Dragon Blooded by Emma Alisyn & Naima Solis
“Your brother must want you dead,” he said silkily, “to send you armed with this pitiful steel to kill me.”
She reared back, stung how easily he’d come to her same conclusion, losing her balance for a second as his taunt drove home. He was right, of course. Her popularity with the cell had become a threat to Gregory. Her brother likely thought this the most expedient way to get rid of her, especially since she’d continually been questioning his motives, their mission, everything. She’d still had no choice. She’d had no idea she’d have to protect her own sister from their brother.
“Perhaps I’ll let you try,” he mused. He circled her, gaze predator bright. She turned with him.
Kaspien halted suddenly, stretching his arms out wide. “Come. If you strike true, I’ll command my brothers not to hunt you down. You would have impressed me. If you fail. . .”
He was toying with her, but what choice did she have? She couldn’t call a timeout. There was no path but forward. He was a dragon. If she hesitated, if she bared her throat even figuratively, he’d tear it out.
At least this way she’d go down fighting.
Her expression twisted. “I didn’t want this. I have no choice. Lives depend on me.”
He shook his head, clucking his tongue. “There is always a choice. It never ceases to amaze me how poorly most humans choose, though. So disappointing. Which I suppose says something about me as well.”
But even as she raised her knife, the whispers in her head reached a fever pitch, stopstopSTOPSTOP! An electric shock ricocheted inside her skull. She cried out, holding her head in agony. She recognized it now. It was his voice in her head. His and another deeper, gravelly voice that sounded like him. . .if he were a dragon.
“Get out of my head!”
Kaspien stared at her a split second then lunged toward her in a movement too fast for her eyes to follow. A second later a line of fire scored her bare upper arm as his talons slashed downwards.
She stared at the thin line of blood, nearly mesmerized, marveling at his complete control. The depth, the length of the cut was precise. The exact same length and depth as in the selection ceremonies she’d observed.
Alanna realized a thin hiss was filling the room, a rattle that raised every hair on the back of her neck. She jerked her head up, nostril flaring at the sudden scent of spice and scorched things. He stared at her, eyes jewel bright, inferno bright, nothing human left in the way he crouched, the tilt of his head as he stared at her.
Another snarl, and he took a step forward.