What's It About?
Read the Book Description (aka the Blurb)
For Chloe, the ocean was supposed to mean safety and for a time, it almost did. She overcame the Sylphaen's drugs. She discovered an unforeseen attraction to Zeke, one that he shares for her. A life underwater seemed possible, until she learned that nothing was as it appeared.
After an unspeakable betrayal shattered everything she thought she knew about Zeke's world, she and Zeke have fled the ocean for the one place Chloe never expected to want to go.
But the challenge of living as a mermaid over a thousand miles from the ocean isn’t the only problem facing her. Home has changed. Enemies are waiting, ones she never saw coming. Her little Kansas town is full of surprises.
Including Noah, the guy she left behind.
Nitty Gritty Details (page count, heat level, genre, etc.)
|Dimensions||5.5 × .92 × 8.5 in|
Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Inside You'll Find...
- Rivalries between land and sea
- Secret cults
- Family drama
- Complex villains
- Touch her and die vibes
- Protective heroes
- Love triangle
- Mad scientist
- Secret societies
- Hidden powers
- Ride-or-die best friends
- Supernatural hunters who’ll stop at nothing
Read a Sample!
Return has slow-burn romance...
I opened my eyes to sunshine pouring through the windows and the warmth of Zeke beside me. We were leaning against the truck door, his arms held me close, and my hand was on his chest.
A blush raced up my neck. Pushing away from the seat, I looked over at him. “I, um… ”
“Good morning,” he said into my awkward pause, a smile tugging at his lips.
I hesitated. He didn’t appear upset. And why would he? Zeke seemed like he’d wanted what had happened between us so far. I’d been the one to bring it to a stop.
Even if I’d wanted it as well.
I dropped my gaze from his. I’d been too tired last night to argue. Too tired to do more than welcome the chance to avoid the nightmares I’d known were waiting. And he’d felt wonderful, holding me in his arms.
He always felt wonderful.
My face grew hotter. “Morning,” I replied, my voice hoarse from the bruises I could feel on my neck. I shifted on the seat to pull away.
“Hey,” he said.
I shook my head, the motion jerky and totally a lie. “Nothing.”
He paused. “Chloe.” His brow furrowed when I looked up at him. “Listen, I’m sorry about yesterday. Us. That’s not how I wanted…” The furrows deepened. “Well, any of that to be.”
“You didn’t?” I replied, confused.
He blinked. “No, I-I mean, I wanted that. I just didn’t mean to make things so…” he seemed to search for a word, “uncomfortable.”
I hesitated, not sure what to say. There was so much more to it than just those few minutes in the cave – amazing, awkward, mistaken, and incredible as they’d been.
“About that…” I began, shifting around to a more upright position on the bench seat.
His eyebrow rose.
“Back in Nyciena.” I drew a breath. “Everyone kind of had this idea about, um, us. About how we…”
His curiosity changed to discomfort as he understood. “Ah.”
I waited, not quite looking at him.
“Let me guess,” he supplied. “Ina said something.”
“Not really. It was mostly those Deiliora girls and Count Velior.”
“Velior?” he repeated, his voice hardening.
I gave a small shrug.
Zeke looked away, shaking his head to drive the anger from his face. “Sorry. That guy’s just such a…”
He trailed off.
“What is it you’re after, Zeke?” I asked quietly. “Really? Because they made it sound like you–”
“It’s not that,” he cut in, his tone harsh.
I was silent.
Zeke took a breath, still not turning back toward me. “I know the reputation I have. I know what some people say. And mostly…” He shook his head. “I’m not going to say they’re right, but I know what it might look like. But you’ve got to understand, where I come from this is all a game. Both sides, they know that. They prefer it that way. No one ever wants anything serious, or hardly ever, because they’re only after fun and what favors they can get.”
He paused. “And then there’s you. And you’re not like that. You don’t care about titles, or what advantage you can gain. With me, you’ve always just been… you. Even after you knew what and who I was, you didn’t change. You were still just you. Beautiful, real, you.” He gave a soft, incredulous chuckle. “You didn’t even care that I was a prince.”
I tried not to grimace. It wasn’t fair to say I hadn’t cared. I’d been shocked beyond words. I hadn’t known what to–
He seemed to pick up on my discomfort. “Not like the people where I’m from care,” he explained gently. “I’ve never known anyone like that. Not in my entire life. And even though you’re fascinating, and incredible, and I’ve wanted to be with you for, well,” the chuckle came again, “a lot longer than I let myself know… I think I was afraid that if I got caught up in that or changed how things were between us, I’d just screw everything up.” He shook his head. “I didn’t want to risk losing what I had with you.”
I swallowed, struggling to find words. He could be lying. Could be, except that if he was, his voice and face would put every con artist in history to shame. And then there was the simple question of who to believe. Zeke, who’d repeatedly risked his life to save me. Or a bunch of people I barely knew and couldn’t stand anyway.
“I don’t either,” I whispered.
For a moment, he was silent. His fingers found my own and his head cocked to the side questioningly, his gaze on our hands.
“This isn’t going to be the part where you tell me you just want to be friends, is it?” he asked carefully.
His eyes rose to meet mine.
A shiver ran through me. “Do you want it to be?” I replied just as carefully, my heart pounding.
He shook his head. “No.”
Plus Action and Suspense...
“Why do they want to kill us?” Zeke asked.
