There’s only one place to go for a guaranteed happily ever after.
Caldren has been looking forward to having his own Faeted match for a long time. It’s what all the brownies do, and Faeted has always taken good care of them. As a brownie, he’s a gentle person who just wants to help his mate out and keep things clean. He likes honey, books and a tidy house.
He’s surprised when his mate turns out to be a dragon, at least, according to Faeted. They’re aggressive and powerful, so Caldren doesn’t think he would be a good match for someone like that, but his kind have always trusted Faeted to do what is best for them.
Bannock is a scary dragon, just as Caldren expected him to be. But he’s also fair and firm. He appreciates what Caldren is and what he needs. It isn’t long before Caldren realizes that sometimes a little brownie needs a dragon to be whole.
About the Author
Caitlin was fortunate growing up to be surrounded by family and teachers that encouraged her love of reading. She has always been a voracious reader and that love of the written word easily morphed into a passion for writing. If she isn't writing, she can usually be found studying as she works toward her counseling degree. She comes from a military family and the men and women of the armed forces are close to her heart.
She also enjoys gardening and horseback riding in the Colorado Rockies where she calls home with her wonderful fiance, their dog and Blue Tongue Skink. Her belief that there is no one true path to happily ever after runs deeply through all of her stories.
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Caitlin Ricci 2017. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Pride Publishing.
I walked into the Faeted Matchmaking Agency with the rainwater falling off me. It had been a downpour outside but, within the brightly painted office, I was warm, if not even a little bit dry. I was embarrassed by my appearance, but the water nymph across the desk from me smiled genuinely. “Hey. You must be Caldren. Take a seat. Dyslander will be with you in a moment.”
“I’m soaked,” I pointed out. I didn’t need her help and I wasn’t asking for it. What I was trying to say was that I didn’t want to get the chairs in their waiting room wet, too.
She looked me over and shook her head. “There’s nothing to do for your wet clothes, but feel free to get some tea to warm yourself up. Our dragon is currently out sick or else I’d ask him to come breathe on you. Take a seat. It’ll be okay.”
I found her soft, confident voice soothing, and it helped me make the decision to get some tea for myself. First, though, I made her some. I would have preferred a tray and a few cookies to bring her, but I settled for putting the steaming hot mug of tea down in front of her, but not so close to her that she would have accidently burned herself.
She blinked her bright blue eyes at me. The scales behind her ears were barely visible, but when she tilted her head back to smile, I could see them just fine.
“Thank you,” she said.
I nodded and stepped back. “You’re welcome.” I got my own tea, then went over to one of the couches and got comfortable, but not too much, just in case I might make the couch unbearably wet. I was perched on the edge as I sipped my tea and listened to the rain pouring down outside.
“It seems nice out there,” she said quietly.
I tried to look at the rain from her perspective rather than from a brownie’s. To us, rain meant a mess to clean up. There were puddles everywhere and that would lead to mud then to more messes. But to a water nymph maybe it was just water.
“It’s a little cold,” I said.
She scowled, but only for a moment. “Pity. I like warm rain. My shallow waters are never below seventy. They’re great for swimming in.”
Brownies didn’t like to swim, but she didn’t need to know that. I didn’t want to bore her with little details about myself. I was afraid I’d already been a nuisance while I was here, getting everything wet.
Dyslander Elderthorne was fae, though what kind I couldn’t have said on sight. I wasn’t good with all the different kinds of fae there were in the world, and he didn’t give anything away when I surveyed him as he came out of his office and smiled at me. His ears were slightly long and his eyes were just a bit too bright, so maybe he was an elf.
“Are you ready to come back with me?” Dyslander asked.
I nodded, then looked at the mug of tea in my hands. “May I?”
His smile grew. “Of course. Come on, Caldren. Let’s go talk for a little while.” He kept his voice low and when he shook my hand, he was gentle. So few fae knew how delicate we brownies really were, and it was refreshing to find someone who seemed to understand that most basic thing about us. It wasn’t that we were easily breakable. It was more that we didn’t tolerate any kind of pain or pressure well. We were sensitive creatures. We liked what we liked and we couldn’t process much else without at least some distress.
We sat down at his desk and I put my mug down on a coaster I found there. I should have made a cup for him, as well, and I regretted my oversight. “I’m sorry I don’t have tea for you. I can go make you some. It’ll only take a moment. Would you like that?”
I was already getting up when Dyslander smiled at me, covered my hand with his then pulled me back to my seat. “No tea for me, thank you. It’s been a long time since I’ve spent time with a brownie. I forgot how much you all like to help people. It really is an admirable quality.”
My cheeks flushed and I ducked my head. I wasn’t good with compliments, usually. “Thank you. Were you able to find someone that I might be suited for?” If he hadn’t, I didn’t want to rush him. Maybe no one was out there for me. I was almost comfortable with that idea.
But Dyslander surprised me by pushing a piece of paper in my direction. There was an address on it—a house in the oldest part of town, if I was remembering correctly.
