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Tags: Science fiction romance, princess, slave, mermaid, sea, ocean, underwater, treaty, king, pirate,
Editor: Ellee Braun
Line Editor: Joelle Walker
Cover Designer: Marion Sipe
Princess Kai refuses to wed the jerk her father has promised her to, and she is desperate to escape her world. Unfortunately, the mysterious substance called Lifeblood royalty must drink serves as a daily reminder that she can never leave Arei. When the cocky privateer, Joswen, shows up to ferry the Chosen Areians off planet, Kai is certain he will help her. But he has secrets of his own.
When Kai finds out Joswen has come not to take the Chosen to greater rewards, but to harvest them as slaves -- a sacrifice to prevent the Orachians from destroying Arei, she must decide where her loyalty truly lies -- with the man who holds her heart, with her father, or with her people.
"Well, are you going to sit there on your ass, or are you going to get up and introduce yourself?" He straightened, arms crossed like he owned the world. Her world.
Kai scooted backward out of his reach before she stood and crossed her arms. She considered her options. She could escape into the water, and he'd have no chance of catching her.
Can Orachians even swim? Unlikely. And this one is so bulky he'd surely sink.
"You shouldn't be out on the beach alone in the darkness," he said. "You might run in to a monster." He moved toward her.
She cringed and took a step back. "I'm not afraid." Her heart beat thunderous enough to be heard down the beach. "I come here to swim every night." She dug her toes into the sand and looked into his eyes.
Not running. Not from you.
"Let me pass." Kai moved toward him and then tried to walk to his left.
"Not so fast." He reached out and grabbed her by the shoulders. "I demand a proper introduction. I don't think the king would like to know that one of his subjects was being rude to me." He held her upper arms and bent closer to her face. "You don't want that."
How dare he?
Kai stared into his dark eyes for a second. She yanked herself out of his grip and stormed toward the water before he could respond. "The king is my father. Unlikely you could have more influence over him than I do."
His voice carried over the beach. "I'm Joswen, leader of the Orachians. Tell your father I'll meet with him in the morning. Goodnight, princess."
Kai didn't respond. She marched straight toward the waves. The Orachians knew better than to touch her. At least on Arei. Once she left...
Damn that man. Joswen, whatever. Going to be a problem.
Had he been on the ship when Shali left Arei with the Chosen after the last Festival? She would not have tolerated his arrogance.
Kai's body sang as she neared the sea. She bent down and trailed her fingertips along the break between wet and sand.
The wetness summoned her essence, beckoning with its lulling rhythm. Every cell in her body awakened as the Lifeblood stirred and burned inside her.
She stood ankle deep in the warm water, surf bubbles swirling around her feet.
She turned and scanned the beach. Had he followed? The sand lay in darkness even in the moons’ light, and the only gleam shone far above the shoreline where the Orachian landers sat.
No sign of Joswen. Good.
She pulled the thin gown over her head and tossed it onto the dry sand. Chosen or not, there had to be a way to leave Arei with the Orachians.
She turned toward the sea's depths and walked out, the initial chill replaced by warmth as she moved past the surf. Closing her eyes, she dove, her lungs closing, allowing the sea coursing over her body to rush out through her gills. The oxygen from the water, so different from the air above, filled her with energy as it flowed and mingled with the Lifeblood.
About the Author:
Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina gave me lots of time to read. I started with newspapers, then my aunt’s Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. She handed me Gone with the Wind next, and I was hooked for life on books and story-telling.
I love of science fiction and fantasy. I went to college on a physics’ scholarship to learn the secrets of the universe. I ended up getting my degree in English: Writing and Editing—who knew that bridge dynamics was part of physics? Yuck.
I’ve dabbled in all things creative: painting, drawing, making chainmail, costuming (professional seamstress/costumer), knitting—you name it, I’ve likely tried it. I hate cake decorating.
I teach fiction writing classes at the college level and I’m an Associate Editor at Entangled Publishing.
I live in Raleigh, NC with my husband, three daughters, five cats, and a multitude of other small animals.
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Elixir is fantasy at its best. Katie Caroll draws us into her world with ease, her well-polished writing style and flow holding us captive until the end. I especially liked the relationship between Katora and her sister Kylene, obviously drawn from real life. I can't wait to read the sequel.
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