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Dubious #4

The Only Option

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A desperate dragon. A lonely necromancer. A marriage neither wants.

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.

114 pages, ebook

First published May 1, 2016

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About the author

Megan Derr

267 books2,686 followers
Megan is a long time resident of queer romance and keeps herself busy reading and writing it. She is often accused of fluff and nonsense. When she’s not involved in writing, she likes to cook, harass her wife and cats, or watch movies. She loves to hear from readers and can be found all over the internet.


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Displaying 1 - 30 of 171 reviews
Profile Image for ☆ Todd.
1,350 reviews1,483 followers
May 21, 2016

This book is romantic fantasy done oh so right. I love a good Megan Derr story and I found this one to be very satisfying and it definitely hit the spot for me.

Rochus is a 43 year old necromancer, employed by the Queen for various tasks throughout the land, so when he's summoned to the castle, then subsequently required to marry in order to repay a royal debt, he's more than a bit pissed.

He isn't mad about the marriage, per se, but that he's being forced to marry Tilo, a beautiful, 20 year old dragon Lord from a distant kingdom. One with whom he had slept only the night prior. One who had requested the marriage and didn't happen to mention that small fact when they were having sex. Oops. Rochus had hoped their tryst was purely about attraction, but fears it was not.

The majority of the drama in the story arises from Rochus' inability to believe that a sexy, young dragon could actually be attracted to an older half-soul necromancer. But Tilo does find Rochus genuinely attractive, so his quest is to convince Rochus of such.

The majority of the action in the story surrounds overcoming an evil, neighboring Lord's plot to take over Tilo's kingdom by using necromancer-created creatures to drive out all of the inhabitants, including Tilo. But Tilo isn't going to lose his land and his people's homes without a fight.

This story is so much fun and, for once, Derr provided the reader with tons of sexy, flip-floppy bits, which I was so into, it isn't even funny. There is some serious heat on-page here, with zero of the abbreviated or fade to black scenes that I've seen in some of Derr's previous books, such a "Tournament of Losers."

So if you like heat, this story has it in steamy, versatile spades.

Another aspect of the story that I found both fresh and entertaining were Rochus' animal companions, including a rescued hornless black unicorn, two reanimated ravens and a once-dead, smartass, mischievous cat named Memory. I have so much love for Memory.

My only complaint would be that the story is a bit short, at only 114 pages, when I wanted so many more pages. It is just that compelling and entertaining.

The resolution of the romance felt unique and hopeful, too, so they do get what I feel is on its way to becoming a full-fledged HEA once the 'courting' dust has settled. And Tilo's courting was just everything here.

The book was also full of snark and banter, two if my favorite things ever in my reads, so it rates a highly-recommended 4.5 stars for me.


My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
May 11, 2016

Derr created a cool fantasy world with dragons, magi, queens, unicorns, and spirit animals.

This sentence says it all: A desperate dragon. A lonely necromancer. A marriage neither wants.

Not many people like or trust necromancers (who deal with death magic), so Rochus keeps to himself with only his pets Fury, Song, and Silence for company, and they're all dead. Sort of. (Note: Fury is a little shit.)

When a sexy dragon (in human form) tries to get into Rochus' pants, er, robe, Rochus doesn't say no. Tilo is young and hot and delicious. It turns out he's also Rochus' husband-to-be.

The story took a bit of a nosedive for me once the magical action started. I got bored when Rochus was fighting the undead and the big dead spirit birds. Or whatever.

I wanted more Tilo and Rochus on page doing stuff together, not just fucking but DOING, like a dinner date or something.

The ending is a HFN, maybe a tentative HEA. I'm not sure, but it felt like a step backwards.

Thanks to my friends Renee and Todd for recommending this one. It broke me out of my comfort zone, and I really needed a good dose of sexy fluff.
Profile Image for Vivian.
2,839 reviews393 followers
May 12, 2016

Yes, I know. My previous quest ended poorly, but perseverance has paid off and my needs for a gorgeous, noble dragon have been met. At least, temporarily.

Necromancers. Never been a big fan, but that's usually because they're boring cardboard villains. So, giving me a hero that's slightly macabre in appearance and practices blood magic--Win. Interesting twist to how magi are selected to become necromancers, a necessary and feared position. Rochus Kraemer is such a man.

He is summoned by the Queen, which is never a good sign. But, the surprise waiting for him at court spoils his mood further. And it is during his information gathering at court that he receives advice that puts things into perspective.
“From what I know of Landau, he's wealthy, hard-working, fiercely loyal… certainly the matter should not have been so crudely forced, but I've seen you do stupider for far less.”

Tilo Landau, lord of distant holding, requires assistance, and uses his political clout to get what he wants. And this is great because Derr takes another common romance trope and spins it around: forced marriage. Of course, there's adventures and spirit and death wielding spells all with the help of Rochus' friends and familiars, which are pretty darn awesome characters in their own right.

