The Lightness of Water
Water Witch Book 1
by Toni Cabell
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance Adventure
only thing more dangerous than divining for water is falling in love
with the enemy…
**2022 B.R.A.G. Medallion Award**
**2022 Winner - The Wishing Shelf Book Awards**
**2022 Gold Medal - Best Fantasy Romance - Global Book Awards**
Solace is beautiful, strong-willed, and called the water witch by her neighbors. She divines for water in the arid hills of her home—a dangerous pastime across the border, where the king controls access to all the water.
Rhees is brooding, bitter, and hiding a deadly secret. But he’s determined to find a way to help the thirsty people of his land—even if it means kidnapping the last living water diviner.
But divining for water is against the law, punishable by death. Should Solace risk everything—including her heart—in a daring race to find water, or flee across the hills at her first chance of escape?
Beauty and the Beast meets The Hunger Games in this thrilling romantic fantasy. Pick up The Lightness of Water by award-winning author Toni Cabell, and be swept into a world of betrayal, mystery, and heart-stomping action.
**The Lightness of Water depicts an assault on Solace that may disturb some readers of Toni’s other Young Adult books**
Praise for The Lightness of Water:
"An exquisitely refined fantasy adventure that will keep you reading well into the night." (Indies Today)
"A cleverly crafted fantasy packed full of mystery, adventure, and a little romance! Highly recommended." (The Wishing Shelf)
"The Lightness of Water by Toni Cabell was a riveting novel that held my attention from the first chapter." (Readers Favorite)
**Get it FREE June 15th – 19th!!**
Afterward, she couldn’t be sure if it was pure exhaustion—water divining took a lot out of her—or the emotional drain of finally telling Arik her feelings, but all she could say for certain was that her sense of hearing failed her utterly. She never heard him coming. She’d walked maybe thirty paces, guided by the thinnest sliver of moon, and then all went black.
Solace struggled inside the blackness, pushing against whatever held her. The blackness felt scratchy, almost like she’d walked into a burlap sack. She kicked and screamed, but someone wrestled her to the ground. Clapping a strong hand over her mouth and nose and cutting off her air, a man’s voice growled through the darkness, “If you want to live through the night, keep your mouth shut—” and then the sharp pinch of a dagger pressed against her throat.
She screamed as loudly as she could, kicking and punching wildly. She made contact with something, a shin or knee perhaps.
“Oof!” grunted the man. “Don’t make this any harder on yourself!”
Solace twisted out of his grasp and started running blindly, the sack still on her head and dangling below her knees. Her kidnapper caught up with her in a few long strides and tossed her to the ground. Solace felt him straddle her, and she screamed harder, terrified of what he had in mind. The man clamped his hand over her mouth and leaned down to hiss in her ear. “Stop now, or your family is next.”
My family? He must mean Dad, and Arik and Gordo. He’s been spying on us! But why? We’re nothing but poor hill people. Solace squeezed her eyes shut and sniffled. She had to keep her father and the others safe. She’d cooperate for now—until she could figure out a way to escape.
“Can I remove my hand now, without you caterwauling to the moon?”
Solace nodded and bit back a snarly reply. Her captor made quick work of trussing her up like one of her Naming Day packages, and then he tossed into the air. She swallowed down a scream as she landed, presumably on a horse, because she heard him snort and paw the ground. Someone—probably the same knife-wielding man, because he seemed to be acting alone—jumped into the saddle and adjusted her so she lay across the front of the saddle, with her head bouncing below the horse’s withers. She sensed a flick of the reins and the horse took off at a gallop. They were followed by a second set of hooves hitting the rocky soil somewhere behind them.
Solace tried listening to the horses’ hooves striking the ground to figure out their direction but she soon gave up. They rode for what seemed like days, but was probably a few hours, Solace rocking and bumping along until she wanted to retch. She squirmed about in her sack until the man yelled, “Be still! You’re upsetting my horse.”
She yelled back, “And you’re upsetting me! My head’s splitting, and I’m going to be sick all over this burlap in another minute!”
The man reined in his horse and they slowed down to a trot, then a walk, and finally they stopped, Solace’s stomach in her throat and her head throbbing.
“I’ll remove the ropes and sack so you can have some fresh air. No funny business or you’ll regret it.”
“Am I supposed to thank you?”
“I don’t expect gratitude, but I demand obedience, or the sack will go back on your head for the duration of the ride. And I can assure you, it’s a very long ride.”
Solace listened closely to his pronunciation of certain words; his enunciation was too refined to be from the hills of Yelosha, which was the only accent Solace could identify. He might be from one of the cities along the western coast, beyond the Hawxhurss Mountains that split Yelosha in half—the western half lush and green and prosperous—and the eastern half arid and brown and poor. Or maybe he wasn’t Yeloshan at all.
Solace felt herself being lifted from the back of the horse, more gently than she’d been tossed onto it, and then one hand gripped her waist while the other hand unwound the ropes. The man let go of her momentarily, and in her disorientation, she tumbled to the ground, still swaddled in burlap. Her head struck something sharp, a rock or tree root. As she drifted into unconsciousness, she thought she heard him exclaim, “Are you alright? I didn’t mean to—”
Solace woke up thirsty, her head pounding, lying under a blanket inside a two-person tent. She rolled onto her side and cried out from the pain. Bringing her hand up to her bandaged head, she probed around and discovered an egg-sized lump on her forehead.
The tent flap was drawn back and a large shadow loomed in the opening. All Solace could make out was the silhouette of a tall man, framed by the sunlight outside the tent. How long have I been lying here? A frisson of fear crept up Solace’s spine, and she paused, trying to figure out whether she hurt anywhere other than her head. She took a deep breath and exhaled. No, I think it’s just my head—for now.
**Check out the COVER REVEAL of book 2!!**
The Way of Water
Water Witch Book 2
unexpected guest arrives at the palace with an old claim for the new
King of Toresz—but if Rhees agrees, he risks losing Solace
Visitors from every land and province are traveling to Toresz for the new king’s coronation. Crown Princess MaudeLyn of Censarra arrives early. A day early, in fact. Forcing her way into the dress rehearsal, she delivers shocking news: according to the arcane laws governing royal marriage and succession, Rhees and the princess are betrothed!
Solace and Rhees part on bitter terms. Homeless and heartsick, Solace begins the arduous journey back to her father’s house. But at every stop along the way, the people hail her as the Water Witch Queen.
When tragedy strikes, and Rhees needs her one last time, will Solace stay and fight for her adopted homeland and their new king?
**PreOrder now for Only .99cents!!**
“Skillfully plotted books packed full of magic, mayhem, and a plethora of dark secrets…” (The Wishing Shelf)
An award-winning fantasy author, Toni writes the “perfect coming-of-age tale with a magical twist.” (Indies Today) Her books feature strong female protagonists, page-turning plots, and relatable characters that spring off the page.
Toni makes her home in a small village along the shores of Lake Michigan with her handsome husband and grumpy miniature schnauzer. When she told her fifth-grade teacher she wanted to be a writer, neither of them expected Toni’s journey to include stints as a nurse’s aid, personal banker, instructional designer, real estate broker, systems analyst, and youth director. Toni is thrilled to be an indie author and does at least half her writing in the middle of the night, which may explain her wild plot twists and unforgettable characters.
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