Dragon Update with Excerpt
Editing of the first draft of The Dragon of Doughton Park continues. So far, the consensus is the sequel is better than The Draculata Nest. So that means either I’m improving as a writer or there was a lot of room for improvement. Hey, probably a little of both, huh? Whatever. I’m pretty sure y’all are going to like Dragon, and I couldn’t resist posting one of the real action scenes in this week’s blog.
First, a little setup. Clifford and his self-appointed bodyguards are returning from a successful battle with the vampires of the Outer Banks Nest. They are crossing the Dare Memorial Bridge (this is the longest bridge in NC, and rises 66 feet over the navigational channel of Pamlico Sound) in a fierce thunderstorm when they are attacked by a group of semi-automatic-wielding pets from a neighboring vampire nest. Oh, by the way, you have to remember… werewolves can’t swim.
Another volley of thunk’s and thwick’s rattled the vehicle. The rear windshield imploded, and they were showered with wet glass.
“I need to get out so I can change,” said Kendall.
“Don’t,” Nicole cautioned. “We’re sitting ducks on this side of the car.”
“Stay inside and down, everybody,” said Clifford. He glanced up speculatively at the sun roof. Another volley ripped through the vehicle.
“They’re gonna shoot us to pieces if we don’t get out,” said Cody.
“Hang on a second,” Clifford said. He rubbed his hand over Heather’s back. “Heather, you okay?”
“Head…hurts,” she said.
Okay, just stay down. I’m going through the roof. I’ll draw their fire."
Clifford took a deep breath and vaulted upwards, crashing through the roof and letting his wolf out. Outside, he found himself temporarily blinded by the driving rain, his hind paws finding uncertain purchase on the slick metal. He swiped the back of a forepaw across his eyes.He could make out a dark colored SUV sitting sideways across lanes about fifty yards ahead. Two armed figures crouched at either end. They were human. Why was that a surprise? Of course, they would have to be, this time of day.
He pushed all questions to the back of his mind. A third human stood frozen in his tracks about halfway between the two vehicles, staring in disbelief at Clifford. As he brought his weapon to bear, Clifford sprang.
He heard the bullets thunk into the roof behind him. As soon as he hit the ground, he sprang in the opposite direction, zigzagging his way towards the man as bullets continued to whiz past him from the man’s semi-automatic. He closed the distance quickly, and as one of the projectiles ripped through his side, his jaws closed around the man’s throat, cutting short a gurgling scream.
Another bullet took a piece from his flank as the ones crouched in cover behind the SUV opened fire. He bounded towards the far side of the bridge, drawing their fire away from his friends trapped in the SUV.
“I’m clear,” said Kendall.
“Me, too,” said Nicole.
Clifford glanced over his shoulder and saw Nicole and Kendall scurrying around to seek cover between the disabled SUV and the guardrail of the bridge. Seconds later, he could hear the wet cracking of bones and vertebrae as they began to change. He turned back to face his attackers.
Another figure emerged from the dark SUV and opened fire while his two companions reloaded. Hoping there were no more waiting to open fire, Clifford took advantage of the time it took the others to reload and bounded towards them, again in a zigzag pattern. Two more bullets ripped into his midsection before he reached the man.
Howling in rage and pain, he batted away the man’s gun with one paw and raked the other across his belly, disemboweling him. He looked up just in time to see one of the others running around the end of the vehicle. As the man raised his weapon to fire, Clifford hurled the body of his screaming victim and its trailing entrails in the shooter’s direction. The man’s screams were cut short as his companion’s bullets ripped into his ruined body.
Cody’s wolf suddenly appeared to knock the fallen one’s weapon from his hand. Clifford heard several muffled shots from the other side of the vehicle. “That one’s taken care of,” said Kendall.
“Don’t kill him, Cody,” said Nicole. “We need to ask him some questions.”
Clifford looked up to see Nicole’s snow white form standing beside Cody, who straddled, snarling, over the terrified human.
