What better way to start 2023 than with good books? If you’ve made a resolution to read more, well, we’ve got a good place for you to start — or continue. Last year we had a chance to talk to author Sabrina Blackburry about Dirty Lying Faeries, the first book in the Enchanted Fates series, and today we’re bringing you the cover for the second book, titled Dirty Lying Dragons — plus an excerpt, to get you excited!
Here’s the book cover, and it’s very pretty and colorful.
Here’s a synopsis for the book, in case you want to know what you’re getting into (but read the first book!!):
Set in the same world as Dirty Lying Faeries, Sabrina Blackburry’s next action-packed installment of the Enchanted Fates series introduces us to Dani—a covenless witch whose life changes the moment meets Ryker, a centuries-old dragon.
Dani has never been able to use her magic. She feels like half a witch. She’s covenless and a bit lost, and, at the moment, being hunted by a pack of very aggressive werewolves intent on claiming her for a powerful vampire’s “collection.” When she’s captured, it’s up to a centuries-old dragon named Ryker to come to her aid—and their relationship will rock the supernatural world in ways neither expected nor is prepared for . . .
And here is the excerpt … in this case, the first chapter of the book, because there’s no better place to start!
There’s nothing quite like burning your ankle at seven in the morning to get the blood pumping. My eyes popped open and were met with the avocado green of my retro Chicago bathroom. The bathroom because I had passed out next to the toilet three hours ago and the retro tile because that was what passed as an inconspicuous and affordable apartment for a witch with no coven to have her back and no reliable powers to back her up. Not that anywhere outside the city was much better—the closer you got to trees and shit the more likely you were to run into a fucking fae, and that wasn’t on my bucket list.
“Fuck.” I slapped at the charm on my ankle as it sizzled against my skin and roused me from my night of rum and bad decisions with my both best and worst friend, Jerod. Then I stared at it for a moment, registering why it would even be burning in the first place. The charm. The charm on my ankle. The charm made by far more competent witches than myself that alerted me to impending supernatural dangers. I shot straight up and nearly brained myself on the toilet bowl. “Fuck!”
Adrenaline, still the best hangover cure I’ve ever encountered, fueled my mad dash to the living space as I slid to a stop at the front window, knocking my knees on the windowsill in the process. Thankfully I hadn’t taken off anything from last night before passing out, including my black combat boots, which were about to get some use.
I couldn’t see anything from the side of the building where I had windows, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t still danger nearby. There was rapid knocking on my front door, but it wasn’t until I heard my neighbor’s voice that my stiff shoulders could relax a bit.
“Dani!” Mary’s shrill voice peppered her knocking. “Dani, open up! There’s trouble.”
Her pale-pink eyes were wide in shock and her hair was still only half curled for the day. Hell, the fact that perfect little Mary had left her apartment in her pajama shorts and cami told me everything I needed to know about how urgent this must be.
“What is it?” I asked, resisting the urge to jerk my leg as my anklet started burning again.
“The Blightfang are here,” she said. “You need to go before they catch you!”
The Blightfang were bad news, and I tossed out a few more curses as I pushed away from the window. Fierce werewolves and merciless bounty hunters doing the bidding of a particularly nasty vampire . . . I hadn’t done shit to them, but if the rumors going around were to be believed, their boss was looking around for covenless witches. Mary made a face that told me she believed them. And why wouldn’t she? No one in this building was that strong or that problematic. There was no one else here they would be after but a covenless witch, a description that I happened to match.
I spun around, running for the bed. “What do they want with the witches anyway?”
“Do you need anything? Can I help?” Mary offered, coming into my open doorway.
“Just lock my door and go.” I grabbed the keys from my bedside table and threw them to Mary. A locked door wouldn’t stop the Blightfang, but it might slow them down a minute.
“Are you going to be okay?” she called. “I can get Lance to hold them off . . .”