“Sir?” I wasn’t sure what he was trying to tell me.
“Dyslander,” he corrected me. I instantly went red.
“Is my Faeted mate in this house?” I quietly asked him.
Dyslander nodded and tapped the address. “He’s expecting you to come by right after this meeting. I’ve arranged an eagle transport for you.”
I swallowed thickly and couldn’t bring myself to touch the house number. I’d hoped that Dyslander would find someone for me, but I’d never expected that this would be the day that happened or that I would be seeing him so soon. “I’m not appropriately dressed. I’m—”
Dyslander put his hand over mine and I froze.
“You’re fine, Caldren. I know you would prefer to appear at your best for him when you first meet him, but I promise you that you’ll be just fine like this. He won’t be angry at you for showing up in less than perfect condition.”
He let go of my hand and I let his words work their magic through me. I needed someone who was accepting and patient, and this man, whoever he was, sounded like he could be like that, according to Dyslander. “What sort of fae is he?” I asked Dyslander.
“Bannock is a dragon shifter,” Dyslander answered.
My eyes instantly went wide as I stared at him in shock. “Dragons are…” I shook my head. They were fierce and powerful. Dangerous and scary. I couldn’t handle a dragon. Just seeing them together in the streets as they shoved each other around and ate turkey legs with their mouths open made me want to get far away from them. “Are you sure? I mean, I don’t want to question your abilities or your profession, but I came to you because I want someone to spend the rest of my life with and dragons are hardly what most people would think of for a life partner, aside from another dragon, of course, and—”
Dyslander cut me off by placing a finger under my chin, silencing me instantly. “You’ll be fine. I’ve known Bannock for years. I think you two will be quite happy together. Now, would you like to take the eagle ride or do you have your own transportation to this address?”
“I-I…” I was soaked. I looked a mess and I was going to go meet a dragon shifter who was to become my mate? I needed that ride. “The eagle would be very much appreciated. Thank you.”
Dyslander smiled at me. “Good. Go outside and around the back of the office. He’s waiting for you there.”
I did go to the back, but I didn’t see a bird. I saw a man standing in the rain, and he was grinning. “Hey. You must be Caldren. I’m Joshua. My mate is the eagle you were supposed to get a ride from but he had to run into work, so I’ll be your transport this afternoon.”
“Oh. Hi.” I gave him a tentative smile. “And what are you?” It wasn’t the right way to ask such a personal question and I instantly blushed again and looked down. “I’m sorry. That was rude. I meant—”
But Joshua laughed. “It’s fine. Damn, you’re polite. I’m a dragon.” Then, as if to prove himself, while I was staring at him, Joshua shifted and beautiful shiny scales began to cover his body as he transformed into a sleek dragon that towered over me.
He lowered himself to make it easier for me to climb onto his back, and I tentatively got into position over his shoulders. I had flown before, but not for at least six months, and I wasn’t looking forward to the experience at all.
Maybe Joshua could sense that, though, because he stayed low, just a few feet over the tops of the trees, and he didn’t do any kinds of stunts or spirals. By the time I had landed at the address on the piece of paper, I was dry from the wind and I wasn’t feeling as sick as I usually did after flying.
I was quick to get off Joshua’s shoulders, though, so as not to overstay my welcome with the dragon. “Thank you. That was…” Well, it hadn’t exactly been pleasant and I wouldn’t lie. “Not horrifying. I appreciate the ride immensely.”
Joshua laughed. “Good luck with your match. Dyslander does good work.”
“Thank you.” I turned away from him as I started toward the brick house at the end of a tree-lined street. The only thing that told me that a dragon lived in the house at all were the fireberries that grew all over his front yard. They seemed to pop up wherever a dragon was if they stayed around long enough and, judging by the number of flowering plants in his front yard, Bannock had been there for a long time.
I straightened out my clothing as best I could and was grateful that they’d been dried by the flight. I wanted to look my best for my first time meeting Bannock. That would be only appropriate.
My heart was racing as I stepped up to the heavy-looking wooden door. It was ornately carved, with two wings stretching over the center. They were thin and leathery, lacking any of the feathers of a bird’s wings. These were dragon wings. I knew I was in the right place.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Caldren is the short but sweet story about a Brownie and a Dragon, and no, it's not a joke! ;) Caldren is a Brownie, and has been on Faeted book's for six months now, but he is prepared to wait for his mate as long as is necessary. When Dyslander gives him Bannock's address, he is sure there must be a mistake. Surely no way would a Dragon want a Brownie. This is a short story, as are all in the Faeted series, so you only get to see a snippet. Even so, you can see that Brannock and Caldren are a good match, and you hope that Caldren will relax into his role as Brannock's mate, rather than servant, sooner rather than later. This is very well written, with no editing or grammatical errors to disrupt the reading flow. However, it is only a snippet, so don't expect a wealth of previous information or background. For a coffee break book, this is absolutely perfect. Recommended by me. * A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and my comments here are my honest opinion. * Merissa Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!