ACCA, the new Book 3 in the Angelbound series, tells the story of Myla & Lincoln’s wedding and the fall of the evil House of Acca. You can read the sample chapter below and/or pre-order on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, & iBooks. The book launches on December 13th!
I haul ass across a tenement rooftop. The sky threatens rain, but what else is new? This is Purgatory, after all. Land of blech. On the next building over, Desmond the Klepto demon scrambles his lizard-like butt off as he attempts to escape. “Attempts” being the key word in that sentence.
At every step, my fiancé Prince Lincoln keeps a steady pace by my side. A warm sense of happiness seeps through my chest.
We’re demon hunting together again. At last.
Ahead of us, Desmond leaps onto another rooftop. This part of town is cramped and deserted, so he can easily scramble around without freaking out the general populace. Desmond’s a lanky dude with green skin, a flat nose, and an enchanted book in his possession that he just snatched from me when I exited my limo.
What a douche.
Anger pulses through my bloodstream. Desmond stole the Rixa Codex—a small book of evidence that’s hugely important.
I want it back like now.
I force my breathing to slow. Even though the book is crucial, I need to be patient. Plus, the chase is all part of the fun, right? And hell knows I haven’t had any demon-fighting fun in ages.
Speaking of which, what’s the rush to grab Desmond anyway? It’s not like he stands a chance against both Lincoln and me.
From the corner of my eye, I give my guy a quick once-over. Hmm. Someone looks mighty spicy in his new black body armor.
Maybe if I let Lincoln run ahead a little, I can get a quick peek at his butt.
I take care to pant excessively while slowing my pace across the uneven shingles. Sure, it’s unlikely that I’d actually be tired right now. Like every native of Purgatory, I’m a quasi-demon. That means I’m mostly human with a little bit of demon DNA. It’s what gives me a kickass tail as well as powers across two of the seven deadly sins, namely lust and wrath. My lust side grants me a pretty face, curves that stop traffic, and auburn hair that looks amazing without any product. Thanks to my inner wrath demon, I can fight like hell and run full out for days.
Even so, sometimes a girl just needs to slow down and check out her fiancé’s butt, so that’s what I do right now. Carpe assem.
Lincoln runs ahead of me. “For the record, I know what you’re up to.”
“Sure, it’s called conserving energy. Why should we kill ourselves to catch Desmond?”
“Ah, then this is only about the Klepto demon?” Lincoln leaps super-high over some kind of ancient television aerial. From this angle, it’s a mighty lovely sight. “Not my glutes?”
I’m so shnagged.
“Fine. I like the view.”
“We’re hunting a demon, Myla.” There’s no missing the smile in his voice. Lincoln loves it when I’m sassy.
“Hey, I can multitask.”
More smiling-voice-ness. “I’ve noticed.”
Here’s the deal. Six months ago, I was the baddest-ass warrior in Purgatory’s Arena. Then, I got transformed into a supernatural called the Great Scala, which means that I’m the only being who can permanently move souls to Heaven or Hell. Trouble is, if I’m hurt, it’s a showstopper for the spirit world. Long story short, until a Scala Heir is named, I have to be a responsible demigoddess. That means working behind a desk instead of killing things. It sucks. Hard.
“I concede your multitasking skills.” Lincoln makes another mouthwatering leap. “You’ve got two minutes to dawdle.”
“Did you just say dawdle?” I put on a tone of mock-outrage. “What are you, eighty?”
“I’ll pass along your critique to my royal tutors.”
“Like they’ll listen.” I snap my fingers. “Hey, I’ve got an idea. How about you watch some television?” Or any, really. “That’ll help you sound like you’re from this century.”
“Last time I checked, resembling a young human wasn’t one of my life goals, and you’re not changing the subject. One minute of dawdle time remains.” He places extra-emphasis on the word dawdle, the cheeky monkey.
“Eh, bite me.”
“No comment.” He looks back over his shoulder and winks. When the situation calls for it, Lincoln does love to use his teeth, and not in a bad way. At all.
After that, my guy goes quiet, so I return to ogling mode. Lincoln is tall and broad-shouldered with strong bone structure and messy brown hair. He’s twenty—a year older than me—which some say is too young for us to get hitched. Whatever. I can’t wait for our wedding. Plus, Lincoln’s a kind of demon hunter called a thrax. His people are part angel, obsessed with tradition, and live deep under the Earth’s surface. Lincoln’s their High Prince. More importantly, he’s whip-smart, honest, noble almost to a fault, and a great kisser. Now that we’re engaged, we’ve been working up to bigger things than kissing. It involves a lot less body armor and tons more skin.
