“I am strong. I am Kaji.”
Atae is a hybrid, a Kaji half-breed, living on the capital planet of the Kajian Empire. In a culture dictated by strength and honor, Atae’s father pushes her to prove herself worthy of being Kaji.
At the elite Sula Academy, hybrids like Atae compete alongside the Kaji purebreds, warriors with the ability to transform into savage battle beasts. Atae and her packmates prepare for the Sula Academy Tournament, which will determine their fate within their warrior culture, but a close brush with death threatens Atae’s position in the competition and forces her to confront her weaknesses.
Atae must find the strength to escape a spoiled prince’s wrath, survive her first crush, and help her packmates complete the Tournament, all while keeping the biggest secret of her life from her father. And she must do it without losing her true self in the process.
At one time, a giant asteroid entered Planet Kaji’s solar system, and its path arched in several directions as numerous gravity wells tugged on it. It took centuries for the new asteroid to settle into a long elliptical orbit that reached far past the outer planets and then circle back to visit the inner worlds. For a millennium, the asteroid danced with the three stars of the solar system, Cerule, Solis, and Sul, in perfect synchronization until its orbit crossed the path of a small spacecraft. At the outer limits of the system, the ship captain opted to blast the asteroid into oblivion rather than alter his course. His emerald-eyed passenger demanded an expedient and stealthy arrival to Planet Kaji; given the compensation offered upon her safe return, the captain would deliver as promised. So rather than wasting time and fuel, he shot the
asteroid with his most powerful cannon. Instead of crumbling into dust, the sturdy asteroid shifted in its orbit and out of the ship’s course. With a shrug, the captain continued on his vector to Planet Kaji.
The slight change in the asteroid’s orbit inevitably resulted in a slow demise. As the stars and planets continued without pause, the asteroid careened through the solar system on its new path. Planet Kaji orbited the three stars seventeen times before the asteroid swayed too close and plummeted toward the planet’s surface. Fortunately for the inhabitants, the Kajian planetary defense weapons are more than capable of destroying most of the asteroid before it enters the atmosphere. When the planetary defenses first detect the encroaching asteroid, an unperturbed Capital City basks in Sul’s diminishing light. A young Kaji warrior-in-training stands in the center of a familiar, overgrown field.
Oblivious to the secret deal negotiated just three steps to her right almost seventeen seasons ago, Atae waits with her eyes closed.
I am strong. I am Kaji, she says to herself.
The older adolescent’s face twitches from her inner struggle to calm her racing heart as the soft breeze cools the sweat misting her gray skin. She wipes at her forehead to pull the short strands of dark blue hair from her face. She twists her plump lips and strains the muscles across her high cheekbones as she listens to the field around her. Atae wears a simple, black, short-sleeved bodysuit that ends just above her knees. Neither the dark color of her uniform nor the silver Sula Academy logo emblazoned across her chest help to camouflage her amid the golden field.
A Kaji warrior would not stand idle.
Atae sighs but doesn’t move. Her task wouldn’t be difficult for a purebred, or full-blooded Kaji. A purebred would shift into her second form and track down the enemy. However, Atae is not purebred. Her midnight blue hair contrasts with the red and white of other females, but its thick, unruly strands are typical for all Kaji. Atae’s gray skin is too pale compared to the dark chocolate shades of most purebred Kaji. Her short
stature and petite build appear too dainty next to the tall, lean physiques of females her age. Atae is a half-breed, a hybrid. But she is still Kaji. And Kaji do not accept defeat.
Thank you, Kelly A Nix and Love Book Tours
About the author
Kelly A Nix is a native-born Texan from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In high school, she competed in rodeo, earned a brown belt in Taekwondo, and strived to be an actress. After graduating with her M.B.A., Kelly enjoys her career in the veterinary industry, and she spends most of her free time with her family, traveling, and writing. An animal lover, she shares her home with three cats, Louise, Rachel, and Orange Kitty, and a Great Dane mix named Dingo.