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Tia is the Keeper of the Stories for the inhabitants of Glitter. She dreams of a life she knows will never happen, but hope blossoms when a strange creature is captured at the entrance to their kingdom, and Tia remembers the legend of the goddess that will renew their world. Jett’s thirst for adventure leads him to a previously undiscovered cavern where an unusual kingdom exists, and he is captivated by their beautiful Keeper. Unable to resist, he returns again and again until he knows he must steal her away. Internationally acclaimed S.E. Smith presents a new action-packed story full of romance and adventure. Brimming with her signature humor, vivid landscapes, and beloved characters, this book is sure to be another fan favorite! Main Content: (5x8) 28 pages, 8,283 words
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Sample of Gracie's Touch
Additional Books and Information
About the Author
I would like to thank my husband Steve for believing in me and being proud enough of me to give me the courage to follow my dream. I would also like to give a special thank you to my sister and best friend, Linda, who not only encouraged me to write, but who also read the manuscript. Also to my other friends who believe in me: Julie, Jackie, Christel, Sally, Jolanda, Lisa, Laurelle, Debbie, and Narelle. The girls that keep me going!
And a special thanks to Paul Heitsch, David Brenin, Samantha Cook, Suzanne Elise Freeman, and PJ Ochlan—the awesome voices behind my audiobooks!
Science Fiction Romance
FOR THE LOVE OF TIA
Copyright © 2013 by Susan E. Smith
First E-Book Publication May 2013
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission from the author.
All characters, places, and events in this book are fictitious or have been used fictitiously, and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations are strictly coincidental.
ISBN: 978-1-942562-34-4 (eBook)
Tia is the Keeper of the Stories for the inhabitants of Glitter. She dreams of a life she knows will never happen, but hope blossoms when a strange creature is captured at the entrance to their kingdom, and Tia remembers the legend of the goddess that will renew their world.
Jett’s thirst for adventure leads him to a previously undiscovered cavern where an unusual kingdom exists, and he is captivated by their beautiful Keeper. Unable to resist, he returns again and again until he knows he must steal her away.
Tia sighed as she ran her delicate fingers over the smooth surface of the scroll. Her eyes stared blankly at the intricate illustrations and the symbols carefully describing each legend. Her tiny, light green ears flickered back and forth at the sound of rapidly approaching footsteps drawing her out of her trance. She knew immediately who it was – her brother Tamblin.
She quickly rolled the scroll and hid it behind one of the colorful fabric tapestries she had hanging in her room. She didn’t want him to know that she had been writing down the stories of their people, at least not yet. He would be deeply concerned if he knew and become even more protective of her.
Tia closed her large brown eyes and drew in a deep breath in an effort to calm the fast beat of her heart. Every third beat, it would stop and she was terrified it would not start again. It was happening more often and lasting longer each time. She opened her eyes and forced a smile onto her face as her brother swept aside the long curtain door of her chambers.
“Tia, I have need of you,” Tamblin said in his deep, rich voice. “A creature has been captured at the entrance to our caverns. It is very large and strange-looking.”
Tia tilted her head and frowned. “Why do you need me? Surely you do not expect me to give you my permission to kill it?” she asked scornfully. “You have never bothered to ask me before!” she pointed out, reminding him of the few times when an unknown creature wandered into their domain only to be killed within moments by the Guardians of the Cavern, two large Were Beast with poisonous saliva and barb-like fur.
Tamblin glared at her before straightening his broad shoulders. Even though he stood no taller than twelve inches tall, he was still taller than most of the other inhabitants of Glitter. As their ruler, he guarded the kingdom and its populaces with a fierce protectiveness that Tia knew she should appreciate more. A soft sigh escaped her. With her, he tended to be three times more protective, rarely letting her travel anywhere alone.
“Tia,” he said, drawing in a deep breath to calm his frustration. “This creature is different from anything I have ever encountered before. The Guardians alerted us and we were able to render it unconscious before they attacked and killed it. As Keeper of the Stories, I thought it would be wise to seek your counsel first before I ordered it destroyed.” He paused a moment and his eyes softened as he studied her. “I do respect your guidance, sister.”
Tia lowered her eyes and blinked several times, ashamed of her unreasonable criticism. “I will come. Where is the creature now?”
