Flowers by day, murders by night. To those who know her, Mia Ozu is a nice, yet often distant flower shop owner whose greatest flaw might be the fact that she'd rather prune her precious Bonzai than participate in a conversation. What they don't know, is that Mia is harboring a deadly secret. Haunted by the vicious murder of her parents, Mia spent a lifetime hunting down anyone involved. But revenge is never as sweet as it seems and when one murder reveals a shocking betrayal and threatens to expose her true nature, she must decide if finding the truth is worth the risk.This is the blurb from The Irony of Vengeance, a recently completed manuscript that tells the story of a young woman of Japanese and African America descent who runs into trouble while trying to avenge the murder of her parents. This book is yet to be published, and it's author Valeri Beatrix has launched a fundraising campaign in order to self-publish. Here is her Indiegogo page.
Let's help this book become a published reality! Spread the news and signal boost! I'm just pleased that romance isn't the focus, I know I like romance but yeah, we need more Blasian books that don't focus on romance. Valeri has graciously sent the first chapter of The Irony of Vengeance exclusively to the BN, which you can read under the cut.
The moon looks like a giant snowball, she thought while staring into the darkened sky. Every night as she waited for her mother to tuck her in, she'd kneel in front of the large window, her chin resting on folded arms and her eyes on the moon. Every night she tried to find a new name for it, something good that would bring that sunshine smile to her mother’s face.
She glanced at the clock she'd gotten for her birthday; 10 minutes late, she mused. Mom is never late for anything. Worried, the little girl got up and quietly opened her door. She peered down the hall and noticing that all the lights were off, she tiptoed toward the balcony and peeked over the railing.
“Mom!" She bounded down the stairs and into the living room.
"Mom, you were supposed—” she stopped short, unable to move her mouth further. There was a hole in her mommy's head. Not only that, there was a river of blood that ran straight down her rounded nose and dripped over her mouth. The normally sparkling, honey-colored eyes were stretched wide, stripped of their usual brightness.
Her father lay slumped over her shoulder with a stream of blood flowing from his head to her chest. She stared at their lifeless bodies as her mind filled with emotions both learned and new.
It was surprising, but she didn't cry. Instead, she marveled at the horrific scene, trying to understand who could have done such a thing. How long had her parents been this silent picture of horror?
Deep inside of her young mind, she knew her reaction was not proper. She should be running away frightened. After all, it wasn’t natural to find ones parents in a pool of blood.
What she felt more than anything was a profound sense of anger. It started low within her belly and pulsed thru her veins, continuing thru her small frame until her body shook with rage. She reached out to stroke the shiny, ebony strands of her mother’s hair.
It was then that the tears began to sting her eyes as the realization set in that she would never again enjoy packing her dads pipe with tobacco or pulling a brush through her mother’s lengthy locks. She kneeled down to rest her head on her mother’s lap, not caring that the blood seeped into her clothing and hair. Gripping her father’s limp fingers, she closed her eyes.
“The moon looks like a snowball, mommy." She mumbled just before sleep took her under.
Mia's breathing was ragged when she opened her eyes. As usual, it took only a short time for them to adjust to the darkness, though her gaze continued to probe the shadows. Certain that the killer from her dreams wasn’t lurking in the dark, she pushed herself into a seated position and for the first time, noticed the perspiration pooled between her breasts and under her arms.
"This is getting old," she mumbled, pushing back the covers and climbing out of bed.
In the bathroom, she splashed her face with cold water, and watched in the mirror as the droplets slithered down and plopped against the ceramic sink. Turning her head from side to side, she noticed just how much her features had become like her mothers.
Thanks to her recurring nightmare, she’d been able to retain a clear picture of both her parents, a gift she still wasn’t sure she should be thankful for. Mia pulled a hand towel from the shelf and dried the last remnants of water dripping from her chin, blinking to remove the water that had settled against her lashes.
This was the fifth time in two weeks that the dream had disturbed her sleep. It wasn’t new. In fact, it had been the only constant thing in her childhood. What she couldn't figure out was why it had returned after so long.
