Title: Caster’s Flame
Genre: YA/NA Fantasy
Word Count: 89,000
Refugees say the Dragon Stone is dead, but McKenna disagrees. So she steals it.
With the stone in her possession, 18-year-old McKenna Alder flees the caverns of her refugee city. She seeks freedom in the upper world. Instead, a traveling circus, active in the legalized trade of sorcerers, snatches her and strips her magic, promising a life of performance.
Running away doesn’t work in the upper world, particularly when the rumored assassin with the king’s ear wields magic and wants McKenna dead. With flames at McKenna’s fingertips, dragons at her call, and a court murderer on her trail, McKenna’s mistakes leave at least one person dead.
Still, the shape-shifter, Nikolas Kresh, stands with McKenna–even if he’s arguing about the sanity of her choices. When the assassin kidnaps him, McKenna must decide if she’s willing to barter for Nikolas’s life too.
First 250 Words of Chapter 1:
McKenna never wanted to be a thief. Yet as the torches burned low and her people slept, she ventured to the heart of the underground city to steal the Dragon Stone.
A pyramid of light flickered over her open palm as she struggled to sustain the simple magic. She sighed in annoyance, allowing the weak light to extinguish. What was the point of being a caster if she could hardly light her way through the tunnels? She grabbed a torch from the cave-wall and continued down the sloping tunnel.
McKenna crept past guards dozing open-mouthed and slack-necked. She rolled her eyes. She trained far too hard to become one of them. She rubbed her sore bundle of shoulder muscle. So what if she couldn’t win a sparring match if nothing would be expected of her?
McKenna rounded the corner and paused. She stood before the gates of the Crystal Lake. Her stomach flipped. The iron curled and twisted from floor to ceiling and the glassy lake shimmered just beyond. Dreams of stealing the dragon egg plagued her ever since she came to Targaia as a child. No one believed the egg lived, but McKenna could feel the magic trapped inside. They were wrong. She exhaled and bolted into the chamber.
McKenna shoved the canoe into the water and leapt into it, playing out each movement as she had done in so many dreams. Stalactites dipped beneath the surface, while a steady drop of water plunked, echoing in the silence.
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