Leah ran, tearing recklessly around the globe shaped bush before they saw her. As she rounded the hedge outside Faerie Castle, the garden path sloped. Her ridiculously high heel caught in the gravel and busted off. Damn that Louboutin! As her ankle buckled, she went down in a flounce of silk skirts and a shrill aria of obscenities the boys back at Old Tam’s pub would’ve been proud of.
Eyes shut tight, she waited for impact. Instead, a strong pair of hands wrapped around her, supporting her back and neck so that the imminent crack of her skull on packed dirt never came.
Blinking, she looked up. Blinding mid-day sun speared into her eyeballs from over the top of the hedge wall. Her hand shot up to shield her eyes, bringing a shadowy figure into view.
Deep, blue, starry eyes stared down at her. The one who held her tilted his head, blocking out the sun, and Leah’s breath stuck in her throat at the vision that came into focus. High cheekbones, a broad jaw and soft, pale lips all worked together to form the most striking male face she’d ever seen. In addition, the unmistakable simmer of magic stirred the air. It hovered above his shoulders like a cloak. Dread filled Leah—he was one of them, a fae.
Her eyes lowered, getting stuck on the smooth, tan bit of exposed skin above his black bow tie and crisp white shirt. Tiny brown freckles speckled his skin, spaced out enough to where all she could think about was using them to play connect the dots… with her tongue.
“Were you dashing through the maze in a fit of terror from some bridge troll then, little lark?”
The name being a nod to her ear-jarring stream of curses a moment ago, no doubt. Giving her head a shake, Leah looked up to find a faint smile on his full lips.
“Maybe,” she barked out defensively, fully aware of the vulnerable position she was in. “Maybe not. Maybe it’s a handsome prince I’m dashing to meet instead… lucky me.”
His cobalt eyes flashed, going dark, silver, then fathomless in the space of an instant. He dipped his head, scanning her from head to toe, those sea-deep eyes seeming to peel away the layers of her silly stolen gown as they went.
“Lucky prince.” He said.
Leah’s mouth popped open, but no words came out.
He ignored her, taking in a deep and audible breath.
“You didn’t drink the wine did you?” His voice rolled through her.
“No,” she answered, a bit too loudly for how close they were. He probably smelled the snifter of whiskey she’d gulped down for courage inside the castle before going through with this harebrained plan of Gill’s, “I’m not stupid enough to do a thing like that here.” She looked up at the arched bows of the garden maze overhead, then back at him. “Not with your kind ambling around.”
His expression managed to look surprised and admonishing all in one. Leah didn’t give in. She drew her brows together in the Irish death glare she was famed for under the masquerade mask she wore—another stolen item she’d taken for her disguise, along with the shoes and the dress.
Finally, the stranger pulled her upright in one easy, grace-filled movement. Leah stumbled back on her broken heel. He crossed his arms, leaning back against a little stone doorway in the center of the hedge, making a study of her as he placed one ankle over the other. He did make a delectable sight in his black tuxedo, crisp white shirt and dark red-brown hair that hung just long enough to brush the top of his shoulders. Formal attire was required for this debauched, fae romp of a treasure hunt—the only reason Leah would be caught dead in the confection of a dress she wore.
On him, though, black tie proved nothing short of devastating. She sucked in a breath. One of his dark copper brows lifted upward, somehow drawing Leah’s attention to his lips at the same time.
“Well, what are you?” Leah asked. Looking down, she brushed at her skirt, self-conscious as all get out. “Leprechaun or something? You’re clearly fae.”
That came out haughtier than she’d meant for it to, even accusing. Old resentments died hard. Fae had always been dangerous, but now that they were here, among humans, they were even more so.
“Leprechaun? Not me. If you’d met Kell then, aye. You happen to be right though, perceptive, little lark. I am fae.”
Leah’s brow crinkled as she frowned beneath the mask. Her open book facial expressions had always been her downfall.
Just then, pounding footfalls thundered down the rounded path toward them at a breakneck pace. Leah jerked, her spine going straight.
The two fae guards who’d been hot on her trail earlier skidded to a halt, dust flying as they did. Their eyes went straight to her companion.
“Sire!” they both said, in obvious shock.
The stranger nodded—barely—in their direction. His perceptive eyes glanced over at Leah, then back to the guards.
