Social Media Friends Are Really Real!

About three years ago I met a lady on social media who has become one of my best friends. Coral McCallum is a fellow writer (among other things like fellow cat lady and fellow rock chick), and today she publishes her second book, Impossible Depths (Silver Lake series Book 2). (Find out more about Coral’s books at the end of this post). I am a proud friend, and plan to spend a great part of today reading said book! Just for fun, here’s the blog post I wrote after our first meeting in person. We have met many more times since then, for gigs, for shopping, and for lots of coffee. 😀

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I took a jaunt down the west coast of Scotland this weekend, to meet a friend. Namely, one Coral McCallum, who I’ve been chatting to on Facebook and Twitter for months. Coral is a writer, and decided at the beginning of the year to join in the blogging world. Do visit her blog for short stories, poetry, and mad anecdotes involving rock music and cats (do you see why we get on? 😉 )

Coral and I met online through our shared love of rock music, and in particular, Mr Myles Kennedy, lead singer extraordinaire with Alter Bridge and Slash. Once we got chatting properly, we discovered we also both liked cats, coffee, and carrot cake. As we are only about an hour’s drive from each other, we started talking about meeting up in person. I hadn’t visited Coral’s neck of the woods for many years and thought a wee road trip might be in order. Coral had also been bigging up her local coffee shop, so with the promise of caffeine and cake, I pointed my little car west on Saturday afternoon.

The morning had been very wet and windy, but by the time I set off it was just windy. The sun was even making an attempt to come out. It was a pleasant drive down the edge of the river Clyde, even if the view was still a bit obscured by cloud. I followed Coral’s very clear instructions to the coffee shop, and was rewarded by the sight of her waving at me as I approached (I have a very distinctive car, covered as it is with bright yellow AA stickers). After parking on the sea front and nearly being blown away, we dived inside and began chatting. It’s slightly weird meeting someone face to face after you’ve only spoken to them online. We’d had some pretty in depth chats but it’s different doing it in person. Fortunately neither of us decided we couldn’t stand the other, so over a delicious Latte for me and Americano for Coral, we talked cats, music, family, and more cats. We both had carrot cake and I have to say, the coffee shop lived up to expectations. Yum!

Coral had very kindly invited me for dinner, and had obviously decided during our coffee shop meeting that I wasn’t a nutter (well, not too much), and I was safe to invite to the house. After a quick tour of the town shops (during which I bought the first of this year’s Christmas presents – go me!) we made a small convoy to her home. I got to meet the human family and three out of four of the cat family. The missing one was off on an adventure and hadn’t been home for a few days, the scamp. (He has since returned safe and sound). Cue more coffee drinking, listening to said rock music, and general chit chat about everything under the sun. I admired Coral’s book collection. Unsurprisingly, very similar to mine, with classics, time slip/historical stuff, and fantasy – including Mr Tolkien, of course. After being fed lasagne and two helps of cheesecake for dinner (not in the same bowl), I set off home after a very enjoyable, cake-filled day.

I like to think of this as one of the good examples of using social media. It’s unlikely Coral and I would have met otherwise, and we’ve each discovered a new friend. We’ve both made friends overseas due to our shared interests, and it may be that more of us will meet up one day. Several of the friends want to visit Scotland, so no doubt there will be more coffee and dare I say, wine drinking, if that happens!

Strangely enough, the one thing we didn’t chat about as much as you might think was our rock star crush, the lovely Myles Kennedy. So we’ll have to rectify that on our next meeting. I also completely forgot to take any selfies of our day together, so people will just have to take our word for it that we did actually meet. We’re going to a rock gig in Glasgow together next month, to see the fantastic Halestorm. Must take some pics then. Roll on many more coffee shop visits together!

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Happy Book Birthday, Coral! xx

Impossible Depths (Silver Lake series Book 2):

After a successful tour, Jake, Lori and the rest of Silver Lake are busy making plans for the future – new arrivals, new business ventures, new music and a new tour.
An unexpected turn of events throws these plans into turmoil.
Life for Silver Lake will never be the same again.
Can Jake and Lori maintain their relationship, gruelling schedules and overcome tragic losses?
Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find how strong you truly are.
Friendship, love, family and music dominate this contemporary romance as the Silver Lake family rise from seemingly Impossible Depths.

To purchase Impossible Depths (Silver Lake series Book 2), click here (UK), or here (US).

