Ondine Quartet Prequel Novella

Sometimes, humans could be more dangerous than demons.
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ABOUT THE BOOK

“I shouldn’t get involved.”

Rebellious and headstrong, sixteen-year-old Kendra Irisavie doesn’t have much respect for authority. An ondine with the powerful gift of Virtue, she uses her tough attitude and Empath magic to navigate through high school and keep others away.

Because being an ondine also means keeping secrets.

Kendra and her mother are Rogue water elementals in the middle of an ancient war. They hide among humans, their survival constantly threatened by monstrous Aquidae demons.

Along with a rigorous training regimen to mold Kendra into a lethal fighter, her mother has instituted four rules to keep her safe.

Trust no one. Relationships are weaknesses. Emotional attachments are dangerous. Be responsible only for yourself.

But when Kendra witnesses a classmate in trouble, she intervenes and her decision to break the rules comes at a price.

Ondine is a prequel novella for the young adult urban / paranormal fantasy series, the Ondine Quartet.

INFORMATION

  • Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
  • Series: Ondine Quartet
  • Series Order: #0.5 (prequel)
  • Length: Novella

EXCERPT

Read Chapter 1

I shouldn’t get involved.

But the fear rolling off him grated against my magic.

He cowered beside the science building, the dull concrete exterior swallowing his thin frame. Mousy brown hair flopped in front of his eyes and he gripped his biology book so tightly, his knuckles had turned white.

Kane Sullivan, a senior with a crooked nose from a break that hadn’t healed right, loomed over him. His partner, Sasha Min, had already planted himself near the back door as lookout.

That left their ringleader. Six-one and two hundred pounds of lean muscle, Rui Vergara studied the kid with cold aloofness.

Every inch of him, from the rough edges of his features to the deceptively casual way he stood, exuded calculated danger.

It was a look most people stayed far away from.

Of course, I did the opposite and learned everything I could about him my first week here.

Identifying and tracking the predators in your territory was a key element of self-preservation. And around here, Rui and his crew were at the top of the food chain.

How this quivering kid had gotten mixed up with them was beyond me. Maybe he owed them for the Ritalin he purchased to keep up with honor classes.

“So what’s it going to be?”

Kane slapped the kid’s cheek, the sharp crack cleaving through the air. A pink flush swept over scrawny boy’s pale skin and recognition slid into place.

Troy McCormack, a freshman. He’d been in the school office a few weeks ago, rearranging his schedule while Principal Hamon chewed me out for sleeping in French class.

I had the vague sense I’d also seen him somewhere else, but couldn’t place him.

Quiet and bland-faced, Troy was the kind of pleasantly unmemorable person you saw thirty times before you remembered him.

Curiosity heightened. Strange that he’d attracted so much attention.

Afternoon sunlight drenched the wood table beneath me, heat seeping through my jeans and warming the back of my legs.

Rui’s icy voice sliced through the delicate spring air. “I need you to get the money from him.”

Potheads occupied the narrow recess beside the stairs while the cheerleaders and athletes took the table farthest from the building door.

They weren’t getting involved.

Neither was the Student Council group gathered along the west side.

I’d managed to follow her rules for the four months we’d been in Los Angeles. The championship tournament was in two hours and she’d be seriously pissed if my performance wasn’t better than the last one.

I needed to concentrate on my own shit, not get involved in anyone else’s.

Troy’s fear ratcheted up another notch and the hot spike of emotion raked against my insides.

“I—I don’t know him that w-well…”

“That’s a problem.” Rui adopted an expression of mock concern and pulled out a cigarette. “‘Cause your dad owes mine a lot of money.”

Empath magic unfurled and reached inside him, sensing clumps of frustration and rage, hardened over the years.

“It’s just me and my mom,” Troy said in a desperate voice. “I don’t see him that often —“

Mistake one.

“Often?” Rui’s voice rumbled with the dark glee of a predator who’d spotted its prey. “So you do see him.”

“N..no.” Troy’s eyes darted around the courtyard.

Don’t, don’t…

Wide eyes locked on to me. Great.

“What do you mean, no?”

“I m-m-mean…” He stumbled over the words. “S-sometimes I do, but…”

Mistake two.

“Then you can get the money from him, right?” Rui lit his cigarette. Troy flinched at the click of the lighter. “I don’t think your old man would like it if my father got his hands on you.”

Troy swallowed, his gaze flickering toward me again.

Sasha followed his line of sight. “You thinkin’ a chick’s gonna help you?”

Rui slowly turned. Black hair, dark eyes set against olive skin. Cold, grim awareness etched into his face, creating an impression of severe superiority.

The things he’d seen and experienced exceeded your worst nightmares and he wanted you to know it.

Rui flicked his cigarette, ash landing a foot away from me.

“She’s not bad, Troy. Don’t think she’s your type, though.”

I suppressed a sigh and stood. Might as well get this over with.

“You don’t know what my type is, Vergara.”

A flicker of surprise in those dead eyes. “You know my name. I’m flattered.”

“Don’t be.” I strode over and leaned against the metal railing of the stairs. “You just have a rep of being an asshole.”

Kane stepped forward, body tense. Rui’s arm shot out and stopped him.

