today the spotlight is on the newly released Ice Kingdom by Tiana Warner the third book in the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai Series, a Fantasy, Young Adult.
The final adventure in the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy …
Meela and Lysi have unleashed Sisiutl, legendary two-headed serpent of the Pacific Northwest. It was supposed to be an ally that would help them win the war. Instead, it has fallen under the control of King Adaro, ruler of the Pacific Ocean. If Meela and Lysi can’t stop him, Adaro will use the deadly serpent to rid the oceans of mankind.
With the American military using catastrophic weapons of their own to retaliate, Meela and Lysi must make peace between humans and merpeople before one race destroys the other. The journey will risk their lives and put their relationship to the test—but the vengeance that has been consuming Meela’s thoughts, day and night, might prove even more dangerous.
Excerpt – Ice Massacre (Book 1) – Somewhere on the Pacific Ocean
The young man aimed his crossbow at the water, ready to fire a bolt of solid iron at the first glimpse of flesh beneath the surface.
“Sir,” he said, “shouldn’t we have seen one by now?”
The captain turned his back to the salty wind, jaw tight. “They know we’re here.”
“So what are they doing?”
He followed the captain’s gaze. Blackness merged with the empty grey horizon in every direction. A long silence passed, filled only by gentle swells lapping against the ship.
The captain drew his own crossbow.
“Forming a plan.”
All twenty men aboard the ship readied their weapons, reacting in a chain until the last man at the stern took steady aim at the waves.
“Make ready your iron, men,” shouted the captain. “We have ripples approaching off the port side.”
A handful of places in the water puckered, as if something lingered just below the surface. The sea was too black to tell.
Then it happened. Fifty, maybe sixty sea demons burst from the water and slammed against the ship. The men wasted no time. They reacted with trained speed and agility as the demons thrust stones and jagged shells into the wood, both to break holes in the ship and to scale the sides. The men picked them off with bolts of iron and watched them fall one by one back into the sea.
But they were outnumbered. Soon the demons were upon the ship, pulling themselves across the deck with bony arms.
The young man had already shot a dozen and the water reddened with each passing second.
Slow scraping sounds threatened him from behind. He whirled around, crossbow ready. Burning eyes met his, and sharp teeth, bared to rip into his flesh. He gripped the trigger, felt the bow tighten—
And the demon was gone. The young man stared into the wide gaze of a girl his own age. With a startled cry, he jerked his aim so the bolt barely missed her.
She held a black shell in her hand, sharp at the edges and ready to use as a club. But she didn’t raise it. She just looked at him.
He lowered his crossbow.
Her blonde hair fell heavily over her shoulders, dripping beads of water down her naked chest and stomach, pooling where her torso joined her tail.
He blinked, but made no other motion—where her torso joined her tail. Scales faded into flesh like some sort of beautiful, green and tan sunset.
She pulled herself closer.
“Stay back,” said the young man, unsure what prompted him to hesitate.
He looked into her eyes—emeralds surrounded by pearl white—where moments ago they had burned red. Her sharp teeth had retracted behind rosy lips. The seaweed-coloured flesh of her upper body was now olive and raised with goose bumps from the icy wind.
“Hanu aii,” she whispered. Do not fear. She spoke his language.
He loosened his grip on the crossbow, studying her. She lifted a frail arm and pushed the hair from her eyes, then motioned him forwards.
His pulse quickened as he stared at the beautiful girl.
“Hanu aii,” she said again, her voice resonating sweetly, as if she sang without singing.
Suddenly, he was kneeling in front of her, level with her luminous eyes. The sounds around him faded but for the soft purr in the base of her throat.
She reached up and held an icy hand to his cheek, not for a moment breaking eye contact. The hand slid behind his head and pulled his face towards hers, slowly but firmly. He inhaled her sweet breath.
He flinched. He turned to see the captain racing towards them, aiming his crossbow at the maiden.
The young man grasped the scene around him. The ship was empty. A few stray weapons and barrels bobbed serenely in the water. Blood soaked the deck in places, and even the main mast had a splatter across the bottom.
The captain fired wide. Before he could reload and aim again, the sea demon put a hand on the young man’s chin and pulled his gaze back to hers.