Offering up the services of the warlock she was shacking up with was a nice gesture, but she and I both knew his second circle ass wasn’t going to stop a werewolf, let alone a group of them with a vicious reputation and a bounty in their sights.
“I’ll reach out if I can.” I offered her a weak smile. “Bye, Mary.”
Her expression pinched, and we both jumped at the sound of a crashing something downstairs. A door, a wall, a person—whatever it was, it spurred both of us into action. The door closed behind my neighbor as I dropped to the floor, sticking my arm under the bed and yanking out a stuffed backpack. Slinging it over my shoulders, I ran for the window and pried it open. When I crawled onto the fire escape, I could see a big car was parked out front eight floors down, definitely not where you’re supposed to be parking, but I had an inkling that the Blightfang didn’t care about parking tickets.
“Shit,” I hissed and pulled myself up the ladder to the next floor. Up and up I went, straining to carry myself and the huge backpack to the twelfth floor where the ladders stopped. I glanced up to the ledge where I needed to climb onto the roof. It was kind of high up, but I should be able to make it. Probably.
A crash below drew my attention. My window had been broken and splintered on the sidewalk below were several familiar pieces of wood.
“My table!” My heartbeat thrummed to the pace of panic and anxiety. How had they found me? They would be on my ass in a few seconds, but with some luck, a few seconds was all I would need.
I jumped, barely grabbing the ledge with my fingertips. Wriggling and squirming until my hands had a better grip, I pulled myself up. After finally throwing a leg over the edge, I rolled onto the roof and came to a stop on my back. Standing back up, I rushed for the center.
A teleportation circle had been painted in the middle of the roof, barely a lighter shade of gray than the existing tar but mixed with a whole host of potent ingredients. Mary had made it since my magic had always been unreliable, but we had agreed once we found out we were neighbors that it would be wise for any witches to have a back door out of a pinch, and boy did today count. Mary had given me the code words, something that wouldn’t be accidentally uttered by any unsuspecting maintenance workers, and even my volatile abilities shouldn’t be able to mess this up. I hope.
Slamming to a stop in the middle of the circle, I screamed, “Take me where my heart wants to go!”
Closing my eyes tight, I pictured my dad’s place behind the bar. The familiar couch, the flat-screen he had installed crooked and likely still hadn’t fixed, the tiny kitchen where we’d spent late nights in deep conversation while he cooked bad snacks and made sinful cocktails. I panted, my breath catching up with me as I stood in the circle picturing my destination and . . . nothing happened.
Well, that’s not good.
“Take me where my heart wants to go!” I demanded, stomping my boot.
“What the hell?” I whipped my head around the circle at my feet. At this point my anklet was absolutely scorching. Something was wrong. I turned, looking at the intricate patterns around me when I saw it: four huge gashes slid through the tar, tearing up the roof and breaking\ the circle. Claw marks.
Panic rising in my throat, I swept my eyes across the roof. The only hiding spot was the large air units in the far corner. A low growl rippled through the air and sent a chill down my spine as a giant wolf prowled from behind them.
The gray beast shook its head, giving what must have been the wolfish equivalent of a cruel laugh as it stalked toward me. I flinched as sickening cracks popped through the air—disgusting, crackling cartilage and splitting tendons as bones reshaped the beastly form. Claws shrank into fingers, the snout shortened to a human nose and mouth, and the fur retracted to bronze skin and a cloud of soft black hair. The only things remaining to hint that this naked woman had been a wolf were her glowing yellow eyes—which I could only see thanks to my mother’s witch’s blood—and sharp white fangs.
“What a pain in the ass.” The wolf shook her head, rolling her shoulder. “Why do the weak ones always try to run?”
I glanced down the fire escape, seeing four big guys climbing up to the roof. I stumbled away from the edge and retreated to another side of the roof, but the fact of the matter was that I was being backed into a corner. I swallowed the bile that rose in my throat and gripped the straps of my backpack to keep my fingers from trembling.
