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Atlantis Red Tide

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Atlantis Red Tide
Lost Daughters of Atlantis Book 2

When a girl on a quest gets kidnapped…

Princess Coral wants one thing. Actually two. Her lost sisters. Locked in her underwater castle by an evil regent intent on seizing control of her kingdom, Coral is determined to break free and find her siblings. When she tries to escape, she’s seized by her childhood crush, Finn.

This wasn’t the reunion she’d expected. Finn plays a delicate game. A game of loyalty, betrayal, and honor.

Even though Finn is working for the enemy, Coral needs his help to reunite with her sisters and stop an underwater war. She must risk her heart to gain his trust. But what will happen if Finn chooses against her?

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Kindle Top 100 Rankings

Book

Rank

Chart

Atlantis Red Tide

46

Kindle AU Paid > ... > Action & Adventure

Atlantis Red Tide

73

Kindle AU Paid > ... > Paranormal & Fantasy

Atlantis Red Tide

99

Kindle US Paid > ... > Sword & Sorcery

Reviews

"Allie Burton brought me into her world of Atlantis immediately. With danger, political intrigue and plenty of swoon-worthy heroes, I was hooked from the first page."

starstarstarstarstarAWESOME, SUPER, GREAT, MAKE THE MOVIE!!!!!
“I bought this book for my daughter to read, but decided to read it first. I LOVED this book so much. I can't wait to read the next one! It sucked you in right away, the chapters were fairly short (which is great for kids), awesome character development and I just loved the story! I hope there are many more in this series...makes great gifts for a middle school reader!” – Jill

starstarstarstarstarGreat 2nd Book in the Trilogy of Lost Daughters of Atlantis!
“I loved the series! I completed all three books in the Trilogy! I loved how the stories of the three sisters came together but each one had their own individual way of discovering their hidden talents and secrets. I can't wait to read more stories from Allie Burton.” - GTO

Excerpt

Chapter One
Prisoner Princess

Escape.

The single word thrummed in my brain.

Escape to show the legend was real. That I was real.

Escape to prove my ability to lead. That I wasn’t a silly sixteen-year-old girl.

Escape to stop a war.

The thrumming crescendo-ed like a harp seal colony under attack.

Today was the day I declared my independence. Finally, I’d do what I wanted to do. And when I returned in triumph with my two half-sisters, peace would be restored and no one would question my place in society.

Including me.

I slunk around the corner with my back to the coral wall made of filigree carvings. I didn’t care about scratching my bare arms and legs on the sharp coral or about the water current tangling my long, brown hair. My esthetician and stylist would be shocked.

Needing to move while the Royal Guards changed shifts and while I still had the audacity to get out, I pushed my normal response—sit,  wait and ponder—to  the corner of my mind.

Determination rippled through me, straightening my spine and firming my muscles. I had to be strong. Residents of the palace might think I was a spoiled, catered-to princess, but really I was well-behaved. Did what was expected of me. Did what I was told.

Trying to blend into the background, I hid behind the streamers of seaweed acting like partitions in the palace hallway. I peered into the grand, cavernous foyer. The beauty of the room struck me, so at odds with the ugliness of my emotions.

Star fish decorated the walls in intricate patterns. The crystal and shell chandelier swayed with the flowing water sparking colors of light across the room. A throne room to be admired.

But not in the current conditions. Too much uncertainty. Too much intrigue. Too much doubt.

Like the doubt trickling through my veins.

Despite the risk of being caught, I swam through another seaweed partition. I had to pull this off, get away, finally act on my plan to bring my half-sisters home and stop the war.

For if I wasn’t a princess, how could I stay in this amazing palace? And if I truly was a princess of Atlantis, how could I stay here doing nothing while my people, Loyal and Separatists, fought each other?

My confusion tangled like seaweed.

Was I the true leader of the Atlanteans or a phony figurehead?

“Princess Cordelia?”

Gasping, I swallowed a throat full of seawater.

“Ahhh.” I screeched at the guard’s deep tone. Calming my expression and trying to appear innocent, I straightened and turned to face him. “How dare you scare me like that.”

The guard, with four gold stripes on his royal blue swim trunks, bowed—slightly. “My apologies.”

A second guard held a pointy spear. “May I escort you somewhere?”

Which was a polite way to ask where I was going. I tilted my chin to a haughtier angle. “No, thank you.”

“My orders are to escort you, for your own safety.” The first guard swam toward me and gripped my arm a little too hard.

A princess never shows emotions. I couldn’t give away that I was up to something. I forced my most superior princess tone over the fear swamping my belly. “Am I not safe within my palace walls?”

