A Chip on Her Shoulder
(Magical Romantic Comedies #11)
Publication date: September 1st 2020
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
After a deal with loan sharks sours, Darlene’s brother is permanently transformed into a chipmunk. Not one to accept impossibility as a good excuse for failure, she’s determined to rescue her brother and secure revenge against those who’d poisoned him with grade-a transformatives.
If she wants to perform a miracle, she’ll need to join forces with a divine, but the man upstairs and his angels refuse to help.
None of the other so-called benevolent divines are willing to help her, either.
Running out of time and options, Darlene prepares to storm the gates of hell for her brother.
She never expected to fall in love with the Devil.
Warning: this novel contains a woman with a chip on her shoulder, humor, and one hell of a hero. Proceed with caution.
Rather than try to talk my brother out of the money he rightfully owed them, the local mafia’s loan sharks opted for a more permanent solution to their problem. They transformed my asshole brother, Jonas, into a chipmunk and saddled me with the bill.
My brother had lost his human life for five thousand dollars.
What a waste.
Since that wasn’t bad enough, the goons my brother had pissed off forced me to watch the entire process, which involved forcing him to drink a vial of clear fluid. The transformation took a matter of minutes, and he started screaming within seconds of consuming their concoction.
It took until he’d shrunk to half his true size to stop screaming, and he squealed instead.
Shapeshifting hurt like hell; I went through the gruesome process every few days, when my thin, human skin drove me to the brink of madness. Some days, I took on my more hybrid form, sporting a tail and my feline ears. Sometimes, I tossed in a light coat of spotted fur to ease my discomfort. Sometimes, I kept the thin, human skin to pretend I fit in with the rest of the neighborhood, hiding my tail and ears beneath my clothes. One day I’d give up on hiding my true nature. Every rare now and again, my hybrid transformation came with a full coat of fur, my ears, and my beautiful tail, something I loved.
My light coat was a mockery of my full glory, and one day, I’d master my magic so I decided which parts of me had light fur, no fur, or a thick coat best suited for wintry mountains.
My spots were my best assets, and I loved each and every one of them. Life would be so much better when I could wear my spots whenever I wanted.
When the mood struck me, the night was young, and the weather was cool, I ran as a snow leopard, displaying every one of my spots and hunting through suburbia for prey, typically one of the more annoying squirrels or rabbits to menace my garden.
I’d be hunting for bigger prey soon enough, and I kept my expression cold and calm. Warning my prey I would be coming for them wouldn’t do.
A wise huntress gave no warning before the ambush, and I would use every opportunity to crush the entire mafia. Unlike the local law enforcement, who played by civilized rules, there would be nothing civilized about me.
They had destroyed my family, so I would destroy their family. No, I would do far worse than merely destroy their family. I would destroy their ambition while I was at it. When I finished with them, ruin and suffering would be all I left in my wake.
Sometimes, I was not a very good person. Actually, no. Most of the time I was not a very good person.
I’d learned early on being good left me taken advantage of, alone, and miserable. When I did good, I did it because I wanted to, expecting nothing in return, for I’d learned that lesson well enough.
What went around rarely came around, and I’d gained nothing from any of the good I’d done in my life.
I kept my breaths slow and even, waiting while doing my best to detach myself from the reality of my situation. Panic would win me nothing, neither would fear. Patience might win me a lot, depending on what I learned in the next few minutes.
One of the thugs, someone who’d gotten into a fight with a fire and lost, held a rather nasty gun to my head to make sure I behaved.
I behaved, but only because we had one rule in our household of two: survival came first. Once I survived my current mess, I would add a new rule to our household of one and a rodent: revenge would come eventually.
I couldn’t win against eight men who’d cut their teeth on violence, not even if I transformed and put my sharp claws to good use. Not yet. I’d keep my claws a secret for a little while longer, and when I brought them out, I would shred their entire outfit.
Revenge would be mine, and I would enjoy obtaining it.
Revenge wouldn’t save my brother. If I had fought against the mafia he’d tangoed with, I couldn’t have saved him anyway. They likely would have killed us both. I’d find some way to do the impossible and restore my brother somehow. The man my brother had been was gone, replaced by a chipmunk with a rodent’s puny little brain.
No, he was still my brother, but he possessed a rodent’s puny little brain. He might remember me. He might even be able to understand English and allow me to keep him outside of a cage.
My brother was an asshole. He probably deserved some form of punishment at the hands of the mafia, but he was my asshole brother, and nobody beat him other than me.
I would make that our third household rule, and I would adhere to it.
I took my time memorizing the faces of those who’d pay for their crimes. Their scars would make them easy to identify. I wouldn’t forget their scars, I wouldn’t forget their faces, and I gave it a week for me to learn their names.
Then the fun would truly begin.
They weren’t the only ones who could get their hands on transformative drugs. It just cost a little money or having the right ingredients available. I could get the money, and I could go where the rare ingredients grew.
So hellbent on revenge, I barely remembered the conversation leading up to my brother’s transformation into a rather small rodent. I remembered the part about the money, where they wanted me to bring it and when, but the rest remained a blur.
I needed to memorize their scarred faces so I could do what an Esmaranda woman did when she got mad.
I’d get even, and I’d charge interest.
My mother, may her soul rest in peace, had taught me that from the day I’d busted out of maternal prison and escaped her womb.
Picking my brother up by his furry little tail, the lead asshole, who had a rather ugly scar over his nose where someone had failed to slice his skull in half, tossed him my way. I forgot about the gun pointed at me, scrambling to catch my brother so he wouldn’t escape. He squealed and squeaked protests before biting the hell out of my hand.
What an utter asshole. I prevented him from running away and losing all chance of becoming human again, and he bit me? When I refused to let my brother go, he took another chomp out of the fleshy part of my hand connecting my index finger and thumb.
The mafia goons laughed, and then they left.
They’d pay for that, too.
Come hell or high water, they’d pay.
RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.
In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until satisfied.