Clifford shook himself, dimly aware of the pain coming from numerous wounds. “Is that all of them?” he asked.
“Yeah,” answered Nicole. “Looks like there were only four. Uh oh, maybe not. Look.”
They all looked up to see a set of headlights approaching rapidly from the western end of the bridge. More bullets whizzed past.
“Shit,” said Clifford. “Take cover.”
Cody let out a yelp as a volley of bullets riddled the body of the man under him, several ripping into his flank. He vaulted over to join the others hunkered down behind their assailants’ vehicle. He winced as he sat on his haunches beside Nicole. “Ouch.”
“You okay, sweetie?” Nicole asked.
Cody panted, his tongue lolling from the side of his jaws. “I will be.”
“Can you run?” asked Clifford.
“How about you, Kendall?”
“Not a scratch on me, Mr. Crane,” said the huge black wolf.
The approaching car, a black limousine, skidded past them and came to a stop in their direct line of sight. The wolves scurried around to the other side of the vehicle for cover as six armed men poured forth and opened fire.
“Where’s Heather?” said Clifford.
“I’m here,” Heather answered.
“Here,” she said, as the body of one of the men crumpled against the limo and went still.
Heather, still in human form, stood over the body of first man Clifford had taken down. She had the fallen man’s semi-automatic trained on the group of attackers crouched around the limo. She fired again, taking down a second man.
The others immediately turned their weapons on her and opened fire. She dove to the side, rolled, and came up firing again.
Clifford howled and launched himself over the SUV and towards the men firing at Heather. His movement distracted them, and they brought their weapons to bear on him. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Heather crawl back to the body of the man lying in the road. She rolled the body on its side, using it for cover, and opened fire again.
The limo suddenly drove away, its tires squealing, leaving four panicked humans firing in all directions as the wolves slammed into them. Clifford could feel the pain of the others wounds mingled with his own as some of the bullets found their mark. Then, the shooting stopped.
Clifford looked up from the body of the man whose throat he’d just ripped open. He resisted the instinct to shake himself, knowing it would be too painful with all the wounds he’d sustained. Besides, the rain was still pouring down in sheets, the gusts of wind pushing waves of runoff-mixed-with-blood across the highway. There was no way a shaking would dry his pelt.
“How’s everybody doing?” Clifford asked.
One-by-one, the other wolves answered.
“Not too bad.”
“Heather?” He looked across the road to see her pushing herself slowly to her feet.
She stood shakily, her shoulders hunched forward and the borrowed weapon hanging loosely from her right hand. Her gaze was on the body in the road before her and her hair hung in wet clumps, hiding her face. She gave a tired wave with her left hand. “Who were these guys?” she called.
“I don’t know,” said Cody, “but they’re coming back. Look out.”
The driver of the limo had turned around and was fast approaching from the east, accelerating towards them. Everyone bounded for cover.
She raised her weapon and drew a bead on the driver as the limo barreled towards them. White flowers of splintered glass bloomed across the windshield as she held down the trigger and tracked the path of the approaching vehicle.
A bullet smacked into her right shoulder, whipping her body ninety degrees and sending the semi-automatic flying from her hand. Two more slammed into her chest, sending her backpedaling into the guardrail of the bridge. Arms flailing, she hit the rail as a fourth impacted just below her collar bone.
Clifford watched in horror as her body teetered for a second on the railing, then disappeared over the bridge.
As the limo skidded past them and crashed into the opposite guardrail, Clifford launched himself towards the place Heather had gone over the rail. He covered the distance in three bounds, and, without hesitation, leapt over the guardrail after her.
The others stared in disbelief.
Yeah, that was a fun scene to write, one of many towards the end of the book. I tried to oblige my editing team by including more fighting in the sequel, which was pretty easy to do since the wolves are being drawn into full scale war, which will be the backdrop to Red Wolf Rising. If you’re interested in learning more about the world of the Red Wolf of Prophecy, click on one of the links below…
Until next time, Happy Reading!
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