Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Overwhelm by Layla Messner
The living crystals that feed elemental power to Atlantis are exhausted. They give and give, but the Altantians just want more energy to fuel their magical city. Sixteen years ago, the crystals came up with a plan to make it all stop, a plan that revolves around three teens:
KALIOPE is a soulsinger, an empath with the power to sing the souls of the dead to their next lives. She just wants to grow up, but her mother won't let her.
DANICA is Kaliope's whipping girl. She gets punished whenever Kali disobeys.
CHIARAN is a firestarter, so reckless even his family considers him a monster.
When Chiaran arrives in Atlantis, he's the first fire person to set foot on the island in a hundred years. Kaliope naturally considers him an enemy and uses the last of her depleted power against him. But the battle reveals that the two have more in common than anyone could have guessed.
Anyone, that is, except the crystals.
Three teenage antiheroes, a bisexual love triangle, and an island about to sink.
Overwhelm is a darkly sensual fairy tale about growing up against all odds.
Two Ships on a Sinking Island:
Teasers from the bisexual love triangle in OVERWHELM by Layla Messner
In OVERWEHLM (An Atlantis Fairy Tale), Kaliope is caught in the middle of a bisexual love triangle that wants to tear her, and her world, apart.
Her sexual confusion tortures both her lovers, but she’s not trying to be confusing; she’s just confused.
Kali & Dani: “We can’ t do this anymore”
“I stuck around
I did behave
I saved you every time
I was a fool for love”
– Tegan and Sara, I was a fool
Kaliope woke to Danica shaking her. Her guardian was hunched over her, partially blocking the late morning sunlight. The look of misery on the other girl’s face made Kaliope’s stomach contract.
Her fingers crawled up Danica’s arm. She reached the firm curve of shoulder and her guardian’s eyes narrowed. Dani was holding her breath; her breasts had gone still. Kaliope tapped the skin over the shoulder blade. Obediently, the other girl turned.
Kaliope pressed her fingers over her own mouth to stifle a cry.
Fresh, bleeding lines crisscrossed Dani’s back, from her mother’s whip.
Warmth drained from Kaliope’s face.
“ Oh, Kali, no.”
She launched herself off the bed, dodging Danica, and just made it to the bathing room in time to lean over the bathtub. Her stomach convulsed again, sending its contents burning up her throat and erupting out of her mouth. As last night’s dinner spewed into the bathtub, she braced her hands on the side of the tub, heaving again and again.
Fingers against the clammy skin of her shoulders. That was enough to restart the heaving, even though there was nothing left in her stomach but bile.
Tender hands gathered her hair away from her face.
She shoved Dani away, unable to stand it, any of this. Kaliope’s hair trailed forward after that, sticking to the side of her mouth.
She dry-heaved for a while, nothing more to give. Eventually even that subsided, and she slid down the tub to the floor. Danica was still there, of course, leaning against the wall and politely studying her own hands.
“ It’s okay,” Dani said. “ I’ll heal.”
Kaliope wiped her mouth on the back of her hand and looked up.
“ Kali, no,” Danica said again. Like she knew what Kaliope was about to say.
She probably did. They knew each other. There was that.
“ We can’t do this anymore,” Kaliope said. “ This—this is why.”
A secret relationship with her slave is more than enough drama, but how can Kaliope resist the connection she shares with the powerful prince of Fire Isle?
Kali & Chiaran: Recklessness and ruin
“When my time comes around
Lay me gently in the cold dark earth
No grave can hold my body down
I'll crawl home to her”
- Hozier, Work Song
“ I just can’t,” Kaliope said, backing away.
Chiaran glared at her. Why was she doing this? She didn’t want to leave. He could feel what she wanted. Closeness, comfort, more. His whole body ached to give her what she wanted and yet she retreated from him.
Just like all the other girls.
“ No,” he repeated. Not this, not again. And he just...dropped to his knees in front of her, while a thirteen year old part of him snickered.
Look at you. You’re on your knees in front of a female. Whipped!
He shushed his inner pre-teen.
And felt suddenly like a man, instead of just an overgrown boy. As if one couldn’t achieve manhood except on his knees. Not through trials of strength, though males wanted it to happen that way, but only by giving in, to a woman.
It was the weirdest feeling he had ever had. Potentially deadly. So he went with it. He took both her hands and cupped them in his.
“ Just tell me. Whatever it is. Please.”
Láyla Messner is a young-adult author and the founder of ChrysalisSanctuary.com for healing childhood sexual abuse. She has an M.A. in embodied writing from Goddard College and her novels provide New Sexual Mythology for teens. She believes that love is real. She does not believe in unsolicited advice or the word "impossible."