Authors: Ella Summers
Dragon Born Alexandria: Book 1
Dragon Born Alexandria: Book 1
Copyright © 2015
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Mercenary mage Alex Dering has spent most of her life killing deadly monsters for only peanuts in return—until the world’s most legendary immortal hires her for a prestigious assignment in Europe. In return for hunting down misbehaving supernaturals, he’s going to pay her a boatload of cash.
But a straightforward slash and burn extermination in Zurich gets a whole lot more complicated for Alex when a gang of vampires steals one piece of a magical artifact that, once assembled, has the power to kill every supernatural in the city. Well out of her depth, she’s forced into a precarious partnership with a notorious assassin, a man as seductive as he is deadly. With a band of killers hot on their trail, Alex has no choice but to trust him—even if that trust could expose her most guarded secret.
is the first book in the
Dragon Born Alexandria
urban fantasy series.
The Orbs of Essence
House of Thieves
House of Chocolate
Field of Fire
Blood and Chocolate
The Dragon Summoner
Secrets and Lies
Swimming with Monsters
THE ONLY THING worse than a vampire was a vampire elf. And the only thing worse than a vampire elf was a whole gang of vampire elves, every last one of them worked up into a rage. They had the magic of elves and the bloodthirsty temperament of vampires. In other words, the species was a marriage made in hell.
But this wasn’t Alex’s first trip through hell.
She stood at the center of the open hall of Zurich’s main train station. Hundreds of hushed voices echoed off the high ceiling, blending with the screech of braking trains and the hum of turning engines. The hall smelled of freshly baked pretzels and cigarette smoke—but most of all, it smelled of magic. The scents of mages and fairies were subtle but persistent, like the background buzz of a nearby highway. They were almost drowned out by the vampire elves’ potent perfume of flowers and blood.
Just out of grappling range, they stood in a neat line, their red eyes pulsing with fury. They were clearly still grumpy about the rocks Alex had slingshot at them. As if to confirm this, the one with the thick nose ring lifted a hand and gave the back of his head a tender pat. His fingers came back dripping blood.
“Stupid human woman,” he growled, his voice crunching like shifting gravel. “You will pay for that.” He slid the tip of his index finger into his mouth and licked it clean. Yuck.
Alex generally preferred her sword to a slingshot, but the vampire elves had run off as soon as she’d cornered them outside the jewelry shop they were looting. She trained everyday, but she wasn’t as fast as a vampire or an elf. It took only a two-minute wheezy sprint for her to admit that to herself. So she’d switched to shooting pointy rocks at them.
It was hard to ignore a hailstorm of rocks, no matter how powerful you were. They’d stopped. And so here Alex was, locked in a supernatural showdown against a band of hybrid miscreants, smack dab in the middle of one of Europe’s busiest train stations. Right at the peak of the five o’clock rush too.
A few curious passengers—tourists from the look of misplaced awe in their eyes—had paused along the sidelines to snap photos with their phones. One of them, a little girl with a black and pink Vampire Princess backpack, was capturing video with the grace and enthusiasm of a seasoned film auteur.
Most of the other passing people were either too rushed or too scared to join in. Zurich had always been a magical hotspot, but over the past few years, supernaturals had flocked there in record numbers. Mages, vampires, and fairies had practically taken over the city. For the most part, they were well-behaved; the Magic Council that ruled over the entire supernatural community didn’t tolerate disorderly conduct. That’s kind of what made them a dictatorship…or an oligarchy. Or whatever.
Anyway, despite all of this, there were still a few rebels. Alex was staring down a group of them now.
“If you turn and run off, we promise to give you a head start,” Bloodfinger told her with a demented smile. “Maybe even five seconds.”
“You’ve gone soft,” said his lefthand neighbor, a woman with ears as pointy as her fangs.
“I’m just trying to make it interesting.”
“That’s the famed Paranormal Vigilante,” Pointy said with a sneer. “A big, bad girl like her doesn’t need five seconds.”
Paranormal Vigilante. That’s what the human population of Zurich had taken to calling Alex. She supposed the name was as good as any other. She kind of liked it actually. Ever since her arrival two months ago, she’d taken down more than her fair share of misbehaving monsters.
“That’s right.” Alex grinned at Pointy. “I don’t need five seconds. I can take you all down in three.”
Ok, so that wasn’t exactly true, but most supernaturals appreciated bravado—or could at least understand it. Betray even the slightest hint of fear, on the other hand, and they’d stampede you like a pack of demon-possessed ponies.
“Do demonstrate.” Pointy’s grin grew pointier as she waved the others forward.
One of them sprang at Alex. He was fast—but he was also as dumb as dirt. She pivoted behind the airborne idiot and kicked him hard in the back. His face slapped the smooth floor with an echoing crack. The second guy attacked. Alex ducked to evade a punch whistling toward her head, spinning her leg as she dropped.
This vampire elf wasn’t as dumb as the other; he rolled smoothly out of his fall. As he hopped to his feet, Alex unleashed her chain whip. She yanked him onto his companion, who was trying to peel himself off the pavement. She drew two long daggers and stapled the men together.
“You’re a raving lunatic,” Pointy said, her smile wilting.
