It's time for the hump day hump… Birthday Excerpts!

The sun came out…that means its excerpt time! WOOT! I’ll start with something serious! Remember the Tigon series? Time to end it. *g* Here’s a sample….
Green World
Book 4 Liger series
Chapter one
The forest was burning!
The smell of smoke was cloying, filling his nostrils, and burning his eyes.
The thick black mass seemed to billow around him, drying out his throat and making it difficult for him to see what was in front of him.
He closed his eyes, coughing before blinking rapidly, trying to get some moister back so he could see properly.
But the heat–
It increased as he stood there, sting fire, hot and stinging, bringing him to his knees.
His chest burned as he struggled to inhale, but his lungs forced painful hacking coughs to emerge from his parched throat.
He tasted his own blood.
The sky grew darker, the crackling of the hungry flames grew louder, but faintly, he could hear them–the screams and cries of agony.
People were burning!
He struggled forward, trying to get to them, to save who he could, but he heat and the pain kept him immobile, on his knees.
A hot wind blew and suddenly the acrid spoke parted enough for him to catch a glimpse of what lay ahead.
The village! It was burning!
There were men racing about beating out flames while others tried to get a terrified looking group of women and children out of the trees that they had instinctively taken to in an attempt to avoid the death bringing flames.
Around him the huts were collapsing, some bring the horrific shrikes of pain that were even more terrifyingly cut short mid cry.
Those were the hardest to listen too, knowing that death had stolen the voice of the screamer.
The sickening sweet smell of burnt flesh and wood now filled his nostrils.
He held in his cries of pain and crawled forward, trying to help in any way, but he moving was painfully slow.
Red speaks covered the smoldering ground, hot pockets that severed the skin from his hands and knees, but still he kept moving forward.
There–suddenly he paused. There was a whimper before him.
He turned in that direction and spotted a child, curled up at the base of a tall tree engulfed in flames.
He moved faster, ignoring the flesh he was leaving behind on the forest floor, as he made his way to that child.
He would save it, he would save just one or die trying.
“Come–agh,” he choked, calling out to it. “Come–.here!” he managed, but the child ignored him, clinging painfully to the burning tree.
“Here!” he screamed, tasting blood in his throat as the capillaries tore and dryness stole every bit of moisture from his body.
He would never make it, he knew! He looked up to see burning branches, orange with heat, crackling and falling.
He frantically looked around, curing his stupid legs for their inability to function, as he tired to find someone to help.
“You!” He screamed again, hacking and coughing up red tinted mucus. His eyes and his nose ran quite freely, but he ignored all of that. The child was more important. “Hey! You!” but the man ignored him as if he didn’t exit.
“Fuck it!” he screamed, forcing himself to crawl faster, scrambling through the burning grasses and steaming ground, ignoring his own pain in order to reach the child.
Like a bug crawling thought filth, he wiggled and drug his body onward, watching the braches creak and sway right above the child, knowing that it would fall before he could save her.
It was her, some small part of his mind noticed, a small girl with long black hair and wide tear filled emerald green eyes.
“Move!” he bellowed, coughing and choking, but moving faster. “Get away!” he screamed, knowing that he was not going to make it, but praying that by the grace of the creator, he could reach her.
Knowing that it was a little girl made this all the more difficult to bear.
A little girl, a carrier of life, the one responsible for the continuation of the species—
“Please!” he begged, not knowing if he was prying to the creator, to mother earth–maybe for divine intervention–he didn’t know, but as fear turned his blood cold, he moved close to the girl.
“Al—almo–st–.” he cried, dragging his worthless body behind him. “Al—most there–”
He was doing it! He was making it! Just a little more and he would be able to save her, to keep these peoples hope of a future alive!
But just as he was within arms distance, the girl turned to look at him, her eyes ancient and filled with hate.
“It’s all your fault,” she hissed just as the branch fell.
“You killed us all!” she accused, her voice sounding loud of the roaring flames and the cracking of the braces.
They covered her, engulfing her in a sea of blurring reds and oranges, her accusations turning into screams.
“You killed us all!” she shrieked as the smell of burned flesh surrounded him.
“No!” he bellowed, reaching out to her, trying his best to reach her. “I tried to help!” he dared explain to the burning child. “I tried….”
Zactch jerked upright, his eyes wide in horror, tears trialing down his face, as he struggled against whatever held him.
“Shh,” came the voce again. Did he recognize those dark tones–Gwire.
Awareness filled him as he exhaled and sagged back into the strong embrace that held him tightly against a familiar heat.
Gwire, his lover, his soul mate, his reason for being.
He inhaled the clean musky scent of his lover, noting the faint burning scent that clung to him.
Then he began to remember.
He was safe. Gwire had pulled him from burning tent.
He still maintained the evidence that the Liger and Tigons were actual sentient humans, compete with their own society and their own language.
Now all he had to do was get to their home world and present his findings to the appropriate planetary King–and convince the worlds that he was still alive.
Piece of cake, he thought sarcastically, as soon as I get off this planet, avoid the near religious like fervor of the soldiers who now infected this place, bent on revenge and avenging his death.
Any other time the hue and outcry over his name would have made him smile and feel accepted.
But his name placed in this proposed genocide made his feel dirty and guilty.
Damn that woman, he fumed.
If he could get his hands on her, he would gladly wrap them around her neck and squeezed until the feckless soul that inhabited that body fled for calmer pastures.
But for now, he nodded, knowing that Gwire’s impressive night vision would see the gesture and know that he was once again in control, not letting his nightmares dictate his movements.
The large hand that covered his mouth, turned to caressing his face, and almost like a child, he nestled his face into that gentle touch.
“How,” he began, but the lingering parts of the dream, the dry mouth and the constricted lungs, remained with him. “How long?” he managed, meaning how long had he been asleep. God, he could still smell the smoke.
“The sky is falling dark,” Gwire spoke so softly that he had to strain to hear his words.
“I slept that long?” Zactch was incredulous. He could he–? He had wasted valuable time! They could have–”
“Cease these recriminations, my mate,” Gwire hugged him tighter, then ran his hands over his body as if again checking to see that he was basically unharmed.
“And — you know– what I’m thinking?” Zactch managed thought his painful throat.
“I can read your motions,” Gwire smugly informed him. “And there is no reason for your guilt. During the day, we rest and recuperate, we listen to the forests to tell us of our enemies movements–and we plan.”
“But we wasted daylight,” Zactch complained.
“Wasted?” Gwire chuckled. “You forget my mate. I am a Shadow Dancer. The night belongs to me.”