Midnyte’s Dragon Kiss Sample Chapter

Midnyte’s Dragon Kiss

Sample Chapter


Chapter 1


Stumbling off the bus, I shoved past the old lady in front of me before running head-on into a bearded man and banging his shin with my suitcase. I wheeled while apologizing but didn’t pause in my flight. He cursed to my back as I trotted across the concrete lot toward the nearby street. I had to get away.

I had been trapped on the bus for too long, with too many people, and flooded with too many emotions—especially from the guy behind me. His violent lust had almost made me throw up. He was one sick dude.

And he kept staring at me.

Like all of my kind, my gifts allowed me to sense the feelings of those around me—but not the thoughts behind them. In Sick-Dude’s case, his emotions tasted so foul they rolled my stomach, which meant his thoughts were likely just as rotten. And worse, those sick feelings would spike each time he glanced my way. I had to get as far from him as possible and make doubly sure he didn’t follow.

I stopped when I reached the curb, trying to decide which way to go. Neither direction looked promising. The dingy puddles in the street were a testament to the mid-June thunderstorms that had passed earlier in the day. They left the late-night air muggy and smelling of damp concrete. The overcast sky gave the darkness an unnerving, spooky feel—only the pools of illumination from periodic streetlamps, or the headlights of the few cars, were able to provide a hint of safety. I suppressed the urge to make shadows into monsters.

Across the street, a brightly lit building identified itself as Main Street Station. It offered no clue as to my direction, but the huge, illuminated dial at its top did announce the time—10:13. I had been on the bus for nearly nine hours, five longer than it was supposed to have been. Which was a problem. With the late hour, all the shelters would either be full or closed. I had nowhere to spend the night. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I had to look for an unobserved brick wall, and soon. I needed something to absorb all my excess emotions. I was overfull.

I had been trapped in a sea of people’s emotions—anger, joy, hate, love—and in every conceivable combination. I could usually ignore the incessant flood, tuning them out like the chatter of a room’s conversation or the drone of an idling engine, and taking only what I needed to nourish my magic. But on the crowded bus and fearing Sick Dude’s attention, I frequently sampled the emotions around me. I took only the smallest nibbles, just enough to detect any feelings directed at me. But now I was nearly at my limit. I couldn’t use all I had taken during my hours on the bus. So now, I needed to get rid of the excess—somewhere private. That would ensure no one got hurt—and keep me from being discovered.

So a brick wall first, then a place to sleep.

I glanced back at the dissipating crowd of bus passengers and saw Sick Dude staring in my direction. I swallowed. Why couldn’t the guy take a hint?

Distracted, I stepped into the street. The blast of a car horn and skidding tires made me immediately jerk back—the sedan’s bumper stopping mere inches from my leg. To my horror, I realized I had nearly stepped in front of a police car. The officer’s angry glare was as bright as his headlights. Fear froze me in place. I doubted he could see through my charm’s illusion magic—concealing my horns and tail while leaving my overall appearance intact. To him, I would appear to be nothing more than a skinny, short-haired blonde female. Not the least bit remarkable. But I could not afford police scrutiny. Inside his vehicle, he carried the tools to expose my charm, and if he looked too closely, he might find I wasn’t the human I appeared to be.

Not to mention a wanted person.

I hid my panic with a sheepish grin and an apologetic wave. The officer frowned deeper and impatiently motioned me to cross in front of him. When I safely reached the other side, I glanced back to see the police car resume its patrol and prowl purposely down the street. I nearly sagged in relief when it finally passed out of sight without its brake lights coming on.

I didn’t think anyone was looking for me yet. There hadn’t been enough time. The couple I’d been staying with barely noticed I was around, so they likely wouldn’t miss me until family services stopped sending checks. Plus, the police in Philly hadn’t actually charged me with anything—only told me not to leave town while they completed their investigation. The fact I hadn’t done anything was irrelevant. My kind were always assumed guilty.

I shook my head. It was unfair, but Mom and I had managed. Even laughed sometimes. Her loving warmth had shielded me from the cold and uncaring world. But the fates had even shattered that. I now had no home. No money.

And Mom was dead.

