Title: Drowning Mermaids
Author: Nadia Scrieva
Series: Sacred Breath
Release Date: January 2012
BLURB supplied by Reading Addiction Blog Tours
She is an elegant princess displaced from her home. He is a rough sea captain with a heart of gold...
To escape the war in her underwater kingdom, the noble daughter of a murdered king must flee to Alaska. Doing all she can to keep her younger sisters safe, Aazuria tries to assimilate and work among the Americans, with her feisty red-haired bodyguard at her side. This refuge holds pleasant surprises, for the princess meets a somber gentleman in a dark corner who promises to show her his world.
Trevain Murphy is a successful crab fisherman who has spent his life building an empire above the sea, but knows nothing of the greater empire beneath the surface. When a graceful dancer captures his attention, he becomes fascinated with her old-fashioned speech and unique mannerisms. Learning that her father has recently died, he cannot resist extending his kindness in offering to guide and protect her.
As it becomes clear that the dark-haired woman is much more than she seems, Trevain is unprepared to uncover the staggering secrets behind her innocent facade. Neither the captain nor the princess can imagine that their lives will become forcibly entwined as a common enemy threatens both of their worlds...
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nadia Scrieva lives in Toronto, Canada with no husband, no kids, and no pets. She does own a very attractive houseplant which she occasionally remembers to water between her all-consuming writing marathons.
“Why are we here, Brynne?” Trevain asked, leaning against the wall angrily.
“I wanted a snack,” she said, rummaging through the cupboards.
“Well, you need to eat dinner,” she said, with her mouth full. “We’ve been fishing all day.”
“I’m not hungry. Look, Brynne, is there a reason you haven’t left my side this whole trip? Do you think that I’m emotionally vulnerable because Aazuria left me and I’m going to fall into your arms or something?”
“Here, just relax and let me cook something good for you.”
“I appreciate your concern for my health, but I already told you that I’m not hungry…”
“Hey! That’s funny. Why is there sound coming from this bag of rice?” Brynne placed her ear against the bag. “Weird. It sounds like a clock.”
Trevain frowned and moved over to the bag of rice to listen.
Brynne shrugged and continued gathering cooking utensils. “Reminds me of that story about the captain and the crocodile—he could always tell the crocodile was near because it had swallowed a clock, and he could hear the ticking…”
“Shut up, Brynne.” Trevain pulled a knife out of the drawer she had opened and slit the bag open, causing rice to spill out all over the floor.
“Hey, Trevain! You’re making a mess!” Brynne scolded. “Just because you don’t have to clean anything up around here since you’re the high and mighty capt…”
“Where the hell did you get this?” Trevain yelled, staring at the strange homemade bomb which was nestled in the rice.
Brynne had not turned around, and was continuing to gather ingredients. “Oh, some sweet blond lady on the docks gave it to me…”
“Dammit!” he cursed. “There’s no time.”
“No time?” Brynne asked in confusion. Trevain grabbed her hand and was pulling her into the next room. “What are you doing, Murphy?”
“Get in the bathtub, Brynne!”
“What? Why? I’m not into kinky…”
“Down, now!” Trevain grabbed Brynne and dived with her into the bathtub, covering her body with his and waiting for the sound.
The next second, all that they heard was—nothing. The sound of the explosion was so deafening that there was a moment of intense pain in their ears before they lost the ability to hear. They felt, however. They felt the intense pressure of the bomb exploding. They felt the unbearable heat of the explosion burning their skin and singeing their hair. They felt the bathtub being ripped from the ship, and pieces of debris colliding with their bodies. Trevain felt large objects colliding with his head and back painfully, and he felt his skin being punctured in several places. Finally, he was aware that they were surrounded by water.
It was several seconds before the heat subsided to the cooling water, and a moment later he was finally able to open his eyes. He could barely make out the scared expression on Brynne’s face in the darkness. There was debris everywhere; pieces of the broken ship. His broken ship. Trevain was completely disoriented. It was difficult to figure out where they needed to swim. He could tell that sections of the boat floating near the surface were burning. He looked around for the other members of his crew, trying to get his bearings.
The flames were growing stronger. The ship’s diesel was leaking from the ruptured gas tank. They could not swim to the surface, or they would be burned. Brynne’s face was lit by the flickering firelight as she panicked and tried to communicate with him, but they could not understand each other. As he frantically made hand signals indicating for Brynne to calm down and stay close to him, he was met with only mystification on her face. He appreciated the need for sign language more than ever at that moment. Brynne was freaking out, and she began swimming off in one direction. He was sure that it was not where they needed to go. He tried to reach for her, but he was feeling dizzy from the lack of oxygen flowing to his brain. He looked around, trying to figure out where to go and what to do. He could not help panicking as well.
Trevain tried to swim away from the flames, but he could not get very far. The burning diesel had leaked out over the surface of water for what must already be a square mile, and he could not swim that far without taking a breath. Without several breaths. He needed air badly, and finally realized that he was going to drown. He could not breathe underwater; he did not have the ability. He simply did not know how. What Aazuria and his mother were talking about—he wished it was all true, but it was not. Not for him.
He knew that he was about to die. His lungs painfully begged him to take a breath, but he knew that the moment he did, he would drown. Although he had almost wanted something exactly like this to happen to him when he had set sail earlier, he now realized that he had been fooling himself. As demented as he had been feeling, as self-destructive as his intentions, it had all been just a farce. He did not really want to die.
He tried as hard as he could to hold onto his last few moments of life.
A glimmer of white caught his eye, and he saw that an exquisite creature was suddenly before him. Long white hair fanned out around her face, and the purest eyes of blue sapphire stared at him. The lovely phantasm was smiling as she reached out to take his hands; he knew it must be an angel.
It was his angel. He knew her, although she looked nothing like before. She was his Aazuria, his mythical heroine. In the dancing glow of the oil blaze, she was simply too dazzling to be real and he knew that he must be on death’s very threshold. He had heard that people often hallucinated in moments such as these, seeing what they most yearned to see. As she hovered in suspension before him, her skin and hair were almost luminous in the dark water; almost phosphorescent. Perhaps she never had been real. It did not matter—she was firmly grasping his hands, and it sent a feeling of comfort and tranquility through him. He knew that she loved him.
He could see forgiveness and acceptance in her expression. None of the turmoil between them mattered any longer in this pacific moment. In her benevolent gaze, he could finally forgive himself. He smiled at her. Although his vision was fading and the world was disappearing, he could only smile. He tightly gripped her hands to thank her for coming back for him. He could not bear the thought of letting go; he did not want to be robbed of her touch. He tried to keep his eyes open for as long as possible—he tried to keep gazing into the salvation of those unfamiliar ultramarine orbs. So this was what she really looked like, in her element. He wished he could have known her true form. It was mystical.
Trevain could imagine no better way to die. No better sight to see in the final moments during which he was capable of vision. He was wholly happy and blissfully complete. A peaceful expression descended on his face, and the captain’s tired eyes closed for what he knew to be the last time.