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Excerpt From The Marked Ones

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The Marked Ones Excerpt

 

   By seven o’clock that night, Ivyanne’s feet were boiling in agony. She didn’t know if it was the shoes, or the hard granite tile beneath those shoes, or just her natural reaction to being on her legs all day-but the tears had been pricking at the corners of her eyes since sunset.

It wasn’t just her either. She’d seen one or two other workers come through, ‘special’ staff like herself, and as the day wore on, their faces lost a little of their animation. Pintang seemed especially hardy, but as a cleaner, Ivyanne supposed she’d had the chance to sit down a few times that day in the privacy of other peoples’ rooms.

Mostly, Adele kept her hopping with simple tasks like clearing dishes or refilling sauce bottles while Adele herself took the orders and brought the food to the tables. Adele worked hard, Ivyanne could grudgingly admit that. Then again, Ivyanne had the natural inclination to find the good in everybody, a little habit she’d picked up while staring down the barrel of not one, but two betrothals to men she barely knew. Acceptance was a lifeline for her, and breeding well her only goal.

‘Your shift is almost up,’ Adele said as she bustled by with a delicious-looking margarita in each hand. Ivyanne wanted to lean over and lick the salt of the rims of the glasses.

‘Oh?’ She asked, like she hadn’t been counting the seconds.

Adele nodded. ‘Remi’s been working down in the function room so Liv will be in to replace you shortly.’

‘Great,’ Ivyanne said. She didn’t know Liv, but Remi Donnelly (nee Court-Zara) Ivyanne’s second cousin, had helped to get her the job. Remi had spent more time on the mainland then anyone Ivyanne knew. She was a land-lubber in every sense, and had even married a human man-a local member for the Green Party, Michael Donnelly. They owned a house nearby. It wasn’t common for one of them to marry a human, but it did happen. Of course Michael had no idea what his wife really was. Secrecy meant more to their kind then life did. Or marriage.

‘I’m just going to run out to table twelve and tell them about the oyster special…. will you be all right for a second?’

‘Sure,’ Ivyanne said to Adele’s retreating back as she threaded through the arrangement of cane tables. She bit her lip as she stacked the dishwasher, hoping she’d done a good job that day-she needed to hold the position, despite her inexperience. The eastern coastline was littered with resorts but the Seaview was the only truly isolated one-and the only place Ivyanne wanted to be. It was familiar, even though so much time had passed since she’d last holidayed in the area.

A lot of her subjects chose to go further inland and seek jobs in all sorts of employ to really experience mainland life, but Ivyanne knew she was too weak to stray far from the coastline. Being a backpacker was good alias, and required little resume fraud. All of them earned cash-and the ocean was just a sprint away.

Ivyanne shut the door on the dishwasher and pushed the button to start the cycle. Then, she took the tray of steaming hot glasses she had already washed and turned to take them to the bar fridge, so intent in her task that she didn’t notice the man who had stepped behind the bar and now blocked her path to the refrigerator doors.

‘Oh!’ she cried out, surprised to find someone in her personal bubble-he was so close- and so tall-that her eyes were in direct line with the uppermost button on his shirt.

‘Sorry! Let me help you with those.’ The man said, extending his hands to take the tray from her. ‘You must be Ivyanne? I’m the night manager around here.’

‘Um…’ Ivyanne was so startled by his appearance that her fingers remained tight around the steel bars of the tray. So this was her other boss-and Adele’s beau! Well, that made sense, Adele herself was at least five eight.

‘Yes, that’s me….’ Ivyanne looked up into his face and was hit by such a jolt of complete recognition that her hands went to her face in shock. And it must have been a mutual recognition because his hands started to rise up, like he was about to grab her by the shoulders. As a result, the tray of glasses clattered to the floor. The rubber mat beneath her feet cushioned the blow, but the tinkling of smashed glass was unmistakable, and drew a cheer from some of those in the dining area.

