Title: Discovering Daniel
Author: Nadine Christian
Genre: Young Adult Tour Host: Lady Amber’s Tours
When a shocking memory surfaces that Ava McCoy can’t understand, she looks for answers. With her parents and her Uncle Sam trying to convince her that she is only chasing dreams, she is determined to prove that they are wrong, the vision too vivid in her mind to be anything but truth. When her investigation reveals another world so shocking and yet so familiar, it feels as if the pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together – with only one question left unanswered. Who is Daniel? The very memory of him draws her to the sea. Then, the ocean brings her the answer she’s seeking. Daniel himself. United, Daniel and Ava must find out why everyone wanted to keep them apart – and who is now trying their best to do it again. They must find the answers – before they succeed. Before Ava loses Daniel all over again – this time, forever.
Nadine Christian lives on Pitcairn Island, a small isle in the middle of the South Pacific. With no airport and no way on or off the island unless traveling by the island’s supply ship on it’s quarterly supply run, she supplements her free time with writing. Free time is hard to find — with five children, four goats, two cats and thirty chickens and a life full to the brim. With its rich maritime history, Pitcairn’s romantic past comes alive in her novels, capturing the taste of life on an isolated tropical island, miles from the rush and bustle of normal city life.
Her reflection wavered in the water, the ribbon cutting a line in the wavering picture of herself once more. Her mouth frowned down at the face in the water. The watery reflection frowned back. She grinned and the face in the water grinned back too. Laughing now, she pushed the tip of her nose up with her finger and the girl in the water did as well.
Behind the reflection something moved, and she blinked hard. Bubbles rose, breaking the surface with gentle burbles, carrying what sounded like a tinkling laugh with them. A shimmer of scales darted under the boat and she leaned further out in surprise. That fish was big, she thought and waggled her ribbon enticingly. Then a face, pale and smiling peered up at her, black hair fanning out in the water, blue eyes crinkling in the corner with delight. The face suddenly crossed its eyes and poked out a pink tongue and Ava reared back in surprise, dropping her ribbon in shock.
The momentum carried her in a jerky marionette step across the boat, and then her legs caught the side of the boat, and in what seemed like slow motion, her arms wind-milling, she went backwards over the side.
She heard her father shout out, and then water filled her ears, cold and deafening. Salty fluid filled her mouth and nose and she breathed involuntary as she shrieked in fright. Within seconds, her jacket had righted her in the water, but she struggled to draw a breath. Vomiting a copious mouth of nauseating warm salty water, she coughed hard enough to bring tears to her eyes, and then the tears began in earnest. Legs and arms heavy with fright, she bobbed in the water like a cork, panting with the urgency to get her breath back.
“I don’t know what to say.” Ava forced between frozen lips.
“Don’t bother.” She slid off the bike and began pacing. “You know, I don’t know what’s worse—that you thought you couldn’t tell me what was going on, or that you lied to me.” She slid to a stop, turned to Ava, and put out her hands palms up in confusion. “I thought we were friends, Ava.”
Ava swallowed hard, horrified to see tears glittering in Sally’s eyes. “We are friends.”
Anger replaced the sadness, and Sally ran fingers through her short hair. “Then why couldn’t you tell me about the Mer? Tell me what Daniel was? That’s who he is isn’t it—not a crew member from the Picton Castle of course. What a fool I am.” She face palmed herself and glared at Ava.
“Could you not trust me? What have I done that could ever make you think that?” She stared at Ava, anger mixed with hurt in her expression.
“Wait…just wait a moment,” Ava drawled. She slit her eyes at her friend. “The Mer part isn’t pissing you off, you’re more upset about me not confiding in you.” She raised one brow and stepped toward her friend who now stood, hands on hips, frown creasing her forehead. “Why aren’t you surprised? I mean that Daniel’s a Mer, not a Picton Crew member, not a human even. You look like you don’t even care.”
“Because! I don’t. He could be an alien from some distant planet. He could have six heads for all I care. It’s just proof to me.” Sally wailed and threw her hands in the air. “I always knew there was something more than just us in this world. It couldn’t be just us humans. I always thought it would be angels or vampires or werewolves…but, Ava…” Sally’s shoulders drooped.
“You found a mermaid! You found a creature of the sea and didn’t even tell me!”
Sally rolled her eyes and growled with aggravation. “You’re correcting me now?”
“Sorry,” Ava said. “Sorry for everything. I wanted to tell you, Sally, but I just couldn’t.”
“Couldn’t or didn’t want to?” She crossed her arms and glared at Ava.
“I couldn’t. I promised. I promised my father, my uncle, and I promised Daniel.”
Sally put her hand to her chest. “God, I always knew there was something different about him.” A dreamy smile crossed her lips and then she visibly shook herself and glared at Ava. “Who has kept your secrets for you since we were in preschool together? Who covered for you when you were late home from school when you met Mark Christian to practice French kissing behind the water tank at school? You could have trusted me, Ava.”
Ava gave in. “I’m sorry, Sally. It’s been killing me keeping this from you. I hated sneaking around behind your back and lying to you. Can you forgive me?”
Sally pursed her lips and cocked her hip. “You’ll tell me everything?”
Ava nodded. “Everything.”
A smile grew wide on Sally’s lips and she clapped her hands with glee. “Good. You can start by telling me what it’s like to kiss a Mermai…Mer-male. Did he taste like fish?”