Kyoko M. ~ Of Wings & Shadows ~ Cover Reveal / Excerpt / Giveaway




Of Wings and Shadows

Of Cinder and Bone #5.5

by Kyoko M.



Genre: Science Fiction, Contemporary Fantasy






In a modern-day world teeming with marauding dragons, there is only one solution: The Wild Hunt.

The United States government has decided to hold a tournament called The Wild Hunt to determine who will be responsible for the capture of wild dragons by the Knight Division. The four challengers Noah Wilson, Charlie Howard, Su Jin Han, and Beowulf have to catch five deadly dragons alive if they want to win the tournament and become the new Knight Division dragon hunters. Their journey will take them through the mountains of South Carolina, the seas of Key West, the caverns of Ruby Falls, the Redwood forest, and finally, the murky bayous of Louisiana. Will they succeed against their competition, or will the dragons of the Wild Hunt be too wild to tame?

Of Wings and Shadows is the sixth book in the Of Cinder and Bone series. It takes place in medias res of Book Five, Of Claws and Inferno. It follows Of Cinder and Bone, Of Blood and Ashes, Of Dawn and Embers, and Of Fury and Fangs.





Naturally, it was a hot and damp morning in Louisiana, already over seventy-degrees Fahrenheit, but the lack of cloud cover made it easier for them to see into the bayou. The water gradually deepened as the two canoes glided into the swampland. Trees and shrubs flanked them, the water’s surface swirling and teeming with vegetation and wildlife. Birds called out from their perches. Frogs croaked. Bugs buzzed to and fro. There were turtles and small gators resting on fallen logs, basking in the sunlight. Spanish moss hung down from the tree branches and swayed gently in the breeze. Not counting the hostile dragon awaiting them, it was a beautiful sight.

“Positive reading on the tracker,” Charlie said over the comm-link. “It’s definitely still in its lair and not out hunting yet.”

“What Charlie said,” Penelope agreed. “I’ve passed overhead and I’m gonna keep an eye on the perimeter, over.”

“Thanks, Penelope,” Yusuke said. “Just make sure you’re not close enough for him to hear and want to inspect the helicopter, over.”

“God forbid. I saw what happened during Dr. Anjali’s hunt of the hydra dragon and I am not interested in recreating that scenario, over.”

By the time they paddled to the dragon’s lair, the creature’s presence became rather apparent. All the nature sounds in the area had ceased; the animals knew there was a predator on the loose and behaved accordingly. The clearing had a massive willow tree that had either tipped over from being top-heavy or was shoved over by the wyvern for shelter.

“Anyone else getting signal interference?” Beowulf asked.

Yusuke frowned at the display screen in the suit’s left forearm. “Yeah, mine’s starting to act wonky. It’s not getting a precise reading. Penelope, what’s on radar, over?”

“It’s a little tough due to the other wildlife in the area. I’m showing two possibilities: one to your two o’clock and another to your ten o’clock, over.”

“Su Jin and I will take the ten o’clock. Beowulf, check out the two o’clock.” He angled his paddle to the other side, as did Su Jin, drifting their canoe towards the blip on their tracker screens. Beowulf turned his canoe as well in the opposite direction.

Once they were only a few yards out, Su Jin and Yusuke exited the canoe and he tied it to the branch of a nearby tree. The water was waist-high for him, meaning it was nearly chest-deep for Su Jin, so they moved towards the blip on their trackers with their rifles drawn. The blip in question was an embankment with another large willow drooping over the water that had sticks and fallen branches piled up like a dam. The water was too deep to get a good look below the surface past a few inches.

“Man, talk about Lake Placid vibes,” Su Jin muttered as the two of them neared the target. “What’s the play?”

“Could be our dragon, could be a gator,” Yusuke said quietly. “I’m gonna try the whistle to draw it out. Ready?”

She nodded tightly. He flipped his helmet’s visor up and then plucked the whistle from his utility belt. He counted to three, then blew it.

Nothing. Just still waters and a light breeze.

Then a bubble popped a few inches from Su Jin.

And before she could turn to face it, something dragged her underwater.

“Su Jin!” Yusuke plunged his hands into the water where she’d just been, but didn’t make contact. “Everyone, converge on me. Something’s got Su Jin.”

“To your five o’clock!” Noah said as he flew Jiahao over towards him. Yusuke turned just in time to see a glimpse of rainbow-hued scales and then the disturbance of the shifting water as Su Jin struggled beneath the surface. The wyvern appeared to be dragging her along the bottom of the bayou, twirling to disorient her like a gator would. He lunged for her as soon as he spotted her, but all he came away with was her helmet.