Some stock pics above from the west of Scotland, since I neglected to take any photos. 🙂

The Sirens Call – Issue #22 – Supernatural Horror

I’m a busy bee just now! I’m so pleased to feature in the fantastic FREE ezine The Sirens Call this month. Check out my twisted tale on page 4, along with lots of other great horror stories, features and artwork.

(For my short story, I had another little play with a local legend, but in a more sinister and gruesome way…)

The Witches Craig, pic by Karen Soutar

No Extra Words Podcast Features My Story ‘The House’

I was delighted to be asked by Kris of ‘No Extra Words’ if I would allow my story ‘The House’ to feature on this flash fiction podcast. Of course I would! Check it out here.

Thanks you, Kris, for your lovely words about my story and my writing. In answer to your question: yes, you totally did the story justice! I loved hearing you read it. Even my hubby stopped decorating and singing along to rock music to come and have a listen. 😉

If you would like to read the original for yourself, click here.

Pic courtesy of urbanghostmedia.com

Pic courtesy of urbanghostmedia.com

RIP Sir Terry Pratchett

A great writer left us for the next chapter today. His writing makes me laugh – and cry, often at the same time. He will always be one of my biggest influences. A man who loved cats, and witches, and theatre, and music, and werewolves, and dragons, and who wrote powerful women. I will miss having new works to read, but what an amazing legacy he has left the world.
Goodbye, Sir Terry. I’m sure you and Death are having a curry, surrounded by cats, in a dodgy Discworld cafe. Give Binky a sugar lump from me.

Release Day Blitz for ‘Rescued’, by Felice Stevens

Today, I’m pleased to let you all know about a book I’ve been eagerly awaiting. It may surprise some of you to find out that this cynical, smarty-pants, vampire-and-werewolf-lovin’ girl enjoys reading a good romance. What?! So when my friend Felice Stevens told me she was writing her first male/male romance, I could hardly wait. Read all about ‘Rescued‘ here. Love is love. xx

 

Release Day Banner.jpgBook Blurb: Ryder Daniels has spent the last year recovering from rejection: his parents couldn’t accept his sexuality and his lover chose drugs over his love. The only bright lights in his life are his younger brother and his rescued pit bull. But now his mother’s punishment for his lifestyle has cut him off from his brother he loves so deeply. Devastated, he throws himself into the work of the Pit Bull Foundation he and his friends started.
FS_Rescued_coverinJason Mallory can no longer hide the dissatisfaction of his relationship with his longtime girlfriend. When her marriage ultimatum pushes him to break things off, he’s determined not to jump into the dating scene. But when a group of injured pit bulls are found on his construction site, he can’t forget the guy who shows up to help.

After Jason adopts one of the dogs, he and Ryder become fast friends—until one night, Ryder lets down his guard and Jason recognizes his desire. Soon, they can’t deny the passion between them but will family differences and ugly prejudices keep them apart, or can they fight to prove that love is precious, no matter the flavor?

Author Bio: Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. She believes that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending just around the corner. She started reading traditional historical romances when she was a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that her interest in romance novels became renewed.

But somewhere along the way, her tastes shifted. While she still enjoys a juicy Historical RescuedPromo5.1romance, she began experimenting with newer, more cutting edge genres and discovered the world of Male/Male romance. And once she picked up her first, she became so enamored of the authors, the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion of the books, she knew she wanted to write her own.

Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of her own. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. She practices law but daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

Connect with Felice Stevens
Website | Facebook | Twitter |

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Who says social media isn’t real?

As some of you may know, I took a short holiday last week, to Yorkshire. Long-suffering hubby came too. We did all the usual British holiday stuff: visited historical sites, ate too much, and complained about the weather. But at the end of the week, I left hubby playing online snooker, looking in sports shops, and doing other ‘man’ things, and went on a little adventure of my own.

A few weeks ago, my online friend, author and rock chick Nicky Wells , had noticed that I was going to be in Yorkshire and had mentioned that I would only be about an hour or so’s drive away from her. This got me thinking – could I meet another of my awesome social media friends in ‘real life’? I asked hubby what he thought and because he’s easy-going as well as long-suffering, he said ‘Yeah, whatever’ or something like that. He then said that he wouldn’t come along (even though he was welcome) as he didn’t want us ladies to be worried we were boring him to bits, talking about books and such. I think what he meant was he didn’t want to listen to us drooling over various rock stars. As if! 😉