But Ivyanne only noted this in her sub-conscious. In the moment itself, she was almost too beside herself to react accordingly. His name came to her lips but she pressed them firmly together to stop it from escaping. Her heart expanded and shrunk, and adrenalin got her nerve endings firing to the effect of chaotic fireworks-but she was still trained enough to know that every thing she did and said in the next few seconds was vital to keeping her identity a secret. So she fought off every urge in her weary body to throw her arms around her boss’s neck, and dropped to her knees under the guise of sorting out the mess, lowering her eyes as well. Only when she wasn’t looking into those beautiful brown eyes, did the fog lift from her panicked thoughts.

‘I’m so sorry sir!’ She finally managed to stutter, keeping her eyes on the shattered glass. ‘I’ve been so careful not to drop a single glass-and then I go and drop twenty!’ Her mind was reeling. Boss. Sir. Those labels were so wrong. So very wrong.

‘Don’t worry about the glass!’ The man dropped to his knees, his hand reaching out to grasp Ivyanne’s wrist with urgency. ‘Aren’t you…?’

Ivyanne looked up and into his eyes, unable to stop herself. If he was actually recognizing her, as she suspected he was, she had to kill thattrain of thought. ‘The girl from last night?’ she fobbed, knowing already that it had been him she’d encountered while returning naked from the sea-the boy from her past was also the shadowy figure from the night before. His height was a dead giveaway, after all, and his voice. ‘Please sir… don’t tell anyone, I’m so embarrassed…’

Lincoln blinked as his mind went where she was pushing it. They seemed to focus for a moment, on her face, then un-focus as he dug up the memory of a naked girl on the sand. Ivyanne silently willed him to see the impossibility of his initial instinct, willed herself to look sixteen and unfamiliar to him. God help her, she was on the verge of humming him brain-dead, which was something she was usually loathe to do.

‘Last night?’ he finally repeated, as though in a daze. He narrowed his eyes at her. ‘That was you?’

She bit her lip and ducked her head again. ‘Busted….’

‘Oh,’ he said this flatly, and his face went a little slack. He looked down at the glass, then seemed to shake something off. ‘That must be it…’ he muttered mainly to himself.

Ivyanne took a moment to examine his profile, completely overcome and unable to tear her eyes away. How many times had she imagined that moment and what she would say to him? How fiercely she would kiss him? She rose to her feet, lecturing herself inwardly. A reunion with Lincoln Grey had been a dream, but a childhood one. Now, it was an unexpected and very dangerous situation. What was he even doing there, and how long had he been there for? How could she not have known?

Tears of loss pricked at her eyes as she studied him and took an inventory of how cruel time had been to him. He looked like a middle-aged man now, even though he couldn’t be thirty yet, and was a mere shadow of the handsome tourist come summer lifeguard who had stolen her heart so many seasons ago. She had recognized his eyes, but not much else was the same, well, aside from the thrill that raced through her. He’d lopped off his shoulder length brown hair, and their were smile lines around his eyes, and frown lines around his mouth. His posture was slightly stooped, as was typical of tall people who were self conscious about their height, and his skin was dry and pale, like he hadn’t seen the sun or a bottle of water in years.

The run-in with him the night before on the beach was one saving grace at least-it gave him a new association with her that she had to play up if she was going to get out of this situation without incident, but her poor heart was beating so furiously she was afraid it would have a staccato-like effect on her voice.

‘I’m very sorry, again. For the glasses. I’ll go and get a broom.’

The man stood up, his gaze raking over her from head to toe. She could practically see the calculations behind his eyes. Good, let him do the math and come to the conclusion that he was insane for eventhinking it. The girl he knew was supposed to look thirty too.

Still, his appraisal had her rooted to the spot, heart pounding. God…it was good to see him. Surreal, and wonderful and completely bittersweet. 

‘Ivyanne! What happened?’ Adele appeared at Link’s side, glancing from him, to her, to the mess on the floor.

