Of Triton Online - Anna Banks Page 0,1

shark teeth. Galen wants to tell him that putting on a pair of shorts is the easy part. Instead, Galen says, “The house is just a short walk up the beach.”

Grom nods, tight-lipped, and plucks a piece of seaweed off his nose as his head emerges from the water. Toraf is already on shore, shaking off the excess water like a polar bear. Galen wouldn’t be surprised if Toraf broke into a run to get to the house; Galen had insisted on leaving Rayna behind. Given their current standing as outcasts to both kingdoms, Grom was more likely to believe Toraf than either of his own siblings at the moment. Luckily, Yudor had reached him first, and had already informed the Triton king that he himself had sensed Nalia’s pulse. Yudor is the trainer of all Trackers, and Toraf’s mentor. There is no arguing with Yudor.

Still, it would have been a lot easier if Nalia would have just accompanied Galen and Toraf to Triton territory. Convincing Grom she was alive was almost as difficult as convincing him to come ashore. But just like Grom, Nalia had closed herself off, unwilling to offer even the slightest explanation for what happened all those years ago. The only words they could finally extract from her were a strangled “Bring Grom to me, then.”

Short of dragging her to the water kicking and screaming—and destroying Emma’s trust in him—Galen made the snap decision to leave them both in Rayna’s care. And the word “care” can be very subjective where his sister is concerned.

But they couldn’t waste any more time; with Yudor’s head start on them, a search party might have already been dispatched, and if not, then Galen knew it was coming. And he couldn’t—wouldn’t—risk them finding Emma. Beautiful, stubborn Half-Breed Emma.

And he’s a little perturbed that Nalia would.

The three of them plod holes in the sand reaching up to Emma’s back porch, alongside a recent trail of someone else’s—probably Emma’s—footsteps leading from the beach. Galen knows this moment will always be burned into his memory. The moment when his brother, the Triton king, put on human clothes and walked up to a house built by humans, squinting in the broad daylight with eyes unaccustomed to the sun.

What will he say to Nalia? What will he do?

The steps creak under their bare feet. Toraf slides open the glass door and ushers Galen and Grom in. And Galen’s heart plummets to his stomach.

Whoever tied Rayna to the bar stool—the same bar stool occupied by Nalia last time he’d seen it—made sure it would be a painful fall if she tried to move too much. Both of her hands are bound behind her with an electrical cord, and each of her ankles are cinched to the stool with a belt. A broad piece of silver tape over her mouth muzzles all the fury bulging in her eyes.

Toraf runs to his mate. “My poor princess, who did this to you?” he says, tugging gently at a corner of the tape. She snatches her face away from him and chastises him in muffled outrage.

Galen strides to them and promptly rips the tape from Rayna’s mouth. She yelps, raking him over with a scalding look. “You did that on purpose!”

Galen wads the tape into a sticky ball then drops it to the floor. “What happened?”

Rayna squares her shoulders. “I’m going to kill Nalia for good this time.”

“Okay. But what happened?”

“She poisoned me. Or something.”

“Triton’s trident, Rayna. Just tell me what hap—”

“Nalia kept saying she needed to go to the restroom, so I let her use the downstairs bathroom. I figured it would be okay because she seemed to have calmed down since you left, so I untied her. Anyway, she was taking a long time in there.” Rayna points to the bathroom below the stairwell. “So I checked on her. I knocked and knocked but she didn’t answer. I opened the door—I should’ve known something was off since it wasn’t locked—and the bathroom was dark. Then she grabs me from behind and puts something over my face. The last thing I remember is Emma standing in the doorway screaming at Nalia. Next thing I know, I wake up in this chair, tied up like some common human.”

Toraf finally frees her. She examines the red lines embedded into her wrists. Rubbing them, she winces. “I’m going to do something bad to her. I can be creative, you know.” Rayna clutches her stomach. “Uh-oh. I think … I think I’m gonna—”

To her