After some to-ing and fro-ing over what we would do and when, the visit was organised. Nicky graciously invited me to her home, as kids needed to be collected from school, fed and watered, and made to do homework. I obviously didn’t look like too much of a nutter, as she let me in when I landed on the doorstep. Over a cup of tea, a scone AND a glass of Buck’s Fizz, we chatted about our history with the rock music world. Queen, Europe, Bon Jovi – all the influences from our childhood and our teens were discussed. We talked about first gigs, following bands around, and being in the front row and TOUCHING rock stars – wow! Then we took a brief walk to meet the boys, and I was treated to a quick tour of the village, with expert commentary from said boys. We also discussed snakes, spiders, and giant snails, as ‘The Rainforest’ was the school subject of the moment. Eldest boy had got to handle some of these creatures that day, and delighted in telling us about it. Fine for me (you know I like creepy things), but not so good for Nicky, who’s not keen!

Hmm - maybe selfies aren't our strong point...

Hmm – maybe selfies aren’t our strong point…

Homework was tackled once we got back, with promises of Chinese takeaway if it was completed. I was quite happy to help with homework if there was a Chicken Chow Mein at the end of it! That was another thing Nicky and I found we had in common – a fondness for Chicken Chow Mein. Delicious it was, too. In between homework, eating, and me fussing guinea pigs (in the absence of cats), we managed to talk lots more about writing, blogging, music, juggling life and writing, reading…you name it. As darkness approached, I reluctantly said goodbye to my sister-in-rock and drove back to my hotel, leaving Nicky to tackle boys’ bath and bedtime. Long-suffering hubby didn’t escape the girliness, as he got a detailed account of my visit once I got back. (He got his revenge by doing the same to me the next day on the journey home. Apparently he had McDonald’s for lunch AND dinner while I was away – good grief).

So…who says social media isn’t real? I’ve now met up in person with two online friends. I hasten to add that we had interacted A LOT before meeting up, and it may not be something everyone would feel comfortable doing. But the world of Facebook, Twitter and the like CAN lead to friendships as genuine as those formed in more ‘traditional’ ways. Among the trolls, arguing, and other nonsense, this is a great thing. Thank you very much, Nicky, for a lovely visit, and rock on, all you online friends!

Nicky’s bit:

What a fabulous account of our day! May I just add that I was honoured and touched that Karen decided to drop by. It felt both surreal and completely normal to suggest to this total stranger, who wasn’t really a stranger after hours and hours of social media interaction, that perhaps we might be able to meet ‘for real’ when the occasion of her trip to York shortened our day-to-day distance from six hours (give or take) to just one and a half (give or take).

As fate would have it, Karen was only around during the week and, of course, my husband had to go to Israel during that very same time. All plans to clear the day and do proper sister-in-rock girlie things went straight out the window when I realised that I’d have to be on mummy duty. Hence the to-ing and fro-ing that Karen mentioned: I was fretting whether I could subject my known-yet-unknown friend-from-afar to a dose of my daily life. But if I’d been just ever so slightly concerned that Karen would be put out, or put off even, I worried for no reason. She took our hectic routine completely in her stride and fitted in as though she was, in fact, a favourite old-time friend. It was wonderful to sit down and chat amongst the kids running ever-so-slightly riot, the guinea pigs demanding food and cuddles, the telephone ringing, and the Chinese takeaway requiring pick-up from the store rather than being delivered. (Karen drove, of course. Bless you!)

We talked non-stop and considered, briefly, whether we should finish up the bottle and have Karen crash out in the guest room for the night. And then we thought, heck, no, we’ll simply have to do this again one day soon.

So thank you Twitter and Facebook—and Julie Valerie!—for brokering the introduction between two soul-sisters who might otherwise never have met. Rock on, Karen, and thanks for letting me add my two-cents-worth to your feature. See you soon!

Like to party? Hop along the Hump Day Blog Hop on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog. Click here to return to the Hump Day Blog Hop.

Dark Prophet: The Chronicles of Koa Book Two. Sneak preview of Chapter One! Cover reveal!

Today I’m excited to give you a taste of my friend K.N. Lee‘s forthcoming book Dark Prophet: The Chronicles of Koa Book Two. I can reveal the stunning book cover, and I also have Chapter One! I thoroughly enjoyed the first book and I am eagerly awaiting this second installment – so many questions to be answered.

If you haven’t read The Chronicles of Koa: Netherworld – why not?! Click the link and get your copy now. Lovers of fantasy and magic won’t be disappointed.

