Hello my darlings! I thought all of you deserved a Christmas present, a teaser from Tempest Reborn. This scene is from quite early in the book, so it doesn’t give anything away. Enjoy! And let me know what you think.
[Gotcha,] the creature said, almost gleefully. And just as the Red got close enough for me to see the hungry gleam in her emerald green eyes and smell the sulfur on her breath, the Red disappeared with an audible pop.
The White roared in confusion, rushing toward where its mate had just been, but like a ghost in front of it, there arose the glittering golden form of the monks’ manifested power. This time it was in the shape of a phoenix, and it glided toward the White on silent wings, an act which seemed to confuse the White even more.
The ivory, pearlescent dragon skidded to a stop, snapping its jaws at the phoenix flying toward it.
That gave me just enough time to reinvoke the labrys and run forward a few paces, where I took what I hoped was a Xena-like power stance—my feet spread about shoulder’s length apart as I held the labrys with both hands, its power coiling up inside me like I was winding a Jack-in-the-box. I’d come up with a plan in that instant. It was either a really good plan, or a really dumb plan, but I wasn’t going to know which until I did it.
Ryu joined me a second later, adding his strength to my own. I think it was only then he realized how puny it was, in comparison with how powerful I’d become.
“Get back!” I yelled at him. “Get back and shield yourself!”
I flicked my eyes to him, to make sure he obeyed, and I saw his indecision. I’d hidden behind him for so long, no wonder he couldn’t imagine a scenario in which he hid behind me.
This time, I went ahead and yelled, “Ryu, get back! You need to protect the monks! I have a plan!”
My words about the monks snapped the baobhan sith into action and he turned on his heel to dart back toward the door.
I turned back to the White just in time to see the glittering phoenix run straight into the dragon’s face…and disappear.
Realizing he’d been fooled, the White galloped toward me with a roar of irritation.
Anyan, I prayed. If you’re in there, stop this now.
But the dragon kept coming, breathing out those jets of powerful air that hit my shields like a Mack truck.
“Anyan!” I shouted, done with prayer. “Stop!”
My words did nothing. They didn’t even appear to register with the creature.
With a heavy heart, I played my card.
Opening my arms wide at the very last second, when the White was nearly upon me, I let all that power I’d been coiling blast forward. It caught the White square in the chest, lifting the dragon off its feet and sending it crashing down, a dozen yards behind it, where it skidded on its back toward the end of the helipad.
It lay still for a few minutes, and I prayed I hadn’t killed it.
“Anyan!” I shouted again. Maybe it would get to its feet, and the White would be knocked out, and Anyan could take control, tell us how to get rid of the White…
But when the dragon finally did rise, it was to gaze at me with green eyes full of hate.
Carefully, I invoked phase two of my plan. I held my trembling knees still with an iron engagement of will, and I made the labrys blaze as if that hit with which I’d just leveled the White was merely what I had on for starters.
The dragon’s green eyes narrowed as it assessed its chances, alone against the champion. And then it slipped backward, off the end of the building, beating a hasty retreat.
Only when it was far out of range did I let my knees unlock, sending me downward in an ungainly slide.
The truth was, I’d blasted the White with everything I had, and then bluffed more power.
“Jane!” Ryu said, catching me as I toppled the rest of the way to the ground. My ex hugged me close, telling me what a great job I’d done.
I guess that, technically, we’d won that round.
But I’d felt only loss when confronted with the White’s cruel jade eyes.
Happy Holidays my lovelies! Mwah!