I choose to do my top three books. The first one is Everlost by Brenda Pandos. She also agreed to a character interview and a giveaway! Don't forget to check out the BIR schedule!!
****About the Book****
Everlost by Brenda Pandos
Published Date: March 2013
Publisher: Obsidian Mountain Publishing
The Story: With one kiss, Tatiana has discovered a love for a man she’d hated—the prince of Natatoria. Through the botched rescue attempt by her father against this union, an army of rebels has revealed their identity and intentions—treason. When the King is fatally injured, Azor takes things into his own hands. No one is safe as mers are forced to take sides. Betamers take the blame, including Tatiana’s family’s closest friend, Badger, and the punishment is death.
Caught between the bond and her true feelings, Tatiana, the future Queen, must overcome the promise to fight for what’s right and uncover the truths of the past or all will become Everlost.
Hey, Nicole. Thanks for the interview. You’ll have to excuse me since… this is a bit awkward. I’ve never talked to a human, let along one that knows our secret. Brenda must really trust you.
Nicole: How's life been since we've seen you last? *wink*
Jacob: Good. Real good. It’s amazing how everything turned out, I mean we've suffered from our loses and things are definitely different now, especially with … well, I can’t say, but you know who I’m talking about since you bear the same name. *smile*
Nicole: *big grin* I bet they are different Jacob! Ok, next question. Were you shocked the new Mer Tales book would feature your story?
Jacob: Yes, actually considering my very small appearance in Everblue and the fact Tatiana’s teeth were involved. But Brenda said readers wanted to know what happened to Tatiana, so… Everlost became all about that, and being her bodyguard, I was roped into all of it.
Nicole: Now that you mentioned it, it’s been bothering me why you let Tatiana see your bite marks to begin with? What where you thinking?
Jacob: What was I thinking? Heck, at the moment, I was just trying to keep her calm and in line. You should know by now when the Princess wants something, there’s no stopping her and she’d already suspected. She needed to see them because deep down she knew she needed an ally.
Nicole: You were loyal to the King and Prince Azor initially, correct? What changed to prompt you to join the rebels?
Jacob: *chuckles darkly* That should be obvious, considering what that slimy no-good—I’ll refrain from cursing since you have young readers, but after everything that happened to my brother, I no longer trusted the King. Let’s just say the old saying about power corrupting has been proven true here.
Nicole: That's true, I just wanted to know what you were thinking! OK, next; what drew you to Tatiana?
Jacob: Poseidon, I don’t know where to begin. Truly, she is the most beautiful, most precious creature in the ocean. The day Jack introduced me… I know everyone says love at first site is cliché, but … *sigh* … that’s what it was for me. I’d move the ocean for her if she wanted.
Nicole: Aww, that's so sweet! How hard was it to guard Tatiana, and to keep your feelings to yourself?
Jacob: Let’s just say I wanted to smash someone’s face on a daily basis. To watch that son of a bass kiss her to begin with! Sorry. She just needed to know what an ass her mate was and break her bond with that spineless—you get my drift. Yeah… hard doesn’t even begin to explain my frustration with all of that… Actually, Brenda said we can include an excerpt.
Downstairs guards snored, slumped onto the floor with spears dangling loosely in their hands. Tatiana traversed farther down the forbidden hall, cautious not to disrupt the current. On her left was a big meeting room and farther down, the archway leading to the barracks. To her dismay, the room was empty. Across the hall, though, was an arsenal filled with weapons and armor—enough for every merman in Natatoria. She stopped and stared at the vast collection.
Sad groans pulled her attention to her left. She eyed the dungeon doors, wondering how many arrested merman lay shackled behind them. She swam closer and placed her trembling fingers on the iron latch, finding it unlocked.
How easy it would be to help the prisoners escape, she thought.
“Do you need something, Princess?” a male voice asked.
Her entire body jolted—caught with her hand in the proverbial cookie jar, but she didn’t dare turn around. Jacob.
“You mustn’t go into the dungeon. It’s not a proper place for a lady.”
She snorted softly at the manipulation behind his words, but kept her hand firmly planted in an act of defiance, hoping he’d go away. “I appreciate your concern, Jacob, but this is my house now, and I’ll go where ever I want.”
“You object?” She chuckled. “Sea stars! Who made you my keeper?”
He swam to her and placed his hand gently on hers. Surprising to her, his warmth sent a tingle across her skin. She gasped and pulled away.
He responded and drew his shoulders taut. “I’m responsible for you, and I don’t feel it’s safe for you to be around the prisoners.”
