Coming June 12th from USA Today bestselling author Lily Luchesi
Published by Vamptasy Publishing
Cover design by Rue Volley
Edited by EAL Editing Services
The animal inside wants to come out and play.
Skin changers are able to look like anyone of any race and gender, which makes them the most dangerous criminals in the paranormal community. Only one person in modern history has ever successfully captured and executed one.
When a skin changer starts attacking government workers in Chicago, they have no choice but to call in their last resort. However, their solution might create even more danger for the city and its people. What does the skin changer want, and how does it fit into a possible Undead uprising?
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“What do you look like under that mask?”
The man Dakota Harvell had been dancing with all night was smirking at her from beneath his own, much smaller, mask. It was a masked ball Chicago hosted every Halloween to honor the bygone era of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Since the twenty-second century had begun ten years ago, many Chicago landmarks held annual “classic” celebrations.
Dakota hadn’t been back to the city since her girlfriend had visited and that visit had and resulted in her girlfriend’s body being torn almost literally to pieces.
“Why do you want to ruin the mystery?” she asked, her voice deep and reverberating, lower than the old-time orchestra’s bass. She tightened her grip on his hand ever so slightly. “You’ll find out soon enough.”
The man, who had introduced himself as Eric Rodriguez, grinned. “I do love a woman who takes charge.”
She chuckled along with him, twirling along to the old song. “Then you’re in luck tonight.”
During a break in the dancing Dakota asked him what he did for the Illinois government.
He chuckled nervously, tugging on his collar. “Ah, I work with murderers, in a way. Help keep the city safe.”
Dakota winked. “FBI?”
“Close enough,” Eric replied, finishing off his drink. “You know, I might be getting ahead of myself, but is there any chance a lady like yourself would take off with me tonight?”
Dakota smiled; this was what she had been waiting for. “I’d be delighted. Get your car, I’ll meet you out front.”
She watched him leave and then performed a quick change in the ladies’ bathroom: her slim, tanned body becoming short and chunky, her long blonde hair becoming short, dark, and wavy. Her dress hung oddly on her new frame, but she didn’t have time to fix it. She wouldn’t remain in this form for long, just enough to evade the security cameras as she exited the hotel.
As soon as she was out in the brisk autumn air, she dashed into an alley and shifted back into her previous form, taken from a model in Europe some years ago. She left yet another pile of flesh and blood beneath her from the shift, and walked toward Eddie’s ugly beige Hyundai.
As he drove he commented, “Can you believe that we had snow already? In October?”
Dakota laughed. “It’s Chicago, we’re lucky the weather hasn’t been even stranger.”
They headed toward Foster Avenue and stopped right where Norridge and Chicago met. He lived down the street from an elementary school and evidence of children was all around in the houses on the block surrounding his. Snowmen and sleds dotted many lawns, and one house across the street from his was already decked out in their Christmas decorations.
“I hate that: can’t they at least wait until Halloween is over?” Dakota commented as they got out of the car. Her purple heels sank into the snow that had not been properly shoveled. She walked around to his side of the car and leaned against it, gesturing to the house.
“Yeah, and they leave ’em on all night, making my bedroom blink through the curtains,” Eric replied, standing in his driveway. He glanced toward Dakota, opened his mouth, closed it, and opened it again. His eyes were bulging in shock or fear.
What is he … oh. Dakota looked at her reflection in the car window. Instead of the beautiful visage she had stolen was in place the true image of a skin changer, only seen in a reflection: wet grey skin, covered in slime, no hair, no nose, white, cataract covered eyes, and a gaping hole of a mouth.
Eddie opened his mouth and was about to scream, but Dakota silenced him with a punch to the stomach. But her fist did not stop there: it went through the fabric, past the soft, paunchy belly, and into the wet warmth of his flesh. It moved through muscle, organs, and blood until the fist reached the other side, boring a perfect hole into his guts.
Eyes wide, too shocked to feel pain, Eric just stood there while her fist was going into him, creating a crater that looked like a baseball had gone through his midsection.
Dakota pulled her fist out with a wet sound, dragging his guts with it in her grip. She yanked and they pulled free, sending Eric to the ground in his driveway, blood soaking the pure white snow like art.
She put a piece of intestine in her mouth and began to chew, grinning. “Not quite the penetration you were hoping for, was it?”
Angelica Cross is forced to curb her travelling and return to the Paranormal Investigative Division to stop a skin changer from killing employees of the PID and quell an undead uprising.
Once again I was taken on an intense and emotional trip filled with mayhem, action and suspense, and enjoyed every minute of it.
All my favourite friends were back and better than ever. (Thank you, Lily, for bringing Angelica and Danny back to the PID!)
I love that Lily’s writing makes me feel like a part of the story, that I’m living alongside the characters and experiencing their adventures first hand.
If you like paranormal mysteries with awesome storylines and great characters, and haven’t yet read any of this amazing series, now is a good time to start… you won’t regret it!
You can start book one for FREE, and books 2-5 are only 99 pennies!
Lily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula.
She is also the editor, curator and contributing author of Vamptasy Publishing’s Damsels of Distress anthology, which celebrates strong female characters in horror and paranormal fiction.
She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.