Thursday, January 28, 2021

Sneak Peek: Dragon Blood by Mary Beesley with Giveaway!


Dragon Blood
Draco Sang Trilogy, Book 1
by Mary Beesley
YA Fantasy

Cal, a hungry sixteen-year-old sick of mining the sand, wants to fit in and make his ma proud, but instead, his violent tendencies bring shame. And the truth. He’s the son of a Draco Sang. Carriers of the Dragon’s blood, the Draco Sang transform into half human half beast as they mature into adults. And if Cal can't control the dark impulses of his dragon blood, he'll grow into a man-beast—and he'll be hunted.

Ferth, son of a Draco Sang chief and last of his class to grow claws, needs to prove his worth to his father, or he'll be sent to the slave house. Hiding his human heart, he joins the army headed south to conquer the fertile human lands.

Neither brother feels they belong. Cal is human, fighting against becoming a beastly Draco Sang, while Ferth is struggling to push back his humanity and transform into a worthy Draco warrior.

Before ever meeting in open battle, Ferth is sent to kill Cal. But when he learns they are brothers, he must decide which loyalty is stronger, blood or country. And whether to finally give in to his humanity.



At the mines, hunched-over figures searched for

precious flecks in the endless sand. Cal hardly

noticed the sun beating through his thin robes. People he’d

lived with, played with, worked with all his life, silently

turned on him. They glared their disapproval. News traveled

fast. Opinions changed faster. He ignored their pointed looks.

His fingers panned the sand without it registering with his


When the pit chief berated him for messing up the line—

he hadn’t—Cal thought solely of going north, of leaving

Siccum and finding his people.

At the close of the shift, Cal approached his chief.

“Today’s my last day.”

The man grunted. “I was surprised when they told me

what you did. Thought I heard the name wrong. I hate being

wrong. Almost as much as I hate to lose a good miner. You

fooled me. Just shows, you don’t truly know any man’s


Cal clenched his jaw, biting back the violence awaking at

the chief’s words—even if they were true. “Please, can you

pay my last wages now? I’m leaving at dawn.”

The chief turned a leathered face to Cal and lifted an

eyebrow. “Tomorrow? Where would you go?”


He snorted. “Oh, really? So you’re not going to throw

yourself into the sea?”

Cal wanted to send him to the waves. “Can I get my

wages, please?”

“No. You can’t. It’s not payday. And do I look like I carry

around coin?”

Cal choked back his rising temper. “Where can I go?”

“The account chief comes on payday. How long have you

worked here?”

Cal’s fingers curled into fists. “I can’t wait until next

week. Can you please help me?”

“You think you can cross the desert on your own? Without

a caravan? You’ll die halfway across, especially with that old

man. It would be a waste of good coin anyway.”

Cal’s fist shot forward, connecting with the chief’s jaw

with a satisfying crunch. The man staggered back, clutching

his face. His eyes bulged. Surrounding miners stared in

shock. Cal bolted.

Panting and overheated by the time he got home, he

slammed the gate. A handcart sat in the yard. Grandpapi

rocked in a chair, and Ma bustled about, humming while she


“Last day as a miner,” Grandpapi said.


“They refused to pay me because it isn’t wages day.”

Ma popped her head out of the house. “That isn’t right.”

“That’s what I thought.” Cal paused. “I might have

punched the chief to let him know.”

“That isn’t right, either.”

“They robbed me.”

“Cal.” Ma’s voice sharpened.

“I’m sorry. But he deserved it for cheating me.” Cal had

to smash that smirk o􀅷 the man’s face.

Grandpapi shook his head.

Ma sighed. “I guess we’d better leave now. I’d convinced

the Elders to let us go without further punishment if we

never return, but we can’t a􀅷ord to stay here tonight and

give the angry chief time to plan his retribution.” Frustration

flashed over her face.

Regret pressed down on Cal. “I’m sorry.”

She looked away, jerking at the twine she was tying

around a blanket. “I’m almost done packing. We got a decent

price for the house, at least. We’ll need the money when we

get past the sand.”

When their belongings were settled in the cart, Cal lifted

Grandpapi on top, tucking a blanket around his legs. Ma set

the chicken in her father’s hands.

“Oh, bother,” Grandpapi said as it clucked and flapped.

