Mark of the Dragon
by JW Troemner
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
Rosario Hernandez doesn't ask for much. She'd like to sleep on a bed instead of a sidewalk, to know where her next meal is coming from, and maybe, if she's really feeling optimistic, to get a girlfriend. More than anything, though, she wants her best friend Arkay to not murder anyone— because Arkay is a dragon, claws and all, and she has a penchant for vigilante justice. When Arkay's latest escapade goes sour, Rosario gets stuck with a stolen van and a cooler full of human organs. Now they're on the run, and it's not just the cops who want answers. The owner of the cooler is still out there, and they want to replace what they've lost— by any means necessary.
“What have ya got there?” Raimo asked when his inspection reached the back of the van.
“No clue,” I said, coming around front. “The guy we got this from said he was delivering something.”
“Like what, a case of beer?” He tipped the box back a few inches, and it made a wet gravelly sound. “It looks like a cooler.”
“Must have been some excellent beer,” I said, tapping the padlock that sealed the lid. “You don’t get ice boxes like this at Walmart.”
An excited grin crossed Raimo’s face. “Let’s find out, shall we? Give me a second.” He vanished into the garage and came out with what I could only describe as a murder weapon. “Watch your fingers, Hiccup.”
This wasn’t a friendly little set of bolt cutters. It had wicked blades nearly as long as “Isn’t that a bit excessive?” I asked.
“I know, right?” he squealed. “I just got her in. Isn’t she gorgeous? I’m going to call her Matilda.”
“Ooh, did Raimo get a new toy?” Arkay called from inside. “I wanna see!” She bounded out to join us, bits of moisture still dripping down from her damp hair.
The padlock could probably have been pulled off with a solid pull, but Raimo caught the remaining sliver of metal between Matilda’s jaws with an almost dainty twist. Another roar, and the pieces fell away.
“All right,” Arkay said, taking the lid with both hands. “Let’s see what we’ve got here.”
Matilda hit the floor with a solid thunk as Raimo stumbled back. “Jesus Christ!”
It took me a moment longer to make sense of the metallic, meaty smell and the sudden flash of red.
Booklover Sue Asks:
What is your favorite scene in your new release?
That’s a great question!
This weekend I’ll be launching the penultimate story in the Urban Dragon series, Remnants and Revenants. The book gets back into one of my favorite things—exploring abandoned factories in near-absolute darkness. I’m a big fan of spelunking and urban exploration both, so if you ever have the chance (and the permission—don’t do anything illegal!) to explore dark scary places, I highly recommend it. And if you don’t, you can live vicariously through everybody’s favorite dragon.
In my favorite scene in R&R, Arkay comes face-to-face with the reanimated skeleton of another dragon. If you’ve read any of the rest of the series, you’ll know that dragons in this series are a particularly vain, territorial, confrontational bunch. So of course, this meeting turns into a total sass-off. Dragons are by far my favorite thing to write, because they don’t know the meaning of the word subtlety. Everything they do is overblown and over-the-top, and it means they can go from being utterly terrifying to absolutely ridiculous in record time—or they can be both at the same time. After all, it’s a giant fire-breathing intelligent lizard that can eat you, regardless of its life choices. It makes for the most fun writing, and I really hope it’s just as much fun to read.
If that sounds like your cup of tea, here’s a sample of that scene:
My light glinted along the carved surface of a femur, […] still porous and unpolished. The bones shifted with a light clatter, tilting to better catch the light.
If there’d been any doubt in my mind that it was a dragon, it evaporated.
It was wrapped dramatically around the entrance we’d come through, waiting for my flashlight to strike its skull, posing like this was a goddamn photoshoot instead of an ambush.
Look at my bones. Aren’t they pretty? Aren’t they grand? Don’t I impress you? Gaze upon me and tremble, puny mortals.
“It couldn’t just be a giant-ass skeleton,” I muttered. “Oh, no. It had to be a diva.”
JW Troemner was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States, where she lives with her partner in a house full of pets. Most days she can be found gazing longingly at sinkholes and abandoned buildings.
Mailing list: http://eepurl.com/bRaRF5
JW Troemner will be awarding $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.