Ambrosia Shore (The Water Keepers #3)
Published May 30th 2013 by Christie Anderson (first published May 2013)
Series The Water Keepers #3
Sadie never dreamed she would see the world of Ambrosia with her own two eyes, just like Rayne never believed he would have the chance to share it with her. Finally, they can be together without any lies, without hiding who they are, in a world that shines brighter than Sadie could ever imagine. There’s only one problem. Rayne had to break grievous laws in order to bring her there, and he is expected to pay the price. Sadie believes her father has the power to free Rayne, but he has been missing for days. Now, Sadie is alone in an unfamiliar world and desperate to help Rayne before it’s too late.
About the Author
Christie Anderson grew up in Southern California and goes back to visit every year. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University and recently moved to Colorado with her husband. Visit her Web site at www.christieanderson.org
I am so in love with this series, and Rayne!! He is the perfect guy! He has the biggest heart, and will do anything for Sadie, I just love this really deep relationship they have.
If you have not started this series yet, I highly suggest you do so. The first book, Deep Blue Secret has been free for Kindle for awhile, and still is, and its great too, but the story builds off that, and gets so good I can’t stress enough how amazing this series is. This third book was even better than the first 2. So intense, and suspenseful too.
I really love how the author will alternate between different points of views. We get to be inside of Sadie most of the time, then a few times from Rayne, Ash and Hamilton , even Orion as well. Can’t remember if in this one we heard from Voss or not, but know we did in the 2nd book.
I really can’t wait for book 4 now such an exciting twist at the end, it really gets you anxious for more.
Here is a few teasers for you:
A sweet one with Rayne and Sadie:
Before I could respond, he pulled me into him, pressing his lips into mine to kiss me under the Ambrosia sky. The shivers returned to my arms, but this time it wasn’t the trees.
Rayne released my lips and lingered so close I could feel his breath on my mouth. His eyes paused to gaze into mine for a long moment as a quiet smile slowly grew across his features; sensing me, feeling me…knowing me.
“What?” I asked quietly, searching his thoughts.
His hands slid gently up the sides of my arms. “It’s just…it’s hard to believe you’re really here.”
“I know,” I breathed. And then we were kissing again, swept away by the moonlight and the whispering trees and the strange, exhilarating rush through the air like magic all around us.
And here is a part that just cracked me up:
I heard a faint whisper. It was my mother’s voice, soft and warm. Discreetly, I focused my eyes in her direction and realized that she was sitting in the arm chair, and she wasn’t alone.
Then, my mom moved again and I heard the creepiest noise a teenage girl could ever imagine; the quiet, unmistakable noise made by two sets of lips—parent lips—exploring and moving around each other in the dark. I silently cringed. They were making out, with me just ten feet away
This book is written really well too, you have some funny stuff, sweet steamy parts, and the suspense and thrills too, with some paranormal/sci-fi elements too. Wont go into that part too much, so not to spoil it for anyone who had not read the first 2 books yet.
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars, and Highly recommend it, not just for the YA crowd, but for all ages.
I was provided this copy for my honest review.
You can find my reviews for the 2 books at the below links
Book 1, Deep Blue Secret - Add to Goodreads
Book 2 Rogue Wave - Add to Goodreads
Both reviews at this post, with the book trailers too, here
Excerpt pf Chapters 0ne and two
(do not read if you have not read books one and two. You have been warned, lol) You can read 5 chapters at Amazon, if you want.
The door to the Banyan Security Center sprang open after a quick swipe from Orion’s clearance card. The agents on duty inside the large room all jerked their heads at his entrance and jumped to their feet to demonstrate attention and respect for their superior’s arrival.
Orion tipped his head in acknowledgement then signaled they return to their work stations.
“Councilman Bennett,” the head agent said, “an unidentified emergency admittance through the Threshold border was reported at 16:47 hours. At 17:06 a border guard was found handcuffed outside the Hall of Clocks, claiming that Agent Rayne Stevens double crossed him by taking the undocumented person off grounds by force.”
Orion strode to the main security screen as he made commands. “Give me video from all vital stations immediately. Run facial recognition for Stevens throughout the city, starting with major transport.”
Orion scanned the video feed as it appeared, when something suspect caught his eye. “There,” he said, pointing to the screen in question. “Zoom in.” When he got a closer look at the scene, it revealed a glimpse of a person, possibly carrying something large and obscure, as the figure turned a corner inside a secured area at the Sacred Pool.
