- The Parliament House
READ THE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS: Veiled by Desire, by Candace Robinson
Veiled by Desire, by Candace Robinson—out TOMORROW!!
In Laith, when the moons are high, Tavarra is allowed to walk the land as a human for one day, losing her seahorse-like tail. But should she remain out of the water, a curse will overtake her, turning her into a beast with sharp fangs and long claws. A beast that, on some nights, takes the shape of a rampaging, uncontrollable monster.
Rhona, along with her village, are under a sinister leader’s control. Their leader has taken Rhona from the boy she loves, stripped away her abilities and, under the threat of killing everyone she loves, forces her on a dangerous task to retrieve a dark prism that will increase his already massive powers. When Tavarra and Rhona cross paths, they discover they need each other. Rhona knows how to help the cursed sea creature, while Tavarra knows where to find the dark prism. They embark on a mission that could help them break Tavarra’s spell and save Rhona’s family and village. But with an untamable beast inside Tavarra, nothing is certain...
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SEVEN YEARS AGO
As Tavarra tried to leave the gravitational pull of the
powerful ocean waves, each one crashed and pounded
against her strong body. She swished through the
murky sea, her tail flicking at the rough current as the liquid
attempted to haul her back into its clutches.
Tonight was a chance for her to escape the haunting depths
she so desperately dreamed of leaving behind. Tavarra pushed
her head out of the sea’s liquid claws, finally finding herself
near the sandy shore. She took a deep breath through her
mouth, no longer needing the gills etched on each side of her
Holding steady, she stared through the last rays of the
waning day, searching for him. But the young man wasn’t
anywhere in her line of sight yet. Keeping on top of the liquid
swells, her gaze fixed on the caramel-colored sand. As her arms repeatedly cut through the vigorous surge, a hint of desperation filled her—she couldn’t get swallowed back up. At last, her body struck the grainy granules, swept in blackness.
She sighed in relief.
With no time to spare, Tavarra dragged her exhausted
body by her forearms across the sand. Each tiny grain rubbed against the delicate skin between her fingers and nails. She
came to a halt and rolled herself to a sitting position, letting
the edge of a cool wave caress the end of her tangerine tail.
Bony plates fused together with a fleshy covering lined the
tail’s body, and the tip came to a curled point.
A heavy breath forced its way out and tugged harshly at her
lungs. “Goodbye,” she whispered, half to herself and half to the
ocean cage that, for seventeen years, had never been a true
home. “Please let this happen.” Tavarra’s heart pounded
rapidly, and had it beaten any harder, her sternum would have
Bringing her sandy hands to her waist, she glided them
down her moistened tawny skin until they met the vivid
exoskeleton. The silver of the twin moons shone down in
answer, as if telling her it would work. It must work.
Tavarra had recently heard a tale of when the twin moons
would rise, there would be a way for her sea dweller kind to
truly walk the land of Laith. She desired it with everything in
her. If this worked, she would never return to the watery home
—her underwater grave.
Slowly, she slid her thumb beneath the soft plates of her
tail. To her surprise, the tail pushed away from her skin, as if it
were never a part of her at all. She thought there would be
pain, but there wasn’t, only a filmy residue left behind.
Tavarra’s lips pulled up on each side, and she let out a
rumbling, giddy laugh to the moons, to the ocean, and to
herself. Tugging the tail a little more, she shimmied out from
the exoskeleton and found smooth bare legs underneath—as
she had hoped. The story had been right. If only she knew
sooner that legs rested beneath the tail—then she could have
been doing this every time the moons were at their fullest. A
continuation of delighted laughter echoed from her as it
bounced off the waves and into the darkened forest.
She kicked these new-found creations, releasing the legs in
their entirety from the confined appendage. To her it felt
natural, more than surreal.