Hidden by Jade - Hardcover
Hidden by Jade - Hardcover

Hidden by Jade - Hardcover

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I’ve never been one to stand idly by when a friend’s in trouble. Yes, I know that to go looking into why Ilmu is missing is dangerous. Yue’s still out there, and more to the point she’s not happy with how little progress I’ve made on our deal regarding Sarroch.

Which means a significant decrease in the value of my life.

Staying home is therefore the smart thing to do. But all the same, a friend in trouble is a friend in trouble, and no one but me seems to care what’s going on with Ilmu.

With my limited magic there’s only so much I can do, but I manage to get my hands on magical incense that will allow me to see her.

That is until another supernatural creature appears in the smoke and drags me into whatever space Ilmu is trapped in.

And just like that, my problems with Yue look pretty insignificant.

Perspective, huh?

🔥 Grab Hidden by Jade now. 

 Hardcover Edition 195 pages
Product Dimensions 6 x 9 x 0.7 inches (15.2 x 22.9 x 1.7cm)
Publisher Celine Jeanjean
Series Razor's Edge Chronicles #5

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Don't get me wrong, I love my house. I really do. I put a lot of work into making it look as nice as it does, and normally when I have some time off work, I really like hanging out here.

I've got a lovely little courtyard where my various rescue animals live, and with the vines that now somehow grow out of my walls to make a canopy,, thanks to Zer, there’s some very pleasant shade.

Definitely no bad thing when summer is getting into full swing. Panong can get proper sweltering, especially given the humidity. You can step out your front door and go from freshly showered to sweaty mess in a couple of minutes in the height of summer. I’m not exaggerating.
Summer is not when I look my best.

So yeah, my courtyard is really lovely these days. All the more so when I have some Timi Yuro wafting out the doors. Timi and lazy summer days go well together. And it helps that my record player—a real find, from 1910, which I spent ages connecting to and gently nudging with my magic—honestly has the best sound I’ve come across.

In normal times I’d be happy as a clam, pottering in my courtyard. Later, I’d poke around my spice cabinet (it’s seriously well-stocked. I’m a whizz in the kitchen, and yes, I do say so myself), breathing in all those mouth-watering, pungent smells, deciding what to cook for the night, maybe changing the music to something a bit more energetic.

Except that all this is far more enjoyable when I have chosen to be home alone. It’s quite different when I’m under house arrest.

Okay, so I’m not technically under house arrest. I could walk out if I wanted to. If I was suicidal, that is.

Because the moment I set foot outside of my house, the problem of Yue rears its sickeningly polished and beautiful head. Even though she and I have made a deal, I'm not stupid enough to trust her any further than I can throw her. Now I work out, and I take pride in my strength. But firstly, I’m pretty sure that if I picked Yue up, I wouldn’t survive the encounter. And even if I did survive, I doubt I’d be able to do more than dump her at my feet.

I know, I’m taking that metaphor too literally. That is what happens when you have spent several weeks locked away on your own with only your animals for company. You start to talk to yourself, and you find the most random thing interesting. This is a necessity because the alternative is to be bored out of your mind.

I don’t recommend it.

The reason I’m so wary of Yue is because the deal we made involves her leaving me alive, in exchange for which I try to change Sarroch's mind about her. Sarroch, who, according to Mr Sangong, has feelings for me.


That has ‘Apiya dies a slow and painful death’ written all over it, which is why I’d happily trade in my situation for a Gordian knot, but alas, no one is interested in that trade. At some point Yue will realise I can’t deliver, and then my life will suddenly have considerably less value.

As if that wasn’t troublesome enough, there's the rather nebulous matter of what's going on with the Mayak Elders. Neither Sarroch nor Mr Sangong will tell me anything concrete, but by all accounts, whatever is going on is not going too well.

Sarroch went to them to try to secure me some kind of status among Mayak society in order to keep me safe from future attacks from Yue, because he feels responsible for her trying to rip my throat out—seeing as she’s his wife. Well, not his wife, but there’s no human word for what she is to him, so ‘wife’ is the closest thing.
The problem is that since I’m not recognised as part of the Mayak, at the moment anyone can kill me any time they want without any consequences, so long as they do it discreetly. Leaving Yue free to boil bunnies to her heart’s content.