Learn more about K.N. Lee, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

What would you do if a demon threatened your mother’s life? If you’re like Koa, you’d sharpen your enchanted sword and go after him.
That’s just what Koa did…and what she learned will change everything.
Agent Koa Ryeo-won just had her entire life change when she discovered the truth of her past. How will she react when she finds that the prophet that she was sent to break out of a prison for supernatural creatures is the first man she loved? None of that matters when a vampire king and his demon sidekick strike out against the Netherworld division and destroy the entire Vampire Registration System. The people of the world are finally given proof that they are being targeted by the escaped creatures of a different world. Who will protect the humans from this new breed of vampire? Will Koa ever break her mother’s curse?

Read on for a sample!

Dark Prophet: The Chronicles of Koa Book Two

K.N. Lee
All rights reserved.

Part One
Netherworld Memories
Chapter 1

Koa frowned down at her body. A red dress. Koa would have never chosen to wear all red, but she did not have a choice. Like the blood that Koa had spilled the night before when she had been cut with a glowing dagger, the dress was dark and rich.
Ceremonies such as this were normal in the Netherworld. Besides, the wound on her wrist healed before her eyes. Within minutes, the ceremony was complete, the tests were run, and it was confirmed that she was indeed the daughter of Alsand Vangelis, the vampire king of Elyan.
The next day Koa was awakened by a team of violet-eyed women tugging at her limbs, washing her, scrubbing her raw with oils, and slathering creams onto her snow-white skin. They straightened her thick black hair and painted her face with colors that Koa only thought older women were allowed to wear. Then, she had been dressed.
In a gaudy red wedding gown at the age of twelve.
Koa wanted to run from the black temple that she and her father had slept in. She wanted to break free from the compound and fly home. The human world seemed so far away.
She bit her lip, tasting blood. No one understood just how much she did not want to do this. This wasn’t to be a human wedding, but a Netherworld wedding…a vampire wedding.
Koa scrunched up her nose as she looked down at the billowing gown, littered with sparkling crystals and black taffeta. She looked like a gothic spin on a Disney princess.
Vampire Barbie, she thought to herself.
Even at such a young age, Koa knew she did not fit the role of such a character. She was not a doll, or a character from the books she read. She closed her eyes and tried to calm her nerves.
Like hot boiling acid, anxious feelings churned within her stomach, making her feel like she might faint or worse…vomit at any moment.
How embarrassing that would be, Koa thought as she chewed her lip. She grimaced. Her lips tasted horrible, like tar. She’d almost forgot that she was covered in makeup like a clown. Her small hands shook and she wanted to cry. It took all of her strength to keep the tears from escaping and causing an even bigger scene. With hot cheeks and holding her breath, Koa prayed for an escape.
What am I doing here, Koa kept asking herself. Koa was afraid of this dark place, where the sun, nor the moon, did not exist. Where the population was composed of creatures that would have given normal girls nightmares.
Koa was glad that at least she had her father at her side, and that he never let go of her hand. With her free hand, Koa tugged at the high collar of her gown. She frowned and groaned. The black lace made her throat itch.
Koa looked up at her father, who walked regally by her side, head held high, and face set with purpose. They walked at the head of the procession through the streets of Lyrinia, while the citizens watched in uneasy silence.
Netherworld vamps, War-Breeders, Jems, Syths, and even ghouls came out of their hiding spots to catch a glimpse of the mysterious half-blood princess.
Koa tried not to stare back at the horrific creatures all around. Like metallic giants, slim, and sleek, the Scayors patrolled the event like silent police. Their eyes cast a dim green glow over what they scanned.
She shuddered whenever their gaze lingered on her. She feared that they were reading her thoughts and knew that she was afraid of them. That was one thing that Koa hated, the admission of fear. Even the monk-like Syths scared her. They were big, pale, creatures with bald heads and faces covered in tattoos.
Lightning broke out and everyone looked up to the sky. Koa clutched her father’s arm and paused.
He smiled down at her. “Don’t worry, Koa. It’s not a real sky, my love. That is simply the ground of another Netherworld level. I believe they are having a battle up there.”
Koa’s eyes narrowed as she looked at the dismal black sky. Lightning struck again, but it wasn’t the kind of lighting that she was used to. It was green and took the shape of various symbols as it faded into the dark. To think that they were only on one of the many levels of the Netherworld, and that entire civilizations and kingdoms were going about their business with little to no care about what an important day this was for Lyrinia was too much for young Koa to grasp.