Noah hesitated, seeming like he’d rather not answer the question.
“Noah?” I pressed.
He exhaled. “We…” His jaw worked for a moment and his deep green gaze twitched to me. “We were created to kill you.”
My brow drew down. “Created to…?”
“Long time ago. Old war. Bunch of…” Noah’s gaze flicked to Baylie this time. He looked like the words were being dragged from him. “Bunch of old wizards. Dead island. Dead civilization. Story is, they were being overrun and,” he paused, “and they wanted a defense.”
I stared at him. He’d told me greliaran meant ‘protector’ that day he’d driven me to the ocean after the Sylphaen had injected me.
He’d just never said protector against whom.
“Overrun?” I repeated.
I looked to Zeke. His brow shrugged slightly and he appeared as mystified as me.
“Overrun by what?” Baylie asked, her voice small.
I blinked. So tense I could see her shaking, she watched us with fear in her eyes.
Like we might be monsters. Like we might grow three heads or turn into snake-beasts or something.
I felt sick.
“So you… you’re not actually…” she started, her face making clear what she was struggling to say. Not like her.
“No,” I answered softly.
Her brow furrowed.
“Chloe’s not like me, though,” Noah cut in. “What I told you was the truth. And she wasn’t trying to keep anything a secret either. It just happened that way. She only found out about this after she got to Santa Lucina.”
I hesitated, unprepared for his help.
Or for how much I appreciated it.
“But what…” Baylie tried.
“Dehaian,” I said. “That’s, um…”
“Like mermaids,” Noah finished.
Baylie seemed to choke. “You’re…?”
“Yeah,” I said.
She gave a soft gasp. Running a hand through her blonde hair, she retreated from us. She scanned the floor as if searching for answers there, and then she looked back up, finding Noah.
For a moment she studied her stepbrother.
She exhaled. Her gaze went back to me.
“You’re a mermaid,” she stated.
I managed a shrug.
Another breath left her.
And degenerated into a chuckle at the end.
“You’re a…” She gave another gasping chuckle. “And he’s not human either, is he?”
She twitched her chin toward Zeke.
I shook my head cautiously, uncertain what to make of her reaction.
“He’s like you?”
She echoed the motion, her gaze dropping back to the floor. “Wow.”
I glanced to Noah. He was watching Baylie.
“So that’s where you were,” Baylie continued. “When you were gone this whole time. You were… I mean…”
I nodded again.
She paced away, running her fingers through her hair once more.
“How many others are there?” she asked, looking back at us. “I mean you’re,” she gestured to Noah, “what you are. Chloe and this guy are like mermaids… merpeople… what’d you call it again?”
“Dehaian,” Zeke said.
Baylie eyed him distrustfully, but she jerked her head in cautious acknowledgement. “Dehaian. So who else? Who else isn’t human around here?”
I hesitated, uncertain if we should go into this.
“Chloe?” she demanded.
“Um… Mom and Dad are landwalkers,” I risked saying.
“And what the hell is that?”
“Like former dehaians. But they can’t go near the water anymore.”
Baylie nodded. “Great. Okay.”
“You alright?” Noah asked.
She turned to him, incredulity in her blue eyes.
“Sorry,” he amended.
She let out a breath. Blinking a few times, she shook her head and then looked at me again. “We need to talk.”
“But not now,” she continued, coming back toward me. “Now…” She glanced to Noah. “Now there are five guys we’ve really got to get out of town.”
“If they’ve been searching for dehaians their whole lives,” I said, distantly feeling relief at being able to use the word with Baylie even in the midst of everything. “They’re not going to leave easy.”
“What if we–”
Zeke cut off as someone knocked on the front door.
“You expecting anyone?” he asked.
Baylie shook her head. She looked to Noah. “Is it them?”
He regarded the accordion door to the hall as though he could see through it to the outside. “Not unless they’re hiding.”
My brow started to draw down, and then I remembered what he’d said about knowing where others like him were.
The distant sound of the television cut off. Footsteps thudded on the stairs from the second floor, and then I heard the door open. Muffled voices followed, one of which sounded like Baylie’s stepmom, Sandra.
“Just some guy,” Noah supplied quietly, his eyes on the accordion door. “Says he’s moving to the area with his daughter. He’s asking about schools, neighbors.”
He caught sight of me watching him, and a touch of embarrassment crossed his face. “We–”
“Have good hearing. Yeah, we know that part.”
Noah hesitated and then gave a small nod, still seeming uncomfortable.
I pulled my gaze back to the others. “We could try to make those guys think we’ve left. That maybe we were here, but now–”
A cry from the front of the house brought me up short. Footsteps pounded on the floor of the hallway.
Noah raced for the accordion door.
It ripped open before he got there.
Earl stopped, one massive hand holding chunks of the brown wood and the other gripping the doorframe. Breathing hard, he stood for a moment, his giant form filling the doorway and his eyes sweeping the room wildly.
His gaze landed on me. A wretched grin spasmed across his lip.
“Found you,” he growled.
What Readers Say...
“From the very beginning, the book grabs you then doesn’t let you go. I don’t want to spoil all of the dilemmas Chloe, Zeke and even Noah face but Return is definitely intense.”
“This was a fun quick read with just the right balance of adventure, intrigue, and romance. Can’t wait to see what happens next!”
“This book definitely kept me on the edge of my seat.”
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Return (Awakened Fate #3)
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