Mmmmm, a partially naked Lincoln is a beautiful sight.
“Time’s up,” says Lincoln.
“Honestly, we have to hustle. We need that codex.”
Okay, Lincoln has a point. The Rixa Codex is where we’ve been storing up evidence for a trial against Acca, a House of thrax asswipes who need to be brought down. Once we get that book back from Desmond—and use it to record our last interview for the thrax court—then we’ll finally have enough proof to officially tear Acca apart. And after what those freaks put me through last month, I really want to destroy them. I mean, who enters into a secret pact with none other than Armageddon, the King of Hell?
Acca, that’s who.
Lincoln and I almost died cleaning up that particular mess. In fact, Lady Adair of Acca did end up dead. She might have been a bit of a bitch, but still. The whole situation isn’t something we can let slide.
I pick up the pace so I’m running shoulder-to-shoulder with Lincoln once more. “For the record, you spoil all my fun.”
“Huh.” Lincoln glances in my direction while arching his brows ever so slightly. “I know for a fact that I’m your main source of fun.”
I stick my tongue out at him. He’s totally right.
Lincoln laughs, which is a rich and rolling sound that makes everything in Purgatory seem a little less crappy. Together we leap toward another rooftop and land in perfect sync. A few pigeons flap off. When Desmond sees us closing in, he pulls a vial from his pocket, downs the contents, and picks up his pace. For a demon who has to waddle-walk everywhere, that guy sure starts hustling. The vial probably contained a velocity potion.
That said, even if Desmond can go extra fast, I’m not worried that he’ll actually escape. While most full-blooded demons fall into the not-too-bright category, Desmond brings dumbass to an entirely new level. He can’t stop stealing junk, dresses like a homeless clown, and has stalker issues with my family. Yet the biggest giveaway of Desmond’s stupidity is the fact that he’s running away from us right now.
Come on, showing your back to a pair of hunters? Seriously? That’s like predator crack. The dude must have a death wish.
Desmond jumps off the roof to land on the pavement in a roll. That’s no easy feat when your spine’s extra long. Interesting. I’ve never seen Desmond so motivated before. Lincoln and I share a puzzled look before leaping off as well. We sprint a few blocks in silence.
“Does any of this seem odd to you?” Lincoln finally asks.
“I was thinking the same thing. This isn’t Desmond’s MO.”
For months now, Desmond’s been trailing my family in the hopes of stealing random bits of our junk. No real shocker there. Mom’s the President of Purgatory and I’m the Great Scala. As a result, we both have our share of stalkers. Some are cute, even if they do rummage through our trash, looking for keepsakes. Others are creepy.
I shake my head. “Normally, Desmond never runs. He just hands over whatever he stole. Which is what should have happened back at the limo.”
“It’s what he did last time, and without any complaint.”
“Yeah, that was at the Toys for Quasi-Demonic Tots thing.”
Last week, Desmond lifted some stuff from Mom’s purse while she was speaking at a fundraiser. Not a great idea. While Mom’s the President of Purgatory, my father’s a badass archangel. All Dad had to do was glare at Desmond, and the Klepto handed over what he took. That time, it was Mom’s brush and an old Tic Tac from the bottom of her purse. Like I said, Desmond’s not the brightest star in the demonic sky. Sure, it’s in his nature to steal, but most Klepto demons are a little more strategic about it.
Okay, a lot more strategic.
A sinking feeling runs through my belly. Maybe Desmond isn’t too smart, but someone else is. “He could be a pawn here, you know. Who would expect Desmond to get mixed up in something seriously evil?”
Lincoln’s voice gets crazy calm. “Go on.”
“Let’s look at the facts. Desmond is running from us. You know we can’t resist that.”
“Next, how does a Klepto demon go so fast on those stubby little legs? That vial must have contained a velocity potion. Enchantments like those are pricey. You don’t pay for them with stolen Tic Tacs. And then there’s what he took. To grab the Rixa Codex, Desmond had to know when and where we’d be…And whether we’d have the book.”
“All of which requires some serious scheming.”
“Exactly. The whole thing is totally out of character. Desmond’s a demon who spontaneously grabs junk. He doesn’t plan complex heists.”
