Title: Treasure for Treasure (A Being(s) in Love Story)
Author: R. Cooper
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 357 Pages
Category: Urban Fantasy
At a Glance: Ridiculously sweet slow burn. With dragons!
Reviewed By: Caer
Blurb: In the nineteenth century, the dragon Dìzhèn put the small coastal town of Everlasting under her protection. Her family was supposed to carry on the tradition, but all of Dìzhèn the Great’s heirs eventually left rather than live in the shadow of such a powerful dragon.
Only the youngest dragon of the current generation remains: Zarrin, the softhearted disgrace of his family. He might be weak, small, and afraid, but he is determined to show the humans they have not been forgotten… one human in particular. The problem is, Zarrin can barely get that human to talk to him.
It should be a dream come true to have a dragon trying to get his attention. But Joe refuses to bow to Zarrin like everyone else. Yes, Zarrin is sexy, oddly gentle for a dragon, and stares at Joe with a gaze so hot it makes him shiver. But hurt, mistrustful Joe can’t believe Zarrin’s promises that he’s here to stay. Joe doesn’t realize he is the treasure Zarrin has been looking for his whole life, a treasure he once let slip through his fingers out of fear. Now, to win Joe’s trust, Zarrin has to be brave and become as strong as Dìzhèn herself.
Review: Like the other Being(s) in Love books, Treasure for Treasure uses an urban fantasy backdrop to explore wonderfully romantic boy-meets-boy stories with a bit of a twist. My favorite book in the series before this was A Boy and His Dragon—I adore Cooper’s dragons—and I honestly doubted I’d find something that compared. This one didn’t top that one, but it certainly tied it! That’s very high praise!
Zarrin the dragon is used to being the odd one out. Heir to a line known for wealth and power, he has no interest in either. His only ambition is to take care of the land and people living around his family’s estate, and his “treasure” suits a park ranger much better than a terrible being of ancient lore. He tries with everything in him to live up to his family’s legacy, even though he feels weak and poorly suited to it, and he honestly doesn’t get that people are scared of him.
Joe the human’s line isn’t nearly so lofty. He’s a junior college graduate who works as a barista and paints. He was also treated like a dirty secret by his rich high school boyfriend before he was discarded, and that history is at the forefront whenever Zarrin’s around. Joe’s sensitive and artistic soul is covered by a thick protective armor, and his lack of self-worth leads to him being both confused and intimidated by Zarrin’s interest.
I wanted to cuddle Zarrin from the beginning. He’s adorable. It took me awhile to see in Joe what Zarrin did—Zarrin’s perfect match—but by the end of the story I saw it too.
This is a slow burn, folks. We get to see Zarrin and Joe, two men from two different worlds, slowly and carefully learn to speak to each other. Then we see them begin to feel for each other. Only when we’ve got that foundation established do they come together at all, and it’s beautiful to watch carefully and slowly unfold.
One of the things I most appreciate about Cooper’s writing is the way she approaches emotional revelations for the characters. She doesn’t spell it out. Instead, she references their facial expressions and their responses to things, and lets the reader draw their own conclusions. It’s like we’re there witnessing events with the characters, and we too get to put things together. It draws the reader more into the story, and it makes rereading a pleasure—I usually pick things up the second or third go-round that I missed the first time.
There are some loose ends here that I’d love to see tied up later—specifically Zarrin’s sister and her elf. Are we going to see how that all works out? I bet that would be as achingly sweet and entertaining as the rest of it. What about Joe’s coworker and the deputy? I’m totally here for that, and there are questions about the deputy (and his eye color!) I’m dying to see answered.
Regardless, I’ll be the first in line when the next Being(s) book comes out!
You can buy Treasure for Treasure here: