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Atlantis Rising Tide

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Atlantis Rising Tide
Lost Daughters of Atlantis Book 3

When a girl goes from lifeguard to princess…

Maris Sanders thinks she’s a normal high school girl. Until she starts developing underwater powers that aren’t normal at all. When a good-looking stranger, with the odd name of Cuda, comes into her life and tells her stories, she discovers a history that stuns her.

A lost princess. A lost kingdom. And two lost sisters she never knew she had.

Not knowing who to believe, Maris is determined to find the truth. About herself, her powers, and her sisters. But a scientist hired by Cuda’s father is determined to use her as a science experiment. Maris must decide whether to risk her life and her present human reality to join a battle under the sea. And if she doesn’t, will she ever find where she truly belongs?

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Atlantis Rising Tide

59

Kindle AU Paid > ... > Action & Adventure

“I read all 3 books in the collection by Allie Burton. I read one and then I quickly purchased the other two. The way the stories tied together and how the girls realized they were sisters was enchanting. I hope there will be more books to come in this series.”

starstarstarstarstarBook 4 of the Atlantis series by Allie Burton is coming out soon!
“Loved the adventures of Maris and Cuda. Powerful ending with the three princesses found. Can't wait to read Atlantis Dark Tides, Book 4 in the series.” - Cathy

starstarstarstarstarGreat series
“From the first book and this one Omg what a great book's I read the first one in one day and this one too I HAVE to buy all the books.” - Lisy

Excerpt

Chapter One
Rockin’ Rescue

The scream I’d been dreading ripped through the air and echoed across the waves.

A cold chill raced up my spine. The scorching sun beat down on my head. My chest tightened as if I was the one deprived of oxygen. Stiffening, all my lifeguard training tsunami-ed in my brain.

“Help!” The second scream splashed like ice water. “I’m drowning!”

My gaze scanned the surf by the cliff, around the edge of the bay where I thought the shout came from. At the point leading to the rough and open Pacific Ocean, a hand motioned. A dark head bobbed just above the surface near where the surge pummeled the cliffs.

Just like the blood pummeling through my veins, pulsing in an uneven rhythm. I sputtered into my walkie-talkie, “This is Maris. Drowning victim on the rocks.” My voice was rough, scratchy.

I sounded like I was ordering a drink. Not that I drink alcohol, I’m only sixteen, but depending on the alcohol content, Drowning Victim might be an appropriate name.

Oh my God, I’m hysterical. Nerves tend to make me flippant. I wanted to slap my forehead but instead I grabbed the red rescue tube and sprinted across the beach.

My first rescue, on my first day as a lifeguard at Mermaid Beach…and I hated the ocean.

Racing toward the water pulling the strap of the tube around my body, adrenaline kicked. The beach tugged at my feet, clutching like quicksand, as if trying to stop my forward momentum.

Warning me not to go in too deep.

Each step hit the ground with a thud, the sound pounding and echoing in my head. Each step took me closer to the thing I dreaded. Each step forced me to face the fear I’d carried with me my entire life.

A fear that something in the deep, dark of the ocean would pull me under.

A rushing filled my ears, so strong I thought they’d burst. I had to calm down. Think. I could do this.

I was a freakishly strong swimmer. Despite my fear of the ocean, swimming came naturally to me. Never had a lesson. Never trained until I joined the swim team my freshman year in high school and won the state championship. Never thought I’d dunk my derriere in the deep sea.

But someone needed help. I needed to assist them. This was what I was hired to do—save people. It was why I’d joined the lifeguard squad. Well, that and the cute guys.

“Help!” the victim yelled.

I jumped through the first wave. The bluish-green water claimed my feet. My ragged breath surfed out of my lungs. With the rescue tube in front, I dove just under the surface and into the unknown.

Salt stung my eyes for a millisecond. Almost like having goggles, the environment around me lightened. I kicked with all my might using every ounce of strength Coach told me I possessed.

This time it wasn’t about a race or a state championship. It was about someone’s life.

The noise and churning disappeared, like floating in an over-sized aquarium, almost peaceful. Like I was being lulled into believing nothing scary lurked.

But I knew better. I glanced down searching. A dark object squirmed below. I shivered and swallowed. Maybe I didn’t want to see. Instead of goggles, I wanted blinders.

I picked up speed, pulling with my arms and legs in a rough breaststroke. The drag of water lapped against my skin, and the tube’s strap tugged at my shoulders. Reaching the edge of the cliff where it jutted into the ocean, I came up for my first breath and glanced around.

Surf pounded the rock wall trying to erode it in one swift swoop. My stomach twisted and turned, shifted and shimmied, but I ignored my internal commotion. I had a job to do.

