Child of the Dragon…

17 Jan

Another GSP release from Author of the Week: Jeanne Guzman. Jeanne has kindly offered a FREE SET OF HER BOOKS to one lucky winner. To enter for this draw please leave a comment below on this blog. 

Child of the Dragon by Jeanne Guzman

Nichole Reid has spent the last ten years caring for her younger brother on a remote island off the eastern coast of Australia. As a storm rattles the foundation of her home, her destiny lands in her front yard.

Baltizar of the Waarheid clan escapes to protect his sister from persecution. Through stormy seas, he sees the light, in more ways than one, landing, literally on the front doorstep of the one destined to be his. He also finds assistance and the potential for love where there’d been only hatred and mistrust.

With the unexpected arrival of the Waarheids, Nichole learns tolerance for the clan who almost destroyed her life, patience for those who’ve hunted her kind, and love for a dragon she’d never thought to encounter.

When their serenity is threatened, Baltizar puts into motion a plan that will not only save the lives of his mate and her brother, but insure his sister’s life is spared as well. A plan that could end in his ultimate death.

Hearts are mended, love takes wing, and the future begins because of the whims of a child. The Child of the Dragon.


 Chapter 1

Peace. The word seemed to have disappeared from Baltizar’s vocabulary the moment he learned his sister had been abducted. In the last few weeks he’d been through hell and back, traveling from his underground home in Austin to the ice capped peaks of southern Chile and landing back in the confinement of the Mawlan underground in North America. He’d fought the Voltura, the evil of the dragon race, to gain his sister’s freedom, only to relinquish it because of her crimes. He’d stood by as others decided her fate, judging the nine-year-old who’d murdered those who trusted her, even though she’d been forced to do so. Not only by her own grandfather, but by those left behind to care for her.

Genevieve was only a hatchling, but through no fault of her own, she’d taken the life of her own mother, countless humans and Skua-Sparrows, and had drained the Transcendent Angelica Crossley not once, but twice. Angelica survived—in fact, she was stronger than ever since the last draining crossed her genetics over from a Transcendent to a full-blooded dragon. Angelica didn’t blame Genevieve for her part of the transformation, and Baltizar couldn’t understand why the council of elders would punish his sister for the crimes laid at her feet.

“Get some rest, Baltizar. I’ll see you back here in the morning.” Angelica stood beside him, her amber eyes clouded with worry for the dragon child locked away. “Valwood will be there as well, as the leader of the Anshar Clan, and my grandfather. He’ll make sure Genevieve gets the help she needs. Don’t worry.”

Baltizar stood on the front steps of the judgment hall and watched as Angelica was led away by her mate. Preston of the Anshar didn’t bother hiding his resentment, and Baltizar couldn’t blame him. They’d been rivals for the last year, and even though Baltizar had backed away, Preston still didn’t trust him. With good reason. Not only had Genevieve drained Angelica, but Baltizar’s grandfather had murdered her parents. Their history wasn’t a good one, but Baltizar was trying to make up for all the wrong caused by his family.

Cursing the circumstances of the situation, Baltizar walked, head held high, away from the courtroom. Above him, the lights dimmed, simulating the setting of the earth’s sun. Dragons from all five races moved through the cobbled streets of the Mawlan underground. Some on their way home from their positions of employment; others out for the evening with their families, and still others loitering beside a building or behind a curtained window to catch a glimpse of the Waarheid leader and his fall from grace. Baltizar ignored them all as he stepped into the apartments allotted to those of the Waarheid clan, closing off the rest of the world.

All he wanted was to escape from the torment of his current life. He craved freedom from the pressures of being the head of his clan, the fear of his sister’s imminent incineration, and the drama of temporarily living under the constant scrutiny of the Mawlan community.