Uh, oh. Leah’s mind raced. Sire? Who exactly was this gorgeous fae male? In an instant he was right by her side, though she hadn’t seen him move. His palm gripped her elbow.
“Gentleman,” he said, his deep timber skittering through her body once again, “thank you for finding my special guest for me. We were separated in the maze.”
The guards cast wary eyes her way, muttered apologies, then ducked their heads and left.
As soon as they were gone, the male turned her to face him.
“Am I right to assume you don’t have a formal invitation to this gathering, miss?”
Leah pressed her lips together. His midnight eyes sparkled. He stared right through her even as those delicious lips of his picked up in a sexy, grim smile.
Damn. Looked like her luck had just run out.
Copyright © 2021 Amanda V. Shane, First published as Treasure in the Wild At Heart PNR Flash Fiction Writing Circle. All rights reserved.
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Who feels like crashing a garden party and running into a mysterious, handsome Fae lord? I thought so. ;)
Here's a little teaser from "Treasure", my Wild At Heart PNR Flash Fiction piece with its lucky theme. I've had so much fun writing it. The garden maze setting really has me in the mood for springtime.
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P.S. What's your favorite thing about spring?
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Grab some free fantasy books this month in the Books And Brews Fantasy Group Giveaway.
Hi, everybody! Here is a short little look at what the Tides of Atlantis gang are up to these days. If you've read King of the Tides, you know that Adam and Marley are a little MIA at the moment. That's left Kellan and Solomon to man the bar back home in Miami, while trying to figure out what to do about a shifting Sea Realm and demons on the loose. You know, nothing big. Anyway, here's the scene that inspired Kellan's new brainchild cocktail, The Sexy Leprechaun. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter so that you can get all the Tides world inspired cocktail recipes direct from Ramone's Party Cove and join in on this crazy party!
“Sol, you’ve got to quit shooting death daggers at people with your eyes when they order the special.”
Solomon death stared Kellan.
“I’m not calling it that.” His deep voice reverberated from his huge chest, the lights over the bar catching the glint in his dark eyes that should have conveyed his absolute annoyance. Neither that nor the fact that he stood over head and shoulders taller than the tech geek seemed to faze Kellan, though.
“And what is this music you have on? We’re never going to appease the spring breakers with this old crap.”
Sol’s jaw tightened. The tight sleeves of the black athletic T he had on strained then rolled up over his giant bicep as he unknowingly flexed it.
“It’s Solomon Burke,” he growled, “I couldn’t take another minute of that bump and gyrate mess you had on. When is the band supposed to get here, anyway?”
“Oh, I love this song.” Cindy swished her way up to the bar, Ronan sidling up behind her. “It’s from Dirty Dancing. The one that plays through, you know… the scene… where Johnny and Baby, finally, get together.” She bounced her blonde eyebrows up and down.
“Mmmm, sexiest dance scene ever,” Kay groaned, eliciting a sidelong glance from Xieran. She fanned her face with one hand. “That scene was so hot.”
“Dirty Dancing?” Ronan leaned down to say to Cindy. “I don’t think you’ve shown me that one, cará.”
“What?!” Kay feigned outrage. “How could you not have made him watch Dirty Dancing yet?”
“I haven’t seen it in a long time.” Xieran said, sliding his arm around Kay’s waist.
Kay and Cindy looked at one another, blurting out, “Movie night!” at the same time.
They high fived, to the amusement of the men. Cindy looked back over at Solomon and Kellan.
“Yeah, right after one more of these Sexy Leprechaun drinks.” She shook the ice around in her empty hurricane glass.”
Another lower than low growl emitted from Sol’s chest and he rolled his eyes. Kellan took both the girls’ glasses with a snicker and refilled them.
“You better watch out, Sol, I don’t think it’s only this schmoozy green drink the ladies are after when they come up here to order one from you.” Cindy wagged her eyebrows at the big, brawny security guard turned bartender.
Sol’s brow furrowed. But then he lifted his head and scanned the crowd inside the nightclub. Probably fifteen hot women stared back at him, and a couple men too. Every single one gave him a wink, smile or suggestive lift of the gods-awful green libation in their hand. He dropped his gaze, heat stealing into his cheeks.