I spotted the drown-er. He swung his arms like a windmill on a blustery day, trying to keep his head above the surface and his body from smashing into the cliffs. The frantic motion seemed smooth and practiced, yet who would rehearse such a ridiculous move?

Diving under, I swam forward and surfaced beside him. “Hey.” A wave slapped my face.

“I’m stuck.” The guy’s grey eyes widened, but it didn’t look like fear.

Which was odd because I was terrified.

“You’re going to be okay.” I blew out air and tried to sound calm even as panic rushed like the Banzai Pipeline. I’d never rescued anyone in the ocean before and I didn’t want him learning that fact.

An alarm echoed in my head: This. Is. Not. A. Drill.

Mentally I reviewed what I’d been taught. Calm the victim, speak with authority. “Stuck on what?”

“Don’t know. My leg won’t—”

A huge swell crashed over us and we both swallowed water. Spitting out the salty, seaweed taste, I untangled the red rescue tube and pushed it toward him. “Hold onto this. I’m going to investigate.”

Free of the rescue tube’s buoyancy, I took a deep breath and dove in following the trail of the guy’s trim but toned upper body, past his narrow hips and muscular legs.

Extra-thick nylon fishing line wrapped around his ankle like a yoyo’s string. The heavy-duty nylon was attached to something farther down. I tugged on his leg, but couldn’t get his foot free.

Uncertainty waded through my mind like seaweed floating on the surf. Scissoring my legs I went deeper, following the cord. Everything was calm below the surface, the waves losing their power.

At this location, the depth was probably around twenty feet. A little deeper than my school pool where I’d dived to the bottom of plenty of times. I could do this. My lungs didn’t burn. Could it be pure adrenaline acting like oxygen?

My head felt clear. Oddly, I was thinking logically, possibly more logically than on land. Maybe I should petition to take my math tests underwater.

Stop it, Maris. You’ve got a job to do.

Kicking with renewed vigor, I dove like a torpedo using the string to guide me. I had to find what the wire was connected to and why it felt so heavy. If I could untie the line, the guy above could swim to safety. And my first rescue would be a success. Maybe then the other beach lifeguards would accept me.

My spirits dampened, but I couldn’t be distracted.

I reached the end and tugged again. Still no give.

Here, the ocean floor wasn’t sandy and smooth. Boulders piled up like an avalanche from the cliff above. It should’ve been dark, but my sight must’ve adjusted because I saw everything with a clarity that amazed me—small fish darting between the crevices, tinier plankton floating around, varying shades of green, yellow and brown seaweed.

Gross algae covered the rocks making the surface slimy. I tugged on the line. My hand slipped. The line appeared to be tangled in a pile of boulders.

Using my bare foot, I kicked at the pile. The rocks exploded away from each other and tumbled exposing an old-fashioned metal anchor. The anchor looked like it had fallen off an ancient sailing ship. Yet the wire appeared sleek and modern, something you’d buy in a fish and tackle shop today. Like a retro-fashionista, one of these things just doesn’t belong.

My mind ebbed. Another oddity. Of course my first rescue couldn’t be normal. Had to happen in an isolated area of the beach where I’d been stationed because no one ever swims here.

I tugged at the anchor and it shifted showing the beginning of a name. Even if I got the anchor un-wedged from beneath the avalanche of stone, I couldn’t lift the weight to the surface.

Grabbing a rock, the sharp edge sliced my hand. Red tinged the greenish water, but I felt no pain from the cut. I wasn’t a wimp, but I wasn’t a superhero either. Maybe adrenaline masked the pain and I’d feel the discomfort later. Hopefully, much later.

Using both hands, I smashed the rock against the line where it was tied to the anchor. The nylon frayed. I yanked and the line snapped.

Success.

I quickly ascended, wrapping the line around my arm so it wouldn’t tangle on anything else. I broke the surface.

“You’re okay.” The guy’s awestruck tone matched his expression. Eyebrows ridging over round pupils, open mouth, dropped jaw. “I thought you’d drowned, you were under so long.”

I hadn’t noticed the time. Too caught up in the actual rescue operation to worry about how long it took. I just knew I had to get him out of here before…

Glancing around, I spotted the Mermaid Beach rescue boat heading our way. My nerves snapped like the line. Too late.

Holding up the line, I forced a fake smile with tight lips. “Now the only thing you’re attached to is me.”

My face flushed realizing how that might sound. I wasn’t a flirt. Not very good with guys. Ever.

He directed a super-gorge smile at me, all straight white teeth and dimples by his lips. My heart caught as if I had been underwater for a long time. Maybe my best friend had been wrong, I wasn’t that bad at flirting “It would’ve been bad if the lifeguard drowned.”

The Mermaid Beach rescue boat was about twenty yards from the cliff with my boss Cuda Fisher at the helm. He cut the engine and pulled out a bullhorn. “Everything okay, Maris?”