‘I knocked them out of her hands,’ Link said quickly, darting a glance in Ivyanne’s direction, one that said he had no intention of selling her out as a midnight streaker. ‘I must have surprised her.’

‘Oh,’ Adele’s forehead wrinkled with annoyance. ‘Look Ivyanne, don’t worry about the broom-Link will grab it. It’s best you get out of here and make sure you’re not cut before you touch anything else. Nothing stings a cut quite like bourbon.’

Still looking shell-shocked, Lincoln backed out of the room, his wandering gaze apparently set on cleaning up the mess they’d made together. But he looked back once, and when  he did, Ivyanne saw that his curiosity had not been sated. 

‘Okay,’ Ivyanne lowered her hands and turned back to Adele. ‘I really am sorry.’ 

‘It’s okay,’ Adele let her go and smiled grimly. ‘My fiancé is always underfoot.’

Fiancé? Pintang hadn’t mentioned the engagement part. Ivyanne’s heart skipped at the word and she tried to ignore the way her stomach rolled unhappily. She really needed to get some air. The stink of bourbon was making her feel ill and dizzy.

‘Okay. Well I’ll see you back at the room later.’

‘Probably. Night Ivyanne. Uh…you did good.’

Relief rose to the surface in her cauldron of emotions. Was the trial over? Oh god if it was, that meant she was really going to stay here-in this place-with him. It was a horrific yet giddily fantastical notion she couldn’t process yet. 

‘Thanks.’ She murmured to Adele’s retreating back, before sweeping up her soft leather satchel and racing out of the bar. Her feet screamed at her to take it easy, but she didn’t slow her step until she had reached the shadowy area between the building and the pool, where she leaned, face first against a coconut tree and gasped for breath in the darkness.

She needed the ocean, and she needed it now.

                                         ⁓Image

Tips For Self-Publishing, helpful for Mac users too

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Okay so two weeks ago I decided that I’d publish my novel as an e-book. Not a foreign concept now is it? Well let me assure you, for me, it is.

I am not an e-book person. I don’t have a Kindle-I didn’t even have an app on my iPad. In fact, for the past two years I have bemoaning the collapse of the printed word when my favourite retailer, Angus&Robertson, shut down. The only e-books I do own are on iBooks-and they’re only because they weren’t available elsewhere.

I tried to get the trilogy I’ve been slaving away on for almost 2 years published, but the truth is-if there’s a great way to pitch a mermaid love triangle set in Australia for adults, then I couldn’t think of it. I’m a good writer-it’s who I am. But one thing I have NOT practiced is the query letter thing.
There were so many problems. I got so close to several companies and agents, but there was always a ‘but’ involved. ‘But’ does it have to be set in Australia? BUt do YOU have to live in Australia? BUT does it have to involve sex, as this would make a great YA novel? BUT…couldn’t they have FANGS instead of fins? One even wanted me to eliminate all of the stuff not revolving around the love story, and I might sell out to e-books, but I won’t compromise my vision. At the end of the day, I wanted to tell the story that I want to read, to scratch the itchy spot between 50 Shades and Twilight. I write exactly like someone who loves The Bay Sitters Club and The Poisonwood Bible in equal measures-enertainment, prettiness, perfection…with a little bit of grit, and words that venture beyond 6 characters at times. Yes I’m Australian and yes this book is set here-but I’ve presented my country through romantic lenses, highlighting the beauty of it, the drama-and less of the ‘G’Day mate’ stuff.
I don’t think there’s a single reference to G’Day or Vegemite. Crikey! I did it! (Ha ha ha, had to slip that in there)

Anyway my point is that there is no market for me-not without several short story awards and university degrees under my belt anyways. Paranormal romance, focusing on an under-developed sub genre (mermaids) targeted at Adults who ENJOY a blood-pumping sex scene without wanting to be drowned in them. My story has a little bit of action, a lot of drama, quite a few laughs (I can be Punny at times) and it’ll get you hot under the collar. Anyway-you can’t fit that in a query letter without sounding insane, and no one wants to take a chance on a first time Australian writer who used to be a cheerleader coming in with book one at 118,000 word count-so self publishing it was.