Next, I’ll be ordered to stay in my bedroom. There I’d truly be like a goldfish in a bowl.

“The Royal Guard’s duty is to protect you.”

Curling my hands into fists, I controlled my biting response. “Who gave your orders, Captain?”

The second guard grabbed hold of my other arm. “Regent Mollusk.”

The man who’d raised me, taken care of me, and now ignored me. His lack of compassion had become more apparent in the last few months. As if I was a pet he’d inherited and he’d had to keep track of, feed, and misinform.

Caught in between the guards like a tuna on two hooks, they turned me around and moved toward the seaweed partition. My legs flayed out in front of me as the guards steered me through the seaweed. I wanted to fight but I needed to act as if I was in control. Plus, struggling wouldn’t seem very princess-like.

I’d finally gathered my courage to take control of my life, to do what I thought right, and I’d failed. Dismally.

The failure wormed its way through my veins and into my gut. I was a washout. My shoulders sagged with the weight of my flounder. If Mollusk found out, I’d never have any freedom.

“Unhand me.” My lips trembled, but I kept my tone firm.

Act strong. Act royal.

“Just because you’re a…princess doesn’t mean you’re in charge.” The captain’s lip curled in a sneer. I recognized the man as one of Mollusk’s favorites.

“I should be in charge.” My insides twisted. Self-doubt and pretense braided tight, shooting cramps of uncertainty from my mid-section to my brain. I doubted my authenticity, like my people. “You can’t treat me like this.”

“It’s for your own good, Princess.”

“For the good of Atlantis Captain, I need to find—”

He shifted and slapped me across the right cheek.

My head snapped back. My lips mewed in surprise. And my heart stung like my skin. I raised my hand to touch my cheek, but my arms were still held down.

My head felt woozy. Dizzy from shock. No one had ever hit me before.

“That is a treasonable offense.” My voice quavered. I squeezed my eyelids together trying to stop the burning sensation of tears. A guard hitting a supposed-princess. My world was cracking like the fault lines deep in the ocean floor.

“You will do what you are told.” The scolding in the captain’s voice made me feel like a small misbehaved child, made me feel less than a princess. He glared at me. “A war is about to commence and we need you safe and in the palace.”

“I can help stop the war.” I struggled against the two guards, while trying to appear dignified.  They were supposed to be under my command.

When had the guards stopped treating me like a princess? Heat flamed on my face and burned down my spine like a human fire. They’d never listened to me, but never before had they treated me like a criminal.

If I could make them understand the importance of my mission. “If we produce proof—”

“Be a good princess and get that ridiculousness out of your head. The Separatists will never listen.”

The guards dragged me between them, through the grand foyer and toward the Regent’s offices. When we arrived, they deposited me in front of Mollusk’s desk, like unwanted rubbish.

I used to think of Mollusk as comfortable and grandfatherly. Now, he seemed more like a beached whale. He showed no interest in me, barely glancing up.

“What can I help you with, Princess Coral?” His heavy bulk sat behind the ornate desk. He played with the ever-present mangrove root sitting on top.

“Princess Coral, my tush.” I murmured under my breath, not wanting him to hear my slight defiance. He had no right to call me by my nickname when he treated me like algae growing at his side. “If I am a princess, then why do I feel like a prisoner?”

Mollusk let out a deep sigh making tiny air bubbles spout out of his thin lips. “The Atlantean Separatists are about to start a war.”

Every idiot in the palace knew about the war brewing. Yet, it seemed I was the only one who wanted to stop the battle.

I crossed my arms and tried to project fierceness. “Just because the other two princesses haven’t reappeared is a stupid reason for a war.”

I’d been raised since birth to believe I was a princess whisked away as a baby by a loyal regent for my own protection. My half-sisters had their own regents and separate destinations. They had never returned.

“I agree, but the Separatists have simple minds.” Mollusk swished all Separatists with a broad splash as if none of them were very bright.

Usually he spoke to me like that making me feel squashed and lonely.

Organizing arguments in my head, I leaned forward and placed my palms on the intricately-carved wooden desk scavenged from an ancient shipwreck. “If we find my half-sisters, we could prove the legend is true and avoid war.”

Mollusk shook his head back and forth like I was a dimwitted student and not the leader of our people. “If only it was that simple.”

I wanted to burst out in a scream for him to listen to me. For anyone to listen to me. But yelling wouldn’t be appropriate for a princess and keeping up appearances, especially now with my own insecurities about my legitimacy, was of the utmost importance.

Instead, I straightened my shoulders and used my most serene voice. “I’m not a child. I’m sixteen and it’s time for me to lead my people.”

His superior-than-thou laughter echoed, roiling my stomach. “No one with half the brain of a bass fish would listen to an over-protected baby seal who never ruled anything in her life.”