I turned right and walked with purpose—my suitcase bumping against my bare leg as I went. With a quick glance over my shoulder, I was glad to see that Sick Dude was no longer there. I sighed in relief. The police car must have encouraged him to move on.

As I walked, I drew near two burly men on the opposite corner, watching me with interest—likely some gang’s muscle. I thought them human, but they could as easily be werewolves. There was no full moon tonight, so it was hard to tell.

I hoped they were content to just watch and not decide to shake me down. The only thing of value I had was a few dollars and Mom’s silver necklace concealed beneath my shirt. And even that wasn’t worth much.

However, sampling their emotions told me it wasn’t my belongings that had piqued their interest. No, it was something more basic. When I started out this morning, my shorts, tank top, and sneakers had seemed perfectly suited to a long bus ride in hot muggy weather. But now in the evening, the show of skin could be interpreted differently, especially by males.

Damn. I should have known better.

I kept my head down, doing my best to avoid their interest. It was true that my kind frequently fanned those desires to make them easier to seduce and more eager to part with their money. But that was not me. I would not give up my pride so easily. Contrary to what the police in Philly might think, I was not a thief and certainly not a prostitute.

I hurried on and turned left at the next corner, glad to put their lustful gazes behind me. I resolved to pull on some less revealing clothes when I got some privacy.

After a couple of blocks in my new direction, I was surprised to notice a change in the area—an upscale one. The cars parked along the curb transitioned to Mercedes, Porsches, and even a Bentley. The sidewalk itself improved without a single bit of trash, crack, or imperfection. No doubt magically enhanced—something only the wealthy did.

Pedestrian traffic increased as well. The young men and women strolling along the sidewalk all wore trendy attire that was bright, tight, and revealed a lot of skin. Hair was in every possible shade and each strand styled to perfection. More than once, I caught the scent of someone’s expensive cologne.

But while they were beautiful, their eyes held disdain when they glanced my way. The knowing whispers were frequent, and they politely cringed away, almost like I might ruin their pristine appearances. I hid my smile as I wondered what they would do if they knew what I really was.

I slowed, unsure if I should proceed. I didn’t want any trouble, but I didn’t want to retrace my steps either. I cocked my jaw. To hades with them. I would just get through as quickly as I could. I walked faster.

After just another block, I came to the nexus of the increased traffic. A sizable building occupied the corner, outlined in golden yellow lights with a bold sign extending above the street—Noblelite Dance. The muffled throb of music emanated from the building, leaping in volume whenever a tuxedoed bouncer opened the door for a group to enter. Judging from the ages of those waiting in line, it must be young adult night.

I wanted no part of this, especially in my overfull condition. I was about to turn around when a stretch limo pulled up in front. All eyes moved to the vehicle, and several whispered conversations broke out. A bouncer immediately jumped forward and opened the car’s door. The young woman that got out was about my age and had to be some sort of celebrity or socialite. She wore an elegant black dress that clung to her lithe figure and highlighted her bare legs and high heels. Her long dark hair was loose and reflected the bright lights like polished obsidian. She was talking animatedly to a young man who got out behind her. He ran a hand over his dark hair and tugged down the sleeves of his perfectly tailored tux—his bearing a crown prince surveying his court.

I stopped dead in my tracks. Their manner said they were used to extravagance, used to getting their way, and within Night-clan, they were the top predators.


The young man glanced my way, but it quickly turned into a dark glare, distorting his handsome face into an ugly frown. He motioned a bouncer forward and whispered something. They both looked in my direction.


I turned to leave and immediately collided with a young woman, bumping into her hard enough to make both of us stumble. We steadied each other.

“Sorry,” I mumbled.

With her freckles and bushy, bright red hair, I had no doubt she was a witch. Her pastel green sundress suited her but was not nearly as elegant as those around us. I couldn’t help but think she looked a little frazzled.

She grabbed my arm. “Have you seen a stoic-looking guy with dark brown hair, maybe just a little taller than you? He’s probably frowning like he sucks lemons all the time.”

Her hand on my bare arm amplified the flow of her emotions. I could feel her concern for someone. A person she held strong affection for.

I shook my head. “Sorry.”