Her eyes blazed red. Her skin rippled into the rotten colour of seaweed. Her ears grew pointed and long like sprouting coral. She opened her mouth to reveal a row of deadly teeth.
The young man screamed.
The demon pulled him against her with more strength than three men combined, and they dove headfirst off the side of the ship.
They disappeared into the blood-red water.
Excerpt – Ice Kingdom – Chapter 3 – Ben – Kodiak, Alaska
Benjamin Reeves had trained for disaster scenarios for the greater part of his life. Earthquakes, forest fires, storms, and tsunamis. Terrorist attacks. He was prepared to help in any situation. Except this one.
He was cruising the long way home in his pickup truck, windows down, summer breeze lifting the hair on his arms. His mind was still on the matte black twin-engine helicopter that Bagh had just shown him—the latest addition to the air wing.
“LM-80 Cormorant. Long-range enough for a medevac from the middle of the ocean. This thing’s designed for anti-submarine, anti-ship, search and rescue, cargo lift, special ops, you name it.”
Reeves was wondering whether said special ops included him when he noticed the group of people gathered in the harbour.
They were pointing at something in the distance, which he at first took to be a huge pod of orcas. Several people were taking pictures.
He rolled to a stop in an empty intersection and squinted through the sun’s glare.
His mouth slowly fell open. Not whales.
The vast shape in the water rose and fell through the surface in a connected wave, bigger than his mind could comprehend.
Sitting in the idling truck, Reeves scrambled to regain his slipping hold on reality. He clung to one certainty like a buoy: this thing, whatever it was, was heading for shore.
He shut off the truck so he could listen. People were beginning to panic. He could hear them shouting. He wrenched his seatbelt off and flung open the truck door.
By the time his feet hit the pavement, the thing was already in the harbour. Reeves cursed as a shower of seawater erupted like a mine.
Several people screamed. Dogs pulled at their leashes, barking frantically. The crowd began to sprint away from the shore as the mammoth creature crested the waves.
On the passenger’s seat, Reeves’ phone rang. He stood in the intersection, frozen by what he was seeing, when the scream of a child cut through the noise.
Propelled into action, he dove across the seat for his phone and then sprinted towards the shore with trained agility, phone at his ear.
The voice on the other end was frantic. “Reeves, I need you to get to the harbour—” It was his superior, Officer Miller.
The screaming girl’s mother scooped her up. She took off towards the parking lot.
“I’m here, sir.”
“What the hell is going on?”
“I was hoping you’d tell me.”
“All I know is we got a distress call from the coast guard, and then we lost contact.”
The tsunami siren erupted, an unceasing wail from the top of several masts along the shoreline. At this, people burst out of nearby homes and shops.
“Sir, it’s unclear what—”
At the end of the docks, something rose out of the water that made Reeves stop in his tracks. It was a black serpent’s head, as large as the moored speedboats, a flare of horns at the back of its skull. A blast of seawater rained from nostrils the size of basketballs. The serpent tasted the air.
“Reeves, you there?”
The serpent closed in, crushing the sailboats in its path and sending swells of water high enough to capsize the rest. Several people on the docks vanished beneath the waves.
Reeves lowered the phone and raced closer to the beach.
“Get out of the water!” he bellowed.
The dock shattered beneath the serpent’s weight. It did not seem to feel the shards of wood and fibreglass dragging under its scales.
People on the shore were running and screaming. Reeves stopped briefly to usher an elderly couple up the steps leading to the parking lot, then turned back in time to see the creature reach land, not a hundred feet away. The scrape of its scales across the pavement rose above the wailing siren and the noise of the crowd.
He pulled civilians back from the shore, shouting at them to get to their vehicles and to pile in as many people as they could.
A series of shrill barks rent the air and Reeves looked around, eyes landing on a border collie that had been left tied to a bike rack. He pelted across the beach and ducked next to the dog, its breath hot and fast on his neck as he freed its collar from the leash. The border collie fled without looking back, nails skittering across the pavement.
There was a deafening boom.
Reeves threw himself behind the bike rack and peered up through the bars.
The serpent’s great head had shattered the boathouse with the force of a crashing meteor. Its horns caught on the roof and peeled the rafters off, throwing them across the beach like twigs in a windstorm.