Authors: Candice Gilmer
Tags: #Fairies;Banshees;Paranormal Romance;Candice Gilmer;Mermaids;Merrow;Genies;Djinn;Comedy
Sometimes the future comes knocking. Sometimes it knocks you into next week.
The Mythicals, Book 1
Fairy-In-Distress team member Duncan Molar's mission is as simple as it is desperate. Find his missing best friend, banshee Cara Wallace, before an assassin lights the magical fuse that will unlock her scream, wiping out the last merrow colony on earth.
Since the day he rescued her from a fishing net, the near-victim of her very first scream, they've been joined at the hip, he helping her with her telepathy, she helping him remember the beautiful side of being a fairy.
When he finds her, the crisis isn't over, for the unreleased scream could kill
â¦unless he gets her to a remote location and figures out a way to release it safely. The solution blows them so far apart, Duncan's back to square one. Doing whatever he has toâincluding sacrificing his job with the FIDâin order to save her.
Because secretly, he's been in love with her for a decade.
Warning: A determined fairy, a banshee-in-distress, and a djinn that will only make matters worse.
Saving Her Destiny
For my dad.
Writing wasn't what you meant when you talked about discipline and focus, but the mantra you ground into me and my brother is just as true today as it ever was.
“Be mentally tough.”
Thank you, Daddy.
Thirteen years ago
Cara Wallace thought after she'd released her banshee cry.
The lights of the Merrow Kingdom glowed soft blue and green in the inky black underwater. Shockwaves from the cry shot like a sonic ray gun, aimed right toward the royal palace where the mermaids lived. The waves rippled out from where she swam, like little white circles in the deep, murky water. But the scream went right where it was supposed to go.
Fish darted out of the path of the cry, and in the distance, Cara saw merrow caught in the wave, knocked around from their paths. A few scrambled about, and she guessed that word was being sent to the king and queen of the merrow.
The royal palace wasn't damagedâthe cry wasn't that strongâthough the lights around it flickered for a moment as the wave of the scream pulsed in the water.
She'd released her cry all by herself. It was only her second banshee cry, and she'd come down into the water, found her way into the kingdom, and done it.
Her mother and father would be so proud.
She felt awesome. Well, sort of awesome, anyway.
Awesome to get the cry out of her chestâthey hurt badly until they were releasedâbut not so much because of what the cry meant.
A member of the royal family was about to die.
While Cara wasn't sure who resided near death's door, her instincts told her it was the dowager queen. Her husband, the king, had died a few months ago.
That had been Cara's first ever banshee cry.
Quite a huge responsibility to a fifteen-year-old girl, but that was her lot in lifeâthe destiny of the banshee. So far, her cries had been focused on the royal family. That didn't mean she wouldn't have a cry under other circumstances.
She didn't know.
After all, this was just cry number two.
She could be down here every month. Every week. Heck, even every day, depending on what cries built in her. The only rule? They all were for the Merrow Kingdom. That was her area.
Her mom, sister and dad all had their own areas that were off the island. Except for family stuffâbanshees could get cries for their own family stuff. When her grandmother died, her sister had screamed for that. It was the first time Cara had ever seen a cry up close and personal.
Especially the powerâher sister had blown out the windows in the house because she hadn't gotten outside soon enough.
So while Cara respected the power of the banshee screams, she hated that she was stuck here on Avalon, waiting for her next cry.
Cara twisted in the water, adjusting the special mask on her face to allow her to breatheâall magic and enchanted and stuffâand glanced around. Very little light from above illuminated this deep down. The only light, really, was from the natural animalsâalgae and certain kinds of bioluminescent fish.
It took a bit of adjustment to see in the dark. Cara, fortunately, adapted well under water to the low light. Her heritage was a little twisted, having a grandmother who was a mermaidâbut not just any mermaid, a Merrow princess. But Cara hadn't gotten the full-on fish genes from Granny. Nope, she was banshee, with a little extra adaption for deeper water.
Probably why she was the one who was down here, screaming for the kingdom.
