“Do you remember his name?” One of the wonderfully fascinating locals was right outside my office window, but I wasn’t sure who it was just yet. There were a few of them that seemed to be related and all sounded a lot alike, but if I peeked, they’d realize I could hear them.
Being curious and doing my best to be subtle about it was the classic rock and hard place in this area.
“I just call him Mr. Librarian. It’s polite.”
I knew that one.
It was the deputy’s Kenzie.
He was funny and actually telling the truth…he always called me Mr. Librarian.
“How does he not know you’re a little?” The next confused voice made me want to smile. I knew that one too. I was getting so good at remembering everyone.
That was Alick the human.
“I don’t know.” I could almost picture Kenzie’s shrug. “Everyone knows I’m little.”
Well, I knew he was interesting, but I hadn’t really understood what that meant until he’d helped me expand my reading material.
He asked the library to stock the most unique books.
That was when I’d started to realize there were several different types of interesting people in town and they overlapped in a fascinating Venn diagram with paranormal creatures and kinky people intersecting in curious ways.
It was like living in the weirdest fairy tale ever.
“Well, maybe we just shouldn’t use his name then?” Knowing the other two voices helped me realize that this one was Lorne.
He was in the interesting overlapping part of the Venn diagram too.
“He doesn’t mind Mr. Librarian.” Kenzie’s voice took on a stubborn tone and I was pretty sure that was why Alick giggled. “But I won’t argue with you.”
He wanted to, though.
Kenzie was very stubborn when he wanted something…like the library stocking more dirty books.
“I remember. His first name is Stefan.” Alick sighed like the other two were insane. “But don’t ask me his last name. I might’ve heard it once but everyone just calls him the librarian like he’s some kind of ancient superhero. But his first name is Stefan, because that sounded like the name of one of the Disney princes, so I remembered that.”
Well, not quite one of the princes but he was close…and he was also right about everyone in town calling me the librarian. It sounded like we were in some kind of weird old western where only locals and other paranormal creatures got names.
I wasn’t even sure they realized they did it, but they seemed oblivious about a lot of the weird stuff that went on around the area.
“Wait. I don’t think that’s a prince.” Kenzie seemed to have found something new to latch onto. “We need to look that up.”
It seemed like we’d narrowed it down to the fact that none of them watched enough Disney movies.
“Well, we’re at the library, so let’s do it here. I get no bars on this side of town anymore.” The way Lorne was complaining made me want to ask him if he’d been hexed again, but I wasn’t sure if that was polite or not.
There were a lot of topics I wasn’t sure I could ask about, which was probably the hardest part of having to pretend that everyone was human.
I had so many questions.
“We are not going to ask the librarian for help looking up which Disney character his name is from.” Alick’s tone said he’d rolled his eyes and I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing. “We’re already going to sound weird enough and we don’t need to push our luck.”
Oh, why were they going to sound weird?
Sadly, no one volunteered that information.
“Come on. Let’s go talk to Stefan The Librarian and try not to freak him out.” Alick was going to freak me out just by saying things like that, but I didn’t have time to worry about that because I had to hurry back to the front desk.
It wasn’t nearly as easy to eavesdrop from there, but it couldn’t be helped.
As they walked through the front door, I was approaching the front of the library from a totally innocent direction. “Hello, gentlemen. What can I help you with today?”
I’d spent the first month in my position being slightly nervous, so I was proud to sound confident and almost relaxed as I greeted the mix of people…two creature people and one human person.
No one had bothered to tell me what was the polite way to greet anyone yet and I had no idea what the social niceties were, so I just stuck with human pleasantries. Most of the time it seemed fine, but occasionally something I said made people giggle unexpectedly.
I was still trying to be the nice librarian who wasn’t nosy at all but they didn’t make it easy when they all exchanged looks like we were in a Scooby-Doo episode.
“Well.” Alick started and then stopped before looking at Lorne.
He wasn’t much help…he giggled.
Kenzie seemed to think they were insane based on how he shook his head, but he didn’t let their odd behavior stop him from whatever he’d set his mind to talk to me about.
It was scary and impressive, and for the life of me, I couldn’t understand how he was a submissive anything.
He was so bossy and take-charge.
“We’ve come to make sure you know you’re welcome at the next playdate at the VFW.” Kenzie didn’t let my wide-eyed stare stop him…in fact, I wasn’t even sure he noticed. “We’ve got to work on our marketing, but until we figure that out, we wanted to talk to you in person.”
Yes, the original conversations about the VFW meetup had been confusing. It was still confusing, actually, but the deputy had been helpful and cleared up a few things.