I have to confess-I learnt the hard way. And by the hard way, I mean I’ve gone through THREE sets of the most expensive batteries for mouse in two weeks. I haven’t slept. My kids don’t recognise me, and I’ve been having sex with poor neglected husband between when I shower and when I put on jammies. I tried to get advice for this-I googled EVERYTHING, but there is so much that’s left out that ought to be presented in a much simpler way, so that’s what I’m going to do for you, because believe it or not, I’m actually having a lot of success for a first timer. In one week I’ve gone up 100,000 spots in rank among other things, that I’ll get to. So here we go: Rookie advice from a rookie!

1) Write a good book. Might sound simple but it aint. I don’t read free or 99c e-books. I’m not interested. I like my books to be fantastic and I’m trying to create the same thing for others.
The Marked Ones (Trilogy) took me 6 months to plot (in my head, I don’t do notes if I can avoid it and this story is pretty complex) and 9 months to write. The FIRST time. I have done so many edits that my characters recognise me as much as my kids do. If you think your story sounds like someone else’s, than it probably does. Be original, take risks-but for the love of god READ first. if your book sucks-you WILL hear about it.

2) Still with me? Reckon you’ve got ‘the one’? Okay then carrying on…Get others to read it. I’m not talking about your mum and your husband…real readers you know, but no one that knows you SO well that they will put their feelings above their opinions. I chose three girls I went to high school with who didn’t really know or like me that much, who happened to like the same genres as I did, and had jobs, kids, laundry and ten million other things to do that they might put my book off for. But you know what? They didn’t. And when they were staying up until 3am to read my doc story then I knew I was onto something. My book is actually dedicated to them-those three girls are priceless to me now.

3) Get someone official to read it. This step is for those who are DAMN serious and have a bit of cash so if you’re not sure, you could get away with skipping it. I chose an assessment agency here in Australia-Lynk Assessment Services, paid them $300 bucks for them to read my manuscript, tell me where I went wrong and right, point out the major formatting and grammatical errors and expose the weak links. I got a wonderful report back from Lynk, and that gave me the drive to push on, and something to add to the bottom of the query letters I was still sending out then.
You might not need an agency. If you’re in school or college and have a teacher you could slip $100 bucks to (ENGLISH teacher, not your football coach) then try that.

4) Build up some anticipation. As excited as you are to launch your book…put feelers out first. I started with my Facebook, then added a Facebook page JUST for my book, where I would rant about my writing, upload pics that were relevant, put in sneaky snippets and get some interest going. Start joining online service for networking-Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads (very important that you don’t just show up tooting your own horn here on launch day-they’ll freeze you out. Establish friendships first with nice like-minded people) and start blogging.I did all of this AFTER the fact and it was far too stressful. The bags under my eyes will attest to that. Google : ’46 websites to promote your writing’ and join them. ALL of them. Use user names that are your pen name and try and keep the same password for everything. Bookmark each site (‘favourites’ for Microsoft users) and have all 46 profiles set up and ready to go. Start adding people from your genre. I googled ‘mermaid readers’ and got at least 10 helpful discussion groups from there. You don’t want to know the lengths I’ve gone to since, but there isn’t a mermaid discussion board I haven’t pillaged yet. Paranormal romance (my genre) is next.

THE DOCUMENT (DIY)
5) format your manuscript for e-pub. They make this sound SO easy for people to do, and perhaps for Microsoft users, it is-but NOT Mac. I use Nisus Writer Pro which is such a FABULOUS word processing program ($69 from App store) that the other kids won’t play with it, lol. Pages is rumoured to be slightly better, but I don’t know. My Kindle version went up well enough, but dear god…I’m still fighting with Smashwords. In fact, I broke up with them this afternoon. We’ll make up, but more later.
To get the very best version of my Kindle document, I downloaded the program ‘Sigil’ (E-Pub software) for Mac-it’s not easy, but it comes with instruction that make sense. I transferred my doc from Nisus to Sigil for the serious stuff-page breaks, Headers, Titles etc.