Back in her room, she peeled off her damp t-shirt and slipped on a pair of leggings and a sports bra. Folding herself down on the yoga mat at the foot of her bed, she kicked out her daily routine of fifty sets of sits-ups, push-ups, and crunches. After adding in an extra ten reps each, she went to the door, put on her favorite cross-trainers, and headed to the nearby Hudson River Park for her morning jog.
Five miles later, Mia stopped in front of a small brownstone. The rusted iron gate creaked open as she pushed through, heading for the backyard. Once there, she retrieved a spare key from a concealed hole in a Sweetgum tree before letting herself in. Pausing just inside the door, she listened for movement before tiptoeing to the closet of the bedroom at the end of the hall. Against the wall was a latch and she pushed until the hidden door behind gave way.
A familiar blast of hot, stale air welcomed her and she stepped inside. The first time she came here, she’d only been able to withstand it for a few minutes before running from the room, gasping for dear life. But since then, she’d gotten used to the humidity; in turn, it had greatly improved her stamina.
The morning sun poured through a large skylight, illuminating Sensei Ichiro Miyamoto’s sword room with a subtle glow. The descendent of a famous Samurai warrior of 16th century Japan, Miyamoto possessed one of, if not the best, Japanese sword collections in the world. A few of them even dated back to 8th century Japan, and the only time he used them was when they had to be cleaned or sharpened. Because of this, he rarely let anyone see them, which was why she knew he’d probably cut off a finger if he found out she was here.
Mia walked along the wall, running her hands over the priceless antiques that seemed so harmless in their inanimate states. She continued her exploration until her fingers came to rest on the grooved, jade handle of a 10th-century Katana. Of all the weapons she'd come to study and perfect, Mia preferred the elegance and fear-inducing power of the Katana. There was nothing like the subtle shriek of its sharpened, twenty-seven inch steel blade being drawn from its scabbard. In her hands, it most certainly meant death.
She removed the sword from the mantle, strapped it to her waist and walked to a large wooden alter—the Butsudan—on the opposite side of the room. As always before training began, Mia lit incense in honor of Sensei Miyamoto's ancestors.
Standing in the center of the room, she unsheathed the sword and paused to admire its craftsmanship. The entire surface of the weapon was covered with intricate engravings of what appeared to be dancers but upon closer inspection, turned out to be warriors engaged in battle. The brutal beauty of the scene almost made her feel bad about the purpose of the weapons use. Almost.
With slow and controlled movements, she sliced fiercely through the air, cutting an invisible opponent. First she would slice the axillary artery in the arm. This alone would be a killing blow, but she would not stop there. She would slice the other arm, the femoral artery in the thigh or perhaps cut the limbs off altogether. Whatever it was, death would not be merciful—not for the killer of her parents.
She was a blur of movement as she continued her imagined assault, crying out at the thought revenge. “Dreaming again?”
Mia nearly dropped the Katana as she turned to see Sensei Miyamoto’s bulky frame standing in front of the hidden doorway. Without pause, she ran to his feet and bowed.
“Forgive me, Sensei, I…I know I should not--”
“To know and to act are one and the same.” He interrupted, helping her up.
“Did I not give you a Katana of your own?” he asked, disrupting her mental journey to the past.
“Then why do you come repeatedly, to wield that one?”
Mia fumbled for words. Here she thought she’d been coming and going without his knowledge. Then again, it must have been denial that kept her from realizing he would know. In truth, she couldn’t say why she kept going there. Maybe it was because at times, it felt more like home than any other place.
“Do not apologize. It changes nothing.”
Mia watched him as he surveyed the room, afraid that she had somehow offended him. If she had, it was probably the worst thing that could happen, especially since he was more like a father to her than the uncle who’d raised her.
“Your skills are beyond great, but the frustration of your parent’s murder…you must not carry this with you. You must find reconciliation or else,” he waved his hand.
“Yes, Sensei.” She bowed.
He was right. Reconciliation was the key, and she would kill to have it.