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Authors: Elianne Adams

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Call of the Dragon (Return to Avalore Book 1)

BOOK: Call of the Dragon (Return to Avalore Book 1)
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Table of Contents

Call of the Dragon

Copyright © 2014 by Élianne Adams

Dedication

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

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About the Author

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Call of the Dragon

Book 1 in the Return to Avalore Series

 

By

 

Élianne Adams

Copyright
© 2014 by Élianne Adams

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Cover Art by
Fantasia Frog Designs

ISBN 978-0-9939003-0-3 (EPUB)

 

Dedication

I’d like to take a moment to say a special thank you to my wonderful husband. Without his encouragement and complete faith in me, I’d never have been able to make this dream of becoming an author a reality.

Thank you to my three amazing children, who understood and patiently waited while I worked endless hours at my keyboard.

To my mentors, Annie Nicholas and Suzan Butler, your knowledge and guidance have meant the world to me. And finally, to the amazing Divas and Dudes at Romance Divas. I couldn’t have gotten this far without all of you.

 

 

Chapter 1

Memories, dark and excruciating, weighed heavily on Rhia’s soul. Her feet dragged as though wearing boots lined with lead as she plodded her way home. The distance stretched like miles instead of a few short blocks.

Had it only been four years since her mother’s death? Some days the nightmare was so fresh she could still smell the heady scent of her blood, while other days, it was as though she’d been on her own forever. Alone in a world that didn’t understand her. One that rejected things they couldn’t comprehend.

She’d witnessed firsthand how unforgiving people could be when faced with the unknown, and who could blame them? She herself didn’t understand the things she did. Her gifts, as her mother had called them, weren’t much of a blessing. She had to keep them hidden otherwise
they
would come.

Being different was more dangerous than people thought.

The only person who’d ever accepted her was gone. The brutal and vicious way in which she’d died tainted even the sweetest memories.

Rhia’s abilities didn’t matter. She seldom used them. They just weren’t worth the headache. Only when someone was in desperate need, and no one else was around, did she even dare try.

Leaving the Angels of Grace Hospice tonight had been tough. Her time spent at the hospice, sitting with people in their final hours, holding their hands, giving comfort when they’d otherwise be alone, was done.

Some might find sitting with a stranger just waiting for them to die a bit morbid, but the satisfaction she got from being there for someone who, like her, had no one else gave her a sense of purpose. It’d been a long time since she’d had a place to belong, a place where she’d mattered, but she couldn’t stay. The next time they called for her to come sit with a patient she’d be gone. She’d delayed the inevitable for far too long already.

A wave of dark energy slammed into her, making the hair on the back of her neck stand on end.

Damn it.

The closer she got to her apartment, the thicker the malevolence became.

Shoulders drooping, she groaned. She didn’t have to see it to know what would be waiting for her when she got home. They’d found her again.

She’d used her gifts tonight at the hospice, and she’d have to pay the price. The overwhelming fatigue, a side effect of her gift, was bad enough, but sometimes, the repercussions were far worse.

The power she drew from to heal attracted the dark beings, creatures most people didn’t even know existed. Ones she wished she could forget.

The lone streetlamp cast eerie shadows that moved along the dingy rows of apartment buildings. It flickered, making a strange clicking sound that sent shivers racing down her spine.

An uncomfortable pang in the pit of her stomach had bile rising in her throat, leaving a sour metallic taste in her mouth. Oh yes, they’d found her.

Her body ached, and her heart squeezed in her chest. She was so tired even her spirit quivered. Forcing her mind into a blank slate, she focused on the task before her. Like it or not, she’d have to face them, so she might as well be ready. Indulging in a pity party wouldn’t help her or the poor sap caught in the creature’s torture.

Even at a distance, the creature’s power resonated in the air around her. Being strong and quick on her feet only got her so far in this kind of battle. It wouldn’t give up its victim without a fight, and she was already drained, but she’d be damned if she’d just let it win.

Crouched by the crumbling steps of her apartment building, it waited for her. It hadn’t spotted her yet, but it was just a matter of time. Little wafts of white steam rose from its body, giving it a sinister glow in the flickering light as it clenched and unclenched its big, meaty fists.

Only the strongest of the beasts could sustain their own forms. Her heart sank. The ratty old coat her neighbor always wore lay in a shredded heap at the base of the steps. Most of the time, she could get rid of the dark one without the host coming to any harm, and for John’s sake, she hoped that would be the case tonight. When she couldn’t, she had to deal with the crazed shell of the human left behind.

Kicking a pebble, she sent it skittering down the sidewalk towards the freakish animal, making it turn its monstrous head in her direction. Its dark, soulless eyes bore into her, recognition flashing across its ugly features.

“Does Emma know you’re out here this late at night, John?” She tried to reassure him, hoping that the beast hadn’t gone too far, and he could still hear her.

