Slayers by C.J. Hill – Prologue

Slayer 2Slayers: Friends & Traitors

In C.J. Hill’s action-packed sequel to Slayers, the group of teens known as Slayers have been betrayed—but they won’t give up without a fight.

Tori’s got a problem. She thought she’d have one more summer to train as a dragon Slayer, but time has run out. When Tori hears the horrifying sound of dragon eggs hatching, she knows the Slayers are in trouble. In less than a year, the dragons will be fully grown and completely lethal. The Slayers are well-prepared, but their group is still not complete, and Tori is determined to track down Ryker—the mysterious missing Slayer.

What Tori doesn’t bargain for, however, is the surprising truth about her powers. She isn’t just a Slayer, she’s part Dragon Lord, too. How can Tori fight to save her friends when half of her is programmed to protect dragons? And with a possible traitor in their midst, the Slayers will be divided in more ways than they ever imagined.

 

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Prologue
It would be ironic, Brant Overdrake thought as he paced around the
cabin of his jet, for a man who could  y to be killed in a plane crash.
Life was full of ugly little ironies, though.
Bianca, his wife, sat nearby, clutching a water bottle tightly in her
hand. They had come from their plantation on St. Helena, one of the most
remote islands in the world, a place hidden away in the south Atlantic.
The  ight to Virginia took sixteen hours, hours that had taken their toll
on Bianca. Her long blonde hair was disheveled. Only hints of makeup
remained on her face. Pillows were strewn around her seat— an effort
to get comfortable in seats that weren’t meant to accommodate women
who were eight months’ pregnant.
She took a drink of water. “Pacing won’t make the storm go away.”
He ignored her. The usual hum of the plane engine was swallowed
up by the sound of rain clawing at the wings. Out the windows, the sky
was an angry gray. Every few minutes distant slices of lightning illumi-
nated the clouds.
Bianca lowered her voice. “The pi lot already asked you twice to sit
down and put on your seat belt.”

Overdrake walked to his chair, leaned over it, and peered out the
window. “Yes, but I pay him, which means I give the orders, not the
other way around.” The seat rattled underneath his ! ngers as though it
were trying to shake off his hand. Storm turbulence. The plane kept
bumping and shuddering along.
Bianca let out a high- pitched moan that sounded like a kitten trapped
somewhere. Through panting breaths, she said, “Another contraction.”
“How far apart are they now?” he asked.
She held up ! ve ! ngers.
“Keep drinking your water,” he said. She’d had false labor at six
months. The doctor said she’d probably just been dehydrated. Once
they had gotten enough ” uids into her, the contractions stopped.
Overdrake knew none of his current problems were Bianca’s fault.
She hadn’t chosen to have contractions a month early on the day they
were moving to the United States. After she lost their ! rst baby, she’d
done everything she could to ensure this pregnancy went well. More
than everything, actually. She turned into a health Nazi, ordering their
chef to cook with organic ingredients, insisting that none of the staff
smoke anywhere on their plantation— as if somehow the whiffs of sec-
ondhand cigarette smoke would make it through the air ! lters she
erected in their house.
Still, even knowing how badly Bianca wanted this baby, Overdrake
felt an illogical annoyance with her. Producing a son was the one task
he needed from her, the one thing he couldn’t do on his own. She wasn’t
supposed to go into labor early while they were in the sky, waiting out
a storm. Why couldn’t she control her body? How hard could it be to
carry a child and give birth to it at the right time? Women across the
world had managed this task for thousands of years. He didn’t need the
extra stress right now.
Overdrake left the window and strode to the cockpit to talk to the
pi lot. Peter Divers was an older man with a face like a bulldog’s and a

