Prologue

I was twelve years old when I made a decision. A decision that would alter the fate of the Kamen forever.

For those of you that don't know who the Kamen are, we are a hybrid race of cat and human. We are capable of changing and hiding our feline attributes in order to appear merely human. However, we will never be merely human. We have the speed of a cheetah, sight of a lynx, stealth of a panther, and the hearing of a lion. In other words, we are one of nature's most deadly predators. Everything about us can draw a human in, from our strange yellow eyes to our athletic builds.

The Kamen however are also a dying race. At the peak of our existence there were thousands of us, now there are a total of twenty five. Four clans, one area, twenty five individuals, the odds are not in our favor.

The two elder clans, the Sariah and the Rahil each hold seven individuals of the Kamen race. The offspring of the Sariah form the Cahl clan. There used to be six individuals in the clan until I left. Our rival is the Marit clan, who have five males. The Cahl also have five males. Being the only female in a clan proved to be too excessive for me when I was young. I never even realized that there was more than one gender until I left.

If you that just did the math, you have probably already realized that of the younger generation, there are ten males, then the fourteen elders, so you're up to twenty four. There is one available female in the entire Kamen race. Me. The boys probably haven't figured out the severity of this yet. Then again the Cahl also believe that I am dead. I staged my own death in order to get away five years ago. I was a little bit dramatic at that point. However the call of my people is getting stronger by the day, and is calling me back.

My name is Reina St. James and I hold the future of the Kamen race in my claws. Yes you read that correctly I did say claws. Talk about a lot of power…

Chapter 1

Trees flew past me as I raced through the forest. My pulse raced as I wondered if they had noticed that I was missing yet. I hoped that they hadn't. Branches slapped my face as I raced by, stinging and cutting my face and arms, but I had to ignore it. I couldn't go back, no, I wouldn't go back. They didn't need me. They never did, I mean they treated me like one of the guys and all, but that was the thing, I'm not a guy. I thought I was, but I'm not.

My ears were attentive, listening for any trace of my being followed, with my black tail streaming out behind me.

I would miss the Cahl clan, well mostly, but I knew it had to be done. I was tired of being ignored by Tamar, being ignored by Tamar meant being ignored by the whole clan. Tamar was the oldest at fifteen years old, so he gained control of the entire clan, and I resented him for it.

I hissed softly under my breath at the irritation I felt toward Tamar. It was his fault I had to run away, his fault I had no home. It was his fault the incident happened in the first place. The entire clan looked down on me because of him. Well who needs them? I can thrive on my own; I am a Kamen after all.

Ugh.

I finally slowed down as I reached a fence somewhere past the Utah border. I had no idea the exact position, but it didn't matter. I had reached a gate. It read 'Lolita Academy for Girls'.

"Girls huh, well I'll show them." I walked through the gate and was immediately surrounded by humans in blue uniforms holding guns.

Well good plan Reina. I shifted back to completely human and the humans relaxed.

"Oh boys we've been out here too long it's just a little girl." One of them said gruffly. Another walked up to me.

"What do you want girl?"

"A home" I replied quietly as I stared at my feet. The man laughed at me and looked over to the others.

"You hear that, the little girl wants a home. You've come to the right place little missy." One of the men picked me up and carried me into the huge oak doors. When he set me down I was standing in a magnificent hallway with ornate decorations. The banisters looked handcrafted, as well as the molding on the ceiling.

"Welcome to Lolita Academy, where you'll learn how to be a true and proper woman."

A proper woman? The man that had laughed continued to laugh with the others as they walked back out the doors, and the huge doors slammed shut leaving me standing dazed and confused in an unfamiliar hall completely, and irrevocably alone.

I opened my eyes and stood in the same hall that I had that day five years ago. The molding was just as pristine as it had been when I came, with cream colored walls and golden molding. The oak banisters gave the room a sense of elegance that only Lolita Academy women could appreciate. I smiled as I realized all of the changes that this school had brought upon me. My hair had grown out from the short boy-cut to long black waves. I had had some other noticeable changes of course as well since the time that I had arrived here, but the biggest change of all had been my demeanor in general. I wasn't afraid of anyone or anything anymore. I was not that confused pre-teen any longer. I had grown to be long and lean, and my tan body stood out even among the Lolita girls.

"Reina!"

I turned around to see my group of friends, the "Cats" as they were nicknamed by the rest of the student body. Only the prettiest and most successful girls were allowed into this exclusive group. The named itself proved to be fairly ironic in my case.

Shana ran up and hugged me, her long blonde hair streaming behind her. She had been my best friend and roommate for a year and a half. She gave me a dazzling smile.

"How does it feel to be leaving this hell hole after five years you little flunkie?" she laughed. Most people are kept here for two years to perfect their skills, whereas with my glorious male dominated upbringing caused me to be confined here for five years. Although since I had nowhere else to be anyways it didn't particularly matter. Oh the joys of breaking years of boy habits. I rolled my strange yellow eyes at her and pushed her playfully.

"What are you going to do without me when you have issues with stilettos, klutzy?" I retorted. I actually liked it here quite a bit, and wasn't entirely thrilled to leave.