“Damn! He must be inside. Thanks anyway.” She brushed past me, heading toward the entrance. I, on the other hand, fled back down the street, eager to get away from the venue.

Vampires were bad news for any of the races. I was not particularly afraid of them, but I had to be cautious. Not because they might tap my soul—there was no chance of that—but because they were the upper crust of Night-clan and usually had a connection to the clan elder. I was already on bad terms with the elder in Philly. I couldn’t afford to piss off the one here.

But the fact he had looked right at me was unnerving. He couldn’t have seen through my disguise, so perhaps he was only reacting to my clothes, or even the girl I had bumped into.

I hurriedly walked several blocks to where the traffic thinned out and the buildings began to look more worn. I took a risk and turned onto an empty street. I sighed in relief when I confirmed no one was following.

Then the Protector smiled down on me for once. Halfway along the block, I found what I needed. I ducked into a dimly lit alley. A lone bulb at the end illuminated the path ahead—its twin at the entrance having been knocked out. The alley was long, running the length of the block and barely wide enough for a truck to enter. It was empty except for a single large dumpster set to one side half-way down. After a few dozen steps, the alley came to an abrupt dead end with high walls, no windows, and no obvious cameras.

I was surprised a homeless person hadn’t claimed it. Using the alley for my own shelter crossed my mind, but I quickly abandoned the idea. Either a gang was protecting it, or the area had a strong police presence. Based on my earlier encounter with the patrol car, my money was on the latter. In either case, I wouldn’t be long.

In the shadow of the dumpster, I set down my suitcase and rested my hands, fingers extended, against a section of worn red-brick wall. The coarse texture brought a small smile to my lips as I remembered Mom’s lessons on getting rid of excess emotions. Red brick was best. The older, the better. It could absorb just about any emotion and safely bury it.

I closed my eyes and allowed my gates to open. A faint blue glow enveloped me as my magic worked. It wouldn’t be visible during the day, and only now because I was channeling a lot of feelings.

Gradually, the emotions passed out of me. The ones I had no desire to absorb or change. All the anger, all the frustration, and especially that guy’s sick lust, I let it go. The red brick greedily sucked up the feelings, burying them deep inside.

I breathed a sigh of relief as the last of the surplus emotions left me, leaving me more relaxed than I had been since leaving. I turned, placing my back against the wall and propping my foot up on my suitcase. I was glad to get rid of the absorbed emotions. Considering my recent life, I had more than enough of my own.

I gave a sad chuckle. Welcome to Renweard City. It had been an enormous gamble coming here, but I really didn’t have a choice. My illusion charm was nearly out of magic, and I needed to get it recharged. Sadly, my own magic wouldn’t work. It required a powerful witch willing to power up an unregistered charm—both illegal and expensive. My kind frequently had it done, but locating someone required connections. Something I lost when Mom died.

So now, I needed to find my grandfather and hoped he was willing to help. Assuming he’s still alive.

As I rested, I became more aware of my surroundings. I could smell the well-used dumpster beside me, and in the distance, I could make out traffic noises and a lone train sounding its horn. Overall, it didn’t feel too different from Philly.

The thought made me immediately miss Mom. I longed for her hugs and her reassurance. I could almost hear her saying, “You’ll be fine, Lapis, my precious jewel.” She would then go on to say I was going to do great things one day. I smiled. Mom had also told me Santa Claus brought my toys, and the Easter Bunny gave me candy.

My right hand curled into a fist. Why did she have to leave me all alone? It was so unfair. I shook my head, tapping down my anger. No, it actually hadn’t been fair to either of us. I was pretty sure she hadn’t gone looking for a bullet that day.

I sighed and looked down. I was forever grateful I told Mom goodbye that morning. The prior evening, we had argued over something so trivial I couldn’t remember what it was. But that morning, over breakfast, we had made up. I had even hugged her before she left for her assistant manager job at the local GoodQik convenience store.

That day would forever be burned into my mind. I remembered wondering why Mom hadn’t answered any of my texts that afternoon. You know, the simple ones like, Yum, having burgers for lunch, or Saw this on social media, or even I’m on my way home. Mom always answered, even if it was with just a smiley face. But that day, she was strangely silent.

