Dragon Fire Academy 1 First Term an RH academy romance - Rachel Jonas Page 0,1

allowed to enter the trials.”

Those words left my father’s mouth with unwavering certitude, causing me to peer up at him.

“My only request is that, once you’re accepted into the academy, you’ll steer clear of danger,” he continued. “And promise you won’t let anyone pressure you into behaving like a hero.”

He stared with a firmness I’d seen many times throughout the years. Without a doubt, it was a sign he meant business.

I thought about his statement long and hard. “You have my word I’ll never put myself in unnecessary danger.”

When his expression didn’t change, I knew he hadn’t missed how I sidestepped the vow he hoped to hear declared tonight. While, no, I would never aim to be heroic, I couldn’t say I’d never take chances, would never take a risk if it meant helping someone else. I hadn’t lied to my father since I was a kid and had no reason to revive the habit now.

“Noelle, no one would think less of you if you gave yourself a little more time,” he reasoned, turning to face me. “You can head to the academy next year. Or even asking for a short extension until after your birthday, might be wise. At least until everything—”

“Not happening,” I cut in.

The last thing I wanted was to jeopardize my chances, especially seeing as how I’d been given a special invitation to attend tryouts. Besides, we had this conversation enough times for him to know I wouldn’t change my mind. I had to prove once and for all that I could handle things on my own.

Prove it to my family.

Prove it to myself.

My father’s concerns weren’t completely unfounded—this coming birthday was the big one. Being accepted to DFA would mean I’d have to endure the agony of my very first transformation on my own, without my family. It would also mean my wolf and dragon would suddenly awaken, possibly causing my magic to behave strangely. If that happened, it would be up to me to rise to the challenge of controlling all three.

It seemed most doubted I was capable of such a thing, but that was partly because I was the only one of my kind—a wolf, dragon and witch hybrid. To put it plainly, no one else existed who possessed all three attributes, and the Council had no real way of knowing what would happen on D-day.

However, I had faith. Not only had I learned how to successfully harness my magic, I also had a solid plan B should things not go the way I imagined.

“You’re stubborn, you know that? Just like your mother, and it scares the heck out of me.” It surprised me when Dad smiled a little before planting a kiss in the center of my forehead.

I couldn’t help but to think of their story when he mentioned my mother. She’d done many things in the past that nearly worried him to death. It was just in her nature to see to the heart of a matter when no one else could, to dive headfirst into situations most would run away from. My Gram, Elise, called it her superpower.

Inheriting that trait didn’t sound so bad to me.

There was no doubt that Mom’s strength had been important in my journey. To start, my dad never would’ve allowed me to explore my own path—a somewhat precarious one at that—had she not reminded him of the course their own had taken.

From what he’s shared throughout the years, it seemed she taught him many lessons that molded them as a pair, and him as a man. The one he believed to be most impactful was being taught to have faith in others. He learned he couldn’t hold a loved one back from their purpose simply because he feared what lay ahead. She proved to him, over and over again, that those of us he fought so fiercely to protect were strong and capable, because of him. It took a lot of convincing, but he eventually agreed that the decision to enter the trials was mine to make.

“We should head downstairs,” I announced. “The letter will be here any minute.”

A tight squeeze around my shoulders made me wish I could stay in the safety of his arms forever.

“Whatever it says,” he assured me with a warm smile, “I’m already proud of you. And wherever you end up, whatever you experience out there, there will still be a place here for you. This will always be your home, Noelle.”

I never questioned that, but it was still nice