Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Zinnia by Christina Bauer

Christina Bauer
(Angelbound Offspring #3)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: July 30th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
As the last dragon shifter, I live alone, hiding in one of Earth’s sacred deserts. My human handlers tell me that I have no parents, no name, and no purpose other than to train for battle and one day become a vessel for the reincarnation of Chimera, the greatest dragon shifter of all. Sadly, Chimera’s rebirth will mean my own death. But my handlers say this sacrifice is a noble fate that will rebuild the dragon shifter world.
I shall die on my seventeenth birthday. That’s five days from now.
Then I hear music thumping across the desert. I take my mortal form, follow the sound, and find humans dancing in what they call a rave. There is a stage and a rock band. One thing quickly becomes clear: Unlike the audience, the musicians are dragon shifters, just like me. And one of them, the guitar player Rhodes, makes my knees turn watery. The lead singer, Kaps, has something strangely familiar about her.
It all adds up to one conclusion: My handlers lied to me. I’m not the last of my kind. Memories reappear. I had parents once. Portia and Tempest. I even had a name. Zinnia. Perhaps I have a reason to live as well. I step past the dancing humans to confront the players.
I will find out the full truth, no matter what.


Zinnia Sample – The Diner

With cautious steps, I cross the threshold to the diner building. Inside, there stands a small podium by the door. The rest of the space holds a long counter as well as patchwork of tables. A handful of humans bend over their meals. Some of the mortals have worry demons gnawing on their ears. None have the rage demons that evil humans often carry.
Excellent. This place is safe. 
Some part of me notices the other folks from the band. They wave at me and my Rhodes while gesturing at empty chairs around their table. I start closer to them, but my attention gets locked on an empty table in the far corner. My eyes widen. A line of colored jars sit atop the shiny table. 
Colored food? In jars? Amazing.
Leaving the others behind, I speed over to the far corner. I pick up the first jar. It is tall, squishy, and topped with a cone-like stopper. I lift it up, taking a deep inhale from the container.
A scent wraps around me. 
I grip the jar and squeeze. A bead of red appears on the top. I touch the substance and bring it to my lips. A burst of flavor erupts across my tongue. It is beyond anything I can imagine. This is far better than the protein bars I eat all the time.
My Rhodes stands beside me. “That’s catsup,” he says. “Do you like it?”
I nod so quickly, the back of my neck hurts. This is a revelation. 
Who knew such tastes were possible? 
I gaze upon the soft container in my hands. No question what to do next. Opening my lips, I tilt my head back and angle the catsup over my mouth. Then I squeeze the jar with all my strength.
While the small taste was delicious, a mouthful of the catsup is overwhelming in its perfection. My cheeks bulge with the delicious stuff. 
Beside me, my Rhodes chuckles. “You like it, huh?”
After gulping down my mouthful, I nod speedily once more. That’s when I refocus on the tabletop. Another container catches my attention. While the catsup was red, this one is yellow. Interest sparks in my chest. If the catsup was delicious, what awaits me in the yellow one? Something equally wonderful, certainly. Swiping the yellow container from the table, I repeat the process once again.
Open my mouth.
Hold the squeeze container above my lips. 
Squeeze out everything I can.
A moment later, I realize my mistake. This stuff is disgusting. I drop the yellow container and set my hands over my mouth.
My Rhodes leans in closer. “Not a fan of mustard?”
I shake my head and force myself to swallow. “Ugh. That was foul.”

Author Bio:
Christina Bauer thinks that fantasy books are like bacon: they just make life better. All of which is why she writes romance novels that feature demons, dragons, wizards, witches, elves, elementals, and a bunch of random stuff that she brainstorms while riding the Boston T. Oh, and she includes lots of humor and kick-ass chicks, too.
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.
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