USAT Bestselling author, Nichole Giles, is the author of The DESCENDANT series and The WATER SO DEEP series. Her dreams include owning a garden full of fairies, riding a unicorn, and taming her pet dragons. She loves traveling to tropical and exotic destinations, driving with the convertible top down, and playing music at full volume while she sings along.
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Recently forced into the underwater city of Atlantis, Emma Harris has managed to avoid marrying the merman who brought her, but her grandfather—the Sea King—insists that joining with the abusive Merrick is inevitable. When Emma discovers a poison that might restore her human lungs, she goes in search of the rare creature that carries it, prepared to try the poison no matter the cost, so she can return home to her family—and to James.
Since his girlfriend went missing, James’ depression has destroyed his chance at a basketball scholarship and incurred the wrath of his uncle, who was once his strongest supporter. When the police inform him that he’s a suspect in Emma’s mysterious disappearance, James sells his beloved motorcycle to buy a boat so he can find Emma and prove his innocence before going on trial for a murder he didn’t commit.
With destiny against them, it’s only a matter of time before both are imprisoned forever.
The detective tapped his fingers on his knee, choosing his words with care. “You were the last person to see her. You returned with her brother, her car, her clothes and her cell phone—but not her. Other than Keith, you have no witnesses, and I have to be honest, James, if you were on trial and I was a member of the jury, you’d be looking at a conviction.”
Desperation clawed at his throat. “But the video—”
“Coercion. Editing skills. Bad lighting, a good actress with a similar look—that video is not enough when the rest of the evidence points directly at you.”
James’ heart thundered in his chest. “I didn’t hurt Emma.”
Peters stood. “Then help us find her. Look, I know there’s something you’re not telling me. Now’s the time for you to share whatever information you’re holding back, otherwise, you’ll be answering for more serious charges than outing a secret.”
James pinned his focus on the wall behind the detective, too stunned to move. His father stood, grunting with the effort, and pointed at James. “That’s enough. Don’t say another word.” He directed his next words at the detective. “My son is done talking to cops without a lawyer.”
Peters raised his brows, but didn’t seem all that surprised. “Does that mean you’re finished cooperating with the case?”
“It means.” Richard’s commanding tone was a voice James hadn’t heard in years. “The next time you have questions, make an appointment.”
“Okay then.” Detective Peters flipped his notebook closed and slid it into his jacket pocket. “Guess that will do for now.” He stood, offering a friendly hand, which neither of the other men accepted. Peters let his arm drop to his side and started for the door. “James, we’re considering you a person of interest in Emma’s disappearance. It would be best for everyone involved—especially you—if you don’t leave the state.”
He nodded in acknowledgement, numbness flowing into his limbs as his father ushered the detective out and locked the door behind him. Then Richard returned to his James, draping his arm across James’ shoulders in a show of support. “Don’t worry, Son. We’ll get this sorted out.”
James embraced his father, trying not to think about how awkward the practice had become since the man had almost doubled in size over the last few years. “I don’t know, Pops. From the way he talks, I wonder if the only way to get me out of this mess would be to find Emma and bring her back.”
“So let’s do that, then.” Richard released James, wheezing with effort as he returned to his chair.
James scrubbed his hands into his dusty hair, causing white tile powder to rain on his eyelashes. “It’s not that easy.”
Richard dropped into his recliner, clearly relieved to be sitting again. “I’m only going to ask this once, and I promise I’ll believe you, as long as I can see that you’re telling the truth.” He leaned a thick elbow on the arm of his chair, tipping the entire frame to one side. “Did you do something to that girl? Do you know where she is?”
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