The kingdom, hidden by magicâthe only kind of magic the merrow usedâremained secret, except to those who had been shown how to enter. There was only one entry point, a deep cave that led to a sealed doorway. Only a few months ago had Cara been shown how to come in.
Even on the merrow side, it was hard to find the rock formationsâat least for Cara. Maybe if she came down here more often, she could better identify the path, since the cave's mouth was obscured by large rocky outcroppings.
She twisted in the water.
But wait, am I done?
She wondered if she needed to go down to the castle and speak to the king and queen. Was that protocol? Was it not? She couldn't remember what her mother had told her.
Regardless, the deep cold of the water was starting to chill her. Biology made this decision for herâit was time to get out of here. She might be banshee with bonus merrow genes, but she still wasn't made for long periods of time at this depth. She really needed to look into a wetsuit.
She twisted and turned, kicking her legs to propel her through the water. She glanced over her shoulder to make sure no one was on the way to meet her. Mom had told her sometimes the merrow would come out to talk to the banshees when the scream was released.
So far, no one seemed to be swimming her way. She gritted her teeth around the breather, repressing the urge to let them chatter.
The last time, her cousins, the royal princes, Keefe and Kealan had come out to meet her. Technically, her second cousins, since her grandmother was their grandfather's sister. The two brothers were greatâalways stopped by when they were on the surface of the island she lived on, just to say hi.
And what girl didn't like older boys hanging around, even if they were related?
So here she was, a banshee, in freezing cold water, trying to find her way back home, but she kept looking behind her, wondering if Keefe and Kealan were going to come out.
Of course, last time she screamed, they'd come so she could get a bit of a tour of the kingdom, help her be familiar.
I need to get out of here
. She swam a little deeper.
I think it's this wayâ¦
She headed toward the rock walls where the cave's entrance was. A slight glow illuminated the lower sections of the wall of rock, but she had to really focus to see it.
The rocks stuck out like jagged swords, ready to stab her if she twisted the wrong way to get to the nook.
One would think the merrow would mark the exit a bit better
She slammed her leg into a rock on her left, then the right leg scraped on the other side. For a second, she wished she had a merrow tail. At least she'd be able to move faster in the water. And not bang into stuff.
She twisted around, glancing at her leg.
Great, now I'm an all-you-can-eat shark beacon. Perfect
She'd better get moving. An eel swam in and out of the rocks and she froze, hoping it wouldn't come her way. Fortunately, it swam off, darting through as quick as a snake.
Her cousins moved like that through the water. It still dumbfounded her that they had such coordination. Granted, they lived here. They learned all their lives how to move through the water like it was nothing.
She, on the other hand, had never been the greatest swimmer, even with that little bit of merrow DNA.
Finally moving on, she stayed close to the wall of rock, and wished she really could move as easily as her half-fish cousins. Especially when she was freezing and ready to get back on dry land.
Even if it was just the island.
But that was a whole other depressing thingâ¦
“Well, look who it is,” a voice said.
Cara spun around.
And tried not to grimace.
Wasn't I just thinking about eels and depressing things?
Of all the merrow in the water, the last one she wanted to see was her cousin Norton Lynch. With his pointy nose that always seemed a bit turned up, and his slender build, he reminded her of the eel that just swum by. Even the red, seaweed-like
that sprouted from the top of his head looked more like the slithery-fin of an eel.
She pulled away from him, half-expecting him to shock her with electricity.
Norton swam around her, circling as she struggled to keep herself somewhat upright.
“I'd have dressed better if I knew this was a family gathering,”
Cara said, using her telepathy to communicate. She wasn't very good at itâthe only person who would practice with her was her mother.
And who really wanted to practice mind reading with their mother?
The only good thing about trainingâMom taught her how to use mental shields. And the last thing she wanted was for her cousin to hear her innermost thoughts.
Nope, Norton didn't need to know what she was thinking, since he tended to annoy herâand on some occasionsâgive her the willies.
Had he gotten more eel-like as he aged?
“Lovely, as always,” Norton said, reaching toward her.
Cara twisted away from him.
“Did you need something, cousin?”
She didn't trust Norton not to fling her into a shark or something, just because he could.
