Forbidden Valley: Sídhí Summer Camp #2 will be released this fall. (Note: This snippet has not been edited and is subject to change.) Enjoy!
Several days later, Katie was on her very first – and probably last – dragon ride. A rush of excitement streaked through her as the dragon surged through the morning sky.
Deepest black dragon scales glinted in the silvery rays of sunshine that streaked through the thin cloud cover. The midnight wings swept upward, looking deceptively soft as calfskin.
Two weeks ago, before camp started, Katie would never have dreamed she'd be riding a dragon, especially not with her very own lifeMate sitting snug behind her. She threw her arms wide and laughed for the sheer joy of having her deepest dream come true, a lifeMate who loved her.
“Enjoying yourself, Mia Cara?” Jared mentally asked.
Sighing in pleasure, she arched against his chest, rubbing her back against the solid bulk of his muscle. She would never get used to Jared calling her ‘his beloved’ in the old tongue. If she could put her joy in words, she would shout them to the world. As it was, her lifeBonded mate felt her bubbling emotions.
Jared pulled her closer. His joy flowed into her body through their lifeBond. His deep laughter echoed through her mind a split instant before his warm breath tickled her pointed ear, her overly sensitive ear, making her laugh all the harder. There were times her elf half of her heritage was more enjoyable than the vampire half.
“I love it!” Her words included not only her first ride on a dragon, but the new road her life was taking. “We can see for miles up here.”
Guardian Alexander was flying them across miles of rugged mountains located within Dragon Valley, a second dimensional bubble with the exact physical terrain as Earth. Hundreds of Valleys dotted Earth, some small, some huge. Very few Sídhí Elders agreed upon how many dimensional bubbles actually existed or even how they had been created.
The black dragon, whose life Katie and Jared had saved several days earlier, insisted they needed to rejoin their cabin mates, a group of teens who were currently hiking through the Sídhí forest surrounding the Peace Camp.
Katie snorted. ‘Peace’ was the official reason for gathering the warring Sídhí races together, but it wasn't why the children of the most influential politicians from several dozen of the most powerful Valleys had been invited. Invited being a very loose term to what really happened, because when The Dragon Council sent out invitations to attend summer camp they expected immediate agreement. If any invitation went unanswered the dragons simply coerced the other Valley into participating.
The concept of creating a Peace Camp sounded honorable. The reality of camp was not honorable nor peace inducing. Katie and her cabin mates found that out the hard way. Peace between the Sídhí races had nothing to do with the four-month camp. Finding dead bodies and becoming a walking target had that odd ‘wake-up and smell the roses’ effect.
After the Khr'Vurr attacked Katie and her cabin mates, Alexander had been placed in charge of keeping Katie's group safe.
Protection duty was his official job. Unofficially, the black dragon was more concerned with finding the people who tried to kill them.
Katie hoped he hurried. She was not a lover of cold stream baths and bugs. But until the guardians caught the guilty parties, the teens were safer away from the main campgrounds. At least, she hoped they would be safer. She had doubts that anywhere was very safe. Truth be told, she felt like bait.
Jared’s cheek rubbed against her hair. “I agree,” he said, letting her know he had following her train of thought.
Since they had bonded, several days earlier, they had maintained a feather-light mental touch on each other. Nothing intrusive, but glimpsing your beloved’s thoughts or having him answer an unspoken thought made her feel special.
He chuckled, kissing her neck. A firm feeling of pleasure pulsed from him as he agreed with her unspoken view on sharing their thoughts. “As long as you keep your pert little nose out of my head at Christmas time.”
“My nose is not pert,” she said, unsuccessfully trying to keep the laughter out of her voice, but knew it didn’t work. He felt her humor as clear as she felt his.
“Hmmm, your lovely nose felt pert last night when you...” he grunted to a stop as her elbow caught him between two ribs.
Her face turned beet red as she snuggled deeper in his embrace. “Wretch,” she grumbled. “We agreed the nose episode was not to be spoken about, not ever.”
“Mia Cara, having your nose, covering in whipped cream…”
“Enough,” she groaned, covering her face with both hands.
He snuggled against her neck, gently kissing her. “I love the taste of Mia Cara flavored whipped cream.”
She snorted, knowing she’d never be able to drink another cream covered strawberry shake without glancing to see where he was at. “Next time you ‘accidently’ bump my elbow when I’m drinking a shake, I’ll pay you back triple time. Got me, handsome?”
“Might be worth it. Kissing the cream off your nose made it the best tasting shake I’ve ever had,” he said. His laughter and sincerity swirled inside her.
He was hopeless.
“Glad you thought so. Unfortunately, Council Woman Cornelia thought we were both insane.” Shaking her head, she abruptly changed the subject. “I don’t think the council is going to give Sarah the info she needs to protect Trellick Valley. Do you?” she asked, worry over their failure to gain protection for Sarah’s home valley colored her thoughts.
Katie knew she had to help Sarah keep Trellick Valley safe, but she didn’t have a clue how to manage it. The head of the dragon council certainly had not sounded very encouraging. The woman hadn’t believed a word they said, even when Alexander – the council woman’s own grandson – told her about testing Sarah’s story.
The woman insisted they were exaggerating the truth, because no valley could be a portal hub. After four thousand years – in the council woman’s words – someone would have slipped-up trying to keep such a huge secret.
The council woman had argued that there was no way a valley could maintain hundreds of permanent portals into all the other valleys, especially Trellick Valley. The Dhark Lords would have jumped at the opportunity to invade all the other valleys. And it was common knowledge that Trellick Valley was a steadfast and very loyal member of the Dhark Empire.
Katie’s back vibrated as Jared growled deep in his chest. “I pray she doesn’t find out the hard way that Sarah is telling the truth.” All his previous teasing left his voice, leaving his words flat with anger. “If that spike-covered dragon actually saw Sarah form javelins from the synth in her blood then it won’t take long for her to make the only possible connection.”
“That Sarah is Chi’Kehra,” Katie said. Dread filled her at the very thought of the dragon ‘freedom’ fighters finding out about a weapon more deadly than dragonfire. “Sarah would never willingly help the self-proclaimed freedom fighters.” The Khr'Vurr, as they called themselves, were a group of dragons who were infamous for kidnapping and torturing innocent people in a warped attempt to seize control of the dragon council.
“I think that’s the real reason why Alex is using us as bait,” Jared said. His emotions flickered between sour acceptance and frustration. “He knows as well as we do that the Khr'Vurr or the Dhark Lords would be unstoppable with Sarah on their side.”
“She’d never help them,” Katie repeated forcefully. Without question, she trusted Sarah. Her gut instinct demanded that trust. And one thing she had learned long ago was to trust her gut. Her gut instinct had saved her family’s life more than once when they lived in the mundane world.
“And if they kidnapped Nick? Threatened to kill him?” Jared asked softly, completely knocking the wind out of her argument.She shivered at the thought. The same instinct that demanded she trust Sarah twisted in a fleeting glimpse of the possible future. Without a single doubt, Sarah would destroy anything or anyone who stood between her and her mate.
I hope you enjoyed this small snippet!
Until next time,