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.
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.
things in mind when considering a macaw as a pet!”
She escaped to a high balcony to get some fresh air. She may have accepted one too many drinks. There were a few people out on the wide balcony, one couple was dancing slowly to the small orchestra there, and another was sharing something quiet and intimate as they leaned against the rail together. Ara took a deep breath. The air was still chilly, spring was still so young.
Ara opened her eyes and spun around to find Archer there. She felt immediately on the defense. “Your highness,” She curtsied to him deeply, squashing the defensiveness. The King had spoken to him, surely he was over his silly courting fantasies. He deserved a chance from her.
“Lady Ara, I wanted to apologize, this is the first chance I’ve had to speak to you alone. I never intended for my gifts to distress you. I know you spoke to my father and I just wanted you to know that I sincerely never intended to cause you any aggravation by it.” He bowed to her deeply, “Will you accept my apology?”
Ara’s heart softened, “Of course, your highness.” She said it quietly, so that no one around them would overhear.
He held out his hand to her, and she took it.
Archer took her waist. The orchestra played a gentle tune that was easy enough to follow. Ara was light on her feet, her dress wrapped and spun around her quietly as she followed his lead. Beautiful. He’d imagined this before, the starry night sky with her in his arms. When he imagined it, he was a daring and charming dancer, but now it didn’t matter so much what he was doing. Her eyes were downcast, her eyelashes were long against her cheeks. Did she even want what he had to offer her?
He’d convinced himself that deep down, she did, but did she?
“Lady Ara?” He nearly whispered.
“Aye, my Prince?” She whispered just as softly.
He frowned. Perhaps she didn’t even care for his company and she was only following her duty to him as a prince. Perhaps that was all anyone ever did.
“Archer?” Ara looked up into his eyes.
His heart stung, she pushed past formality as if she knew exactly what he was thinking.
Ara was surprised by Archer’s behavior. He was so calm, almost downcast. She could feel a pulse in his hand, what was he thinking? He seemed so troubled and sad. Perhaps he wasn’t conceding to his betrothal as willingly as she thought he was. This close to him, she realized how much taller he was than herself. He was almost like a different person. His eyes pierced hers. “It’s nothing.” He said, “I just… everything has been changing so much, these last seasons have made me feel quite inadequate.”
Ara’s heart went out to him, “Oh Archer, you shouldn’t feel that way. You never expected any of this and no one expects you to be prepared for it.” She wasn’t sure what else to say, she didn’t want to insult him by saying it wasn’t his fault that he had led a carefree life up till this point, or discourage him by saying that she was sympathetic that he was being plunged into a life of sacrifice. It was a rough way for him to realize how callow he had been.
“Ara, my father has trusted you to advise him and you have shown him incredible loyalty, I… I have always admired you for this and never realized how important you and your counsel could become to me. I hope I can earn your trust and loyalty someday as well.” He held her hand firmly.
Ara smiled, “You have my loyalty, Prince Archer Cannon, and it will forever be my pleasure to advise you when you find the need for it.”
Rivan had seen them up on the high balcony from the estate gardens. He stopped in the shadow of a tree to watch. Fellow and Orren followed him there, grazing idly. They danced so elegantly, they had probably been coached in dance since they were young. They whispered quietly to each other. It was a different world they lived in, full of politics and culture.
The Prince spun her around, her skirt wrapped and unfurled with her motion. A prince… not just any prince but the Crown Prince of Jimalia. His attention probably had her over the moon.
He wondered what things would have been like had he been born into that world. Would he be able to dance with a lady like Ara? Her kind familiarity and gracious visits into his life were almost painful. It only made him pine after what he could never have.
He imagined approaching her at a gala, bringing her drinks, taking her arm and dancing. The thought was intoxicating, but then he remembered her atop Fellow, smiling wide and laughing and that brought thunder to his chest. She wasn’t just an ostentatious noble with her nose in the air like the rest of them. She lived and thrived in that world, but she was so much more than they were. She was real. It was no wonder she turned the eyes of the Prince.
He imagined her instead as a servant like him and the fantasy was much more tantalizing. She would have saddle polish smudged on her sun kissed cheek, her hair would be free from all the structured curls and braids and bonnets to roll down her shoulders and blow in the wind. Her nose wrinkling as she giggled about something daft. Maybe he would tuck her bangs behind her ear for her before lifting her chin to steal a kiss…
He shook his head. He was being cruel to himself. It was all silly nonsense that would never be. His heart beat painfully, he was not a noble and she was not a servant. She was entirely unavailable to him and he had to accept it.