The Demands of his Heart | Duty Bound by Christina Bauer
(Angelbound Origins 0.5)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: February 27th 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
An Angelbound Prequel Novella by Christina Bauer
As the High Prince of the demon-fighting thrax, Lincoln knows he must marry for political gain. Not that he minds. For all of his eighteen years, Lincoln’s been bound to his duty. Fighting demons is his life, and he’s never given romance a second thought. Instead, the High Prince lives for the days when he leaves his hidden realm to fight demons on Earth.
Then, everything changes.
Lincoln and his nobles become forced to visit Purgatory, the home of quasi-demons (who are mostly human with a bit of demonic DNA). Here Lincoln spies Myla Lewis, a lady warrior who enflames his heart, ignites his interest, and inspires his respect. Trouble is, Myla’s also a quasi. By thrax law, Lincoln must kill anything demonic—not date them. For the first time in his life, Lincoln wonders if he’ll follow his duty…or heed the demands of his heart.
READ CHAPTER 1:I am Lincoln Vidar Osric Aquilus, High Prince of the Thrax. My people are renowned as the greatest demon hunters across Heaven, Hell, Earth, Purgatory, and the Dark Lands. At eighteen years old, I’ve killed precisely one thousand four hundred and thirty-seven demons in hand-to-hand combat, more than any other thrax in history. All of which leads to a single inescapable conclusion.
I can make it through this breakfast with my mother.
At least, I think I can.
“You haven’t touched your eggs, my son.” Mother spears a strawberry off her plate. After many years of maternal encounters, I’ve learned to keep my mouth closed in situations like this one. Mother will bring up her true concerns when she’s good and ready.
In reply, I merely maintain her stare. We’ve an odd relationship, but a close one. We’re both natural schemers, so neither wants to pass up a test of intelligence and charm.
“Perhaps you dislike formal breakfasts,” says Mother as she gestures to my tunic.
“I’m fine with wearing royal garb to meals. Rest assured, all my Batman costumes are safely packed away.” As a child, I fought hard to dress as a human superhero. Unlike demon killing, that was one battle I ultimately lost.
“So you say.” A small smile rounds Mother’s mouth. “Those tunics hide quite a lot.”
“True. I’ve a Bohemian Rhapsody T-shirt on under this thing.”
“I have no idea what that is, but I’m pleased to see you turned out so well.”
This morning, I’m dressed in a velvet tunic, leather pants, and tall boots. Meanwhile, Mother looks regal and lethal in her black velvet gown. She has porcelain skin, delicate features, and an all-knowing glare that reduces hardened warriors to mush.
Needless to say, I’m pleased that her glare has softened. I must remember to work Batman into our conversations more often.
For a few minutes, Mother and I continue our breakfast in silence. It would be pleasant, except for the setting. Our new feasting hall is located in Purgatory.
This place combines the worst of a rundown human suburb with the best of a rotting Dumpster. The sky is constantly cloudy with two types of weather: rainy and about to rain. It’s part of the magic of this realm that the weather is always dreary. Plus, the sky never reveals the sun or moon, and even if it did, those celestial bodies follow different patterns than they do in other realms.
Closing my eyes, I let my thoughts return to the glittering caverns of my homeland. As a rule, thrax live underground on Earth in the realm of Antrum. For some reason, the oracle angel, Verus, has demanded the royal family—and our noble entourage—move to Purgatory for a short period of time. This wasn’t a popular idea, but the oracle’s word is law, so we arrived here three months ago. Until Verus sets us loose, our days will be spent in tents and wooden halls like this one.
I scan the empty benches around me and sigh. It’s hard being separated from the bulk of my people. Quiet breakfasts like this only make things worse. Usually our feasting hall is packed with thrax sharing breakfast at communal tables. However, today Mother insisted on having a family-only morning meal, which in this case translates into me, Mother, and a half-dozen terrified workers. Father should get here any minute now. I can only hope he arrives before Mother’s temper returns.
As if in reply to my thoughts, Mother spears another wilted strawberry with a vengeance. Looks like her temper will resurface before Father does. Bugger.
“You never answered my question,” says Mother. “You haven’t touched your food.” She spears a grape with such force the entire table wobbles.
“Careful there,” I say. “You’ll bring down the roof down.”
“One perk of being queen. I can bring down roofs and no one says a thing.”
At those words, the half-dozen servants in the room visibly shiver.
There’s no question about the general topic of Mother’s angst, either. It’s always the same issue: the House of Acca. That tribe is the largest and most troublesome of all thrax.
At this point, problems with Acca could fall into one of two categories.
One, Mother might be worried about my impending marriage contract with Acca’s most eligible noblewoman, Lady Adair. If Mother thinks there are problems on that front, she would be sorely mistaken. It’s a business arrangement, nothing more. I’d regret that, but I’m a prince. I always knew I’d never marry for love.
Two—and far more worrisome—would be if Mother discovered my ongoing scheme against Aldred, the dreaded Earl of Acca himself. I’ve many issues with the Earl, but my largest is how Aldred keeps leading his warriors into ill-planned demon attacks on the Earth’s surface. Thanks to the Earl of Acca, hundreds of good thrax meet bad ends every week. I meet with the families of the fallen, trying to provide comfort as their worlds fall apart. So many tears and ruined lives…and all so the Earl can prove his so-called prowess in battle.
Even worse, my parents have forbidden me from doing anything to stop Aldred’s bloodshed. Per some ancient treaty, if I interfere with Aldred’s rights to lead his troops, then the Earl has the unmitigated right to execute me on the spot.
And as every royal knows, execution threats and breakfast do not mix well.
Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.
Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.
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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