It’s the holiday season, and as such, sharing is caring. Dragon and I decided, why not share some of our writing with you? Below you’ll find an excerpt from our first book Minutes to Midnight available at Amazon. (<–Clicky the link below to grab your copy!) In this installment, you get to meet most of the main cast of characters and get a little taste of the sort of shenanigans contained within the pages of the book.
“Ladies and gentleman,” the announcer’s voice was hesitant this time, “Victor Kruger.”
At his name, Kruger’s body began to convulse and he dropped to one knee, head lowered. His skin rippled and warped as his body mass quickly expanded. The hair on his body grew until it completely covered him in a thick chestnut pelt.
“Shit,” Tequila drew out the curse like she was expecting to say something else, “this could be bad.”
“You mean this isn’t supposed to happen?” I whispered, hoping this was just another of Primo’s magic acts. Of course, we all saw how the last magical transformation turned out, now didn’t we?
“No, Dirk. It’s not,” she hissed back.
Morgan, to her credit, gave Kruger the courtesy she’d denied Tony, dropping into a fighter’s stance. Her eyes tracked every second of his transformation as her fists curled at her sides just before raising them up to chin level, one foot sliding back to brace.
Kruger stretched, with a nauseating series of pops, to his full height. His muscles had nearly tripled in size, his mouth twisted into a gaping muzzle full of razor sharp teeth that gleamed slickly as he opened his mouth to unleash a blood curdling howl. Claws that looked like they could easily rip a cow in two tipped his fingers. Kruger was frightening on a subconscious level. The same level that makes you question if that noise in the dark corner of your room is really just the house settling.
He hasn’t gotten any taller, I thought ruefully, at least there’s that.
“A werewolf?” I turned Primo, my brain scrambling to make sense of the absurdity of his actions. “You flew in a werewolf to fight her?”
As far as I knew, the Weres all kept to themselves, sequestered in rural areas far away from civilization on account of their bestial nature. I’d never seen one this close before, fully morphed. Most people who had… well, the likelihood of surviving the encounter was about as good as the odds of Tony having beaten Morgan in the last match. First Alexis, now this guy? At least Kruger looked like his change was voluntary.
“It’s not like she can’t handle it.”
“He’s going to kill her.” I was having a serious issue believing that this match was going to proceed. Dread turned my blood to ice and settled uncomfortably in my gut.
“You don’t know for sure,” Primo beamed, his fingers steadily spinning his silver wedding ring. “She’s fought bigger opponents in the past.”
He may have been right, but from Tequila’s expression, I knew I wasn’t the only one with doubts. Her fingers laced together on her lap, knuckles white, as though she were keeping herself from springing up and diving into the ring.
We were in the minority. The rest of the crowd was whipped up into a total frenzy and didn’t show any signs of calming down. Morgan seemed to be handling herself well as she dodged Victor’s swings, landing repeated body blows of her own, bobbing and weaving in a steady circle around him.
“See?” Primo gestured dismissively at the fight. “She’s doing fine. There’s nothing to worry about.”
Kruger managed to side-step one of her punches, twisting to rake his claws across her back. Morgan snarled, pain briefly etching her features, before she spun around with a flying elbow to his open maw. The move inadvertently split open her forearm from elbow to wrist as it scraped along Kruger’s canine.
Blood flew through the air as she turned, landing awkwardly on her feet. Morgan’s knees buckled and she fell, good arm flung out to snare the ropes behind her to remain more or less upright. Blood pooled beneath her as she panted, wary eyes watching Kruger.
Mind racing, I tapped Tequila on the leg to get her attention and whispered in her ear, “Are weapons allowed in a sanctioned match? I mean, I have this bottle.” It wasn’t much, but it was a heavy amber glass, and it might give her a chance to dish out a little damage that wasn’t restricted to punches and kicks. I wasn’t delusional enough to think it would do any real harm to Kruger, but it could be a diversion.
Kruger had been knocked back, head shaking ponderously. He was dazed, but I was certain it wouldn’t be long before he went on the offensive again.
Tequila’s eyes never left the ring. “Weapons are expressly prohibited anywhere in a casino or entertainment area. That’s Vegas code.”
Primo hadn’t moved to stop the fight, the audience had gone silent – no one knew what to do – and Morgan was still struggling to stay on her feet. She was still on the defensive as Kruger started his strafing run.
“Then isn’t Kruger technically cheating?”
Tequila finally looked at me, confusion knitting her brows together, “What?”
“Kruger has paranatural claws and teeth. They technically are weapons.”
Tequila’s eyes went wide as she finally understood where I was headed. “Which means Kruger’s disqualified himself and the match is forfeit. Dirk… you’re a genius.” She clutched my forearm, “You have to distract Kruger while I contact Sam and get Morgan’s sword here.”
My ears relayed the lunacy of her words to my mouth, “Are you crazy? He’ll turn me into mincemeat.”
“It’s not like Astrid’s here to save the day again. Now is she?”
Did she just call me a coward?
I’d used my Credomancy before for much less honorable intentions. Focusing my abilities, I sprung from my seat and snatched up the bottle. It sailed through the air as I aimed it at Kruger’s head.
Any self-congratulations were short lived, however, as I missed my target, the bottle thunking against his chest instead and falling harmlessly to the mat.
“What are you doing?” Primo seethed, “Sit down! This isn’t your fight.”
All eyes were on me, so I followed up with the only thing I could. It was a long shot, but it’s all I had.
Sam’s voice stopped me in my tracks. <Here! Next time, don’t even think about having Tequila contact me to save one of your damsels-in-distress.> Sam was barely a recognizable blur appearing next to me, a sword shoved in my direction. I grabbed it before it hit the ground, and turned.
“Morgan! Here’s your sword!” yelling to her as I winged the weapon in her direction. She caught it and took a step back, gratitude warring with confusion across her face. She didn’t have long to ponder, though, as Kruger pounced forward, claws clicking.
This time, though, Morgan was ready.
The crimson blade flashed from her scabbard, combusting into flame as she sidestepped his attack and brought it down, slicing cleanly through the back of Kruger’s neck. There was a sizzle of burning flesh and hair as she continued her deadly pirouette, the momentum forcing the sword’s edge through muscle and bone until it reemerged from the front of his throat, sending an arc of red splattering against the concrete.
Kruger’s head bounced away from his limp body as it crashed to the floor, but I didn’t get the chance to cheer and do a victory lap. Morgan whirled the point of her fiery blade around, leveling it at my chest. Even at a distance, the heat from the tip made my skin prickle uncomfortably beneath my shirt.
I froze, heart thundering in my chest as I’d realized that I’d forgotten she might see me as a threat too, having never met me before. Physically, Morgan and I might be pretty evenly matched, with my one advantage being my reach. Her sword, however, tipped the scales firmly in her favor.
Gods please be kind.
Minutes to Midnight (The Nemesis Chronicles, Book 1)
Mythics… Creatures and beings of legend, possessing extraordinary abilities. Once thought of as merely stories, they’ve learned to blend into society to survive. Until someone decides to tip that balance.
Amazons… Morgan, an outcast searching for answers that will unravel the mystery that led to her exile from the only family she’s ever known.
Vikings… Dirk, a renowned courtesan in the city of sin, forced to choose between the life he has and what could be.
Nemesis… A group of powerful Mythics determined to find out who is behind the rash of random transformations, before chaos grips the city.
Together, they must stop what’s coming, before what happens in Vegas…changes everything.