Sneak Preview: Hidden Power – Chapter 1

Here’s Chapter 1 of Hidden Power (Must Love Dragons, 2).

Chapter One

Sharp talons slashed at my face, missing me by mere inches. I jumped back in alarm and fell to the ground. I yelped at my attacker. “Are you trying to tear my face off?”

The shifter’s ice-blue eyes glittered as she let out a high-pitched cackle. “What do you think?”

“This is crazy,” I said, the panic clear in my voice.

She moved toward me with a predatory step. I scrambled backwards, looking around frantically for a weapon. My gaze fell upon a sword and a club laying on the ground about ten feet away. I pushed myself to my feet and sprinted toward the club. I picked it up and turned to face the shifter.

“What are you going to do with that?” Amusement colored her voice. She could have stopped me at any time. My speed was a snail’s pace compared to her supernatural one.

“I’m going to smash your head in,” I told her boldly. Despite its weight, the club was easy to pick up and wield. I imagined it was a baseball bat and visualized exactly how I would hit her.

The shifter threw her head back and laughed again. I couldn’t see what was so funny. If she was going to claw off my face, then I would club hers to oblivion. “Let’s see you try that, human,” she sneered.

The word made something inside me twist. I pushed the feelings aside, locking them away. There was time for that later if I survived this encounter.

“My name’s Vanessa,” I told her, glaring back at her smug expression.

“Come on then, Vanessa, let’s see what you’ve got,” the shifter said as she cracked her knuckles.

I winced at the sound.

A sharp smile crossed her face. She rushed at me and I raised the club and swung toward her. Before the club could connect with her body, she dropped to the ground as if she was about to do a push-up. The club swung harmlessly over her head. She jumped back up, showing off her agility and strength as her knees reached her chest. Before I could swing the club back around, her hand clamped around my neck and she lifted me off the ground. I dropped the club, my hands clawing at her fingers which tightened around my neck like a noose. She raised me higher as if I was as light as a kitten. My toes barely touched the floor.

“It seems like the club isn’t the best weapon for you,” she mused, glancing at the discarded object.

I cursed at her, but it came out as a strangled gurgle.

She tilted her head and looked at me as if contemplating how easy it would be to simply tighten those fingers around my neck and end my life. I raised a knee and tried to kick at her body, but she blocked me with her left hand. I used my other leg to kick her and winced as I made contact with her hard body. She swatted at me like I was a fly.

It was becoming more difficult to breathe.

“You’re still far too slow,” she said. “You have to work more on your defensive skills.”

No kidding.

Her fingers released me, and I fell to the ground as my legs gave out under me. She looked down at me as I gasped for air. She rolled her eyes at my slumped form.

“She’s alright,” she said.

Still trying to get my breath back, I frowned, wondering who she was talking to.

“I didn’t hurt her,” she said over her shoulder to a person I couldn’t see. “Much,” she added.

She pivoted to the side, revealing a tall man with a grim expression on his face and narrowed eyes. Guillen.

“What are you doing with Vanessa?” he asked Shaima.

“She asked for self-defense lessons. I’ve been giving them to her.” Shaima shrugged.

Guillen’s expression asked me to confirm or deny her assertion.

I opened my mouth and a croak came out instead of a yes. I cleared my throat and tried again. “I asked her. She didn’t hurt me,” I confirmed. “Much.”

“Why?” Guillen asked me. “Have you been threatened?”

“I used to take self-defense lessons back in my old town.” It was the truth. Ever since my mother had tried to kill me, I had been taking consistent classes. And when she had tried to kill me again I worked even harder to protect myself. I didn’t want to forget what I’d learned especially in light of where I was living.

I had purposely ignored answering Guillen’s question. I hadn’t been threatened yet, but every day that I spent living in the Dragon Research and Authority Center was another day that I was at risk. I had been admitted into the Dragon Research Initiate Program as a human. It wasn’t until Aisha, the assassin, had tried to wipe my memory that I had discovered that I was a witch. And if the dragons knew what I was, then they would kill me. They wouldn’t suffer a witch to live among them.

But I couldn’t just leave the program. I needed to find out more about what I was, but the longer I stayed, the more I risked someone discovering my secret.

“Self-defense lessons with a shifter isn’t the same as human self-defense lessons,” Guillen said, stating the obvious.

“We’ve had several lessons. I haven’t sent her to the infirmary yet.” Shaima cracked her knuckles. The sound made me wince again. I ran a hand up to my neck and felt the soreness there. That was going to leave a bruise.

Guillen watched my hand and frowned at Shaima. “As long as you remember she’s just a human.”

If he only knew.



I hope you enjoyed the chapter. Start at the beginning with Beautiful Magic or continue the story with Hidden Power. 

