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NEW RELEASE: Reckless – Cari Z.


QSFer Cari Z. has a new MM dystopian fantasy romance out, Luckless book 3: Reckless.

Refugees have been streaming into the city of Forge from around the country. Monsters are coming down from the mountains and staking out new hunting grounds. Even as the dragons of Forge grow stronger and more numerous, the challenges they and their riders are facing are only increasing, and there’s only one place to look for answers.

Chicago is the strongest remaining city in the Midwest, home to thousands of people and protected by powerful dragons … or at least, it was. By the time Evan Luck and his dragon, Ladon, arrive there, it’s clear that something’s gone terribly wrong. People are starving, dragons are dying, and nobody knows who’s behind it all.

It’s something they’ve never faced before—something they thought didn’t exist, yet that’s terrifyingly familiar. It’s up to Evan and Ladon to stop it … or lose their city, their son, and their lives.

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The birds screamed out of the darkness like wraiths, hard to track and harder hit in this miserably icy weather. They were no match for dragon fire, but even the hottest flame burned out eventually. They attacked, they retreated, and then as soon as there was another break in Ladon’s fire, they attacked again. It was all Evan could do to keep himself from being plucked out of the saddle.





A massive, eyeless black bird, less than a dozen feet away from him, fell with an indignant squawk, an arrow deeply embedded in its chest. Evan paused to clench his free hand, forcing blood to move through his half-frozen fingers, before reaching for another arrow.

Another bird appeared through the blowing snow, deadly beak gleaming with Ladon’s reflected fire as the mighty silver dragon burned his way through another half dozen of them, but this one fell to Evan to drive back.





The bird veered out of the path of the arrow at the last minute, which fortunately also sent it out of Evan’s path. It would be back, though. A flock of flesh-seeking night ravens had been harrying them for the past twenty miles, pressing them harder the closer they got to Chicago. Evan could see the lights of the city in the distance now, fires glowing along the tops of the few skyscrapers that had withstood the initial monster attack over a century ago.

Chicago was an amazingly resilient city. It had been devastated when the influx of monsters poured through the rifts, shattered further when nuclear fallout from humanity’s rash response to the interdimensional invasion left half the city uninhabitable. But it had come back, and was the largest human stronghold not on a coast of the former United States, with only the up-and-coming Forge, formerly known as Denver, around to make it work for its status.

Now here they were, less than five miles from that magnificent city, and they were fighting for their lives.

On your left!

Evan pivoted, already getting his next arrow up, but he was a fraction of a second too late. The bird, its feathers the glistening hue of fresh tar, got close enough to score its beak across the back of Evan’s left arm, all the way up to his shoulder and the base of his neck.

“Fuck!” he shouted, the pain enough to make him almost drop his bow.

Only almost, though. When the bird came around for another pass—and damn but its beak was as hard as a rock and as sharp as a blade—he had his next arrow ready to go.

It wasn’t necessary. Ladon arched his neck back so sharply it had to hurt, and blew a gout of fire hot enough that Evan could smell the monster’s feathers cook. It fell out of the sky and vanished into the darkness below.

Evan reached for another arrow, but hissed as the pain reasserted itself.

We’re landing.

“We’re almost at the city,” he argued with his dragon, but he could feel Ladon’s resolve through their bond. They were going to land, and Lee was going to care for his wounds, and Evan would not argue with him about it.

“Fine.” Evan kept his eyes sharp as they descended toward the distant ground, searching for more of the ravenous birds, but none appeared. A minute later Ladon touched down on the uneven surface of an old road, surrounded on both sides by the gutted ruins of buildings, including one with a faded green plus sign on it. Evan recognized the symbol as representing a type of pharmacy back in humanity’s heyday. This close to Chicago, everything useful in the wreckage had long ago been retrieved by scavs, but Ladon leaned his head down to look into the depths of the concrete and rebar before blowing a blast of cleansing fire into it. Nothing emerged.

It’s safe for now. He waited for Evan to undo his harness and slide to the ground before a sudden surge of brilliant white light overtook the massive dragon. A second later Ladon was gone, and in his place was Lee, wearing the silver armor that came when he took his warrior form.

“Evan,” he said worriedly, setting the silver helm and aside before taking his left arm in a careful grip. The still-burning store beside them offered both light and heat, and while Evan sighed with frustration as Lee ripped his sleeve away to inspect the wound better, at least he wasn’t cold.

“I liked that jacket, you know.”

“Evan,” Lee repeated, this time with a chiding note. Evan grinned at his lover. He had bonded with Ladon, the silver dragon, but he’d fallen in love with Lee, the man within the monster. Dragons were empathic, the only creatures to come through the rifts who had the capacity, the compulsion, to connect with humans. People like Evan, capable of achieving that connection, were deeply empathic, able to sense their dragon’s emotions and even share their thoughts.

As far as either of them knew, Lee—and Ladon—were the only ones of their kind who had come through the rift, a dragon who could take on the shape of a human being. And of all the people out there, he had chosen Evan to bond with. It still stunned him sometimes, that someone as magnificent as his lover had seen something in him worth committing to.

Author Bio

Cari Z. is a Colorado girl who loves snow and sunshine. She writes award-winning LGBTQ fiction featuring aliens, supervillains, soothsayers, and even normal people sometimes. Cari has published short stories, novellas and novels with numerous print and e-presses, and she also offers up a tremendous amount of free content on her blog and on AO3 as CariZee. Follow her blog, join her Patreon, or sign up for her newsletter to read her serial stories! New chapters post on a weekly/monthly basis.

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