I made a fist, tapping it against the top of my head in the international scuba signal for all okay.

“We can’t get any closer with the boat because of the surf. Can you come to us?”

I gave a second all okay sign and grabbed the rescue tube. “I’ll tug you out.”

“I can swim.” He sounded unusually offended for a guy who’d almost drowned.

“Lifeguard policy.” I flipped to my backside and grabbed him around the waist.

“This isn’t so bad. You’ll have to rescue me more often, Maris.” How could he flirt when he’d just been in a life-or-death situation?

Then again, my line about being attached had sounded flirtatious. The heat flooded my cheeks again. Then I chilled. Went cold inside. “As long as it’s closer to shore.” I moved my feet faster.

Now that the rescue was over I just wanted out of the ocean. My old fears and insecurities tickled my mind, reminding me of the dangers from my nightmares.

“Wow. How many knots are you going?”

“Huh?” My kicks faltered.

“You’re fast.”

“I guess.” I didn’t want to brag.

Reaching the boat, we fell silent. Cuda and another lifeguard pulled my rescuee from the water. I slipped off the wrapped-up fishing line and handed it over. Then they helped me over the inflatable gunwale and into the boat.

Cuda pulled out a couple of white towels. “What’s your name and what were you doing out there?” His accuse-first-and-ask-questions-later tone cut across the noise of the boat’s engine.

“Dirk Devilla.” My rescuee’s tone wasn’t teasing or friendly now. His voice was cold and uncompromising.

“Can’t the questioning wait?” I checked my cut hand. No dried trail of blood or even a scrape to show I’d been injured. Had I imagined it?

“Guess we need to go over the rules governing radio usage and the proper way to send an emergency call.” Cuda tossed a towel at me, his blue eyes intense as a summer storm. “You’re lucky we found you.”

His intensity sent a shiver of warning across my skin. I rubbed my wet skin extra hard. Then I wrapped the towel around myself. I know I forgot to use codes, but what was more important, radio etiquette or saving someone’s life? “I was sort of in a hurry.”

“Yeah, well, that’s why newbies shouldn’t patrol the beach.” Cuda twisted a small nautilus shell that hung around his neck. He stared at me from behind mirrored sunglasses.

The reflection in his aviator glasses showed my sopping, wet auburn hair slipping out of its once-neat ponytail and the glaring freckles on my cheeks. The red from my city-issued one-piece swimsuit contrasted with my white skin.

I smushed my lips together in an I-can’t-believe-it expression. I was on a boat with three hot guys and I definitely wasn’t at my most attractive. “Wasn’t my decision.”

Did I need to keep reminding everyone?

My plan was to earn extra money over the summer and get a tan. My plan was to be a public pool lifeguard. No rookie ever got a prized position on the beach. Until me.

“You’re a new lifeguard?” Dirk’s lips tilted and then softened into a smile. “Then I’m even more impressed. You were amazing.”

Warmth flashed through me at his compliment. I wiped the drips off my face with the palm of my hand. “Thanks.”

Cuda’s harsh expression glared as if he was offended by my conversation with Dirk.

“I’ll write a letter to the beach commission saying how great you were.”

“That’s nice of you but— ”

“Hey, buddy.” Cuda twisted a towel between his hands like he wanted to wring my neck. “No stupid letter from a guy who was dumb enough to swim by the rocks is going to help Maris.”

Was this my way off the beach? Could I use this incident to get demoted to the pool? Or would I get fired?
***
Goose bumps broke out on my arms and legs and I trembled. Like a naughty child sitting in the corner of a classroom, I awaited punishment. I wasn’t cold, but wave after wave of shivers wracked my body, kind of like aftershocks from an earthquake.

If I got transferred to the pool, I’d be with my best friend, but I’d also have failed. I didn’t do failure well.

Cuda paced around the small lifeguard office. Not paced, more like prowled. His tall, lean muscular body tightened with every step. Through his wet, white T-shirt I saw his muscles ripple.

An answering ripple crossed my chest.

His always-tanned face was all hard lines and blond scruff. Blue eyes—as deep and dark as the ocean—shimmered when he glanced in my direction. His intensity attracted and scared me at the same time.

Dirk and I, both wrapped in two towels each, huddled on a bench right beneath the time clock where the lifeguards punched in. The clock ticked away the seconds.

“Coffee?” Cuda pointed at the silver urn on an overcrowded counter. The coffee, sunscreen and sea smells battled to control the overall odor in the room.

“No, thanks. I don’t drink coffee.” I know it’s the biggest thing at school, non-fat, double-whipped, decaf mocha latte etcetera, but I didn’t like the taste. Didn’t even like the smell.

“I don’t like coffee either.” Dirk brushed against my arm.

On purpose? I didn’t know what to make of his actions.