Lincoln’s full mouth thins to an angry line. “And now, he’s lifted our codex, the very evidence that we need to put Acca behind bars.” Thrax are all about tradition. Since we’ve challenged the House of Acca to court, thrax rules state that one side must go to jail. If it isn’t Acca, then it’s Lincoln and me.
Prison. What a sucky way to spend your honeymoon.
The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced. “Desmond is doing someone else’s dirty work. Guess who.”
A muscle ticks by Lincoln’s jawline. That means he’s pissed. Only one group gets him this angry. “Acca.”
“Yup.” Boy, do I ever hate those fuckers.
The House of Acca wants to rule the thrax homeland of Antrum. Since Lincoln’s next in line to the throne, my guy stands in their way. Which is why Acca tried to marry Lincoln off to their Lady Adair. Too bad for them, Lincoln fell in love with me first, mostly because an oracle angel named Verus stuck her nose in our business. Long story. Anyway, not only does Acca still want the crown, but they also really, really, really want me dead. Meh.
More silence follows as we run along and ponder. Lincoln’s the first to speak again. “There’s a flaw with your logic. Acca must know that we’ll get the codex back from Desmond.”
He’s got me there. Even if Desmond has a dozen spells on him, we’ll still take that Klepto down. I mean, I haven’t even called on my little supernatural buddies for help yet. To move souls to Heaven or Hell, I have power over tiny lightning bolts of energy called igni. If worse comes to worst, I can summon my igni to send Desmond back to Hell, and keep the codex right here. Sure, that would be a total pain in the ass—once igni start moving souls, it’s hard to get them to stop—but I have that option as a last resort.
So what’s Acca really up to?
My tail arches over my shoulder. It’s a beauty, what with being all long, black, and covered in dragon scales. The arrowhead-shaped end jabs in Desmond’s direction. That’s its way of saying we need to grab the Klepto, fast.
“Don’t worry, boy.” I give my tail a comforting pat. “We’ll get him.”
Desmond rounds a corner, and the street turns from bad to worse. The downgrade in neighborhood quality is awesome, in my humble opinion. Here’s why. Most of the after-realms have issues with demons sneaking in and causing trouble. On Earth, it’s the thrax who clean things up. In Purgatory, that work falls to our police. However, our government’s still reeling from Armageddon’s recent invasion (I kicked his ass back to Hell, by the way). As a result, our police haven’t been cracking down on demonic squatters.
Long story short, crappy areas like this one? They’re classic hangouts for the truly evil. My heart thuds faster in my chest. Deserted ruins filled with über-nasty demons?
The day’s looking up.
I grin from ear to ear. “I think I know what plan Desmond was given.”
“We’re not supposed to fight a Klepto demon.”
“Could’ve fooled me.”
“Desmond’s leading us somewhere else.”
Lincoln nods slowly. “Such as straight into a Class A battle.” Thrax categorize demons by letter. Class A are the hardest to kill.
“Fighting a Class A would be soooooo awesome.” I shoot Lincoln a sly look. “Maybe we’ll get to take down another Tinea.” I let out a wistful sigh. “Together.”
Lincoln chuckles. “I love your idea of date night.” I know that laugh. Lincoln is as excited as I am.
“How about we make this even more interesting?” I ask.
“What are you thinking?” The husky tone in Lincoln’s voice says that he knows exactly what’s on my mind.
“We bet on who makes the killing blow to the Class A.”
“And the prize?”
“Same as always. The winner names the next kiss.”
This is my favorite game in the history of ever. Whoever wins the bet gets to demand when and where our next kiss will take place. And no matter what the time or location, the so-called loser must comply. Typically, these interludes don’t end with kissing, either. Our last bet was who could first cross the Plains of Rixa on horseback. Lincoln won and demanded a kiss in the royal stables. We ended up naked, and I was picking hay out of my hair for days. The whole thing was beyond great.
I wag my eyebrows. “So, what do you say?”
Desmond turns down another deserted road. Actually, road is a generous word. It’s more of a pathway through piles of rubble. Lincoln and I speed along behind our prey. I would skip-run if it didn’t slow me down.
I am so winning this bet.
Bring it on, Desmond.
END OF CHAPTER
And because I need to sell books in order to do stuff like pay bills, I can’t help but mention once more how ACCA is ready to order on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, & iBooks. Come on, you know you want to pre-order!