What happens when a besieged and rather small dragon comes to a vampire and says, “I need your help.” Or when that vampire comes to a werewolf and says, “I have a job for you.” The vampire goes and builds a resort for things that go bump in the night, of course. Riding the wave of Julia Talbot’s Bloodrose series, the multi-author Cereus: Building features paranormal romance from three of Torquere Press’ most-loved authors. The stories move from vampire Jonny’s city club to a new luxury getaway in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, where pleasure and pain are the name of the game.
Julia Talbot’s It’s Elemental features construction contractor Chayton, a werewolf who thinks demon decorator Kenny is a little fussy, and a lot hot. They argue about everything from feng shui to sex. Will they be able to resolve their differences? The Third Course, by BA Tortuga tells the story of Marco and Stephan, werecats, brothers, and chefs who meet their match in head-bartender Faelan, who just happens to be a growly, sexy Top. Finally, Sean Michael’s Smoke and Gold follows the head dominant of the club, Zee, who’s dealing with trying to get his playrooms just so, and trying to figure out maddening dragon Daniel at the same time. Who can resist loving a dragon?
"I need your help, friend." Daniel Underhill looked at Jonny, eyes glowing gold through webcam, the glow sort of pixillating a bit, making things a bit odd, even for Daniel.
Really, how much more odd did it get than being a dragon? Daniel was certainly the only one Jonny had ever met.
"Well, you know you need only ask." Jonny settled more comfortably in his chair, steepling his fingers in front of his chest. He sat behind his desk at the club Bloodrose, marveling at things like Skype, which certainly hadn’t existed when he’d become a vampire all those centuries ago.
Daniel cleared his throat, bringing Jonny’s attention back to the screen.
"You know that I have...particular issues, yes?"
It took Jonny a moment to suss out what the man might mean, but he hit upon it. Daniel, although quite astonishing in his true form, was reportedly quite...undersized. Petite. Wee. Possibly even tiny, for a dragon. It caused problems on occasion. "Indeed."
"Well, I've been here a long time, eons, and no one has bothered me, but my kind doesn't like population and our territories are getting smaller every decade."
"Isn't that the way it is for everyone?" The wolves were all bitching about it as well, about how there was nowhere to run, and how while they loved the club, it was too urban for them.
"Yes, but... I can't protect my home, not from my own kind."
"I take it you have an idea." Dragons were all about ideas. Not so much practicalities, though they were exceptional at making money. Daniel had a particular talent for finding magical objects and selling them.
"Of course I do." Daniel's smile was suddenly young and happy. "You're going to build a kinky little getaway here rather like your club, and let me have a huge, amazing cabin on the edge of the resort. You'll make money. I'll make money. Everyone will avoid the mountain because there will be human activity. It's perfect."
Jonny pondered that. "You're in the Cascades, yeah?"
Daniel nodded. "Six hundred acres ready to build on. You front the money for the development and guarantee me my house, and you do as you will."
"Hmm. I would like to keep a good bit as a preserve. We can stock with game if there's not enough..." Wouldn't the 'weres love a safe place to hunt?
"It's virgin land. Perfect." Daniel smiled. "Safe, except from my kind."
And having a busy presence would stop that quickly, wouldn't it? Dragons were silly creatures.
"I like it. We could go very green, very earth friendly. Go underground for some of the vampire quarters as long as it wasn't near your den." Daniel could be touchy about that den of his.
Daniel nodded. "My den is a natural cave. If you look, you'll find others. Humans tend to avoid the area." He got a wicked little smile. "Crossing my borders uninvited causes its own issues."
"Don't I know it?" Jonny had never been to Daniel's land, but there had been that poor courier once... The dangers of dealing in magical objects. Even small dragons had big flames.
Daniel shrugged, licked his lips. "Occupational hazard."
"Indeed. I can send some people to do an initial survey, talk to selected backers."
"Just let me know to expect them." Long, golden hair was shoved back, Daniel settling. "So, now that the business part is done, let me tell you about this amazing spell book I had sent from Romania. I either made a stick into a fire snake or a burning stick into a dead snake. The accent's tough to pull off."
"You're not Romanian." Neither was Jonny, thank goodness. A vamp from Romania was trite, at best.
"No, but I'm not Mexican either, and I managed to unearth that Mayan demi-god for you once, didn't I?"