The return of his sister brings chaos into Pietas’s life. As usual, when she shows up, there is trouble. Especially when dragons are involved. In this scene from Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas, following a ceremonial ritual, Pietas has painted a black mask across his face, and is preparing for the final steps of the ceremony. His sister, Dessy, will assist. Readers of the Tarthian Empire series books (Wulf, Alitus, Jawk, At the Mercy of Her Pleasure, and For Women Only, will recognize Dessy as the future Empress Rheyn Destoiya). She and Pietas have over nineteen hundred years of history, and she uses it to press every one of her brother’s buttons. The scene is told from the viewpoint of Pietas.
Dragons + Sister
His twin sister switched off the viewscreen she’d been watching, and faced Pietas. Clothed in tight white leather with teal trim, Dessy stalked toward him, a siren seeking prey. Not much taller than a human female, she reached the middle of his chest. His opposite in coloring with her flowing dark hair and eyes the color of moonlight, she bore no more than a passing resemblance to him. Except, as mortals had famously remarked, in the twins having the same “ice water for blood” and reputations as stone-cold killers.
“Good morning, Brother.” She ran a fingertip along the bottom edge of his mask.
He snatched her wrist and pulled her hand away, then turned her hand palm up, and while holding her gaze, kissed it. “Good morning, Sister.”
Their formal greeting belied their closeness. Dessy placed her lips where his had been, and licked her skin.
Heat flooded his cheeks. “Dess! Stop that.”
“Aw, you called me Dess. You haven’t done that in ages.”
“Thank you for coming. Are you ready to play high priestess?”
“Always ready to play with you.” She walked her fingertips across his chest.
Scowling, he brushed aside her hand.
Dessy laughed as if delighted by his irritation. She selected an ornate turquoise dragon he’d displayed on a glass table and examined it. “Whatever you said to Father, he was still furious about when I saw him at breakfast.” She rolled the egg-sized sculpture between her hands. “He’s all but accusing you of treason against the council.”
“I’m used to Father’s baseless accusations.”
She tossed the priceless carving into the air, and then caught it. “Mother hasn’t disagreed with him this time, but then she’s been quiet this trip.”
This time, when she tossed up the dragon, he snatched it from the air and placed it on the table. “I don’t need you to report on our parents.”
“I’m sure you have your own spies.” She trailed her fingers along a row of ceramic dragon statues on a glass shelf. The last, the largest of the set, portrayed him. He stood, arms folded, inside the protective wings of a massive silver dragon. “Really, Pietas, who keeps a statue of himself? And why all the dragons?”
She lifted it, looked at the bottom, and at him in surprise. “This is signed by–”
“Give me that.” He seized it and put it back. He moved past her.
Dessy faced the dragon backward.
Pietas came in closer, and turned it back.
Dessy twisted to face him, her leather-clad body flush against his. Setting her hands in the middle of his chest, she slid them downward, over his abs. “You’ve been working out. Trying to impress someone?”
He gripped her wrists, and moved her aside. “Nothing has changed about my person. My body is perfect.”
“Mmm. Yes, it is.” She slid a fingertip down his arm.
“Stop it!” He knocked her hand away. “Why do you insist on touching me? You know how it makes me feel.”
“Oh, am I annoying my big brother?” She smiled, her storm-sky gaze full of mirth. “I enjoy putting you off balance.”
He reined in the tumult of emotions his sister always aroused. As teenagers, she had used his youthful adoration of her both to her advantage and against his. There had been no other Ultra children; the twins had no one but each other.
What was wrong with him? Why did he still love her? Dessy had proven her disloyalty. She never protected him as he protected her, yet he still kept her close. Let her into his life. She failed him each time he trusted her. Was he doomed to love those who twisted his devotion?
The nameless, empathic bond between them drew him, and he caressed her cheek with the back of his fingers. “Dess, have you–” He yanked back his hand, biting off the words. “Never mind.”
“It’s all right. Go ahead. Ask me.”
He held her gaze, reading the depth of her knowledge with the innate connection their bond afforded him. “Have you– No.” He turned away. “Never mind, Dess. It wasn’t important. Forget I said anything.”
The single word stopped him cold. He faced her, chin lifted. “What?”
“You heard me. Dragons. That’s what you wanted to ask, isn’t it? If I’ve been dreaming about dragons.” She unzipped her leathers down to her rounded bosom, and pulled out a fine chain dangling a dragon charm. “In the dreams, yours are teal and silver. Mine are ruby and gold.”
He returned to her, and took the pendant in hand. The golden creature sparkled, its eyes glistening as if wet with blood. “Beautiful.” He rubbed a thumb over it, and the dragon warmed to his touch. He smiled into Dessy’s pale eyes. “How often do you dream them?”
“Every night. Tas, what does it mean?”
At hearing her childhood name for him, he dropped the pendant. “Dragons are primal protectors. They symbolize defeat of the beast within and show selfless courage.”
She tucked the chain back inside her top. “How do you know that?”
“How do you not?”
She called him a rude name, and shoved him.
It broke the tension, and he laughed. “Come on, Sis. Let’s do what you came to do and be done with it. I’m busy.”
“Fine, you big spoilsport. You never let me have any fun.”
“Father wouldn’t approve if I did.”
“And we all know how much you want Father’s approval.”
One thousand nine hundred and sixteen years old, and the truth behind her teasing still stung. Pietas spun away from her and crossed the room.
Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas
When love shatters the unbreakable, it is chaos.
Heat level: PG13
Genre: YA (older young adult), bromance, action adventure, science fiction, space opera, military science fiction, space marine, genetic engineering
Publisher; Romance Lives Forever Books
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Giveaway – Free Download
Download and print three PDF Bookmarks. The first features Six, the human warrior. The second is Pietas, the immortal warrior. The third is the two, back to back. The characters are drawn to scale: Six is 6′ (1.8m) tall.
Pietas and Six https://kayelleallen.com/media/boc-bookmark-pietas6.pdf
Download a free adult coloring book you can print and share. Relax and color with friends. It’s fun! https://kayelleallen.com/media/pietas-coloring-book.pdf