“Kellan,” his deeper than deep voice rumbled under his breath, “if you value your puny, mortal life, you will stop that snickering.”
The techie howled at that, quickly finding something he needed to get from the bar’s back room. The two Atlanteans and their women across the bar from Sol all wore gigantic grins.
“Cindy,” Kay nudged her friend’s arm, “you made Sol blush.”
“It’s not my fault the Cove’s new bartender is causing a stir.” Cindy shrugged without apology. She gave Sol a wink. “It’s his muscles that have them drooling.”
“Hm?” Sol’s eyebrow lifted. He lifted the tiny drink glass in his big hand in a cross body motion, unconsciously flexing his bicep in the process. The thin fabric of his stretchy T-shirt strained even more, rolling up over smooth, dark skin and muscle as it went. An audible sigh was heard from somewhere in the background. Cindy and Kay couldn’t stop their giggles.
“Definitely the muscles… and the dimples.”
“What?” Sol rubbed his free hand over the lower half of his face, his frown coming back. This only seemed to delight the girls further. That, and probably the fact that they’d downed nearly all of their drinks already.
Adam and Xieran eyeballed him and then their women, identical Atlantean scowls come over their faces.
“I have muscles too,” Ronan said, puffing his chest net to Cindy.
“Me too,” Xieran leaned into the bar next to Kay, flexing his arms obviously as he went.
Kay and Cindy laughed even more.
“C’mon,” Cindy said, grabbing Ronan’s big arm, “we have a date with Patrick Swayze in tight, black pants on screen. Then a night of you imitating his dance moves for me with your big, sexy muscles.”
“Let us know if there’s any trouble tonight, Sol.” Xieran said, helping Kay off her barstool. Sol nodded, his expression grim once more. All jokes aside, they were all on edge, what with Adam and Marlowe lost in the Hell Realm and Misros somewhere out there, plotting gods knew what with the demons he’d released from the Underworld. He watched the couples leave, then wiped at the counter with a towel as he tried to avoid any flirtatious smiles from out in the bar.
As soon as his hand made contact with the hard, smooth bar top, a wave of energy shot through him. Jerking back, he looked up with a start. The jolt had been fleeting, but it left a residual current sliding through his veins. The feeling wasn’t unfamiliar. No, not unfamiliar at all. At one time, very long ago, it had been something he’d welcomed… along with the silken touch that always accompanied it. Those days were gone though… buried in stone way before anything resembling history had ever been recorded in the annals of time here in the human world. Still, impossible as it was… it was unmistakable.
A dark roll of dread rolled through his chest. Could she be here? Now? He quickly squashed down that tight rise of hope that tried to ignite in his soul. No, it couldn’t be. The gods wouldn’t allow it… the universe wouldn’t allow it. This world would not survive it were she to return. Plus all of that, where his mind had just gone was impossible.
His next breath brought with it a sacred, ancient scent. A plant long gone extinct. Sol closed his eyes against the sweet pain that rushed through him, the memory of the only one who’d worn its unique perfume. On his exhale, one word passed through his lips, inaudible in the noise of the club, singeing his tongue with its long, lost taste.
Mood board for my piece in March’s Wild At Heart PNR Flash Fiction challenge. The theme is luck. Be sure to follow my blog and sign up for my newsletter so you can read “Treasure”and more book excerpts for free, later this week!
Happy Spring, everybody!
Squeee!! I’m super excited to be joining the Wild At Heart PNR Flash Fiction challenge this month! The theme for March is “Luck” and I have a magical Fae Romance piece I’ll be contributing soon. 🧚
Keep your eye out for “Treasure” to go live on my blog and newsletter later this week so you can read it for free! Sign up here.
Follow the Wild At Heart PNR Flash Fiction writing group on Instagram #wildatheartpnrflashfiction for links to all the other great Wild At Heart author’s stories. I’ve read quite a few of them already. They’re fantastic! And a great way to find some #newtomeauthors—my favorite kind of “Treasure” hunt.
#flashfiction #pnrflashfiction #pnrflashfictionwritingclub #wildatheart #wildshortreads #faeromance #fantasyromancewriter #magicallyseductivereads #amandavshanebooks #urbanfantasyromance #pnrbooklover
There's just something magical about snow and we've had a lot of here in Colorado the past couple of days, so of course I'm in the mood for a little Nika and Vasilli in the snowy, Northern Kingdom where the fantasy romance story Snow Maiden takes place. Read the first few chapters of Snow Maiden for free here.
