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Heroic Hearts



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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jim Butcher, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Dresden Files, turned to writing as a career because anything else probably would have driven him insane.

Kerrie L. Hughes is a paranormal girl in a way too normal world. She’s primarily known as an anthologist and short story writer but recently ventured into novels. Cauldron: Tales from the Great Lakes Grimoire is her first series, featuring witches, wizards, shifters, dragons, ghosts, and the Fae. –This text refers to the paperback edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Little Things


by Jim Butcher


My name is Major General Toot-Toot Minimus, sprite in service to Sir Harry Dresden, Knight of the Winter Court and Wizard of Chicago, and captain of his personal guard. When the skies darken with smoke and ash, when wails of wrong and woe rend the night, when my lord goes to war with titans and unspeakable horrors from Outside of reality, someone must protect him from threats too small to readily discern.


That is my place: not at my lord’s side, but at his ankles.


In the days since my lord had defeated a mad goddess in single combat and claimed his Castle as reward, pizza deliveries had been spotty. The troops had begun to express concern. They had, after all, fought for their right to pizza. Castle stores of inferior frozen stuff could only last so long.


There was a dark mortal entity my lord called a conomee. The conomee was very bad, because of all the rubble and the blocked streets after the Battle. Battles make conomees that were once good very bad. Now the bad conomee was preventing pizza from being delivered.


It was a matter of grave concern.


The troops talked in fearful whispers about the conomee all of the time.


“My lord,” I said politely. “The troops are worried about the conomee again.”


My lord opened one of his eyes and blew out a little breath from between his lips. He had been sitting on a pillow on the floor doing absolutely nothing, which was why I had picked this moment to speak to him. His hair was mussy. There were circles under his eyes. He wore a cast on one arm and had an ankle wrapped so heavily that it was almost as big.


“Toot,” he said in a bleary voice. “I am meditating.”


He hadn’t been doing anything at all when I spoke to him, so he must have meant some other time. “When?” I asked.


He bowed his head forward sharply and sighed. Then he looked up at me and gave me a tired smile. “Shall we go put a couple of pizzas in the oven?”


“That would ease tensions greatly,” I told him in my most serious voice. It was good to be very serious when bringing matters to my lord, so that he knew I would not bother him with trivial things.


“Give me a second,” he said. I waited for practically forever while he unfolded himself from where he’d been sitting and clambered slowly to his feet.


My lord did not look well. Death had come for his lady during the Battle. At night, he would shut the world away from his chambers, and though he would sleep for hours and hours he never seemed rested. He moved as though the weight of an ocean pressed down on his shoulders.


“Right,” he said in a rough voice a moment later. “To the kitchen.” There was a rustling sound behind him. A second later, a large, gray, bobtailed tomcat named Mister brushed past his ankles, apparently in an attempt to trip him. My lord absorbed the assault with the reflexes of long practice and started walking. He stumped slowly through the hallways of the Castle, down to the kitchens in the first basement.


I did not like the kitchens. Everything was made of the Bane, which seemed completely unnecessary. Couldn’t they have made it out of plastic? My lord assured me that the Bane helped keep mortals safe from illness, but I did not see how. One of the mortal refugees who was residing in the guest quarters of the Castle had left a little cloth catnip mouse out for Mister, who had become the mascot of everyone staying in the Castle. He received all the petting he wished, from which he always seemed smug. The old tomcat pounced upon the mouse happily and began batting it methodically around the large kitchen floor.


My lord tightened the belt of his robe, shivering a little against the Castle’s cold as he started the ovens and walked into the freezer to emerge with a pair of frozen pizzas. He hit the switch on a battered, ancient-looking box, and very fancy-sounding human music came out of it, all crackly, like it was on the other side of a large fire.


It is not my place to judge why my lord likes his music crackly. He is a wizard. They’re weird.


–This text refers to the paperback edition.