Thanks to Readers, I got a Steak Dinner

My friend said if I beat my record of 37 reviews (Magic Runes) she’d buy me a steak dinner. I asked my readers for help, and guess what? Readers, we won! Supernatural Slayer has 70 reviews to date. I promised you a photo of the steak and here it is:

That’s 1kg of delicious meat. And no, I couldn’t finish it all myself. I shared it with two other friends. Thank you for helping me win my bet! And thank you for leaving such generous and kind reviews. I’m really happy you enjoyed Supernatural Slayer.

Magic Runes got a few extra reviews since I set up that bet, with the total now at 41 reviews.

It’s interesting to see how the other books compare to the ones above. They have a considerably lower number of reviews. My first book A Sword of Fortune and Fate, published in July 2017 has 19 reviews.

The follow-up book A Sword of Shadows and Light published in August 2017 has 9 reviews.

My latest release Beautiful Magic has 7 reviews.

I don’t usually ask for reviews in my newsletter so it was fun to win this bet. Thank you to the 70 people that helped me do that today. A special thanks to those that left reviews on my other works. If you have the time and want to show the other books some love, consider leaving a review on them too.

A couple of readers had asked me how I felt toward reviews. Overall, I enjoy reading them because I love seeing what readers thought of the story. Whether they’re positive or negative, they’re all great reviews to me. I appreciate the fact that a reader took the time to write something. My favorite reviews are the ones that let me know what worked and/or what didn’t work for the reader. It’s great insight and can help me with my next project.

A negative review that breaks down where I lost the reader is sometimes more helpful than a generic “I loved it” review. That said, I love all the reviews. The more, the merrier. As you can see from the examples above, I didn’t have much of a history in getting reviews. It’s always exciting to see a new one pop up!

To my readers, I wanted to thank you again for reading my work and for your support. It means the world to this fledgling author. And to each reviewer, thank you for making your voice known. This author reads and appreciates each review, positive or negative, they’re all gold in the end.

Meet Vanessa and Aisha

I commissioned some artwork from the lovely Eri (Twitter @_arururin) and asked her to depict the two heroines of my latest series, Vanessa and Aisha. I’m so excited to finally reveal the art. There will be more characters added as the cast of the series get fleshed out. I may ask some of you to vote on who gets drawn next!

Meet Vanessa from the Must Love Dragons series. 




Meet Aisha from the Supernatural Slayer series.


A Long Overdue Update

I’ve neglected this blog for four long months, it’s time for a long overdue update.

Let’s see, where do I start? I could talk about the new books coming out over the next few days. I have two coming out, one on Sunday and the other on Tuesday.

Supernatural Slayer is Book 1 in the Supernatural Slayer series. It’s centered on Aisha, a bounty hunter/assassin. I had a lot of fun writing this book. The first draft got tossed out because it fell short but it came together in the second rewriting. I’m really happy with how the book has been received by readers so far. It currently has a 4.6 rating on Goodreads and many lovely and kind comments from people in my Readers’ Group.

I sent the ARC copies of Beautiful Magic to some readers just earlier. Beautiful Magic is the first segment in the Must Love Dragons serial with each part under 100 pages long. Its protagonist is a 16-year-old girl named Vanessa who finds herself thrust into the magical world and discovers a secret about herself. A secret that can get her killed.

The serial is set in the same world as Magic Runes and Supernatural Slayer. It’s the hidden magical world of Barcelona. I suppose I should come up with a name for the world but I haven’t yet. If you have any ideas, leave me a comment and let me know what you think the world should be called.

Right now I’m juggling a few projects at once. I have to finish the third and final book in the Dare Valari series. I’m not happy with the second half of A Sword of Blood and Lies and trying to fix it. I’m also working on finalizing Magic Rifts. It’s with the editor and I’m awaiting feedback. It may need one more round to fix things. I want to make sure I put the best possible product out for readers.

I’m also trying to put together print copies of Magic Runes, Supernatural Slayer, and Beautiful Magic. I love how Magic Runes turned out. Here it is visiting one of the locations in the book, the marvelous Barcelona Cathedral.

Sadly, I wasn’t the one who took the photograph. One of my closest friends went to Barcelona and wandered around the city with Carmen by her side. They both went to visit Mateu and have a chat with the snarky gargoyle. My friend sent me many more awesome photos and I’ll be sharing more images over the next few days.

General musings – It’s strange knowing I haven’t published since November 2017. Of course, a short story of mine appeared in an anthology, Beyond Midnight, organized by the lovely Stefan Nardi and some stuff under a pen name. It’s going to be interesting to see how these books do out in the wild. I’m cautiously optimistic.

This is the first time I launch two books at full-price without promotions of any kind. I’m not sure what to expect. I could land flat on my face and have the books sink to the bottom of the Amazon seabed but I’m hoping they find their audience and readers enjoy the stories. That’s all I ask for.