“We're not doing this on a kitchen table,” he said when he finally managed to pull away. “People cook and eat here.”

Boo, hiss. Spoilsport. Yeah, there were feisty sexy times that suited both men. And gosh darn if it didn't have one of the most romantic endings I've read in awhile.

Honestly, the story rocked. Derr is one of the few authors who really excel at the shorter novella form. All the bang, but in a smaller package.

Overall, smitten.

~Copy provided by NetGalley~
Profile Image for Lois Bujold.
Author 185 books37.7k followers
September 5, 2017
The plot is of course silly, which is what one expects of this sort of mental bon-bon, but I liked the necromancer (despite the poor lad going on and on about 43 being "old".) I thought the development of his assorted magics quite interesting, as well as the social challenges they brought him in his context, at this length barely touched upon. One could have had a whole trilogy out of him, in some other subgenre. Also interesting to see what other writers are doing with the opportunities that direct e-pub opens to novella-length works.

Ta, L.
Profile Image for Renée.
1,040 reviews323 followers
April 7, 2018
4.25 stars!

This just hit my buttons! It's my favorite Megan Derr novella! Rochus and Tilo were so much fun together.

Rochus is a rare necromancer. He is used to being shunned for his "differences." He is summoned to the Queen's castle, but on his last night at an inn on the way, he is picked up by a beautiful young dragon who's half his age. Rochus can't put up much of a fight, especially since he doesn't exactly have the boys beating down his door. He scares most people. After a sizzling night in his inn room, with multiple rounds (very nice, Ms. Derr), he wakes alone and heads the rest of the way to the royal castle.

Once there, he's told by the Queen that he must marry to help her pay a debt to a neighboring Lord. And the person he's to marry is the beautiful, young dragon from the night before. All of his elation from finally being chosen, even for one night, evaporates because he knows it was all part of the ploy to marry a necromancer because Tilo NEEDS the services of a necromancer, not because he was attracted to Rochus, himself.

This was a fun, sexy read. The reasons for Tilo needing the help of a necromancer are revealed, and we get to see the fantasy part of the story play out.

The most fun, of course, were the newlyweds dancing around each other. Rochus can't trust because he's been burned and used too many times. But Tilo isn't all that he seems. He eventually barrels through the walls that Rochus has constructed around himself and his heart. The end chapters were to die for - the courting! I swooned a bit - okay maybe a lot!

I would definitely recommend this to fantasy mm readers. And Derr brought out the smexy times, too, which doesn't always happen, but it should cuz the woman can write some damn good scenes!

**I always notice when kissing scenes are really well played out. The kissing scenes, alone, would've sold me on this story. Icing on the cake that I got multiple smexy times too.
Profile Image for Adam.
610 reviews309 followers
May 6, 2016
Megan Derr is the queen of MM historical fantasy.


On his way to the royal city, necromancer Rochus meets a much younger and far more attractive dragon, Tilo, who inexplicably wants him. After spending an enjoyable night together, the two part ways and Rochus continues on his journey. When he arrives, the queen informs him that he is to be married to the lord of an outlying territory. The lord, and Rochus' intended husband, turns out to be Tilo.

Feeling betrayed, and unable to believe that Tilo could actually want him, Rochus decides to quickly solve the problems plaguing Tilo's land, and then have the marriage annulled. But he can't deny the attraction he feels towards Tilo, or his growing admiration for the young dragon.

Historical fantasy is a genre I always enjoy. I'm happy to read anything with dragons, dwarves, magic, or a land in peril. In particular, I've enjoyed Megan Derr's work.

While Rochus and Tilo get off to a rocky start, it's clear from the beginning that the two have good chemistry. They compliment each other, with Rochus the more jaded and worldly, and Tilo the idealist and passionate. I don't usually like when characters can't let themselves be happy, but in such a short book I just sat back and enjoyed the story.

Rochus may have been prickly and surly, but he'd been shunned too many times to believe that someone as beautiful and wholesome as Tilo could want him. Seeing Rochus soften around Tilo was a treat. Despite the short length of the book, the romance didn't feel rushed. It was sweet and gradual.

Plus, there are a few hot sex scenes, which isn't something that this author includes often in her books.

The mystery element was very entertaining, even if there were a few points that didn't make complete sense. There's dark magic, some politics, and treachery.

'The Only Option' is a fun and quick read, delivering an entertaining plot and a sweet romance. I really liked it.

