Merged Worlds, The Heart of a Shadow, writing

The Heart of a Shadow Release Day!

Well, the day is finally here – Raiden and Liria’s story is released into the world. I’m so excited for everyone to read it, and I hope you enjoy this tale as much as I enjoyed crafting it.

To pick up your digital copy, click here!

To celebrate this latest release, how about a little sneaky peek inside? Here’s the start of Chapter One, a little gift from me to you. Enjoy!

Hearth and Home

Liria Atlannon looked around at the cool marble pillars of Princess Ione’s quarters and knew she wouldn’t miss it for even a moment. There was something to be said for the elegance of gold-shot marble which glowed in the light of the noonday sun, and perhaps even something to be said for the open, breezy architecture and gauzy drapes in Atlantean aqua – but for her, the paradise island of Atlantis had only ever been a prison.

Moving quietly to the edge of the balcony, Liria set delicate hands on the railing and cast her gaze out over the cheery city which glittered in the sun, shimmering marble and deep gold sandstone broken up by swathes of cloth in all the shades of the ocean. Beyond that, the azure sea lapped lazily at a pristine shore of pale sand that sparkled with hints of silver silica. A pair of Atlantean Dreadnaughts bobbed offshore, one with her steel decks unfurled like a silvered ocean lily, and the other curled in tight upon itself in preparation for an underwater journey.

“Beautiful, and yet I don’t see that I will miss it.”

Liria lowered her head as the Princess Ione came up beside her, lest the other woman see the way her face set into an involuntary grimace. The motion shifted her focus to her fingers, gripping tight to the balcony rail. Her skin had begun to turn the mottled blue-grey of a storm-tossed sky, her emotions slipping their leash and causing the truth of her nature to creep through. Drawing deep of the salt-laden air, Liria forced her face into smooth lines and exerted just enough power to shift her skin back to the blemish-free cream her mistress preferred.

“You won’t miss it?” she asked, her voice carefully modulated to be soft and submissive. “Surely Atlantis is in your bones, your highness.”

Princess Ione tossed her head. She was beautiful – exquisite, even, with long black hair that hung in perfect curls midway down her back, softly tanned skin and deep, dark blue eyes – yet there was a glitter in her gaze, an edge to her cultured smile that spoke of bitter hunger.

“No,” Ione said, her lip curling. “I am meant for greater things than to be the fifth child of the ruling family of Atlantis. I am meant to be a queen.”

“And so you will be,” Liria answered, bowing slightly from the waist. “Your marriage to the Pharaoh of Egypt will ensure such.”

An arranged marriage sounded like the worst kind of torture to Liria, but Princess Ione had been the driving force behind the entire affair. In fact, Liria’s eavesdropping around the palace had her safe in the certainty that the King and Queen of Atlantis had only acquiesced to keep Ione happy; no-one had actually expected Pharaoh Taos to accept.

“Yes. Soon, I will be Queen of Egypt,” Ione breathed, spreading her arms wide and tipping her head back to stare at the sky. “Soon, I will witness the technological marvel of Egypt’s great airships, and view their crystal-topped pyramids with my own eyes. I shall rule over the country which stands at the forefront of science and magic, sip wine with the most powerful of gods and be bathed in the adoring praise of my subjects – while Atlantis will become but a faded memory, a pale imitation to be laughed at and forgotten.” The Princess clasped her hands at the base of her throat, gleaming midnight eyes locking on Liria’s face. “Are you ready, my shadow, to follow me on this path to greatness?”

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