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380 pages, Hardcover
First published April 26, 2016
His fingertips came to rest against the back of my hand, sending a zip of current through my whole body. “I’m done hiding,” he whispered. “Nothing has changed. I know we might not have a lot of time, but what we do have, I want to spend right here.”
It had been her mercy, her refusal to kill a known enemy, that had made me realize the Order was wrong. It was because of her that I was here now, risking my life to protect the creatures I’d once driven toward extinction. Because a dragon had spared the life of a soldier of St. George, and everything had changed.
But I would not break. I would not give up Ember’s location, or Riley’s underground. The next few hours might have me wishing I was dead, but I would not betray the girl I loved to the organization. They would have to kill me.
Helpless, I clenched my fists against my back, well aware that every mile, every minute that ticked by, took me ever farther from getting to them in time and closer to losing the red dragon forever.
“I couldn’t,” he finally whispered. “You were the one who taught me to live, to take chances. For a while, I convinced myself that we were too different, and that it was better to let you go. But now, I’ve come to the realization that my life is probably going to be very short. And I want to spend it doing something that matters. With someone that matters. I don’t want to regret that I gave up without a fight.”
“Your friends are…interesting,” she said, making me snort. “I would hate to see your enemies.” She looked back at me, black eyes assessing. “You did not mention that one of the ‘friends’ you risked your life for was desperately hoping he could rip your head off.”
“I was a soldier of the Order,” I said wearily. “He’s the leader of a rogue dragon underground. I’m sure I’ve killed a few of his dragons in the past." I’m also stupidly in love with the girl he considers his, and we both know it.
Our enemies-my enemies-wouldn’t win. The demon lizards had hurt me for the last time. Now, they had a new foe, and I would make sure they remembered my name when I destroyed them on the battlefield.
I would work hard.
I would excel.
I would become the perfect soldier.
My heart seemed to stop. Garret paused, as if gathering his thoughts, or his courage, then took a deep breath. “I know I’ve made mistakes,” he continued, shaking his head. “But there’s still the chance for me to fix them. I shouldn’t have walked out that night.” His brow creased, a flicker of pain and regret going through his eyes. “Ember, I know you can’t feel what I do,” he said. “I get that. But…I want to be with you. And if that’s not possible, I’ll be content just to be close. Fighting Talon with you and Riley, helping people, saving other dragons from the Order-there is nothing I want more. And nowhere else I want to be.”
One hand traced small circles against my back, and I pressed closer to him, listening to his heartbeat. “I used to think that having nothing to live for made you a better fighter,” he murmured. “Turns out I was wrong on a lot of fronts.”
We stared at each other, a thousand emotions simmering below the surface. My thoughts and feelings were a tangled mess, woven around each other until it was impossible to separate them. Garret stood there, wounded and beautiful, the shadow of the boy staring out through the soldier’s mask, and guilt settled in my stomach like a lead ball.
"I swallowed. 'There's no right answer, is there?'
'There never is in war.'
“Wes!” Riley snapped, glaring back at the elevator. “Get out here. The shooting has stopped so you can stop cringing now.”
“Oh, well, pardon me for actually having the sense to get out of sight when bullets start flying through the bloody air,” Wes snarled back, coming out of the elevator tube. “I don’t have scales or armor or the testosterone God gave a gorilla, so you’re all going to have to calm your tits until it’s safe.”
Sometimes, hard choices were necessary. We couldn't remain ignorant and sheltered any longer. This was a war, and war demanded casualties. It was time to grow up.
"I don't have scales or armor or the testosterone God gave a gorilla, so you're all going to have to calm your tits until it's safe."
Es ist keine Paranoia, wenn sie wirklich hinter dir her sind.
Review also posted on Samodivas
I wanted to fly up beyond the clouds, where nothing would hear me but the stars.