Dream Crusher made a soft crooning noise of contentment as the groomer scrubbed and polished each and every scale until the dragon shone like a jewel. Tyron glanced at the groomer’s neck again. There definitely wasn’t a mating collar. If anyone considered this man theirs they foolishly hadn’t made a proper commitment.

Tyron rubbed his own bare neck. The strip of skin above his uniform had never felt so bare before. He longed to have someone to share his life with but a dragon rider had difficulty explaining his bond with anyone other than another rider. And although Tyron might have had the odd fling with another rider but he didn’t want to permanent bond with someone like himself. He might be a rough man but he enjoyed beauty.

Derlin’s gentle manner appealed to Tyron. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been this fascinated by anyone.

“Captain!”

Tyron jerked his attention away from the groomer and turned to his men who were all watching him with various expressions of amusement.

“I’m coming,” he growled.

He nodded to Derlin who had looked up at the commotion. “Did you need something else, captain?”

“No,” Tyron tore his attention away from the groomer. He had things he needed to do for the day. Bending the groomer over the nearest surface and screwing him until he begged for more probably wasn’t on today’s schedule.

With a last regretful look at the groomer Tyron walked away.

 

Derlin watched the handsome captain leave.

“It’s probably better that he goes,” Derlin said regretfully to Frisson.

Human likes you. The dragon’s voice whispered in his head.

“You think so?” Derlin bit his lip as he swirled a brush in the cleaner and concentrated on particularly dingy scale.

Yes, he smells of desire when he looks at you.

“Huh.” Derlin didn’t know if he wanted a dragon rider to find him appealing or not. He just got his dream job and if he became involved with one of the riders and it didn’t work out, well the rider wouldn’t be the one who had to find a new place to work. In the scheme of things groomers were considered low on the importance scale.

You are important to us.

“Thanks Frisson,” Derlin rubbed some more lotion between the scales.

The dragon gave a soft snort. You don’t understand your worth.

Derlin gave a bitter laugh. “Trust me I know my worth.”

His family had always prided themselves on their service to dragons. Derlin enjoyed having a place in the world but he’d be foolish if he didn’t realize others had a different view of groomers, mere servants who were often poorly treated and badly paid. Derlin found a sweet spot in the rider stables with pay and benefits. He’d keep the position until they tossed him out.