“Shit!” He tossed her helmet into the canoe and followed the wake behind the dragon, which was headed for the fallen willow tree. He reached into the water a second time and caught her by the wrist, pulling hard so that her head finally broke the surface.

Su Jin gasped and sucked in a huge breath, crying out, “he’s got my ankle!”

Noah landed Jiahao beside Yusuke and grabbed her other arm. The wyvern was no match for Noah’s immense strength; he’d stopped it from dragging her further away, but her head sank below the surface before they could stop it. The wyvern’s colorful feathers along its spine surfaced as it tried to yank her free from their grip. Beowulf jumped on its back, grabbing at the creature’s throat to try and get it in a half-nelson. The effort was enough to annoy the creature. It let go of Su Jin and began to roll in the water, bucking like a bronco to get Beowulf dislodged.

Yusuke hauled Su Jin out of the water at long last, but she was limp in his grasp. Her vital signs on his HUD indicated she was alive, but had swallowed too much water. He gripped her in the Heimlich maneuver and did it twice. She convulsed, then spat out two lungfuls of water, coughing harshly.

“I’ve got to get her medical attention,” Yusuke told Noah. “Don’t forget the plan. I’ll be back as fast as I can.”

“Roger that.”

He carefully tucked her into the other seat of the canoe and then climbed inside himself, quickly paddling back towards the parking lot.

The wyvern knocked Beowulf loose and then stood to its full height, the water reaching just under its chest. Its brilliant scales glittered in the sunlight in a wide range of colors as did its feathers. Unlike typical six-limbed dragons, its front legs were its wings, so it moved about like a pterosaur with clawed appendages. It had a long, plumed tail and sharp fangs that it flashed as it took a deep breath and then aimed its powerful, paralyzing screech at the hunters. A horrifying, high-pitched wail filled the air, making them flinch, but their protective ear pieces did their job. The wyvern’s screech lasted roughly ten seconds, then it visibly recoiled upon noting its prey hadn’t been affected.

“Yeah, that’s right, big boy,” Beowulf sneered as he looked through the sights of the net launcher. “Ain’t gonna be a walk in the park like your other victims.”

Just before he could shoot, the dragon spread its enormous wings and took off.

“Dammit!” Noah slid back into his saddle and flew after it. Charlie and Yufei joined him in the pursuit while Penelope maneuvered her helicopter into the dragon’s flight path. Once it realized it was surrounded, the wyvern spun head-over-heel in mid-air and then flew straight at Noah.

Noah tried to bank, but the wyvern hit him square in the chest and knocked him off Jiahao’s back. He fell twenty feet, bounced off several tree limbs, and crashed into the bog.

“Noah!” Charlie shouted, panicked when the dragon hunter didn’t rise. He flew Yufei down into the bayou and then jumped off, wading through to the damaged log Noah had landed on. He yanked off the older man’s helmet and checked his pulse. To his relief, he was still alive, just unconscious from the fall.

“Okamura, we need you back as fast as you can; Noah’s down for the count.”

Chikushō. Okay, I’m on my way.”

Charlie made sure to prop Noah up against the log so he wouldn’t slip underwater and squeezed his shoulder. “Hang in there, buddy.”

He hopped back into the saddle and then Yufei took off. The wyvern had been chasing Jiahao, who circled the area once he noticed where Noah had fallen. Jiahao just barely moved his tail out of the way of the wyvern’s jaws, prompting Charlie to pull out a pair of bolas. He flung it at the wyvern and the cables wrapped around the upper half of its wings. The wyvern plunged back into the bayou with an enormous splash. Jiahao flew down and stayed by Noah’s side until Yusuke returned and then followed him back towards the ambulance.






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Kyoko M is a USA Today bestselling author, a fangirl, and an avid book reader. She has written the Amazon bestselling Black Parade urban fantasy series as well as the Of Cinder and Bone science-fiction dragon hunting series. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Lit degree from the University of Georgia, which gave her every valid excuse to devour book after book with a concentration in Greek mythology and Christian mythology. When not working feverishly on a manuscript (or two), she can be found buried under her Dashboard on Tumblr, or chatting with fellow nerds on Twitter, or curled up with a good Harry Dresden novel on a warm Georgia night. Like any author, she wants nothing more than to contribute something great to the best profession in the world, no matter how small.


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