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Born of water. Neadra is an Undine, yet the thought of being in any body of water besides her bathtub terrifies her. In Strange Hollow, she lives on the side a the mountain, content and out of harm’s way, even as she yearns to be understood for her fears and loved in spite of them.
Drawn to water. Caelan, a water dragon from the wilds of Ireland, has been shunned by his clan for his inability to shift and terrorize. Lonely for too long, he meets Neadra one moonlit night and becomes enchanted by her kindness and her unique beauty, but how could anyone love him if he has no heroic ability whatsoever?
Threatened by water. When late spring rains, coupled with warm temperatures, melt much of the snow pack on Mt. Mitchell, a flood sweeps through the outskirts of Strange Hollow, putting Neadra’s life in danger. Caelan fights his way to get to her, pulling out the hero he never thought he could be while she, in turn, works through her fears to find him. Only through acceptance of the world around them and of each other will they find the life they’ve always wanted.
Watching the moon’s reflection on the lake surface, two glowing blue objects caught her attention. Neadra narrowed her eyes, straining forward. It was too early in the season for amphibian life and the orbs were too large to belong to a snake or fish. In the space of a heartbeat, they vanished. Relief swept through her body. She didn’t want to encounter some of the more fierce wildlife rumored to live around the mountain.
As suddenly as they disappeared, the blue objects came back into view, almost staring at her with weird, electric light. She shivered and pulled her feet beneath her, out of the water. Were they eyes? How was it possible? If an Undine didn’t want to be seen, no one except another water sprite could see them--unless she failed at the camouflage aspect of her culture as well. She’d never had an opportunity to test the theory.
The eyes came closer, confirming the fact the objects belonged to something. Her pulse steadily increased until it drummed out a frantic rhythm. Too fascinated to move, she watched as it closed the distance, only ten feet from the shore and her.
Threads of nameless anticipation slid over her skin, invoking goose bumps, but she felt no fear. Five feet of dark water separated her from whatever lurked beneath the surface. Her throat went dry as she wondered what kind of being it was.
With the smooth movements of someone accustomed to spending time in and around water, the placid scene shimmered. The top of a male head appeared, bobbed for an instant, his gaze never breaking eye contact with her, and he swam forward. The closer he got, the more of his body was revealed until he stood, dripping, on the shore near her.
For a few seconds, Neadra forgot how to breathe as she stared at the naked form of the most beautiful man she’d ever seen. She gasped and realized beautiful was not nearly an appropriate way to describe this particular male. He was at least six feet tall, and she had to tip her head back in order to properly take him all in. Black, coarse hair sprinkled his winter-pale skin, and as he lifted his hands to slick his thick, black hair from his face, the muscles in his broad chest rippled.
Unable to breathe without sounding like a dog in heat, Neadra licked her lips as her gaze moved from his clean-shaven, square jaw, over wide shoulders, thick from daily gym visits or hard labor, and down along his torso, following the sensual black ribbon of hair past washboard abs to his partially erect penis.
“Wow.” She’d barely forced the word out when her sex contracted with a strong aching need and she had to squeeze her thighs together to stave off the sensations. Quickly snapping her gaze to his face, she sought to distract herself from his body--except his brilliant eyes caused havoc with her insides. She felt an insane desire to trace the strong lines of his face, run her fingers over his jaw, and feel his lips against hers. “Wow.”
The man smiled. The ordinary action lit his face into a softer version, twinkling his eyes and causing gentle creases to appear at the sides of his mouth and across his forehead, as if he indulged in grinning often. “It’s not often I get such a reaction from the ladies, especially not one as pretty as you. I’m Caelan Burke.”
Neadra melted a tiny bit further at the slight Irish accent in his baritone voice. “Hi.” At a disadvantage from her position on the ground, not to mention the tempting distraction of his naughty bits at eye level, she struggled to her feet. The small pebbles that made up the shore cut into the soles, but she barely noticed as she held out her hand. “My name is Neadra.”
When she moved forward to shake the hand he offered, her toes tangled into the hem of her long skirt and she stumbled, taking a few unsteady steps backward and teetering into the lake with a resounding splash.
Book video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D_rDgGd8xA
Publisher’s website: http://www.king-cart.com/cgi-bin/cart.cgi?store=linda018&product_name=Changing+Tides&return_page=&user-id=&password=&exchange=&exact_match=exact
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