“Because you wouldn’t let me.”

His laughter stopped. His gaze shifted around the large office. He licked his fatty lips. “The Separatists have made a threat against you.” His dire words sent a chill down my spine.

I’d never expected the Separatists to hate me. To harm me.

A hard clot of fear stuck in my throat. Swallowing, I forced the fear down to my belly where it landed with a thud. I continued pushing.

“The legend foretold of the three lost princesses of Atlantis coming together and combining their special powers to save and lead our people.” The sharpened edge of my voice didn’t hide my frustration. “All of our efforts should be directed toward finding my half-sisters.”

“We’ve wasted many hours searching for Pelagia and Marisabel.” His belittling tone stomped my drive to find my half-sisters on my own.

If Royal Guards with all their resources couldn’t find my half-sisters, how could I?

“But—”

“The legend also foretold of a destructive Seer.” Mollusk’s lips firmed into a hard line.

“What has she to do with me?”

“Nothing.” He answered quickly. Too quickly. “Then tell me where do you think the other two princesses are hiding?”

Like a thermal vent, I wanted to blow, but I couldn’t. Instead my spew came in words. “I don’t know, but we can’t give up. We are chartered by Poseidon. I am King Atlas’s daughter and Poseidon’s granddaughter.” The words didn’t sound strong and powerful, but weak and hollow.

Mollusk stood and leaned forward. His bushy eyebrows furrowed toward the center of his face. “And what is your special power to prove the Poseidon connection?”

Pain sliced across my midsection. I stumbled backward. My shoulders bowed and my body folded at the waist. The verbal attack had been deliberate.

I tightened my gut trying to force away the pain. The pain intensified. I opened my mouth to respond. Nothing came out. Because I had no defense. I’d shown no proclivity to any extraordinary power.

“Exactly.” His voice seethed with satisfaction.

Only Mollusk knew that I’d shown no special skill. Like all Atlanteans I had super strength and speed, but nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing to prove my heritage.

He’d thought it best we keep that secret between us. The information would only fan the anger of the Atlantean people. Right now, the people believed at least one princess had returned.

“But I must have a special power. You know I’m the princess and rightful heir. You’re my regent. You took me away during the Catalyst and protected me until our return to the new Atlantis.”

Mollusk played with the sheaves on his desk hiding his expression. “Things were confusing during the Catalyst. The constant earthquakes, the falling buildings, the people rushing from danger trying to protect their families. Many babies were put in pods for protection.” His hands flayed up and down like he was angling to catch a fish. “I’m sure I got the right pod though.”

But his tone didn’t sound so certain.

My limbs trembled like the cataclysmic quake he spoke of. My insides liquefied, gelling together and then ripping apart. My mind scrambled.

His doubts would explain his treatment. My special power bestowed by Poseidon should’ve already developed.

And if I had no special power, how could I be a real Atlantean princess?
***
Plop. Scratch. Whoosh.

Strange sounds stirred me from sleep. I listened with my eyelids closed. The buzz of the electric eels lighting the palace hummed in the distance. Nothing unusual, but something felt off.

Stiffening my limbs, I opened my eyes to complete darkness. Too dark, especially when I heard the comforting buzz of the eels. So, only dark in my room?

A hard wave of water sluiced across my skin as if something moved beside me. Before I could react, a hand covered my mouth. Too late to scream. But the scream built inside over-inflating my lungs. My chest was going to burst. Explode with shock and fear.

I punched and kicked, my foot hitting something hard, solid, muscular.

“Oof.” The guy—because with a chest like that it definitely was a guy—grunted.

A smidgen of satisfaction released the built up air in tiny bubbles.

With his left hand still over my mouth, he used his right hand to wrap something around my arms. The binding scratched like seaweed.

The sharp pokes dug into and under my skin puncturing any satisfaction, any superiority, and any sane thought. Terror stabbed like spear points. Mollusk had mentioned the Separatists had threatened me. Was I going to die?

I yanked my arms apart. Instead of loosening or breaking completely the binding grew tighter, drawing my wrists together. The terror multiplied like algae growing on my lungs, I suffocated. Simple seaweed shouldn’t hold against a super strong Atlantean. This guy should know that basic fact if he was an Atlantean.

But if he wasn’t an Atlantean how could he be breathing underwater? My ribcage tightened around my lungs adding to my panic. I’d felt no metal and rubber scuba equipment on him.

He wrapped the same stuff around my legs. I struggled, pulled on my legs, but the seaweed or rope or whatever he used grew so tight my limbs tingled.

“Don’t struggle or it will completely cut off your circulation,” the guy said like he cared.