When she looked back down, she saw that everyone had returned their attention to her. Vampire women and men stared at her. They were the only creatures that she wasn’t fearful of. Father had various vampires over at the manor from time to time, but none of them looked as picturesque as these Netherworld vamps.
Painted faces stared at her. The vampire women were the most beautiful women that Koa had ever seen, and yet none compared to her mother’s simple and natural beauty. These women were like painted dolls who she imagined tipping over and watching crack into pieces of porcelain.
Koa noticed how they seemed to be separated into groups. The red lipsticks on the left and the black lipsticks on the right. Koa didn’t know if it was simply a fashion trend or something more, but all of the women wore the most elaborate gowns and jeweled arrangements on their perfectly sculptured hairdos.
They watched her, unblinking, unsmiling. She could see the judgment in their eyes.
“Father,” Koa breathed. She looked away from their violet eyes and clutched her father’s arm.
King Alsand looked down at her. His green eyes were serious today. “What is it, darling?”
Koa looked ahead at the sparkling golden palace before them. The golden plates along the palaces walls shimmered and reflected all of the light from the Disc Moon, the artificial moon of the Netherworld. Her voice was caught in her throat. Something felt odd and yet she felt drawn to the palace. It stood out like a candle in the dark and pulled her in, as if by magic, like a moth to a porch light.
Koa’s face paled. This was the place that would be her new home. King Greggan’s teenage son, Prince Jax, would be her new husband.
Koa stopped. The guards that were leading them looked back and seemed ready to seize her and force her forward.
King Alsand leaned down to her ear. “What’s wrong?”
“I want to go home.”
Her father patted her hand and when one of the Syth guards stepped forward, he whipped out the Lyrinian sword with lightning speed. Everyone drew in a breath and stepped back as they beheld its power. The ring of steel rang throughout the air. It pulsed, audibly, and visibly as the red glow made the air heat and crackle.
Even Koa held her breath as her eyes shot to the Lyrinian blade.
King Alsand’s raptor-like glare burned into the guards, warning them to keep their distance. He didn’t have to say a word. The red glow of the black blade was enough to make the large brutish creatures rethink their actions.
King Alsand waited a moment longer, making sure that they knew how serious he was. Koa had only trained with that sword once. The power was too great for her now, but one day it would be hers.
She flinched when her father’s glare landed on her. “Koa, this is your home.”
Koa shook her head, but avoided his eyes. She looked around. The air was stale, not like the fresh fragrant air of France. The sky was dark, lit only by the Disc Moon that cast different colors across the land whenever the hour changed.
She missed the moon of Earth. She missed the sun, the trees, and the flowers. The Netherworld felt like a nightmare that she would never awaken from. No matter what color the day was in the Netherworld, it was always too dark for her. Koa’s father didn’t understand her love for daylight, for he had never seen real daylight.
The sun’s rays would kill him just as surely as it would kill any vampire, Netherworld or New World. Koa was the only exception and she wished that he would at least try to understand.
“You are half Netherworld vamp, Koa,” her father gave her hand a squeeze. “This is where you belong, amongst your people.”
“I am also half human.”
King Alsand looked down at her and pursed his lips. His eyes hid something from her.
Koa tried to soften her voice and sound as sweet as possible. “Bring mother here, and maybe I won’t feel so homesick,” Koa reasoned, her green eyes hopeful.
King Alsand shook his head, but his features softened for her. “My darling girl. You will see that this is the place for you. You belong here with your people. The treaty has already been signed.” He leaned closer to her ear and whispered. “Your mother cannot come here Koa. She is safe in the mortal world. If we do not fulfill our side of the treaty, she will be in danger. Now, is that what you want?”
Her lips trembled. She shook her head quickly. Just the thought of someone harming her mother made her feel sick. She didn’t know what she would do if she lost that sweet, loving, woman.
She looked into her father’s eyes.
“Do you understand what I am telling you?”
Koa nodded. She understood, but she still didn’t agree with what was happening.
Alsand smiled and stroked her pale white cheek.
“But I don’t want to do this,” Koa whispered.
Alsand’s smile faded, but his eyes didn’t turn cold on her as she expected. He knelt down to her level and cupped her cheek.
“I know, my dear girl, but sometimes we have to do things that we don’t want to…to protect those that we love.”
“May I?” Faun asked of Alsand.
Alsand nodded and Faun gathered her white skirts in one hand and scampered over to fix Koa’s long black hair. Koa didn’t take her eyes from her father’s. She hoped that he would see how miserable she was.
