Half dragon, half woman,
can she save her friend’s soul -
without losing her heart?
can she save her friend’s soul -
without losing her heart?
Mercy Wilson is a reporter in the San Francisco Bay Area, but she’s also more — and less–than human. Half woman, half air dragon, she’s a ‘draman’, unable to shift shape but still able to unleash fiery energy. Now something will put her powers to the test.
Mercy’s friend Rainey has enlisted her help to solve her sister’s murder. Then a horrible murder claims Rainey’s life, leaving Mercy only five days to find the killer. If Mercy fails, according to dragon law, Rainey’s soul will be doomed to roam the earth for eternity. But how can Mercy help when she herself is a target? With nowhere else to turn, she must join forces with a sexy stranger – the mysterious man they call ‘muerte’, or death itself, who’s as irresistable as he is treacherous. But can even Death keep Mercy alive long enough to find her answers?
Don't they all have that
same feel? The last
novel isn't a Riley
Here's a snippet of Mercy Burns- Due out April 2011 US | UK & Australia May 2011
“We’ll have you out in a minute, ma’am. Just keep still a while longer.”
The voice rolled across the gray mist enshrouding my mind–a soothing sound that brought no comfort, only confusion. Why would he say I shouldn’t move?
And why was he saying it just to me? Why wasn’t he saying anything to Rainey, who’d been driving the car?
Ignoring the advice, I shifted, trying to get more comfortable, trying to feel. Pain shot through my side, spreading out in heated waves across my body and reverberating through my brain. The sensation was oddly comforting even as it tore a scream from my throat.
If I could feel, then I wasn’t dead.
Should I be?
Yes, something inside me whispered. Yes.
I swallowed heavily, trying to ease the dryness in my throat. What the hell had happened to us? And why did it suddenly feel like I was missing hours of my life?
The thing that was digging into my side felt jagged and fat, like a serrated knife with a thicker, heavier edge, yet there were no knives in the car. People like me and Rainey didn’t need knives or guns or any other sort of human weapon, because we were born with our own. And it was just as dangerous, just as accurate, as any gun or knife.
So why did it feel like I had a knife in my side?
I tried to open my eyes, suddenly desperate to see where I was, to find Rainey, to understand what was going on. But I couldn’t force them open and I had no idea why.
Alarm snaked through the haze, fuelling my growing sense that something was very wrong.
I sucked in a deep breath, trying to keep calm, trying to keep still as the stranger had advised. The air was cool, yet sunshine ran through it, hinting that dawn had passed and that the day was already here. But that couldn’t be right. Rainey and I had been driving through sunset, not sunrise, enjoying the last rays before the night stole the heat from us.
Moisture rolled down the side of my cheek. Not a tear; it was too warm to be a tear.
There was blood on my face, blood running through my hair. My stomach clenched and the fear surged to new heights, making it difficult to breathe. What the hell had happened? And where the hell was Rainey?
Had we been in some sort of accident?
No, came the answer from the foggy depths of my mind. This was no accident.
Memories surged at the thought, though the resulting images were little more than fractured flashes mixed with snatches of sound, as if there were bits my memory couldn’t–or wouldn’t–recall. There was the deep, oddly familiar voice on the phone who’d given us our first decent clue in weeks. And Rainey’s excitement over the possible lead–our chance to discover not only what had happened to her sister, but also to everyone one else who had once lived in the town of Stillwater. Our mad, off-key singing as we’d sped through the mountains, heading back to San Francisco and our meeting with the man who just might hold some answers.
Then the truck lights that had appeared out of nowhere and raced towards us. The realization that the driver wasn’t keeping to his own side of the road, that he was heading directly for us. Rainey’s desperate, useless attempts to avoid him. The screeching, crumpling sound of metal as the truck smashed into us, sending us spinning. The screaming of tires as Rainey stomped on the brakes, trying to stop us from being shunted through the guard rail. The roar of the truck’s engine being gunned and a second, more crushing sideways blow that buckled the doors and forced us through the very railing we’d been so desperate to avoid. The fear and the panic and the realization that we couldn’t get out, couldn’t get free, as the car dropped over the ledge and smashed into the rocks below, rolling over, and over, and over…
The sound of sobbing shattered the reeling images–deep, sobbing gasps that spoke of pain and fear. Mine. I sought desperately to gain some control, to quiet the sobs and suck down some air. Hysteria wouldn’t help. Hysteria never helped.