Here are a few pictures I took of the big snow storm that came through our area over the weekend.
Here's an excerpt from Crystal Tide for your Book Teaser Tuesday. Actually, I love this scene so much that I'm sharing the whole chapter. Enjoy! You can find Crystal Tide and read Kay and Xieran's whole thrilling, sexy story on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited here.
Falling. Falling or shooting or hurtling; Kay couldn’t decide which. She’d been pulled out of King Amphere’s bed where he’d bound her so cleverly and thrown into a panic. All the water in the portal disappeared in an instant. She burst up through the travel tube just as the door opened and landed in a heap on dry land.
“Ahh,” she groaned, face down in the dirt, so much for the nice clothes.
She’d lost a shoe too. Pushing up off the ground, she turned her head to find the stiletto lying a few feet from a bush. Gingerly, she rose up to retrieve it.
With no idea where she was, she looked at her surroundings, miraculously catching sight of Xieran moving down a road. He should have been the last person she wanted to see, but she was relieved. Maybe she could tail him until she figured out where to go. It was the middle of the night and there wasn’t anyone around so she followed him from a distance.
Hermes had said he was going to Rome. Looking back at where the tube had spit her out, her ankles wobbled again.
The aqueducts. She never thought she’d get to see them. Rome was a bucket list item, sure, but this was crazy. To just appear somewhere out of thin air! It was too much to take in but Xieran was about out of sight so she curbed her amazement and hurried after him.
He made his way into the city where things got busier then went down an alley behind a large building. Kay waited. She didn’t want him to find her out. The clacky heels were a dead give-away even though she was getting much better at walking in them, thank you very much. Still, she had to walk carefully.
Xieran punched a code into a keypad and she thought this was where she should probably part ways with him to find her own way through the city. But then she heard something at the other end of the alley. Two men were coming her way and they didn’t look very nice. One of them yelled something as they both started to rush up on her. Terrified, she ran to the door Xieran had just disappeared behind. It was easing shut when she got there so she grabbed the handle before it clicked into the lock then slipped in and yanked it closed behind her. Panting, she leaned against the door but jumped when the men began to pound on it, yelling in a language she couldn’t understand.
She scurried away from the door trying to think what to do next. Xieran was here and she should avoid him seeing her but there was no way she was going back outside in the dark.
Squinting to see, she found herself in yet another storage room. Everything was covered with sheeting and tarps. Light shone from across the room as Xieran passed through another door and she ducked back into the shadows. What was he planning to steal now? Before she could think better of it she tip-toed after him, dogging his steps until he came to a big open stairwell then started down. Waiting a few seconds so as to keep a safe distance, Kay pressed herself into the cold stone column at the top of the stairs then ran on her toes again to peek over the banister.
Xieran stopped and started to look up but she ducked back out of sight in the nick of time. After a moment, he continued down. Lifting herself up a bit, Kay could see over the railing. She followed him with her eyes until she could see him make his way into a big open room full of sculptures. It was then that she realized they were in a museum. He halted again to look up and she barely slumped down behind the stairwell before he saw her because she was so intrigued. This was how he and Hermes got all of their art.
Her heart was beating a mile a minute. She held her breath until she heard Xieran start moving again. Then, slowly, she lifted up to peek over the edge of the staircase. She couldn’t see him so she scooted forward in a crouched position, rising up along the wall to lean over. It sounded like he was right underneath her so she pushed a little further to get a better look. Just as she spotted him though, she felt the slippery sole of her shoe slide on the floor. Too late, she knew she was done for.
The last thing she thought about was all that stone and marble. Where were those pillows from Amphere’s “resting room” when a girl needed them?
She screamed as she went over the edge. The break to her fall was a mix of Xieran’s hard body and alabaster, neither one forgiving. That was going to leave a mark. She didn’t have time to think though before Xieran moved under her and she was sent rolling across the floor, grabbing a clump of broken statuary as she went. There were voices shouting in the distance, people coming their way.