Some formatting tips-
Run a spell check.
Put a page break between each chapter
DON’T use the spacebar unless it’s between words. If you use it to centre paragraph breaks or chapter headings-e-pub will rape you for it.
DON’T use fancy font. Or anything over size 14.
Run a ‘find’ mission on words that are easily used the wrong way. Google It’s and its so you know what’s what for sure, then find every one in your manuscript and make sure you’re using them in the right context. Same as ‘then’ and ‘than’. I have an I.Q of 151 and you’d be surprised how many of those buggers still slipped by me at 3am. When you read your manuscript yourself, watch out for words that will pass a spell-check but don’t make sense. I believe I had a ‘white weather couch.’
Please do a serious edit. And another after it. Every time you change something-read it back 4 times. This is where mistakes happen. I tried to replace realised with saw and left the realised in. Yup. Dipshit. In the name of improving my manuscript, I trashed it, then uploaded it. BAD move. Still cringing.
PRINT your manuscript, give it to someone else to read with a highlighter. No one is worse at editing a document, then the writer, who has the sentences memorised.
NOW remove your page numbers-you CANNOT use these with a Kindle, for it creates it’s own for each device.
Move your margins-best bet is to check the Kindle site and make sure they’re the same specs. I guessed mine (ugh, the 4th upload attempt around) but you’d be surprised how much one inch of translation will mess with your alignments. I had Chapter headings off to the right and coming down the next line-not pretty. In fact-USE NUMBERS for chapters. Much simpler.
Chapter Headings-This is where you use heading styles 1-3.
*When you do your title page, Highlight The Title with ‘Heading 1’
*Then Highlight your byline,copyright information, illustrator/cover designer with ‘Heading 2’. Insert Page Break. (USE A copyright, with symbol and all or you will get rejected.)
*If you want a dedication, write it up after break, Highlight once more with ‘Heading 2’. THEN page break again.
*When you get to your chapter titles/numbers-use Heading 3 for these only.  KINDLE NEEDS THIS. YOU WILL BE TURNED AWAY WITHOUT IT.

Okay so by now you should have your manuscript looking pretty sweet, and someone double-checking a print copy for spelling errors. NOW it gets a bit more fun!

6) Get a Cover.
I won’t be a fountain of enlightenment here-I tried one option and went with it. I joined a site called ‘Designcrowd’ which is basically a collective of designers who may be able to drum up something for you.
They let you upload your synopsis, write a description of what you’re looking for (I said, simple, elegant, dark and metallic tones, preferably gold, with a tail insignia of some sort.) Now, name your price. I went with the cheapest option-$200 seemed fair for a book that might go belly-up. Then, add your info-Title, Author, tagline etc.
Then, you wait. If you select the ‘payment mandatory’ option you will get a hell of a lot more offers than I did. (This means you HAVE to pick, anmd pay a winner. There is an option not to, but I only got 2 volunteers with that) It took 15 minutes for me to get my dream cover. I couldn’t believe how she nailed it. Everyone else was giving me pretty mermaid scenes with well-known clip-art but Natalie Rose Spasic from ‘Officemanager4u’ was brilliant. From the start she was peppering me with questions so I gave her my e-mail-and she ran 4 or 5 versions by me until I had it perfect. DON’T be afraid to perfect it. It’s your book-you can ask to tweak.
A bunch of other people submitted designs-I gave them 48 hours to come up with something and cut mine off after two. From hereon out, I’ll be using Natalie, and I highly recommend her. But if I’d let it go, I might have had anywhere up to 20 options. You can even invite designers who you’d like to try their hand.

