Coral & Bone only 99c (until October 17)
Halen knows the sparks igniting under her fingertips are dangerous. She has spent her entire life trying to quell the tingly feelings that make her destroy things, but now that she is back in Rockaway Beach, where she watched her father drown, the flames have become impossible to tame. Even more dangerous than the flames are the images of a mysterious boy with stormy gray eyes and a crooked smile that she can’t seem to stop drawing.
Halen is trying to hold on, but when she is thrust into a mysterious new world, the underwater realm of Elosia, she unravels the secrets of her past and can’t help but ignite. As she explores Elosia, she realizes her life has been a lie. And when those who have deceived her come to her for help, and the mysterious boy from her drawings becomes flesh and blood before her eyes, Halen must choose—walk away or unleash the magick that could destroy them all.
The lake flattened against the horizon. Halen couldn’t tell where the water ended and the sky began—the two were one. It was hard to imagine a whirling vortex springing from the center of the lake. She wondered if she jumped in, would she be able to find a seam that would lead her back to Elosia, or if that world was sealed off from her forever. She would like to apologize to Dax for kissing him. She would like to tell Catch and Pepper she was sorry for stealing the elixir. They had been nice to her without even knowing her. Maybe it was because of Natalie; maybe Catch and Pepper thought twins were inherently the same. They made Natalie sound brave, rescuing Catch from the fisherman’s nets. That’s why they believed Natalie was alive, because she wouldn’t give up on them.
Flipping open her sketchbook, she saw Dax’s eyes flashing back at her. “What have I got myself in to?” She longed to hear him answer her back. She traced the rim of his lips with her finger and her breath caught. “It was simpler when you were just a sketch.”
“You miss him.” Tage’s voice was at her back.
Halen spun around. “I don’t miss anyone.” She slapped the sketchbook shut.
Tage crouched beside her. “Sorry, but I can read your feelings. I know you miss him.”
“Is that a guardian thing—you can feel what I’m feeling?”
“I’m an Empath. I can feel one’s emotions as if they were my own. Especially the ones expressed in paintings or drawings. A gift from my mom.”
Halen thought of the silver records chamber filled with books and scrolls. “Could your mom read pictures?”
“She could feel the emotions of the painter, whatever they were going through while they painted the memory. That was her position in Elosia.”
“I’ve seen where she worked.”
Tage stared out to the lake. “She told me she would sit in this grand chair, made entirely of translucent quartz, and interpret the emotions from the scrolls. The tribe’s entire history is felt in those scrolls. I imagine her there, like an angel, reading from her throne.”
“I saw the chair. It is just like a throne—it’s beautiful.” Halen didn’t mention destroying the room, or the salt water waves she hurled. Instead she told Tage about the scroll with the two sirens, joined, floating over the water. She told her about the spheres and the lapis river, the underground rock spires reaching up to the rainbow-dusted ceiling, and the copper room and pink water bath. She recalled every bit of Elosia, except for the boy with the crooked smile.
Tage smiled. “It’s just how my mom described it. I miss her. I can talk to her sometimes. She’s out there somewhere.”
“I don’t know. When I hear her voice she’s surrounded by white as if she were lost in a cloud. I always imagined heaven would be busier, with souls rushing about. Like here.”
“Well, look at us. Other than the crew of crazies, there aren’t any people around. Even though there’s a whole city beyond the trees. So maybe heaven is more like this—or whatever you want it to be.”
Halen smiled. “Maybe your mom just finds a quiet place in heaven to talk to you.”
Tage smiled. “You’re not so bad, you know.” She nudged her side.
“Neither are you.” Halen nudged her back. It felt good to be on Tage’s good side. Until now, she hadn’t even realized she had one. When Daspar first introduced Tage as part of the family, Halen had been hesitant. Oh, she tried to find something to like about Tage. She knew Tage had lost both her parents, but she also heard through closed doors that she had ended up in a hospital for doing drugs, so she didn’t know what to expect from her.
She wondered now how Tage got along with Natalie. Did they share secrets? “You were Natalie’s guardian right? What was she like?”
Tage got the same faraway look Halen had seen in Dax’s eyes when he spoke of Natalie.
“Can we talk about her later?”
“Sure,” Halen said, though she had a million questions.
“So, do you want to tell me about this guy you have feelings for?” Tage asked.
“What? I don’t have feelings for any guy.” She tucked the sketchbook under the log.
“Empath-remember? You can’t hide.”
Halen blushed. “I met him in Elosia.”
“I know.” Tage dug her boot in the sand. “I have to tell you something.”
“I used your sketchbook to find you.”
“What—how could you?” Why was she even asking? This was typical, sneaky Tage. She should have known better. Her face flushed as she wedged the book farther under the log with the heel of her
boot. “So you’ve seen all the drawings—of him—of Dax?”
“Yeah, I’m really sorry.” Tage wrung her hands together. “I know it’s private and all, but I had to find you. Really—there was no other way.”
Apology or not, Halen was fuming and embarrassed. Tage probably thought she was some obsessive stalker freak. Yet in a way, it was good thing she had found the sketchbook. Otherwise Halen might still be with the mermaids.
“Thanks,” Halen finally said.
Tage’s face washed with surprise. “You’re not ticked off with me?”
“Please don’t tell anyone about him—about all the sketches.”
Tage smiled. “So you do like him?”
Halen didn’t know how she felt about Dax. It was silly to miss someone you barely knew. But she did, and when she glanced through her sketchbook, she yearned for more than just a drawing of him. She wanted to feel the pulsing charge of his lips on hers once more and grow dizzy with touch of his hands on her waist, as he pulled her hips against his. In his arms she had wings and she could have flow straight up to the Elosian sky, but in that moment she didn’t wish to escape, had he not ran away, she might have stayed in his arms forever. She shook these ridiculous thoughts away. She couldn’t believe she had been so stupid. How could something so idiotic feel so right?
About the Author
I write stories about magick, love and dark creatures lurking in the shadows. When I’m not lost in Edit Land you can find me reading a book from my towering TBR pile or at the movie theater nibbling licorice. I don’t have a lucky number, but my favorite time is 11:11. I completely believe that the fortunes found inside cookies will come true and that you must be careful when wishing on stars. I live on an island, so if you want to visit you’ll need a boat, and if you want to survive the passage be sure to bring candy for the mermaids.