Captivate (Submerged Sun #1)
by Vanessa Garden
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: August 10th 2016
Summary from Goodreads:
In a glittering underwater world, where danger lurks behind beauty and power...
For the past twelve months since her parents’ death, seventeen-year-old Miranda Sun has harboured a dark secret — a secret that has strained the close relationship she once shared with her older sister, Lauren. In an effort to repair this broken bond, Miranda’s grandparents whisk the siblings away on a secluded beach holiday. Except before Miranda gets a chance to confess her life-changing secret, she’s dragged underwater by a mysterious stranger while taking a midnight swim.
Awakening days later, Miranda discovers that she’s being held captive in a glittering underwater city by an arrogant young man named Marko...the King of this underwater civilisation.
Nineteen-year-old Marko intends to marry Miranda in order to keep his crown from falling into the sinister clutches of his half-brother, Damir. There’s only one problem. Miranda is desperate to return home to right things with her sister and she wants nothing to do with Marko. Trying to secure her freedom, Miranda quickly forms an alliance with Robbie — Marko’s personal guard. However, she soon discovers that even underwater, people are hiding dangerous secrets...
Captivate Character Interview with Marko and Miranda by author Vanessa Garden
Marko and Miranda are seated beside one another. Miranda is wearing jeans and a fitted t-shirt with embroidered robins flying across her chest. On her right hand she wears a ring she keeps touching. Marko is wearing head-to-toe black and knee-high boots with daggers strapped to them. He notices me eyeing them and takes one out, offering me a closer look and warning me the blade can split hairs. I take it, feeling giddy to be touching something of Marko’s. It’s beautiful. The hilt is silver, highly polished, worn with use and studded with golden crystals. I lean forward to hand it back and as I do I notice a scar on Marko’s forehead. I make a mental note to ask about it later.
Author: So, great to have you here today, guys.
Marko nods and clears his throat.
Miranda: No problem.
Author: So, let’s get right to it then.
What makes the underwater city of Marin special? Miranda, you go first.
Miranda: First of all, the city is so beautiful it takes your breath away. It’s lit up by these gemstones called light-crystals, the city’s energy source, and as a result the entire city glitters. But what makes it special is not its beauty. For some reason being in Marin, and away from the real world, helps me to see my true self. I don’t put on any masks in Marin. It’s all me and I like being able to come clean, faults and all, on who I really am as a person.
Marko: It’s my home. I love every square-inch and could never imagine living elsewhere.
Author: What is your most treasured possession?
Marko: Possessions aren’t as important to me as people, but, if I had to choose, it would be my grandmother’s ring and my father’s dagger. (He taps the hilt of the dagger he showed me a moment ago)
Miranda: My mother’s laptop. It has all of her screenplays on it. She kept a daily journal there too. I like to read her thoughts whenever I’m feeling a bit lost or just when I miss her. (She opens her mouth to say something else but then closes it and instead gently caresses the ring on her finger with the pad of her thumb)
Author: What is your idea of happiness?
Marko: (his grey-blue eyes flicker over Miranda before turning back to me) To love and be loved in return.
Miranda: (blushes and shifts in her seat while Marko stares at her intently) Happiness is where I stop losing my loved ones. I want to be able to love without fearing loss.
Author: Okay, while on the subject of fear, what is your greatest fear?
Marko: The destruction of my kingdom.
Miranda: Never seeing my sister or grandparents again (she glances at Marko from out the corner of her eye) I’m also worried about making the right choices. I want to know if I can trust my instincts.
Author: What trait to you most dislike in a person?
Miranda: Dishonesty… and deceit.
Marko: I agree. Especially when the treachery is committed by a blood relative. To betray a family member is the most despicable of acts. (Marko’s cheeks flush with quiet rage and he grips the chair arms until his knuckles turn white)
Author: Okay… let’s lighten things up a little. What would I find on your bedside table?
Miranda: (visibly relaxes and smiles softly) A bottle of perfume given to me by somebody special.
Marko: (releases a deep breath, releases chair arms and dips his head to hide a cute grin) A well-thumbed book – ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck - most recently read by somebody very dear to my heart.
Author: Marko, do you read often?
Marko: (stares wistfully into space) I used to love to read. But as time passes and (his grin disappears and his eyes seem to lose their sparkle) my responsibility to Marin grows, I find I don’t have that luxury anymore.
Miranda: I’ve always got my head in a book. I love, love, love to read.
Marko smiles at Miranda’s exuberant response and she smiles back.
Author: Okay, last question. Any regrets so far in life?
