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Dragon’s Blood

Almost a Dragon (Prequel)


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Vampires crave dragon’s blood. I’m the only guy who can deliver the goods.

My name is Fynn Drake.

I used to be the leading expert on dragon language and behavior. That was before vampires attacked my city. They killed hundreds, including my wife and precious daughter. But the vampires spared me. Why me and not the others? Because they deem my dragon expertise useful.

I’m their slave. Their henchman. Their broker. Dragon’s blood heals vampires from lethal injuries and even allows them to walk in daylight. It makes these monsters almost invincible.

This time when I arrive at a dragon colony to barter for vials of blood, they offer me a dragon child named Ishtar. She’s a mutant marked for culling, fated to be murdered by her own kind…or fed to the vampires.

But the notion of handing a helpless child— any child— over to bloodsuckers is too much to bear. Because I know that the vampires will devour this innocent young fledgling down to the last drop of her prized blood.

I will do for Ishtar what I could not do for my own daughter.

I will save her… or I will die trying.

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The morning sun cleared the canyon rim, making the banded red, orange, and cream-colored rock of the cliff walls glow like fresh lava. When I’d convinced myself I’d crawled far enough from the cliff edge to avoid accidentally falling over, I climbed to my feet. And came face-to-face with a large female dragon. “Holy shit!” The primal part of my brain shrieked at me. Run! Run! Now! No. Don’t act like prey, whatever you do. I forced myself to take a deep breath, hoping for calm. It didn’t help. I’d gone to a Japanese taiko concert once, and sounds of the giant drums had pulsed through my bones and skull. My pulse sounded like that now, pounding in my ears in a furious, deafening rhythm. My leg muscles twitched with the instinctive urge to flee. The silver-plated sword at my hip—because guns were prohibited on dragon reservations—felt completely inadequate. Before the vampire coup, I used to teach at the University of La Reina. I also wrote books and gave lectures about dragons and dragon behavior. My publisher’s PR department advertised me as “Dr. Fynn Drake —the Number One dragon expert in the world!” The label had gotten me regular gigs on talk shows, documentaries, podcasts, and the local news whenever the producers needed a talking head to discuss a dragon-related incident. The coup had put an end to my academic career, but my books were still popular enough to earn me a decent living. Even with the peace treaty in force for twenty years now, people were still fascinated by dragons. Kids loved reading about them, and the children’s book I had originally written for my daughter, Izzy, was still my best-selling work. Back then, I’d never actually come face-to-face with a dragon. Boy, how times had changed. And I was acquainted with this particular dragon. She was my occasional liaison with this dragon colony. Familiarity didn’t do much to tamp down my instinctive terror of the big, toothy beast, though. The dragon’s feathers rippled and her crest rose, body language I’d learned meant she was laughing at me. Her body plumage was mostly deep red, with a crest of shimmering peacock-green feathers topping her huge, triangular head and cobalt-blue patches on the top of her wings. She reminded me of a pet parrot my parents' next-door neighbor used to own. Yeah, right. She’s just a giant, really scary parrot. With a muzzle full of long, serrated black fangs. What the hell was she doing out here today? She never waited for me unless there was a problem of some kind.

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