It has been three years since Elvira "Ellie" Ryder was betrayed by her ex-boyfriend Cor, which caused the destruction of her people by invaders from a different Zone. Now she will do anything to find him and make him pay.
Ellie has found someone who knows where Cor is. The price—assassinate a half-human, half-Sirian who is trying to join the Society, a high-class club only for the rich. Ellie takes the job, as it wouldn't be the first assassination job she has taken, and heads to the Human Zone. However, when she learns more about her target, the more she realizes what is going on behind the curtain, and how her people were really destroyed.
Will Ellie be able to forgive Cor after learning the truth? Or will she forever hold on to that hatred?
"Revenge is a science fiction adventure story that is fun to follow and is easy to get lost in."– Star Literary Titans Editorial Review
"As usual, Dani Hoots, Author has created a beautiful world, but this time it's in a western setting with many different alien races and humans. This story of revenge, love, truth finding, and just surviving will draw you in."– 5 star review, Friday With the Library in the Blue Box
"Revenge is the first book in Dani Hoots' new series, City of Kaus and it is set in the old west. Revenge is a very engaging read that kept my attention from beginning to end. The descriptions were so magnificent and vividly written to where each and every word just exploded right off the page and right into my mind making it so easy to see each and every magical scene as it was playing out."– 5 star review, The Avid Reader
It didn't used to be this way.
I tapped my smoke on the ashtray, exhaling the herb-filled vapor. It was a delightful blend of local plants and made to order at the bar. This establishment seemed to have it all—smokes; drinks, both alcoholic and not; games; food; gambling. It was all here, meaning everyone in town occupied the small establishment at all hours of the day.
Thank goodness all I could smell was my herbal smoke and the alcohol on my friend Zach's breath. I had a feeling the room smelled of sweat and wet fur.
"How many girly martinis are you going to drink tonight?" I raised an eyebrow and flashed him a grin.
Zach stared at me—his shimmering gold eyes unamused as he downed the rest of the fruity martini through his tiny straw. Why he always used them instead of drinking from the side of the glass, I did not understand. Perhaps it was so he'd feel he was pacing himself. Even if we both knew that was a lie.
Setting the glass down, Zach pulled loose strands of red hair back into his bun. "I'll have you know these drinks taste a lot better than that straight alcohol you always drink."
I sighed. "It's not straight alcohol. It's called whiskey."
"Tastes nasty is what it is."
I smiled a little. "Anyway, I should cut you off there. That's your third one, and our contact isn't even here yet."
"There isn't much alcohol in these. At least, I taste none."
"Yeah, I have noticed you don't. But that doesn't mean there isn't any in it. We have gone over this. You're a year older than me—you should know better."
He let out a breath of defeat. "Oh yeah, a whole whopping year. But fine, I won't have another until the guy gets here. What's he look like again?"
"He's a human, and honestly, I'm not sure we can trust him. But he's the only lead we've gotten so far."
Glancing out at the crowded area, I noted all the beings that were having a good time. On the planet, there were a total of five different races, six if one counted Pleiadeans separate from humans. There were the Lyrans, who all appeared like a mix of a human and a wild cat. I spotted at least a dozen different groups that had Lyrans in here, and our bartender was one as well. That made sense since we were in the Lyran Zone. Then there were Sirians. There weren't too many of those here—merfolk, who could change from being fishlike to human in a matter of seconds. Typically, the Lyrans and Sirians didn't get along, just like cats and fish, but never say that to their face. They don't appreciate that. Then there were Silurians, who were lizard-like and cold-blooded, both physically and emotionally. There were a few in here as well, and I did my best not to make eye contact with any of them.
Then, of course, there were the humans, which is what my kind appeared like as well, at least for the most part. I glanced around and found quite a few as humans liked to travel and settle among the different zones and then create half species, or half humans. Typical humans.
I sighed as I glanced around some more, seeing if I could spot my own race.
As if that were going to happen.
This was the new norm, I supposed. There weren't many of us Kausians left—shape-shifters who almost all had been destroyed in the attack three years ago. The other races didn't like us as we could turn into any creature or race we wanted. The only way to tell we were Kausians was with our shimmering gold eyes. Each zone used propaganda against our race, making it illegal for us to shift, and eventually we were attacked. The problem was, our zone was heavily armored and shielded. Someone had to have given them the codes and told them how to get in. I fiddled with the wooden ring that hung from my neck.
And that person was my ex, Cornelius Adams.
Zach brought me back to the present. "Not too many humans in these parts though, so he might know something. Surprised he didn't want to meet in the Quarter."
That was fair. Humans typically stayed in the Quarter, which was across town. It was where all the humans usually stayed. Then the beach was just on the other side of the city and was full of shelters for the Sirians to live in. It had been so long since I'd gone out in the water for a swim.
Taking a deep breath, I reminded myself what happened the last time I jumped in water and how the Sirians tried to kill me for entering their area. They also didn't appreciate the fact I could turn into one of them. Live and learn, I supposed. At the time, I was only thirteen, so one would think they would be a little less aggressive about it.