Review copy provided through NetGalley.
Profile Image for Ami.
5,814 reviews499 followers
May 13, 2016
3.75 stars rounded up

I wish this story is made into novel-length because it would have given me more time to be with Rochus and Tilo, as well as giving their relationship to fully bloomed. Their trip to Rothenberg, for example, I would've loved to see it stretched longer. Imagine the snappy banters along the way, Rochus being grumpy, and Tilo trying to wear him down somewhat ... it would be delicious. Plus it could reduce the sort-of quick romance between them. Especially because in that last chapter,

I also would've love to seen the final fight -- the fact that it was written for only several paragraphs was an anti-climax. I felt robbed the excitement of reading it :(

HAVING SAID THAT, Rochus and Tilo made me deliriously happy and sometimes it's all that matters to me. This is Megan Derr doing what she does best in her element, blending fantasy with a couple that consist of one grumpy character and a more stubborn with determination love interest. I love that combination of coupling, and it's best when the grumpy character is older than the stubborn one. I was smiling so big reading how Tilo wearing Rochus down, seducing him, and those gifts courting in the end? PRECIOUS!

... and I might be weak in the knees when the sex scenes involved a lot of teeth. I guess I might have a certain preference after all (who knew!!) *LOL*
Profile Image for Jewel.
1,796 reviews243 followers
May 14, 2016
4.5 Delicious Stars!

The Only Option is my kind of fantasy story! It's full of delicious dragons (ok, so only one dragon, but trust me on this -- delicious) a curmudgeonly necromancer, lots of yummy smexytimes and a bit of adventure!

In my "other" life, I love to play RPG computer games. And I almost always play a magic user of some sort, these days. Magic is just so much fun. And, a time or two, I have played a necromancer character. I like them, because they can create "pets", and Rochus has a few pets, too, and they come in handy.

Rochus is our crotchety necromancer. He's 43 going on 93 -- really, I almost expected him to get out his staff (he didn't carry a staff) and shake it at the walking dead yelling at them to get off his lawn. He amused me. He travels with a black, hornless unicorn, named Fury, and 3 "pets" (brought back from the dead) - a Valder Mountain Cat, named Memory, who is too smart for her own good, and 2 ravens, named Silence and Song.

Rochus is ​not trusting when the occasional person tries to seduce him because he is so used to people finding him unsettling, and he's not exactly been 'lucky in love'. So, he can't bring himself to believe that a sexy, young dragon,​ ​like Tilo could ever actually find him attractive.

Apparently, most people are a bit put off by a necromancer's deep blue/black teeth and nails and the fact that they drink blood. And Rochus has managed to have a couple bad experiences with people feigning interest, just to try to physically hurt him. Yeah, people really aren't that bright, sometimes. Magic, people! It will fuck you up if you find yourself on the wrong end of it!

Tilo, is our young dragon. He's less than half Rochus' age, but, in spite of what Rochus keeps assuming, Tilo really does find the older necromancer ​quite ​attractive. ​He really does need the help of a necromancer to exterminate some pests on his land​, and while it was not the best idea ever to seduce Rochus the night before meeting him officially, and getting married to the guy, he really couldn't help himself. He spends a fair amount of the story convincing Rochus of this fact.

The Only Option is fun and flirty and ​​​has some smoking hot smexytimes. My only real complaint is that the story isn't longer! It ends on a strong HFN, but I am certain they are on the road to an HEA. It just took Rochus a while to come around. And I loved the adventure of it all, too.

Review copy of The Only Option was generously provided by the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Mary.
Author 118 books4,617 followers
May 8, 2016
What I loved about this was that I got one grouchy, older, honorable magus in Rochus and a younger, trustworthy, romantic dragon in Tilo who are both crazy in lust but not in a position to have any faith in the other at the beginning of the book. It's a treat when the reasons for the main characters to not talk and settle things make sense, when you can see the why and it's logical but not insurmountable. Of course, the best part is the happily ever after when Rochus finally learns how great Tilo's heart is and Tilo learns how loyal Rochus is. They see each other clearly at the end and it made me sigh happily. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Wendys Wycked Words.
1,557 reviews3,815 followers
Shelved as 'not-finished'
May 10, 2016
Well...this was a huge case of " it's me and not the book". I just couldn't get into it. For me it was too wordy, the sentences were too long and I had to go back and reread them to understand them. This probably has something to do with the fact that I'm Dutch and sometimes fantasy books can get quite confusing. I'm not gonna rate this one, because I didn't get halfway through and also because me not understanding is probably not the authors fault.
Profile Image for Chris, the Dalek King.
1,167 reviews146 followers
May 4, 2016
Necromancers are not exactly the most well liked people. Maybe it is the magic, maybe it is their pale skin and dark teeth. Maybe it is the tendency to enjoy a nice warm cup of blood for dinner (and, no, he is not a vampire, he is a civilized, capable necromancer of forty-three, not some ravening monster ). Anyways, they are not what anyone would consider the most likely choice for a bed-partner. Which makes it all the more suspicious that such a young and pretty dragon would practically (and literally) throw himself at Rochus and beg him to bed him. Suspicious and well. Tempting. Very tempting. And it’s not like anyone ever said that necromancers lived to ripe old ages because of their wits and cunning. If the dragon was so intent on bedding him, who was going to complain, really? He wasn’t going to.

