Good morning! The wonderful C.M. Barrett has stopped by today to share an excerpt from her book, Big Dragons Don't Cry. Enjoy!
Morale in the country of Oasis has never been worse. The Earthers, a tree-hugging sect, beg forgiveness for their crimes against twigs and weeds. The Godlies preach penitence and suffering and inspire their followers into submission by threatening them with an afterlife spent being chased by a fire-breathing dragon.
All Oasans fear the dragon in the swamp at the country's edge, and they don't know that he fears them. Druid, a water dragon who puts out fires, steams up when he learns that a cunning opportunist intends to exploit dragonphobia and have the dragon killed so that he can level the swamp for suburban housing.
Tara, a kitten with charisma, is trying to bring humans back into balance. She needs to enlist Serazina, a young human woman who hides her ability to read emotions in order to avoid imprisonment in the Ward for the Chronically Crazy. Serazina's troubles grow when Phileas, Guardian of Oasis, chooses her to be the mother of the heir he so badly needs. Before he can consider fatherhood, he needs to stem the mysterious rumors that he's soft on dragons.
Somehow these four must overcome communication difficulties, mutual mistrust, and delusions of human superiority to save the country. Otherwise, even though Druid doesn't breathe fire, Oasis will be toast.
From the Book:
Orion stood on a ridge overlooking the city. As he swayed, exhausted and hungry, the threads of its winding, dirty streets seemed to tighten around his neck in a noose that limited both breath and freedom.
His sister, Sekhmet, nuzzled him with her black nose. “Lost in thought?”
“Wishing you’d waited a year or so to haul me away from the good life.”
“We thought we’d better get on the road before you wore out your equipment, Mr. Tomcat Stud.”
Orion’s other sister, Bast, trotted toward them, her white fur gleaming in starlight. “We’ve come to the right place. The pull is strong.”
“Praise the Many-Taloned One,” Sekhmet said. “My paws are killing me.”
The lights of the city flickered in eye-burning imitation of the starry sky. “It’s not going to be easy,” Orion said. “The smell alone makes me gag. It’s not just the physical stench, but also the foul odor of self-righteousness and fear. And some of the fear is mine. I’ve never failed before.”
Sekhmet raised her ears. “It’s hard to fail when you mount a willing cat. I’m glad you realize you’re facing a far bigger challenge. It gives me hope that you’ve become something more than a swaggering young tom. She of the Rough Tongue is molding you into the cat you were always meant to be.”
“I don’t know about Her rough tongue, but I’ve never doubted yours.”
Bast growled softly. “Enough. Orion, you have to guide us now.”
Panic bristled his fur. “I don’t know; I can’t feel anything.”
Bast scraped her claws against a stone. “Then ask to feel. Have you forgotten you were chosen for more than shining fur and golden eyes?”
“And equipment,” Sekhmet said.
He turned his back on them and washed himself briskly to hide his shame. How could he forget the first lesson all kittens learned? When you got lost, She would always nudge you home.
Orion closed his eyes, and the rasp of Her tongue shivered through him, massaging away the tension that had tightened his limbs, clearing away the resistance and fear that had hidden his path, and even temporarily blurring the memory of well-fed, sleek females.
One final moment of doubt kept him in place. “Are humans worth our sacrifice?”
“Not yet, they aren’t,” Bast said, “but we’re weaving a dream.”
Orion loped down the hill, praying that the gathering strands wouldn’t knot into a noose.
Amazon URL for Dance with Clouds $2.99
Amazon URL for Big Dragons Don't Cry: $.99
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