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Authors: Irene Radford

Thistle Down

BOOK: Thistle Down
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Table of Contents
 
 
 
 
COOL WATER SPLASHED AROUND THISTLE …
 
A heavy dose of chlorine burned her eyes.
“What the f . . . !” Thistle tried to open her eyes. It hurt too much to move her neck. Sun dazzle through her closed eyelids intensified the daggers lancing into her mind.
Where had she landed?
Oh, yeah. That was Alder getting even.
Except Pixies weren’t supposed to play tricks on other Pixies. That’s what humans were for.
Shivers racked her entire body. Wet. She was wet, wet, wet. Cold and wet weather sent Pixies into hibernation. She needed to find a warm spot to dry her wings. Then she’d fly back to Alder and give him a taste of his own warped sense of justice.
Without thinking, she started her wings fluttering. All the extra moisture and the chills racking her body would slow her lift.
She’d really let Alder have it.
Nothing happened. Unique and lovely green wings in the shape of double thistle leaves failed to flutter through the air.
What had happened to her wings? Gone!
Her eyes flew open. The remnants of sparkling Pixie dust settled in the pool of water around her legs, taunting reminders that Alder was king of her tribe and more powerful than any three Pixies combined.
She wasn’t in The Ten Acre Wood anymore. . . .
DAW Books Presents
the Finest in Fantasy by
IRENE RADFORD:
 
Merlin’s Descendants:
GUARDIAN OF THE BALANCE (Book 1)
GUARDIAN OF THE TRUST (Book 2)
GUARDIAN OF THE VISION (Book 3)
GUARDIAN OF THE PROMISE (Book 4)
GUARDIAN OF THE FREEDOM (Book 5)
 
The Dragon Nimbus:
THE GLASS DRAGON (Book 1)
THE PERFECT PRINCESS (Book 2)
THE LONELIEST MAGICIAN (Book 3)
THE WIZARD’S TREASURE (Book 4)
 
The Dragon Nimbus History:
THE DRAGON’S TOUCHSTONE (Book 1)
THE LAST BATTLEMAGE (Book 2)
THE RENEGADE DRAGON (Book 3)
 
The Stargods:
THE HIDDEN DRAGON (Book 1)
THE DRAGON CIRCLE (Book 2)
THE DRAGON’S REVENGE (Book 3)
Copyright © 2011 by Phyllis Irene Radford.
 
 
All characters and events in this book are fictitious.
Any resemblance to persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.
 
 
The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal, and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
 
Nearly all the designs and trade names in this book are registered trademarks. All that are still in commercial use are protected by United States and international trademark law.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
First Printing, June 2011
 
DAW TRADEMARK REGISTERED
U.S. PAT. AND TM. OFF. AND FOREIGN COUNTRIES
—MARCA REGISTRADA
HECHO EN U.S.A.
 
 
eISBN : 978-1-101-51593-8

http://us.penguingroup.com

To cancer survivors everywhere who don’t let the disease define them.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:
 
I may write in isolation, but even before
The Glass Dragon
, I relied upon a cadre of critique partners and beta readers. The list grows longer every year and with every book. Sara, Lizzy, Maggie, Jessica, and Bob top the current list. I couldn’t do this without you.
Prologue
 
 
D
USTY WATCHED A GLIMMER of light creep under the wooden mini blinds of her bedroom. The pink ballerinas on her curtains began to take form. A tiny bit of breeze crawling through the open window on this hot August morning made them flutter as if they truly danced. Like the way Dusty imagined herself dancing in the recital last spring. Only, all she and the other preschool girls got to do was bourrée and turn a bit. In her mind, she had flown around the stage like a fairy.
Dusty was five now. Next spring she’d get to really dance in the recital. And she’d let her sandy blonde hair grow long enough to pull back into a proper ballerina bun.
The floorboard in the hallway groaned, right outside her doorway. She held her breath and scrunched her eyes shut, pretending to sleep. Her brother Dick wanted to wake her on this most important day.
“Dusty?” he whispered as he scratched on the white-painted door.
She put her hand over her mouth so he wouldn’t hear her giggle.
The door inched open and almost eleven-year-old (he took pains to remind everyone he was not ten or ten and a half, but almost eleven) Dick peeked around the edge. “You awake, Dusty?”
She held still, playing the game all the way to the end, like he’d told her she had to.
The door creaked a bit on its hinges. Dusty watched Dick cringe at the noise. He froze in place, peeking over his shoulder to see if Mom and Dad woke up.
No shouted warning from Dad. No whining scold from Mom. Dick came farther into the room and shook Dusty’s shoulder. She stirred and opened her eyes. A smile already spread across her face and made her tummy glow. “Is it time?”
“Shush.” Dick held a finger to his lips. Early as it was, he’d combed his dark hair and put on clean shorts and a plain T-shirt the same color as his blue eyes. He looked very handsome.
“I’m ready,” Dusty whispered and climbed out of bed already wearing her pink shorts and a T-shirt with Tinker Bell on the front. She stuffed her feet into her sandals, not caring that the heel strap got twisted.
“You can’t wear that!” Dick said, too loudly.
“Why not?” Dusty dropped her voice to a barely breathing whisper.
“Because Tink’s a Faery. We’re going to visit Pixies. It’s an insult.”
“Oh.” Dusty looked down at her favorite shirt and wondered if she’d ever wear it again. Dashing tears from her eyes at her mistake, a big, bad mistake, she ripped a purple shirt from her drawer. This one had a bouquet of lavender roses with clear glitter on the petals.
BOOK: Thistle Down
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