The figure on the screen disappeared around the corner. “Pull up all cameras located at station one,” Orion advised. “I want a report of every agent who’s been stationed there in the last twenty-four hours.”
“Sir, I have something,” one of the agents on duty called. “The system at the Sacred Pool shows Agent Stevens’ security clearance was accessed there only moments ago. Should we send in a team?”
Orion hesitated as he found Rayne Stevens’ face on another screen. “Wait,” he instructed. “I want to get a better look.”
Using the control panel, he zoomed in on the object in Rayne’s hands. It was a woman. He could undoubtedly see that she was unresponsive, perhaps even dead. What was Rayne Stevens up to? Orion wondered if this had anything to do with Jax’s outburst earlier that day.
First his son had come barging past security to Hamlin’s office, spouting out something about thisOperation Sadie that Orion knew nothing about, and now one of their top agents was breaking into the Sacred Pool? Something was clearly amiss. And he had a feeling the Ambassador was involved.
Orion spun to face the room. “Everyone out,” he ordered. “Now! This is a matter for top-clearance only.”
No one dared question him as every befuddled guard at the station scurried out of the room. Then, Orion watched on intently as Rayne Stevens, the Ambassador’s beloved pet Water Keeper, tore his way through the last secure door and ran up the path leading directly to the Sacred Pool.
The outer security gate opened automatically as we approached in Rayne’s truck. I glanced back one last time at the building which stood like a small fortress behind us. It guarded the Sacred Pool of Banya, the place that had saved me from death just moments earlier by some miraculous power living within its massive walls made of Banyan trees. I had to take a deep breath as I turned forward in the seat, knowing that we were about to roll forward to an exciting new world.
We made our way down a steep slope, surrounded by beautiful foliage and trees that seemed to shimmer through the darkening sky. A shiver of anticipation fluttered through me as we turned a corner where the trees started to clear, but as the view in front of me opened, my stomach clenched itself into a ball. My mouth and eyes grew wide at the spectacular, almost terrifying sight before me.
I gasped in awe. We were high in the hills looking down at an entire valley filled with lights; lights and skyscrapers and gleaming windows for miles. I had been to Los Angeles on numerous occasions and seen some gorgeous views of the city at night, but there was no comparison. This city was so large I couldn’t see the end of it. And it was like the entire place had been sprinkled with glow-in-the-dark paint dust, purple and pink and green. Even the grid of dark streets below us seemed to be glazed over with an iridescent sheen of blue across the surface.
My gaze was so fixed on the view through the windshield that I could hardly find any words. All I could manage under my breath was, “Whoa…”
Rayne glanced over at me, searching my expression, then he smiled and laced his fingers over my hand as he said, “Welcome to Banya.”
I nodded my head in response and tried to swallow. “I…thought you said Ambrosia was small.”
“It is small,” Rayne said with a chuckle. “Actually, it’s tiny compared to Earth. But Banya is the only big city on the entire planet of Ambrosia, and ninety percent of the population wants to live within forty-five minutes of the Sacred Pool. It takes a lot of tall buildings to house an entire planet full of people all in one place, even if it is a small one.”
“I guess that makes sense,” I said, still staring out the window, attempting to take in every inch of the city at once, wondering if that was even possible. It was just…so big…and bright. It was like it was glowing, the buildings, the trees, everything.
In that moment, I knew I had been given a second chance at life. Again. Just moments earlier, I had come within inches of death or maybe closer, and yet here I was, alive and well and sitting in the passenger seat of a brawny white truck next to the most wonderful, selfless person I had ever met in my entire life, witnessing the most astonishing sight my eyes had ever seen.
Just before we reached the bottom of the first hill, Rayne pressed his foot to the break and glanced over at me. “Are you sure you’re okay?” he asked for the third time in the last ten minutes.
I looked at him with a confident smile. “I’m sure.”
The amazing thing was…I didn’t have to fake it. My smile and confidence were both real. Even though everything I thought I knew about the universe had turned out to be completely wrong, and I had no idea if my mother was okay despite Rayne’s many reassurances, I felt a strange sense of peace and determination.
Something inside told me that, in this place, nothing could stop me from accomplishing my goals, whatever they were supposed to be. I didn’t actually know what they were yet, but in this moment, I had no doubt I was going to figure it all out. I squeezed Rayne’s hand and gazed out the window at a place so enthralling, and overwhelming, that I could do nothing but let my eyes explore every inch of it.
