Excerpt from the NA Romantic Fantasy, Sachael Dreams

 

Available NOW on AMAZON

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Excerpt

Once back on the sand with my belongings, I turned to face the sea. The moon was closer to the earth than usual tonight—its size dominating the horizon.

I wrapped the shell in one of my clean art cloths and placed it in my bag before undressing. The wet denim fabric of my jeans clung to my legs, and I struggled to remove it. I groaned at my lack of foresight. Why hadn’t I rolled the ankles up before paddling in the water? As I undressed, baring my skin to the night, anticipation about entering the water charged through me. It was a good thing there wasn’t anyone around. They’d think I was performing a strip tease. I grinned at the ludicrous idea as I dropped my paint-splattered t-shirt on the sand.

It was time.

Turning to face the water again, I stood up straight.

My father’s voice filled my head. “Promise me, Estelle, promise me you’ll always do this.”

I nodded to his words, recognizing the seriousness of his tone, so clear, even after all these years. I hugged myself, ignoring the overpowering sensation to cry—I missed him so much, even more so on these nights. Screwing my eyes shut, I forced the tears away. I took several deep breaths and concentrated on calming myself. The sound of the waves sang to me, melodic tones drifting forward on each gentle roll. The fresh, salty smell of the ocean surrounded me. I breathed deeply before strolling toward the water’s edge. My feet seemed to move of their own accord, as if my body was impatient to transport me forward. But I didn’t rush. I wanted to take my time tonight.

When my toes met the swell of a receding wave, I smiled, relaxing at the familiar contact. A beckoning path was lit before me on the water, the brightness of the moon reflected clearly on the surface. The ocean was calm this evening. Many times, when I needed to complete the ritual, it was anything but. On those nights, I stayed in the shallows, completing the submergence ritual in an angry few feet of water. I never dared to venture far into the waves when the sea was violent and forceful. I had an affinity with the ocean, but I wasn’t foolish.

My father had told me never to fear the ocean; it was something magical, and it would never, ever, harm me.

I believed him . . . until the night it took his life.

I missed holding his hand as I walked into the sea, often questioning why I still kept doing this when he wasn’t here. The night he’d drowned was the last time we completed the ritual together. But whatever else happened in my life, I’d always kept my promise to him. Every time I followed his crazy ritual, I somehow felt calmer and closer to him. Had he known what would happen to him that evening? I refused to believe he wanted to end his own life; he’d had too much to live for. He loved my mother and me so much.

Pausing in the water as it rippled at my waist, I rested my hands, palm down, on the surface, speaking the mantra my father taught me:

“I claim the truth of my existence under the full lunar phase, and submerge within these jeweled waters to keep me safe from harm.”

Bending my knees, I sank under the water, ensuring my head was submerged, and paused for a few seconds before straightening back up. Not bothering to wipe the hair from my face, I repeated the phrase.

“I claim the truth of my existence under the full lunar phase, and submerge within these jeweled waters to keep me safe from harm.”

Once again, I dipped below the surface of the water.

I kept my eyes open as I completed the submergences. I never shut out the underwater world that greeted me. It was as if the ocean was a long-lost friend, welcoming me back with open arms every month. The waves were my family, protecting me, caressing my body with their underwater currents.

Repeating the whole routine seven times, I spoke my words to the moon before offering myself to the ocean. After the final submergence, I steadied myself before lifting my arms into the air.

It was done. My promise to my father was complete for this month. I would be back to repeat it at the next full moon.

As I always did on these nights, I executed a perfect dive into the waiting water. The gentle, swirling currents attempted to control me in their evening dance, but it didn’t affect me at all. I was too strong for them to sway me in any one direction. The ritual had renewed my strength and agility in the water. I loved this sensation. It was one of freedom, of complete relaxation, and a primitive force I’d never understood.

I swam further from the beach, not needing to surface as I traveled. Twisting to change directions, I headed deeper, wanting my feet to touch the sandy bottom of the seabed. I swam fast, and the sand was beneath me within seconds. I curled my legs under me, tumbling until I was upright in the water, poised to stop my fast descent. My feet stomped on the ocean floor, and a haze of cloudy sand rose upward, mimicking a dust storm in the desert. I’d performed the equivalent of an emergency stop. Trying to suppress a giggle, my father’s face appeared in my head. He’d never have approved of my risqué behavior.

Bubbles of air ballooned from my mouth as I pushed off from the seabed, gliding upward to the moonlight filtering through the surface.

For the second time this evening, I was distracted by the sight of something glistening. This time, though, it was in the waters below. I stopped my peaceful journey, suspended in the water as I stared at where I had come from. The sparkling, tiny ball of light moved rapidly in a circle. I frowned, unable to comprehend how something could travel so quickly, and how any form of light could move so precisely. I watched, transfixed with the light’s journey as it moved closer.

My heart raced when I became aware that the glow wasn’t in fact a light. It was the reflection of the moon on a necklace; a necklace that someone was wearing. As the person began to swim toward me at an impossible speed, I momentarily froze with shock. Panic crashed through me. I wasn’t safe—I was alone, swimming in the sea in the middle of the night. Tearing my gaze away from the glinting necklace, I propelled myself toward the surface. I needed to get to land. Determined to outswim whoever this person was, I swam the fastest I ever had. Yet, it wasn’t fast enough. Sneaking a look behind me, I could see the head of the person following. They were getting closer—too close.

With a racing heart and aching limbs, I pushed myself to go faster, but it was pointless.

A hand grabbed my ankle.

I screamed.

About Melody Winter

Melody Winter Author Photo

Growing up, Melody Winter showed a natural ability in art, a head for maths, and a tendency to write far too long English essays. Difficult to place in the world when she graduated, she pursued a career in teaching, but eventually ended up working in Finance. Melody is convinced the methodical time she spends working with numbers fuels her desire to drift into dream worlds and write about the illusory characters in her head.

Melody Winter lives in North Yorkshire, England, with her husband and two sons. When not dealing with football, rugby, and a whole plethora of ‘boy’ activities, she will be found scribbling notes for her stories, or preparing for another trip to the beach. With an obsession for anything mythical, Melody revels in reading and writing about such creatures. In fact, if she wasn’t such a terrible swimmer, she’d say she was a mermaid.

Sachael Dreams is her debut novel, and the first in her New Adult Romantic Fantasy series—the ‘Mine Series’.

You can view more of Melody Winter on her website, Twitter or Facebook.

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