As if.

I couldn’t hit or kick or scream. But I could bite.

Opening my mouth, as much as I could with his hand over my lips, I got ready to clamp down on his skin with my teeth.

He slipped his hand off in a sure motion and slapped something on my face. Rough around the edges, the suction adhered to my mouth. My breathing staggered, choked in my lungs.

Five finger-like points stuck out from the center attached to my mouth. One point stuck on my chin. Two more pointed across my cheeks. And the other two sandwiched my nose.

A star fish.

He’d attached a star fish to my lips to keep me quiet and used super-strong seaweed to tie up my legs and arms.

Pain radiated from my chest spreading helplessness through my veins like a shot of morphine. I wiggled, but basically I was helpless.

There was no way to fight this guy. Nothing I could do.

Just like my life.

Pampered and spoiled which basically means I’m useless. A phony figurehead. A pawn in a game I never really understood. My heart raced as if I actually still put up a struggle. But the helplessness pumping through me changed to a paralyzing fear. I was such a wimp.

The blood in my veins chilled. Froze like iced fish. I was being kidnapped by the Separatists.

The guy lifted me and threw me over his shoulder. Strong arms wrapped around, holding me like precious cargo. Precious cargo who weighed next to nothing, a traitorous voice whispered in my head.

I refused to be impressed. My bare midsection came in contact with his bare shoulder. Tingles raced down my spine.

Must be from the binding cutting off my circulation.

Kidnappers weren’t careful with hostages. Right?

Especially not a Separatist who doesn’t believe in the princess legend. Who doesn’t believe in me.

My stomach revolted at the thoughts. The meager contents spilled over and threatened to come up my throat.

The empty corridors echoed my helplessness. Where are the guards who are supposed to keep me safe, or what I called locked away? There was no one to sound the alarm. No one would realize I was missing until morning.

And by the way the guards had treated me yesterday, I doubt anyone would care.

Melancholy swirled in my tummy, mixing with the fear. I was pathetic. I shouldn’t care what the guards thought. And whether I was or wasn’t a princess. I was still being kidnapped by a Separatist. I had to do something.

Lifting my head, I squirmed to get a glance at my kidnapper. Longish, black hair fell over his forehead making him appear a bit untamed. Like a rogue or a renegade. A starfish, similar to the one covering my mouth, plastered over his cheeks covering most of his face. A strong chin jutted out with determination. Sensual lips a girl could enjoy kissing.

Not that I wanted to. He was my kidnapper after all.

The shape of his face looked familiar. His chin reminded me of someone I once knew.

This guy obviously didn’t know that Mollusk held the real power. I was just a figurehead they never listened to, never asked for advice, never let out of the palace.

Anger at the usual over-protectiveness soured inside my stomach, wiping out the sadness. The fear still remained. Where was a Royal Guard when you needed one?

The guy made his way along the edge of the corridor as if he knew where he was going. No hesitation or hint of confusion. He swam at an even pace. He knew his way around the palace.

How?

My mind played guessing games with the possibilities. Rogue Royal Guard? Separatist Spy? Palace servant who didn’t like me?

We made it to the grand foyer and then the guy stopped. He turned toward the wall with the starfish design. I lifted my head again and watched him counting with his finger. Seven stars from the left. Three down.

My heart jumped like a salmon swimming upstream, then picked up its pace, thudding in my chest. It couldn’t be.

He reached toward the starfish and turned it clockwise.

My body froze, waiting for the click to come.

My kidnapper knew the secret.

Questions darted back and forth in my head like a school of fish. No one knew about the secret tunnels.

A hole opened in the wall. The hole led to a series of tunnels I played in as a kid. Many of the tunnels had been blocked to stop spies or Separatists, but the guards hadn’t found all of them. I’d planned to use the tunnels to make my own escape, but hadn’t gotten this far yesterday.

Ironic that the Royal Guards had caught me trying to get out, but not an intruder getting in.

The tunnels led out of the palace and to the surface of the Pacific Ocean, underneath Atlas Island, off the coast of southern California.

Hmm. My brain clicked, playing out the different scenarios. Maybe being kidnapped wasn’t such a bad thing. If I could get away from this guy I could blend with the islanders and the tourists. Escaping my single kidnapper should be easier than escaping from the palace and the entire Royal Guard.

The guy bent low for both of us to fit in the hole. Then, he touched a small shell and the hole closed like it had never been there—the reason why the guards hadn’t found all the tunnels.

My gut clenched, panic searing my insides. Heat flashed across my skin. No one would find us now. But that was good. I was out of the palace.

It wasn’t exactly how I planned to escape, but what did it matter? I was free.

Well, almost.