The Hunt has returned. The time of the dragon-kin is over.
After failing to stop St. George and the Hunt, Kaylee and her few remaining friends are forced to flee, desperate to find somewhere, anywhere, safe. The Convocation is broken. Slayer attacks come without warning. Innocent people are dying. The only hope to defeat the Hunt and put an end to the destruction lies in an ancient magic, the dragon fusion. A magic Kaylee possesses.
A magic she can’t control.
But time is running out. Either Kaylee learns to harness this new, powerful magic, or it will be the end for her and everybody she loves.
Friends and enemies collide and secrets are revealed in this stunning conclusion to the bestselling Heir of Dragons series! It all ends here in Dragon’s Fate.
Read below for an excerpt!
The stupid cat was going to get her killed.
It was one of those pure breeds. A Maine Coon or tortoiseshell or Russian Blue. Something like that. What kind it was didn’t matter to Kaylee. What mattered was that it was staring right at her hiding spot, growling, while Slayers prowled through the house.
“I said you can’t come in!” a man shouted. That was the father, Jared. He was the one who’d decided to let Kaylee and the others park Randy’s van in the barn behind the house to spend the night. It was a kindness few people associated with the Convocation had shown them since the Hunt had risen a month ago. Few families dared risk their lives like that; not with the Hunt, and not with the Slayers now bold enough to terrorize in broad daylight.
Kaylee hoped that same kindness wasn’t about to get Jared’s family murdered.
There was a sharp cry of pain. The sound of the front door slamming all the way open and heavy bootsteps pounding inside. Multiple bootsteps. Kaylee counted three sets.
She shifted one of her ears to a dragon’s to hear better but there was no need to. A second later the morning sunlight pouring through the kitchen window was blocked by an immense shadow. A man’s shadow. Kaylee watched it turn to survey his around, trying to keep her breathing light and steady. The cat continued staring right at her.
Look away…look away you stupid feline before I—
“Anybody else?” A Slayer called from the kitchen.
The shadow continued turning. It paused when it saw the cat. The man took a step closer to the closet, so close Kaylee could smell his sweat and the reek of cigarettes wafting off him. She tensed, prepared to attack.
“Scram,” the man growled, shoving the cat away. It hissed at them both and scampered under the couch.
“Clear in here!” the man said.
There was a sob, another short cry of pain, then Jared and his wife were tossed onto the couch. Jared’s lip was busted, his cheek already forming a blotchy bruise around the edges. Red-faced, his wife clutched his arm.
“Y-you can’t d-do this! We don’t have a-anything you w-want!”
“Y-yes y-you do!” The nearest Slayer, a beefy woman with short, bleached hair, mocked.
The other two Slayers had joined her, closing Jared and his wife in on either side. Kaylee shifted from her crouch and peered through the sliver of the closet door. Two men, one woman, all malicious-looking. Weapons—maces, crossbows, magicked gauntlets—hung off their waists and were tightly strapped to their backs. Standard Slayer-issue armored vests were draped over black combat uniforms.
“We have nothing of value,” Jared repeated. “Take whatever it is you’re here for and—”
The woman Slayer smacked him across the jaw. Jared’s wife screamed. There was a brief struggle and when it ended all three Slayers were pointing crossbows at the couple. The woman walked closer, keeping the crossbow trained on Jared’s forehead.
“Do you want to die?” She said softly.
Kaylee shifted her hands to claws. Her elemental storm magic pounded beneath her skin, ready to fight.
The dragon’s magic deep inside her begged to be unleashed.
With great effort, Kaylee ignored them both.
She was alone here, having come inside early to use the bathroom. Edwin, Maddox, and Randy were in the van, probably still asleep. She could take three Slayers, but with innocents around there was bound to be collateral damage. She needed to wait for an opening…
But the Slayers would kill the family if she did nothing.
Jared wiped a fresh trickle of blood on his chin, glaring at his captors. The woman smirked.
“We know you’re with the Convocation. Midwest chapter, right?”
Jared froze, blood running down his fingers. The woman grinned wider. “So you see, we’re not here for your things. We need information.”
“Names, meetin’ places,” one of the men added.
“The location of Kaylee Richards,” the other man finished.
Kaylee’s breath caught. Her? When had she become a hot commodity?
When you almost defeated the Hunt with your crazy dragon fusion powers, idiot, a voice inside her said.
Okay, that made sense. But even though she and the others had been off the radar for the last month, traveling from small town to small town and trying to stay out of trouble, she figured she’d have noticed if the Slayers had suddenly put a giant target on her back.
