Eight Simple Rules for Dating - Kerrelyn Sparks

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Table of Contents

About the Author

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For my own adopted sisters—

MJ Selle, Vicky Yelton, and Sandy Weider,

Bestest best friends, critique partners,

quality control experts,

And all around wonder women.

Consider yourselves Embraced.

Acknowledgments

With the completion of another longer-than-usual book, I am once again relieved and grateful that my publisher, St. Martin’s Press, never hesitates to allow me all the room I need in order to tell a story. My sincere thanks to everyone at St. Martin’s, including Jennifer Enderlin, Brant, Alexandra, Marissa, Brittani, Jordan, the art department, the lovely ladies at Heroes and Heartbreakers, and everyone else working behind the scenes to make my books shine. A special thank-you to my new editor, Monique Patterson, for loving this series and for so graciously taking me on.

I am always grateful to my dear friend and literary agent, Michelle Grajkowski of Three Seas, for continuing to watch over me. My critique partners/best friends are listed in the dedication, for they are always there for me with encouragement, love, and even tough love, whenever I need a swift kick in the pants. My husband and children are a never-ending supply of love and support. Special thanks go to my husband/best friend/tax man/road manager, who keeps me laughing and is always on the lookout for Brody in whichever form he may have adopted.

And finally, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my readers and booksellers/librarians for Embracing the new series. To me, you are also Embraced, because lending your support to an author is your awesome power. Thanks to you, the magical world of Aerthlan can continue to flourish.

Prologue

In another time on another world called Aerthlan, there are five kingdoms. Four of the kingdoms extend across a vast continent. For centuries, these countries have been ravaged by war.

The fifth kingdom consists of two islands in the Great Western Ocean. These are the Isles of Moon and Mist. The island people worship the twin moons in the night sky. Several villages exist on the Isle of Moon, but there is only one inhabitant on the small Isle of Mist—the Seer.

Twice a year, the two moons eclipse or, as the people call it, embrace. Any child born when the moons embrace will be gifted with a magical power. These children are called the Embraced, and traditionally, the kings on the mainland have sought to kill them. Some of the Embraced infants are sent secretly to the Isle of Moon, where they will be safe.

For as long as anyone can remember, the Seer repeated his dire prediction of war, destruction, and despair. But not anymore. Now he claims a wave of change is sweeping across Aerthlan, a change that will bring peace to a world that has known violence for too long. And that change is happening because of five young women from the fifth kingdom.

The women were hidden away as infants on the Isle of Moon, and there, they grew up as sisters. The oldest, Luciana, now rules over Eberon with her husband, King Leofric. Brigitta reigns over Tourin with her husband, King Ulfrid, also known as the infamous pirate Rupert.

Three sisters