“They can’t hurt me.”
Jacob grimaced. “It sends the wrong message.”
“To your people.”
She looked away from his blue-grey eyes and swallowed hard.
“All the mers are my people, or are you accusing me of being a traitor, too?”
“Of course not, Princess. But, please.” He motioned she move away from the door, careful not to touch her a second time.
She held her spot. “Are they being cared for? Fed?”
“And the girl?”
“She was released earlier into her father’s custody. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time.” He stretched out his arm towards the front of the house. “Princess. Let’s go into the other room. Can I get you something? Are you hungry, perhaps?”
Seriously? The thought of a guard serving her food humored her. She bit back a smile, tempted to laugh at his lame attempts of distraction, but composed herself instead. “Actually, I’m looking for Azor.”
Jacob exhaled, his eyes losing focus for a beat. “The Prince has yet to return from the palace.”
“What’s taking him so long?”
“I’m not sure.” His jaw clenched and she found it odd he didn’t look directly at her.
“What aren’t you telling me, Jacob?” she demanded, swimming closer to him.
Jacob cast her a quick glance. “Nothing.”
She squinted, her lips curling down in disbelief. “Will you go check on him and find out what’s taking so long?”
He lifted his chin and Tatiana couldn’t help but notice his washboard abs flex.
“No,” he said, determined. “I won’t leave you.”
She shook off her attraction to his physique and balled her hands. “Seriously? Fish fry! There are a bazillion guards here to keep me safe, if you haven’t noticed.”
She almost laughed at how incredulous that sounded considering—even while she fought with Jacob—they snored through their argument.
“Shhh,” he said sharply, tugging her by her elbow to the front room. “I’d love to assist, but I have my orders. If something were to happen—”
She pulled away. “I know. You’d be hung by your scales. Blah blah blah. Tube worms! I need to know where my husb—mate is. I am the princess, remember,” she whispered, hard.
“How could I forget?” he said glibly.
She fisted her hands when Jacob wouldn’t budge. “Then take me to the palace if you must chaperone me,” she whispered, the edge to her voice hard.
“I decree it.”
A small smiled tipped his lips. “You don’t have the authority.”
“Try and stop me.” She swam past Jacob to the front door in determination. “You’re my bodyguard, be one.”
“Princess, don’t be foolish.” He wrapped his hand around the bottom of her fin and held her there.
“Unhand me. Now!” She whipped her tail away from his grasp and swirled around, glaring. “You can’t touch me and you can’t keep me prisoner either.”
Jacob took up a trident in his hands and moved in a flash to block the front door. “I have my orders and I’ll do what’s necessary to keep you from leaving.”
She zipped up to him and tugged on the arm bracer covering his left forearm. “Like putting on these silly things? So I can’t bite you again?”
Surprise crossed his face for the slightest second before he covered his angst with an empty expression. “Princess, contain yourself. This is unbecoming.”
“Unbecoming? Poseidon! You sound like my mother. And I recognize you.” She pointed at his nose, their faces inches from one another. “I know who you are.”
His gaze unfocused as he looked over the top of her head at the stirring guards scattered around them, jaw clenched. “So what if you know who I am,” he said quietly. “Are you going to turn me in? So I can be flogged and arrested just like the rest of the men who stood up for your honor, for your rights?”
Tatiana gasped and her eyes grew momentarily before she centered herself. How dare he manipulate her when all she wanted was her mate?
“You weren’t able to contain me then and you won’t now,” she hissed and took up another trident leaning against the wall, aiming it at his chest. “Move aside.”
Jacob’s hard expression softened as he eyed the trident. He shook his head with a peculiar grin.
“Are you serious?”
“Yes—” but before she could attempt to use her weapon, Jacob pulled the trident from her hands and swiveled her around, pinning her hands to her sides. He placed his other hand over her mouth. His body, hot and strong, pressed up against hers. A flicker of want sparked inside her. She’d never had a merman hold her like that. Only fabric from her dress and his man skirt was preventing them from accidentally…
“Don’t,” he whispered in her ear. “You’ll wake the household.”
Her breath caught in her throat until guilt overcame her fantasies. She pushed out her claws from her fingertips. With a flick of her wrist, she tried to swipe at his body when the door behind them scraped against the floor, opening. Jacob let go and distanced himself, falling into a bow.
“What’s going on in here?” Azor commanded, his gaze darting between the two of them.
Brenda has given one signed copy of Everlost! This one is only open to US & UK residents.a Rafflecopter giveaway