That sound was going to get annoying fast. “Can’t we just

eat it and be done with it?” Cal asked.

“We might have to,” Ma said. “I hope it doesn’t come to


Cal took his place at the front of the handcart, where two

pieces of wood jutted out on either side. A third piece cut

across the front, forming a rectangle frame around him. He

put his hands on the front bar and pushed. Slowly, the cart

moved through the sand. Ma closed the gate, and together

they left the only home Cal had ever known.

A smattering of people watched in hostile puzzlement.

Leaving Siccum was as rare as rain. Siccum was a tribe of

close-knit families who’d lived here for centuries. Ma and

Grandpapi had transplanted from the north fifteen years

ago, and they’d struggled to set deep roots. Their pale skin

and sharp accents set them apart, but now Cal wondered if

there was more to their shunning than that.

They followed the river north, and Siccum disappeared

from all but memory. Dusk fell. They stopped at the water’s

edge, and Grandpapi stretched his legs as they filled their

canteens. Ma passed out bananas and cheese, both rare

luxuries. Cal savored every bite, thinking that life was

getting better and better.

“I know you’ve already spent a long day at the mines,”

Ma said. “But we need to keep moving. The farther from the

village, the better chance of going unnoticed by night


Cal’s excitement cooled. There would be no wall to hide

behind tonight. He touched the hunting knife that hung on

his rope belt.

“If we keep a good pace,” Ma said. “We should get to

Branmar in seven nights.”

Cal loaded Grandpapi back into the cart and started

pulling. Stars sprinkled the sky, and the waxing moon guided

them. Ma set the pace, and Cal trudged behind, determined

to keep up. Left foot. Right. Left. Right. Eyelids drooped.

Desert faded as his focus wavered.

As if through fog, the dreaded click of the crokator found

Cal. Alarms rang through his nerves.

“Cal.” Ma’s whisper startled him with her closeness. “It

might not know we’re here. I’ll push from behind, and let’s

try to outrun it.”

What a waste of energy. Of course it had found them. With

a jolt of adrenaline, he jogged. The clicks got louder. It came

from behind. Where his ma was.

“Get in the cart, Ma.” His voice came in hu􀅷s.


“Get in the cart!” His shout rolled over the dunes.

“It will slow us down too much.”

The hissing accelerated.

“Get in, or I’ll stop and throw you in.” A fierce need to

protect her drove down his spine. Nothing would happen to

her. The threat sharpened his mind and honed his senses.

The cart lagged as Ma’s weight landed. Wheels groaned,

and so did Grandpapi. Cal’s body ached, and his lungs

burned. He whirled the cart so it faced backward. The beast

had to kill him to get to his family. He ducked out of the

frame, pulling his knife free.

The hissing stopped.

If the moonlight hadn’t cast a gleam on its eyes, he

wouldn’t have seen the slithering creature in the darkness.

The shadow attacked. Large as the handcart, it reared its

long neck and drove poisonous fangs at Cal’s chest. He

swung, knocking the creature o􀅷-course. The sharp scales

on its face cut his hand as it struck again. He caught a fang

on the edge of his knife. Venom slicked his blade. With a

grunt, he heaved the beast back.

“Tail,” Ma shouted.

Cal jumped, staggering against the cart as a barbed tail

whipped in front of his nose. Frantic, he grabbed the chicken.

The gaping mouth dove at him. He thrust the bird between

razor teeth as he sliced at the crokator’s short front leg. His

knife barely penetrated the scaled skin.

With the chicken in its mouth, the animal retreated into

darkness. A part of Cal wanted to hunt it down and kill it, but

the other part, the part that settled deeply in his chest, the

part that had instructed him in this fight, told him to run.

Heart pounding, bleeding hand on fire, Cal scrambled into

the front frame of the cart and turned it north. He ran. He

ran and he ran. Fear chased him even when the crokator did


Mary Beesley believes humans are born to create, and promotes creativity in all its beautiful forms. She's learning calligraphy and watercolor. She loves exploring our magnificent planet and finding all the best places to eat around the world. But nothing beats coming home and sharing a pot of slow-simmered minestrone and homemade sourdough with friends and family. If she's not in her writing chair, you'll probably find her hiking in the Utah mountains with her husband and four children.

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