Title: Running With The Wind (Mermen of Ea #3)
Author Name: Shira Anthony
Publication Date & Length: June 8, 2015 – 67,000 Words
With the final confrontation between the island and mainland Ea factions looming, Taren and Ian sail with Odhrán to investigate a lost colony of merfolk in the Eastern Lands. Upon their arrival, the King of Astenya welcomes them as friends. Odhrán, however, isn’t so quick to trust the descendent of the man who held him prisoner for nearly a decade, especially now that he has someone to cherish and protect—the mysterious winged boy he rescued from the depths.
Armed with the knowledge he believes will save the Ea, Taren returns to the mainland. With Ian at his side, Taren convinces Vurin that their people must unite with their island brethren before it’s too late. When Seria and his men attack, Taren must call upon the ancient power of the rune stone to protect his comrades. But using stone’s immeasurable power commands a hefty price—and Ian fears that price is Taren’s life.
This is the final installment in the Mermen of Ea Series from Dreamspinner Press.
SPOILER WARNING: This excerpt contains spoilers for the first two series books!
Running with the Wind
Excerpt from Chapter One
Ian leaned over the railing as the morning sunlight warmed his shoulders. A few feet
away, Taren wrapped a blanket around the shivering boy, who sat with his knees hugged to his
chest. He tenderly ruffled the boy’s fiery red hair. The boy leaned into Taren’s touch and made a
satisfied sound much like the purr of a cat.
Not a boy, Ian reminded himself. Bastian. An Anuki. The heavenly brethren of the Ea. A
dragon shifter reborn from the ashes. True, this freckle-faced dragon child looked nothing like
the full-fledged beast who’d nearly killed them the day before, but they knew little of the Anuki.
Had it only been a day since Seria’s men had attacked them and they’d lost Rider to Seria’s
Ian met Taren’s gaze and his grief eased slightly. Taren smiled back, his warm brown
eyes hooded with exhaustion and grief, his shoulder-length hair having dried in a tumble of
waves. From where he sat on the deck, Bastian watched Odhrán, keenly interested. The sphere
they’d discovered not long after the destruction of the Sea Witch—an egg, Ian now knew—had
dissolved beneath the water. Bastian had been choking and spluttering when Odhrán had carried
him aboard. Since then, Bastian had done little but watch Odhrán with rapt attention.
Like a baby bird watches its mother. Ian frowned at his folly. How easy it was to forget
this pathetic creature had destroyed the Sea Witch and nearly killed them all. If Odhrán hadn’t
killed the dragon Bastian had become, they’d all have died. And yet Bastian had been reborn.
Bastian glanced up at Taren, blinked several times, then shifted his gaze back to Odhrán,
who spoke in hushed tones to one of his crew. The long blond braid down Odhrán’s back dripped
onto the deck and left the back of his woolen jacket sodden. Despite the bright blue of his eyes
and his youthful features, Odhrán appeared as exhausted as Ian felt.
“A moment of your time?” Ian said after the crewmember trotted off toward the stairs,
leaving the four of them alone on the foredeck.
Odhrán nodded and followed Ian amidships, far enough away that Bastian wouldn’t hear.
“Do you think this is wise?” Ian asked with a quick glance back at Taren and Bastian.
“What would you have me do? Leave him to drown?” Odhrán, too, appeared weary. Ian
knew he still regretted having killed the fully transformed Bastian.
“He couldn’t live without Rider.” Taren’s words echoed in Ian’s mind. Rider—Ian’s
oldest friend—had taken a bullet in Ian’s stead. There’d been no time to grieve.
“No.” Ian sighed. “Rider would have wanted us to care for him.” Taren would never have
forgiven him for suggesting they leave Bastian to drown, and they’d lost too much to even
Odhrán nodded curtly and turned his gaze eastward. Now calm in the wake of the storm,
the water sparkled with sunlight. Nothing remained of the Sea Witch but a few bits of broken
timbers floating restlessly on the waves. Later, all of the men now aboard the Chimera would
gather on the deck to remember the Witch’s captain, but for just a moment, Ian could almost
imagine Rider at the wheel of his beloved ship.
I’ll miss you, old friend. More than you’ll ever know.
Ian shrugged off his dark thoughts and walked back to Taren. “You should get some
sleep.” He squeezed Taren’s shoulder. “Odhrán and I will not let Bastian out of our sight.”
Taren pressed his lips together and nodded. How tired Taren must be that he didn’t even
“I’ll join you in a bit.” Ian pressed his lips to Taren’s warm cheek.
Taren retrieved the blanket that had fallen off Bastian’s shoulders and wrapped it around
him again. Naked as Bastian was beneath, Ian caught a glimpse of the wings they’d seen when
they’d discovered him on the ocean floor. No longer scaled as they’d been when they’d first
pulled Bastian from the water, Bastian’s wings were now covered with feathers and shimmered
red, yellow, orange, and fuchsia, iridescent in the sunlight.
“I’ll be back later,” Taren told Bastian with a barely repressed yawn. “I promise.”
Bastian’s eyes revealed little understanding. Had he forgotten everything of his former
life? Perhaps he was still too overwhelmed from the shock of the past day’s events to fully
comprehend his situation. He’d not uttered a word since they’d brought him aboard.
Taren kissed Ian—a fleeting kiss, but one Ian needed to reassure himself that all had not
changed—before heading belowdecks to rest.
Ian met Odhrán at the bow. “He’s like a fledgling,” Ian said, inclining his head in
Bastian’s direction, “watching you like a bird might his mother.”
Odhrán’s brow knitted. He’d clearly noticed it as well. “I’ve asked Garan to reinforce the
enchantments on the ship’s masts and sails. There’s nothing more to be done.”
“Aye. But if Bastian threatens the ship—”
“Then I’ll be forced to subdue him. Not a prospect I relish, although in his current state,
he appears far less powerful than before.” Odhrán studied Bastian once again. “For now, at least,
he’s content to be in our company.”
“What do you know of the Anuki?”
“They’re much like the Ea in their ability to shift to human form. I met one centuries ago,
but he was nothing like this. Not a child. But what happened with Bastian….”
“Reborn from the ashes.” Ian’s heart ached once again for the loss of Rider.
“My time with one of their kind was brief.” Odhrán stared past Ian as if remembering.
Ian didn’t press the issue. Later, perhaps, he’d ask Odhrán about that encounter. “And his
memories of his life with Rider?”
Odhrán shook his head. “I don’t know. I suppose only time will tell.”
Ian clenched his jaw. The realization that Bastian might not remember anything of his
love for Rider made Ian’s grief that much greater.
In her last incarnation, Shira was a professional opera singer, performing roles in such operas as “Tosca,” “i Pagliacci,” and “La Traviata,” among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.
Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs, and when she’s not writing she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found aboard a 36’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.