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Fangs and Fennel

By:Shannon Mayer

Fangs and Fennel (The Venom Trilogy #2) - Shannon Mayer

CHAPTER 1

“Alena, sister of mine, no matter what you think, no matter how much I love you, this is a damn bad idea you have. I think it’s stupid.” Tad slowed his steps as we approached the King County Courthouse and put a hand under one of my elbows. I wobbled in my heels as I glared at my brother, but I said nothing. What was there to say? We both knew the court system would be against me from the get-go—me being a Super Duper was all it would take to have the judge ignore me. But I had to try. I couldn’t just hand over all I’d worked for to a rotten apple of a man—Roger the Cheater. Never mind that we were technically still married; Roger didn’t deserve a single piece of my pie.

I tightened my hold on the stack of papers I’d put together over the last week. Sheet after sheet of proof that I existed, that I hadn’t died. To dispute a death record fabricated for the convenience of a government that didn’t want to deal with the messy reality of Super Dupers on the fringes of society. The fake death certificate floated out there in the sea of excessive—duplicate, triplicate—paperwork, and no doubt there was a notarized copy in Roger’s clammy, weak hands. I stared hard at the folder, and peeking out from the top edge was a piece of paper with my full name on it, barely legible in the dying light of the day. All my government papers, signature comparisons, affidavits from my father and grandmother that I was who I said I was. Not from my mother, though; that was too much to ask from a woman who clung to her hard-core beliefs even now that both of her children were quite literally on the other side of the fence.

As a Firstamentalist, my mom believed I was a monster, and if I was being honest, I couldn’t totally disagree with her. I mean, I was able to turn into a giant snake at will, and I packed enough punch in my fangs to kill with only a few drops of venom. Not exactly what I would call normal, even on a good day. But being a Firstamentalist meant that, for my mom, there were no shades of gray; you couldn’t love your own family members if they were turned into Super Dupers. You were either a good person who attended church—Firstamentalist church, to be clear—or you were going to hell. And if you were a Super Duper like me, you weren’t just going to hell—your soul was corrupted beyond repair and would corrupt anyone you were around. To say that the situation made family dinners awkward was a bit of an understatement.

The sun dipped low behind us, the cloudy winter day sucking it below the Seattle skyline with a single gulp. January was speeding by, but I barely felt the cold. A small perk to being my particular brand of Super Duper. I still shivered, but it had nothing to do with the weather.

Even with all the papers I’d so carefully put together, I knew it was going to be a huge challenge to prove that I existed—harder to do than making a ten-egg soufflé. Because the world didn’t see supernaturals as people. We didn’t exist, not in the eyes of the government, and that meant we didn’t need to have rights.

Which was going to make proving I needed a proper divorce and deserved half of everything from my jerk of a two-timing husband difficult, to say the least.

But I had to believe I could do this, that I could show the judge I was really here, and that it didn’t matter that I wasn’t technically human any longer. I refused to let Roger and his scheming girlfriend, Barbie, walk away with everything I’d worked so hard to build.

So I put on a brave face and straightened my back. I would not be the doormat my mother wanted me to be; I would not be someone Roger could just mow down so he could go on with his life as if I’d never existed. If he thought he was going to benefit not just from my death, but also from all my hard work and years at my bakery, Vanilla and Honey, he was about to see he was sorely mistaken.

“Tad, there is no way the judge can say I don’t exist, that I’m not alive, when I’m standing right in front of him.” I shot a quick glance at him as I navigated the steps.

“Yes, he can, because it’s the law, and you know it. And this is the human courthouse. We could start a riot just by being here.” Tad shoved his hands into his jeans’ pockets and hunched his head in his dark-gray hoodie, pretty much mumbling the last of his sentence. I snuck a glance around us at the humans flowing in and out of the large H-shaped building. No one looked our way; no one even paused at Tad’s words.

No one noticed they were walking next to two supernaturals. If they did, I knew pandemonium would ensue, and not for the reason most people would think. I mean, humans knew supernaturals existed. But that didn’t mean they truly knew. Vampires, werewolves, warlocks, and Greek gods walked next to them daily. The humans would panic if they knew just how many of us interacted with them on a daily basis. If they knew . . . I could only imagine just how fast they’d be pushing the government to permanently put us on our side of the Wall.

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