Tuesdays are for Teasing! Today I’m returning to the Edgeworld Chronicles as I gear up to the release of Draxton’s Destiny, the second in that series. Draxton’s actions in Subject 5691: Petri lead to his arrest and imprisonment for two long years as the Alliance seeks to recapture their escaped experiment. Frustrated by Draxton’s iron will, his commander places him on the slave market where he’s bought by Losha Brixys, a mysterious offworlder. Like a pebble in a still pond, the effects of that sale ripple through Seshinaar and beyond.
This snippet is from Chapter Two. Draxton has just arrived and been given to Kasseus Minshaar, Chief and Minshaari, as a gift. Though the Minshaari had ordered the immediate removal of the slave bands, they’re proving difficult.
Fieryl hissed. “I’m going to castrate Losha Brixys with a saw made from his teeth, then fuck him with the dismembered cock.”
Draxton hid a wince. That was oddly and frighteningly specific. Like the creature had refined the technique through trial and error.
“That neutered cur tampered with the bands.” Fieryl continued with a low growl. His tail swished and the fur at the end had puffed to twice its size. He removed a tiny magnetic diagnostic bot from a pouch on his belt and attached it to the band on Draxton’s right wrist. Linking it to the program running on his data unit, the cat initiated the scan. “This might take a while.”
The scan flashed 72% when they reached a rough barrier at the end of a narrow corridor. It was a circular railing, but one unlike he’d seen anywhere else in the building. Thick vines twisted around narrow branches, protecting the unsuspecting from falling into a deep chasm. Vibrant red flowers peeked out between softer pink blossoms, hiding jagged thorns as thick as his thumb. It was primitive and savage and beautiful.
And it called to him.
Draxton wasn’t a superstitious man, nor was he religious in any way, but this place spoke to him in a way he could neither describe nor explain. He stepped closer, the need to touch a fire beneath his skin. The corridor fell away. Fieryl’s frustrated growls lost to the urgency. A silent, wordless cry echoed in his very bones—a song of longing, a plea for aid, a call for vengeance. He took another step. He was a soldier. Regardless of his orders, he’d always sought to help more than destroy. That was the reason for the stains on his record. It was why he stood here, a slave instead of a free man. He needed to answer that call.
The wood was a warm, living presence beneath his bound hands, the scent of the flowers both heady and relaxing. He drew in a deep breath, his eyes drifting closed, and stroked one crimson petal. It was satin beneath his fingers, silky smooth and so very alive. It hummed with more power than a space station, sang with joy and loneliness, vibrated with a fury and despair deeper and older than any he’d ever felt. He traced the edge of the blossom with gentle fingers down to the stem. He stroked it, petted it, and felt his soul weep.
A sharp pain wrenched him from his fascination, and he stared at the long, thin cut on his finger. Blood pooled in the shallow wound and glistened on a jagged thorn. Glistened, and then faded as if the plant drank it. What the actual fuck? He stepped away from the vine and shook his head. Did the freaky blood-drinking plant have some sort of hallucinogenic effect? He snorted silently. The way his luck was going lately, it would probably eat him in his sleep. He had to get out of here.
Draxton’s Destiny, June 21, 2022. Preorder now available