The Dragon and the Girl, Book 2
Middle School Grade Fantasy
Date Published: November 14, 2023
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Twelve-year-old Eliana knows the truth about dragons. After all, her best friend, Winston, is one! Fresh off an adventure where she saved her kingdom using her ability to communicate with Winston’s family, she is now excited to hone her skills through her Dragon Speaker apprenticeship. That is until she begins having a recurring nightmare of a scar-faced soldier, a poison-tipped spear, and an orb that glows in the dark. What’s even more worrisome is that Winston is having the same nightmare.
When they hear of the Overking’s decree, they realize their dreams may not be a coincidence. Eliana must quickly learn how to use her ability to understand dragons to help new friends–and old–solve a mystery about an ancient treasure and save the dragons from certain death. Along the way, there are lessons to be learned about the dangerous desire for fame, about the transitory nature of plans, and about how treasure can mean different things to different people…and dragons.
Read an Excerpt Below
About the Author
Laura Findley Evans is the author of True North, Book 1 of The Dragon and the Girl series. It all started when her grandchildren said one night (when they were supposed to be sleeping), “Tell us a story.” And so the adventures of a feisty young girl and an impossible dragon began. Laura would like you to know that whatever she writes must be true, whether it is real or not. She hopes you will discover the truth in whatever she writes. When she’s not writing, Laura reads (a lot), cooks (mostly) healthy dinners, and spends time with people she loves. You can visit her at www.LauraFindleyEvans.com.
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The tip of the spear was mere inches from Eliana’s eye. A
drop of poisonous liquid hung there, and in it she saw her own reflection. She
tried to scream, to beg for mercy, to somehow
stop Margred’s soldier from what she was about to do. Eliana’s cry clawed at her throat, but it was soundless,
useless. In the soldier’s other hand was an orb, a glowing round stone that
cast light on the soldier’s smile, a terrifying smile made crooked by the scar
running the length of her face.
Someone grabbed Eliana’s shoulder. Shook it.
A barely audible whisper.
Why could she hear her name carried on a breath but not her own screams?
The hand on her shoulder was heavy and warm. And tugged gently
on her quilt. Quilt? Why would her quilt be here in the Morgan Castle courtyard
in the midst of the battle? She opened her eyes to the dim light of the
sleeping room. Her father pulled on the quilt again.
“I know it’s early,” he said. “But Winston is here already. He’s
out by the chicken coop.”
Winston. Chicken coop. Eliana felt like she was pulling
herself from a murky bog, her dream fading. Yet another of the dreams that had
started the night Winston flew her home from Morgan Castle.
Contrary to her nightmares, Eliana knew all was well now. King
Halwyn’s horrible counselor Margred and the remainder of her soldiers were
gone—had sailed north up the Pearl River.
Everyone she’d poisoned had recovered, thanks to Cook’s special tea.
Morgan Castle’s treasure had all been found, right where Margred had hidden it.
Now King Halwyn could pay the annual tribute to the Overking of Canting at the
Banquet on June the sixth, just three days away.
Eliana pushed tangled brown curls out of her eyes and tried to
smile at her father. If all were well, why did she keep dreaming about the
scar-faced soldier and her poison-tipped spear? And a cavern with a huge dark
shape that would never move again?
Eliana slid out of her bed, careful not to wake her older
sister Alethia. Her father wrapped a shawl around Eliana’s shoulders and held
the sleeping curtain open for her. In the kitchen, Father’s teacup—one of the
four Dragon Cups—was on the wooden table, along with a slab of brown bread.
Cadoc pulled out a chair and gestured for her to sit. He
unhooked the water pot from the rod above the stove, poured the simmering water
over the tea leaves in the cup, and slid it to her waiting hands.
“Same dreams?” he whispered, turning to hang the pot back on
She nodded and wrapped her hands around the cup with its
intricate blue designs. The steam from the tea wafted up. It smelled like
“Have a little,” said her father. “And eat. Then you can go
see why Winston is here so early.”
Eliana nodded again and took a few sips of the tea. It seemed
to chase away at least some of the nightmare remnants.
“The nightmares . . . it’s your mind trying to
understand what happened,” said Cadoc. “Even though everything turned out well
in the end, what happened was . . . was what no child should
have to experience.” He handed her the bread.
Eliana heard sadness mixed with frustration in his voice. Now he
could no longer leave for work at the quarry every day assuming his family
would be safe at home, doing the things they’d always done. A dragon was at
this very moment dozing in their yard. And his daughter was a Dragon Speaker. Had
flown on a dragon hundreds of feet above ocean waves barely covering boulders
at the foot of the Dead Rise Cliffs. Had been in the middle of a battle with an
evil woman and her spear-wielding soldiers, one of whom Eliana kept seeing in
Delicate yellow light from the window fell on her father’s
face and on the lines that hadn’t been there before. He stood, careful not to
scrape the chair legs on the slate floor. He slung his leather tool satchel
over his shoulder and took his coat off the hook by the front door.
He smiled. “I’ll go out this way so I don’t disturb Winston.
He seemed tired, too.”
Winston. Her new friend, the young dragon with amazing turquoise and
emerald green scales and feathers. Winston, who she could understand when she