If home is where the heart is, the warrior Lady Alexin is very far from home, indeed. Banished from her home in the Elven realm of Eledon to the mortal world of near future London, and robbed of her magic, she has no choice but to try and find a place in a world where she doesn’t fit in. Yet for all their peculiarities, the mortals have not been unkind; she has a new career as a high fashion runway model, her very own flat in a posh section of town and a host of opportunities to socialize with a variety of admirers, including a handsome Detective Inspector from Scotland Yard.
Yet nothing but her former training as a tracker and assassin could have prepared her for the discovery that beautiful young Elven women are being kidnapped and trafficked as slaves into the mortal world by the notorious Rock Elves, working with the white supremacist 23rd Infantry–an unholy alliance led by Alex’s old nemesis, Sawgrass. As the truth unravels her mission is clear–a call from home she cannot allow to go unanswered, even if it means her life.
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Rejected…angry…confused…depressed…Alex’s attempt to return home to Eledon to be with her Elf family and friends had failed and she remained stranded in the mortal world. No, the correct term was exiled.
Nothing seemed to improve her mood, not even signing a one-year contract to work as a model for Suzette, an up-and-coming fashion designer at a London studio.
Suzette tried to help her state of mind by dragging her to a disco to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Miranda, Suzette’s former model, was in town for a few days and invited some close friends to join her celebration. Alex didn’t know her and wanted to decline, but Suzette insisted. So here they were, staring at the crowd on the dance floor.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of bodies gyrated to the rhythm of the same musical heartbeat. The place oozed with humans and the music was so loud, Alex could feel her heart pumping in time with the music. Instantly, she felt like she belonged to the same musical organism that had taken over the dance floor. This was her first time in a nightclub—it was called the Factory, the newest hangout in London.
They stored their winter coats and purses in a room to the side where Alex could speak to Suzette but she still had to shout over the music. “I thought you said this party was for close friends of Miranda. There must be thousands of people here.”
“Oh, you know how it is, love. One person invites another and another. The next thing you know, you have this. Come on, let’s join the fun.” She beckoned Alex to the dance floor.
Alex didn’t know how to dance to this music, so she copied Suzette’s moves, raising her hands over her head and wriggling her hips, feeling somewhat silly. Abruptly, the lighting changed—Suzette’s blue hair stood out like a glowing lamp and Alex’s white blouse changed to purple.
Alex stopped and stared while everyone else kept dancing as if nothing had happened. She didn’t understand the transformation under ultraviolet light but when she looked over to ask Suzette, she was gone. Alex gasped, worried that someone might have kidnapped her. Just a few weeks ago, Alex herself had been kidnapped by a white supremacist group, the 23rd Infantry, in order to lure Suzette’s father to a warehouse to kill him, just because he was a black man. Even knowing those men had been captured or killed didn’t stop her from panicking. She felt protective of Suzette; she was vulnerable, a black woman standing five-foot-two and a hundred pounds, soaking wet. At six-feet, Alex looked over the crowd and spotted Suzette’s vibrant hair and her clothes—the paisley shirt and jeans, now glowing under the light. She breathed a sigh of relief and headed over.
Without warning, a male dancer came up to her. He was young, tall, and thin; his white skin sunburned on his cheeks and nose. He’s cute, Alex thought and smiled at him. The mirrored disco lights flashed, showing off his light-colored eyes—blue or green or gray, she wasn’t sure but he winked at her. His blond hair was cut close to his scalp—the cut was often called high and tight by the soldiers at the Nyla Army Garrison where she’d been trained, but the top of his hair was long and fell around his ears. Was he a soldier? Her brother-in-law Edgar came to mind. He was a professional soldier and referred to civilians who dressed like soldiers as ‘wannabes.’
As she danced, she blushed as his eyes focused on her body as if he could see her naked. Uncomfortable under his stare, she danced around him toward Suzette’s last location, but he jumped in front of her and stood very close. He grabbed her waist and rubbed the crotch of his pants against her hips. His eyes closed and she could feel his arousal intensify. His public display shocked her and she tried to move away. But he persisted. Not only did this guy ‘wannabe’ a soldier, but he also wanted to be a sexual object. It reminded her of a film she saw with Suzette called Magic Mike. She threw her head back and laughed as she thought of a name for him, ‘Wannabe Willy.’ She shouted at him, “Back off!” and then resumed her journey.
