treasured coverRating: 4 stars
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Length: Novella

Alaric Keening is back in Montreal, helping his mother who is was conned by a boyfriend and is now stuck in massive debt and dealing with health issues. The police have been no help and, for Alaric, there is no end in sight to the situation. So he is thrilled to get a job as a clairvoyant to a wealthy dragon, helping to authenticate documents. When he meets his dragon boss, Alaric is struck by how gorgeous the man is and finds himself drawn to him immediately.

Tarquin is a storm dragon, with vast wealth and his own company. As soon as Tarquin meets his new employee, he is struck by the man and feels an immediate connection. But Tarquin doesn’t want to overwhelm Alaric and so he tries to play down his interest. But when an attempt on Tarquin’s life gets instead aimed at Alaric, Tarquin will do anything to protect the man he knows is meant to be his. That includes finding out who almost killed him, as well as who hurt Alaric’s mother.

The connection between the men is intense. There is something special between a dragon and a treasured mate, and if the men give themselves a chance, they could have a long and happy future together.

Treasured is sweet and romantic novella previously published as the short story, A Caller From Montreal, in the Heart2Heart Charity Anthology, Vol 4. It has been expanded from the original, as well as re-edited. S.J. Himes is so good with world building and that really shines here as well. I enjoyed the take on dragons and their treasured mates and there is a nice unique approach here. I liked seeing Tarquin exercise his storm dragon abilities, as well as Alaric use his clairvoyance. There is really a lot of depth of world building here considering this is a fairly short story. In fact, I almost wonder if it is too much, as at times it got a little complex for a shorter work. But overall, I am really impressed with how developed Himes made this story and the interesting take on dragons and their mates. And the end of the book hints there is more to come, so this well-developed set up should hold future books in good stead.

From a romantic standpoint, things are kind of swoony between Alaric and Tarquin. Tarquin is rich, gorgeous, and powerful. He scares everyone, but to Alaric he is just caring and protective. Tarquin sort of sweeps in and takes care of everything, but Alaric totally loves Tarquin’s nurturing nature. The romance here happens really fast. The guys fall for each other essentially immediately, and while they don’t act on it right away, there is a fated mates vibe here that means they are drawn together before really knowing one another. But that fits the tone of the book — kind of lush and romantic, with a dashing hero that swoops in to save the day. So while I did find things move really fast, it worked for me in this story.

Treasured is a fun novella that is a quick read, but well developed. It has great world building and a mushy, intense romance. I am looking forward to see more in this world.

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