I’m so excited to share chapter one of CLOCKWORK IGNI, the next release in my Angelbound origins series! The story begins with a brief trip back in time to when Myla was eleven years old. I hope you enjoy this preview!
MYLA, AGE ELEVEN
I’m about to play Barbie Doll Death Match. Yes!
It’s all thanks to Miss Kits, a black cat with six tails and enough magic to make my Barbies fight, pro-wrestling style.
Still, there is a catch.
Before doing anything, Miss Kits wants what she calls a dainty dolly tea in the backyard. Not my dream playdate. But I need battle training. No one else can help. Mom freaks when I mention fighting, my father’s not around, I’ve no siblings, and my neighbors are all of the lazy-n-judgy variety. It’s Miss Kits or zip. So I dig out toys and do as my magical cat demands.
Dainty dolly tea.
Which brings me to where I am now.
My backyard is a square of yellowing grass. Our single-storey ranch house takes up one side of the space. Bare hedges surround everything else. It’s a lot of dying plants under a cloudy sky. Typical Purgatory.
And my dolls are finally in place.
In the center of the mangy lawn, four Barbies sit around a small plastic table. Their tea stuff comes from a larger toy set, so the dolls could wear the cups as tiny battle helms. Which is tempting to do. Still, I keep everything upright on the tabletop—the right style for dainty dolly tea. Once Miss Kits gets here, the death match will begin. My heart pounds so hard, the whoosh of my pulse turns deafening.
Mom eyes me through the kitchen’s back window. There’s no missing the moment when she spies the dolls. My mother waves excitedly toward the little table. I shoot her a thumbs up.
Yup, I’m playing with Barbies.
Mom smiles her face off—she’s a huge fan of dolls. So far, I’ve only used them for target practice.
The back door opens with such force, it wallops against the house itself. Two shingles tumble down as Mom rushes toward me.
“Oh, Myla.” Mom beams. “Are your Barbies having tea?”
I shift my weight from foot to foot. “For now, yeah.”
As natives of Purgatory, Mom and I are quasi-demons (mostly human with a little demonic DNA). Mom’s tall and curvy with red hair. I’m a smaller version of her, only I’m hipless and boob-free. We both wear gray sweats, since that’s the uniform demanded by our evil ghoul overlords. Like all quasis, Mom and I also have tails. Ours are long, thin, and covered in black dragon scales.
After rushing across the lawn, Mom crouches beside the little table. “Tea with your Barbies. I can’t believe it.”
My gaze flicks between Mom, the table, and the line of hedges where Miss Kits usually makes her big entrance.
This will not end well. Damn.