All characters in this book have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all incidents are pure invention.
To Max-my babe
To the ladies who help make all my dreams come true -
Tracy Farrell, Donna Hayes, Loriana Saciotto, Dianne Moggy, Abby Zidle, Keyren Gerlach, Marleah
Stout and the amazing HQN art department.
(And everyone else I stupidly omitted. Sorry!)
To Merline Lovelace-a woman who generously and warmly gives of herself without reservation.
To Debbie Splawn-Bunch - who wouldn't let me title this book His (Hard and Shiny) Family Jewels.
The gods never meant to create them.
For centuries they paced throughout the heavens, wailing their need for beings to guide, nurture and rule. They longed fervently for a kingdom overflowing with loyal, grateful, obedient subjects.
And so, the idea of Man was born.
The king of gods was sacrificed, his blood melded with land, air, sea and fire; living creatures were formed. But the elements were unstable, the measure of portions flawed, and the outcome atrocious. The beings they created were not what the gods had envisioned, in appearance or temperament. They were not loyal or grateful, least of all obedient. These Dragons, Minotaurs, Vampires, Nymphs, Formorians - and too many others to name - were powerful rivals, potential usurpers to the royal, immortal throne.
Fear erupted in the heavens.
In a panic, the gods cursed each ghastly creation to a life under the sea, to live forever bound to a city known as Atlantis. The only reminder of their presence was The Book of Ra Dracas, detailing the creation and weaknesses of each race.
As it always does, time wrapped the gods in an absolution of forgetfulness, burying the memory of their past mistake. They knew only their ever-growing need for fellowship and attempted once more to create Man.
This time they succeeded, and the human race was born.
Soon after, the age of harmony began: the gods meddling in human lives whenever they wished, and Man worshipping the gods. Only one unspoken rule existed. The two vastly different creations, humans and Atlanteans, were never to meet, never to interact, never to fall in love.
Someone should have told Grayson James.