My short story “Heart of the Dragon” will be released on March 5, so I thought I would post a little excerpt here today. It was originally titled “The Dragon, The Virgin, & Their Knight,” so if anyone is confused, it’s the same story with a new title.
First, however: Are you subscribed to my newsletter? I send them out very infrequently, but I do like to give subscribers first access to news and excerpts when I can manage it. I’m planning on sending out one this week, with some Widdershins news and a first look at SPECTR #2: Master of Ghouls, so if you’d like to receive it, just click on the link in the menu at the top of the site!
Now for the excerpt:
Sebastian blinked. The dragon was…talking to him?
Maybe he’d fainted. Maybe this was a hallucination. But the dragon’s heat and the scent of cedar and burning sage rising from its scales certainly seemed real. Not to mention the heavy manacles on his wrists.
“I’m your virgin,” Sebastian said by way of explanation.
“Virgin sacrifice.” Sebastian wetted his lips nervously. “So you won’t attack the town, or eat all the cattle, or…anyone else.”
The dragon snorted. It settled down, belly against the ground, its forepaws folded neatly under its chin. “I see. So, in return for not harming your town, I get to…what exactly? Devour you?”
“One lean young man, in exchange for herds of fat cattle? That doesn’t seem like much of a trade. Even if I did eat people, which, just to clarify, I don’t.”
“You don’t?” Sebastian sagged against his manacles in relief. “Oh, thank the gods! Then you won’t harm the town?”
The dragon’s tail twitched. “Well, that depends. Did you volunteer for this?”
Heat crept up Sebastian’s face. Now that he wasn’t afraid of being eaten at any moment, he wished he had a heroic backstory to give the dragon. “Um, no. There’s a bit of a virgin shortage, you see.”
“I’m sure there is,” the dragon said dryly. “So let me get this straight. They dressed you up—the silk shirt is very nice, by the way, quite fetching—dragged you here, and chained you to this post. Which they planted in my doorway, thank you very much—with the expectation I would eat you. And this is supposed to make me less upset? Is logic a foreign concept to you people?”
Sebastian felt he should stand up for his hometown, but he couldn’t really think of a compelling reason at the moment.
The dragon sighed, and a few curls of smoke gusted out of its nostrils and trailed over Sebastian. The warmth felt good; with the setting sun, it was getting rather cold on the cliff. His nipples poked the thin silk of his shirt, and he started to shiver.
The dragon noticed. “It’s going to be dark soon. Let’s get you free, shall we?”
It rose to its feet, tail lashing. Violet light suddenly swirled around it, like ephemeral fire. To Sebastian’s shock, the dragon began to change. It grew smaller and smaller, its wings and tail absorbed into its body while the muzzle shortened and horns vanished. The lovely scales gave way to golden skin some shades darker than his own. Sebastian watched as the dragon’s eyes took on an almond shape, but their color remained the same. Except now they were set in the face of a very handsome man.
He stood taller than average, with a chiseled jaw, full lips, and a cascade of thick, black hair which tumbled to his shoulders. As for the rest of him…well, Sebastian could see quite clearly, since he was completely naked.
Heart of the Dragon will be released March 5, 2013!