Not till the next day. Not till he finds himself married to the dragon against his will and probably all good sense. Not till he figures out that the dragon had known exactly who he was that night at the inn. Not till he finds himself once again alone and married and really wanting to just hit something. Not till he starts to fall for his husband. Then, then he might have a few things to complain about.

If there is one thing that I know it is that if Megan Derr is writing about a dragon, then I want to read it. Don’t know how she does it, and with such variation, but she seems to bring to life on the page all the things I love about dragons and their various abilities and personalities. Tilo doesn’t get center stage here (though I am hard pressed to complain since I enjoyed Rochus so very much) but everything about this dragon was just exactly how I love it. Plus dragon fights are cool. Dragon fights with what amounts to a zombie dragon is even better. Only wish there had been more time spent on it. I’d have loved to see a full out battle between the two (or three or four) of them.

Rochus was a great main character. he is nearly twice Tilo’s age, but despite that (or maybe even because of that) he wasn’t exactly the most to-gether guy around. Ok, when it comes to magic he is pretty kick-ass, but let’s just say that affairs of the heart have left him a wee bit wary of pretty young things that come courting him (into dark alleys where their friends wait to play). The ups and downs of his a Tilo’s relationship played out really well here, though. And forced marriages are probably my all time favorite trope. I just eat them up. How they work out how they actually feel about each other, inter-spliced with some pretty cool action scenes, made this book a joy to read.

For all that this was less than 100 pages long it didn’t feel at all rushed. For the most part. That last bit was, I admit, a bit of a let down. I was expecting a big ol’ fight or something, not for all the action to happen off page and very rushed through. I get wanting to get to the bit where Tilo and Rochus figure shit out, but that kinda killed all the momentum of the story right there. This story was well on its way to being one of my favorite’s of Derr’s but it got knocked back a little by that extremely rushed climax (at least to the action parts of the story). The resolution to the romance definitely saved things a bit (loved the whole courting gifts things), but I wish it could have spent a bit more time wrapping the whole story up, not just Tilo and Rochus.

This was a highly enjoyable story though and I have to say I totally recommend it. Especially for you lovers of forced-marriages out there.

This book was provided free in exchange for a fair and honest review for Love Bytes. Go there to check out other reviews, author interviews, and all those awesome giveaways. Click below.
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Profile Image for Vanessa theJeepDiva.
1,258 reviews127 followers
May 2, 2016
Magus Rochus Kraemer has been summoned to the royal castle by the queen herself. He can’t ignore the summons but he also does not have to rush to her call. Rochus chooses to stop at an inn before the last leg of his journey. His travels have exhausted him. He wants a meal, bath, and a good nights rest. What he gets is a lapfull of gorgeous man begging to take him to bed instead.
The half dead, blood drinking, necromancer would be crazy to pass up the good time that the handsome young dragon is offering. Rochus sees himself as years past his prime. Others see the necromancer as a walking corpse, something from nightmares. Rochas knows he can’t pass up what Tilo has offered.
The night that was freely offered comes back to slap Rochas in the face when he arrives for his summons. The queen made a bargain with a dragon and the dragon has asked for his debt to be paid. The queen informs Rochas that he will be marrying the dragon Tilo. Finding out that Tilo is willing to do anything to get a necromancer to help him with his problems is not the type of affections Rochas needs in his life. Seeing the desperation in Tilo’s actions has Rochas agreeing to help him anyways though.
The Only Option was a surprisingly hot read. Fast paced and entertaining. Tilo is willing to do anything to fix the situation he is in. He’s tried the proper avenues and has now resorted to desperate measures. Rochas knows how people feel about him. They don’t hide their disgusted looks, or lower their voices when spouting their hateful words. Tilo tries to explain things but Rochas struggles believing due to old wounds. This is my first Megan Derr book, it will not be my last.
Profile Image for Jenny (Nyxie).
692 reviews23 followers
January 24, 2022
This was so much fun. A Necromancer who has a pet dead cat, rides a hornless unicorn and ends up in an arranged marriage to a dragon shifter. This is fantasy romance catnip.

Tags: Necromancer, dragon shifter, age gap, fantasy
Profile Image for Sara .
1,449 reviews154 followers
May 2, 2016

Oh hell to the yes I am in love with this book. When I first saw the cover I wanted it. When I read that it would be a forced marriage, I needed it and when I read that there would be a dragon and a necromancer… I lusted after it.

Let me first say, I was not hip to what a necromancer truly was but the beauty that reading brings to my life is learning new things.  I quickly did some research on Necromancers and the fantasy art that I found was so stunning I could see the dark attraction they would have.

So knowing that, when we first meet Rochus I kinda had a crush on him already. When he meets a young dragon hell bent on getting in his pants… I was in lust. Yup, I am using that word again because it’s fitting.

