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A Queen Among Tides

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Book 5 in the Queen Among Series One mistake centuries ago left Lemuel cursed by the Goddess Merlos and forced to wander the earth granting the wishes of those who touch him. Lemuel was looking at an eternity of loneliness until his unexpected soulmate plucked him right out of the sea. Shocked to find he's been bound in more ways than one to Sebastian, the future King of the Kingdom of Atlesper, Lemuel resists Sebastian’s advances at every turn, believing this may be one pairing Goddess Zarseti got wrong. Lemuel will have to face his past in hopes of starting a new future, but an overly flirtatious King is the least of his worries when he learns Sebastian's parents are convinced that a conniving usurper disguised as a curvy blonde, is the future king's true soulmate. Books in the Queen Among Series so far: Book 1 - A Queen Among Alphas (available on paperback) Book 2 - A Queen Among Snakes Book 3 - A Queen Among Blood Book 4 - A Queen Among Darkness Book 5 - A Queen Among Tides Bite-Size Luna - A Queen Among Alphas Prequel

Chapter 1: Rose's Stink - Lemuel

~ Lemuel

You know how they say ‘stop to smell the roses’? Well, I’ve been smelling the roses for centuries and I’m here to tell you they smell like shit.

I have no idea how humans tolerate the utter mundaneness of their lives. Oh, they don’t think their lives are mundane, but trust me, they are. Only they don’t realise it because they’re living on limited time but imagine if that time was endless. Imagine facing an eternity on earth. You could accomplish everything you wanted in life in the first or second century, and then what are you left with? Endless tedium.

Endless tedium is the bane of my endless existence, even as I watch people walking past the café window. They walk by with smiles on their faces, a pep in their step and a laugh on their lips and I hate them for it. Occasionally someone walks past the window with a deep-set scowl imprinted on their face and for a brief second I let a smile touch my lips. These are the people I relate to most.

I rub my eyes trying to ease the irritation of my contacts as I take another sip of my ristretto, feeling the intense flavour perk up my senses. I notice the waitress’s somewhat blurry figure walking over and I observe her carefully from the corner of my eye, hoping she doesn’t get too close.

“Is everything to your liking?” she asks in Italian with a broad smile on her face.

“Sì, grazie,” I say brusquely, my Italian sounding amateurish even to my own ears.

The waitress’s smile doesn’t falter at my tone. Instead, she reaches past me to collect my empty plate. I instinctively flinch away the moment her arm gets too close, doing my best to ensure no part of her touches any part of me.

The waitress’s eyes widen and then soften, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt you,” she says gently, “You’re safe with me, I’m an ally,” she says proudly.

Oh for the love of all that is holy. Yes, because I’m black I automatically assume every white person is out to get me and I need saving from the five-foot barista. I can’t stop my eye roll at her stupid assumption. Could I maybe just not like to be touched?

“I’m not looking for an ally,” I say boorishly, getting up and withdrawing my wallet from my back pocket and placing a few euro’s down on the table.

“You don’t have to leave,” she says in a panic, “I promise this establishment has nothing against people of colour.”

For fuck sake, someone make this woman stop talking. She looks sweet, and perhaps she means well, but she seems like one of those people who are so woke they’ve circled right back around to ignorant. I was just trying to enjoy a caffeinated beverage and a snack and not be touched, how this turned into someone boasting about racial safe spaces is fucking beyond me.

I ignore the barista and make my way out of the café, my mood soured even more than usual. I’m so distracted by the interaction I’m not as vigilant as I usually am and don’t notice the man walking in my direction until I feel him bump into me. The sensation of razors lacerating my body consumes my senses and if this were three centuries ago, I would be on the ground screaming, but instead, I simply close my eyes and take slow breaths through my nose. I look down as I pull my sleeve up and watch as that dreaded chain made of pure darkness like a thick black fog, forms around my wrist, burning into my flesh.

I take a breath and wait for the pain to subside, then look through the crowd of pedestrians to find the one who just ruined my day. I can see the chain of shadowy darkness weaving through the throngs of people and wrapping around the wrist of a man in a tan suit. I scrub my hands down my face, dreading what I must do, but know I have no fucking choice. I look up to the sky and send out a silent curse to the Goddess who did this to me.

I quickly make my way through the crowd until I find the man I have been latched to and I tap him on the shoulder. He turns to face me with a curious expression.

“Scusi, you bumped into me back there,” I say.

The man quirks his eyebrow, “So? You followed me just to get an apology?” he snorts mockingly.

I fucking hate my life.

“No, I didn’t, but it wouldn’t have killed you,” I say dryly. The man’s face turns displeased, and he begins to walk away from me. I let out a deep sigh and race in front of him, stopping him.

