Sea & Ash
Heather C. Myers
Publication date: October 21st 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Seventeen year old Hannah Walker can tell when people are lying and she hates it. This magic has been with her since she was born and no one has taught her a thing about it or why she has it in the first place. The only thing she knows is that if it’s discovered, she will be put to death. Not even being the second daughter of Port Ankura’s manager will save her from the strict laws put forth by the regency concerning magic.
When Hannah’s best friend is found brutally murdered, Hannah vows to solve who committed such a vicious act no matter what the cost. She enlists the help of businessman Adrian Blood, a man as wicked as he is handsome, in hopes to use his vast resources to find the killer. He owes her a debt after she saved his life and exposed her magic to him in the process. They strike a bargain: help her find out what happened to her friend and she’ll use her powers to tell him who wants to kill him.
Clues begin to pile up, hinting that the murderer isn’t a man at all, but a Blood Mage. Blood Mages are thought to be stories that scare wicked children into compliance. They live on their ships during the day and terrorize land at night, feeding on blood of the innocent to survive.
As they chase down leads and sneak into the morgue in order to inspect the body, Hannah starts to feel things for Adrian she shouldn’t. Not only is Adrian dangerous, but there’s something she can’t quite put her finger on. More than that, Hannah knows Adrian is keeping a secret from her. Can she learn to trust him anyway, even knowing that whatever Adrian is hiding might be the key to everything?
SEA & ASH has the dark paranormal mystery of the STALKING JACK THE RIPPER COLLECTION by Kerri Maniscalo, and the forbidden romance of FROM BLOOD AND ASH by Jennifer L. Armentrout. It is the first in a trilogy.
“Tell me, are you afraid of me?”
“Do I have reason to be?”
A tense silence grew between us, but not because he was angry or upset. If anything, he seemed intrigued by my response.
“You saved my life tonight.” He took a step back from me and turned, arms still crossed over his chest.
“I did,” I said.
“Why?” He whipped around, eyes narrowed. All playfulness had left him. He was intense in his severity.
“Why did I save your life?” What sort of question was that? “I don’t understand. Did I do something wrong?”
“What makes you think you’ve done anything wrong?” he asked.
We were going back and forth with these questions that didn’t clarify anything. It was almost as though we were in a battle of wits—something that did not impress me. I placed my hands on my hips and tapped my foot.
“I’m sorry, am I keeping you from an important appointment?” Adrian asked, stepping back from the window to look back at me. His eyes were guarded now; it was difficult to read him. I was surprised I was able to discern any sort of emotion on his face before. “I thought you were here to see me specifically.”
“Then why do you seem aggravated by a simple question?”
“I don’t understand it,” I repeated. “Why would you question me saving your life? Should I not have done it in the first place?”
“I ask because I’m trying to understand your motives. Nothing in this life is free. Nothing is genuine. What do you want from me?”
“I ask of nothing from you,” I said, offended that he would even say such a thing. “I merely reacted. I saw—”
“Perhaps your feminine intuition detected something was amiss from your seat at the bar,” he mused, stepping towards me again. Instead of waiting for him to corner me, I began to move around the small room. “You overheard the conversation and grew nosy. The door was cracked open. Pepper hadn’t completely closed it—something she will atone for once I’m through with you.”
I stopped my pacing. “Through with me?” I asked.
“I apologize, have I offended you? Do you think I honestly believe you’re here to meet with me about money discrepancies?”
“Judging from your near-death experience, I can assure you that yes, I am.” I was surprised by how strong my voice sounded. “You were interrogating someone regarding just that, to the point that you were going to die over it. I’m not sure what further proof you need.”
“It surprises me that Reginald Walker cares about my money loss,” Adrian said, not
bothering to mask his bitterness. He walked over to the weapon on the floor, picked it up, and regarded it thoughtfully before placing it in a drawer in one of the side tables.
“You are under my father’s protection,” I said. This was obvious to me. Surely he had the wherewithal to understand this as well? “If some trespasses against you, they trespass against him. He would want to right the wrong done to you because it represents a wrong done to him as well.”
Adrian started to laugh, a low sound void of any amusement. It sent a chill through my body, and I turned away from him, fixing my eyes on the window.
“I’m sorry, is something funny to you?” I asked.
I should not care one way or the other about what he thought of me and whatever amused him. However, I could not help it. I missed my chance at meeting with Marcella and wound up saving his life by mere chance. I did not expect a thank-you, and I most certainly did not do it for his gratitude or for him to owe me some sort of debt. It felt as though he was now toying with me and I did not have the patience for it, even if he believed he charmed me.
Goodness, this man is so annoying.
“Actually, yes.” He stopped his laughing to regard me once again. “If you think your father cares about me and frivolous discrepancies, you are sorely mistaken. I hate to be the bearer of bad news regarding your father, since it’s clear the two of you are close, but your father only cares about one thing: profit. If another business that doesn’t fall under nepotism rises, he will crush my business before I can figure out who is betraying me. I would not be surprised if your father is paying someone to betray me in order to take me down from the inside.”
Full disclosure: I am an acquired taste. I’m a typical blonde Orange County suburbanite who says ‘like’ more than necessary, laughs loud and probably obnoxiously, and loves to dance in the rain. I’m a 28 year old college graduate with more than a few tricks up my sleeve, and I also happen to be a pretty big Ducks fan. Oh, and I’m a writer. Like, for real.
I don’t speak in third person (normally) nor do I wear glasses (except when I’m feeling particularly mischievous). I’m lucky to have found my soul mate at the ripe old age of 22, even though he frustrates me on purpose to get a reaction out of me. We live near Disneyland, have two rambunctious female puppies, and have two beautiful girls. He has two amazing boys, and has gotten me hooked on Smallville, watching soccer (okay, okay FOOTBALL – FC Barcelona, baby!), and Cancun Juice.