Prologue

The dragon lay on a bed of cooling lava, the black cracked surface revealing, in thin meandering channels and small pools, the fiery red molten rock beneath. The heinous creature was stretched out on its belly, its four legs extended outward to each side. The dragon’s long snout also lay flat against the harsh, jagged rock, its mouth open, its black tongue extended and uncurled. If not for the horned spikes running down its back, its huge wings, its lethal, razor sharp tail and reeking breath, it might have been a pup flopped on a rug in front of a fire.

Prologue

The dragon lay on a bed of cooling lava, the black cracked surface revealing, in thin meandering channels and small pools, the fiery red molten rock beneath. The heinous creature was stretched out on its belly, its four legs extended outward to each side. The dragon’s long snout also lay flat against the harsh, jagged rock, its mouth open, its black tongue extended and uncurled. If not for the horned spikes running down its back, its huge wings, its lethal, razor sharp tail and reeking breath, it might have been a pup flopped on a rug in front of a fire.

My adult fantasy novel, HUNTED, is complete. At the bottom of this prologue you’ll find a link where you can read the entire book for free. Enjoy!

Willing herself not to faint, Saoirse (Sur Sha) took a step forward, the cooling crust crunching under her booted feet. Countless hours spent watching her father came to her rescue. She lifted her chin and spoke, her voice unwavering and resolute. She was more a monarch in that moment than ever her father had been a lord. “I will come to you as we agreed,” she said. “But first repeat to me the oath you have taken.”

Its voice full of respect, the dragon spoke. “Saoirse Togair, this day, I vow, if you give yourself to me, I shall not kill Aonair or any Laoch. I shall not harm Alyse. I shall not kill your family. I shall treat the people of these lands with gentleness. I shall govern them well.”

“Saoirse!” A loud cry came to her across the water.

“Aonair?” She swiveled around to see him riding toward her across the sea; joy filled her soul. “Aonair!”

“He can’t save you,” rumbled the dragon.

“No,” she spoke without looking back at the beast. “But he’s here. I shall hold him and kiss him once more before I die.”

Boredom emanated from the dragon. “Why? Why torture yourself?” A long smoky sigh puffed out of its snout. “Why torture him? You don’t really want him to witness this, do you?”

The haughty lift to her chin returned. She was disdain. “How kind of you to show such concern for Aonair.”

Aonair’s huge warhorse made landfall and, with giant bounds, traversed the steep, northern side of the volcano’s cone. Seconds later, Aonair jumped from Rith’s back. For long precious moments, the lovers embraced, neither speaking. Saoirse, her eyes closed, tried to soak up every sensation: his warmth, his scent—which was hay and sweat and horse. The peace of his aura settled upon her comforting her even now, and in her ears sang his color sound, so hauntingly sad.

Remembering their one night she spoke, “You were happy once.”

“We can kill it together,” he whispered. “I brought the dragon claw.”

She found her courage in the love in his eyes. “No, Aonair. We can’t kill it. You, Alyse, even Fallon, you all tried. It’s impossible. No one can kill a dragon.” With her magic, she pulled free the claw tied on his back, disarming him. For a moment, the claw blinded her. Effortlessly, she wrapped it in magic and dropped it in the front pocket of her dress. “This was always my fight, not yours. But instead of facing the dragon, I ran.” With each word certainty curdled the already horrible dread which filled her belly. “I was hiding, don’t you see? I was hiding in your love.”

With her magic she bound him.

Confusion filled Aonair’s eyes. “No.” He struggled violently against the magical chains. “No!”

“You were willing to give your life to save me. But it’s me that . . .” Her regal facade cracked.

She stepped backward toward the beast, the newly cooled earth fissuring under her, opening pools of red molten muck, blocking her retreat. She walked backward, her eyes never leaving Aonair’s face, each step taking her farther from the man she loved and closer to the dragon and death.

Unbidden, the mage’s words came to her, “We cannot see love’s destination, before we travel love’s path.”

But I can see my destination. I’m going to die.

She couldn’t breathe. Her whole body shook. She took another step, and another.

Magic brought to her eyes the beauty of the world. Even here on the rim of a volcano, life glimmered a thousand shades of green in the sea and twinkled in the smoke filled air. And in the center of her gaze stood Aonair, his wondrous aura sparkling with love.

I don’t want to die.

Behind her, the heat from the beast and its awful breath stinking of sulfur, told her she was but a step away from her death. Casting her voice upon the wind, she whispered, “I love you, Aonair,” and put her left foot on the tongue of the beast. A single tear wet her cheek. Shifting her weight, she put her right foot on its tongue.

Then as if it was a frog and she a fly, the dragon rolled up its tongue and swallowed her whole.

And Saoirse Togair, the last magical person, slid down the dragon’s throat and into the belly of the beast.

If you do want to read on the complete novel is available free on Royal Road at:

https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/59915/hunted/chapter/1023242/chapter-1-magic

Kidd has short stories in the following anthologies.

Author Bio
Author Bio
Kidd writes to bring to life our magical, fire-breathing world. She believes we are super heroes. Its time we put on our capes.
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Kidd writes to bring to life our magical, fire-breathing world. She believes we are super heroes. Its time we put on our capes.

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