Author: B.R. Eddy
Release Date: Fall 2014
Summary from Goodreads:
Ara Vertrees is an advisor to the King in Jimalia, a thriving island nation in the middle of a vast ocean. Her macaws are trained to fly home to the palace to repeat confidential information. When their messages become more and more troubling, she finds herself in the middle of a crisis she never expected. Ara's story is full of adventure, friendship, mystery, love and loss. Join Ara and her companions as they fight pirates, uncover deception, find love and fight for Jimalia.
She paused mid-sentence. Captain Upshaw and the mate seemed to focus off in the distance and an unease settled across the helm. Ara glanced over her shoulder in the direction of their attention and saw a schooner.
The vessel wasn’t very large, perhaps large enough for a crew of forty or fifty and equipped for short trips. It was beautiful, its size and sharply angled sails gave it a fleetness only a schooner could boast. It had appeared seemingly out of nowhere very close to the Prestige.
It was not unusual to see another vessel in these busy waters. Ara stole another quick glance at the captain, they were still eyeing it suspiciously. Now the helmsman had sweat on his brow with his eyes darting back and forth between Upshaw and Lowery, desperate for direction.
Beginning to feel very unsettled, Ara stepped closer to them and looked back at the ship. She couldn’t pick out what was so suspicious about it. The sails were bright white, the King’s flag snapped in the wind against the bright cloudless sky, sailors milled busily on deck. The name Undertow was painted brightly high on the hull.
She turned to them again, “Do you recognize it?”
Upshaw nodded, “Looks like the Wavebreaker. Pirates took her a few winters ago from the Larkman Company.”
“Captain?” Elliott stood aggressively as he saw the King’s flag slowly being lowered. Ara jumped, she had never seen him posture that way. Her heart leapt to her throat. Pirates? They couldn’t possibly dare challenging a ship like this.
Upshaw growled, “Hard to port. Man the guns. Passengers below.”
The helmsman twisted the wheel hard as Elliott bellowed out orders. At the same time, the sailor on watch shouted alarm and rang a bell loudly as he pointed. Terror set into her as she watched the black flag hoisted.
Women screamed, crew shouted as they manned guns, herded passengers and scurried up the rigging to respond to the helm. The great ship whipped around bravely. The captain had furious eyes. Livid that anyone would dare try to raise a challenge for the ship.
Ara darted down the staircase. She made straight for the stalls, Trekker was startled by the commotion and flew off into the sky.
She leaned up against Fellow’s stall door and reached over to touch his face. Unlike the other animals that were bucking and spinning and clearly disrupted by the uproar, Fellow looked around tensely, swiveling his ears at the noise.
Rivan rounded the corner, “Ara, what’s happening?”
She didn’t even notice how he called her by her first name, “Pirates are approaching us.”
A gun went off and the sound of it rocked her body with fear. She dropped to the deck trembling violently. This couldn’t possibly be happening. Surely the captain wouldn’t allow the ship to be boarded, surely they out matched the other vessel, surely they wouldn’t be able to board a ship with forty guns, surely the pirates would realize their error and sail away.
Ara had never experienced fear like this before. In all her life she had control, confidence and influence. It was all happening so suddenly. “My birds!” She wailed like a child.
My name is Brit and I was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California. My work with animals brought macaws into my life. They frightened me, moved me, hurt me, loved me and made me grow. I hope that my novel will help people understand these birds better! They are breathtaking and intelligent, but do not make good pets for most families. They require a lot of space and attention, can be very destructive and can easily outlive you. They can be incredible companions to the right people. Please keep all these things in mind when considering a macaw as a pet!"