyes at more than one instance, and in a forty five page book I reckon that shows a true skill for not only good writing, but being able to tell a well-rounded story. This is the second book by Jaycee I've read and loved. She has a way of connecting you to her characters and she gets the connection between them just right! From the word go I found myself captivated by Will and Josiah, and their sensitively portrayed love story. Will is a lovely person; kind and thoughtful, whilst Josiah is a sweet but sad soul. You don't get a massive amount of backstory, that's not its true focus, but what you do get sets the scene for the continuation of their story, which takes place five years after they first encounter each other at the hospital, where sixteen year old Josiah is having treatments for cancer, and twenty two year old Will is volunteering. There's something about this pretty, withdrawn teenager that tugs at Will's heart. An attraction of sorts but at this point more of an emotional pull that calls to him. The title comes from a purple, plush toy dragon that Will gifts Josiah during their short time together at the beginning of the novelette. An act of kindness that—as the following five years continue to throw curveballs at him—provides the one comfort in life he cherishes, until at the age of twenty one, he again meets the older guy he's never forgotten, and the fleeting connection they initially felt is given a chance to blossom into a healing process that is just a joy to witness. The rest you can discover for yourselves, but it all pretty much takes place over one night as the two of them reconnect; leading to a gorgeous little epilogue that finishes it all off in such a way that you come away feeling content... with no doubts they'll live happily ever after together. Hardly any sex apart from kisses, but still Ms Edwards manages to convey a tangible sensuality and chemistry that stops you from missing the general, obligatory bedroom antics. And honestly? I think if she had added them it would have totally taken away the gentle charm from this tender little offering. A lovely read and one I'd recommend when you've got an hour to spare and you can put your feet up, curl up in a chair with your kindle, a cup of coffee (or tea in my case), shut the world off for a while and just read!