7) Now, if all of that formatting stuff seems too much for you-do what I’m going to end up doing-look up ‘Bookbaby’. They will take your manuscript (send it off as perfect as possible, they’re formatters, not editors). For $200 they will format your manuscript for every e-reader known to man AND distribute it and ask for no extra royalty. I am half way through this process. Currently, I can ONLY get a decent upload to Kindle, because the other option, Smashwords, just doesn’t mix with MAC self-publishing virgins. BookBaby does all of the hard work. I am currently one week into the process, but once they have it done (should be a few more days) I will replace even my Kindle version with their perfected product (and Kobo, e-reader, Samsung, iBooks, etc etc) and not look back. 

Book baby also has the option to cheaply PRINT your manuscript, and put it on audio C.D. Awesome, yeah?

So if you’re keeping up with the math-the easiest and best way to get a cover and distribution to Amazon and affiliates, is $400. $200 for Design Crowd, $200 for BookBaby. Sounds steep, but I’ve already made this price back in sales (in one week) and it’s not even ON apple or Kobo yet. Just Kindle.

8) Retailers. THIS is where it gets confusing so I’ll make it real simple.

If you want Kindle AND Smashwords (which you can reach in one click with Bookbaby) then you CANNOT use ‘KDP SELECT’

KDP select is an exclusive offer. It is a 90 day contract in which you cannot sell your product ANYWHERE but Kindle and yes, it’s enforced-they google the shit out of you.
What KDP does is make your book available in a lending library so you get royalties from that, AND they give your work a bit of a plug by offering you 5 days to be used within those 90 days, that you give your book away for free.
Now, giving your book away for free will get it downloaded. But I’ve heard mixed reports about this.Some people say that get 17,000 downloads in one day, and then sell a few hundred after that, some say they get 5000 downloads and then never sell a book again-because the people in their market grabbed it for free and have moved onto another Vampire series now.
I am personally nor using it…YET. I have priced my book at $4.99, which isn’t cheap-but I believe that my book is worth the money. Indie writers like to go for the 99c-$2.99 bracket but I’m aiming higher and so far, it’s working out. For starters, a higher fee, means you get a more discerning crowd-people who LOVE quality of writing, over a quick thrill. It also means each sale you make counts a hell of a lot more than the free ones do when it comes to ‘ranking’. The free books in my genre are ranked in the 100,00’s at the moment, at no cost. Mine has probably sold five hundred less than theirs, but I’m in the 30,000 bracket at the moment, for having steady sales at a good price. Make sense? But hey-if you wrote your book in 3 weeks and got it up in 20 minutes on a Microsoft computer and don’t really care what others think-go for it. But other authors to warn against using KDP if you only have the one title, as I do.

Personally, I was terrified at the idea of people who don’t like my biggish words giving me a slue of 1 star reviews for fun that day-and for FREE.

No for now it’s on Kindle only, and it’s selling way better than I thought and I’ve gotten 1 One star review, and 8 four and five ones.

Mind you, when I release book 2, I may release book 1 on KDP then. If they loved book 1 for free, then they’ll probably pay for the next two instalments. i haven’t decided yet. i’ll wait until I get verdicts back from every other retailer, before I make any kind of commitment.

9) Okay so you’ve got your book up-now the hard work begins. promote promote promote! Contact readers, offer them a free copy for a review (just a few). The more reviews you get, the more hits you get-it’s as simple as that. With every positive review, my rating climbs.
Use all of those free sites you set up and put links to your selling platform. Don’t sleep for 5 days-tweet and blog until you run out of words! Beg for reviews! Ask your mum to do it, if no one else will.

Okay I’ve just written down a lot of stuff and I need to get back to formatting book 2, so I’ll leave the nitty gritty at that for now. I hope this helps someone-or I’ve really wasted my time.

