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The Dragon Eater

Tharassas Cycle Book 1

by J. Scott Coatsworth

Raven's a thief who just swallowed a dragon. A small one, sure, but now his arms are growing scales, the local wildlife is acting up, and his snarky AI familiar is no help whatsoever.

Raven's best friend Aik is a guardsman carrying a torch for the thief. A pickpocket and a guard? Never going to happen. And Aik’s ex-fiancé Silya, an initiate priestess in a magical crisis, hates Raven with the heat of a thousand suns.

This unlikely team must work together to face strange beasts, alien artifacts, and a world-altering threat. If they don’t figure out what to do soon, it might just be the end of everything.

Things are about to get messy.

This book is on:
  • 3 To Be Read lists
  • 1 Read list
Publisher: Water Dragon Publishing
Cover Artists:
Pairings: M-M
Heat Level: 2
Romantic Content: 2
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 3 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Antihero, Badass Hero, Bodyguard/Guardian Angel, Friends to Lovers, Hurt / Comfort, Lone Wolf, Love Triangle, Opposites Attract, Slow Burning Love
Word Count: 93700
Setting: Other World
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters

Spin’s voice echoed in his ear. “This is a bad idea, boss.”

“Shush,” Raven whispered to his familiar.

He needed to concentrate. Cheek and jowl against the smooth cobblestones, he held his breath and prayed to the gods that no one had seen him duck under the sea master’s ornate carriage. The setting sun cast long shadows from a pair of boots so close to his face that the dust and leather made him want to sneeze. Their owner was deep in conversation with the sea master, the hem of her fine mur silk trousers barely visible. The two women’s voices were hushed, and he could only make out the occasional word.

Raven rubbed the old burn scar on his cheek absently, wishing they would go away.

“Seriously, boss. I’m not from this world, and even I know it’s a bad idea to steal from the sea master.”

Though only he could hear Spin’s voice, Raven wished the little silver ay-eye would just shut up.


The hencha cloth-wrapped package in the carriage above was calling to him. He’d wanted it since he’d first seen it through the open door. No, needed it. Like he needed air, even though he had no idea what was inside. He scratched the back of his hand hard to distract himself from its disturbing pull.

An inthym popped its head out of the sewer grate in front of him, sniffing the air. Raven glared at the little white rodent, willing it to go away. Instead, the cursed thing nibbled at his nose.

Raven sneezed, then covered his mouth. He held his breath, staring at the boots. Don’t let them hear me.

A shiny silver feeler poked out of his shirt pocket, emitting a golden glow that illuminated the cobblestones underneath him. “Boss, you all right?” Spin’s whisper had that sarcastic edge he often used when he was annoyed. “Your heart rate is elevated.”

“Be. Quiet.” Raven gritted his teeth. Spin had the worst sense of timing.

The woman — one of the guard, maybe? — and the sea master stepped away, their voices fading into the distance.

Raven said a quick prayer of thanks to Jor’Oss, the goddess of wild luck, and flicked the inthym back into the sewer. “Shoo!”

He popped his head out from under the carriage to take a quick look around. There was no one between him and the squat gray Sea Guild headquarters. It was time. Grab it and go.

He reached into the luxurious carriage — a host of mur beetles must have spent years spinning all the red silk that lined the interior — and snagged the package. He hoped it was the treasury payment for the week. If so, it should hold enough coin to feed an orphanage for a month, and he knew just the one. “Got it.”

“Good. Now get us out of here.”

A strange tingling surged through his hand. Raven frowned.

Must have pinched a nerve or something.

Ignoring it, he stuck the package under his arm, slipped around the carriage, and set off down Gullton’s main thoroughfare. He walked as casually as he could, hoping no one would notice the missing package until he was long gone.

“We clear?”

Spin’s feeler blinked red. “No. Run! They’ve seen you.”

Raven ran.

He didn’t know how his strange little friend did it, but he trusted Spin. When his familiar’s far vision worked, he was almost always right.

“Stop the thief!” A guard's voice echoed down Grindell Lane between the shops that loomed over Raven like jagged teeth in the dimming light. Passersby turned to stare, but no one intervened.

“Holy green hell, what’s in this thing?” Raven clung to the package, his patched-up boots thudding down the cobblestone street. He said a brief prayer of thanks to El’Oss, the Old God, that Spin’s special powers were working.

He shot a glance over his shoulder at the pursuing guardsmen. A miasma of fog mixed with smoke lay thick across the city streets, lighting the sunset in the green sky behind him gloriously in red and gold.

You're daft as a gully bird, Rav'Orn. Stealing a package from the sea master's carriage in broad daylight? Seriously? If the Thieves’ Guild found out, they’d be after him again for stirring up trouble.

Still, he hadn’t expected three guardsmen to come after him. What in Heaven’s Reach did I steal, the Hencha Queen’s jewels?

A woman lay slumped in the doorway of a closed tailor’s shop ahead, The Knotted Purse, wrapped in a familiar blanket. Raven skidded to a halt. “Where are they?”

“About a block away. You’re not as slow as usual today.” Coming from Spin, that was almost a compliment.

“Thanks.” Raven ignored his companion’s snarky tone. He slipped his hand into his pocket and pulled out a single silver croner and dropped it into the roofless woman’s hand, ignoring her unwashed smell. Not everyone had a bathtub or a river to bathe in, after all. “Get yourself something hot to eat, Scilla.” He kissed her cheek.

Scill'Eya's eyes lit up, and a smile cracked her weathered face. A single tear ran down her dirty cheek, revealing the ruddy skin underneath, and she nodded. “Nor’Oss bless you, Rav’Orn.”

Spin’s voice chimed urgently in his ear. “Let’s move it. They’re hot on your tail, boss.”

But Raven was already off and running again, barreling down the street.

He glanced over his shoulder in time to see the roofless woman stumble to her feet and careen “accidentally” into the path of one of the guards, knocking him to the ground.

Bless you too, Scilla.


About the Author

Scott lives with his husband of twenty five years in a Sacramento suburb, in a cute little yellow house with a brick fireplace and two pink flamingoes out front.

He inhabits in the space between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into science fiction and fantasy by his mom at the tender age of nine, he quickly finished her entire library. But he soon began to wonder where all the queer people were.

After coming out at twenty three, he started writing the kinds of stories he couldn't find at Crown Books. If there weren't many queer characters in his favorite genres, he would will them into existence, subverting them to his own ends. And if he was lucky enough, someone else would want to read them.

His friends say Scott's mind works a little differently than most - he makes connections between ideas that others don't, and somehow does more in a day than most people manage in a week. Although born an introvert, he forced himself to reach outside himself, and learned to connect with others like him.

Scott's stories subvert expectations that transform traditional science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something different and unexpected. He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, and is an associate member of the Science Fiction Writer's Association (SFWA).

His romance and genre fiction writing brings a queer energy to his stories, filling them with love, beauty and power. He imagines how the world could be - in the process, he hopes to change the world, just a little.

Scott was recognized as one of the top new gay authors in the 2017 Rainbow Awards, and his debut novel "Skythane" received two awards and an honorable mention.

You can find him at Dreamspinner here, Goodreads here, on Amazon here, on QueeRomance Ink here, and on Facebook here.