Guest Post & #Giveaway: Sink by M.E. Rhines @MERhines

Good and Evil – The Almost Invisible Line

It only takes a quick flip through the pages of the most beloved and timeless books to find one common theme - love.  And with good reason.  Romance is enchanting, intoxicating, exciting, and arguably down right addictive.  You’d be hard-pressed to find anything in the universe holding more influence.  It can create a hypothetical fairytale, filling our hearts and minds with visions of eternal happiness and happily ever-after.  Unfortunately, we learn as we grow it’s not all warm and fuzzy wonder.  There’s a dark side to love.  One that can take a perfectly innocent heart and crush it to pieces.  It is from these ashes that villains are made.

If you’ve ever read one of my books, you’ll notice I have a pension for zooming in on the uncomfortable creation of evil.  I’m a strong believer that in life we’re all born with an equal chance of going one way or the other.  None of us are born wicked; we’re made that way.  The path to hero or villain is complicated, dependent on circumstance, coping skills and surrounding support systems (or lack thereof).  To write a great villain, you should be willing to wade in their realm.  See the world through their eyes and justify their actions, even if your hero/heroine can’t.  Heartbreak is a powerful catalyst for action, and allowing a glimpse into your antagonist’s prospective adds an entirely different layer to the story. 

The very best villains, the ones who stick with us past the final page, are the ones we can relate to in some way.  When we can say, “I understand why he/she feels the way they do, and I could’ve gone that direction, too,” we can truly immerse ourselves in the story.  Once we’re that invested, we can get excited when the heroine defeats that darkness, because in some strange way it’s like they did it for us.  The difference between the good and evil may seem like a chasm, but I think when you take a closer look, it’s more like a crack.    
M.E. Rhines
(Mermaid Royalty #1)
Publication date: July 31st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Obedience has always been a matter of survival for sixteen-year-old mermaid princess Pauline. Her mother is the tyrannical Queen Calypso, who rules the kingdom of Atargatis with an iron trident. To utter one word against her would mean banishment—or worse—so Pauline bites her tongue and minds her manners. But on the eve of her sister’s merling-shower, all of that is about to change. Confronted with the truth about what happens to the human men who are betrothed to the mermaids of Atargatis, Pauline realizes she can stay silent no more.
Determined to end the queen’s dark tradition, Pauline goes along on a search for shipwreck survivors, secretly planning to free them. But things get complicated when she finds herself inexplicably drawn to one of the men. Before she realizes what’s happening, she has kissed him—and a kiss from a mermaid is not without consequences. Now Pauline will have to risk everything if she is to save the young man and thwart the queen’s dark plans…


My eyes widened, my heart hammering against my rib cage. A fear I didn’t understand tugged at my tailfin, like an anchor had been tied to its end. I sank against the wall of our pirated vessel and watched the chaos as it unfolded in slow motion.
Gene laughed at something my sister said just before it hit him. His smile fell in an instant as soon as the sudden deadening feeling pummeled into his chest. He dropped the plate and held out his hand. From my experience with Beaked Sea Snake, he was seeing double the fingers.
A fogginess washed over his eyes. He reached out for Fawna for just a second before his arms fell to his sides, limp and useless. Then, his human legs gave out from under him. A loud crack sounded as his knees made impact with the hard floor of the ship.
When he finally fell backward, my sister stood over his paralyzed body with a shameless, cruel smirk that gave me the chills. My mother, hovering well above me, nodded her approval with a warm, glowing pride showing on her face.
I looked around, expecting to see the same shocked expression I wore among my clan. But not one jaw was dropped. Every one of them watched with tense, excited eyes. They looked like bloodthirsty demons from where I was sitting.
“Mother,” I whispered. “What’s going on?”
She didn’t hear me.
“My Queen,” someone shouted from below. “What are your orders?”
Mother took in a long, powerful breath and shouted, “Air him out.”
I gasped, disbelief shuddering through me. “Mother,” I screamed. “Mother, you can’t!”
My protests were drowned out by the unified battle cry that erupted from every member of our clan. Angelique dropped her guitar, dashing for Gene with two other mermaids close behind.
I rushed for him, but Mother grabbed my arm with bruising fingers.
“Let me go,” I demanded.
Even through the screeching cheers below, I could hear Mother’s teeth grinding. “Don’t make a scene.”
I stilled, having every intention to stay put and comply, as usual. But then, I caught a glimpse of Gene’s face. While his muscles were tight and immobile, his eyes were filled with a conscious terror. They pleaded with me from across the ship, begging me to save him.
Before I could stop myself, I twisted my arm out of Mother’s grasp and swam to him, hoping to talk some sense into my sister before she did something terrible.
It was no use. I couldn’t reach them. They had too much of a head start. All I could do was watch as they snatched the helpless human and dragged his lifeless body up, up, and up until…
Bubbles sprayed all around them as they held Gene’s head and neck above water, but kept their own gills safely submerged. Even if he had working legs to thrash and fight with, he would be outmatched. Our tails treaded water in a way a human’s boney appendages couldn’t come close to.
He was in our world, by no choice of his own. We brought him down here against his will, and now that he was a part of it, my mother was sending him back home to die.
The gills would not disappear. They would only struggle for a short while before giving up to the heat of the land above. Gene’s chest moved in and out, in faster but shallower spurts.
I kicked my tail harder. Just as he came into my reach, he took one final gulp of air from his own world, and the movement stopped.
Mother had killed him.

Author Bio:
ME Rhines a southwest Florida native currently living in North Port with her two beautiful children and a third, much larger child whom she affectionately calls husband.
She writes young adult paranormal romance to feed her belief that fairy tales are real and
nonsense is necessary.

She also writes adult romances under her edgier alter-ego, Mary Bernsen.


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