New Release: Heart of the Kraken by A. W. Exley


Legend says if you consume the heart of a mermaid, you will know all of a man's secrets

Ailin doesn't care if the legend is true or not - she's stuck in a crate on her way to feature as the main course at a lavish banquet. Her heart to be served while still beating for a cruel noble while the rest of her is sliced into sashimi. Unless she can escape.

Across the ocean, Fenton longs for a different release. Sold as a child by men who labelled him a mistake, a failed experiment. Except he has one valuable skill, he can summon the dreaded kraken. Bought by a pirate, he has only known life at sea, wielded as a tool by the captain.

Two lives collide when the pirates capture the vessel holding Ailin. The kraken holds the key to Ailin's freedom but in summoning the beast one last time, Fenton must choose between losing his life or his heart...


The Razor's Edge drifted with the ebb and flow of the Sanguine Ocean. The light wind crafted small peaks that slapped against the hull with a regular beat. Seagulls circled and dove into the slow wake, looking for scraps thrown from the galley. Not a single cloud obscured the pure blue sky and the harsh sun beat down without any filter. The crew sought what little shade the sides of the vessel offered. There was never any down time on a pirate ship, life revolved around maintenance and a myriad of tasks, occasionally interpreted by the jostle of action. Today several crew sat to one side of the deck to perform quiet, mundane duties. Some men mended nets, a few polished the brass fittings until they shone and the mechanic undertook routine maintenance. While the vessel appeared to be lazing in the sun, she was really a predator scanning the horizon. Like a tiger waiting in the jungle for the rustle of vegetation to give away its prey, the crew waited for any sign of another ship.

So they could creep up unseen and unheard on their target the Razor's Edge ran by sail. Their engine slumbered, even the fires were dampened so as not to emit a tell tail puff of smoke. Steam powered merchant vessels plied the oceans, their holds laden with cargos from other lands and provinces. The trick was to find one to plunder before a Regulator airship dropped from above like a vulture. Regulators were lawmen who patrolled sea and land, but they were often little better than sanctioned pirates, stealing in the name of taxes and fines.

Fenton sat at the peripheral edge of the group of sailors. The others swapped crude jokes but he didn't join in, preferring to let the conversation wash over him. With long fingers, he ran a whetstone over his sword, honing the edge to razor sharp. These quiet moments gave him time to contemplate his life. With each day that passed, he loathed his path in life a fraction more. He preferred the chaos of battle with no time to think, only to react. Kill or be killed and each time he wondered why he bothered to raise his sword.

Dying should be easy but he couldn't do it. Was it ego? A tiny desire for his life to have meaning before he threw it away? Once he slipped from the earth, there was no one to mourn him or comment on his passing. Or could he face eternal sleep if he had something worth dying for?

He had no name other than Fenton and didn't know if it was his Christian name or surname. The day the captain purchased him as a lad, he gave him those two syllables and never any more. He had no memory of his life before, only of the captain checking his teeth, looking behind his ears and muttering, I'll take him. Ever since, he lived his life on board and rarely ventured onto land. Fate and his nature separated him from other men and the life on shore that filled their dreams. His dreams were cold and empty, like his soul.

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Books and writing have always been an enormous part of Anita's life. She survived school by hiding out in the library, with several thousand fictional characters for company. At university, she overcame the boredom of studying accountancy by squeezing in Egyptology papers and learning to read hieroglyphics.

Today, Anita writes fantasy historical novels with a steampunk twist. She lives in rural New Zealand surrounded by an assortment of weird and wonderful horses, cats, a mad boxer and chickens who think they are mini Velociraptors.

Connect Online:

Twitter: @AWExley


  1. Thanks for having me, Melanie. Also want to say I *love* your site redesign! :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your work with us!