Kenzie paused and they were all looking at me like I was supposed to respond. “I…”
No one ever asked me questions I could easily answer like where the fiction section was or which mystery to read next.
“I think marketing is a very underrated skill.” Yes, that was on topic. “I can show you some good books on it if you’d like to do some research…oh, and I have a list of free online educational sites. We should be able to find a video series for you to watch.”
Kenzie nodded. “That might be helpful in my business too. I’d like that list once we’ve finished our discussion, please, Mr. Librarian.”
“Of course, Kenzie.” He’d made it very clear he wasn’t a mister anything, so I’d always just used his first name, but this time it made his friends giggle.
They thought something was funny, but since I wasn’t sure what that was, I just ignored it. Unfortunately, the silence let Kenzie start talking about the playdate event again. “It’s come to our attention that you didn’t know what you were being invited to, so we wanted to clarify a few things. Once a month, we’ve been getting together with a variety of people around the area to play and hang out.”
When he paused, Alick went back to giggling. “That didn’t tell him what we’re doing, Kenzie.”
I thought I could guess the answer but I’d learned not to assume anything when it came to my more interesting patrons.
“Oh.” Kenzie frowned and looked like he was going over the conversation in his head. “You’re right.”
Before he could decide how to fix that, Alick managed to get his delight under control. “We’re littles and there are a variety of subs in the area that all get together at the VFW Hall. You don’t have to play with toys if you come. We bring dessert and snacks and there’s usually something like a craft to do while we hang out. A few of the local Doms and Daddies come too but they’ll respect your boundaries.”
Did I have boundaries?
Was I a playing kind of sub?
Was I a sub?
I certainly wasn’t the same type as they were…they were very confident and giggly.
I didn’t have any idea about where to start to respond to Alick, but they were all looking at me expectantly since Alick had actually explained what was going on.
“I…” I was the librarian. I could do this. “I’m not sure what the expectations would be and where I fit into the dynamics of your group, but thank you for inviting me.”
I thought that sounded very polite, but Kenzie leaned toward Alick and dropped his voice. “Is that a yes he’ll come play or a no because he doesn’t know he’s a sub?”
“Both, I think?” Alick joined his friends in frowning at me. “Do you know you’re a sub?”
The questions I was asked just kept getting weirder and weirder.
“Um, Kenzie has been thoughtful in requesting the library add reading material that’s greatly expanded my knowledge of relationships, but I don’t…I don’t have any personal background in…in playing.” That hadn’t come out quite right but nothing else better came to mind.
As Alick and Lorne just kind of blinked at me, Kenzie gave me a beaming smile and, well, didn’t look human any longer. “I’m glad you liked the books I showed you. Let’s start there. Did you like the one where the sub liked to play with Legos and things like action figures? Did you like the sub who dressed up pretty? Oh, what about the sub that likes bottles and binkies and diapers?”
Now I was the one standing there blinking.
As Kenzie waited for an answer to what he seemed to think were very reasonable questions, Alick stepped in. “You don’t need to know your favorite right off the bat. But if they made you curious and you like the idea of someone taking care of you, maybe you’d like to come hang out and play?”
That…that was easier to digest.
“I like desserts.” I thought that was a stupid starting point, but Kenzie thought I was brilliant based on his smile.
“Me too. I love baking but you can’t live on cake alone…or even brownies…so I’m very glad my Daddy can cook and I love the way he plays with me. He’s very funny.” Nodding seemed to encourage him, but I could understand what he’d said without feeling nervous. “What kind of help would you like from a Daddy or a Dom?”
Was it like a weird game of What If or was this like ordering from a take-out menu?
Oh, could they order Doms like they were getting delivery?
No, there wouldn’t be as many single people in town as there currently were if everyone could order up the perfect boyfriend or mate or whatever their partners were called.
“Um, I…” Was I just supposed to ramble off things I liked in a man?
“What kind of quality in a man do you like that’s been kind of hard to find?” Lorne had finally stopped giggling long enough to be helpful, but I wished he’d just kept laughing.
“I…” Was I supposed to be honest about that? I helped people find things. It wasn’t supposed to be the other way around. “I don’t know.”
It wasn’t exactly honest and I could see they realized that, but they didn’t point it out specifically. Kenzie was giving me a look that said he was disappointed in me, though. “We want to be your friend, Mr. Librarian. You’re lonely and even Daddy said he thought you’d fit in with us.”
Because he thought I was some kind of sub?
Because he thought I could handle being around the local creatures?
“I might?” Swallowing, I hated the idea of upsetting them even though I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to say. “I…I had a boyfriend in college who would read to me. I…I liked that, but he…but he only wanted to read me mysteries and thrillers.”
