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A Killer Midlife

Lia Davis

Ava’s mom has news about Ava’s father that will change the course of Ava’s life and take her down another new, exciting path.

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Read an excerpt from A Killer Midlife

Lucy-Fur: The cat, not the devil.

I jumped up on Zoey’s bed, my favorite in the house, by the way. Probably because of her shifter smell. It’s alluring.

I padded over to where she had left her tablet and touched the screen with my nose. It flared to life, and I entered the code. Easy peasy. Zoey’s tablet and phone were the only devices in the house that didn’t have the face recognition turned on. She said it was pointless as it didn’t work when her face was in half shift. Convenient for me.

Like me, Zoey was a ghoul. Unlike me, she was also a tiger shifter who unfortunately didn’t have full control of her shifting. Most of the time around the house, her tiger ears twitched on top of her head, or her facial features looked more feline than human. Other times, her tail was out. I liked to chase it. Ahh, that was a lot of fun.

Once I had the Toe Top app open, I bunched the blanket under the tablet, so it sat at an angle. When I got it just right, without flipping the tablet over, which wasn’t so easy, I nudged the three-minute timer and hit the record button.

I backed into place, smiled at the tablet’s camera, and started my story. “This week’s update is about the newest thing with Olivia. Yes, boring human Olivia. She found out her mother is a Fae princess, and her father is Luci. Yes, that Luci, not me. I spell my name with a Y.” I licked my front paw and smoothed a piece of fur away.

“So, that makes Olivia a demonic Faery princess. Sounds like a Halloween costume gone wrong, doesn’t it? Anyway, Ava wrote it in some short story called Odd Mother or something stupid like that. It’s at that big online e-book store if you want to read the full story. But I’m here to give you a spoilerific recap in case you missed it. To be clear. Lots of spoilers coming.”

Sucking in a deep breath, I waved and let my audience know I’d continue in part two. These videos didn’t last long enough.

Now for the hard part. I had to get all the hashtags on there. It took a while because my toe beans weren’t situated to be able to do it—no opposable thumbs, you know—and my nose often missed. But eventually, I had them in. #catsoftiktok, #cats #catlover #shiptonghoul—to tie my stuff to the stuff Alfred had been doing on Insta—and a few more that were currently trending.

Then I started over again with part two. “In my last update, I told you about the black blob from the Inbetween actually being a Fae princess. Well, Ava and the coven tried every spell and counter-curse they could think of and couldn’t figure out how to cure the Fae and turn her from an angry blob into a pretty lady. Then, one random day, Ava and Olivia went out to the blob and when they came back, they brought back the Fae all normal and nice. Turns out Olivia’s blood was the key! Who could’ve guessed? Olivia’s powers unlocked and the house sprouted vines and flowers, which Snoozer and I got trapped in.” I gave the camera a flat, aggravated look. “I was not amused.”

“What happened next was chaos from the noise. I was trapped in the vines, so I don’t know all the details. Lucifer showed up and I guess they had a family meeting or something. The next thing I knew, Olivia’s older children showed up. Turns out when Olivia’s powers unlocked, so did theirs. Olivia and her family moved in with the Devil and the Fae princess to learn their powers. Then at Ava’s birthday party, Olivia’s ex-husband showed up and boy was he pis—”

“Lucy-Fur, What are you doing?” Ava’s sharp tone scared the kittens out of me. I jumped and whirled around to face her. “Geez, Ava, you look like death.” Her green eyes were dull and tired-looking, and her hair was greasier than I’d ever seen it. And that was saying something, considering she went into her office and didn’t emerge for hours and hours, or days and days sometimes. She looked rough after a big writing jag like that.

To my horror, she reached down and snatched up the tablet, turning the video feed off.

I darted forward, but it was too late. “Hey! I need to save that!”

With her lips pressed together, she stared at me for a long while. I gazed back, not understanding what she was trying to do. Intimidate me? Ha! I think not. That wasn’t possible. I was un-intimidate-able.

She looked down at the tablet and started swiping her finger across the screen. I couldn’t see what she was doing, but I knew it wasn’t good. Her voice came out all low and growly. Phlegm, maybe? “How many of these videos have you done?” No, it was anger.

I laid down and licked my paw, unconcerned with her fury. “A few. I have followers—” Over a hundred thousand, thank you very much. “—and they love me.”