Serial Fiction

Rocks & Rapiers: Chapters 3 & 4

Part of the serial story Rocks & Rapiers

Rocks & Rapiers Chapters 3 & 4 on a background of blue dragon scales with a rock with a sword leaning against it.

Chapter Three

The upper two floor were just as neglected as the bottom two. I didn’t know why Baldric hadn’t made me stay in one of the cramped rooms on the fourth floor that were usually reserved for staff, but I was grateful nonetheless.

I found the cleaning supplies and started opening doors. None of them were locked, so the whole top floor needed to be cleaned. Thankfully, the manor was plumbed, so I wouldn’t have to carry heavy buckets of water up three flights of steps.

I started with the ceilings and walls in each room, knocking down dust and spiderwebs from the corners and wiping down the walls. By the time I was done, the grime had settled enough in the first room to start dusting the furniture.

But first I needed to beat the dust from the mattresses.

I could haul each of them out to the tiny, frozen balcony that led to the roof, or I could… not.

I closed the first bedroom’s door, then pressed a hand to the mattress and coaxed the dust out into a neat pile on the floor.

By the time I had cleaned all of the mattresses, the world was a little wobbly. It had been a long time since I’d used my ability so much, and I hadn’t exactly been sleeping well for the past few weeks thanks to the stress about the rent.

My energy reserves were low, but they would recover somewhat once the sun set.

I clutched the broom close as footsteps echoed up the stairwell. Had Baldric somehow sensed what I was doing? I should’ve waited until he was asleep.

Rocks & Rapiers: Chapters 1 & 2

Part of the serial story Rocks & Rapiers

This week is Thanksgiving in the US, and it kicks off the holiday season, so I wanted to give you all a gift as thanks for your support throughout the year. And since stories are what I do, your gift is a short story that grew into a short novella instead. 💕

I didn’t plan to write another Books & Broadswords story, but a throwaway line in the first story spawned this idea, and it wouldn’t leave me alone, so here we are, and I hope you enjoy it. :)

This story is twice as long as B&B, about 18k words, and rather than posting the short chapters more often, I’m planning to post slightly longer chunks once a week. Happy reading!

Rocks & Rapiers Chapters 1 & 2 on a background of blue dragon scales with a rock with a sword leaning against it.

Chapter One

Wading through shin-deep snow all morning had given me plenty of time to reconsider the wisdom of plans conceived in the dark, desperate hours before dawn. But I was desperate, so I trudged onward. This would work.

It had to work.

I was wearing two pairs of socks and fur-lined boots, but my toes were starting to go numb by the time the remote manor emerged from the trees. It was hard to pinpoint exactly why, but the dark stone facade felt unwelcoming in a way that made my instincts prickle. Only the brave—or foolish—would approach such a place.

Unfortunately for me, I was both.

I hitched my pack higher on my back and made my way to the entrance. A shiver that had nothing to do with the cold worked its way down my spine, but I hadn’t come this far to turn back now.

My mitten-covered fist barely made a sound on the heavy door, so it didn’t surprise me when no one answered. I knocked again, and again, and then I tried the handle.

The door opened.

“Hello!” I called through the crack. “Is anyone home? I’ve come to barter!”

Resounding silence answered me. I pushed the door open wider and tried again. “I’m just going to wait inside, if that’s okay with you.”

I stomped the snow from my boots and eased through the doorway. It felt wrong to enter someone’s house without an invitation, but for all the place appeared abandoned, it was warm.

The door closed behind me with an ominous thud. I immediately tried the handle again and the door opened. I was not trapped. I let out a slow breath and tried to get my pulse to settle.

“What are you doing in my house?” a deep voice demanded from directly behind me.

Books & Broadswords: Epilogue

Part of the serial story Books & Broadswords

Books & Broadswords, Epilogue, on a purple background of dragon scales, with a crest of swords crossed behind an open book.

We’ve made it to the end! Thank you all so much for hanging out with me for the last few weeks as Feora and Ansel’s story unfolded. It was a delight reading all of your comments!

Thanks to my baby bro for the idea and for telling me it was “fucking awesome!!!!” when you read it. More authors need a cheerleader like you! 💕

I paced out my anxiety on top of the castle’s keep. I did not need to look at the calendar to know the importance of today’s date. It had been one year, six months, and ten days since I’d first met Ansel, and exactly one year since I’d offered to make him my mate.

Time might pass differently for dragons, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t track it precisely when the mood suited us.

Ansel had often pestered me in the early days to mate him immediately, but he hadn’t mentioned it in months, and I secretly wondered if he’d changed his mind. I was bracing for rejection even as I hoped for acceptance.

The last year had been one of the happiest in my long life.

Our store was flourishing, and if the townsfolk had any suspicions about my true nature, they kept them to themselves, especially since the crime rate had dropped dramatically since I’d arrived.

Ansel’s family was delightful, and they welcomed me with open arms.

I still stole the king’s gold with clockwork regularity, but since Ansel bought me as many books as I could ever want, I melted the royal marks and recast them into dragon coins that I gave to those who needed the help.

Books & Broadswords: Chapter 9

Part of the serial story Books & Broadswords

Books & Broadswords, Chapter 9, on a purple background of dragon scales, with a crest of swords crossed behind an open book.

This is the final chapter, but there’s still an epilogue left! 💕

The store looked like it had been pulled directly from my imagination. A roaring fire kept the room toasty, and comfortable chairs were scattered around the walls. Half of the space was filled with rows of bookshelves laden with books, including many foreign volumes I’d never been able to get my hands on.

My fingers itched. I hadn’t brought any gold, since I hadn’t expected to be shopping today, so I made note of the books I wanted most. The list grew so large that it became easier to keep track of the books I already had.

Ansel watched me without comment.

It was fully dark by the time I ventured into the other half of the store. It was filled with weapons and armor of the highest caliber. I lifted a perfectly balanced short sword and smiled at the delicate craftsmanship. I would add this to my purchase, too.

Ansel’s broadsword hung behind the counter, along with his chainmail. I frowned, and he spoke for the first time in hours. “I gave up my knighthood.”


He waved an arm at the room. “I decided to start dragon hunting on my own. But I was beginning to think I’d have to take up banditry before you’d notice me.”

Books & Broadswords: Chapter 8

Part of the serial story Books & Broadswords

Books & Broadswords, Chapter 8, on a purple background of dragon scales, with a crest of swords crossed behind an open book.

Six months later…

The weather was cold and gray, and if not for persistent rumors of bandits along this road, I would’ve been tucked into my cozy castle with a book and a roaring fire. I’d still be miserable, but at least I’d be warm and miserable.

This was my second attempt to flush the bandits out, but I’d yet to see any sign of them. Either they were smarter than usual or they’d moved on, and the rumors hadn’t caught up.

By the time the next town came into view, I was frozen and surly. The smart choice would’ve been to return to my castle, but for the past six months my home had been unbearably lonely.

The knight hadn’t found me—and hadn’t even looked, as far as I could tell. A month after I’d let him go, I’d started lingering in towns across the area, hoping for even a hint of rumor about a knight searching for a dragon, but there hadn’t been a single whisper. It was just as I’d expected. My heart ached, but I’d gotten used to ignoring it.

I trudged toward the nearest tavern. I would warm up with a hot meal and listen for any new bandit rumors, then I would return home and brood in peace.

I was so busy ignoring everything that I nearly missed the sign. Even after it registered, I blinked twice, sure I was hallucinating.