Koa ignored Faun as she examined her face with violet eyes. She was adamant about making sure that Koa’s part was perfectly straight and that her hair fell in long ringlets.
“Smile,” she said.
Koa twisted her mouth. “I don’t want to.”
Faun put her hands on her hips. She scrunched up the space between her thin borws as she narrowed her eyes at Koa. “Just do it. It’s only for a second.”
Koa rolled her eyes and faked a quick smile.
“That wasn’t so hard, now was it?” Snickering, she gathered her skirts in her hand. “You have red lipstick on your teeth,” she said and returned to her place in the procession behind Koa and her father.
Frustrated, Koa rubbed her teeth with her finger. She knew just how ridiculous she looked. Black liner, red lips, and rosy cheeks.
Alsand locked arms with Koa. He leaned close and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He lowered his voice into a whisper. “Remember, never mention that you can walk in the sun. Never.”
Koa swallowed and squeezed her eyes shut. “I know, father. You don’t have to keep reminding me.”
“Good,” he stood back to his full height. His eyes widened and he leaned down again. “Or that you can fly.”
Koa nodded, her head down. “Yes, I know.”
He pinched her cheek. “Good. Shall we continue, darling?”
“I don’t know, father.” Koa couldn’t bring herself to look at her father again. “Is there anything else that you want to remind me not to say or do?” Her eyes were burning from the tears that threatened to gush forth.
Alsand noticed and simply shook his head. He patted her hand.
She hung her head. Once again, they were walking down the black stone walkway that led to the gate and stone doors of the Lyrinian palace.
Koa’s heart pattered against her ribcage. She felt like she might have an anxiety attack. So many eyes staring. So much anticipation in the air.
Those golden gates that she’d been staring at for the past hour, as they walked through the entire kingdom, were held open for them and heavily guarded.
When Koa stepped through the gates and entered a massive courtyard of stone. Their path was lit for them. On either side of the carpet were artificial trees of stone and black clay. They weren’t real, but they were beautiful. Art.
Even Koa could appreciate the mastery. She examined the sculptures as they followed their escort through the courtyard and to the stone doors that led into the palace. Once inside, light seemed to fill every dark space. Chandeliers, torches, candles, mirrors reflecting the light and light discs were positioned all over the wide corridor.
It was then that Koa contemplated flying away. She’d thought of it often. It would be her last chance. She took a peek over her shoulder. She could still see the door. She’d just promised her father that she would keep her abilities a secret. She wasn’t sure why such things were so important.
She could simply lift herself into the air, and head for the Gate, but visions of her mother being harmed kept her firmly planted to the purple carpeted floor.
Koa felt numb, like she was walking to her prison cell.
Each corridor led to another corridor of a different theme. From one of light and mirrors they stepped through grand archers to a corridor of dim candles and artificial flowers in vases painted with paint that seemed to have a light of its own. There was a corridor with walls filled with paintings and soft music played by a small creature that resembled the one at the Gate. Tunes was what her father called him, but all Koa remembered was how creepy he was.
Koa watched it buzz around with short black wings as it blew eerie melodies out of its flute. She tapped her chin and furrowed her brows as she tried to remember what kind of creature it was.
“An imp!” Koa shouted triumphantly. She covered her mouth with her hand and looked around in horror. She hadn’t meant to say that aloud. Everyone glanced at her with disapproval, but the imp continued playing its flute until they went into the next corridor.
Koa was relieved to find that the maze of corridors had finally ended, and that they were finally in the main ballroom where the prince and the royal family awaited them.
She stepped into the room, from carpet to shiny granite floors and a flood of light and decorations overwhelmed her senses. She didn’t want to admit how beautiful it was, but her eyes widened at the spectacle. Hundreds of chairs draped with gold silk lined either side of the alleyway that led to the platform where the thrones were held.
Her heart thumped. She felt something she hadn’t expected. Koa’s face flooded with blood as her eyes met those of the prince.
No one else mattered. Nothing else existed as Koa’s eyes cut through the crowd and down to the set of five thrones as Koa and her father stopped before the platform.
“Princess Evina, 1st Queen Katya, 2nd Queen Lera, your highness, King Greggan, and Prince Jax, behold King Alsand of Elyan and Princess Koa.”
Koa heard the introductions but something odd was happening. She stared at Prince Jax with her mouth agape.
He was the most attractive person she had ever seen in her life. Piercing dark blue eyes, dark blood red hair and a perfectly sculpted chin and nose. Koa felt her face flush as he looked her up and down. Then, he did something that made her grin, despite her previous fears and doubts.
Prince Jax winked at her.