Title: Curse of the Sea
Author: Joni Parker
Genre: Urban Fantasy
A NATO training exercise goes terribly wrong when five warships from different countries are mysteriously transported to Eledon, the Realm of the Elves. The warrior, Lady Alexin, is charged to escort the troops back home to London in the year 2031 with the aid of the Wizard Ecstasy and a magic shrinking potion. Yet, when the authorities question her story, Alex is detained and imprisoned under suspicion of terrorism. Caught in a web of politics, betrayal and bungling bureaucracy, the confusing world of the future will push her magical gifts to their limit, and her own future will hang in the balance, caught between “justice” and the place she calls home.
Fantasy novels are Joni Parker’s writing passion. Thus far, she’s written two series—“The Seaward Isle Saga,” a trilogy, and “The Chronicles of Eledon,” the award-winning four-book series. Her latest project, “Curse of the Sea” is her eighth book and begins a new trilogy. Her work extends beyond novels into short stories with two appearing in an anthology, “Tucson and Beyond” by the Tucson Science Fiction Fantasy writers’ group. Joni’s retired from military and federal government service and devotes her time to writing. She currently resides in Tucson, Arizona.
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Chapter 2: (372 words)
A short while later, Captain Jonas returned, accompanied by a middle-aged woman and a group of young sailors, male and female. The woman wore a mottled blue camouflage uniform and her blond hair was tucked under a dark blue cap with a brim and the name USS Lonestar emblazoned in gold.
“Alex, this is Captain Williams. She’ll take over…this place.” He grimaced as he looked around. “Captain Williams, I’ll check in later.” He nodded to her and marched out.
“Nice to meet you, Miss.” Captain Williams held out her hand.
Alex shook her hand and noticed the eagle pins on her collar. She was the same rank as Captain Jonas, equivalent to a Colonel, the rank of her foster father, Colonel Penser. “My name’s Alex. They allow women to be in charge of ships?”
The Captain’s smile grew. “Yep, sure do. Half my crew is female.” She winked. “The Captain disapproves.”
“I get the same reaction. Are you an American?” Alex’s smile broadened.
“Yes, ma’am, from Houston, Texas. Where’re you from?”
“I was born here, but my foster father’s from Texas. He’s a colonel and in charge of the Nyla Army Garrison. I thought I recognized your accent.”
“How long has he been here?”
“A long time. He said he was in a place called ‘Nam before.”
“You mean Vietnam?” The Captain rubbed her chin. “That was about sixty years ago.”
“Oh, he hasn’t been here that long.”
The woman paused, uncertain how to react and pressed her lips together. She turned to monitor the cleaning crew. “When was the last time this hospital was used?”
“We call it a healing house. I was here about three or four years ago. I guess no one’s needed it since.”
“What kind of equipment do you have? An X-ray machine?” She took notice of the bare walls. “What about electrical outlets? Running water?”
Alex shook her head. “We don’t have outlets for anything, but you can get water from the pump outside. We don’t have any kind of X equipment.”
“Uh, where exactly are we?”
“Seaward Isle. It’s part of Eledon, the Elf world. We haven’t had a shipwreck here in years and we just fixed the Elf grid to keep this from happening.”