Kinara Katari and her fiancé, Alator, both serve in the Guardian Forces of Alympia, each with different talents and levels of experience. When the unrelenting enemy Javelar attacks, they join their comrades in battle, but the results are devastating to both civilians and fighters. Suddenly, Kinara is no longer a bride planning her wedding but a warrior fighting for her place in the ranks.
At the same time, in a small rural town on the planet’s poorest continent, the Khiings family is beginning to plan a celebration for their oldest son’s return from college. Then Kinara, an old family friend, shows up on their doorstep, and an unwise choice first puts her life in jeopardy, and not long after makes her the custodian of Zaelek, the second Khiings son, who is just beginning to find the source of his own power.
As Zaelek struggles to discover just who and what he is, events no longer allow for a leisurely exploration of his progress but accelerate the process in ways he could never have imagined as he is swept along by forces beyond his control.
Everyone has secrets here, and as life devolves into chaos, some are exposed while some remain hidden as everyone must do what they can to survive.
Targeted Age Group:: 13+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I was inspired to let my day dreams out of my head. I have always loved fantasy, adventure, elemental forces, and swords. So, I mixed those together. Of course, this was when I was new to writing and didn't know much about stringing scenes together to make a story.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I'm not sure I did come up with my characters. What I mean is that they grew over time. In the beginning, Zaelek was written because I needed a protagonist to the story. Back then, he had about as much personality as a wooden plank. As I made more revisions to the story, Zaelek and Kinara took the story into their own hands, becoming who they are today.
I showed the picture of my fiancé to the uniformed clerk at the front desk.
“Have you seen this man?”
The clerk nodded toward one of the card tables. “Last I saw, he was over there.”
I looked back to the gaming tables but didn’t recognize anyone. I don’t know why I expected anyone to give me a straight answer in a grimy, smoke-filled casino notorious for illegal trade. Most people would think me harsh for jumping to the conclusion that I’d been lied to, but I knew that there were security cameras everywhere, and the front desk had access to them.
Someone behind me grabbed my shoulder. I snatched their hand, twisting it as I spun. Alator’s face slammed into the bar counter.
“Kinara! It’s me!” he yelped.
I released him. “Where have you been?”
“I’ve been following a lead.”
“What lead is so important that you can’t send me a message to tell me you’re okay?”
He massaged his wrist and shook his head. “Do you always have to be so intense?”
“You should know better than to sneak up on me.”
“Fair enough.” He lowered his voice. “Someone dropped an anonymous tip about Trentir Savvage.”
Trentir Savvage? What would Alator want with one of the wealthiest merchants on the planet?
“What kind of tip?”
“You know I can’t discuss cases with you until I solve them.”
I hated it when he shut me down like that, and he knew it. All Guardian Investigation Task Force guys were the same. Whenever the G.I.T.F. needed a Seeker, they didn’t hesitate to share sensitive information, but not before. It annoyed me because Alator and I had been partners on quite a few cases. Of course, that was when their department needed my help.
A few of those had been what they call “high profile” and had opened my eyes to how dangerous his job could be. It worried me that much more when he didn’t tell me things. Alator could handle himself, and I knew that, but sometimes he dealt with extraordinarily vicious criminals. I’d feel better if I could permanently have his back, but our two departments operated so differently, that wouldn’t happen.
I turned away from him and huffed in frustration. He took my hand and spun me back around. His amber eyes glinted as he smiled, and his tone softened.
“Come on, Kinara, don’t be like that.”
“Be like what?”
“You know.” His hand tenderly brushed the hair out of my face, and my heart fluttered.
“Stop it. I’m trying to be angry with you.”
Alator grinned. “I’d better tread carefully then.”
That stupid grin got me every time. Not only that, but his perfect teeth, his stubble-covered square jaw…Alator pulled me in and kissed me.
I withdrew gently, focusing on the warm fire in his eyes. “It’s disgusting how charming you can be.”
He smiled and kissed my forehead. “I won’t be too much longer. Meet me at home?”
“Fine, but be careful. Please.”
I walked out of the extravagant, gold tower-like casino and took in the brisk night air that came with spring. The breeze carried the potent scent of vegetables sautéed in butter and the soft hum of hoverports overhead. In all my years living in Creet, I still felt like a tourist, just one with a unique perspective. I couldn’t help but marvel at the sheer height of every building. Sometimes it felt like standing in a maze of glass mountains covered with neon signs.
I smiled to myself, remembering my frustration with Alator. I pulled the compact tablet out of my pocket and pressed my finger to the screen. I tapped the “Air Ride” app and pinged my location.
Within a minute, an air shuttle exited the Skyway and landed next to me. The side door released and swung upward.
“Where to?” the driver asked.
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