Additional information




Ace May 3 2022

Publication date

May 3 2022



File size

2993 KB



Screen Reader


Enhanced typesetting




Word Wise


Print length

365 pages

Page numbers source ISBN



Not Enabled

10 reviews for Heroic Hearts

  1. JW USA

    worth it for Briggs and BishopI love The Others world and Bishop did not disappoint with this short story. The tone felt very much like Written in Red. Briggs continues her story stories of Asia’s dates. I small word of caution – these are not stand alone. You need to be familiar with the worlds to fully appreciate them.

  2. M. C.

    Great stories about heroes who are not the usual run-of-the-millA lot of great stories in this anthology. But hands-down my favorite was Patricia Briggs’s “Dating Terrors.” If you’re at all a fan of her Mercyverse books, you won’t want to miss this story! It’s lovely, charming, heartwarming, unexpected, and presents truly an unusual pair of heroes as Asil (The Moor), the mostly crazy out-of-control werewolf, goes on his fourth blind date with a woman who isn’t exactly what she appears to be. They’re both heroes in their own ways, with Asil guiding his lady to become the hero she always was meant to be. And they heal each other in rather unusual ways.Other favorite stories in this collection included Anne Bishop’s “The Dark Ship”, which reveals what life in Celto-Romano is like after the great purge from the Elders in The Others series, the “Train to Last Hope” by Annie Bellet, a heart-wrenching story in a good way, and Jennifer Brozek’s “The Necessity of Practical Magic” about heroes who use their magic to clean up messes other people make.A great collection of stories from today’s master storytellers. This is a don’t miss anthology!

  3. Kindle Customer

    Great storiesI like anthologies that let me catch up with favorite characters and this one had three opportunities to do so. Jim Butcher wrote a touching tale of Toot Toot, Patricia Briggs had a very romantic visit with Asil, and Kevin Hearne had the Iron Druid fighting fires in Australia. This anthology also introduced me to a number of new authors I will want to follow up on. In particular, a story about a troll who speaks to trains and another story about two unexpected heroes guarding a museum sent me searching for more. Really appreciated the theme of heroism. Its nice to read about good guys winning.

  4. Angelina S.

    Asil Asil Asil!!!These are all great, but if you read Patricia Briggs and have been following Asil’s story, with his damaged spirit and tragic backstory, this short story…THIS ONE… is the payoff we have been desperately needing. I’m so freaking satisfied right now, I don’t even have the words.

  5. Kelly R

    Must read for fans of Patricia Briggs’ AsilI bought this mainly for the Patricia Briggs story, and so far that’s the only one I’ve read. Lovely and perfect, I was moved to tears and even if if I don’t like a single other story in this anthology (unlikely), the story of Asil’s fourth date would make it worth the price. I feel anything I could say about the story would be spoilery, so I’ll just say, if you have any fondness for the character of Asil, this story is a must read.Note: I’ll come back and revise this review once I’ve finished the rest of the book

  6. Curly’s Ramblings

    Very entertainingAudiobook review: I really like this book! New stories related to ongoing series with interesting sidelines and glimpses into the characters lives! Quite fun! I bought this book for Patricia Briggs’s Asil dating story and was pleasantly surprised by many of the other authors that I also follow being included. The narrators (yes, plural) all did a fantastic job with providing unique voices for each character and appropriate tone inflections for each scene.

  7. Kindle Customer

    Bought for one author; enjoyed them all!Several authors in this anthology were new to me, but I enjoyed adding them to my reading list. As always, Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris and Patricia Briggs delivered stories well worth waiting for and I bought the book mainly for them. However, the other authors delivered tales of love that riveted my attention.

  8. obaidbasit95

    Only read the Jim Butcher and Patricia Briggs’ stories till now. Worth the read just for them.A wonderful collection of “heroic” stories, including from some of my favorite authors. Entirely worth your time and attention

  9. susan

    a good readI bought this for the Patty Briggs and Jim Butcher stories, and it was worth it for them alone, but it also introduced me to some new authors who I will be looking for again.

  10. Kindle Customer

    A MUST READI thought to pace myself and read one story per night but I couldn’t put the book down. Brilliant read

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