Marko: (sighs and rubs the back of his neck.) I have a great regret which has tortured me in my sleep since I was ten years old (his blue eyes turn cold, the colour of steel) Because of this I have vowed to live with no regrets from here on (he looks at Miranda, pointedly)
Miranda: (shifts in her seat) I regret not telling my parents ‘I love you’ enough. I regret what I said to my best friend at the beach, one winter’s night over three years ago, and… (she bites a nail before tucking her hands beneath her thighs) I regret not telling a certain someone, very recently, how I truly feel about them. But I hope to change that soon.
Marko stares at Miranda, eyebrows raised but she doesn’t meet his eyes. She thanks me and stands to leave. Marko immediately rises and gets the door for her. He is much taller than her. Her head reaches the middle of his chest. They’d make a cute couple.
Author: Thanks for coming, guys!
Miranda smiles over her shoulder. The smile is mysterious and her wide brown eyes sparkle with deep secrets.
Marko nods and gives me a wink before following Miranda out the door. When the door closes, I remember about the scar on Marko’s face, but it’s too late. It will have to wait for next time.
Captivate (Submerged Sun Book 1)
“Miranda Sun, will you do me the honour of becoming my wife?” Marko’s chest swelled with each breath. “Because if you say yes then you are bound to me for eternity, even in death.”
I sucked in a shaky breath and closed my eyes for a moment before opening them to gaze down at him.
“Does it have to be in death, too?” I said, trying my best to make light of it all.
Marko, still on his knees, whispered hoarsely, “Yes. It has to be forever, Miranda.” He bent his head and pressed his lips to the back of my hand.
I gasped and tried not to melt like candle wax.
“I’m serious about this, Miranda.” Smouldering eyes bore into mine. “Are you?”
“Yes,” I whispered, restraining the urge to extend my fingers and brush them against his mouth.
He got to his feet, took a step closer and traced his thumb across my cheek. Then he took me by the wrists and wrapped my arms around his neck before snaking his own arms around my waist to draw us together.
“Now that we’re engaged, Miranda, I guess you won’t object to this,” he whispered before lowering his face. He was going to kiss me and I wasn’t going to stop him. I’d be lying to myself if I said I was only doing this for my freedom. I wanted his lips on me.
The kiss was gentle at first, his lips moving over mine with just enough pressure to make my mouth tingle. A soft moan rumbled in his throat, and my stomach fluttered. I caressed his neck and slid a hand up into his thick, dark hair and in response his hands moved over my waist to rest on my hips.
When our tongues touched, the kiss became urgent. Marko’s lips trailed down my neck, his breath warm and fast against my skin. My hands slid over the breadth of his shoulders and down his arms, his biceps flexing and hardening at my touch.
Another groan escaped his throat and he pressed his hips against mine so that I could feel just how much he wanted me.
When we gravitated towards the bed, I suddenly realised things were getting way out of hand.
What on earth was wrong with me?
“Stop, Marko,” I whispered between kisses, and he instantly complied, his breathing ragged.
“Having second thoughts?” he asked, licking his lips and watching me through thick, dark lashes.
I swallowed thickly. “Of course not. I’m just … I was—”
“You don’t want to marry me, Miranda, admit it.” He smiled wryly. “Even though you enjoyed the kiss.”
I shook my head. How could I have let myself lose control with the person holding me captive? Why did he have such an effect on me?
“Of course I want to marry you. I said so, didn’t I?” I folded my arms across my chest.
“Even if I tell you I plan to kiss you like this on a daily basis? You still want to play pretend?”
Yes, even more so.
Oh god, why was he so intent on knowing my true feelings? Wasn’t this what he wanted all along? For me to agree to his plans?
I kept my arms folded and raised my head. “Yes, and I’m not pretending.”
“So you want me to believe that you’ve suddenly fallen hopelessly in love with me,” he said.
I ignored the smirk on his lips and said, “Yes.”
He folded his arms across his chest and stared down at me. Amusement sparkled in his icy blue eyes.
“Say it, then. Declare your love for me.”
Blood pounded in my ears. My cheeks burned. He stood there, waiting.
“You first,” I said, my voice trembling. “How do I know that you’re not pretending?”
He raised his brows and said, “Fine,” before snaking his arms around my waist and locking eyes with me. “I love you, Miranda.”
It if wasn’t for his strong arms holding me, I would have melted to the floor. No boy had ever said that to me.
“Good. I … I love”—I cleared my throat— “you, too.”
Marko grinned and kissed me again.