It’s early days to be posting an excerpt from my upcoming Elder Races novella Dragos Takes a Holiday, because it doesn’t release until November 25th, but enough readers thought it would be fun so….
Here’s the Peanut’s debut as a POV character. In the story Dragos and Pia’s son Liam, or the Peanut, is only three months old, but he is so full of magic, as Pia says, “He’s not so much developing as exploding into reality.” In his human form, he’s the size of a six month old baby and he’s just started to crawl backwards. He also understands much more than most people realize.
**Please note: while I’m posting this for the fun of it, the novella is very much a work-in-progress. This section is subject to editing / change before publication. Also, remember, this is a self-published project, so there is no pre-order option. I’ll be sure to blog, tweet on Twitter and post on Facebook when the novella goes live on November 25th and you can buy it!
I hope you enjoy!
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Mommy carried him into his room. He thought things were going quite well until she set him down on the thick, soft rug in the middle of the floor.
No, that wasn’t what he wanted. That was very much not what he wanted.
He was tired again, and his mouth hurt, and he was hungry all of the time. Hungry for what, he didn’t know. Hungry, hungry.
So he scowled and concentrated mightily on something that he wanted.
And the world shifted.
He felt better. Quite a bit better, actually. His new mouth didn’t hurt at all, but he was still very hungry.
Mommy kept talking as she moved around his room. She pulled diapers out of drawers, set them on the changing table and turned to the closet. “…I want to take you to the beach and play in the sand with you, except I don’t know that we should. Are you too young to play in sand, or to go into salt water? Peanut, you are such a statistical outlier, half the time I have no idea what we should do with you.”
She turned away from the closet, her arms full of clothes. When she looked at him, she shrieked and dropped everything.
It startled him so badly he felt a burst of anxiety. He turned around to scoot backward toward her as fast as he could, but something flopped along his back, and his arms and legs weren’t working quite the way they had been earlier. He stopped, confused, and looked down at himself.
Slender white forelegs stretched to the floor. He picked up a front paw, staring at the talons. Then he looked over his shoulder and flexed sleek, graceful wings. A tail trailed the floor behind him. He reached for it with one forepaw and picked up the end. When he tugged at it, his butt wagged. The tail was attached to him.
Mommy knelt in front of him and cupped his face. He looked up into her eyes. She was teary and yet smiling. “You are the cleverest baby ever,” she said. “You’re so beautiful, and exactly how I first dreamed of you.”
Pleasure sleeked him down, and he smiled at her.
Her eyes went very round. Then she beamed at him. “That’s quite a mouthful of toofers you’ve got there, too.”
She gathered him up in her arms. He tucked his snout into the crook of her neck, and it was so good. It was almost everything he wanted, except….
He was so hungry.
He fussed and whined, and she sat on the floor and rocked him, while she dug her cell phone out of her pocket and moved her thumb rapidly over the keypad. “Dragos, you have to come home right now.”
Daddy’s sharp voice came over the phone. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong exactly, but Liam has changed and he’s upset.”
“What do you mean, he’s changed?”
“I mean he’s changed! He’s in his dragon form, and I can’t even tell you how beautiful he is. He’s also upset for some reason. Maybe it scared him? And you’re missing all of it. You need to come see this.”
“I’ll be right there.”
Mommy set the phone aside as Liam whined and plucked at her shirt. “Are you hungry?” she asked gently. He nodded. “I can’t nurse you when you’re like this, sweetheart, not with all of those razor sharp teeth.”
That was the saddest thing he had ever heard in his whole life. He lifted his head and looked at her, grief bleeding from his eyes.
“Oh Peanut, I’m so sorry. Please don’t look at me that way.” They considered each other desperately. Mommy’s expression turned firm. He folded his wings back and clung to her, as she rolled to her feet and carried him to the kitchen.
She opened the fridge door and pulled out a pan that had the something he was craving. It smelled oh, so good. He arched toward the pan, reaching with both front paws.
“Hold on—let me get the plastic wrap off first.”
She slid to the floor as he struggled to get to the contents in the pan. She snatched off the plastic wrap, set the pan on the kitchen tile, and he fell on the leftover sirloin roast. Eyes closed, his whole body tense, he focused on gorging on the meat.
Running footsteps sounded in the background, but it was only Daddy, so he ignored it. A moment later, Daddy said in a quiet voice, “Well, damn. Look at that. Hello, little man.”
A large, gentle hand came down on Liam’s back, between his wings, and contentment filled him.
“I didn’t know what else to do,” Pia said. “He acted like he was starving, and he has all those teeth. Then I remembered what you said about how he was going to need a lot of meat.”
“You did exactly what you should have,” said Daddy.
Liam finished off the roast. The hungriness had gone away, and his belly felt comfortably stretched and full. Sleepiness descended. Eyes drooping, he looked over his shoulder. Daddy and Mommy knelt on either side of him, both smiling.
He scooted backward toward Mommy. When she gathered him up, he turned to climb up her body until he lay draped along her shoulders.
“I’m telling you, this is just like my dreams,” Mommy said. She reached up to stroke his leg. He stopped listening to their conversation, tucked his snout in the neckline of her shirt and fell fast asleep.