When I got home, I remember trudging up the steps to our little apartment. It had been raining, and I had left a trail of drips on the dusty concrete of the stairwell. I was soaked through, having forgotten my coat, so I was looking forward to a hot shower and changing into something dry.

I went to insert my key in the deadbolt but froze—the door was hanging slightly open. I frowned. I knew I had locked it—Mom had scolded me many times to never, ever leave it unlocked.

I pulled out my phone and held my finger over its emergency call button as I cautiously poked the door. It had slowly creaked open. I remembered my shock as I saw that everything in our little apartment had been dumped on the floor or overturned. The room was an absolute disaster. What the Protector happened? I remembered asking myself.

Then I heard the scrape of shoes behind me. I jerked around to see two uniformed officers approaching—their coats and hats slick with rain. Their expressions were professionally somber.

Afternoon,” said the closest. His mouth pinched as if he was about to do something unpleasant. “I’m sorry, miss. Your mother has been—”

I pulled away from the memory. I slid down the brick wall and squatted at its base, wrapping my arms around me. Like all the races, both magical and mundane, a bullet was the great equalizer. It would kill no matter what you were.

The police said it was a robbery gone bad—a druggie needing money. But strangely, the assailant was never caught. It didn’t even make the news. They also said the sacking of our apartment was an ‘unrelated coincidence’. That there had been a series of similar break-ins nearby. I didn’t buy it. And when I complained to the elder’s office, I was brought in for shoplifting only a few days later.

The message was clear. A highly placed individual had wanted something from Mom. Wanted it bad enough to kill. And I would suffer the same fate if I didn’t leave it alone.

I hugged my knees tighter to my chest. In the end, it didn’t matter. Mom was gone. And sadly, there would be no justice.

Get over it, Lapis, I told myself. There’s nothing you can do. Just accept it.

But I shook my head in denial, unwilling to let it go. The unfairness of it all made me so angry. We were being treated like pieces of useless trash.

And I hated it. Hated my clan. Hated how they treated Mom. Hated hiding my appearance. And most especially, hated what I was—

A succubus.

My kind were the lowest of the low—the bottom of society. Despised and ridiculed for some crime our ancestors committed millennia ago. With our long tails and two horns, we were easy to spot. And easy to hate.

It was so bad most of us—Mom and me included—would hide our true heritage behind an illusion charm. It wasn’t a secret that our race existed. It was just ignored. Don’t show yourselves, don’t use your powers, don’t make trouble, and you’ll be allowed to survive—if that is what one called it.

If there was any way I could switch my race, I would in a heartbeat. Witch, werewolf, shifter—even a mundane human would be better than a succubus. It was a dream I had harbored since watching a news segment a few months before Mom died. It was about some experimental procedure they were testing in California, which took magicals and turned them into humans. The show’s commentators had been astonished that people would even consider volunteering for it. They couldn’t imagine someone willingly giving up their powers.

I would. If it made me into something people wouldn’t hate, I would pay to do it.

I laid my forehead down on my knees. Like that was ever going to happen. I was broke.

Mom’s funeral expenses had cleaned out our meager savings, making it impossible to live on my own. I was still short of eighteen, so I had to turn to family welfare. They set me up with a foster couple, and we made a plan to get me to my next birthday. I wasn’t really happy with them—nor they with me. But they weren’t too bad, in a strict, overly religious, money-hungry sort of way. Not that it mattered. I drifted through those dark times with no purpose or direction. I just really didn’t care.

But then a voice from the grave woke me up.

I had received the first warning from my illusion charm—it was running out of magic. That wasn’t unusual. It would run out every couple of years, and Mom usually handled the whole thing. But this time, I had no idea who to go to.

I was searching through a cardboard box of Mom’s old things to see if maybe she’d written down the name of the last witch she used. The box was full, and the book she had been reading before she died fell out. That’s when I noticed something in the book—an old picture with a royal blue sticky note attached.

When I was younger, Mom had put up a chore board and would put sticky notes on it for who was supposed to do what. Her tasks were color-coded green, while mine were always dark blue. There was no doubt the note was intended for me, and the task Mom had assigned me was—

“Find him.”