The sun had begun to disappear behind the horizon. Only a warm sunset remained in the evening sky, yet I could still see everything clearly. I wasn’t sure if it was an actual change inside me, or just the vivid world around us, but my vision felt crisp and clear, like my eyes had switched from their regular setting to high definition.
“Is that where we’re staying tonight?” I finally asked. “In Banya?” We were almost at the bottom of the hillside now, and the large city view was becoming less of a view and more of a reality right before my eyes.
Rayne pulled the steering wheel to the right, navigating around a tight corner and turning onto a road which lead us the opposite direction of the city lights. “I think it will be smarter to stay away from the crowds,” he said. “At least until I can get a hold of your father and figure out what we’re supposed to do now that you’re here.” Rayne paused and looked at me thoughtfully. “I was thinking we could stay at Lizzy Grove tonight.”
“With your family?” I blurted, unsure if I was excited by the idea or suddenly nervous.
Rayne laughed. “Yeah, if you’re okay with that. But I don’t want to throw too much at you all at once. I know this has been a hard day, and you’re probably exhausted. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe that’s not the best idea. I know of a quiet inn several miles outside the city. You can rest there without having to worry about—”
“No, it’s fine,” I cut in. “Let’s go to Lizzy Grove.”
“Are you sure?” he said.
Rayne had only, officially, been my boyfriend for less than a week, and even though I thought we were only pretending to date during the entire five months previous to that, we still spent almost every day together during that time—laughing, and learning each other’s little quirks, and getting to know each other. Yet, during all that time, I still felt like I barely knew Rayne. I didn’t really know where he came from or what made him who he is today. And even though I was mentally exhausted in a lot of ways at the moment, I wasn’t about to lose what could very likely be my one and only chance to finally see the place and the people Rayne called home.
“Are you kidding?” I said. “I never thought in a million years I would have a chance to meet your family. Of course I want to go to Lizzy Grove.”
Rayne’s worried expression turned quickly to a grin. “Really? You’re sure? Just so you know, they can be kind of… Well, let’s just say they can be extremely…friendly.”
“Even if they wanted to kill me with kindness,” I said with a chuckle. “I can’t think of any place I’d rather be.”
“All right,” he said. “But you can’t say I didn’t warn you.”
As the city lights disappeared behind us, I could see every single star shining through the night sky from the window of the truck. There wasn’t anything odd or astounding about them; they were stars, just like the ones I’d been gazing upon since I was a little girl. Even a radiant half-moon, appearing much like the one orbiting the Earth, was visible through a hazy patch of clouds as we drove toward Lizzy Grove. There was no question I was in a strange, foreign, wondrous place, but it was comforting to feel at least a few similarities to home.
Once I started to recover from the shock of being on an entirely different planet, and maybe even a different galaxy for all I knew, my mind started formulating questions. But just as I was about to bombard Rayne with a quiz on every possible subject I could think of regarding Ambrosia, a phone began to ring from somewhere inside the truck.
Rayne reached for the glove box and pulled out a cell phone. His eyes squinted, examining the screen as if he didn’t recognize the number.
He answered it warily, but a moment later Rayne’s voice seemed to relax. “Oh, hey, man,” he said.
I watched Rayne’s face intently as he spoke, wondering who he was talking to, and wishing I could hear what the caller was saying on the other side of the conversation.
“Yeah, she’s right here with me,” Rayne went on. “She’s fine now. Listen, thanks for helping me today. I owe you.”
After a pause he said, “No, we’re headed to a place outside the city for now. Have you heard anything from the Ambassador?”
Rayne’s voice tightened with his next reply. “Why?” he said. “What’s going on?” Before he even finished his sentence, Rayne reached for the radio and turned it on.
“Okay, thanks. Just keep me posted.” Rayne clicked off the call and pushed the phone into his pocket.
“Who was that?” I asked as soon as he finished.
Rayne began fiddling with the radio dials. “That was Jax. He hasn’t heard from your father, but he said he’d get back to me as soon as he knows anything about him or your mom.”