“What the fuck do you want?” he groans in annoyance.

“This may be hard to believe, but because you bumped into me I now must grant you a wish. I can’t leave your side until I have,” I say with disgruntled irritation.

The man’s face turns blank before he doubles over laughing. It’s not the first time I’ve had this reaction and probably won’t be the last. This was much easier a couple centuries ago, although it came with a high chance of execution, at least back then people believed in the supernatural. Now everyone’s a sceptic, so trying to prove I’m not some random guy on the street who’s off his head, is just a new aspect of the curse that keeps on giving.

“You’re going to grant me a wish? What, like some kind of genie?” he laughs.

“Actually, we’re called visums,” I deadpan.

He stops laughing, catching the lack of humour in my tone and voice. “Look, I don’t know what you’re on, but maybe it’s time to get off it.”

He attempts to walk past me, but I block him and proceed to take out my contacts. I open my eyes and am finally able to see clearly for the first time since I woke up this morning. I look at the man in front of me and watch as confusion and annoyance turns to shock as he takes a step back. I’ve been using contacts almost since they were invented. Nothing wrong with my eyesight, I was just sick of people crossing the street when they saw me, or getting scared at the sight of me, and it has nothing to do with the colour of my skin. Well, sometimes that was the reason, but mostly it was because of my eyes.

When I was human I remember having eyes the colour of molasses, but ever since I was cursed, they were replaced with electric blue irises that blend into an electric purple closer to the pupil. I hate them. It’s not exactly an eye colour you see in everyday life, and they tend to give people cause for concern. I suppose in the era of customised contacts where you could make your eyes look like you have planet Earth for irises, I shouldn’t have to worry, but I prefer not to draw unwanted attention to myself.

“Look I don’t know what kind of street prank this is, but I’m not interested,” the man says in agitation, pushing past me and walking off.

I sigh and decide I have no choice but to wait. I move off the street and lean against the wall in a nearby ally. I close my eyes and wait, bracing myself for the inevitable pain that’s soon to come, and like clockwork, I watch as the dark chain around my wrist glows darker as every nerve in my body wakes up to the sensation of razors being dragged across my flesh. I grit my teeth and am immediately yanked from the spot only to suddenly appear in the backseat of a car that could use an air freshener or two with the man who had bumped into me sitting in the driver’s seat. He jumps and throws himself against the driver’s side door the moment he sees me sitting in his backseat.

“How the fuck did you get in here?! What are you?! What the fuck do you want?!” he shouts, reaching for the door handle.

“As I said, I’m a visum, and because you bumped into me I cannot leave your side until I grant you a wish.” I repeat the boring sales pitch, “I’m literally chained to you. Where you go, I go. So if you want to get rid of me make your wish,” I urge him.

“I thought genies give three wishes,” he says flippantly.

“Did I say I was a fucking genie? It’s one wish, and one wish only,” I snap.

“So you’re telling me I can ask for anything I want, and you have to grant it? No questions asked?” he asks for confirmation.

“Exactly,” I sigh. I hate that I don’t get a say in what wishes I grant. I have granted some fucked up wishes that I try my best to forget.

A malicious smile creeps up the man’s face and I instantly don’t like where this is going.

***

Have I mentioned I fucking hate my life?

As I was saying, I’ve granted many wishes over the years, and as much as this wish seems like just deserts, the fact I’ve been made to watch it unfold makes it feel sordid. I’m sitting in Tommaso’s car – as I’ve learned his name to be – watching his wife ride some guy’s dick in the front seat of her red BMW convertible in some seedy make-out point that overlooks the Ionian Sea.

I focus my attention on the view of crystal blue waters that span as far as the eye can see. In this direction, I see no land on the horizon, just a vast sea with endless possibilities. There’s something soothing about watching the waves dancing along the surface of the water. The more I watch it the more hypnotised by them I become. I don’t know why, but I’ve always loved the ocean. I even spent a few years living on a yacht, staying as far from land as I could. It was the most at peace I ever felt. Sure, it was lonely, but I’ve gotten accustomed to loneliness after all these years. In fact, I prefer it. As long as I’m alone, it means nothing and no one can hurt me.

“It’s happening! Oh my God, it’s happening!” Tommaso shouts with excitement as he repeatedly smacks my arm to get my attention. Glad to see someone is enjoying themselves because I’m sure as fuck not.

I begrudgingly turn my attention to the scene unfolding before us. We watch as the Italian police arrive and surround the BMW, ordering Tommaso’s wife and her lover out of the car. I glance at Tommaso to see a look of complete exhilaration on his face that makes me feel ill.

