Strange Fate (preview) is a short story excerpt found on L.J. Smith's website. It features the soulmate couple, Poppy North and James Rasmussen, who find themselves facing death at the hands of a dragon, before being rescued by Ash Redfern....and Poppy's twin brother, the lost witch Phillip North.ASH IS GORGEOUS
"This is an excerpt that shows how Ash Redfern (who has been alerted by Aradia, the Maiden of the Witches, that the Apocalypse, due nearly a year ago and forgotten now by most, is actually going to come) begins to rescue the NIGHT WORLD soulmate couples from the enemies who, for unknown reasons, are targeting the youngest generation of Harmans and Redferns. Ash’s last rescue will be of Mary-Lynnette, and will appear in the book, so the story Those Who Favor Fire will be finished in STRANGE FATE (which I hope to finish this calendar year)." - L. J. Smith Official Website
The excerpt opens with Poppy attacking a SEAL agent; she is able to use her exceptional telepathic ability to subdue the man and bite him to satiate her thirst. Interestingly, before inducing the SEAL into a stupor, Poppy reveals to him the vampire weakness to wood, and additionally takes his badge; Poppy is shown having a collection of badges.
However, as she is about to finish feeding, both she and the SEAL are alerted to a new presence: a large tri-horned black dragon. Poppy attempts to use her psychic Power to attack the horns, having stated that she had been heavily trained in utilizing her power with enough force to compare it to "an H-bomb". Just as she is about to unleash the attack, she is knocked into the bushes by James, who seeks to protect her from the dragon. The enormous creature meanwhile, to Poppy's horror, incinerates the SEAL with a fiery blast. James advises Poppy not to fight, and to instead stay put and hope the dragon forgets her, but the dragon soon turns toward the bushes. As a last attempt at escape, the soulmates use their bond to unite mentally; they lower their body temperatures significantly to avoid detection. However, the creature is not fooled, laughing at their effort.
The couple, acknowledging they are doomed, bid one another goodbye, exchanging declarations of love. Fortunately, as the dragon is about to breathe fire at them, Ash appears by helicopter, along with Poppy's twin brother, Phillip. The twins quickly begin a psychic assault on the dragon, termed as a Synergy Yell; Poppy and Phillip telepathically unleash a wave of telepathic power at the horns, as Poppy had remembered their significance. This action, ramped up by Poppy from a yell to a "shriek" is powerful enough to stun the dragon, allowing Poppy and James to escape up into the helicopter. However, the effort involved in the Syngery Yell, as he was not trained as Poppy was, causes Phillip to become overwhelmed and pass out.
As the dragon is too stunned to follow, the helicopter is ordered by Ash to return to Circle Daybreak; Phillip is wrapped in a shock blanket while Poppy is given tea for comfort. Ash reveals, when questioned by James, that the dragon had in fact was targeting James himself, as foreseen by the Maiden, Aradia; "for some reason the dragon doesn’t want Redferns or Harmans—especially ones with human or ex-human soulmates.” Poppy quickly observes that Ash is doing this for Mary-Lynnette, to which Ash replies quietly: "Everything I do I do for her." This brings the story to its close.
- It is not known who is targeting the younger Harman and Redfern generations, but it could be possible the dragons are targeting them due to the fact that these young generations include the Wild Powers (two Redferns, one Harman and a current unknown member).