She fell silent, but kept jumping up and down with excitement for me. I laughed at her and we went down the long narrow stone hall to the dorm room that she and I shared, so that I could change into my "academy approved" outfit for my evaluation with the headmistress. Oh the wonderful headmistress.

"Why the hell did you have to turn out so freaking gorgeous Reina?" Shana whined in her normal playful way. Her pouting was actually kind of cute, since she had the thick red lips that bunched perfectly when she pouted.

I looked in the mirror and thought about my origins, too bad I couldn't tell Shana about them. My unnatural eye color was striking against my tanned skin and round face with an angular jawline and full lips. My sharp features were enhanced by my slight figure and tiny waist as well, my hair perfectly fell around my face without any effort, and I realized that I really was kind of pretty. The outfit that they had approved of was interesting with black skinny jeans, stiletto boots, and a black and white corset style shirt.

The Academy is no ordinary finishing school; it's a school to teach females how to attract the opposite sex efficiently and quickly. Weird school for a girl that thought she was a boy for twelve years, but it was actually quite amusing.

"I have to be able to keep up with you dear". I smiled warmly at her and looked around our dorm room. I have a tendency to throw my clothes around the room, while Shana is so neat that nothing is ever out of its specified place.

"That's cute Reina" she rolls her eyes in protest at me and I just laugh at her naïve nature.

"You had better keep in touch missy" I push her over into my pile of stuff and laugh as she disappears into the mess.

"Oh dearie, you wish you could lose me, you are quite stuck with me." The bell rang signifying that I had five minutes until noon. I looked at her with wide eyes and hugged her tightly. I know how far it is to the headmistress's office, and as of now I am officially screwed.

"I'm going to be late!" I shriek as I run down the hall for my final evaluation. I can hear her hysterical laughter as I click down the hall in my heels. The linoleum was wet and the black tiles shine as I run. The headmistress was going to kill me if I was late. I feared few things in life, but she was one of them. If hell had a face, I swore it would be hers. The clock chimed twelve times and I knew I was late.

Shit.

I walked quietly into Ms. Smith's office with my head held high and my walking steady even though I thought I was going to explode on the inside. Her office was dainty and elegant with pale pink walls and embroidered tapestries.

"You're late." Her simple phrasing was more of a punishment than any physical punishment could ever compare to. I turned to face her and took in her long brown hair and long lean body. She was probably around thirty five, but no one here ever really knew.

"I'm sorry" I lowered my gaze in submission.

"Turn" I blinked in surprise and slowly turned in a circle so that she could evaluate me. I could feel her gaze travel over my body and I shivered involuntarily at the icy gaze.

I saw her smirk at my reaction out of the corner of my eye. She walked around me a few times then walked up to me.

"What has the Academy taught you?" she said in a monotone voice that made it extremely difficult to concentrate. I looked her straight in her cold grey eyes and replied steadily,

"With every man born there is a female counterpart. If that male is to succeed, then the female must find him and help to guide his decisions in whatever way that is possible and/or necessary."

Ms. Smith nodded at me in approval, which in my case was definitely new. This gave me new hope that I might actually pass this time.

"You, my dear, have finally passed the exam. Now how you failed it the first twenty times I will never truly know. However, you have the looks and demeanor of a true Lolita woman. Carry the knowledge that has been given to you here, and you will go far. You may go home now Kitten."

I bristled at the mention of a home, because I had left the only home that I had ever known and I had never planned on going back.

Great planning Reina…

"Of course" I cocked my hip and spun on my heel to leave.

"Oh and Reina?" I spun back around to face her.

"Yes ma'am?"

"The Academy has been keeping tabs on you, and your under advanced spending habits. Take this card with you and at least attempt to fix that problem. I believe that fifteen thousand should get you started in your new life at least. Now go, I tire of this conversation."

I looked at her and her annoyed expression, then nodded and walked gracefully out of the room. I walked down the hall to my dorm room for that last time to grab my things. I looked up at the large ornate chandeliers. I don't fit here. Just because I like t-shirts and not girly stuff, now I have to buy stuff oh joy.

When I walked through the door I saw that almost all of my things had been taken from the room. I looked around in shock, and silently cursed the establishment.

Great. One last chance for the Academy to prove that they will have power even if it takes forever. I walked around the small room and spotted one single thing that they had left. A necklace. Well to be more specific, it was the necklace I had been wearing when I arrived here. It was simple with a leather string to hold the small glittering red stone in the center of a paw print.

"As long as you keep this I'll always be with you. You're one of my brothers, and I will always love you."

I sighed at Bane's naïve nature. He hasn't been here for the last five years, and if this Academy has proved anything, it's that I am not anyone's brother. I smirked at the thought.

Bane.

Tears came to my eyes as I remembered my clan member. Bane. The realization hit me.

I had to go home, if for nothing else than to see Bane. I had to go home.

Home to the Cahl, home to Bane, to Tamar as much as I despised the idea of seeing his low-life face. I was going back to Colorado, in the middle of stinking nowhere. Oh me and my wonderful logic. I sighed as I put on the necklace and walked out of the giant ornate oak doors for the last time.