temperament that wasn’t much better. He’d fought in the Gulf War and
after that did some business for drug lords and arms dealers. Over-
drake hired him as his personal pi lot for three reasons. The man was
cool under pressure, didn’t ask questions, and could keep a secret.
Overdrake looked at the monitors on the instrument panel. He’d
 own enough that he could tell the plane was running low on fuel. Wait-
ing out the storm had cost them. “What’s the latest on the weather?”
“Not good,” Divers said. “Just more of the same for the next hour.
You’ll have to decide where to land soon.”
“I have decided. We’re landing on my airstrip in Winchester.”
Divers kept his gaze forward. “Well, until the weather decides that’s
an option—”
“For the amount of money I pay you,” Overdrake snapped, “you
should be able to put this plane down on the White House lawn if I ask
you to do it.”
Divers checked the  ap settings and the stabilizers. “No matter how
much you pay me, I can’t change the weather or the laws of physics.”
“Brant!” Bianca called from the cabin. “The last one was three
minutes!”
Great. The contractions were getting closer together instead of fur-
ther apart.
“Did I mention,” Brant said coldly, “that my wife is in labor?” It was
a rhetorical question. Divers had already called for an ambulance to
meet the plane on Overdrake’s property in Winchester.
“That’s another factor I can’t change,” Divers said. “But I can call
BWI and ask them to have medical staff standing by.” He glanced over
his shoulder, looking for Overdrake’s reaction, some sign that he was
relenting.
Overdrake didn’t speak.
“Even if we land at BWI,” Divers said, “it doesn’t mean the feds
will come aboard and search your plane. As far as they know, this isn’t

an international ! ight. And even if they did search us— what are they
going to ” nd? Some boulders. It’s odd, but so what? No law against
that.”
The cargo carefully nestled inside seven meters of Styrofoam weren’t
boulders. They just looked like boulders and were nearly as heavy. That
was how dragons camou! aged their eggs. When the mother ” rst laid
them, the eggs were a translucent white with colored, glowing veins
” ngering across their milky surface. They looked like giant opals—
nature’s artwork at its best. Within minutes, the shells took on the
color and texture of the rocks around them. The shape of the eggs shifted,
too, settling into a form that wasn’t so perfectly oval. The shells became
stonelike and would remain that way for the next ” fteen to twenty
years. After that, the shells thinned and dragon hatchlings the size of
lions would claw their way out.
Divers didn’t know the exact nature of what the plane carried, and
Overdrake wasn’t about to tell him. “I won’t go to a public airport,”
Overdrake insisted. “If you can’t land on my property, then ” nd a pri-
vate airstrip in an isolated place.”
Divers gestured to the ! ight plan at his side. “What do you mean
by isolated? If you wanted isolated you should have told me to ! y to
Nebraska, not D.C.”
“The government must have some airstrips away from the populated
areas. Make up a story. We’ll land there, wait out the storm, and then ! y
to Winchester.” Overdrake was grasping at straws. He knew that.
Divers actually turned in his seat to give Overdrake an incredulous
stare. “Make up a story? My story is that I don’t go near the feds. You
knew that when you hired me.”
Overdrake didn’t push it. He didn’t want anyone from the govern-
ment checking his papers or his story, either. He just wanted Divers to
come up with another solution. One that didn’t involve a place where
crowds of people would be exposed to the unborn dragons’ signals.

That was another irony. In the last couple of weeks he’d  own two
adult dragons from St. Helena to his compound in Winchester. Those
were the trips he’d worried about. It would have been impossible to get
around custom agents in En gland with a forty- ton dragon, so he took a
three- day boat ride to Namibia, paid off of€ cials there, then loaded the
dragon onto a cargo plane and  ew twenty- € ve hours from there to the
States. He only stopped once to refuel.
He’d made that trip twice. Once for each dragon. Trying to contain
an adult dragon in a con€ ned space was tricky at best. Trying to do it
for days verged on suicidal. Overdrake couldn’t tranquilize them. Drag-
ons were naturally resilient to poisons and drugs, and his vets couldn’t
say exactly how much tranquilizer would be needed or what prolonged
exposure would do to their systems. So Overdrake had to stay linked to
each dragon’s mind the entire trip, putting it in a trancelike state to keep
it calm, quiet, and immobile.
Those  ights went off without a hitch. But even if one of them had
needed to be rerouted to a public airport, it might not have mattered.
Overdrake had € ttings that covered the diamond- shaped patches on
the dragons’ foreheads, blocking the signals that originated there. As
long as no one searched the plane, everything would have been € ne. No
signals would have leaked out into the public.
Overdrake couldn’t cover the foreheads of unhatched dragons. To
block the eggs’ signals during their transportation, he would have had
to put them behind tons of concrete and steel. It hadn’t seemed prac-
tical or necessary to  y that way. The containers would have been so
heavy they would have required another cargo plane, and since his per-
sonal airstrip in St. Helena wasn’t big enough to accommodate one of
those, he would have had to make the long boat trip to Namibia again
with its hassles and hush money.
Overdrake wanted the rest of the move to be quick, and Bianca
wanted to be settled in the U.S. before she gave birth so their son

