Author Kayla Krantz

Author of the Rituals of the Night Series, The Witch's Ambitions Trilogy, and the Blood Moon Trilogy.

The Crimson Grotto

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Young Adult

Summary:

After a man’s betrayal to his water nymph wife, Valencia, the battle between humankind and the Underwater Kingdom began. Ashley, the last of the mermaids, is a slave to Valencia and her loyal guards, Sirens by the names of Crescent, Ruby, and Brooke. As the war between her Kingdom and mankind worsens, Ashley finds her place among the carnage and realizes she has a bigger role than she ever imagined.

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Excerpt:

When the first shot was fired, splashing filled the air as the warriors capable of leaving the water, sprang from the depths to attack. Blood sprayed everywhere and the smell made Ashley want to throw up again. Heart pounding, she rammed the edge of her cage, trying to break her way free. So far, the humans had forgotten about her in the chaos, but she had a feeling that it wouldn’t last long. She bumped against the edge again, feeling the bars slide across the rocks with an unpleasant screech that hurt her ears.

She moved once again and the cage rocked. Before it could splash into the water, she was hoisted into the air. Confused, she glanced into the air and realized Brooke was holding her, pulling her away from the scene of battle as fast as she could manage.

“Thank you,” Ashley whispered.

Barely had those words escaped her lips when a shot rang through the air. At first, nothing changed, then a spot of red began to blossom onto the white of Brooke’s wings. A moment later, she dropped in altitude, hands loosening on Ashley’s cage as they both splashed into the water. Ashley cried out as her cage sunk beneath the surface of the waves, looking up into the stream of red that mixed into the water below Brooke’s body.

“Help!” she cried out.

“I’ve got you,” a familiar voice said.

Ashley’s heart soared in happiness as she turned and met Cove’s gaze. He didn’t speak as he undid the lock on her cage with a quick flick of his wrist, freeing her from the sinking prison.

“Brooke!” she said, not even wasting a second to offer Cove a proper “thank you,” before she propelled herself to the surface and Brooke’s bleeding body.

She scooped the Siren into her arms, wiping the wet hair from her face as she cupped her chin, studying her for signs of life. Brooke’s eyes were closed, a stream of blood running from the corner of her mouth, and when Ashley continued her study, she realized the bullet that had pierced her wing had also gone straight through Brooke’s chest.

“No! Brooke!” she said, slapping the girl’s cheek with the hope of reviving her.

Cove didn’t say a word, merely eased the Siren from Ashley’s arms and swam her to a part of short shielded by the rocks. He dragged her onto the sand and looked up at Ashley.

Her heart broke before he said the words she dreaded to hear.

“She’s dead.”

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