I can’t tell you how many people I have encountered who wish for revenge on their cheating spouses. That or revenge on asshole bosses. Those are the two most popular scenarios. Very rarely does someone ask for anything noble or wholesome. It happens, it’s just rare. My life predominantly consists of granting wishes to people who just want to hurt other people, but I guess that’s why this curse was placed upon me. It gives me a taste of my own medicine so to speak, and I can safely say the medicine is beyond bitter at this point.

Tommaso wished for his wife and her lover to be caught in the act by police. He’s even recording this entire event on his phone. His wife is in tears, hysterically crying and trying to fix her clothes while she is placed in handcuffs as she and her lover are arrested for public indecency since sex in public is illegal in Italy. Tommaso was also sure to wish that she be charged with solicitation, even though that never happened. But a wish is a wish and I’m magically bound to grant it whether I like it or not.

I don’t know the circumstances of why she’s cheating. Maybe she’s just a bitch. In which case, I suppose she deserves this. Or maybe she’s in a loveless marriage, or this voyeuristic fucker beside me is abusive and she found love and intimacy elsewhere. That’s why I hate not being able to decide who I grant a wish to. I hate being an instrument used to hurt people when I don’t even know if they deserve it. If they deserve it, fine, but if they are just an innocent person harmed by my magic, I have to live with that shit for the rest of eternity. That bitch Merlos truly is a cunt.

We watch as Tommaso’s wife and her lover are placed into the back of the police car and driven away. Once the car is out of sight, Tommaso stops recording and gets out of his car, walks over to his wife’s car, and proceeds to dance around like the cat that got the cream. It’s disturbing, to say the least.

I get out of the car, rub my wrist that was free of its magical chain the moment I granted his wish, then slide my hands into my slacks and walk over to him.

“Did you see them? Oh my god, the look on their faces was priceless! She looked so mortified,” he chortles.

“I take it you’re happy then,” I say apathetically.

“You really are the real thing! I can’t believe that actually worked! That cheating slut finally gets to be humiliated like she humiliated me. What can I wish for next?” he asks gleefully.

“I already told you, you only get one wish.”

“In the movies, they give three wishes,” he says suspiciously as if I’m trying to scam him of his wishes. It’s not like I work on fucking commission.

“For the tenth time, I’m not a genie, this is not a movie, and you only get one. I granted your one wish, I’ll now be leaving,” I say in irritation. I hate that I now have a long trek ahead of me, but I am not asking this prick for a lift.

As I turn to leave, his words halt me in my tracks. “About that…” he suddenly says, “See that’s a problem. You’re the only one who knows what happened, and I can’t exactly let you decide to go help my wife get even with me,” he says darkly.

I glance back at him in astonishment. He can’t be serious. I’m starting to see why his wife cheated. This man is paranoid as fuck.

“You think I actively seek out people to grant wishes to? I assure you, that’s the last thing I do,” I say bitterly.

“I can’t take your word for that. I’m sorry, I promise this isn’t personal.”

I look at him in confusion when suddenly he lunges at me, grabbing me by the collar of my shirt and pulling me close to the cliff’s edge. I’m too stunned to have the reflexes or frame of mind to defend myself, and the moment my brain wakes up enough to tell me to fight back, it’s too late. With a firm shove, Tommaso pushes me off the cliff and I feel that horrible pulling in my gut as gravity takes effect and I plummet towards the ocean.

Pain radiates through my entire body like I’ve been struck with a million rubber bands as I crash through the surface of the water. I feel the burning sensation of water entering my lungs when everything starts to go dark as I feel my body being pulled deeper into the ocean’s depths. I would just like to reiterate; this is what I mean when I say the roses smell like shit.

Chapter 2: Parents Just Don't Understand - Sebastian

~ Sebastian

“Do I go with the white shirt or the blue shirt?” I muse to myself as I stand in front of my full-length mirror moving one shirt in front of me and then the next.

Fashion has evolved so much over the last century, and as much as I love all the options it has provided me, I do miss the days when it didn’t take me hours to decide what to wear. Being given such variety is both a blessing and a curse. That being said, I’m going to go with the royal blue button-down. It’s my signature colour and does make my cerulean eyes pop.

I toss the white shirt onto my bed and slide my arms into the royal blue shirt and do up the buttons leaving four undone at the top and tucking it into the waistband of my pants. I want the menses to get a taste of the goods, as Gypsy Rose-Lee once said, ‘make them beg for more, and then don’t give it to them’. I give myself a final once-over and admire how spectacular my ass looks in these jeans. Full and firm, but juicy as hell.

Heroes

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