Book Excerpt – The White (The Dragon Pearl, Book 1)
Posted by authorcamilson
About The Book
Ever since The White appeared in our valley of Windridge, my people have lived in fear. But today that fear ends. Finally, the King has sent his most elite dragon hunters to kill The White, the last of the imperial dragons.
Since the death of her father, Sienna Foxburn hasn’t felt safe. The White, a fire-breathing imperial dragon, terrorizes the Valley of Windridge with no end in sight. But Sienna isn’t satisfied hiding behind the walls of her keep. She is tired of fearing the dragon, but she can’t fight it alone.
Then a mysterious sorceress and two elite dragon hunters arrive, claiming to be sent by the King. Thus begins the great hunt for The White. Sienna embarks on a dragon-hunting adventure through the exotic Valley of Windridge, all while uncovering secrets and conspiracies that could endanger the entire Kingdom….
T. L. Shreffler is a dragon hunter living in the sunny acres of San Fernando Valley, California. She enjoys frolicking through meadows, sipping iced tea, exploring the unknown reaches of her homeland and unearthing rare artifacts in thrift stores. She holds a Bachelors in Eloquence (English) and writes Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and poetry. She is author of The Cat’s Eye Chronicles (#9 Amazon Top 100, #1 Kindle Fantasy) and has previously been published in Eclipse: A Literary Anthology and The Northridge Review.
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Excerpt 1. Sighting The White
James wrestled me to the ground, his thick forearm around my throat, not quite hard enough to choke. “I win!” he declared. “Just say the word, and I’ll let go!”
Damn, he was too strong. I tried to reply, but it came out as a garbled squeak. I reached my arms around, trying to get him off my back, but he was too heavy to budge. He pinned me down by pure weight.
We were so distracted by the fight, we didn’t notice the wind pick up, moaning through the trees. Branches began to thrash back and forth. My hair whipped into my face.
Then a shadow flew over us.
Pure adrenaline shot up my spine. I threw James to the side, his arms limp from shock. We both stared upward, searching the sky.
A terrible, piercing shriek split the air, a thousand times louder than a bird. The forest fell silent. The wind whipped the trees back and forth as though shaken by giant hands. Several branches snapped off and fell to the ground.
The bowark screamed and took off running. It thundered across the hill at a clumsy, rolling gait. I scanned the sky once, twice, holding my breath. Then, finally, I saw it.
The White circled around a pillar of rock high up on the mountain. This close, it appeared much larger than the distorted beast of my dreams. The shadow of its wings engulfed the entire hillside. Its tail stretched twice the length of its body, longer than the towering trees. The sunset’s glare reflected from its wings, casting its scales in a pearlescent glow.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. The dragon had appeared from nowhere!
The sun hovered low in the sky, fading over the opposite ridge of the valley. Nightfall. We had stayed out too long.
I tried to stand up, but James threw me back to the ground, pushing me flat against the grass. “Get down, you idiot!” he hissed. “Its hunting!”
The dragon’s tail lashed through the air, snapping several trees in half as it banked and turned. The broken trunks skidded down the hill, upturning rocks and loose dirt, creating a minor avalanche. The rocks bounced downward. James gripped my hand and we braced ourselves. A huge boulder rolled right past us, barely missing our legs.
The bowark kept running. It was painful to watch, like a rock trying to outrun lightning. The White circled once more, then dove from the sky. Its wings created a howling, whistling sound, almost as loud as its screech. It plucked the bowark off the ground in one massive claw, like a hawk scooping up a mouse.
Then, with an elegant twist of its wings, it soared back into the sky. A minute later, it was gone.
Excerpt 2: The Fire’s Bane
I woke with a start to Marley licking my face. Still one foot in the dream, I fully expected the scent of smoke to strike my nose, and fire to leap from the wooden shingles of the kennel roof. I sat up half-panicked, but all was quiet and peaceful. Birds twittered airily as gray dawn stretched across the sky. Low clouds obscured the light; it looked like it might rain.
Four other deerhounds lay around me. They wagged their tails when I sat up, then they turned to sniff and lick my face. I ran my fingers through their curly soft fur. They assured me everything was fine and normal, just another day at Glenhold.
Except it wasn’t just another day. Someone stood outside the fence of the kennels. The dogs kept a wary distance from him, ears down, wagging their tails in uncertain greeting.
I stood up stiffly. I picked a few bits of straw from my clothing and pushed my wild, vine-like hair off my face. I probably looked a mess, but I couldn’t do much about it. I wiped my face with my shirt sleeve as I approached the fence.
Finally I saw his face through a gap in the wood. I immediately became nervous. The Fire’s Bane. Darius, I thought. Much different than my dream-Darius with smoothly shifting features. In person he looked grim and rugged, dark-eyed and intimidating. Our gazes met through the fence.
The dogs sensed my nervousness. A few barked in wary alarm. I hushed them thoughtlessly.
Unexpectedly, Darius said, “I have need of three hounds.” His rocky baritone shivered across my skin, rougher than I expected, like shale on a mountain slope. I’d never heard a voice pitched quite so low in the chest.
I hesitated, glancing at the pale misty dawn. The dogs had to wait an hour after feeding before being worked. Otherwise they might get bloat—a twist in their stomachs. “It’s a bit early,” I said. “What for?”
“Mistress Ashyra is going on a hunt,” he said. “She would like three of your best hounds to accompany her.”
I scratched the back of my head. It wasn’t my place to release the hounds. That was the kennel hand’s duty and if I overstepped my bounds, I’d be in trouble. After last night’s excursion, I wanted to avoid that as much as possible.
“I don’t actually work here,” I said slowly.
He paused. His voice turned wry. “So…you just sleep here?”
I flushed. “On some nights.”
His eyes combed my hair. “You like animals, then?” he prompted.
“Of course,” I said, then bit my tongue. Ouch. I’d never felt this awkward in my life. The Dragon’s Bane was having an idle chat with me? The girl who sleeps in the dog kennel?
My next words rushed out, “I’ll let the trainers know Mistress Ash wants three hounds to accompany her. She’ll have to wait until mid-morning.”
Darius nodded. He turned to leave, then hesitated. “Is there a blacksmith at the hold?” he asked.
Any of the soldiers could have given him this information. “Yes,” I said, and pointed over my shoulder. “On the eastern wall, you’ll see the forge.”
He gazed at me for a moment. I wondered at his thoughts. Then he turned in the direction of the forge. I watched him stride away. He moved quickly for a big man. I couldn’t deny the width of his shoulders, especially from behind….
The moment he left my sight, I sank back against the rear wall of the kennel. I put my head against the cool stone. His presence gripped me like a fist. I didn’t know whether I fancied him or feared him. He wasn’t what the rest of the hold-girls would call handsome. He was too roughened, his face too angular for that. In fact, I’m sure most found him downright terrifying. Hold girls sighed over strapping young men like James or my cousin Stephan—charming, clean-cut soldier types. Those were Glenhold’s heroes.
But was it attraction that held me bound to the Bane’s presence, or intimidation?
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Posted on May 1, 2015, in Guest Authors and tagged #bookexcerpt, #catseyeauthor, Book 1), Book Excerpt, Rafflecopter giveaway, T.L. Shreffler, The White (The Dragon Pearl. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.