Ta Da! The Dragon You Know

I’m super excited about the release of “The Dragon You Know” as it’s my first true spin-off I’ve written. I took a side character in my Quarter Witch Chronicles series and explored his future a bit.

The great thing about this spin-off is it’s a quick, stand alone read that is perfect for some easy, fun entertainment — for both me writing it and whoever chooses to read it.

The cover might be a bit dark, but the story is still light and fun.

Here’s a sneak peek of Chapter 1. The entire book releases July 20th and can currently be pre-ordered. http://books2read.com/DragonYouKnow.

Chapter 1

“I don’t know how you talked me into this.” My tundra deerskin boots clunked against the fake-wood floor of the hospital’s hallway. I brushed a hand down my beard, trying to look presentable for the mortals’ stares.

“Isn’t this what you do?” Ruby fanned her hand towards the room with three sickly people sitting around a table. “Heal people?”

My jaw clenched. “Yeah, in our world. Not in this one.”

“It’s all the same.” Ruby waved at a little girl whose eyes were as big as the gold coins in my pocket. “Sure, this realm has IV pumps, wheelchairs, and non-magical medicine, but it’s filled with people who need a healer, just like back home.”

I turned her words over in my head, remembering what a wheelchair was from when I lived here as a child, but an IV pump? What the hell was that?

Ruby knocked on a wooden door outside a room marked 317 before glancing down the long corridor where our dragons followed, completely cloaked by their ability to turn invisible. I didn’t go anywhere without Luna, even if she was the size of a horse and barely fit through the doorways in this world. On the other hand, Ruby’s golden gem dragon, Luke, was no bigger than a small child.

“Anyway, thanks for coming,” Ruby said. “I know you’d rather be home, locked away from civilization.”

“You know me so well.” I smiled, tickling my own nostrils with a few stray beard hairs. Rolling my shoulders, I forced myself to grow comfortable in this stale-smelling place.

“I should. I am your sister, after all.”

“Half-sister,” I corrected. I was still getting used to having a sibling. All my life, I had thought I was the only child of two evil spell casters. Turned out, when my father traveled to this realm while I was a small child, he impregnated his mortal girlfriend before leaving this non-magical world. A year ago, voila! A little brunette witch showed up on my doorstep with her dragon-slaying boyfriend, trying to capture Luna.

Now, Ruby’s the queen of the kingdom of Mortia.

And I’m still trying to be Greyson the Healer…who apparently, is branching out to be Greyson the Healer OF BOTH REALMS. If I thought my alone time was already running thin, this was just asking for a whole new layer of Grumpy Greyson to be revealed.

“Come in,” called a feminine voice from behind the door.

Ruby joined a blonde woman, probably a handful of years younger than me, about nineteen or twenty, who scooted herself up in the hospital bed. Across the bridge of her nose and beneath her eyes was a red rash resembling a butterfly.

“Sonja, I’d like you to meet my brother, Greyson.” Ruby smiled from ear-to-ear like she was proud to show me off.

Something warmed inside me, and I informally bowed. Was this what it was like to have a family that cared? That was something I had never experienced before.

“Your brother?” Sonja’s blue eyes lit up. “I was wondering how long it’d take you to introduce him to your BFF.” She tilted her chin at me. “Are you a real lumberjack or do you just like to dress up as one?”

“Isn’t the lumberjack style still popular?” Ruby asked, before both her and Sonja exploded in laughter as they examined me.

Suddenly, I felt naked without my cloak, but Ruby insisted that the drab olive apparel would make me stand out in this world. Apparently, the soft red plaid shirt I wore was a better fit.

My jaw tensed as I remembered what a lumberjack was, but I wouldn’t be the butt of an inside joke. “I should have ‘saw’ that coming. I’m sorry, but I forgot my suspenders at home. Perhaps we can ‘axe’ the lumberjack jokes?” I scratched my cheek hidden beneath my multi-inch-long beard. They weren’t wrong to describe me as a lumberjack. I had let myself go over the past few years, but who did I have to impress? I lived alone in a secluded mountain cabin with my closest neighbors being Luna and the rest of her ice dragon family. I had more than enough human contact when I made my weekly journey to the surrounding kingdoms for supplies. I’d heal whoever was sick, and their families would offer me food, tools, clothing, blankets, and whatever else they could spare.

Outside the hospital room’s door, something crashed.

I held my breath. I swear Ruby did, too, waiting for something else to happen. When there was a thud, followed by a ping, we looked at each other and both broke out in a snicker. The noise had to have been Luna’s doing. She knocked things over all the time with her massive tail. Ruby must have had the same thought about Luke. He tended to cause a bit of trouble, too.

