Today on the site we’re revealing the cover of D.N. Bryn’s Once Stolen, the followup to Our Bloody Pearl, releasing July 27, 2021! Here’s the story:
Ignit rocks fuel the jungle, from the colonists’ fan boats to the livelihoods of the native swamp warriors.
Ignits also fuel the mer-snake Cacao—fuel him with an irresistible desire to filch the glowing stones.
When Cacao botches a theft from a notorious ignit cartel, his chaotic escape leaves him chained to their prisoner: a self-proclaimed hero with a hidden stash of ignits so large, Cacao would never need to steal again. He’s determined to get his hands on it, even if that means guiding her through the mist-laden swamps he’s exiled from, tracked by scheming poachers and a desperate cartel leader.
But the selfish and the self-righteous can only flee together for so long before something snaps…
Return to Our Bloody Pearl’s steampunk-inspired world of merfolk in this fun, fast-paced adventure with a hate-to-love romance, a boat-load of sass, and even more heart.
And here’s the ominous cover, designed by Laya Rose!
Want a little taste of the book? Here’s a brief excerpt!
“How do you know this stuff?” Thais asks.
With a shrug, I lie out along the deck, my tail still twisted up in the driver’s seat. I tug my ignit out of my necklace to rub it before I sign, “I like rocks.”
The gentle lap of the peaceful Murk water vibrates against the side of the boat, small animals romping through the trees around us. Thais stares at me, her expression a crinkled mess. Then her chest shudders violently.
I bolt upright, half-annoyed and—well, fully annoyed, and not the least bit worried that the poison in her veins might be giving her some kind of spasm again. “It’s true. I just like rocks, okay.”
“No—I—” She keeps quaking, and it finally hits me that the vibration might be laughter. “I think it’s funny. You say you just like rocks while wearing a rock necklace, playing with a rock, traveling through the Murk to get more rocks. Your entire life revolves around rocks. Of course you would know so much about ignits.”
“Fuck off, boat shit,” I grumble. “I can love rocks if I want to.”
“I think it’s nice, Cacao.” She brushes her wiry curls back, tucking her feet beneath her legs. “You have something that means a lot to you. Most people go their entire lives and never find a passion like that.” Her hands lower, and she raps out a rhythm against the center seating block. She repeats it three times before her words finally sink in.
“You’re the only one who feels that way.”
Thais pokes me in the shoulder. “Hey now, I never said I approved of your actions. It’s nice—good—that you love something. It’s not nice that your love hurts other people.”
I roll my eyes. “That’s called greed.”
Her cheeks puff out and she shakes her head. “Fungus brain.”
“Yeah, yeah,” I grumble.
Danny Bryn is a queer, disabled, non-binary speculative fiction author of the liberal Jesus-freak variety. When not writing, they conduct infectious disease surveillance in their hometown of San Diego, where they enjoy basking in the Santa Ana winds, hiking the brush-heavy slopes, and eating too many tacos. Once Stolen is their second book in the These Treacherous Tides universe.