Something pricked my arm. A needle. I wanted to tell them that whatever they were giving me probably wouldn’t work because human medicine almost never did on us, but the words stuck somewhere in my throat. Not because I couldn’t speak, but because I’d learned the hard way never to say anything that might hint to the humans that they were not alone in this world.
And yet, despite my certainty that the drug wouldn’t work, my awareness seemed to strengthen. I became conscious of the hiss of air and of the screech and groan of metal being forced apart. Close by, someone breathed heavily; I could smell his sweat and fear. Further away was the murmur of conversation, the rattle of chains, and the forlorn sighing of the wind. It had an echo, making it sound as if we were on the edge of a precipice.
What was absent was Rainey’s sweet, summery scent. I should have been able to smell her. In the little hatchback there wasn’t much distance between the passenger seat and the driver’s, yet I had no sense of her.
Fear surged anew and I raised a hand, ignoring the sharp, angry stabbing in my side as I swiped at my eyes. Something flaked away and a crack of warm light penetrated. I swiped again, then a hand grabbed mine, the fingers cool and strong. I struggled against the grip but couldn’t break free, and that scared me even more. He was human, and I wasn’t. Not entirely. There was no way on this earth he should have been able to restrain me so easily.
“Don’t,” he said, gravely voice calm and soothing, showing no trace of the fear I could smell on him. “There’s a cut above your eye and you’ll only make the bleeding worse.”
It couldn’t get worse, I wanted to say. And I meant the situation, not the wound. Yet that little voice inside me whispered that the pain wasn’t over yet, that there was a whole lot more to come.
I clenched my fingers against the stranger’s, suddenly needing the security of his touch. At least it was something real in a world that had seemingly gone mad.
The screeching of metal stopped, and the thick silence was almost as frightening. Yet welcome. If only the pounding in my head would stop…
“Almost there, ma’am. Just keep calm a little longer.”
“Where…” My voice came out little more that a harsh whisper and my throat burned in protest. I swallowed heavily and tried again. “Where is Rainey?”
He hesitated. “Your friend?”
His hesitation lasted longer. “Let’s just concentrate getting you out and safe.”
There was something in his voice that had alarms bells ringing. An edge that spoke of sorrow and death and all those things I didn’t want to contemplate or believe.
“Where is she?” I said, almost desperately. “I need to know she’s okay.”
“She’s being taken care of by someone else,” he said, and I sensed the lie in his words.
No, I thought. No!
Rainey had to be alive. Had to be. She wasn’t just my friend, she was my strength, my courage, and my confidant. She’d hauled me out of more scrapes than I could remember. She couldn’t be gone.
Fear and disbelief surged. I tore my hand from his and scrubbed urgently at my eyes. Warmth began to flow anew, but I was finally able to see.
And what I saw was the crumpled steering wheel, the smashed remains window, the smears of blood on the jagged, twisted front end of the car.
No, no, NO!
She couldn’t be dead. She couldn’t. I’d survived, and she was stronger–tougher–than me. How could she die? How could that be possible?
And then I saw something else.
Dawn had well and truly passed.
That’s why my rescuer had been so vague about Rainey. They couldn’t find her. And no matter how much they looked, they would never would. The flesh of a dead dragon incinerated at the first touch of sunrise.
I began to scream then, and there was nothing any one could do to make me stop. Because they didn’t understand what a dragon dying unaccompanied at dawn meant.
I did. And it tore me apart.
Though in the end, I did stop–but only because the pain of being wrenched free of the twisted, broken wreck finally swept me into unconsciousness.
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For a Quinn and Riley Short Story Click HERE.