Trial By Fire (Going Down in Flames)

By: Chris Cannon


She may have to live in their world, but she doesn’t have to play by their rules.

Bryn’s hopes for a peaceful new semester at school go up in smoke when someone tries to kill her—again. She’s not sure which is scarier, facing the radicals who want to sacrifice her for their cause, or her impending nightmare-of-a-Directorate-arranged marriage to her nemesis, Jaxon.

The one bright spot in her life is Valmont, her smoking-hot knight who is assigned to watch over her twenty-four hours a day. Is what she feels for him real, or just a side effect of the dragon-knight bond? At this point, stopping the impending civil war might be easier than figuring out her love life.




This book is dedicated to my family for all their encouragement and support. Especially to my husband who moved band practice to someone else’s house so I could have quiet time to write.





Chapter One

She must’ve been insane when she’d planned this. Sure it had seemed like a good idea at the time. Let’s throw a Welcome Back to School party so students injured in the attacks on campus would receive a formal invitation to return to school. This was meant to circumvent the Directorate’s policy of suggesting injured students stay at home with a private tutor. The Directorate’s sucky rationale? Something about culling the weak from the herd, which was total crap since the Directorate had failed to protect the students in the first place. So, this may have been her plan, but it was her grandmother and Jaxon’s mother Lillith’s idea that she host with him. She didn’t know what his problem was, but he was being more obnoxious than usual.

“Jaxon, I swear to God, if you don’t stop bitching, I will set your hair on fire.” Bryn spoke through clenched teeth as she smiled and nodded at the students streaming past her into the Welcome Back to School Gala. “Aren’t you supposed to have this fake socialite crap down to a science?”

“It’s not the greeting people I mind.” He nodded at a group of students who entered the dining hall. “It’s your proximity.”

That was it. She didn’t care what her grandmother and Lillith wanted. If she had to listen to Jaxon make one more rude comment, she was going to lose it and roast him like a marshmallow.

“Bryn.” Garret walked toward her, his dark complexion a bit pale for a Green dragon, his brown eyes appeared wary, and his injured left arm hung limp in a sling.

And now she remembered why she was doing this. “I’m so glad you came.” Only half of all the students injured during the attacks at the Institute for Excellence, aka shape-shifting dragon school, had been willing to return. The other less-than-perfect dragons had allowed the Directorate, the governing body of Dragon society, to bully them into private tutors.

A ghost of a smile crossed Garret’s face. “I told the Directorate my left arm may not work and I may not be able to fly, but my mind was still functional, and they owed me for failing to provide adequate protection. You should’ve seen the looks on their faces.”

“Good for you.”

Garret headed toward the tables where the Green dragons sat. The color-coding still threw Bryn sometimes. All the Greens had the same dark hair, eyes, and skin as Garret. All the upper-class Blues, like Jaxon, had golden-tan skin, blond hair, and blue eyes. The artsy Black dragons always looked a bit Goth with their ivory skin, black hair, and dark eyes. The middle class Reds seemed Irish with their red hair, green eyes, and freckled skin. The two lone Orange dragons with their bronze hair, skin, and eyes, looked Hawaiian. Since her mom had been a Blue and her dad a Red, Bryn didn’t fit in with any group of dragons. She wasn’t as thickly muscled as the Reds and not as graceful and lithe as the Blues. She’d changed her blond, red, and black striped hair to blond, to make peace with her grandfather, but she still didn’t blend in with the Blues. Far from it.

She envied the greeting Garret received from his Clan and loved that they acted like nothing was wrong. Then again, they were the smartest dragons, so it made sense they’d figured things out. Now, if only the rest of the Clans would catch up and realize the injured students didn’t reflect badly on them, life would be good.

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