Scrambling up to her feet, Kay hunched over and held the stone piece in her hand out like a sword. Turning in every direction she prepared to ward off whoever might be coming for her next – museum guards, police…Xieran. He was just a few feet from her, dusting off his suit. How many times had she crashed into him now?
He turned, lancing through her with his stare.
“Miss Laurens. What. Are. You. Doing?”
Kay’s chest heaved.
Shouting and the sound of footsteps got closer, then Xieran was stalking toward her. He looked very annoyed…and very handsome. Always that. Kay backed up, pointing the weapon in her hands at him.
“Don’t come any closer!” She shouted.
He stopped. His eyes went to her hands. He looked back up at her, then lifted an eyebrow. She frowned but brought her hands up to eye level so that she could see what exactly she was threatening him with.
There, right before her eyes, in both hands and to her horror, she found that she had a death grip on an enormous stone penis!
Stunned she stared at the clay wonder. In her tumble through the open air, she hadn’t realized that the room was filled with giant nudes. Her cheeks started to burn. She raised her startled brown eyes up to his. He wore a damnable, ‘all right crazy girl, now what?’ smirk on his face.
Chaos came running at them after that, getting louder as a band of security guards burst onto the scene. Everyone stopped and stared. At her! Why weren’t they looking at Xieran? Surely he was more menacing than she was. He was stealing from the museum for fuck’s sake! But they all had their eyes trained on her like she was some unhinged psycho – armed and dangerous. And she was…with a huge phallic!
Dammit, he was the criminal here. Guess that didn’t matter when you were the one standing there with a dick in your hands. Oh god!
She gasped, dropping the thing. It rolled around on the floor, forlorn and detached. Some angsty poet could probably put the image to good use. Kay scowled at it, but then Xieran was on her, grabbing the top of her arm.
“You, Miss Laurens,” he said in her ear, “are such a fucking beautiful disaster.”
Then they were running. When they neared the guards, Xieran swung her up in his arms at just the right angle to crash through two of them as he did a full turn then set her down and kept moving, pulling her along with him. The man was slick. That and the guards were dumbstruck. She figured at least half the credit went to her though for the little distraction she had provided. He was welcome.
Slipping and sliding across the tile in her heels, Xieran dragged her around a stone pillar. Faking right, he moved across the hall to a doorway on the left but not before he had held up some kind of remote control device and brought down a metal barricade all around the sculpture exhibit. The guards were locked in and the two of them were safe in a closet before anyone knew what had happened.
Xieran flipped on a light in the small room, pushed her up against the wall then shocked the hell out of her by kissing her hard on the mouth.
She melted. After their first kiss, her body craved him. Even when she’d dreamed of Amphere, it was with the real man—Xieran—still in her mind. He drew her to him, his hands strong on her arms.
“What are you doing here?” He breathed. “How did you find the access?”
When she didn’t answer right away he gave her a little shake.
“B-bathroom, I found a door in my bathroom,” she told him. “I saw you and Hermes…”
Just then they heard the guards running past, shouting.
“We have to get out of here,” Xieran said. He moved around, searching for something. Kay felt deprived of his heat even when he was only a foot away. Rubbing her arms, she pressed her lips together, still tasting him. Remnants of all the lustful sensations he stirred in her and a fair amount of adrenalin hummed through her body. Something crashed above her in the next instant though, clearing her head and making her jump.
He’d busted a panel in the ceiling with a mop handle.
“Come on,” he said reaching for her. He dragged her right under the hole he’d made then spun her around. “Jump!”
“Wuh?” was all she got out before his hands were on her hips and she was being hurled up through the tight space.
“Ahh,” she squeaked, landing in a cloud of dust on the other side of the ceiling panel. This night was proof that she could not be trusted with designer clothing. Added to that was the fact that every bone in her body ached from the many falls she’d taken recently.
Xieran popped up through the hole easily then hoisted himself upright before noises below indicated that the guards had crashed into the closet. Kay’s heart beat fast and hard while Xieran seemed unfazed. But this was nothing new for him. He was probably on the lamb all the time she figured.
Grabbing Kay’s hand, he pulled her up off the floor. The man never missed a beat.
“Where are we going?” She asked the back of his head as they moved.
“Quiet,” was all he gave her for an answer then pulled her to the back of the attic.
He found a fresh air vent on the wall.
“Stand back,” he said, pushing her aside.