“Paranormal Vigilante here.” She pointed at herself. “It’s all part of the job.”
Alex tapped her fingers against the hilt of her sword, then motioned the final vampire elf forward. Besides Pointy, he was the only one left standing. The man was dressed in baggy shorts, a t-shirt with a magic gang symbol, and a backwards hat over shaggy hair. He didn’t look a day over seventeen. For all she knew, though, he could have been two hundred. Vampires and fairies were both kind of eternal.
“Now hand over the bag before I stop playing nice,” said Alex.
Bloodfinger took that moment to cough out a pained moan. Alex pulled out another dagger, and jammed it through the two guys, just to be safe. Mr. Backwards Hat, the vampire elf holding the backpack, took one look at his stapled friends, then began to slide the strap down his arm.
“Stop.” Pointy caught his arm. “Don’t let go of that backpack. No, on second thought, give it to me. You’ll probably drop it.”
Alex frowned at her. She didn’t know what they’d stolen from the jewelry shop, but she
know that it wasn’t theirs.
“Walk away,” Pointy told her, swinging the backpack over her shoulders. “This is none of your business.”
Alex’s business right now was to hunt down the city’s misbehaving supernaturals. That’s why she’d flown all the way from San Francisco to Europe. And stealing something out of a building owned by the League of Fairies definitely qualified as misbehaving. If she didn’t reclaim whatever the vampire elves had stolen, the fairies would grind their bones into a stew. That just wasn’t good PR—for anyone. The supernatural justice system was draconian at best, the punishments too gruesome for the human population to stomach.
“Sure this is my business.” Alex clicked her tongue. “You’ve been naughty.”
Pointy glared at her for a second, completely still. Then she threw back her hands and shot a blast of Fairy Dust at Alex. Sparkling like a crushed ruby and diamond rainbow, the ribbon of Dust cracked through the air. Alex rolled away, narrowly missing a face full of sedatives. The Dust bounced off the huge clock disc overhead, and hit the enormous mechanical timetable dangling from the ceiling. It groaned out a precarious croak—but held. For now.
Pointy shot another round at her. And another. Alex broke into a run and looped around, staccato bursts of crimson-coated Dust humming at her heels. A blast clanged against a metal trashcan, causing it to vomit up all its garbage. Crunched yogurt containers and brown banana peels erupted out of the top in an explosion of volcanic proportions. Alex hopped over the stream of garbage flowing down the escalator, then rolled to dodge the next blast. It didn’t come.
Her magic exhausted, Pointy had stopped shooting. As the vampire elf shook out her hands, trying to recharge, Alex slid her fingers down to the knife at her thigh. She lifted it—
Pain pierced her neck. Alex reached back, trying to swat Backwards Hat off of her. His fangs drilled deeper, holding on like a dog clinging to his bone. Venom poured through her veins, burning her blood and numbing her hands. She smacked him harder, but he still refused to budge. Purple and yellow spots danced before Alex’s eyes. The muscles in her legs convulsed.
Magic shot past her ear, buzzing with electrical energy. Backwards Hat’s grip broke. Alex turned and watched him stumble back, tendrils of red-gold lightning crackling across his chest before sizzling out. He took one look at the mage behind her, then bolted out of there.
“Alex,” said a disapproving voice in a crisp British accent.
She glanced over her shoulder. Her friend Marek stood there, the tips of his spiky black hair frosted with red-gold lightning. He wore a black leather jacket with metal-studded lapels and half a dozen zippers. His off-white jeans sported at least as many zippers—most of them decorative—and his black combat boots had enough spikes to make a porcupine envious. A dozen rings sat on fingers exposed by fingerless leather gloves as smooth as creamed butter. He dressed like a total punk, but he spoke like a lord.
“Where’s the other one?” she asked, looking around for Pointy.
“She scampered off while her mate was feasting on your blood.”
Alex lifted her hand to the wound. Marek sighed with melodramatic flair, planting a hand on his hip.
“You’re mad. Utterly mad, Alex.” As he spoke, he waved the other hand about, drawing fiery patterns in the air. Showoff. “Why must you always look for trouble?”
Marek was half-British, half-Japanese, and one hundred percent old magic. His family was one of the most powerful in the mage community.
“It’s my job to seek out trouble,” she said. “That’s what Gaelyn’s paying me to do. And don’t even try to pretend that you don’t do the same. You’re working for Gaelyn too.”
“No, darling. I don’t work for him. I’m indentured to him until I work off that favor my dear mum owes him.”
“How long will that take?”
He shrugged. “Mum figures it shouldn’t take more than a decade or two.”
“A decade? Or
? Just what did Gaelyn do for her?”
“I believe it had something to do with cleaning up an army of ogres. Or was that trolls?” His honey-hazel eyes drifted upward in thought. “I can never remember. It’s not really important. There are worse ways to work off a favor than doing the bidding of the world’s most famous immortal philanthropist.”
True. Supernaturals were a pretty high-strung bunch as a whole, but Gaelyn was super mellow. Maybe it was a consequence of his age. Rumor had it he was over six thousand years old.
“You’re playing with fire, Alex,” Marek said. “I can summon dragons and wield the power of the elements.” He snapped his fingers, and a flame flared up. “You rely on poking monsters with your sword.”