But Wannabe Willy came up from behind and wrapped his arms around her. He rubbed his crotch against her buttocks as he shouted in her ear, “Hey, baby doll, I like tall girls. You turn me on.”
That was the last thing she wanted to do. She squirmed out of his hold as he slid a card down the front of her shirt with his right hand. “Call me. We can have a private party.”
Alex stiff-armed him in the chest, forcing him back. “I said to back off and I meant it!”
He laughed and danced closer as he wriggled his tongue and licked his lips. She kneed him in the balls and he bent over, covering his private parts with his hands. His eyes opened wide.
“I said to back off!” Alex’s jaw clenched tightly as she stood with her hands on her hips. “Leave me alone!”
He hobbled away and disappeared into the crowd.
Alex’s anger simmered. If I was home, my cousin Prince Darin would have sent him to the Mounds prison for rehabilitation. It was true, but her cousin wasn’t here and she wasn’t home…unfortunately. If Wannabe Willy ever came back, she’d have to deal with him on her own terms but she was in no mood for a fight.
Soon, the rhythmic beat of the music calmed her down. To her relief, no one seemed to have noticed her situation. She resumed her trek across the dance floor and finally tracked down Suzette, concluding she wasn’t in any danger.
Alex resumed dancing, copying moves from others around her. None of them were doing the same thing, so she improvised. Just as she got into her groove, the lights flicked on and a deep, male voice came over the speakers, “Time for a break. Be back in ten. We’ll keep the music going…down low.”
Suzette danced to the subdued music as she headed to the bar. She picked up two drinks, holding one high for Alex as she sipped the other. She laughed as Alex wormed her way over to her.
“Thanks.” Alex took a sip and puckered. “What’s this?”
“It’s called a Zephyr.”
It was blue and sweet and cold. Too sweet for Alex. She slid it onto the bar as Suzette headed to the women’s restroom.
Suzette waved her on. “Come on, I just saw Miranda go inside. Let’s wish her a happy birthday.” She danced past the girls standing in the line for the toilets. Near the sinks, a group of women huddled together to talk and laugh. They were all beautiful black women, current and former models at the same design studio where Alex had been hired, the first and only white model to be employed there.
In the middle of the huddle, Miranda showed off a beautiful diamond necklace. It sparkled brightly in the light as the girls oo’d and ah’d. Miranda was a bit shorter and thinner than Alex with beautiful dark skin, even darker than Suzette’s. Her brown eyes were wide with lashes thickly covered with mascara and sparkling eyeliner. Over her shoulders was draped a mane of frizzy blond hair and she had a delicate grace that reminded Alex of her grandmother.
If only I could be so elegant…Alex felt a twinge of envy. Her face glistened with sweat and wisps of her long black hair clung to her neck. With a paper towel, she blotted her face dry. Her blue eyes, bloodshot and irritated, stared into the mirror where she saw the blue hair in her ears. She covered them up with her hair. It was the only feature that made her different from the other people around her and distinguished her as a Water Elf among the Elves. To her, they stood out like beacons. How elegant is that?
As Miranda turned around, Alex got a good look at the necklace. Her eyes widened as she recognized a Governor’s chain, made by the Elves. A dozen large diamonds were connected by a gold chain with a piece of honeyed amber and a pendant, displaying an emblem of sparkling diamonds set on a golden plate. She’d seen the Elfin governors wear them at a meeting several years ago, each one unique.
How did it get here? Was this a sign—a call from home?
Writing fantasy novels is what Joni Parker loves to do. She’s just completed her third series, “The Admiralty Archives,” a trilogy. Her first series, “The Seaward Isle Saga,” includes three books and a short story, while her second, “The Chronicles of Eledon,” has four books. An award-winning novelist, she’s also branched off into short stories, joining local authors in an anthology called, “Beyond Tucson: Adventures in the Multiverse.” Her writing career began after 22 years in the U.S. Navy and another 7 years in federal civil service. She currently resides in Tucson, Arizona with her sister.
My Take: This is the Third book in The Admirality Archives. I would suggest reading the whole triology so you won't be lost. There are some funny parts but also takes on human trafficking told from a none human perspective but it is a very real part of our world. Good finish to this triology. I received a review copy from PUmp Up Your Book and was not required to write a positive review.
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