I thumbed my 5Z742 revolver, which was named "Crazy Jack". It made me feel a bit safer when around all these distinct races.
"Well, well, what do we have here?" I heard a crackly voice to my right say.
I turned to find three Silurian men. They wore dark, scaly leather made of the large lizard creatures called Dracons they either used for meat, clothing, or rode instead of horses since horses couldn't hold up their weight. Only the Silurians could tame them, which I had a feeling had to do with the fact they appeared similar.
The larger of the three Silurians was the one to talk. He was more than likely their leader since they always went by who was largest. His eyes were almost at the side of his head, like a snake I wanted to shoot before it bit me. But in this crowd, I couldn't do that.
I gripped my gun, but kept it in my holster. "We aren't doing anything wrong, just enjoying some drinks. Go make trouble elsewhere." I turned and tried to ignore them.
One Silurian grabbed my shoulder and turned me back around. I wondered if there would be a day where I could go to a bar without getting harassed. That prospect was looking bleak.
"Don't you dare ignore me, you Kausian scum." His tongue slithered in his mouth, leaving me disgusted. There was nothing pretty about Silurians. Why couldn't I ever get yelled at by something handsome?
Zach stood up. "Hey, leave her alone."
"Oh, don't worry. I wasn't going to forget about you." The Silurian nodded for the other two to stand near Zach.
Glancing around, I noticed that most eyes were on us now, and it didn't look like anyone was going to help. Typical. No one wanted to get involved if there were Silurians.
"We have a client we are waiting for, so unless you have business with us, meaning you will pay for our bounty-hunting services…" I flashed my gun at the Silurian. "… then it's best you leave us alone."
"Are you threatening me?"
"I'm only mirroring whatever your intent is, kind sir."
The Silurian hissed, glancing around me as if looking for some kind of weakness. If he ever ran into the few Kausians who were left, my gut told me they usually backed down or groveled at his feet by now. I, however, was not one to grovel.
I could see his long clawed hand reaching toward his leather belt, more than likely where he stored a weapon. Without a second thought, I pulled out my gun and shot him straight in the chest. I heard his two friends let out a screeching hiss. Pivoting, I shot the other two.
And then all hell broke loose.
For the record, I didn't use my actual bullets but some tranks. The lizards were only asleep—not dead. Bullets—as in real bullets that could kill—screamed across the air now, raining down everywhere. I swear, anytime a fight broke out, everyone wanted to join.
Especially if it meant hurting a Kausian.
Both Zach and I jumped to the other side of the bar. This wasn't the first time we had been in this situation, and we knew exactly what to do.
I checked my gun as I glanced over at him. "How many rounds of tranks do you have?"
Tranks were accessible by most. Real bullets were more difficult to come by, especially for Kausians. Don't get me wrong. We had some, but we weren't going to use them for something like this.
He checked his gun, which was the same model as mine but was named "Lucky Susan". "Enough."
I nodded and turned to the barkeep, an enormous Lyran man. He appeared like a lion with a large mane that was pretty well groomed for working at an establishment like this. He was reaching for the weapon that hung behind the bar—a large shotgun that would do a lot of damage. Barkeepers could protect their establishments—no questions asked. Had that rule been abused to do bad things? Many times. But the rules hadn't changed—most never changed in this world.
This would not end well. We had to stop it before it got out of hand—well, more out of hand—and before it was all blamed on us.
I held out three fingers, two, then one.
Zach and I stood up and unloaded each of our guns with the tranks. We were used to this mess and had excellent aim. The tranks were immediate, and I watched as creature after creature fell to the ground. As my gun ran out of tranks, I knelt back down and reloaded. Peering over at the barkeep, I saw the horror on his face as he lifted the shotgun.
I shot him in the chest and turned back around to help Zach. The barkeep hadn't realized we just had tranks and thought we had just killed all these men. When they all woke up, they would realize what had happened.
And we would be long gone.
The last Lyran dropped to the ground asleep, and I took a deep breath. I didn't feel comfortable putting my gun away just yet and kept an eye out for any movement. After a couple of moments, I jumped over the bar with Zach right behind me.
I surveyed the room. It didn't appear too many people had gotten injured by those with the real bullets that had been flying through the air. Most had taken cover and were hit by our tranks before they could get out of there. We saved most of them by knocking them all out, but no one would see it that way.
I grabbed my smoke and left a few coins on the counter. I would not dine and dash.
"Uh, what happened here?" a voice said from the entrance.
Both Zach and I aimed our guns straight at the man.
He threw up his hands. "Whoa, whoa, whoa! I'm not going to shoot!"
We slowly lowered our weapons.
"Are you Elvira Ryder and Zachariah Richards?"
I gave him a once-over. He was human. Same in appearance as us Kausians except he didn't have glowing yellow eyes—that is, when we hadn't transformed. "Are you the informant?"
"Indeed I am. The name is Byron Hill." He glanced around. "Come with me. Let's go somewhere that's a bit more… lively."
"Most aren't dead, just stunned."
"Well, you will be dead if they wake and you're still here. I have a hideout in the Quarter. You won't be disturbed there." Mr. Blondie turned and led us out of the bar.