Sneak Peek at BLOOD BOND by Susan Leigh Noble
My latest book, Blood Bond, is nearing completion. Here is an excerpt to whet your appetite.
Note: Rakkah, Warnox, Dex and Barth are all dragons. Soren is a human and can communicate with the dragons telepathically.
Soren scrambled to his feet as the golden dragon, Rakkah, landed near him. For a moment, they stared at each other.
“You shouldn’t be bonded to Dex,” she said, her voice reverberating in his head as she flicked her tail.
“It wasn’t by choice,” he said speaking to her within her mind.
He didn’t like the feeling of being trapped with the tree behind his back and stepped away from it. He carefully kept Rakkah in front of him as he moved.
“That matters not.” She walked around him, her eyes traveling over his body. “Definitely not worthy to be a dragon rider.”
Pride had him lifting his chin. “Maybe not but Dex said I was the one to help bridge man and dragon.”
“Is that what he told you? Did he tell you about the others?” She studied him, before chuckling. “I can tell by the look on your face he didn’t. You weren’t the first one he approached you know. There were others. He settled for you.”
Soren shook his head. “No that isn’t true. He said he had a feeling I was the one.”
“A smooth line if I ever heard one,” she said. “I’ll let you in on something. If he said that, it was him manipulating you. There were others who turned him down. He was under time pressure, so he settled for you. And it is only by accident he is now linked to you. I am sure he would rather not be. I know I would.” She flicked her tail. “Take Warnox up on his offer. It will be better for everyone.”
He shook his head. “I don’t…”
Before he could continue, Rakkah’s words sunk in and his bewilderment turned to anger. His heart pounded, and his shoulders shook. And then Dex was there. The red dragon faced Rakkah, slashing his own tail as he shield Soren from the golden dragon. Soren couldn’t hear anything but was sure words were exchanged between the two as they circled each other, their eyes locked. Suddenly, Rakkah leapt into the air. Dex turned to Soren.
“I don’t know what Rakkah said to you, but I could feel your confusion…and your anger.”
“Tell me the truth,” Soren said, his fists clinched. “Was I your first choice?”
“My first choice? Choice for what?”
“To help you approach the King.”
Dex stared at him for a moment before looking down. “You weren’t the first I approached, but Soren…”
He didn’t wait to hear any more. He walked toward Warnox and the other dragons. With each step, his anger grew. He could still hear Rakkah’s taunting voice. She had been right. He wasn’t Dex’s first choice. He had lied to him about being the one the dragons needed. He shook his head as if to clear the thoughts away. But they persisted, and he quickly covered the distance to the other dragons and to his freedom.
“Take me back to Ballinger,” he said to Warnox.
The brown dragon regarded him for a moment. “You can ride on Barth. Mount up. It is time to go.”
Soren briefly recoiled at the thought of riding without a harness but reassured himself it would only be a short distance. Barth bent down, and he scrambled onto his back.
“Soren?” Dex asked, his voice cautious.
He didn’t respond or even look at Dex as Barth took off, following the other dragons into the air. He grabbed for the harness before realizing it wasn’t there. His hands searched for something to hold on to but found nothing. As Barth leveled out, Soren resisted the urge to look at the ground far below.
“Are you sure this is what you want?” Barth asked.
Soren hesitated. “Yes. It is for the best. I am not meant to be a dragon rider.”
For a moment, Barth said nothing, and Soren wondered why they hadn’t left already.
“Can you sense Dex from here?”
Soren could feel an unsettled feeling and couldn’t determine if it was his own feeling or if it came from Dex too. As he concentrated, he could feel Dex’s anxiety.
“He is worried,” he admitted reluctantly.
“You shouldn’t be able to feel him at this distance,” Barth said. “He told me how far apart you two have been when you have communicated. It is farther than any other linked pair.”
Soren watched Warnox and the other dragons disappear before his eyes. He knew Barth would follow suit in a moment and felt a twinge of regret.
“You shouldn’t be doing this,” Barth said.
Suddenly, the brown dragon dove toward the ground, flipping over in the air. Soren’s fingers tried to grasp onto Barth’s back but there was nothing to hold. He fell through the air toward the ground. He saw Barth above him and then nothing but the blue sky as Barth Blinked.
Man severed the alliance with the dragons fifty years ago. But now an invading army marches north destroying everything in its path. The dragons believe only together can the invaders be defeated. They need an emissary.
Womanizer. Drunk. Failure. Soren is many things. A leader isn’t one of them. But, Dex, the dragon who saves him from a cliff, believes different. Thrust into an adventure he never wanted, Soren’s life changes forever when during a battle Dex’s dragon blood mixes with his blood creating a bond – a blood bond – forever linking them.
As the bond strengthens, Soren must decide whether to return to his old life or accept the bond and embrace his role in the battle against the invading army.
Blood Bond will be released in January 2018.