“I have had it transported to the center of the moss field, near the river,” Tamblin said, gently wrapping his hand around her arm. He frowned down at her in concern. “You have lost more weight. Have you not been feeling well again?”
Tia bit her lower lip with her sharp teeth and shook her head. “I’m fine, Tamblin. You have more important things to worry about than me,” she assured him.
“Never, Tia,” Tamblin responded quietly, guiding her out to the flying creatures they used as transport throughout the caverns. “You will always be the most important thing to me.”
He helped her climb up onto the saddle that was strapped on the back of one of the bat-like creatures that lived in the caverns. Tia leaned forward and petted the body of the flying mammal that was covered in a thick, dark gray fur with large, black leathery wings. The winged animal turned and emitted a low humming noise when it saw Tia, its sharp pointed ears flicking back and forth in affection. Tamblin adjusted the tiny bridle and checked Tia’s saddle to make sure she was comfortable.
“Tamblin,” Tia said, leaning forward to touch her brother’s shoulder before he moved away. She waited until he looked at her before she smiled. “Thank you.”
“I love you, Tia,” Tamblin said quietly. “I only want to keep you safe.”
“I know,” she responded lightly. “I know. Now, let us see what marvelous creature you have discovered.”
Tia snapped the reins on her flying beast and drew in a shaky breath as it rose swiftly into the air. She loved flying. She loved the freedom. Sometimes when she had trouble breathing, she would close her eyes and imagine she was as free as the flying beasts were. It helped to calm the panic that rose inside her.
“Jett,” a soft whispered voice called out frantically. “You are going to get not only yourself killed but me too!”
Jett turned and grinned at the dark sand-colored face rushing up behind him. “Santil, if you are afraid of death, go back. I want to see the underground world again,” he said with a silent laugh before turning to scoot through the narrow opening between the dark rocks.
“You want to see the female again, you mean,” Santil growled out. “Did you not see the huge creatures that just flew into the cave? They could step on us and not even know it. We will be nothing but a pile of goo on the bottom of their feet.”
Jett just shook his head. Santil was always looking at the gloomy side of things. Jett was the youngest son of the King of the Sand Kingdom. His thirst for adventure had gotten him into trouble more than once, but he loved the freedom of soaring over the sands, even if it meant being in danger of being eaten every once in a while.
Several months back, he and Santil had been flying over the sand dunes scouting for enemy worms that had attacked one of their military posts on the outer rim of their Kingdom. A small pod of the damn things had surprised them. Santil had been thrown off of his sand skimmer. Jett had engaged the worms and led them away. Unfortunately, he had encountered a large pod of them and was forced to seek shelter. That was how he found the small crack in the rocks that had led down to the most incredible kingdom under the sands.
And that is where I found my bride, he thought with satisfaction. Now all I have to do is steal her away.
Jett jumped down off the high rock face, landing on the smooth surface. He knew the tunnel by heart now. He had returned to it over and over since he discovered it, watching, waiting, wanting.
The first time he saw the delicate, green female he had been entranced by her beauty. Her large, dark brown eyes spoke of secrets he wanted to know. She moved like the sands dancing in the wind, barely touching the surface.
She always wore a gown that was made of the colors of the sky before a storm. His fingers itched to peel it from her slender figure. He wanted to run his lips around her tiny pointed ears and see if his whispered words of love would be returned.
He had no doubt in his mind that he loved her. She was with him every single moment whether he was awake or asleep. His mind could picture every small smile she gave to one of the many people of her clan that came to see her.
He loved to watch her as she studied the plants and mushroom shaped trees of her underground world. But he also worried that she would not care for the bright world of his kingdom. He feared she would not enjoy the sands or the fierce winds and storms that sometimes swept over his home.
“Well, are we going or are you going to stand there daydreaming all day?” Santil asked in irritation, jumping down to stand next to him.
Jett started when he realized that he had been dreaming instead of walking. He turned to look at Santil for a moment before turning his head to look down the dark tunnel. Making up his mind, he turned back to his friend once more.
“I want you to stay here,” Jett commanded. “I will return in a few hours and when I do, I won't be alone. I plan to bring my bride with me.”
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