From the Dragonkind Chronicles – the battle is just beginning…
In a post apocalyptic world where Darwin changelings emerge from hiding and humans struggle to reclaim their former glory, mercenary Logan Pen doesn’t want to save the world. His mission is to protect his greatest treasure – his family. That is until he tries to capture a shadow thief. Beyla, a beguiling, emotionless Umbra steals his telein – a talisman forged at his birth while escaping his grasp, making her by ancient dragon law his mate.
Her enemy – a fiery Naga – and the talisman she’s stolen from him rouse emotions Beyla has spent three long years in the land of shadows stripping away. Still she hasn’t been able to banish the grief and pain left by the murder of her human family.
Fighting a desire that flames out of their control, and scrambling to save humanity and their own kind, Logan and Beyla are forced to join forces to keep a weapon of incredible destructive power out of the hands of the man who would use it to conquer their world. With evil on the brink of victory, only through sacrifice do they learn to trust and embrace the love that will change them forever.
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As she watched in sick fascination, citizens rioted in streets, mobs smashed into supermarkets and stores, carting away as much as they could carry.
Biting back her own panic, heart pounding in her chest, Idella concentrated on the task at hand. There was only one thing that mattered now, and that was the birth of these babies.
Locking the house for what she prayed wouldn’t be the last time, she loaded the rest of her supplies into the back of her truck. Pointing the older Ford in the direction of the towering, craggy mountains surrounding the town of Destiny, she nudged sunglasses into place as a defense against the blistering summer sun.
Forty-five knuckle-biting minutes later, she parked in the circular drive of a stone mansion that reminded her of European castles.
Wind howled, snatching at her coat as though to hurry her along. Dark clouds hovered overhead. Dragons Walk grew out of a small notch between two sharp crags as though it had been here forever, instead of the short span of thirty-five years since it’d been built from rock quarried nearby.
The front door burst open. A frantic man pitched himself down the stone steps. “You must hurry!”
The wind played with his already tussled black hair as he grabbed her bags. A shiver worked its way up Idella’s spine at the thick worry permeating his voice.
She tried one last time to change his mind. “Abigayle should be at the hospital.”
Since his response was an impatient shift of her bags, Idella took a steadying breath. “All right. Everything’s going to be fine. We’ve been preparing for this for nine months.”
“The contractions are coming every three minutes.”
“That happened fast.” She frowned, quickly following him into the house.
“Abigayle says they’re in a hurry.”
A scream rent the air.
“Shit!” Idella sprinted up the elegant, sweeping staircase leading to the second floor. Daniel was hot on her heels, despite being laden with her bags.
In the master bedroom littered with heavy furniture befitting a castle, Abigayle’s sky-blue eyes latched onto her husband. “He’s coming.”
“Are you sure it’s a he?” Idella attempted to distract the laboring woman as she grabbed one of the bags from Daniel.
“Yes! I can feel him,” Abigayle shouted, her usual serenity unraveling.
“Well, tell him to wait a second.” Idella tossed the bag on the table they’d previously set up for her supplies, yanking out a sterile gown and gloves.
“He won’t. Wait.” Abigayle grunted, involuntarily bearing down before catching her breath and screaming.
Idella cursed, spreading additional protective layers of towels on the bed around the woman about to give birth. “Daniel, make her breathe.”
“Just like we practiced, Abi.”
Abigayle shook her head back and forth, sweat trapping the damp hair straggling around her face. “No.”
Idella held back a second to let Daniel sit on the bed next to his wife. He picked up her hand, unwinding the fingers clutching the sheets. “Look at me, Abi.”
The contraction waning, Abigayle eased back against the mound of pillows at her back, meeting her husband’s steady gaze.
It never failed to surprise Idella how attuned her friends were to each other.
“I love you.” His voice throbbed with deep emotion.
Immobilized by a brush of wistfulness at not having started her own family yet, Idella almost forgot what she was supposed to be doing.
Blue flame gently licked the couple’s laced fingers.
“Another contraction,” Abigayle gasped, her body stiffening.
Daniel tossed Idella a worried look.
She nodded her readiness.
On a ragged sigh of relief, Daniel turned back to Abigayle. “Okay. Breathe with me.”
Together they hissed through he-he-ho-ho like any other about-to-be new parents.
Checking the baby’s progress, Idella patted her patient’s knee. It was time for the first of five babies to be born. “You’re doing great, Abigayle. Next time you can push.”
“Here. He. Comes.”
“Okay, when I tell you, push.” She helped thin the perineum, stretching it around the baby’s head. Thick black hair pasted with amniotic fluid came first. Holding her breath for just a second, she watched the miracle of birth that always made her want to weep with joy. “Now, Abigayle. Push.”
The walls of the stone house shook. Lights flickered before going out completely. Somewhere in the recesses of the building, a generator kicked on. The lights came back.
“The solar flares have begun,” Daniel ground out, almost completely absorbed in his wife’s battle. “The house will withstand the earthquakes that come with it.”
He shifted, easing Abigayle into his shoulder, mumbling, his deep voice thick with wonder, Five will be born on the night the world burns.
Idella didn’t have time for a lesson in the prophecies. “Push, Abigayle.”
Seconds later, a squalling, kicking baby covered in a thick opaque membrane lay in her arms. She cut him free. “It’s a boy.”
With a laugh, Abigayle fell against the pillows. She looked at her husband. “Logan?”
Joy glistening in his dark eyes, Daniel nodded.
Abigayle held out her hands. “Let me see him.”
“Hang on. I’m cutting the cord now.” Idella wrapped the little guy in a warm llama-wool blanket. “There you go. Daniel and Abigayle, meet your oldest son.”
“He’s beautiful,” Abigayle whispered. “Isn’t he, Daniel?”
“Yes, my love.”
Actually, he was a little small, as Idella expected. But, from the way he was squalling, and with his color high, he would do. His father’s genes would give him the extra strength he needed to survive his birth and the early days of life without difficulty.
Before the night was done, with the moon looming large in the sky where it settled into a new orbit, four more babies made their way into a world that was breaking apart at the seams. All five bore the mark of their inheritance.
As dawn broke, and Idella clamped the last quint’s umbilical cord, a deluge of comets, along with the ill-fated alignment with the center of the Milky Way forever changed the course of human history, fulfilling one set of prophecies, and pushing what was left of humanity toward another.
Later, many swore they saw a dragon shaped comet streak across the fiery sky.
For Idella, the struggle to bring on the promised millennium of peace held as much uncertainty for the coming years, as the birth of five half-dragons, half-humans she’d just attended.
Thirty-three years later… [/toggle]
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A multi-published traditional and Indie author. Susan Lute’s debut novel, Oops…We’re Married?has sold over 137,000 copies, was a Reader’s Choice nominee and Holt Medallion Finalist. She is first and foremost a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, and dreamer. An ardent student of human nature, she loves ancient history and myth.
Other things you should know – she is the oldest child of a military family, has traveled far, but has never been to Hawaii, Paris, or Crete, an omission she hopes to correct soon, and her favorite places in the whole world are New York City, Sedona (Arizona), Ouray (Colorado), and Bath (England).
These days, she writes whenever she can. In between she works as a Registered Nurse, reads, gardens, takes black-and-white photos, travels, and remodels her house. Currently she is working on the second novel in her Dragonkind Chronicles, and dreaming up a new contemporary romance set in the Pacific Northwest. You can find Susan on the web at her
Website, Crazy Hair Publishing, facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.
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