Having really loved Fable by Adrienne Young, I was so excited for Namesake! Gem trading, diving, sea adventures and betrayal. If any of those things sound appealing, then this duology has it all! When Titan Books asked if I wanted to host an excerpt, I was overjoyed because now you can get a taste of the action and intrigue!
Trader. Fighter. Legend.
With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and its crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when she becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.
As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception, she learns that the secrets her mother took to her grave are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them then she must risk everything, including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.
“Take those off.” She spat, looking at my clothes: “Now.”
My eyes trailed to the deckhands working behind her before I turned toward the bow and pulled my shirt over my head. Calla crouched beside me, rubbing the rag over a block of soap and drenching it in the bucket until it lathered. She held the cloth out to me impatiently, and I took it, ignoring
the attention of the crew as I scrubbed the suds up over my arms. The dried blood turned the water pink before it rolled over my skin and dripped onto the deck at my feet.
The feel of my own skin brought back to life the memory of West in his quarters, his warmth pressing against mine. Tears smarted behind my eyes again, and I sniffed them back, trying to push the vision away before it could drown me. The smell of morning when I woke in his bed. The way his face looked in the gray light, and the feel of his breath on me.
I reached up to the hollow of my throat, remembering the ring I’d traded for at the gambit. His ring.
It was gone.
West had woken alone in his cabin. He’d probably waited at the bow, watching the harbor, and when I didn’t come, maybe he’d gone into Dern to find me.
I didn’t know if anyone had seen me dragged onto the Luna. If they had, it wasn’t likely they would ever tell a soul what they saw. For all West knew, I’d changed my mind. Paid for passage back to Ceros from some trader on the docks. But if I had, I’d have taken the coin from the haul, I reasoned, trying to carve out every other possibility except the one that I wanted to believe.
That West would look for me. That he’d come after me.
But if he did, that meant something even worse. I’d seen the shadow side of the Marigold’s helmsman, and it was dark. It was all flame and smoke.
You don’t know him.
The words Saint had spoken in the tavern that morning echoed within me.
Maybe West and the crew of the Marigold would cut their ties with Saint and with me. Set out to make their own way. Maybe I didn’tknow West. Not really.
But I did know my father. And I knew what kind of games he played.
The saltwater stung against my skin as I scrubbed harder, and when I was finished, Calla was waiting with a new pair of trousers. I pulled them on and knotted the strings at the waist so they didn’t slide from my hips and she tossed me a clean shirt.
I raked my hair up into a knot as she looked me over and when she was satisfied, she turned to the passageway beneath the quarterdeck. She didn’t wait for me to follow, pushing past Clove to the helmsman’s quarters. But my steps halted when I stepped into his shadow and lifted my gaze, looking up at him through my lashes. The last bit of doubt I had that it was him disappeared as I studied his sun-leathered face. The storm of everything I wanted to say burned on my tongue and I swallowed down the desperate urge to scream.
Clove’s lips pursed beneath his mustache before he opened the log on the table beside him and ran a callused finger down the page. Maybe he was just as surprised to see me as I was to see him. Maybe we’d both been pulled into Zola’s war with West. What I couldn’t put together was how he could be here, crewing for the person my father hated more than anything.
He finished his entry and closed the book, his eyes going back to the horizon as he adjusted the wheel slightly. He was either too ashamed to look at me or afraid someone would see. I wasn’t sure which was worse. The Clove I knew would have cut Zola’s throat for putting his hands on me.
“Come on, dredger,” Calla called from the passageway, one hand holding the edge of an open door.
I let my gaze fall on Clove for the length of another breath before I followed, leaving him and the sunlight behind. I stepped into the cool dark, my boots hitting the wood planks in a steady rhythm despite the shaking that had settled in my limbs.
Behind me, the expanse of sea reached out in an endless blue. The only way off this ship was to find out what Zola wanted, but I had no cards to play. No sunken ship of gems to barter, no coin or secrets that would buy me out of the trouble I’d landed in. And even if the Marigold was coming for me, I was alone. The heaviness of the thought sank deep inside me, my fury the only thing keeping me from disappearing with it. I let it rise, filling my chest as I looked back once more to Clove.
It didn’t matter how he’d ended up on the Luna. There was no forgiveness in Saint’s heart for treachery like that. I couldn’t find any in mine, either. I had never felt so much of my father inside of me as in that moment, and instead of scaring me, it flooded me with a sense of steadying power. The tide-pull of strength anchored my feet as I remembered.
I wasn’t just some Jevali dredger or a pawn in Zola’s feud with West. I was Saint’s daughter. And before I left the Luna, every bastard on this crew was going to know it.