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The Sea King (Weathermages of Mystral #2)
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0062018981 (ISBN13: 9780062018984)
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Winter King comes a breathtaking new tale of love and adventure set in the mystical land of Mystral…
He wasn’t supposed to choose her…
Seafaring prince Dilys Merimydion has been invited to court the three magical princesses of Summerlea. To eradicate the pirates threatening Calberna and to secure the power of the Sea Throne, Dilys vows to return home with a fierce warrior-queen as his bride. But politics has nothing to do with unexpected temptation.
She didn’t dare wed him…
A weathermage like her sisters, Gabriella Coruscate’s gentleness exemplifies the qualities of her season name, Summer. Yet her quiet poise conceals dangerous powers she cannot begin to wield. Better to live without excitement, she reasons, than risk her heart and lose control— until an irresistible Sealord jolts her awake with a thunderclap of raw desire.
Until evil threatens everything they hold dear…
When pirates kidnap Summer and her sisters, Dilys is in a desperate quest to save the woman he loves. Only by combining his command of the seas with the unleashed fury of Summer’s formidable gifts can they defeat their brutal enemies and claim the most priceless victory of all: true love.
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Dead Man’s Cove, Crow Island
In the tattered sewer of a town called Dead Man’s Cove—home to pirates and landless scum from all walks of Mystral—the Drowned Maiden pub was an infamous watering hole, frequented by those from whom light itself quailed in terror.
Conversations were low and guarded, weapons large and prominently displayed. The wenches who slouched from bar to table, taking orders and serving drinks and whatever slop passed for a meal that day, had long since passed their primes. Hair frizzy, flaccid breasts propped up by tight, grimy stays, paint bleeding around tired eyes and grim lips, any beauty they’d ever possessed had long since fled. Not that the equally scurrilous patrons of the Maiden seemed to care.
Flint Grumman, the grim, muscled barman and owner of the Drowned Maiden, poured ales and whiskey with a burning, well-chewed cigar clamped between blackened teeth. Every once in a while, ash from the tip of his cigar would fall into whatever drink he was pouring. He’d serve it anyway and charge extra for the privilege.
Not a single patron ever objected.
Light bloomed briefly in the shadowy pub as the door opened, only to be blotted out the next second by the enormous figure that crouched down to cross the threshold. The growling whispers of conversation amongst the pub’s patrons fell silent.
Every black-hearted pirate and reprobate in the Maiden watched in uneasy silence as newcomer approached the bar and signaled for a drink. Flint’s hands shook as he poured, and a flick of ash fell from the tip of his cigar into the glass. Flint blinked, and in a move that surprised none who recognized the newcomer, set his cigar on the edge of the bar, fetched a new glass, and poured again. He shoved the second pour towards the newcomer and pocketed the man’s coin with a trembling hand.
“I’ve come for a ship and men to crew her.”
Those watching from the corners of their eyes fixed their attention on their own tables and held their breath. None wanted to call the attention of the pirate known as the Shark.
Boot heels clapped on worn wooden treads. The Shark fixed his dead, black gaze on three men seated at one of the Maiden’s scarred tables.
“I said, I’ve come for a ship and men to crew her.”
The largest of the three men at the table—Bloody Jack Malvern, captain of the pirate ship Reaper—began to shake, tremors shuddering down his arms, making his beefy, thick-fingered hands rattle against the tabletop.
“I’ve decided yours will do,” the Shark said.
As if abruptly released from invisible bonds, Bloody Jack exploded out of his chair, dual swords unsheathed and swinging.
The Shark dipped back, and Bloody Jack’s swords skimmed past their target. Gleaming eighteen-inch blades shot out from the sleeves of the Shark’s jacket into his waiting hands. The blades swung lightning fast, a silvery blur in the darkened room.
Bloody Jack was known for his speed and gleeful, homicidal skill with swords. It was said he could decapitate a man and filet the flesh from his bones before the corpse’s head hit the floor.
The Shark was faster.
Bloody Jack’s head, wearing an expression of stunned surprise, hit the floor treads with a meaty thump, landing beside the piles of sheared flesh and bloody bones that had been his body.
The Shark pinned his soulless gaze on the remaining two men at the table. “You, what’s your name?”
Bloody Jack’s first mate swallowed hard. “Tunney. Red N-Ned Tunney.”
“Congratulations, Red Ned. You’re the new captain of the Reaper.” The Shark slipped his eighteen-inch fileting knives back in their spring-loaded wrist holsters and tucked them back up under the sleeves of his coat. “Summon the crew and provision the ship. You sail tomorrow on the morning tide.”
Without waiting to see if his orders were obeyed, the Shark pivoted on one bloody heel, stepped over the pile of meat and bone on the floor, and ducked through the Drowned Maiden’s door.
His skin was so delicious to the touch. Heated velvet beneath her fingertips, brimming with sensual, energy. Summer’s palms skimmed along the swells of Dilys’s sun-warmed bronze skin, tracing the whorls and patterns of iridescent blue tattoos that told a mysteriously compelling, tactile story meant just for her. The tattoos lit up in the wake of her fingertips, coming alive with bright, phosphorescent blue light and sending waves of breathtaking, erotic heat tingling through her body. His eyes gleamed lambent gold beneath a thick veil of inky, obsidian lashes.
He lay naked against the lush, opulent silk, velvet, and embroidered satin of her bed linens, a dark temptation. She knelt atop him, straddling his hips. Everywhere their skin touched, her flesh was suffused with a pleasure so deliciously intense, a connection so pure and deep, she never wanted it to end.