Community wouldn’t have been Baltizar’s choice of a word to describe the Mawlan collective living within the main underground in North Texas. The judgmental group made up of the five races of dragons was more a condemnatory society than a community. The Midgards, supposedly Keepers of Faith, held no faith in the possibility a child like Genevieve could be reformed. The Anshar Dragons, Keepers of Light, reserved their brilliance for those they deemed worthy of illumination. The Waarheid, Baltizar’s own clan, took pride in their role as Keepers of Truth, yet the elders were blinded by the lies told for generations. The two other dragon races, the Langhiers and Nagas—Keepers of Law and Knowledge—couldn’t see past their overinflated egos to see the true crimes against the humans belonged to another, not to Baltizar’s nine-year-old sister.

It was true, Genevieve was guilty of consumption, draining humans of their blood, but she’d been forced. First by their grandfather and then by his minion, Eoin. The two dragons had brainwashed Genevieve into believing she was the future queen of the dragons, the bringer of the Age of the Firedrake, but what they had accomplished was condemning a hatchling to bear the label of Voltura. A name reserved for the criminal elements of the dragon flocks.

Genevieve was as far removed from the definition of Voltura as one could get. She was everything pure and innocent, and yet the Council of Elders found her guilty.

Guilty. The verdict for her crimes. The Council of Elders were at this moment deliberating her sentence. Baltizar’s only hope was they would take into consideration Genevieve’s age and the fact that their grandfather, Goron, was the responsible party. Baltizar had once considered his grandfather the greatest dragon to walk the underground. Baltizar had been wrong, and now the older dragon wasn’t alive to answer for his list of crimes. The Langhier Hunter, Dmitri, had ended Goron’s reign of terror months ago. Yet the death of his body hadn’t stopped Baltizar’s grandfather from tormenting others; now he came to them in their dreams. His last victim, Genevieve, was still suffering from his deception. If the Council of Elders decides to show leniency, Genevieve’s recovery will be a long, painful process. Curing a hatchling of a blood addiction had never been attempted; it was unheard of until Genevieve, but Baltizar held on to the promise of hope. He wouldn’t allow his grandfather to win. Not this time. Not when the cost was Genevieve’s soul.

Goron’s stench spanned decades and touched too many lives to count. Baltizar and his sister were just two out of many. The responsibility of those lives destroyed by his grandfather now sat on Baltizar’s conscience, weighing him down and threatening to consume his soul.

Closing the door to his room, and to the whispers of those of the Mawlan community, Baltizar lay across the bed and closed his eyes, seeking oblivion. He’d wanted to hide what was left of his sanity within his dreams, but as he slipped into the gray mist of his inner vision, the spirits of those trapped in the netherworld wouldn’t let him be.

Baltizar stood in the center of a clouded void. Wisps of fog surrounded him, seeping into his pores and leaving him as cold as the stone walls of the underground. To his left, Xander, his father, materialized and stood with his arms and wings spread wide. Confused sorrow leaked red from his eyes and dripped from the white-blond feathers of his wings.

“Why, Baltizar? Why did you do this to me?” The sound of his voice echoed in the mist, a haunting vibration that seeped into Baltizar’s pores, incasing his heart in ice. A crimson river ran from the wound in his neck, the killing wound Baltizar had delivered less than a year before. “Hadn’t I been a good father to you? Were you not loved as a fledgling? What had I done so wrong that you would take my life?”

Another victim of Goron’s? No. Baltizar was solely to blame. Goron had been the voice encouraging Baltizar to take the life of his father, but Baltizar’s hand held the blade. There had been other ways to remove Xander from power, ways that didn’t include taking his life, but Baltizar chose the easy way out. Just as he’d done his entire life, just as his grandfather had taught him.

Baltizar covered his shame the only way he knew how. He turned his back on his father.

Instead of turning to peace, he was confronted by another spirit. Another life ended too soon. Deseray, Xander’s second wife and Baltizar’s stepmother. The one who gave birth to the child of his heart. Genevieve might have killed her in body, but it was Baltizar’s lack of emotional interest that killed her soul. She’d wanted them to be a family—the three of them—Deseray, Genevieve, and Baltizar, but he’d refused her. Perhaps if he’d agreed to join with her, she’d still be alive today.