However, although all of this is very directly connected to me, Sarroch and Mr Sangong have been refusing to give me any updates. They seem to have mistaken me for some damsel in distress, to be locked away in her metaphorical tower while they go out into the world and sort everything out.

Not my jam. Not my jam at all, in fact.

Either that or they think I’m a mushroom—you know the old joke. They leave me in the dark and feed me shit. Haha and all that.

Christ, I really need to get out of the house. I’m plumbing new depths in the lame joke department.

My phone beeps, and I pounce on it with the enthusiasm of Hunter discovering a piece of cheese on the floor.

Contact from the outside world!!

Hunter looks up at me from where he’s been dozing in the shade. Having established that my phone beeping will not result in a treat for him, he goes back to sleep.
It might not be a treat for him, but it is for me. I swipe my phone to life, expecting one of the silly memes Chai has been sending me to distract me. But the message isn’t from Chai.

It’s from Sarroch. He’s outside.

He can’t come into my house anymore, not since Mr Sangong put security spells in place to keep Yue and all other Mayak out. Since Sarroch and Yue’s magic is bonded, Sarroch is also unable to enter the house now. He’s come to see me a couple of times since my de facto house arrest, always messaging me first to notify me that he’s outside.

With him there, I’m as safe outside as I am inside the house. Even if someone attacks, he’ll be able to keep them at bay. And by someone, I mean Yue.

Unfortunately, Sarroch flat out refuses to take me anywhere beyond my front porch, deeming it too much of a risk.

Still, beggars can’t be choosers. I fall over myself in my eagerness to reach the door. No, don’t read too much into that—I’m just happy for some human interaction and a distraction from my own thoughts.

“Hi Sarroch!” I sound as perky as a cheerleader. Just give me some pompoms.

Sarroch’s standing just beyond my porch, dressed surprisingly casual for him—jeans and a light grey t-shirt that does a very good job of hinting at the muscle beneath without ostentatiously showing it off. I approve.

Except of course I’m not thinking about all that.

It seems best for my survival to keep myself as far removed as possible from the whole mess that is the Sarroch situation. I’m not completely confident in Mr Sangong’s evaluation that Sarroch has feelings for me, either, and I don’t want to get myself humiliated again, not after Sarroch made it clear nothing will ever happen between us.

“Hi Api—”

Hunter barrels past me, bounding over to Sarroch, greeting him like he’s a long lost best friend. Don’t read anything into that, either. Hunter would greet Yue excitedly if she came regularly enough. His memory is poor and his ability to forgive is limitless, bless him.
“Down, Hunter,” Sarroch orders. His voice comes out deeper and more resonant than normal.

My jaw practically hits the floor when Hunter obeys.

Seriously? Years, I’ve had Hunter—years—and he’s never obeyed a verbal command of mine.

“Good boy,” Sarroch tells him, still in that deep voice that feels tinged with power. Hunter wags his plumed tail enthusiastically. Sarroch’s expression relaxes into a smile, and he strokes Hunter’s head.

He looks up at me. “Do you mind if I give him a treat?”

“Go right ahead.”

Sarroch produces a clear plastic zip-lock back from his back pocket. Inside it are little brown biscuits of some sort.

Hunter, with his golden retriever’s innate ability to spot an incoming treat, pushes his head forward as far as he can without lifting his ass from the floor, his gaze turning laser-focused.

Sarroch opens the bag.

“Bloody hell,” I protest. “What the hell is that? It reeks worse than a day-old corpse.”

“Have you been around many day-old corpses?” Sarroch asks with a raised eyebrow, pulling out a biscuit.

Hunter’s plumed tail is now wagging at such a pace that it’s doing a very thorough job of cleaning the ground. Sarroch gives him the biscuit, which Hunter gulps down so fast he can’t have tasted anything.