I love Rochus with his with, snarky humor and how his mind works. I am so beyond jealous of his pets and adore how he talks to each of them. His exchanges with Memory have me grinning thinking of them. The fact of what Fury is was fantastic and Silence and Song were so beautiful. I love the heck out of Rochus and I can’t get enough of his softer moments when it comes to Tilo; from the first meeting we know he wants the young dragon but when he is told he must marry Tilo, my heart broke for him.

Rochus believes no one could possibly want a boring old necromancer in their lives let alone be married to one of free will. His inner monologues of woe were heart breaking but I loved how he wants and sees  truly sesesTilo.

He'd always known he'd be dragged to the marriage altar eventually… but he'd hoped the situation would be a bit more pleasant than a desperate dragon who thought he had no other options.

Tilo is a young dragon and a lord who needs the help of a Necromancer but his petitions have gone unanswered so he does the only thing he can and calls in a favor with the queen to get hitched to one. I mean, if you can’t acquire help, you just force a marriage right? But it’s such a good thing and the chemistry between Tilo and Rochus is off the charts amazing, even if Rochus wants to deny it over and over again.

Tilo is gorgeous both in his human form and his dragon form and seeing his first shift in front of Rochus through Rochus' eyes blew me away. I can't believe I am writing how much I love this story as last year, I would never have looked twice at it but now... I can't imagine passing it up for anything.

I admit to googling a lot of what was in the book and I admit to loving books that make me do that. So I didn’t know what a bone wyvern was… I googled it and I learned something new. I learned about this gorgeously written world of fantasy that leaps off the pages in Technicolor and blinds me with it beauty. This book, it really is beautiful and the relationship between Tilo and Rochus is simply cake on top of all the yummy goodness that if offered page after page.

The story is unique and me sucked in so fast as the newlyweds travel to Tilo’s land and begin the process of making things right. Seeing these two fight the attraction, only to give in and then fight it once again was lovely to read but there are a few parts that made me tear up. Ugh. I am such a sucker for the forced marriage trope when the newlyweds realize they want to stay married.

“Tremble for me, little dragon. Beg me for it.”

“Fuck me, magus. I've waited long enough.”

*fans self*

And then there is stuff like the quote above that gives me goose bumps it's so hot. Yeah, this book was sexy but let me say this book is also extremely sensual and intimate. The kissing, good lord the kissing is possibly the sexiest thing about the book, if I had to you know, like choose something. You can have sex scene after sex scene in a story but if you can write a kiss that makes me squirm and swoon then you have my total admiration and respect. Rochus. Can. Kiss. Just saying.

So that end… OMG! How freaking fracking good was that?? Megan Derr is fast becoming a favorite author of mine, I love the way she writes a romance and gives me the best damn endings I could ever hope for.

The endearments were adorable. I love that what started out as a possible insult becomes a pet name. Endearments are my jam... *dances* Ack. I feel like I am forgetting to say something important, because I can’t dial down the fan girling so I’ll just shut my ginger trap now.

The Only Option was a wonderful fantasy romance where a  grumpy “old” Necromancer can be forced into a marriage with the young dragon kit from his supposed one off… and regardless of first or second impressions, #aging#love will always win in the end.

Profile Image for Ellie Ellie.
89 reviews22 followers
January 29, 2022
Overall, well-written, fun, with a nice action-filled plot and a great romance between a older grumpy necromancer who has a one-night stand with a younger eager dragon whom he then discovers he has to marry the next day. So you get the arranged marriage trope but also a sex scene in the opening chapter, which is a win-win for me.

I loved their dynamics, older/grumpy necromancer and younger/honest dragon, and how Rochus was so attracted to Tito from the get-go, but was reticent because he couldn’t believe Tito was really interested in him. Give me all the pining and the unrequited-but-not-really feelings! I liked how the younger MC was the purser; Tito was so eager and honest in his pursuit and courting of Rochus. Even though this novella is plot-heavy with lot of action scenes, it ended being quite romantic and sweet. And also, frankly, hot ; there was some honest switching and none of that “bottoming because I’ve just been vulnerable” stuff. There was also the best kind of blood-drinking, which is the orgasmic kind.
Profile Image for Borderstar.
912 reviews17 followers
May 3, 2016
3.75 stars
Nice, sexy little fantasy romance. I like necromancers in my fantasy stories - and also DRAGONS... so I immediately wanted to read this one after reading the blurb. It's unfortunately a bit short, and any niggles I had with this were really related to that because I basically wanted more of everything.

On amazon this showed as "Dubious" Book #4 so I don't know if this is part of a series I've missed somehow? It did feel almost like it could have been part of an already existing story and world...

It also ends on a HFN and again, I of course would like more.

I think if you like Megan Derr in the style of her book Black Magic (although a lot less developed due to the short length), then you will probably like this too.

