Seraphina comes out two months from today, friends! (In North America, that is. I understand there’s some variability around the world.)
In honour of the very exciting fact of time passing, I have something special for you: a short excerpt from the book! Yes indeed. I will pause whilst you caper merrily about.
Prancey-prance. Aw. You’re cute.
Anyway, without further ado or silliness on my part, the teaser is under the fold. Enjoy!
[The dragon Imlann] turned with a serpentine ripple, swiping at us with his spiky tail, ran forward, and launched himself into the air. He made a wide, low circle in the sky, scanning for Embassy dragons presumably, then flew swiftly south, disappearing in the clouds.
My knees trembled and my head throbbed, but I was elated. I could barely believe that had worked. I turned toward Kiggs; I must have been wild-eyed with relief.
He backed away, his expression closed, saying, “What are you?”
St. Masha and St. Daan. I’d saved us, but now I had to pay for it. I raised my hands as if in surrender. “I am what I ever was.”
“You’re a dragon.”
“I’m not. By Heaven’s hearthstone, I’m not.”
“You speak Mootya.”
“I understand it.”
“How is that possible?”
“I am very, very smart.”
He didn’t question that; I would have. He said, “You’ve got a draconian device. It is illegal for humans to be in possession of Quigutl-built communication machinery—”
“No! I’ve got nothing! It was a bluff.”
He was breathing heavily now, delayed-onset panic finally catching up with him. “You bluffed him? A Porphyrian double-tonne of fire and brimstone, fangs like swords, claws like… like swords! And you just… bluffed him?”
He was yelling. I tried not to take it personally. I folded my arms. “Yes. I did.”
He ran his hands roughly through his hair. He bent double as if he might vomit, scooped up some snow, rubbed it over his face. “Sweet Heavenly Home, Seraphina! Did you think about what might have happened to us if that hadn’t worked?”
“No better plan presented itself.” Heavens, I sounded as cold as any dragon.
He had dropped his sword at some point; he picked it out of the snow, wiped it on his cloak, and resheathed it, his eyes still wide and shocked. “You can’t just… I mean, brave is one thing. This was madness.”
“He was going to kill you,” I said, my chin quivering. “I had to do something.”
Damn propriety. Forgive me, St. Clare.
I stepped forward and took him in my arms. He was exactly my height, which surprised me; my awe of him had made him seem taller. He emitted a whimper of protest, or maybe surprise, but wrapped his arms around me and buried his face in my hair, half weeping, half scolding me.
“Life is so short,” I said, not sure why I was saying it, not even sure if that was really true for someone like me.
We were still standing there, clinging to each other, our feet ice-cold in the snow, when Orma landed on the next hilltop, followed closely by Basind. Kiggs lifted his head and stared at them, big-eyed. My heart fell.
I’d told him I had no devices. I’d lied right to the prince’s face, and here was the proof: the dragon I’d called, and his dimwitted sidekick.