A few final tips that worked great for me:

1) Contact your local newspaper. Tell them you wrote a damn good book and it’s doing well. I did this last week, and instead of getting a 5 inch blurb, I got a THREE PASGE FULL COLOUR SPREAD! In a town with 120,000 people, free advertising just doesn’t get better than that! And then I went away on the weekend and someone mentioned to a different reporter that I had a 3 page spread in my local newspaper-so she decided to interview me for hers too! Bam! 400 kilometres, covered.

2) Go to a writer’s festival. I just attended one this week (YES, busy week!) that was a three day stay at a resort. This wasn’t a huge writer’s festival, but it had 4 very prominent Australian authors there who I got to be BFF’s with for three days and their advice was priceless. (L.A Larkin, author of Thirst, and Anita Heiss, author and spokeswoman extroadinairre!)I had to show ’em my stuff and sell the hell out of myself, but they must have liked it because one tweeted about ME this morning! A woman who’s sold over 100,000 books! Extraordinary! And the article in my paper came out while I was there so they actually got to see how seriously I was taking myself-how determined I was. My picture will be in the paper again this week with Anita-can you ask for better publicity than that?

3) Use your Facebook friends. We all have those friends with over 1000 friends-this is where it’ll pay off for you. Ask them to share your Kindle link. especially your friends overseas! I have readers in the UK, Canada, India and Denmark because of this little tactic.
get your truest friends to help you out too-I asked mine to change their profile pics to my cover for 1 day, to generate interest, and it worked. My author page now has 120 followers 🙂

That’s it for now! I’m exhausted! If you have any questions, feel free to message me 🙂 Check out my work (no commitment there’s a sneaky peek on Kindle, free of charge) and get an idea of what it is I’ve offered.

This is hard work. I won’t lie. But if you have the grim determination that I do-it WILL pay off. Peace out fellow authors! And good luck!

The Marked Ones Synopsis

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Mermaids have three purposes in life; To breed, to protect their environment and to keep the knowledge of their existence limited to pages in fairytale books.
Ivyanne Court is the personification of a mermaid princess-Breathtaking, pure, kind, sharp and strong, she is the envy of everyone she has ever met, human and mer alike. And yet she hasn’t known a day’s happiness since she came of age and was forced to abandon the human boy she loved, Lincoln Grey. 
Ivyanne has always known that she was to marry one of ‘The Marked Ones’ sons of a carefully cultivated bloodline created for the sole purpose of breeding with the royal family, and she had resigned herself to it. But now two betrothals have been severed in cruel twists of fate, leaving her untouched and lonely at twenty-eight, while being frozen both physically and emotionally, as a sixteen year old girl.
When her parents declare that she can choose her next match, Ivyanne is overwhelmed by the weight of her decision, specifically because her best friend Ardhi, has put himself, and his heart, forward in an unprecedented declaration that cracks the foundation beneath her. Ivyanne begs permission to return to the Seaview Resort while she weighs her options, to live and work as a human, and gain some peace. 
But when she arrives, she is startled to learn that Lincoln has never left the Seaview. He is now the owner, and he has been waiting a decade for her return. The moment their eyes lock, Ivyanne knows that their chemistry hasn’t faded any more than her memories, and though she tries to push him away, the siren inside her draws him closer. 
But Ivyanne’s belief that her life couldn’t get any more complicated dissolves when Tristan Loveridge, the most arrogant and desired specimen of merman within the kingdom, arrives at the queens bidding, to lure the princess into a swift marriage. And Tristan Loveridge has never failed at anything. Only this time, he gets caught in his own magnificent net, because he has finally met a girl who’s raw sexuality and brilliance, eclipses his own.
And as Ivyanne is torn between what her heart wants, and what her body and kingdom demand, her best friend Ardhi is lurking in the shadows, growing angrier with each passing minute, and vowing to do whatever it takes to win the crown-with catastrophic consequences for all.

"She had me hook, line & sinker - S.K Munt writes absolute must-reads" See all books by S.K Munt