The Monster Ball Year 2 : (A Paranormal Romance Anthology) by Randi Cooley Wilson



Chapter One



I have never been a fan of those who prey on the weak. Maybe it’s because I see weakness all around me—in every soul I read. Mortals in particular love to prey on one another. Their fragile human souls are flawed. They are always waiting for someone to come to their rescue.

Those of us who are supernatural—well, we have gifts that protect us from weakness.

Magic is my shield.

Ironically, we mages take our magic for granted. Our powers can, and will, eventually run out if we aren’t careful. Eternal magic isn’t guaranteed—something I’ve learned the hard way. It must be protected. Because without our gifts, we are left defenseless against others—weak.

“Katya.” One of the bouncers, Lex, greets as I hand him the invitation I’d received.

“Katya Kim,” his mirror image, Bronx, says next to him. “Is that Chinese? Or Japanese?”

“Korean,” I reply with a bored sigh.

“Korean,” Bronx repeats, intrigued. “North or South?”

“Does it matter?” I snap my narrowed eyes to his.

One thing you’ll learn about me: I don’t pussyfoot around.

I mean what I say, and I say what I mean.

Those around me can take it or leave it. I don’t give a shit.

Nor do I apologize for being who I am. Life is too short to give a fuck what others think.

“Bronx,” Lex warns and tilts his head toward the door. “You’re all set, Katya Kim.”

I press my dark-crimson-stained lips together as I step between them and walk through the doorway, which leads me into a dark hall. Once I’m in, the door behind me slams shut, leaving the twin gargoyles behind in the city alley. Above me, a dim fluorescent light hums and flickers on and off. After a few seconds, and with a loud pop, it goes out, plunging me into complete darkness.

Unimpressed with all of the theatrics, I place one high-heeled boot in front of the other and move toward the thumping bass beat. Using the decrepit hallway as my catwalk, I strut with the rhythm, exuding confidence. With dominant strides, I make my way toward the rainbow of lights guiding me toward the rave inside the warehouse, which promises an exclusive evening of fun.

Once at the entrance, I strike a pose, taking in the large rectangular room lit by fiber-optic lights and designed to appear like a thundercloud. The colors change and pulse to the beat of the music. It all has a very electric-rave vibe. It’s early, yet the warehouse is packed with bodies.

Lifting my chin, I place on my I-don’t-give-a-fuck expression. For some insane reason, not caring tends to make others gravitate to me even more. My thigh-high, six inch heeled boots give my five-foot-two body height, which helps to intimidate and keep others’ toxic energy and auras at bay.

There aren’t many who know the hell I live with, how their dark energy sings to my blood. I exhale slowly, trying not to let my chaotic thoughts take over and pull me back into my past.

Crossing my arms, I look around, taking in the one and only Monster Ball.

A room full of supernatural beings partying as themselves for one night.

Each one more powerful, more beautiful, more intimidating than the last.

And each hiding secrets under the carefully crafted masks they wear, including me.

Their powers buzz around me, causing my pulse to jump. A place like this is like a feeding ground for my magic. My fingers twitch with the need to read their auras, to manipulate their dark futures and change twisted fates with my magical deck of cards. That is the beauty of my card magic; it’s an external source of casting that produces magic only when I call upon it.

Tucked safely in my boots, my tarot deck hums against my bare leg as it picks up vibrations of supernatural auras. I ignore the deck’s call and instead take in the transformed warehouse.

Smoke floats over the large dance floor, changing colors like a chameleon, mirroring the lights. On either side of the entry, there are sizeable white fur beanbag chairs and white leather couches shaped like beds, strategically placed for comfort and conversation.

My gaze lands on the two cement bars across from me at the front of the dance floor, marked as Left Bar and Right Bar. Each glows with colorful crystals pulsing along with the beat of the music. Industrial metal coil stools line the front of each bar, already filled with guests.

Tilting my head, I focus on a good-looking Viking sitting on one of the stools. I watch as he orders a beer. The pretty blonde next to him has no idea he is about to accidentally spill his drink down her back to pull her attention away from the guy she’s talking to. I laugh to myself; men are so predictable—even sexy-as-fuck Vikings. God, I need to get laid. Exhaling, I look away.