He pulled back sideways then rammed the vent with his shoulder. It didn’t move so he tried it a second time. Finally, the screen gave way, falling with a clatter onto the pavement below. Xieran reached for her, pulling her in behind him.
“Stay close to me,” he said as he dropped down then jumped through the opening. Kay poked her head out just as he was rising. He reached up to her with both hands.
“Jump Karina,” he called.
It looked too far. Kay bit her lip but then the sound of sirens approached.
“Hurry,” he said, “I’ll catch you.”
She swallowed then leaped out of the hole and into his arms. As soon as he set her on her feet, they were on the run again.
Dodging between buildings, they managed to avoid the cops, coming out on the street where things were busier. Xieran pulled Kay under an awning, stood her with her back to the wall and came directly in front of her.
“Wrap your arms around me,” he said.
She did, just as a group of law enforcement ran past. He whipped out his phone and started dialing.
“Anthony,” he said. Kay remembered hearing that name recently but she couldn’t think where. She watched him as he talked.
“Yes, I’m in Rome. We’re out on the street but we’ve hit a snag. Can you send a car?”
He chuckled at something the other speaker said then gave their location.
“Okay, thanks,” he said then disconnected.
“Who was that?” Kay asked.
“A friend,” he brushed her hair off her face, “don’t worry, he’ll help us.”
She stared into his deep green eyes for she didn’t know how long then, incredibly, the next thing she knew, a black Audi s8 was roaring up next to the curb where they stood.
“Here’s our ride,” Xieran said as he turned her toward the vehicle and opened the door.
“Nice car,” she said. His eyes gleamed in the moonlight as he moved his head toward the car door.
“Get in, Miss Laurens.”
Crystal Tide, Tides of Atlantis on Amazon
Read the Tides of Atlantis series for free on Kindle Unlimited here.
Devastated by the loss of both parents and running scared after a break-in at her home, Kay Laurens jumps on the first plane out of Denver heading south to Miami. There she meets up with, of all people, a love psychic for answers. On the tip of the Bermuda Triangle, she is swept up into the dark world of an ancient cult and sent on the ride of her life. Then her incense induced visions come to life in the form of an inter-world traveling, suspicious and sinfully hot immortal agent for Mt. Olympus.
Xieran has no memory of who he was before being stolen by Hermes. The Greek god uses him to enter Earth's sphere under the guise of an affluent art dealer in search of an elusive artifact which, if he can find, will win him his freedom. When his latest mission is brought up short by a female grad student breaking into his complex travel system, he can’t help but be suspicious. It makes no difference that he finds her more and more irresistible with each encounter. With demon outbreaks, nefarious characters working in the Underworld and a power struggle of epic proportions going on, no one can be trusted.
As they are thrown into the Tides together, Kay and Xieran set out on a whirlwind adventure, racing through the streets of Rome, Miami and even Western Australia to chase down the answers that will win them their freedom from the overbearing gods. Will they come to terms with destiny and conquer the evil taking over the Tides, or will they succumb to the passion growing between them?
Join the forming crew of Poseidon’s defenders against the Underworld in book two of Amanda V. Shane’s Tides of Atlantis series
“You can’t just throw me in there!” She screamed, trying to fight him.
“Listen, miss,” he said with barely any space between them. His words vibrated through her skin, along her spine then all the way down to that sensitive place between her legs, “until you can explain to me who you are and what you were doing in the Tides, you will stay right here.”
He moved into the room then set her down on her feet, being surprisingly gentle. Kay’s whole body felt weak and throbby now. She took in a shuddering breath, stepping back to put some space between them so she could put a stop to this insane physical attraction she was having to him. He was her freaking abductor for crying out loud!
His head lowered and he narrowed his eyes. That look made everything a hundred times worse.
Kay flipped her bangs, jutting her chin out.
“That’s what you think,” she said, over-doing the bravado. She couldn’t resist shaking her arms out, still tingling everywhere from having his hands on her.
He lifted a gold-brown eyebrow up at her and huffed out a laugh like he knew her secret then turned and closed the door behind him.
She decided right then to hate him.
About the Author
Amanda V Shane is an author of paranormal and fantasy romance and is currently working on her Tides of Atlantis series about the super hot lost kings of Atlantis as well as her Enchanted Lands Romances.