Short review added for now until I have a bit of time to write more.
Profile Image for Serena Yates.
Author 98 books769 followers
September 7, 2017
Unwanted marriages are one thing, considering a lot of arranged unions are not necessarily to the participants’ liking. But when they are also unexpected and unavoidable, things have probably gone a bit too far. That is the situation Rochus, a respected necromancer in the queen’s service, faces when he is told in no uncertain terms that he is going to marry some dragon lord he has never met. The queen herself has decided this, so there isn’t much Rochus can do. What happens next is an adventure, some dangerous magic, and a romance that almost gets ignored because both Rochus and Tilo, the dragon in dire need of help, are too stubborn and too busy misunderstanding each other.

Rochus is a necromancer, misunderstood and feared by most, and he likes his life the way it is. His home is in a deserted tower, his work takes him wherever they need his services, and he hasn’t had a lover in years. He thinks it’s because of the way he looks: “his teeth were more like those of a wolf—teeth he did not use thus because he was a civilized, capable necromancer of forty-three, not some ravening monster” – and that may be part of it. Personally I think his less than sparkling personality and general grumpiness may have something to do with it. Because even when Tilo, a gorgeous young dragon practically throws himself at Rochus before he even knows they are getting married, Rochus refuses the possibility of that interest being genuine. His self-esteem definitely needs work!

Tilo desperately needs help from a necromancer, and since all his petitions have gone unanswered, he decides to force the queen’s hand by calling in a favor she owes his family. Tilo thinks by marrying said necromancer, the man will be “forced” to help him. He did not consider the implications of trying to force an experienced magus to do anything! Tilo is adorably helpless in some respects, but determined to find out who has been attacking his territory. And since he has his heart in the right place, Rochus does decide to help – which gets both of them into more trouble than either had expected.

If you like adventures with dangerous opponents and magic used as a weapon, if two men who are hot for each other but fail to accept they are not the only one who feels the attraction, and if you’re looking for a read about a forced marriage that turns out to be so much more, then you will probably like this novella. It’s entertaining, suspenseful, and very sweet.

NOTE: This book was provided by Omnilit / All Romance eBooks for the purpose of a review on Rainbow Book Reviews.
Profile Image for Sophia.
Author 5 books334 followers
June 9, 2017
A necromancer and a dragon, a forced marriage, and a conspiracy make this historical fantasy one I had to read. I've already enjoyed a few other offerings in the fantasy realm by this author so I looked forward to this one and was not disappointed.

Rochus is a loner because he is a feared and reviled type of magic user- a necromancer. His appearance, diet, and duty make it so, but so have long years of being alone and mistrustful of any show of interest in him beyond his own loving, supportive family.

This is why a happy go lucky yea horny young dragon male showing interest in him raises his expectation and his hopes only for them to come crashing down when he learns that Tilo the dragon lord has a need for him and the queen is using Rochus to pay her debt to Tilo's family by marrying him to the dragon.

Rochus gets the dragon's desperation and doesn't hold that against him, but it was the fact that he now feels used and pitiful for enjoying his time that first night and letting himself believe that Tilo found him attraction. Hence, his irascible nature is on full display. So why does he feel terrible and guilty when he cuts loose on the young dragon? And why is he still fighting interest even though the focus should be why someone is willing to incur the queen's displeasure and kill to get Tilo's land?

There was so much good stuff going on between the pair of feisty and reluctant males thrown together, the attempts to keep Tilo from getting help when someone is doing their best to drive him off his land or at least to selling it below worth, and if that doesn't work, kill them.

It was short and quick to the conflicts and resolution, but still fully developed. I enjoy that particularly when I'm in the mood for a complete story, but not a lot of time. The development of setting and world are brief, but still plenty to establish the foundation for the story. The characters were engaging and fun together- as well as hot. It's been a few years since I read one of the author's books, but this was as good as ever.
Profile Image for Lissel.
492 reviews14 followers
May 9, 2016
It’s painful for me to have to give a not so nice review to Megan Derr, whose writing and stories I usually enjoy, but this book didn’t work for me.

Rochus was an interesting character and I liked him quite a bit, but Tilo really confused me. It felt like he had more than one personality, and I couldn’t decide if I found him sweet or annoying.
I didn’t see the need for them to get married. If the queen owed Tilo’s family a debt, and he managed to ask her for a necromancer to marry, couldn’t he have asked her for a necromancer without the marriage thing?

Anyways, I found their journey to Tilo’s home and their stay there well done, and I was beginning to like the flow of the story. But then the last chapters felt like the author was running out of space and had to summarize part of the story instead of showing us, and I understand sometimes in a novella you need to cut things short, but I found those chapters disrupted the flow of the story.

So, not bad at all, but not my favorite by this author.

Profile Image for K.
1,608 reviews70 followers
May 7, 2016
4.5 stars
Really nice little fantasy novella.
Rachus is a pale blue skinned, black canine toothed, blood drinking 43 year old necromancer who is ordered to marry Tilo, a dragon shifter and at just 20 the leader of the Rathenberg Kill, by the Queen.

