The Only Option by Megan Derr Spotlight
I would like to welcome author Megan Derr and her new novel THE ONLY OPTION to gabriellefaust.com as part of her Bewitching Book Tours blog tour! Congratulations Megan on your new release.
When he is summoned to the royal castle, Rochus anticipates nothing more than a particularly difficult assignment. The bothersome journey is almost made worthwhile when he is propositioned by a young, beautiful dragon, Tilo, who seems untroubled by the fact that Rochus is a necromancer.
When Rochus arrives at the castle he is ordered to marry the very same dragon he spent the night with. Though Rochus would rather sign papers and return home, he is helpless against Tilo's pleas for help, even if it means spending more time around a man he is desperately drawn to but who doesn’t seem to want him.
Rochus pulled off his spectacles and wiped them clean as the door of the tavern slammed shut behind him. Noise washed over him, along with the smell of cheap food and too many unwashed people, an undercurrent of smoke, and the faint tingle of magic. He stared through the large, open archway into the dining hall, the need for food warring with a need for solitude and a reluctance to endure the stares that would come when everyone realized what he was.
But he detested hiding in his room like he was something to be ashamed of, and hiding wouldn't stop the rumors or whispers. So he slipped his spectacles back on and approached the counter, pushing back the hood of his cloak. He set two worn, gleaming coins on the counter, ignoring the wide eyes and gaping mouth of the man behind it. "A room, a bath, supper, and breakfast."
"Supper and—" The man snapped his mouth shut. "Of course, magus. Um…" He picked up the coins, eyes flitting about nervously. So close to the royal castle, one would think they'd be more used to the likes of Rochus, but then again, most of his kind preferred to avoid undue attention, and the rest were spoiled brats who'd never settle at a cheap tavern when the royal castle was only a few more hours away.
Stifling a sigh, Rochus answered the question the man couldn't quite get out. "Pig or cow blood will work fine, and chicken or some other fowl if that's the best you can muster. A full pitcher of it, though merely a cup will suffice if more cannot be found. Not horse." They were far too expensive to drain, and the taste wasn't worth it.
"Y-yes, magus. Um." The man licked his lips. "Will you want to see the room first or go straight to the dining hall?"
"The room, and I'll take the bath after I've dined."
The man murmured another affirmative, tucked the coins away, and slid a key across the counter. "Up the stairs, all the way at the very end of that first hall."
"My thanks," Rochus replied and resettled his saddlebags on his shoulder before heading up the dark, creaky steps and down the long hallway. It branched off in three places, but as promised, his was the room at the very back of the first, main hallway.
It smelled of dust and disuse, with a slight tingling-tang of old, faded magic. Powerful magic, likely wards or some other cage meant to keep something in. But the inn had once been a castle in its own right, before it had been torn down and rebuilt, changed to something less expensive and more profitable than an empty fortress. It wasn't surprising remnants of the fortress remained in more than the old stones.
He dropped his saddlebags on the bed and quickly sent his heavy travel cloak after them. Removing his spectacles, he combed fingers through his short, sweat-damp hair. In the dark room, with nothing but slips of moonlight to lend visibility, his hair appeared black. Better lighting would prove it to be blue, so too his nails and teeth