I’m so excited to Kaps’ story with you! Scroll down to read Chapter One from KAPS (AKA Angelbound Offspring #5) and don’t miss the launch tour starting at the end of this month!
Sometimes, you just have to punch a shape-shifting vampire Nazi.
Like tonight, for instance.
I stroll through Central Park, looking like just another girl dressed up for clubs and dancing. The setting sun glints off skyscapers and paints the trees in shades of red. The late summer air carries a soft bite of cold, signaling that autumn is on its way. A child runs by, crazy-happy to have a balloon on a stick.
What a picture-perfect New York moment.
You know, except for the whole vampire chicken situation.
Here’s the deal. Ahead on the path, there’s a guy dressed in a chicken costume. He also wears a sandwich board advertising the Cluck and Brew. But this fellow is anything but normal, and not for the obvious wardrobe reasons.
He’s actually a vampire.
Even worse, he’s an audax, which is a shape-shifting vampire Nazi.
And the second I have a chance, I am totally punching him.
With a stake.
Right through his heart.
Because I’m not just another teenager dressed up for a night of clubs and dancing. I’m a dragon-shifter whose secret obsession is slaying audax.
I know. My life is strange. It runs in the family.
Squinting, I focus hard on the yellow costume itelf. Supernatural glamours don’t work well on me. So after a few seconds, I can clearly see the decaying body magically hidden under all those feathers. Audax drink human blood and then take on the appearance of their victim. Without all that blood-based magic, everyone would see these vamps for what they truly are: walking roadkill.
And the real chicken guy? Way dead.
A pang of sorrow moves through me. Most likely, I’m the first to know about this lost life. I’m certainly the only one around who detects the audax.
For his part, Vampire Chicken Guy (VCG for short) keeps sauntering along a stone path, his plumed tail bobbing with each step. He pulls off his fake chicken head, revealing the face of someone my age—that would be seventeen—with a plump cheeks, short red hair, and tons of freckles.
Which is how the original chicken guy looked. So sad.
My grief hardens into a rock-solid rage. How dare the audax go around hurting humans? I twist the clunky golden bracelet around my right wrist. If I take this off and flip the segments about, then it transforms into a small stake.
Meanwhile, VCG smiles innocently at passers-by. New Yorkers actually grin and wave in return, which is rare. Must be the costume. I hoist up my bandeau top and keep following. Hitting the clubs can wait.
VCG is going down.
My prey steps off into a cluster of trees. Adrenaline courses through my bloodstream. Whipping off my bracelet, I quickly convert the jewelry into a mini-stake. This size isn’t as powerful as my regular weapon, but it’ll get the job done. I creep into a small clearing and carefully scan for any sign of VCG.
There’s a secluded nook.
And even a random turtle.
My heart sinks. No VCG.
Pulling out my cell phone, I see the familiar image of my sister Huntress. Even on a tiny screen, Huntress carries an artistocratic air that says, you shall follow me anywhere. It’s her combination of fine features, violet eyes and oodles of confidence. By contrast, I have brown hair and eyes, as well as a vibe that says, I’m uncomfortable in my own skin. Which I am.
I pop in my earpiece. “Hey, Huntress.”
“You ready for tonight’s mission?”
The nearby shrubs catch my attention. Maybe they could hold a clue about where VCG slunk off to. A long pause follows. Then I realize Huntress asked me something. “What did you say?”
“I wanted to know about tonight’s mission,” repeats Huntress. “Are you ready?”
A spot of color catches my eye. Ah-HA! That might be a feather. I step closer and indeed, I discover something.
A Butterfinger wrapper.
“Mission for what?” I ask.
I can almost hear Huntress rolling her eyes. “The Wurtzite dagger.”
“Oh yeah. That mission.”
Huntress clears her throat. “Here’s the rundown for tonight, just in case you forgot.”
In other words, Huntress totally thinks I forgot.
“Our target is a human male named Mack,” continues Huntress. “He’s a little over six feet tall with a strong build and blue eyes. Tonight he’ll definitely be carrying a Wurtzite dagger, which is a magical blade that can cut through anything.”
Orginally, Huntress and I wanted the Wurtzite dagger in order to protect my twin, Zinnia. But Zin is totally safe these days. Now I’m after the weapon because it kills anything, including audax vampires. Honestly, I want an alternative way to slay. Stakes are super bulky to shlep around.
Huntress keeps going. “According to my intel, Mack is due at Club Nova tonight.” A keyboard clicks as Huntress types away. “Oh, this is interesting. It says here, Mack is also part of the zoetic, a group that fights something called the audax.”
I could volunteer a lot at this point, but I won’t. Years ago, I gave up telling anyone about my anti-audax obsession. Instead, I pretend to be a crackpot who loves finding magical artifacts while touring Earth with my rock band. What can I say? My sister Zin was kidnapped as a kid. If I told my family I was off fighting vampires, they’d lock me up in a tower and toss the key.
It’s a nice tower, but still.
Audax need killing.
A rustle sounds in the nearby trees. Can that be VCG? I pause.
“Do you know what the zoetic are?” asks Huntress.
I step closer to the noisy tree. “One sec,” I whisper.
“Hey,” says Huntress. “Are you stalking someone?” Leave it to Huntress to detect stalking behavior over the phone. She’s well named, by the way. This girl can track anyone, anywhere.
“No, I’m just trying out this new…” I search my mind for someting that a fellow dragon shifter would believe. “It’s a new human exercise craze. You have to whisper while, uh, jogging.”
Not my best lie.
“Exercise?” Huntress’ voice takes on a decidedly skeptical note. “But you don’t need to work out. Dragon shifters are naturally strong.”
“Eh, you know me. Always trying crazy human stuff just for the fun of it.”
And that’s all Huntress needs to say. My reputation as a nut job does the rest.
Hunching over, I tiptoe even closer to the noisy tree. There’s not much to see, unless your count bark and a few crawly things. By comparison, the candy wrapper seems like a positive gold mine. As a matter of fact, I’m about to give up when it happens.
VCG falls from the branches above.
And lands right on my head.
–end of sample–
Sometimes, you just have to punch a shape-shifting vampire Nazi. Like tonight, for instance.
Meet Princess Kaps: renegade, dragon shifter, and general pain in her royal parent’s backsides. Although Kaps pretends to love rock and roll, she’s actually obsessed with fighting the Audax, a group of shape-shifting vampire Nazis. And to slay herself some vampires, Kaps collects magical dragon relics.
Enter the L’Griffe–AKA the shifter mafia—who also hunt down supernatural artifacts. Kaps gets in their way and ends up with a price on her head. And things get tricky.
A bounty hunter named Mack comes to collect. Although he’s human, Mack knows all about shifter ways. And what he lacks in shifting power he more than makes up for with a lethal combination of looks, strength, and smarts. After luring the princess away with an epic kiss, Mack slaps some supernatural handcuffs on Kaps, tosses her in a van, and heads off to L’Griffe headquarters with his quarry.
The fact that Kaps is really dragon royalty doesn’t bother Mack in the slightest. And the Audax don’t frighten him, either.
But that kiss with Kaps? It might be a problem.
“I am super intrigued by Kaps! She is independent, snarky and adventurous, and just a hint jaded. I can’t wait to see what terrible mischief she finds herself in during her own book!”– Smada’s Book Smack