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 simply must punch a shape-shifting vampire Nazi.
Like tonight, for instance.
I stroll through New York’s Central Park. Ahead of me, there strides a guy in a chicken costume. I’m talking yellow feathers, plumed tail, the whole smash. A sash extends from his shoulder to his hip that reads Eat At Cluck Town. 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. All audax started off as German soldiers in World War II. During a raid, they entered the magical city of El Dorado, got changed into vampires, and have been causing trouble ever since.
All of which is why I can’t wait to punch this particular blood sucker.
With a stake.
Right through his heart.
Because I’m more than just a teenager who’s dressed up for a night of dancing. I’m a dragon-shifter princess with a secret obsession.
I know. My life is strange. It runs in the family.
Squinting, I focus on the guy’s birdy outfit. Dragon shifters like me are immune to supernatural glamours, so I can easily detect the decaying body that’s magically hidden under all those feathers.
The real costume-wearing human got attacked by an audax. After drinking the victim’s blood, this particular vampire magically took on the man’s appearance, bird outfit and all.
And the original chicken guy? Way dead.
Cold sorrow moves through me. Most likely, I’m the first to know about this lost life. I’m certainly the only one around here who detects the audax.
Ah, to be a clueless human. They’ve no idea how many evils surround them.
For his part, Vampire Chicken Guy (VCG for short) keeps sauntering along the stone path, his plumed tail bobbing with each step. He pulls off his fake chicken head to reveal someone my age—that would be seventeen—with round cheeks, short red hair and tons of freckles. A stolen face.
My grief melts into lava-hot rage. How dare this audax kill a human? I twist the clunky golden bracelet around my right wrist. If I take this off and flip the segments about, it transforms into a small spike. That’s the only way to fully kill an audax…
A golden stake through the heart.
Meanwhile VCG smiles innocently at passersby. New Yorkers actually grin and wave in return, which is rare. Must be a chicken thing. I hoist up my bandeau top and keep following. The dance club can wait.
VCG is going down.
My prey slips off into a cluster of trees. Adrenaline courses through my bloodstream. Whipping off my bracelet, I convert the jewelry into a mini-stake. This size isn’t as powerful as my regular weapon, but it’ll get the job done. With every step, my tail sways behind me in a predatory rhythm. It’s invisible to humans while being covered in dragon scales. Super useful in a fight.
I step into a small clearing—the same secluded nook that VCG just entered—and carefully scan my new surroundings.
There are trees.
And a random tortoise.
My heart sinks. No VCG.
I pull out my cell phone and see the familiar image of my sister, Huntress, on the screen. As always, Huntress carries an aristocratic air that says, you shall follow me NOW. It’s her mix of fine features, violet eyes and oodles of confidence. By contrast, I have brown hair and eyes, as well as a vibe that screams, I’m uncomfortable in my own skin. Which is true.
Before answering, I take a moment to change character. Just now, I was playing the Lone Vigilante, a version of myself that fights vampires solo. When chatting with my sister, I must toss my Lone Vigilante self aside and become a new character, the Family Fuck Up. Because if folks knew about my Lone Vigilante antics, then I’d be locked up in a tower forever. No joke. My family’s nutso when it comes to safety.
I pop in my earpiece. “Hey, Huntress.”
“Ready for tonight’s mission?”
A nearby shrub catches my attention. My Lone Vigilante instantly rises to the surface. Maybe that shrub holds a clue about where VCG slunk off to.
“Did you hear me?” asks Huntress.
“Uh, what was that again?” To play the Family Fuck Up, it’s always important to stammer while asking dumbass questions.
“I was talking about tonight’s mission,” repeats Huntress. “Are you ready?”
A spot of yellow catches my eye. Ah-HA! That might be a feather. I step closer and indeed, I discover something colorful.
A Butterfinger wrapper. Bummer.
“Mission for what?” This time, I take care to imagine my head as full of cotton candy.
I can almost hear Huntress roll her eyes. “The Wurtzite dagger.”
“Oh yeah. That mission.”
Huntress clears her throat. “Here’s the rundown for tonight, in case you forgot.”
In other words, Huntress totally thinks I forgot.
In truth, I can recite every detail for tonight from memory. The Lone Vigilante forgets nothing.
“I’ll start with the target,” continues Huntress. “It’s a human male named Mack. Over six feet tall. Strong build. Blue eyes. Nineteen years old. Tonight he’ll be carrying a Wurtzite dagger, which is a magical blade that can cut through anything.”
Originally, Huntress and I needed the Wurtzite dagger to protect my twin, Zinnia. But Zin is totally safe these days. Now the Lone Vigilante wants the weapon because MAGICAL DAGGER.
Huntress keeps going. “According to my intel, Mack is due at La Vida tonight. Do you know the place?”
“Yup. I’ve hit that club before. Good dance spot.”
“Oh, this is interesting,” adds Huntress. “It says here, Mack is also part of the zoetic, a group of humans who fight something called the audax.”
Now I could volunteer a ton of audax info at this point, but I won’t. As far as my family is concerned, I’m a crackpot who loves touring Earth with my (arguably awful) rock band.
Yes, I’m living a lie. The rock band is just a cover. I only book gigs where there are vampires to kill or magical relics to uncover. And sure, it’s kind of lonely. I juggle so many masks, I don’t know which one is really me, if any.
At least I don’t cry myself to sleep. I’m more of a whimper and eat popcorn before bedtime kind of girl.
A rustle sounds in the nearby trees. Can that be VCG? I pause.
Static crackles over my earpiece. “Do you know anything about the zoetic?” asks Huntress.
I step closer to the noisy tree. “One sec,” I whisper.
“Hey,” snaps Huntress. “Are you stalking someone?”
Wow. 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 testing out this new…” I search for something that a fellow dragon shifter would believe. “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 work out. Dragon shifters are naturally strong.”
“Eh, you know me. Always trying crazy human stuff just for the fun of it.”
“Oh.” And that’s all Huntress needs to say. My reputation as a nut job does the rest.
In the background, a palace servant asks something about a busted pipe. “Let me check,” Huntress says to the servant. To me she asks: “Can you wait a sec?”
I tiptoe even closer to the tree. There’s not much to see, unless you count bark and a few crawly things. By comparison, the Butterfinger wrapper seems like a great find. As a matter of fact, I’m about to give up the search when it happens.
VCG falls from the branches above.
And lands right on my head.
I get knocked to my stomach with a vampire chicken crouching on my back. Since his headgear is still off, the vamp leans in and licks my ear.
“How fortunate that I shall kill you now,” snarls the vampire. “If you sought out the Halcyon coven, then you’d die in a far more painful way.”
Huh. In truth, I have zero plans to seek out the Halcyon witches. That said, I’ve always been interested in the Halcyons—mostly because they’re somewhat related to the audax. And the fact that I’m being warned away from them?
Death be damned. Now I’m totally hunting the Halycons down.
After I kick this vampire’s ass, obviously.
–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