Kenzie scrunched up his face like he’d tasted something bad. “That sounds stressful.”
Alick and Lorne nodded along with him, but it was Alick who read between the lines better. “And there are lots of fun kids’ books. You need a Daddy who would pick out fun books for you.”
Their heads all moved up and down, and I found myself mirroring them before I’d realized what I was doing.
“You know.” Lorne paused and got a wicked smile on his face. “Boyd likes reading.”
I must’ve gone five different shades of red judging by the way they were all snickering. “I’m…I’m sure he’d like someone a bit…”
I wasn’t old but I’d officially crossed over into being a real adult, and the sexy man in question was a lot closer to Kenzie’s age than mine.
They all snorted in unison and gave me an are you kidding expression that had my brain slowing to a halt.
“Boyd likes older subs and while his preferred little age is young…he likes cuddles and giving bottles and that kind of stuff…he’d be very happy with any age your little side prefers.” As my brain caught up with what Kenzie was volunteering, he gave me another beaming smile. “Oh, and I’m pretty sure he dated a pup once, so if you’re curious about other stuff besides being little, he’ll understand. He’s open-minded.”
“Does Mr. Librarian know what a pup is?” Alick was probably smart to ask the question but it wasn’t necessary.
“Yes. I asked for those books when he first got here. He said he had to do some research but he got me my books within a few weeks.” Kenzie gave me a slightly toned-down but still cheerful smile. “You’re very helpful and you’re cute when you get shy, but don’t worry, I’m very into my Daddy.”
How was I supposed to respond to that?
“Thank you?” It didn’t seem right but I couldn’t get a better one out. “I…wanted to make sure I understood what you were requesting.”
I had a very liberal budget and very few restrictions regarding what I couldn’t buy without talking to the people I’d been told were the town council, but I’d thought I should know what I was buying for the library.
That had turned out to be a smart decision because I’d needed to find the right space to shelve slightly interesting romance novels.
“You did a great job. I loved the new one you found.” Kenzie nearly bounced he was so excited. “I had to give it to Lorne before I returned it, though. So if it gets lost or is late, it’s his fault. He even promised to pay the fine if necessary.”
That was a topic I could discuss without sounding like an idiot.
“We talked about that with the last book you loaned him.” Frowning at Kenzie and Lorne, I shook my head. “It wouldn’t have taken long to bring the book in and have me switch it to his name.”
They were constantly doing that and they still couldn’t find several books that seemed to have disappeared.
Looking guilty, Kenzie and Lorne sighed as Kenzie decided he should be the one to apologize. “I’m sorry. Just don’t tell my Daddy on us and we’ll find the book. Promise.”
I could tattle on him to his Daddy?
Could I tattle on Lorne to Kenzie’s Daddy?
Oh, would that work with anyone in an interesting relationship in town?
Fines and frowns weren’t working, so another threat in my arsenal would be helpful.
“Alright. I trust you both.” I wasn’t sure how my newfound tattling knowledge could be put to use and I wasn’t sure they were the people to ask because their answers were confusing at best.
“Does that mean you’re not mad and you’ll come to play?” Lorne’s way of connecting everything back to the playdate conversation had me back to looking stunned stupid again.
“Yes, if he’s not mad, then he has to come play.” Kenzie was so sure about that he didn’t even bother to look at me.
“We should probably let him get back to work, though.” Alick seemed to be the only one who realized I was in shock and needed some breathing room. “Let’s go see if there’s any pie left at the diner. I’m starving and dinner is way too far away.”
As they waved and called out their goodbyes and left, I had to agree with him on the dinner being too far away part, but I’d been afraid saying that out loud would get me invited to snack time…and I wasn’t sure I was ready for that.
If just a library visit fried my brain, I wasn’t sure how pie in public would go.
Magic. As a librarian, Stefan knows there’s magic in books and imagination, but it isn’t until he moves to the mountains of North Carolina that he realizes people can come with magic too…well, the locals at least seem to come with magic…and fascinating relationship dynamics he thought were just on TV and in books.
Dragons. Somehow, the council gave Boyd the job of telling the new librarian that dragons and mages are real. He’s not sure who he pissed off to be the one to scare the adorable librarian into leaving town, but he’s not happy about it. A man as sweet and shy as the town’s new librarian can’t have any idea about what the locals are hiding or what kind of thoughts Boyd has been having about him, can he?
When people aren’t as innocent or grumpy as they seem, a curious librarian and a slightly grumpy dragon will learn that love is even stronger when there’s a bit of magic involved.