Author Adalyn Grace is back with more high seas adventure in All the Tides of Fate, the thrilling sequel to All the Stars and Teeth—available February 2nd from Imprint. Read an excerpt below!
Through blood and sacrifice, Amora Montara has conquered a rebellion and taken her rightful place as queen of Visidia. Now, with the islands in turmoil and the people questioning her authority, Amora cannot allow anyone to see her weaknesses.
No one can know about the curse in her bloodline. No one can know that she’s lost her magic. No one can know the truth about the boy who holds the missing half of her soul.
To save herself and Visidia, Amora embarks on a desperate quest for a mythical artifact that could fix everything—but it comes at a terrible cost. As she tries to balance her loyalty to her people, her crew, and the desires of her heart, Amora will soon discover that the power to rule might destroy her.
Bastian catches up to me before I can escape back to my room, breathless as he seizes hold of my wrist.
I jump from the jolt of his skin on mine. His touch blazes through me like fire, igniting my veins. It makes me want to give myself to him, to let him hold me and just burn.
It’s why I’ve been doing everything in my power to stay away from him.
“You’re really going to run out like that?” he demands, his hair windswept from running, hazel eyes fixed on mine. “You have no magic, Amora. How do you think you’re going to get away with this, especially with others watching?”
“You don’t get it, do you?” I whip my hand back from him, as though he’s a flame threatening to char my skin. “I need others to watch. That’s the only way I have a chance at putting a stop to the rumors that something happened to my magic.”
His fists are clenched, the muscles in his neck taut. “But do you have a plan? You know, that thing where you pause to think about what you’re doing before you announce to an entire room that you’re going to do it?”
“Of course I do,” I argue. “I have a… a contingency plan.”
He cocks his head to the side. “Oh? What kind of contingency plan?”
I clamp my teeth together, tempering the frustration that’s bubbling within me. “One that will work.” But also, one I hoped I’d never have to use. One with too many variables, when we have only one chance to get this right. I know full well how risky it is—one misstep, and my entire reign will go down in flames before it’s even begun. But I’ve known this day would come since the moment I took the throne, and this is the only idea that stands a chance.
Bastian sighs. “You don’t need to do this by yourself. Just… talk to me. You and I are better together; let me help you.”
For a fleeting moment, I want little more than exactly that. But I trusted Father with everything, and look where that got me. I will not put my faith solely in another person, again.
“You can help me by staying away tonight.” I keep my voice terse, trying to ignore the way his grief slices into me. Every fiber of my body buzzes with the wrongness of this emotion that isn’t my own. “You’re a distraction, Bastian. And I can’t have any distractions when I’m down in the prison.”
Maybe they’re cruel words. But as his face falls, I know they’ve worked. For now, that’s all that matters.
“You’ve been avoiding me all fall. I’m sure I can manage to stay away from you for one night.” He leans away from me and crosses his arms over his chest. The stance looks almost casual, but I’m not fooled. Frustration boils within him, heating my skin. “But what about what they said in the meeting? Are you…Is that something you want?”
“Getting married?” I snort. “Of course it isn’t. But you can’t deny the idea has merit.”
“It’s a safe idea,” he challenges, gritting the words between clenched teeth. His anger is a dark and vicious storm of emotions that swells within me.
“There’s nothing wrong with trying to be safe.” I haven’t had the chance to truly consider the idea, but I can’t help but want Bastian to feel a little sting from my words. I want him to know that, regardless of this curse linking us, he doesn’t own me. He is not my destiny, and though I might want him, I don’t need him. “Visidia’s lost too much. My mother has lost too much. What’s wrong with having some stability?”
“There’s nothing wrong with stability. But it shouldn’t mean sacrificing who you are.” He steps forward and reaches out as if to touch me. Though every inch of my body burns for that touch, I flinch back, only realizing a moment too late what I’ve done.
Bastian stills, stricken. His chest doesn’t move—for a moment, he doesn’t breathe.
“You just got out of one engagement; don’t trap yourself again.” His words have turned to a whisper, soft and pleading.
“This isn’t a sudden suggestion.” I keep my voice hard. “There’s a reason my family engaged me to Ferrick last summer, and now there are too few options left to be the heir. I have to consider it—I’ll do whatever it takes to repair this kingdom, and if that means I must put a ring on my finger to do it, or fake whatever I must fake so that my people can rest easy, then I will.”
His jaw snaps shut, and I can practically hear his teeth grinding together. I’m about to dismiss myself, unable to bear the tension any longer, when his posture relaxes.
“Fine.” Bastian speaks with such finality that, for a moment, I’m almost offended he hasn’t tried harder to stop me. At the very least I expected an outburst, yet his anger comes cool and bitter.
“That’s what I said.” His voice is calm, but brisk. “It’s fine. In fact, you should do it.”
It’s as though he’s struck me straight in the chest. I turn away, unwilling to let him see the anger festering inside me. “This is all it took you to back off? Stars, maybe I should have begun courting ages ago.”
Bastian’s laugh is smooth as wine. In his nearness, I can practically taste the familiar sea-salt scent of his skin. “Who said anything about backing off? The plan would be to meet the most eligible bachelors in all Visidia, right? And see if you have a connection with any of them?”
I watch him warily, eyes narrowed. “That’s correct.”
His breathing settles. Though his eyes are dark, determination has hardened them. The smile he flashes is nearly enough to melt me to the floor, warm and rich and brilliant. “Then if that’s what you decide to do, let’s not forget that I’m a bachelor, too. And I’m very, very eligible.”
As the shock of his words settles in, I find I can barely move my lips, let alone form words. Sweat coats my palms, and I wipe them by pretending to smooth out my dress. My mouth is dry and my cheeks hot and flustered. The last thing I want is for him to notice, though the attempt is useless. This boy can feel my very soul.
“If you’ll excuse me.” I turn away before my thundering heart can betray me to him and the entire kingdom. “I have to prepare for this evening.”
The last thing I see from Bastian is that he bows his head. There’s a smirk in his voice as he calls out, “You won’t be able to ignore me forever, Princess.”
But until I can sort out these emotions roiling within me, I’m sure as stars going to try.
Excerpted from All the Tides of Fate, copyright © 2021 by Adalyn Grace.