would have automatic citizenship. Overdrake had packed the eggs in
Styrofoam, put them on his jet, and they ! ew from St. Helena. It was
supposed to be a simple trip.
And now this. A storm, dwindling fuel, and Bianca having contrac-
tions three minutes apart. Overdrake turned away from the cockpit
and went back to check on her. He cursed himself as he did. He should
have been more careful. He should have taken the means to protect
against every possibility of the eggs’ signals coming in contact with
any Slayer knight descendants.
In the Middle Ages, when dragons roamed the sky unchallenged,
the Slayer knights took an elixir that changed their DNA to give them
powers to ” ght dragons. The knights passed on those genes to their
descendants, but the dragon- ” ghting genes became active only when a
baby in the womb came in contact with the signal a dragon emitted
from its forehead.
If the Slayer genes weren’t activated during that nine- month slot,
they remained forever dormant and useless— like they should.
When Overdrake got to Bianca, she was gripping her armrest, eyes
closed. A sheen of sweat covered her face. The water bottle had dropped
to the ! oor and lay jiggling against the side of the plane.
He wouldn’t let himself panic about this. She would be ” ne. Con-
tractions, even when they were real ones, could last several hours.
When Bianca lost the last baby at ” ve and a half months, it had still
taken six hours to deliver it.
He didn’t like to think about that son, a tiny gray curled ” gure that
didn’t look quite human. This son would be healthy. He had to be. Over-
drake needed another dragon lord to help him, and only boys inherited
that trait. If this baby died, who knew how long it would take for Bianca
to produce another son for him. The wives of dragon lords always had
a hard time getting pregnant. It was the one drawback of having an-
cestors who had mixed their DNA with dragons.

Bianca stopped gripping the armrests, took a deep breath, and let
herself go limp in the chair.
“How far apart was that one?” he asked.
She glanced at her watch. “Two minutes.”
“Two minutes?” he repeated.
She put her hand over her stomach and her shoulders shook with a
silent sob. “You have to land the plane. I’m in labor.”
Rivulets of water coated the windows. The clouds looked as if they
had rolled in charcoal. Thunder was rumbling hungrily, looking for
something to consume. “We can’t land until the storm stops.”
Bianca’s voice rose. “The storm isn’t going to stop, and neither are
these contractions. I need a doctor.” Tears spilled from her eyes, and she
put her arms around her stomach, cradling it as though she could
cradle the baby that way. “This is too early. Something is wrong.”
Overdrake didn’t tell her it would be all right. He didn’t know if it
would be. The memory of the last labor still clung to the edges of his
mind. With a sigh, he sat beside her and took her hand in his. “If we
land at BWI, the eggs’ signals will reach all the people at the airport,
all the people sitting in planes. Some of them are bound to be descen-
dants of the Slayer knights.” Back when those knights had ruled the
Middle Ages, they’d spread their genes far and wide. Conquerors al-
ways did.
“Yes, but how many of those descendants will be pregnant?” she
asked. “There can’t be that many.”
“How many Slayers does it take to kill a dragon?” Overdrake meant
to counter her argument, but instead found the sentence comforting.
Even if the eggs’ signals did activate genes in a few unborn babies, giv-
ing them powers later on— it didn’t mean those children would be able
to grow up and kill the dragons.
Over the generations the Slayer knights’ powers splintered apart.
Descendants no longer inherited all of the abilities their ancestors had,