“Genevieve deserves to die, Baltie.” Hatred ignited in Deseray’s eyes, turning the brilliant gold to red. “She’s been corrupted by your grandfather’s evil. There’s no turning back. You must destroy her before another life is destroyed.”

“How can you say that? She’s your child.” Fear strangled Baltizar’s lungs like a vice, shutting off his ability to breathe. “She loved you. What she did, she was forced to do.”

“Your grandfather may have introduced the poison to her blood, but Genevieve’s evil is her own.” With a flick of her wrist, the horror of her words replayed within the nightmare. Genevieve, crouched beside an animal, drinking greedily. Her hands, so small, so tender, grasped the creature’s neck and ripped its head from its body. Genevieve, standing over her mother, her fingers dripping blood while Deseray’s agonized scream rebounded among the trees. Her eyes missing from their sockets. Genevieve, her pouting lips stained crimson, kneeling beside the still body of Angelica Crossley, the half Skua-Sparrow, half dragon Transcendent who’d risked her life to save the one who’d drained her blood.

“Destroy her.” The words echoed around him, crashing into his soul like a hurricane, destroying his heart faster than a silver blade.

“No!” Baltizar covered his ears, refusing to listen to the truth ringing from Deseray’s lips.

From the mist, a hand reached out and touched his arm. Gently, like the brush of the wind. Its warmth spread through Baltizar, cleansing the stench of anxiety. He knew the face, her picture hung on the wall of his family’s home for decades. Annabel, his mother. A sad smile played across her lips as she led him away from his current torment and into the warmth of the sun.

“Ignore them.” She placed her arm in his, her face radiating the love she’d held for her only child. “Walk with me, Baltizar. Let me show you how life was back before the hunger destroyed a great man.”

The fog lifted and Baltizar found himself surrounded by the warmth of the Australian sun, and the radiance surrounding his mother. Her hair, the white blonde of the Waarheid Clan, hung down her back in thick waves, the ends blending with the soft feathers of her wings. Laugh-lines surrounded her golden eyes as she smiled, and her face glowed with the love she held for her son. Long, tapered fingers softly caressed Baltizar’s cheek before motioning toward the vision surrounding them. “See with your heart, Baltizar, and remember.”

The Skua-Sparrow community he recalled from his youth thrived. Dragons trained with their counterparts, the Skua-Sparrow tilled the land, and both worked side by side tending cattle. The scene resembled that of Whispering Hills, the North Texas based Skua-Sparrow congregation above the Mawlan community’s main underground location, but the beauty before him was the heart of the Australian compound.

“You see, this is how it was, how it will be again, but another will see to that.” Annabel moved closer to the central square of the compound, leading Baltizar farther into the past, but her last words lingered in his mind.

“Another will see to that.” The cryptic words confused him. He was the leader of their clan. Why would another rebuild what had been destroyed? Was he to die? Was his mother warning him?

“Your grandfather made the first mistake,” she continued, as her hand once again rested in the crook of his arm. “You see him there?” With a delicate nod of her chin, she motioned toward a small group gathered near a well.

Baltizar had always known where his looks had come from, had been told he was the spitting image of Goron, but seeing his grandfather at such a young age, there was no mistaking the resemblance. White blond hair and wings, angular face, golden brown eyes, all were the mark of the Waarheid; however Baltizar, just as his father and grandfather before him, carried an aura of angelic serenity that drew attention. Not that Baltizar thought of himself as beautiful, it was how others perceived him.




2 Responses to “Child of the Dragon…”

  1. Jeanne Guzman January 17, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    I’ve had fun being the author of the week! Thank you so much for having me!

  2. SheilaDeeth January 17, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    And I had fun reading your excerpts.

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