The first face appeared in a dream. It was the normal sort of dream for him these days, on a ship, bigger, of course, than any he’d actually crewed. Captain gave the orders and the cannons sounded. Quieter, of course, than cannon fire actually was. There was the same lull between the orders, the same rush of blood in the veins and every hair in his body standing on end as the planks slapped into place for the crossing. The mass of limbs and wrath descended on the smaller vessel. One of the crew let out a battle cry next to him, as thirsty for blood as for the bounty hidden in the ship’s hold. But the sounds of clashing cutlasses dulled as the boy ran towards him. Fifteen, probably, maybe younger even. Tall, limbs akimbo, like he’d never rushed a man before. Was the work of a second to put the blade in his chest, watch his bright eyes

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The Witches of the North Sea – Excerpt

This is an excerpt from a larger young adult science-fantasy novel.   ——————————— Sharp fingernails cut into Saffi’s cheeks, dragging her to consciousness. Her eyes flew open as she coughed, sea water dribbling out of her mouth. The hard floor wasn’t comfortable, but there was a rug underneath her—not sharp rocks. Water dripped down from her wet hair across her face. Blood and salt mingled on her tongue. The fingers rolled her head side to side as the coughing subsided. Saffi’s vision swam into focus, a pair of ice blue eyes boring into her from behind a curtain of glossy dark hair. With a muffled yelp, she tried to yank her face out of the creature’s grasp, but the claws were stronger than she expected. They pricked her skin, drawing blood. “Hold still, girl,” it demanded. The command rang like a bell in her mind. Saffi’s whole body shivered and seized, only her eyes able to dart from side to

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The Princies

Carolyn Wilke “This can’t be right,” Her voice became shriller with every word.  “This is a mistake. I’m a good person. A Christian!” The man behind the desk smiled serenely, as if he was watching waves crash on the beach, and not an increasingly agitated mom-of-two shift in an uncomfortable wooden chair. The pen in his hand tapped absently at the file in front of him. “No ma’am, we’re quite sure.” Cynthia’s jaw went tight. She focused her attention on anything but the reflection off the case worker’s bald head. “I’d like to speak with your manager.” —- Her resolve plummeted as the manager stepped into the little room. Until now, she could have believed she was simply there to switch her car insurance, trying to save a few dollars for that cruise to Cancun. But the manager who strode over to her chair, confidently offering a hand to shake, was bright crimson. Two little horns curved out of his

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