“Not too bad, little witchling. You nearly got away.” The she-wolf licked her fangs, her unblinking yellow eyes roaming over me. “Clever thing, you would have made a good wolf.”
“Sorry, I’m allergic to dogs,” I said with much more bravado than I actually felt. “Would never have worked out.”
Think, Dani, think. Stall. Run.
The she-wolf growled, a sound that shouldn’t come from a human throat but did anyway. The back of my boot thumped against the raised edge of the roof and my heart jumped up to my throat.
“I wouldn’t be mouthing off if I were you,” she snapped. “Wouldn’t want any accidents between here and when I deliver you to Apollo, would we?”
“It’s true, then? There’s a bounty on covenless witches?” I asked cautiously.
Something dangerous glinted in her eyes, followed by amusement. “Blightfang has the exclusive contract. We’ve got a little deal with Apollo.”
“That sick leech can eat a stake,” I said, my voice cracking at the end as my bravado began to fail me.
In a flash, the she-wolf was in front of me, grabbing me by the neck and lifting me off the ground. “Think what you want about Apollo, but he’s the one paying for your ass so get used to his company. He has what we want, and what he wants in return is your kind.”
More footsteps crunched over the sunny rooftop. I clawed at the hand on my throat and gasped for air.
“I’m not even . . . a full witch,” I wheezed and coughed, pulling at the hand on my windpipe. “I can barely light . . . a candle. I’m just part on my mother’s side!”
The she-wolf leaned in and sniffed me like the dog she was. Wrinkling her nose she held me at arm’s length again. “You like the rum, don’t you?”
Pulling back one boot, I kicked with everything I had only for her to dodge it with ease, though her sneer brought me a little satisfaction. My anger was already boiling in my veins. The lives of beings weaker than themselves were nothing more than a job for these assholes.
“What do we do with her, Amelia?” one of the brutes asked.
Amelia. I’m going to remember you, Amelia.
“It only takes a drop to have witch blood, and she has it. We’re taking her.”
“Like hell I’m going with Apollo’s lapdogs,” I grunted. “You’re all just trash using those weaker than you.”
That might get me killed, but that would be better than whatever a vampire lord had in mind. Apollo’s reputation was terrifying. Amelia tightened her grip, snarling. She flung me across the roof as if I weighed nothing, my skin scraping against the rough surface and cutting up my exposed arms and knees as I rolled to a stop.
“Watch your tongue, witchling,” Amelia demanded.
My whole body ached, and with trembling fingers I inspected a big gash on my shoulder. My hand came back bright red, dripping with my own blood.
“Were there any others in the building?” Amelia asked the others.
“The only other witch was with a coven,” said the tallest one, with a buzzed head and a lazy gaze. “I verified it myself. What’s the next move?”
The only other witch. Mary. At least they’d left her alone.
“Do one more sweep to see if any came out of hiding, then meet me in the car. Jack, grab the witchling and let’s go.”
I swiped my fingers across the ground, my panicked laugh growing to the giggles of a madwoman. I dug my fingers into my shoulder with a sharp pain, bringing up more blood and smearing it on the roof.
“What the hell is so funny?” Amelia snarled at me.
“The first rule of magic,” I whispered, “is that nothing can spice up a spell like blood. Like you said, it only takes a drop of magic, and I have it.”
I smeared my fingers across the last opening in the circle, closing it. Before the wolves registered what I had said, I screamed out the incantation once more.
“Take me where my heart wants to go!”
The circle flickered to life, and dark smoke puffed up from the roof.
“Stop her!” Amelia screeched as all the wolves pounced, ripping through their clothing and shifting as they attacked the roof where I lay. A terrifying sight, for sure: snarling, salivating wolves.
But it was too late.
The smoke would clear, and I was already gone.
Are you excited for Dirty Lying Dragons? Share with us in the comments below!
Dirty Lying Dragons will be available on August 8th, 2023.