He straightened up, tipping that pointy nose a little higher, and looked way too much like the snotty people at school. “Only to be of assistance. You look lost.”
“I'm fine. I was just leaving.”
She glanced around, expecting him to have henchmen waiting in the wings like the self-important girls at school always did. Those types never traveled alone.
And Norton had always thought he was better than anyone else. Why, she didn't know. He was just another distant relative of the royal family, like her, with no chance of ever ruling the Merrow Kingdom.
Not that Cara ever wanted to be tethered any more than she already was to this place
“Well, let me show you the way.” His answer seemed a bit too smug.
Before Cara could object, Norton grabbed her wrist with a strength she didn't expect, and hauled her toward the rock face much faster than she could swim.
“Norton! Stop it!”
But he didn't heed her words.
He kept pulling, and Cara thought she'd be slammed into the rock wall again. She held out her arm, preparing for impactâ¦
And Norton jerked her out of the way just before she would have hit the wall.
“Norton, you horrible jerk!”
His only response was a laugh that made Cara's skin crawl. “Stupid girl,” he muttered. “I wouldn't actually
For a second, Cara swore she heard his thoughts, and they sounded like:
Not here, anyway
That made her shiver. He jerked into a crevice, slamming her into another rocky outcropping. She rubbed her forearm, then realized he'd inadvertentlyâor intentionally, couldn't be sureâshoved her into the entrance tunnel.
The cave, illuminated by greenish light, gave Norton a bizarre white-gray glow. Even his green tail fin looked an odd murky color. Though, when she looked, she realized her own hands had the same bizarre hue.
Wow, she looked like a dead body from TV.
“It is rather sad that you have no tolerance for these depths,” Norton said.
“Well, I'm mostly banshee
“Just like you
True enoughâNorton was just as much a mixed breed as she was. Though Cara didn't know which of his parents was full-blooded merrow, as her family didn't spend much time with Norton's. Bad blood way back there somewhere, but Cara didn't know exactly what started it. Just that it had always been there.
Norton didn't reply, but the look of disgust said volumes as they traveled through the cave that led to the entrance to the surface world. She expected him to ramble on about the merrow superiority.
He was rather obsessed about the topic.
They closed in on a spot where the rocks were sealed shut. Cara raised her hand to the wall, but Norton was faster. He angled his head, and the red
twisted in the water, kind of like it was alive, and pressed against the rocks.
Norton glared at Cara while the red
activated the stone mechanism to open so she could leave.
She caressed her woven bracelet, a remnant of her grandmother's
that allowed her to pass into the kingdom and watched as the stones parted, much faster than they had for her and the tiny sprig on her wrist, fascinated with the magic.
“Amazing that all the merrow use for magic are these
and the king's trident. Boy, if I had magical ability, I'd use it all the time.”
“The king doesn't have Neptune's actual trident. He has
of it.” Norton said it with such disgust, Cara felt sorry for the king. “And the king will likely never use it, just like his father before him.”
His loathing of the royal family rubbed Cara wrong. After all, the royal family was
family. Sometimes, that was all you hadâfamily.
“You know, you're talking about family pretty rudely
“And?” Norton asked.
The rock walls had opened, and Cara started to swim through. She was pretty sure she could find her way out without her cousin's help.
Still, Norton followed her.
“I can make it from here, thanks
Cara told him.
“I will make sure you're out of the rocky caves first.” Norton, however didn't lead her out, just sort of swam at her side. The cave twisted and turned, and unlike the Merrow Kingdom side, this portion had very little illumination. It took Cara a few moments for her eyes to adjust to the dark surroundings.
Norton's tail fin shone, like it had been coated in glowing algae, and while Cara appreciated that tiny bit of light, she wished he would just go back.
She was fine.
“You swim so slow. Though what should I expect, from your side of the family,” Norton said, swishing around in front of her.
“You know, we both have the same grandmother
He twisted and glared at her, his black hair sticking out like an eel on his head. It was getting creepy how much he looked like the vicious creatures. “Yes, we do. And that grandmother ruined all our lives.”