THE PHOENIX KEEPER

Adult Fantasy
100,500 words

THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA x PAYBACK’S A WITCH
A nerdy zookeeper of magical creatures must save her job from a flashy griffin show performer, her heart from the gorgeous dragon keeper next door, and her phoenixes from the poachers driving them extinct.

Aila Macbhairan is a little obsessed with phoenixes.

As head phoenix keeper at a world-renowned zoo for magical creatures, her childhood dream of conserving critically endangered firebirds seems closer than ever. With one glaring caveat: her zoo’s breeding program hasn’t functioned for a decade. When a tragic phoenix-nabbing cripples the flagship program at a neighboring zoo, Aila must prove her derelict facilities are fit to take the reins.

But saving a species will take more than stellar animal handling skills. Carnivorous water horses, tempestuous thunderhawks — Aila has no problem wrangling beasts. Inspiring zoo patrons? That’s another story. Finding courage to ask for help from the hot dragon keeper at a neighboring exhibit? Virtually impossible. And don’t get Aila started on her archrival from college: the glamorous leader of the zoo’s wildly popular griffin show, who’s determined that Aila’s beloved phoenix would serve better as a performer than a conservation exhibit. To restore her breeding program, Aila must conquer her own social fears, enlisting help from friends and enemies alike. With the world watching and the threat of poachers looming, Aila’s success isn’t just a matter of keeping her job: the future of an entire species depends on her.