You don’t need to notice. It’s common sense. Idiot. With powerful dragon’s magic inside her, the dragon fusion, she was the Hunt’s one and only threat, the person who could end St. George and his destruction of all dragon-kin for good.
That meant the Slayers wanted her especially dead.
“I have no idea where Kaylee Richards is,” Jared said, almost looking sorry for the Slayers, like they were poor, stupid fools. “Yes, we’re part of the Convocation, but we’re not dragon-kin.”
“Or Merlins or Protectors,” his wife hurriedly added.
One of the men swiftly brought up an arm, making Jason and his wife cower. The woman smirked.
“Yeah, clearly not Protectors. If you were, you’d be even more pathetic than they normally are.”
“Tough words, coming from a group who finally had the guts to crawl back into the light,” Jared spat. “Finally feeling cocky now that the Hunt’s loose?”
“Wait,” the woman held back her companion when he raised his crossbow. She leered at Jared.
“Now that you ask, we are feeling cocky. The Hunt will do what should have been done a long time ago: eradicate the dragon-kin and anyone who stands with them. In fact…” She crouched, making the couple pull back. She gestured with the crossbow like she was brandishing a pen rather than a weapon that could take their life, “In fact, we could request he make a little stop here, if you’d like to meet him.”
If it was possible, the couple’s faces grew paler.
“We don’t know anything,” Jared’s wife repeated.
The woman held her gaze for a long time, then stood. “Bring down the last guest.”
“No!” Jared’s wife sprang up as one of the men disappeared upstairs. “No, leave her alone!”
A child screamed. Furniture crashed. There was the thump of a body hitting the stairs and the man came tumbling back down in a shower of glass and wood before slamming into a china cabinet near the dining room.
A girl no more than eight came flying over the stair railing. Her hands were shifted to dragon claws and ice magic curled around her body. With another scream she launched herself at the other man.
Kaylee tried to cry out a warning but before she could the other man easily side-stepped the girl’s attack and caught her by the throat, jerking her to a stop.
“Claire!” her parents screamed, jumping up. The woman leveled a crossbow at them.
Claire continued struggling against the Slayers’ grip, biting at his gloved fingers. He sneered. His magicked gauntlet glowed and Claire howled in pain before going limp. Her scales and claws retracted, the ice that had begun to coat the floor melting to puddles.
“There, that’s better,” the woman said.
Claire’s parents watched in horror as their daughter was lowered to the ground and deposited as a crumpled heap at the woman’s feet.
“Check that idiot.” The woman nodded to the Slayer on the stairs while she crouched next to a stunned Claire, still keeping her crossbow aimed at her parents.
“Offspring,” the woman said, her voice pure venom. “An abomination. Tell me, Jared, would you like to see what happens to abominations?”
Jared lunged forward but the woman clubbed him to the ground with the butt of her crossbow. Jared tried to raise his head but the heel of her boot came down hard, cracking it against the floor.
“Stay conscious, Jared. I want you to watch very closely. This’ll be a good lesson for you.”
The woman snapped her fingers. A shadow pooled at the floor beside Claire, thicker and darker than the ones around it. Yellow eyes glowed from the darkness within.
Kaylee’s blood ran cold.
“I’ve got a friend for you, Claire,” the woman said. “Do you know what this is?”
Claire’s head lolled, her body barely staying upright.
“It’s a Samarian shadow dancer,” the woman explained. “And it’s very hungry.”
The woman flicked two fingers up and a snout covered in bristly black fur and filled with serrated teeth rose from the lip of shadows. Its slitted eyes fixed on Claire.
“Feed,” the woman commanded.
Forget not having back up. Forget potential collateral damage. Forget the danger.
It wasn’t like things could get any worse.
Her first bolt of lightning caught the shadow dancer in the chest, sending it screaming back into its pool of darkness. Kaylee called more of her magic to her. The temperature in the room plummeted. Thunder boomed from inside, the air thick and charged with static.
Kaylee scooped up Claire and kicked the woman, her magically enhanced strength sending her flying into the kitchen. She spun, ducking just in time to avoid a mace to the head from one of the men.
“Get out of here!” Kaylee yelled, shoving Claire in Jared’s arms and pushing him towards the door. “Out the—” she ducked again, “—back!”
She raised a claw and caught the man’s arm in it, twisting it to the side.
“Not this time, bud—”
A jolt of magic shot down his gauntlet and launched her across the room into the TV. The back of her head throbbed where she’d smashed it against the wall, probably hard enough to leave a dent. She groaned as she picked herself up. “Idiot. You literally just saw him do that. Should have known that was coming.”