just a few. And what could a handful of half- equipped Slayers do against
his dragons?
Bianca shifted in her seat, gripping the armrests again. Another con-
traction was coming. “We’ve got to land. We don’t have another choice
and waiting will only put our son’s life in danger.” Her eyes seared with
pain. “Who are you more concerned about— Slayer babies that might not
even exist or your own baby who needs your help right now?”
She was right. Overdrake put his hand over hers, giving her what
comfort he could. “I’ll tell the pi lot to land at BWI.”
Three hours later, Overdrake sat beside his wife on her hospital bed.
The doctor and nurses had ! nally left, giving the couple some privacy.
Smiling and satis! ed, Bianca handed Overdrake their son to hold. Even
though the baby was four weeks premature, he was still seven and a
half pounds. Perfectly healthy and waiting to be admired. He had strong,
smooth skin, wisps of fair hair, and knowing eyes. Ones that showed
intelligence. It was as if he already understood that he was a dragon
lord.
“You can swim through the sky,” Overdrake whispered to him. “You
can control the kings of the air.”
Bianca laughed. “You’ll let him learn to walk before you train him to
do all that, won’t you?”
Overdrake grinned at her. “Maybe.” He could enjoy these moments
without worry, because Divers had already left BWI and landed in
Winchester. Overdrake’s staff were now carefully transporting each
egg into the dragon enclosure.
Bianca reached over and stroked the baby’s cheek. “How many . . .”
She didn’t ! nish the sentence.
Overdrake knew what she was thinking. “How many Slayers did
our detour here create? I guess we’ll know when the dragons attack
and a bunch of teenagers show up to ! ght them.”

“Teenagers,” Bianca repeated, letting the word drift off. “They’ll still
be children when the dragons are full grown . . .”
Bianca was beautiful and Overdrake loved her, but she was much
too soft when it came to thoughts of war. “Those teenagers won’t just
be the dragons’ enemies,” he reminded her. “They’ll be our enemies, and
our son’s enemies, too.”
Overdrake bent down and kissed his son’s forehead. This was the
person who would help him start a new dynasty. Overdrake ran a  n-
ger over his son’s small hand and felt a surge of protectiveness and
regret. He should have been more careful when he’d transported the
eggs here. He’d taken risks and inadvertently created enemies for his
son— children who would be born with a destiny already ge ne tically
stamped into them.
Overdrake would take care of his mistake, though. He would think
of a way to  nd the Slayers and do what ever he needed in order to
eliminate them.

 Slayers Tour

Visit all the stops on the Slayers: Friends and Traitors blog tour

Heather at Fire and Ice– October 15- Guest Post

Taffy Lovell– October 16- Review

Elana Johnson– October 17- Interview

Rebecca Lamoureaux– October 18- Interview

Heidi at Geo Librarian– October 19- Review

Robin Ambrose-October 20- Character Interview

Rachel at Fiktshun– October 21- Guest Post

Kathy at I’m A Reader– October 22- Guest Post

Shanda at LDSWBR– October 23- Review

Kathy at Clean Teen Fic– October 24- Review

Sheila Staley- Why Not? Because I Said So!- October 25- Review

Heidi at YA Bibliophile– October 26- Guest Post, Tens List

Cindy Bennett– October 27- Excerpt

Tressa at Tressa’s Wishful Endings- October 28- Review

Tamera at Being a Mom and Loving It– October 29- Guest Post, Tens List

Mindy Holt- Min Reads and Reviews– October 30- Review

Kelly at Kindle and Me– October 31-Guest Post

Elizabeth at Elizabeth’s Book Reviews– November 1-Review

Aimee Brown at Getting Your Read On- November 1- Review

Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads– November 2- Character Interview

Amber at Me, My Shelf and I– November 3- Guest Post