Mardan’s Mark (Mardan’s Mark, #1)
Release Date: 12/25/14
Summary from Goodreads:
Srilani is second in line to the throne, and she’s always known what is expected of a princess — bring honor to her family and marry well. Aldan has been a pirate’s slave for as long as he can remember, and all he wants is to be free. The Twin Kingdoms have been sister nations for centuries, but now their unity and existence are threatened by enemies both inside and outside their borders.
After pirates abduct Srilani and her three siblings, they are stranded behind enemy lines and across the Great Gulf. As the eldest, Srilani is faced with the dangerous task of bringing her father’s heir home. She convinces Aldan and his two fellow slaves to share their journey to freedom. These unlikely allies — seven young captives — must defeat the web of lies, murder, and betrayal tearing the kingdoms apart.
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Aldan saved the scraps from Rozar’s meal and wheedled more food from Biscuits in exchange for pleasant speculation about the meaning of the new orders. The cook lived for gossip of all kinds. Tonight, Biscuits doled out food for the brothers with a generous hand, and Aldan paid close attention to everything the cook had to say. Especially anything about Scar. At last, he left the galley and descended to the hold where Sam and Linus waited.
“You should have heard Rozar going on and on about cows and sheep and such,” Aldan said. “I think he means to give up the ship if King Dzor grants his wish to get his land back.”
Sam frowned. “Makes you wonder what he plans to do with us.”
“Yes, it does.”
“I’ll tell you one thing,” Sam said, lowering his voice and switching to Marstan. “I’ll drown myself before I stay aboard with Scar. We have got to get away from this ship.”
Aldan nodded. “Scar will feed us to the sharks, one piece at a time.”
Linus, who sat right up against Aldan’s side on the hammock, shuddered. “Indeed.”
“I know we’ve talked about getting away before,” Aldan said. “We have to do it soon. I feel it. If King Dzor is pleased with this prize Rozar means to take, there’s no telling what will happen to us.” He rubbed his forehead. “Maybe Rozar plans to take us with him to his estate, but more than likely, he means to take me. Only me.”
Linus pressed closer to his side in silent protest.
Aldan hesitated. “Of course, he could mean to sell us in Port Azor, but it sounds like he has plans for me.”
“I sure wish I understood what he meant about being paid twice,” Sam said. “But I don’t think Rozar has that much time left. Scar has to hold off until we capture this great prize Rozar’s raving about. But after that . . .”
“You’re probably right. We can’t wait until we get close to Port Azor. We have to figure out a way to get one of the longboats over the side without getting killed or captured.”
“We can’t row across the Great Gulf.”
“You just said you’d rather drown than be under Scar’s command.” Aldan glared at Sam and then at Linus. “So we’ll take the boat and take our chances. Unless you have a better idea.”