The man leapt at her. Kaylee threw herself aside as his mace cratered the spot she’d just been. Sparks and chunks of plastic flew every direction.
“Die, beast!” the man growled, pulling back his arm for another swing.
“Oh! How original!” Kaylee bobbed beneath his next strike. “Like I haven’t heard that a billion times before. You Slayers should really get it copyrighted.”
Out of the corner of her eye, Kaylee saw the back door slam shut as Jared and his family slipped out.
They were safe.
Now she could really let loose.
Kaylee’s head nearly hit the floor as she bent backwards to dodge the Slayer’s next attack, her muscles protesting being used this strenuously this early. She snapped herself up again, cutting the space between her and the Slayer in half, grabbing him by the straps of his armor before he could react.
“Hey! Hands off—”
Kaylee’s shoulders flexed. The muscles in her upper back strained and shifted to make room for the pair of magically conjured dragon wings she knew were sprouting there. The Slayer gaped, temporarily stunned. Though Kaylee knew the wings weren’t actual physical wings but simply magical projections, they looked real enough from the right angle.
And they worked real enough.
Still gripping the Slayer, Kaylee pumped her wings twice. The pair launched across the room, Kaylee slamming the man into the dining room table and across it, burying his upper body in a display cabinet full of glassware and dining sets. Plates shattered as they hit the floor. Glass tinkled. The man groaned, head lolling. A large bowl had clipped his skull and broke skin, sending blood trickling down his temples.
Kaylee quickly checked his pulse. Still alive, at least. Which was more than any of them deserved.
She heaved him to the floor. Two down. That left only—
Kaylee didn’t notice the pool of darkness in the corner above her until it was too late. The shadow dancer pounced, forcing her to spin away.
Not fast enough.
Razor sharp teeth sliced right through her sleeve. Kaylee gritted her teeth, feeling the warm blood dribble through her fingers as she gripped her arm. What she wouldn’t give for her normal battle armor right about now…
She rolled again as the shadow dancer skimmed past, slipping into the next pool of darkness beneath the couch.
“And so it ends here,” the woman said. She stood in the kitchen doorway, triumph in her eyes. “Kaylee Richards, the elusive dragon-kin even St. George has trouble getting rid of. This must be our lucky day.”
Kaylee stood, keeping the woman and the nearest shadows in her line of sight. “I guess luck’s one thing you can call it.”
“I knew it was you as soon as you summoned that thunderstorm. The Hunt will be pleased to find out you’re dead.”
Kaylee took a step back. Movement swirled to her right, but she kept her eyes trained on the woman. “Aw…Lesuvius won’t be pleased? That’s too bad. I was positive dying would bring a smile to his face.”
The woman sneered. “Lesuvius may have led us once, but he’s finished. Our true master has returned, and he wouldn’t dare let a beast lead the Slayers any longer.”
Another step. The back door was just five feet behind her. Any second and she could make a break for it. “Guess it sucked finding out Lesuvius was a dragon-kin, huh? So, wait, if you had a dragon-kin leading you then does that make us the good guys, or the bad guys—”
“Kill!” the woman snarled.
The shadow dancer pounced just as the woman threw a knife at Kaylee’s head. Kaylee whipped her hand up, summoning a wall of wind and ice that knocked the blade out of the air. She was spinning towards the shadow dancer before she’d finished, but she could already tell she wouldn’t make it in time. The shadow dancer’s teeth were heading right for her throat. She was too slow, too late, too—
There was a scream and a whimper. Kaylee blinked to find the shadow dancer’s toothed mouth mere inches from her face. An orange collar of magic had been looped around its neck and tightened, stopping it short.
“Maddox!” Edwin yelled.
Maddox burst in behind him. In an instant he’d evaluated the situation like the Protector he was before plunging his spear into the shadow dancer’s side. It screamed, writhing in agony as Edwin used his magic to hurl it across the room and into the demolished TV. The shadow dancer gave one final, pained screech before trailing a slick of blood as it melted back into the shadow.
“No!” The woman’s eyes flickered between the three of them, clearly knowing she was outmatched. She backed up towards the front door. “The Hunt will find you, Kaylee Richards! Every Slayer within a hundred miles will be on you in hours!”
Then she was out the door. Kaylee started to run after her when she heard the dull thud of a fist hitting face, then a body hitting grass.
Randy appeared in the doorway, dragging the unconscious woman behind him. He stepped inside and dropped her unceremoniously at the foot of the stairs before surveying the damaged living room and Kaylee’s bleeding arm.
“Morning,” Kaylee said.
“It’s too early to be doing this,” Randy grouched. “Where’s the coffee?