Jax? It took me a second to remember who Rayne was talking about. But then it all came flooding back to me. Before we went to find my mother to save her earlier that day, before her boyfriend, Dr. Jensen, had been murdered right before our eyes by the terrible black-eyed killer Voss Hastings, before I was shot by his deranged son, Ash Hastings, with only a few breaths of life left in my dying body, before all of that…I had learned that the person I thought was merely Nicole’s cousin Derrick, a UCLA student from Fresno just looking for a good time, was actually Jax Bennett—a Scout from Ambrosia who had been stealing our Healing Water and lying to us since the day we met him.
But apparently, Rayne seemed to trust the guy now. At least, that was the impression I was getting. Jax did say that he had no idea what Ash had really been up to when he got involved, and he immediately turned around and helped us by going to get my father once he knew the truth, but I still wasn’t completely convinced we could trust him. And the guy stole my diary. I mean, what kind of creep steals a girl’s diary just for “a bit of light reading” as he put it? Jax was going to have to try a little harder in the future if he wanted to gain my trust.
Rayne stopped scanning the radio as the deep voice of a radio host broke my thoughts.
“Welcome back, folks,” the host said. “For those of you who are just joining us, we’re breaking away from our scheduled show tonight to discuss some breaking news. It has been confirmed that Ash Hastings, well-known playboy, Scout, and son of the recently deceased fugitive Voss Hastings, was apprehended by officials outside the Threshold border earlier today. At this point, the official charges haven’t been released to the public by the Ambassadors Council, but there’s speculation that Hastings was involved in the recentmiracle doctor fiasco in California, where a local doctor somehow got his hands on a large supply of Healing Water and was treating his patients with it like it was some kind of common prescription. Of course, it’s all speculation at this point, but we’re told that Hastings has been taken into custody, where he will remain until the Council determines his fate. This is Birch Parker; now it’s time to hear what the population of Ambrosia thinks about all this. Let’s open up the phones… We’ll start with Mika from South Banya. Mika, welcome to the show.”
“Oh hi, Birch,” the female caller said. “I just have to say…I love your show. I listen to it every night.”
“Well, thank you, Mika. So, what do you think about Ash Hastings being taken into custody?”
“To be honest,” she replied. “I feel kind of sorry for the guy. It seems to me like Ash Hastings has gotten a bad rap. I’m hoping the Council goes easy on him.”
The host cut in, “Let’s say, for discussion’s sake, that they determine Hastings is guilty of all charges, would that change your mind about him?”
“Well, from what I’ve seen of Ash on TV over the years, he seems like a nice guy who maybe just got stuck with a lot of bad luck. If he does end up being guilty, I think, if anything, they should put the young man in counseling. I mean, we can’t forget about his beautiful mother who died tragically young while on duty in the service of her people, right in front of her son’s eyes from what I’ve heard. Think how hard that would have been to lose someone so young like that. I doubt there are more than a handful of people in Banya who have suffered through something so horrible. And then to be stuck with Voss Hastings, the worst kind of criminal, as your only family and support…it really just doesn’t seem fair if you ask me. I think the Council should feel obligated to help this poor young man.”
“Okay, people,” the radio host said, “it looks like we have one vote for leniency and mental counseling for Mr. Hastings. Now let’s switch over to Denton in West Central. Denton, you’re on the air with Birch Parker. What’s your opinion?”
“Hi, Birch. Thanks for having me,” the male caller said. “You know, all I have to say about this is…it’s about time.”
“So, you’re saying you think Hastings is guilty?” the host said.
“There’s no question in my mind,” the caller agreed. “I mean, the Lizzy fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree, if you know what I’m saying. There’s no way he could be raised by a man like Voss Hastings and not eventually follow in his father’s criminal footsteps. I’m not saying I disagree that the guy is messed up in the head, possibly thanks to his father or even his mother’s death, but a crime is a crime. He should be required to suffer the consequences just like anybody else. And quite frankly, I’m tired of all these rich-kid Scouts and Keepers thinking they can get away with anything they want just because they’re at the top of the food chain. And speaking of Keepers…in my opinion, that thing in California with the doctor misusing the Healing Water never would have happened if the Council could just see that the Keeper Program needs to be shut down.”
“Well, we’re getting a little off topic,” the host cut in, “but keep that thought, listeners, because tomorrow night we’ll be discussing, in depth, the validity of the Keeper Program. It’s certainly a controversial topic of conversation these days, so you won’t want to miss it. Be sure to join us tomorrow night with your chance to speak out on the hottest topics in Ambrosia, live with Birch Parker. We’ll be back with more opinions on Ash Hastings in a moment, right after this short message from our sponsors.”
