Jewel of Atlantis - By Gena Showalter

All characters in this book have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all incidents are pure invention.

To Max-my babe

To the ladies who help make all my dreams come true -

Tracy Farrell, Donna Hayes, Loriana Saciotto, Dianne Moggy, Abby Zidle, Keyren Gerlach, Marleah

Stout and the amazing HQN art department.

(And everyone else I stupidly omitted. Sorry!)

To Merline Lovelace-a woman who generously and warmly gives of herself without reservation.

To Debbie Splawn-Bunch - who wouldn't let me title this book His (Hard and Shiny) Family Jewels.


The gods never meant to create them.

For centuries they paced throughout the heavens, wailing their need for beings to guide, nurture and rule. They longed fervently for a kingdom overflowing with loyal, grateful, obedient subjects.

And so, the idea of Man was born.

The king of gods was sacrificed, his blood melded with land, air, sea and fire; living creatures were formed. But the elements were unstable, the measure of portions flawed, and the outcome atrocious. The beings they created were not what the gods had envisioned, in appearance or temperament. They were not loyal or grateful, least of all obedient. These Dragons, Minotaurs, Vampires, Nymphs, Formorians - and too many others to name - were powerful rivals, potential usurpers to the royal, immortal throne.

Fear erupted in the heavens.

In a panic, the gods cursed each ghastly creation to a life under the sea, to live forever bound to a city known as Atlantis. The only reminder of their presence was The Book of Ra Dracas, detailing the creation and weaknesses of each race.

Centuries passed.

As it always does, time wrapped the gods in an absolution of forgetfulness, burying the memory of their past mistake. They knew only their ever-growing need for fellowship and attempted once more to create Man.

This time they succeeded, and the human race was born.

Soon after, the age of harmony began: the gods meddling in human lives whenever they wished, and Man worshipping the gods. Only one unspoken rule existed. The two vastly different creations, humans and Atlanteans, were never to meet, never to interact, never to fall in love.

Someone should have told Grayson James.
It was supposed to be an easy mission. An in-and-out job. A one day-extraction.

His boss had fed him that line of bullshit, and Grayson James had foolishly believed him. Upon first entering this lushly green, sea-kissed land known as Atlantis, however, Gray realized he would have had better luck trying to sell a Fridgidaire to a goddamn Eskimo. At a goddamn jacked-up price.


Not a myth. Damn it. He'd hoped otherwise.

He scowled. In one hand, he held a beeping, miniature GPS system programmed from coordinates found on a map. An actual, honest-to-God map of Atlantis his boss had discovered in a missing millionaire's stash. Right now, the GPS signal bounced off the earth's magnetic core, helping him navigate his way through this Atlantean jungle. In the other hand, he gripped a machete. The sharp silver blade hacked at the thick foliage blocking his path.

No, Atlantis was not a myth. It happened to be home to the most loathsome creatures he'd ever encountered.

And as an employee of OBI, the Otherworld Bureau of Investigations, he'd encountered plenty. Made him wonder why he'd even joined the agency.

He knew the answer, though, and it wasn't because he'd (secretly) watched Star Trek for most of his teen years and knew how to speak Klingon. "Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam," he sighed. Today is a good day to die.

When he'd learned (to his horrified shock) that there actually were other colonized worlds in the vast expanse of the galaxies, he'd left his job as a detective with the Dallas PD and began searching for a Men in Black-type operation. When OBI finally contacted him he'd signed on immediately. He believed fiercely in the need to learn about these otherworlders and protect his own planet from them.

How could he have known that the most fearsome creatures of all resided here, on his own planet? Simply buried beneath the ocean, protected by some kind of crystal dome?

As he dodged a stray limb, he ground his teeth together. "Atlantis," he muttered. "Code name, Hell."

After entering a swirling, gelatinous portal OBI had discovered underwater in Florida, he'd found himself inside an enormous crystal palace guarded by huge, sword-wielding men. Luck had been on his side as he stealthily maneuvered his way past them, unnoticed, and entered