The marriage is a front though, a last resort, as Tilo needs help to keep his territory and his requests for help had all been ignored. Despite trying to tell himself that he doesn't want the young dragon Rachus is falling for him - and the freely given blood he offers.

Some superior world building for such a short novella and really nice characters

I kind of hope this isn't a one off for these characters
Profile Image for Viki Evans.
299 reviews
May 11, 2016
I just finished this in one sitting and really enjoyed it I believe this is book 4 in a series and I think I will go have a look see if they are as good as this one ☺
Profile Image for Maura.
3,874 reviews89 followers
January 1, 2019
Rochus is a necromancer - old and creepy as he puts it, because the learning of such magic causes physical changes that make him similar to a vampire. He's been summoned to the castle and he's surprised when a young dragon shifter takes a carnal interest in him. They have an incredible night together, but Tilo is gone in the morning. When Rochus gets to the castle, he learns that he's being forced into marriage - with Tilo who has called in a favor. Tilo explains that he needed a necromancer in his lands and all his requests had been ignored and this was the only way. Although Rochus is angry at being manipulated, he's more hurt by the ulterior motives surrounding their night together, understanding that Tilo was just testing him out and didn't really want him for himself. Rochus agrees to help, but the relationship between him and Tilo is strained. But Tilo insists that he really does desire Rochus and Rochus actually likes Tilo. The two could make a go of this marriage if they can trust each other.

Thus far, the world of M/m fantasy romance, small though it is, has not been kind to me, but this was a pleasant change. I really liked the the necromancer character here and the rules that were established for it. He's definitely unique and I feel like I could read more about this type of character. So even without the romance, I was engaged with the story because of Rochus and his relationship with his animals and how they work together to defeat the baddies. Definitely a cool set up. The romance was pretty hot - Tilo was super cute and the vigor and energy of his youth came across on the page. You could definitely feel the age difference between Rochus and Tilo, though I think some of that was Rochus's jaded and crotchety attitude (which was pretty adorable). I wasn't a huge fan of the fact that their relationship is centered on a big misunderstanding that Tilo keeps trying to clear up and which Rochus keeps interrupting or ignoring. Nevertheless, they were a great pairing and I really enjoyed the story. And for once I didn't mind the separation there at the end - I feel like it needed to happen for Rochus to really believe Tilo wanted him for himself...and the courtship was cute.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Madison.
95 reviews5 followers
November 29, 2022
I enjoyed this one, but I wish it had been longer. It was only 100some pages and it felt like some things could've been fleshed out some more. We spend a big chunk of the book following along with the mystery of what was going on with Tilo's home and why he needed a necromancer... Only for it to get resolved off page with a casual mention! What a waste.
Profile Image for peach.
453 reviews29 followers
November 19, 2021
This short story had some of my favorite things, a grumpy, older necromancer and a young, eager dragon, a forced marriage with some misunderstandings and miscommunications, a few dramatic and action-filled moments and some really sweet courting. A very nice read!
Profile Image for Kudrat Kaur.
216 reviews5 followers
May 22, 2016
My fourth Megan Derr in the past month. Enough to know that Ms. Derr is wonderfully capable of crafting fantasies where two characters find each other, despite their stations or circumstances, and fall in love. Though there is no insta-love, usually there is insta-lust, to a certain extent.

Rochus, 43 year old necromancer, has been hurt more times than he can count by his “lovers”. Either it’s betrayal, or some other form of hurt – but it always ends in the other leaving him because they cannot stand his half-dead state any longer.

That’s also why, when he comes across a young, beautiful dragon – clearly flirting with him – he doesn’t rise to the bait…
“What do you want, kit?”
“Things that wouldn’t interest little kits.”

Immediately, that is.

It takes this dragon drowning Rochus with a bloody kiss and straddling his lap (in public) before he can even get Rochus to follow him.

What was supposed to be a one night thing, turns into so much more when Rochus finds out that he’s supposed to get married to this young dragon the very next day.

While Rochus is forced into the marriage by the Queen, Tilo doesn’t know what else to do. His land needs a necromancer but because of mysterious circumstances, his petitions requesting one have gone ignored. Upon arrival, finding out that none had even reached the Magus Supreme, he falters, feeling as though he has no choice, and chooses to enter a marriage. Anything, if it’ll get him a necromancer to take home and solve the problem.

What is interesting about Ms. Derr’s fantasies that kings and queens are able to take lovers of the same sex, and usually they do.

There is nothing strange, as in nobody thinks twice about it, about same sex couples in her books, which is a novel idea for me because I haven’t come across many books that choose that route because usually there is some angst or some degree of “concealing-the-relationship” going on. Those that do, are like Ms. Derr’s – high fantasy. Which makes me curious, what if she were to create a story with such complete acceptance in our contemporary society? A premise I have yet to see, and interesting enough it makes me wonder whether she’d be willing to explore it.