“You’re that junior.” A ring of smoke gently swirled around his face. “Transferred here a few months ago. Kendra, right?”

Empath detected a quick shift as irritation and anger smoothly transformed to calculating curiosity. The unusual degree of control set off my internal alarms.

I shouldn’t underestimate him.

“You know my name. Now I’m flattered.”

“Don’t be. Your rep is the weird chick who doesn’t talk to anyone.”

That shouldn’t have hurt as much as it did.

“So what happened?” I gestured at Troy. “Daddy can’t handle a freshman and sends you instead?”

Silence claimed the courtyard at the mention of the older Vergara. Even Kane and Sasha shifted, their expressions uncomfortable.

The cigarette fell from thick, blunt fingers. Steel-toed boot crushed it against the ground.

“You don’t know who you’re talking about.” Rui spoke with a deliberate softness.

I did a quick assessment. Built with the kind of muscles honed from natural exertion, not from steel bars in a gym, Rui walked with a balanced grace that hinted he moved faster than his height and broad shoulders let on.

I once watched him conduct business inside Club Rave. He bought a bag of X off one of his regular suppliers. Two hours later, he sold the entire supply for ten times its worth.

Beneath the veneer of physical menace, Rui was also smart.

Fingers tingled in anticipation at the challenge. “I think I know a few things.”

“Yeah?” He lifted his brow. “Like?”

“Like your father is Paulo Vergara. A local businessman.”

Heavy skepticism underscored that last sentence.

Rui stepped toward me. Beneath my shirt, the cool onyx handle of my dagger pressed against the small of my back.

Come closer.

His eyes were so cold. “And what do you know about our business?”

A sliver of fear blended with the adrenaline coursing through my veins. The taste of copper flooded my mouth.

“Your family is in the service industry.” I held my hand up and ticked off one finger at a time. “You have the Brazilian restaurant on Whittier. Then there’s the auto shop on Fourth Street. And of course, you do like those clubs.”

All the establishments I named were fronts for whatever Paulo Vergara really did. Not exactly hidden knowledge, especially in this part of east L.A.

Magic twitched. Rui’s curiosity trailed against my skin like the edge of a blade. I’d captured his complete attention.

“My family has many interests.”

“Didn’t realize your business involved babysitting freshman —“

He moved.

Just as I’d expected, Rui was fast. Steely arms wrapped around my waist, hard chest and thighs pressed me back. Sasha and Kane egged him on, their whoops resounding though the air.

Rui remained very still.

I edged my hand forward. The dagger’s tip pressed deeper into his jeans, a few millimeters above a certain prized part of him.

No one else could see it. But he could definitely feel it.

“Leave him alone,” I said quietly.

Our gazes warred, each willing the other to relent.

“Didn’t see you move,” he said under his breath.

“I know.”

“Doesn’t usually happen to me.”

“Maybe you’re slower than you think.”

“Not possible.”

His eyes narrowed like a cat warily studying a new toy. Warning bells wailed in my head.

Rogue elementals avoided drawing attention, not only for our safety, but for humans as well.

Distracting Rui might not have been the best idea.

Baiting a predator didn’t change their primary objective. It simply redirected it on to a different prey.

You.

He exhaled. “Aren’t you afraid?”

How did you explain to a human that there were worse things to fear? A never-ending magical war and immortal, violent demons who reveled in death and could rip a human apart in moments?

“No.”

His hold slightly tightened, then eased. “You should be.”

I shifted and slipped my dagger back into its sheath. Adrenaline rush faded, leaving behind an unsettling sense of dissatisfaction.

It was too easy.

“I changed my mind.” He stepped away, his voice rising. “She’s not that hot up close.”

Laughter erupted among the spectators, the wild sound a mixture of disappointment and relief. No one got involved because no one wanted to be the focus of attention.

But everyone had greedily hoped for a show that’d provide fodder for juicy gossip.

Hypocrisy at its finest.

Sasha and Kane left, bored with the lack of action. But Rui took his time backing away.

His eyes fastened on me. “I’ll be seeing you.”

“Yeah.” I sank as much derision as I could into my voice. “Fuck you.”

Amusement flashed across the hard lines of his face before he turned and joined his buddies in the parking lot.

Trust no one. Relationships are weaknesses. Emotional attachments are dangerous. Be responsible only for yourself.

The four rules governing my life for as long as I could remember. Breaking one had now put me on the radar of Vergara and his crew.

Great.

I glanced at the pale boy still huddled against the wall.

“You okay?” I said roughly.

Troy startled, eyes the color of muddy water reflecting fear and embarrassment. Without another word, he dropped his head and hurried inside the building.

Another round of laughter rose from the student council table, quickly stifled by a fit of fake coughing.

I resisted the urge to snarl.

Not even a damn thank you.

I knew I shouldn’t have gotten involved.

What Readers Are Saying

A brilliantly written novella that ties perfectly into the series, Ondine adds a whole new dimension to Kendra's character.

– Booknut101

Ondine is an excellent insight into a younger Kendra...as with each & every story we get in this series, it always leaves me wanting more!

– Book Passion for Life

This prequel novella showcases everything I love about Emma Raveling's captivating and addicting storytelling...Exciting. Enthralling. Electric.

– Word Spelunking

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