Shifting her weight to the balls of her feet, she readied to spring into action.

She tried to lure the beast with the soft chants she’d sung with her mother as a child. The foreign words didn’t mean a thing to her, and for all she knew it was gibberish, but she used them just the same, if only to make her feel better.

Its upper lip curled back, exposing its sharp, yellowed teeth as it threw its mangy head back and roared.

God, how she hated the creatures. Drawing in a sharp breath, she stood her ground. If she didn’t fight for him, John would be dead within minutes.

Feet apart and body angled to provide the smallest target possible, she waited, gathering energy around her.

Its dark obsidian eyes never wavered as it stood to come at her, and low, wicked growls escaped with each breath it took.

The blood drained from her head as her heart began to race. She’d fought the beasts before, but who could get used to something like that?

Standing at least seven feet tall, with wide shoulders, it made her quake in her boots. Muscles bulged on its hairy arms as it flexed and released its fists. Blade-like claws tipped each finger, each one a lethal weapon she had to keep in her sights. Matted, foul smelling brown fur covered it from head to toe.

It snarled again, exposing its razor-sharp teeth and red, bleeding gums. Hatred and determination glittered in its eyes.

“Come to me, evil one. I’ll help you find the right path. The rest you deserve is within your grasp. Your time here is done and you’re tired of this fight. Come, find peace.” Rhia’s voice swelled as she stepped closer.

Stopping dead in its tracks, the beast leaned forward as though straining to hear every nuance, every inflection. The purity of her voice had the beast swaying, and its eyes glazing as it seeped into the creature’s soul. It seemed like it was going to work this time, until it shook its massive head, clearing the haziness she’d created before it roared in fury.

Rhia gathered healing light and energy. She should have centered herself or at least paid attention to where the power was coming from, but time wasn’t on her side, and no way in hell was she closing her eyes on the monster before her. The beast wouldn’t wait for her to be ready. If anything, it would attack fast and hard, hoping to catch her off guard.

The heavy thumping against the pavement rattled nearby windows as its large feet stomped closer and closer.

In a matter of seconds, it reached her and drew its paw high in the air, before swiping at her. Sharp claws sliced through her blouse and arm, leaving three deep, angry gouges in their wake. Eyes watering, her vision blurred for a moment as fiery pain shot up her arm. Warm blood trickled down to her elbow, but she wouldn’t let herself be distracted. Shoving the pain and discomfort aside, she focused on the beast. Already fatigued from her work at the hospice, she had to end it, and fast. She wouldn’t last in a long battle, not tonight.

A faint mosquito-like buzzing niggled at her mind. What kind of trick was it using on her? Leaping to the side, she dodged another swipe as its paw came up again for another strike.

Timing her move, she struck with everything she had as it raised its arm a third time. Her left leg swung out and delivered a hard roundhouse kick to its thigh at the exact moment she released the scorching ball of light from her hands. She’d have preferred to land her kick to its groin, but with its massive stature, she’d have to be Bruce Lee to kick that high.

The ball of energy whined through the air, and disappeared into its chest, making it falter. Its eyes softened for a moment before darkening again with ruthless determination.

White-hot, searing power sizzled in her palms as she prepared to strike again. “Come on, Benji. You could have at least pretended that kick hurt a little.” She goaded the creature, hoping it would get sloppy as its fury rose. “Give up. You’ve already lost. It’s time for you to go to whatever hell you came from.”

The beast shook its head like a wet dog and roared as it fought the compulsion. Blood-laden spittle spewed from its mouth, arcing towards her in a repulsive stream.

“You cannot get rid of me so easily, regal one.” The beast spat the words, its voice grating and hoarse. “I am too strong, even for you. Your time has ended before it has begun.”

The Erritrol was close. Its black aura surrounded him as surely as his cloak did. The wisps of darkness floated in the air, naked to the human eye, but tainting it just the same.

There was a subtle difference between an ill deed and an actual negative entity. Although a depraved act was unpleasant, a negative entity had the ability to influence others in a malicious way. This was definitely the latter.

He had no allegiance to humans, but how could he, in good conscience, allow their needless suffering at the hands of the beast unleashed here? Humans had neither the knowledge nor the ability to protect themselves against the Erritrols. He knew firsthand of the dark creatures’ depravity, their merciless, brutal ways. As much as he needed to continue with his search, he could not allow humans to become fodder for the beasts.

Drake sprinted down the narrow alleyway towards the creature, jumping over a stray cat as it crossed his path. The beast was near. Its rancid odor intensified the closer he got. The buildings in this older part of the city, built tall and close together, made it impossible to see beyond the corner. The violence washing over him was like a homing device, leading him straight to it. He could only hope it hadn’t harmed too many humans yet. He surrounded himself in a thick layer of white light, pulling it close, cloaking himself deeply before heading into battle.

BOOK: Call of the Dragon (Return to Avalore Book 1)
7.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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