You feel compassion for Rochus, because of the discrimination he faces – and hate bashing to be exact even though he’s providing a service that his country and fellowmen are desperately in need of.

Yes, he has blue teeth, blue hair and drinks blood. Technically he’s half dead – or half spirit – whichever way you look at it. He fights those misusing the dead, and as a necromancer has to face the stares, glares, and far too frequent traps.

I don’t know whether this counts as racist or not. Because he is human, however, half of him is now filled with necromancy powers. The only reason he even became a necromancer is because of a draw – it wasn’t a choice. Yet, he is set apart because of this. Feared. But, respected? Even though because of them the people are safe – they still judge him for the necessary sacrifices he’s had to make in order to be able to keep those people safe.

Basically… people can be ungrateful bastards.

So, it’s no wonder the way he interprets Tilo. The majority of the book has been about Rochus denying what was between them because of his own perceptions of what Tilo “forced” himself to do. Unwilling to listen, but still not willing to let go.

A “forced” marriage. Rochus being the only necromancer available. Tilo being the only dragon to ever approach him and then willingly offer his blood.
I like it. Feels possessive, like you’re staking a claim, hoarding something no one else can have.

Ms. Derr has created an interesting fantasy in which a necromancer and a dragon find love. Though not the most wonderful piece of hers I’ve read, this was definitely an enjoyable read I’d recommend. The back and forth between Rochus and Tilo keeps the reader entertained, the mild mystery as to what is going on – solved very quickly – made us cautious about who to trust and what would happen next. Overall, a short but enjoyable read. Mostly about an elongated misunderstanding which is solved nicely in the end.
If this was how dragons plundered, he was definitely all for it.

This review has been cross-posted on GBR
Profile Image for Manfred.
748 reviews41 followers
July 14, 2016
When I first started reading this book I had to stop after a few pages, the story just seemed too odd, the MC - a blood drinking magician and a young dragon shifter really strange and the whole setting quite irritating. After resting some months on my "on hold" shelf I gave it another try and I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. Once I got used to the fantasy setting the story of those 2 different characters was captivating, sweet and a fun read.
Tilo, a young dragon needs help in his territory so he asks the queen who ows him a favour. Rochus a Necromancer gets order to marry the dragon. When he realizes that its Tilo who he met the evening before in a tavern were they had the greatest sex he can remember, he is really pissed. As it looks, Tilo only wanted to check out what he would get and after all was not really interested in Rochus but only in the help he could provide once married.
Even though the attraction is mutual he doesn`t trust Tilo and demands the marriage be annuled soon as the problem in Tilos territory can be solved- after all, what would a 20 year young dragon find in a 43 years old Necromancer...
Even if the story was short and especially towards the end would have benefitted from some additional pages I absolutely enjoyed reading about those 2 and how they found their HEA.
And by the way, even if the description in the book did not really match the picture- that "dragon" on the cover is definitely hot and I might have to admit that it was the reason I started this book in the first place ;-)
3.5 stars for a good reading fantasy.
Profile Image for Achim.
1,101 reviews66 followers
June 6, 2016
Yeah, I know: those complaints about stories being too short ... if it would be more fairytale than fantasy then this would be only a bit niggling because I couldn't get enough of Tilo, Rochus and his pets (and did I mention the Queen, I really should mention the Queen and I definately would like to meet Rochus' parents) but as it is more a delightful fluffy fantasy tale with some of the best kisses I read about in the last month Rochus' quests appeared somehow casually, the final hunt was completely off page and back in the tower the story was fairytale again ... so at the end I can#t decide if I'm comfortably happy with a fluffy nearly-fairytale with eccentric characters or if I feel deprived of a wonderful and unique fantasy
Profile Image for Deeze.
1,596 reviews265 followers
May 24, 2016
I was so excited to see this one, Megan Derr is a favorite of mine and seeing a new Dragon story by her had me very eager. Sadly I think I expected too much.

While I immediately fell into this world, it was far to short to really get lost in. The story seemed to be secondary to the sex in this one which surprised me as in the past she has always focused more on plot. To be honest the marriage plot never really worked for me. Once Tilo arrived at court surely he could of seen the queen just on the basis of the debt owed him, the marriage plot just felt a little clumsily added for the stories sake.

While this was still a sweet little read and Tilo was absolutely adorable, I find myself just a little disappointed.
Profile Image for Lily.
1,172 reviews11 followers
May 8, 2016
3.75 stars. Oh how I wish this book could have been longer! It grabbed my attention from the start with engaging characters and a solid plot. The narrative foundation was very well laid out for a more developed story. Unfortunately, the romance felt rushed and needed a more sedate transition from attraction, misunderstandings to becoming romantically involved.
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