I could tell by the way Rayne’s hand flew up to the radio to shut it off that he was suddenly in a bad mood. Who could blame him really? Ash used to be Rayne’s closest friend, right up until the point when Ash betrayed Rayne completely.
Silent tension filled the cab of the truck.
I figured Rayne was probably doing the same thing that I was doing at this very moment—reliving everything that Ash had done in the last several months to hurt us. He spied on us, stole our Healing Water, held a knife to my throat, kidnapped and tied up my mom like a prisoner of war, shot me when my Watermark was already draining my body dry with little hope for recovery.
I could feel the peace and clarity that had filled me so completely at the Sacred Pool of Banya start to fade as I focused on my anger. I knew I had to redirect my thoughts before they dragged me down to a place I didn’t want to be. I couldn’t let the bad thoughts and negativity take over.
“Well, I guess now we know what happened to Ash,” I said lightly, trying to ease the tension.
“Yeah, well he deserves it,” Rayne mumbled.
Rayne was usually so optimistic and together. I hated to see this eating away at him.
I reached for his hand. “Ash hurt both of us,” I said. “But maybe we should try to look at the bright side of all this.”
“Is there a bright side?” Rayne said quietly.
For some reason, I was completely surprised by his response. I expected him to say, “Everything will be okay,” or “Don’t worry, I won’t let anybody get hurt,” just like he always did. But this time he didn’t.
I shot a startled glance in Rayne’s direction and found his worried eyes staring back at me. “We don’t even know what happened to your mother,” he continued, “or Hamlin. We don’t know what happened to Voss. Do you understand that? I know you’ve been through a lot today, but did you notice how the reports only mentioned Ash being taken into custody? That means that Voss is either still out there tormenting your parents, or he’s already escaped.”
Everything Rayne was saying about Voss felt suddenly, gravely real. I tried to swallow. “Um, I guess I didn’t realize—” But I had to stop talking. My voice was paralyzed, stuck. I wasn’t sure if it was my fears about Voss and what he was capable of that constricted my words, or if it was just the total shock at the fact that Rayne had made absolutely no effort in trying to shield me from the severity of his concerns. Either way, all I could do was stare at my lap in contemplation.
For the last five months, I had relied on Rayne to be my rock, my unwavering source of strength and support. But now, for the first time, he wasn’t acting cool and confident, or telling me a bunch of half-truths in order to protect me from everything he didn’t think I could handle. He was telling me the truth. Not only that, but he was freely expressing his concerns to me rather than hiding them under a mask of forced reassurances.
For a brief moment, Rayne seemed unguarded. And for probably the first time ever, it felt like he needed me to take care of him, instead of the other way around.
It was a strange feeling, but it felt good. Maybe it was the wrong thing to be thinking about at the moment—since there was no question that the thought of Voss still being out there, and having no idea about the safety of my mother, certainly gave me a whole lot to be worried about—but I couldn’t help feeling like all I wanted to do was take Rayne in my arms and just…be there for him.
I finally turned away from my lap and smiled up at him. “Actually, I still think there’s a bright side,” I said.
“You do?” he asked.
“We’re together, aren’t we? And we’re both fine. I’m not hurt anymore, right? We can’t forget that I just survived the brink of death.”
“Yeah,” Rayne grumbled, “and the worthless criminal who put you in that heartless, unfair position in the first place, is still out there.” Rayne looked away, back at the dark road in front of him. “And I just—I can’t believe Ash would do something like that, hurt someone I love just to win his father’s pitiful approval.”
“If you really think about it,” I offered hesitantly, “if it wasn’t for all those terrible things that Ash and Voss did to us, I never would have had the chance to come to Ambrosia.”
I paused, searching Rayne’s face until he returned my gaze. “We’re here,” I said. “We’re here in Banya…together. I don’t think we should let the past, or other people’s mistakes, ruin that for us. I get to meet your family and see Lizzy Grove… And who knows, maybe being here around all this Healing Water will be enough to fix my Watermark for good.”
“Maybe you’re right,” Rayne finally said. “I really can’t think of any other place I’d rather be than here with you right now.” He tried to fight it, but a small smile crept onto his face as he said, “Now I remember why I fell in love with you, sunshine.”