The picture was of my grandfather.

I closed my eyes and rested my head against the wall. I was so tired, but I needed to start looking for a place to bed down. I probably had enough money for a room, but I couldn’t afford to burn through my little bit of cash that quickly. Since I wasn’t sure how long the search for my grandfather would take, I had to conserve and would have to find a bench somewhere. Thank goodness it was a warm night. My tummy rumbled. Maybe I could afford a breakfast sandwich in the morning.

I jumped when I felt something brush against my leg. Looking down, I discovered a solid gray cat rubbing against me. He gazed up in the adoring way cats do, and I couldn’t help but smile. I tentatively ran my hand over his silky fur, and he leaned into it, purring loudly. My smile broadened, and I gave him a longer stroke, which he seemed to enjoy.

He was so cute—I had to pick him up. I stood and cradled him in the crook of my arm while the cat gazed up at me expectantly. I thought it strange that his eyes were different colors—one green and one blue.

“You’re a pretty one,” I said and scratched behind his ears.

“And you’re not too bad for a succubus,” he purred. “The horns are perfect, but my tail is prettier.”

I gasped in surprise and jerked back, dropping him in the process.

Naturally, the cat landed on his feet. He looked over his shoulder in disgust. “You didn’t have to drop me.” The voice was male—deep and rich—with each word clearly enunciated and with no noticeable accent. It could easily have come from a DJ or an actor.

I took a step back. “How are you talking? You’re a cat. Even shapeshifters can’t talk while they’re in animal form.”

He looked disgusted. “I am not a shifter, and I am definitely not a cat.” He sat on his haunches facing me as his tail waved in irritation. “In times past, I was referred to as … a god.”

I blinked and eyed him skeptically. “No way. You’ve got to be a shifter trying to prank me.”

He sat up erect and wound his long gray tail around his feet, giving him a regal appearance. “I chose this form to be less threatening to your kind.” He lifted his front paw and began to lick it. “I can be majestic in whatever form I choose.”

I didn’t believe him. I stepped to the alley’s center and inspected its high walls—there was no trace of a hidden microphone or camera on the walls. What was going on? And more importantly—

How had he known I was a succubus?

I touched the illusion charm tattooed high on my left side and hidden under my arm. I received the reassuring vibration that it was working. This was so odd. It had never once failed to conceal the horns emerging just above my temples and gracefully curving above my short, blonde hair. It even hid my finger-thick pensile tail, which constantly waved behind me.

I shook my head. It had to be some goofball’s idea of a joke. Probably using a high-grade illusion detector and magic to make the cat appear to talk.

But I paused as I realized something was odd about the cat—I couldn’t feel his emotions. All animals broadcast their feelings, some louder than others, people the most, but the cat’s feelings were strangely missing. It was like watching someone play a musical instrument with no sound coming out.

A feeling of dread crept over me. Only powerful magic could shield emotions. This had to be trouble.

I reached for my suitcase. “Fine, Mr. Cat. You just go about your godly ways. I have to leave now.”

The cat darted forward to rub against my leg. “You can’t go yet, Lapis Midnyte. Don’t be in such a hurry.”

My eyes went wide in concern. I took a step back. “How did you know my name?”

Ignoring my question, he put a paw on my leg. “Wait just a minute more. I assure you, it won’t take much longer.”

I looked up, ready to run. “Longer for what?”

“It’s time to claim your heritage.” There was pride in his voice. “You’re the Guardian, and you’re going to fix the world.”

I snorted. Now that was an amusing thought. “Listen, I’m not this guardian. I can’t even fix my own life, let alone the world.”

I took a step, but the cat weaved back and forth before me. I nearly tripped.

He paused in my path and pleaded with me. “Please … just a moment more, Guardian.”

This was freaking me out. “I told you I’m not this stupid guardian. Now let me go!

He looked up at me with concern. He opened his mouth to protest again, but paused and looked toward the alley’s entrance. I could have sworn he smiled. “It’s begun.

That’s when I heard it. Or rather, felt it—a thud, thud sound that started in my feet and quickly spread up my legs into my chest. I could feel it vibrating my insides. Something heavy was running—

And it was getting closer.