Maiden of Atlantis
An Empath ... Claire is kidnapped by the rebels to get at the protector of Atlantis.
Exclusive NCP edition
Word Count: 39,698
Genre: Science Fiction/Futuristic Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, 2004
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
The dolphin beached itself. Claire Holiday had been gazing absently at the ocean, mesmerized by its restless, ceaseless movements into an almost meditative state of calm and had lost all track of time when she saw it happen.
The calm felt good after the emotional hurricane she’d just been through. It was something she’d desperately needed, and instinctively sought, when she’d headed for the beach after life, as she’d known it for almost three years, ceased in the blink of an eye.
If she hadn’t decided to drop by the apartment, she might still be living in her own little fantasy world. That one, fateful decision, had cost her her boyfriend, her job, her home--everything. She frowned, slowly tracing her way back to the root of her mistake--falling for her boss and moving in with him. She ought to have known then that he ‘shopped’ at the office when he was on the hunt.
Who was she kidding? She had known. He’d broken it off with his previous house mate/girlfriend just before they’d become an item. At least, that was what he’d told her and the story she’d been determined to believe because she’d been blinded by her infatuation. She realized now that the ‘mental case’ he’d been living with before her probably hadn’t been stalking him at all. She’d probably thought they were still together until, like Claire, she’d had her face rubbed in it.
What goes around comes around--it sucked, though, to have to be the one to pay when he was really the guilty one.
The dolphin brought that merry-go-round of self-castigation, anger at Mark’s duplicity and her willful stupidity to an abrupt halt. She hadn’t really been aware that she’d been watching it until it made for the beach. She was on her feet before she even realized it, gasping in pained surprise as if it was her that had just plowed across that stretch of sand, as if she felt the impact and the abrasion of the sand tearing at tender, exposed skin.
The dolphin flopped and wiggled awkwardly for several moments and finally lay still, breathing frightened gasps. Drawn to its distress, Claire moved cautiously toward it despite her uneasiness about the danger inherent in approaching a wounded, wild thing, peripherally aware that several other people had rushed over to gape at the animal.
As she approached, it looked directly at her, its jaws working as it emitted a series of noises. She wasn’t certain whether it was warning her away, or if it was merely giving voice to its distress, but she halted, waiting until it seemed to grow calmer. Finally, when it ceased trying to move, she approached it and knelt beside its head, touching its crown.
She frowned when she realized she couldn’t sense any true pain. Ordinarily, she had a sort of sixth sense about pain and could ferret it out the moment she touched an animal--sometimes without even touching it. “What did you do that for? Hmmm?” she cooed soothingly to the animal absently as she looked it over. There were no wounds readily apparent. She hesitated, but she realized almost immediately that it was doubtful any of the crowd looking on would know what she was doing and, in any case, they were strangers. It wasn’t likely she’d run into them again even if they suspected--and if they did, who would believe them?
Closing her eyes, she concentrated, feeling her palms grow warmer and warmer as she stroked the animal soothingly, searching for the illness or injury she knew must be internal.
Abruptly, the skin beneath her palms changed in temperature and texture.
Her eyes flew open. The dolphin had vanished. In its place lay a man, but even as her gaze moved over him with a will of its own, her mind refused to assimilate what her eyes told her she was looking at.
He was the most handsome man she’d ever seen, and just as beautifully formed--and completely naked. She snatched her hands back when she realized abruptly that she’d frozen, her palms pressed against his lower abdomen beside one truly impressive erection.
“You were right,” the man said, his voice carefully neutral. “She’s an empath and a healer. I felt the touch of her mind.”