“You have no idea how appreciative I am that you came,” Sonja said bringing us back to reality. “My wedding’s next week, but the docs say I have to stay here until my heart rhythm returns to normal.” She pointed to an electronic device next to her that showed a squiggly line on the screen.

Ruby had told me that Sonja was just diagnosed with lupus, but whatever name her disease had didn’t matter. My healing ability worked the same. “I can help some,” I said, stepping up beside Ruby at the side of Sonja’s bed.

“Ruby told me you practice alternative medicine?”

“Alternative to your customary, yes. For it to work, I need your arm, though.”

Sonja laid her bare arm on the side of her body right in front of me. I didn’t need any particular part of the human body to work my magic, but I did need skin-to-skin contact and a person’s arm or hand was the least intrusive. Sonja’s forearm was warm against my palm when I closed my eyes and pulled at the magic connected to me. Healing someone was easy and didn’t require the sacrifice magic usually demanded. The ability to manipulate a disease was my magical gift. Not only could I heal, but I could also cripple.

I avoided that unpleasant ability the best I could. That painful magic, which ran strong in my bones, was what my mother wielded that brought entire kingdoms down on their knees with crippling disease-filled curses. That was not who I wanted to be.

I sensed the first tendril of disease inside Sonja’s body. It was as if my mind sifted through a beach full of sand until it came to a large rock along its path. With my magic, I took that rock and pulverized it until it was no bigger than the rest of the sand. This caused healing. I didn’t know anything technical about it other than when the disease was shrunk down to tiny pieces, the patient’s own body could handle the rest.

Bringing sickness was just as easy. All I did was take that sand and glob it up into rocks in various parts of the body. Lots of little rocks in the head caused a painful sleep, rocks throughout the body, generalized pain. Big boulders…they could cause death.

I had learned about my pain-crippling skills from experiences that I didn’t want to remember. All while trying to earn my father’s love, but none of that had mattered.

He still disowned me and tried to erase my memories of him.

One by one, I sifted through the sand inside Sonja until all the rocks—and there were a lot of them—were gone. Opening my eyes, I smiled at her and patted her arm before I pulled my hands away.

“Whoa!” Sonja exclaimed. “That was some rush…and look at that?” She pointed to the monitor beside her. “I think that’s what the docs would call normal sinus rhythm. How’d you do that?”

I laughed. “Magic.”

That was one thing I learned when I visited this realm in my childhood. Nobody actually believed in magic. Sometimes, telling the truth was more effective than creating a cover story.

Outside the room, another crash echoed in the hallway.

I caught Ruby’s eyes and nodded towards the door. “I think I better check on what’s happening out there. I’ll give you two sometime alone for all that ‘girl-talk’ you’ve been missing since you moved away.”

“And I wouldn’t mind some Jell-O,” Sonja said with a big smile. “Ruby, would you grab me some out of that fridge over there?”

As I slinked out of the room, watching the Queen of Mortia being reduced to a Jell-O-retrieving servant, I examined the hallway for any sign of my invisible ice dragon. The nice thing with Luna was that I frequently could find her by frost footprints on the floor or simply a cooler draft in the room. Luke, being a much smaller gem dragon, wasn’t so easy to find.

Besides a tipped over food tray, there were no signs of our two friends.

“Luna?” I whispered as I headed towards the mess I was certain that the dragons had made while playfully wrestling with each other. The doors were closed for each patient room, as I passed rooms 318, 319, and 320. When I stopped in front of room 321, my heart rate did a somersault in my chest. I didn’t mean to look inside and invade a patient’s privacy, but the tip of a light-blue, scaly tail lying in the hallway made me hesitate.

“Luna, what are you doing?” I whispered as I purposely stepped in front of the doorway, shielding her from any passersby.

There, inside room 321, in full view of the woman sitting in a chair beside the bed, was Luna, in all her crystal-blue ice dragon glory. Her sky-blue scales reflected the artificial lights that shone through her wings’ thin skin and her over-grown head nearly hit the ceiling while her long, armored tail slipped beneath the hospital bed. And worse of all, there was no denying Luna’s presence. A huge smile filled the lass’s face as she looked at me while scratching Luna right behind the ear.

“Your pet?” she asked. “Her name’s Luna?”

Crap.

She had heard me whispering for Luna out in the hallway.

There went my discreet visit to this realm.

Continue reading “The Dragon You Know” on amazon. http://books2read.com/DragonYouKnow

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