Sarroch pulls out another and makes a low noise in his throat. “Wait.”

Hunter actually waits, even when Sarroch presents the treat right in front of his nose.

“How the hell are you doing that?” I ask him, genuinely amazed. “I took him to an expensive dog trainer who couldn’t get those results from him. Couldn’t even get him to sit on command, in fact.”

“He’s responding to my tiger. He can tell I’m the alpha in his situation.”

I snort. “Great. I’m not even the alpha of my own household.”

Sarroch gives me a look that’s like the human equivalent of the looks Tim gives me on a regular basis, but mixed with a teasing gleam. “Surely Tim has already explained that when there’s a feline involved, a human is never the alpha.”

“Oh, he has expounded on that subject many times.”

Sarroch gives Hunter the second biscuit and then strokes his head some more. “That’s it for now. And no more jumping on me.”

They say the way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach—and that’s totally true in my case. But they don’t mention the other shortcut, which is through bonding with a woman’s dog. There’s something quite disarming about watching Sarroch and Hunter get along.
It’s especially endearing to see Sarroch stroke Hunter, given that Sarroch’s a powerful weretiger who could probably kill us all with a thought, while Hunter is…Hunter.

Anyway, I’m supposed to stay detached from all that.

“Any updates?” I ask. “Is freedom on the horizon at long last?”

Sarroch sits on the floor and leans against one of the pillars supporting the arches of the covered porch.

All houses in Old Town are like this. The pavement in front of the houses is covered by the upper floor protruding from the rest of the house. Arches help support the jutting part of the building. Partitions cut through with arches separate out my part of the pavement from my neighbours’.

The setup also means that in rainy season, people can walk along the pavement without getting wet.

Everyone tends to keep their scooters, bicycles, or other things stored beneath their porch, and it’s where I keep my motorbike parked, too.

I sit against the other pillar, facing Sarroch.

“There’s still a lot of arguing,” he says. “Getting anything done with the Mayak takes time.”

“What are the arguments, exactly?”

“You know I can’t tell you that, Apiya.”

I snort with annoyance. “It’s not like I’m asking you to divulge Mayak state secrets. This relates to me directly. Surely I have a right to know what is being said about me.”

“In any other circumstance you’d be right, but that logic won’t apply to the Mayak. And I don’t want to make things worse by telling you things I shouldn’t. That might antagonise Mayak who are on the fence.”

“On the fence about what? No, let me guess, you can’t tell me.”

“I’d risk making things worse.”

“Meaning they’re already bad?”

Sarroch looks away. “I, er…” He clears his throat. “I messed up a little. I’m confident I can fix it, but it’s not worth taking the risk of further complicating matters.”

“Mr Sangong hinted that you might have been a little…emotional.” He did a lot more than hint, telling me that Sarroch was getting his emotions publicly tangled up over me, and that it was bad news. The Mayak have a very low opinion of emotional displays, referring to it as ‘displaying the heart of a child’.

Sarroch grimaces and doesn’t meet my eye. “Yes, I might have. I have it under control now, though. And I promise you I’ll get something sorted out.”

My heart beats a little faster. So Mr Sangong was right? Wait, no. Just because Sarroch has emotions relating to this thing with the Mayak Elders doesn’t necessarily mean emotions about me, and even if he does, it doesn’t mean he’ll ever act on it. He was clear about that before.
More importantly than how Sarroch feels, it’s clear my time in house purgatory isn’t coming to an end anytime soon.

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Hi! I'm Celine

I write different flavours of fantasy with a twist, but always with one uniting thread: quirky, flawed characters and heart-warming found families.

My books span the sub-genres of steampunk (but set in a secondary, tropical world) urban fantasy (set in Asia and London) and gothic gaslamp fantasy.

I'm French, grew up in the UK, and for the last few years I've been living a life of nomadic adventure, exploring the world with my laptop as my constant companion. My adventures have been a great source of inspiration for my stories.

These days I'm trying to figure out where in the world I might stop and setup some bookshelves.

I love to hear from readers, so feel free to contact me at celine@celinejeanjean.com.

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