The whiteness of his teeth contrasted with his skin like he spent a lot of time at the beach or near the water. The lines on his face appeared softer, not as well-defined as Cuda’s.

“While we wait for your parents,” Cuda halted in front of Dirk, “why don’t you tell me what you were doing out by the rocks and how fishing line got wrapped around your leg?”

Dirk studied the concrete floor. His milk chocolate hair highlighted with streaks of gold partially-covered the tanned skin on his cheek. “I was just swimming.” He tried to sound defiant, but his trembling tone gave away his fear. “Nothing illegal against that, right?”

“But how did the line get so tangled before you even noticed?” I asked.

Cuda jerked his head in my direction. He frowned.

Stiffening, I bit my lip. Guess the authority figure wanted to do the talking.

“Well, the waves became more intense. I thought it was like seaweed or something pulling on my leg.” Dirk plucked at the towel. “When I realized it was fishing line I tried to unwind it but I guess I made it worse. It was all I could do to hold my head above water. And then Maris came to my rescue.” He turned and winked at me.

Warmth flushed through me, temporarily stopping the goose bumps. He was flirting with me. Confusion swirled in my mind. From the moment I swam up to him, he’d either been questioning or complimenting.

No guy had ever come on to me so strong and I had to admit, I liked it. I stared into his grey eyes—the color reminded me of the ocean on a windy day. My heart pitter-pattered and then dropped like an anchor at the loud knock on the door.

Cuda prowled to the door and opened it. An overweight man, probably in his fifties, with greying temples, darkly tanned skin and a longish nose pushed his way into the room. “Dirk, are you all right?”

“I’m fine, Dad.” Dirk stood letting the towels drop to the floor. His swim trunks dripped. His swim shirt clung to his over-developed abs. His face appeared paler in the harsh fluorescent light.

The man’s dark gaze shifted right to me as if asking his son about his health was just a formality. “And this is the lifeguard who saved you?” He didn’t wait for an answer, but rushed over to my side and held out his hand. “Mr. Devilla. Wonderful to meet you.”

He wore sharply creased Bermuda shorts, an expensive-looking Hawaiian shirt and several chunky gold necklaces around his neck.

My skin crawled. While the depths of the ocean scared me and Dirk’s flirting ignited thrills, this man totally creeped me out. It wasn’t his flamboyant dress or his slimy hair, but his attitude of superiority and slyness.

I forced myself to put my hand in his. The rings on his fingers dug into my skin and I hid a wince.

“We’re in your debt. We must get together sometime. For dinner. My treat.” Mr. Devilla continued to pump my hand.

I knew I had to say something, but a large lump stuck in my throat. “That’s okay.” I choked.

“Dad.” Dirk voice pleaded. He crossed his arms. “I don’t think Maris wants—”

“Nonsense. I owe you much more than dinner for saving Dirk’s life.” His grey eyes appeared feverish with tiny flecks of black coal. “I insist.”

Chills chased down my spine. The man wasn’t going to give me a choice. “Thank you but—”

“It’s her job.” Cuda moved behind the desk and shuffled through file folders. Obviously, he wasn’t happy with the attention I was getting. He seemed to want to push both Devillas out of the room. “I have an incident report that I need you to sign.”

“Of course.” Mr. Devilla continued to analyze me.

Wiggling under his look, I took back my hand and shifted my feet. Hunching my shoulders, I tried to hide within myself. His stare made my skin itch and my bones ache. As if I was a scientific specimen and he was about to dissect me.

“Sign here.” Cuda shoved the pen toward Mr. Devilla.

Dirk inched next to me. “You said no to my father, but I was hoping you’d say yes to me. Do you like ice cream?”

Who doesn’t like ice cream? “Yes.”

“Then it’s a date.” His too-suave tone slid across my spine.

Really? Kind of a tricky way to ask a girl out. I guess by saying I liked ice cream I’d agreed to go out with Dirk.

My shoulders sagged before lifting high. My first rescue and I got asked out by a hot guy. This beach gig might not be so bad.

Cuda lifted his head and glowered, his blue eyes burned like he could see into my soul. “Don’t make any plans, Maris. We still have to discuss breaking rules.”

My shoulders dropped again. Up and down and up and down. A lot like my feelings. I scrunched up my face knowing once Dirk and his dad left I was in for an attitude check courtesy of Cuda. Sure, I didn’t use the emergency codes or give a great description of the location, but I’d saved a life. Didn’t that count for something?

“Got it.” I glanced at Dirk and gave him a shy smile.

Not even Cuda could dampen my mood. I had a date! Between my own shyness and over-protective parents I hadn’t had many dates. And the few I’d had were with boys I’d known since first grade.

“Don’t be too hard on the princess.” Mr. Devilla’s gravelly voice sounded like a truck going over a rough road. “You never know who shall save whom in the future.”