An Excerpt from Dragon HuntedHe whipped around, yanking a knife free before he even realized the voice was just Katsu. He grinned and tucked the blade away. "Katsu! I didn't think anyone was around here!"
"What, you thought I'd leave everyone to get gored by a dragon on their own? What's the point in having a medic?" Katsu tromped through the forest, heedless of breaking branches or snapping twigs. It was almost like he was daring the dragon to come back and eat him -- and Ashe doubted even a dragon had those kind of guts. Katsu'd probably give it indigestion.
Ashe fell in beside Katsu, relieved to have company, glad it was the medic. Somehow, things seemed better with Katsu around. "Do dragons gore people? I don't think they have horns to gore with." Ashe squawked as Katsu slapped the back of his head, sending him stumbling forward. He caught his balance, rubbing his skull. "Bad medic."
Katsu snorted. "Bad medic? Bad elf. Shouldn't you be up with the others trying to kill yourself? Or do you save that for your off time?"
Ashe fell back into step with Katsu. "I save that for my off time. How else am I going to get to see you?"
Katsu gave him a sharp look, but kept walking.
"And if I don't get to see you," Ashe put his hand to his chest, faking heartbreak, "my day would just never be bright."
"I hate elves," Katsu muttered. "You're all drama queens."
Ashe grinned but dropped his hand. "Is there anything you do like, Katsu?"
"I hate peas. They look like marsh griffin spawn. Have you seen a marsh griffin?"
Katsu gave him a disgusted look.
"They're about this big," Ashe held his hands a foot apart, "and they eat bugs."
Katsu kept walking.
"When they spawn, they squeeze out these nasty, ooze-coated egg things. The male—"
Katsu slapped the back of his hand into Ashe's chest, stopping them both. "Do you hear that?"
Ashe listened. Something growled. Slowly, carefully, he looked around the forest. It took two sweeps before he realized that he wasn't seeing fireflies, but rather the moon reflected off a scaled hide. He traced it with his gaze, up to a finely wrought head with a strong jaw.
This dragon wasn't as big as the last. More like a horse than a wagon. But it was looking right at them.
"Moran's teats," Ashe whispered.
"Is that bad?" From the corner of Ashe's eye, he could see Katsu looking around, the human's vision not quite spotting the dragon.
Ashe nodded slowly. "Start backing up. We need to find cover." They took a step backward, and the dragon's head lowered. A split tongue flickered out of its mouth, tasting the air.
"There was a ravine to the right," Katsu murmured. "Thought I saw some caves."
Katsu bolted. Twigs and dry leaves underfoot turned Katsu's run into a clear trail. The dragon didn't move. Ashe waited, watching the dragon as it watched Katsu. He drew his knife once more, even though he knew it would do precious little against a dragon. It might do something.
The dragon's gaze flicked toward him for just an instant, as if aware he might be a threat. Then the creature moved. Like oil across water, it slid through the forest lightning fast, twisting around trees as if they were nothing. Ashe leaped for it, knowing he was too slow. Far too slow, even as he pushed through possibilities and drove his muscles harder, calling on the magic in his blood to aid him.
It wasn't enough. He'd waited too long.
They’re always cute when they’re small, but dang, they grow…
This delightful tidbit is from JB McDonald’s Dragon Hunted, the first in the the Dragon Series. It starts with Dragon Hunted and continues with Dragon Traders, available on the 17th of August, and will continue far, far after that! It could really be re-titled The Adventures of Katsu and Ashe, Fantasy Mercenaries and Male Lovers, but that might get a little lengthy. ;)
Getting eaten by a dragon wasn't part of Ashe's plan. Not that there was much of a plan to begin with, but it had definitely involved more chasing and less running. Ashe supposes there's one good thing about all this: if he has to be trapped in a cave with a very large predator outside, at least he's with Katsu, the company medic and Ashe's current crush.
Even better, Katsu has enough knowledge of dragons and medicine that he might just be able to hatch an escape plan. Even better than that, Ashe is discovering that Katsu might not dislike him after all. It's a small step, Ashe hopes, from not disliking him to something significantly more. That is, assuming they don't get eaten first.
Find JB’s news at her website here www.jbmcdonald.com or at her blog at jennabreen.livejournal.com, where she announces contests and things.
And we’ll get more story on the 17th when Dragon Traders comes out!