On June 5th, 2023, be prepared for a deadly new teen novel about a girl who can talk to dragons. To help you get ready, we’re delivering this killer (get it?) exclusive excerpt!
“I didn’t know you cared enough to hold a grudge for me.”
I blush but try my best to ignore it. “Having someone to hold grudges for you is half the reason to bother having friends. Didn’t you know that?”
Maryse rolls her eyes again, but this time it’s accompanied by a fond smile that lights her face. “You’re funny. But don’t worry about it, Lotte. Really. My family’s always been a bit of a mess. Which, given recent developments, I suppose you can relate to. How are you doing with all that?”
I look away, fiddling with my spoon. “Honestly, ever since Mother got kidnapped, I’ve sort of let it go.”
“Let it go?”
“Well, maybe shoved it into a box. There’s nothing that can be done now, and there are more important things to worry about. No time to worry about my family drama when there’s a hostage situation going on.”
“I guess not. It’s still awful, though. You don’t deserve all this mess.”
I know that already, of course, but hearing someone else say it is so nice. Especially Maryse.
“Thanks,” I say softly. “It’s… I wanted to talk all this out with Mother, maybe yell at her a little bit, but mostly get some answers about why she left and why she never talked to me for so long. But then this happened, and I can’t do that, so I’m left thinking about it constantly, pretending like I’m not. I’ve been trying to keep it together, especially in front of her and Ker’kachin, but… Is it pathetic to admit sometimes I want to curl up in a ball and cry until the sun comes up?”
“No,” she says. “I feel that way too, sometimes.”
She finishes her food and begins to pile her dishes up. Before she leaves, though, she touches my shoulder. I turn, and find myself looking up into her eyes. Every time I do that, I worry I’ll forget how to speak. Am I ever going to get used to that dazzling shade of green?
“I’m sorry,” she says.
“It’s not your fault.”
She trails off, and for a moment I think she’ll change the subject, move on before I can find out what she’s thinking.
“I don’t want bad things to happen to you,” she finally says. “And I know it’s inevitable, bad things are part of life, but I don’t want them to be a part of yours.”
Heat flushes through me, and I’m struck by the urge to reach for her hand or press my lips to hers. To share some of this overwhelming warmth and anxiety with her. “Maryse.” Her name is the only word I can manage.
Her smile is small and laced with uncertainty. “Promise you’ll do what you can to get through this.”
Before I can say anything, she stands. Maryse hesitates for a moment before one of her hands comes up to touch my face, and I’m certain she must be able to feel my heartbeat. But if she does, she doesn’t say so. Her fingers brush over my skin, and then, just as quickly as the affection came, it vanishes. Withdrawing her hand, Maryse turns and leaves, her cheeks bright pink and her gaze avoiding mine.
“Promise,” I whisper to the empty air.
She can talk to dragons, but she can’t save you from them…in this sensational new fantasy.
Hearts Forged in Dragon Fire is now available for pre-order.
About the author
Erica Hollis (she/her) writes about queer girls and magic, and getting to do that for an actual job is still unreal to her. HEARTS FORGED IN DRAGON FIRE, her debut F/F fantasy romance, is available in June 2023 with Entangled. Erica’s other passions include cats, book shopping, anime, fairy tales, and being extremely bad at video games but playing them anyway. Feel free to chat with her via her official twitter @EHollisAuthor!
You can follow Erica on Twitter and check out her website to stay up to date on the latest news.
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