AN ESTILORIAN NOVEL
YOUNG ADULT FANTASY ROMANCE
When the elders imprisoned Metis, they took every precaution to protect the Estilorian plane against her evil.
It wasn’t enough.
Now she’s escaped, and no one is safe. Fueled by hatred, she wastes no time imposing vengeance on those who captured her. She knows the surest way to destroy their lives is by taking what they love most, and she begins with a child named Eden.
Years later, Eden remembers none of her former life. She serves her “Master,” unaware of the family still searching for her. But as her eighteenth birthday approaches, memories begin to surface, and she questions her circumstances for the first time.
Eden’s confusion mounts when she’s joined by Connor, a handsome Elphresti male who reveals things that shatter her reality. They’ll end up on the run, knowing they can trust only each other. After all, Metis will stop at nothing to get them back, and she thrives on her ability to deceive.
They had kept her prisoner for thirteen years, and now they would pay.
Metis kept to the shadows, stalking her prey. She had learned patience during her long imprisonment. If she hadn’t acted with such impulsiveness during Erick’s battle all those years ago, she would never have been captured. It was learning that hard lesson that ultimately contributed to her escape.
Oh, she knew the value of patience now. Yes, she did.
“Daddy! Daddy! Look at me!”
Metis followed the sound of the bright, cheerful voice and peered through the thick foliage surrounding the Mercesti base on the mainland. Her thirst for vengeance had led her to this place. She wanted to destroy the elders—rip their flesh from their bones and their hearts from their chests—but she couldn’t get to Central, a heavily secured area reinforced with protective enchantments, and all of the elders lived there.
All but one.
“That’s good, Ryder,” a deep male voice replied to the first, drawing Metis’ attention.
Her nostrils flared when she spotted Zachariah, the Mercesti elder. The tall, muscular male with the wild-looking blond hair and intense red eyes hadn’t changed in thirteen years. He still wore a serious expression…an expression Metis imagined was even more dour than usual because word had surely spread about her escape.
He was speaking intently with an equally large male covered in colorful tattoos. Derian, she recalled, the Mercesti commander. Both males looked grim, speaking in hushed tones that didn’t quite reach her.
They’re afraid of me, she thought with dark amusement. They know I’m likely to come here. But they won’t expect me so soon.
“But, Daddy, you’re not watching!”
The whine drew her attention to the young male with dark hair and blue-green eyes who stood behind Zachariah wielding a wooden sword with a fierce frown on his face. Metis was unfamiliar with children and had no guess as to his age, but it was clear enough when Zachariah turned to address the small boy that they were father and son.
“I’m in the middle of a conversation, Ryder,” Zachariah said to the young male. “You’re supposed to be with Isaac and Liam. They’re training with Uncle Tiege. I’ll come and watch you when I’m done here.”
“Nuh-uh,” the boy pouted, glowering up at his father. “You’ll come’n see Isaac ‘n Liam ‘n I’ll just sit there.”
The Mercesti elder sighed and squatted so he was at eye-level with his son. “Ryder, we’ve talked about this. You’re not even five yet. Your brothers are older and more experienced than you.”
“But I can do it, Daddy!”
The boy swung his wooden sword, nearly cracking Zachariah in the side of the head. Zachariah managed to block the blow with his forearm, but the loud smack of the wood striking him could be heard even as far as Metis’ position. She edged closer, moving so she could spy on them from around a wide medeina tree.
“Ryder, that’s enough,” Zachariah said sharply, getting to his feet with the sword in his hand. “You’re going to hurt someone with this.”
Metis watched the boy’s wide, long-lashed eyes fill with tears. His cheeks flushed with color as he stomped his foot.
“Give it back!” he insisted.
“No,” Zachariah replied in a firm voice. When the boy began to wail, Zachariah reached up to pinch the bridge of his nose. “Ryder, go to your brothers like you’ve been told. I’ll bring you your sword when I’m done speaking with commander Derian.”
“But—” the boy protested.
Whatever the boy saw on his father’s face had him closing his mouth on his next protest. He kicked a rock and turned as though he was about to leave.
For some reason, Metis felt compelled to follow the young male. Perhaps it was because in that moment, he shared her fury toward his father.
She could also admit to being curious about him. She had heard about children, but this was the closest she had ever actually been to one. After all of the years that her creator, Tethys, had spent attempting to form children, Metis couldn’t deny a fascination with them.
Before Metis had taken more than a step, a new young voice made her look back in Zachariah’s direction. This voice was younger…sweeter, somehow. It sounded absolutely ecstatic.
As she turned, Metis caught sight of a yellow blur as it charged the Mercesti elder. Zachariah dropped the wooden sword just in time to intercept the small figure. A high-pitched giggle filled the air as he lifted the bundle in yellow and tossed it, catching the laughing child on the way down.
“You, too, Eden?” Zachariah gave the child—a female, Metis realized—a stern look that didn’t seem to bother her in the least. “How did you escape your mother?”
“Again,” Derian added, reaching out to tug on one of the child’s burnished gold curls.
“I need Daddy kisses,” the girl declared.
Metis watched as the child reached out and lifted her little hands to her father’s cheeks, then drew him close enough that their noses touched. She wiggled her head so that their noses brushed against each other, laughing as