Jan Coffey

A NEW NOVEL FROM THE AUTHOR OF TROPICAL KISS! Killian knows all about vampires and aliens. Theyre not real. But when a handsome swimmer climbs into her storm-tossed boat an hour from her summer destination, the worlds of fantasy and reality suddenly collide... Cuttylea Island has no mall, no social scene, and no action. But it does have a mysterious stone tower, ageless islanders, and a secret as astonishing as a mermaids tale... Before the summer is through, Killian will find the truth of her familys past...and the role she is destined to play in a centuries-old curse. CHAPTER 1 No cell phone service. No cable TV. No mall. No bars. No party scene. No Internet. No Facebook. No traffic to throw yourself in front of. What, Killian muttered, am I getting myself into? Looking around in every direction from the small motor launch, she could see nothing. Darkness covered the Atlantic like the wing of some enormous black bird. No moon, no stars, no welcoming ray from any lighthouse or passing ship. Only an occasional lightning flash lit the invisible horizon before being instantly snuffed out. The damp wind was cold. Killian pulled her Green Mountain Academy sweatshirt more tightly around her. Shed graduated only two weeks ago, but it felt like forever. She stared up at the silent old man at the wheel of the boat. In the darkness he was little more than a hunched silhouette, a pipe clenched in his teeth. How long before we reach Cuttylea Island? she called out to him. Thomas Eliot turned and looked back at her. Killian couldnt see his eyes, but saw his hand dip into his jacket pocket. He stuffed something into the pipe. With practiced skill he produced a lighter from somewhere. He lit the pipe again, revealing the deep lines of his weathered face. How long? he replied finally. The end of the pipe glowed as he puffed. The smell of the tobacco whipped by her, mingling with the briny scent of the sea and fish and old bait. An hour. Tops. Everything that Killian feared was conspiring against her to-night. Night. Water. The distant lightning threatening ominously. She stared into the darkness to where ocean and sky ground together, producing those muffled flashes of light. The storm was approaching. She hated electrical storms. The thought of being caught in one-out on the open sea in this ancient floating coffin-held no appeal for her.... Suddenly, the boat rocked as the driver cut the speed. Whats wrong? Without a word, the old man swung the wheel and gunned the engine. The boat carved a sharp arc, forcing Killian to grip the side to keep from sliding off the bench. As they came around, Thomas was peering just ahead and then over the side. Killian turned in her seat, looking down into the water. Then he cut the engines. Her great aunt trusted this man. Shed sent him to Hyannis to get her. Or at least this was what Thomas had told Killian on the dock. Her mind now started questioning even that. She peered over the side, following his gaze. Suddenly, a hand shot up from the dark waters. Before she could move, it was gripping the edge. Their fingers touched. Killian gasped and sprang backward. But there was nowhere to go. She tripped over her pack, landing hard against the bench running along the other side. Her heart raced. The hand had been warm. Dead bodies dont reach up out of the water. The boat rocked sharply. When she straightened and turned around, Killian was astounded to see a young man, a head taller than Thomas, standing in the boat. She sank down onto the bench. The old man had draped a blanket over the swimmers shoulders. His eyes were fixed on her. Killian felt her face flush hot under his steady gaze. Then the newcomer ducked down into the cabin space in the bow. Thomas moved back behind the wheel and revved up the engines. The boat leapt forward, cutting through the waves. Who...who is that? Thats Perth.