Greetings, folks! Today, I’d like to share this space with one of my favorite people on the planet. Jennifer Melzer has been my editor for almost a year now, but did you know that she’s an author as well? I was captivated by her writing years ago when I listened to the audiobook podcast of The Goblin Market, and have been following her work ever since then.
As a special treat for you guys, I’d like to share an excerpt of one of her newest book with you.
Siren, by Jennifer Melzer
Siren Talbot’s life is plagued with storms. Her mother’s insanity was the first, though not the last. Called to the ocean, not even the shores of Edisto Island can calm the tempest inside her.
Though she’s settled into a life with Patrick, his promises of a happily ever after can’t still the foul weather of her past or the brewing squall on the horizon. She’s haunted by the disappearance of her first love, Carver, and the lack of answers.
A single clue unlocks mysteries she can’t explain. A murder cements the impossible as possible. The more magic she uncovers, the darker her suspicions become and the more the hurricane inside her starts to rage.
Patrick isn’t the Prince Charming he claims to be.
And he knows exactly what happened to Carver.
And now, here’s an exclusive excerpt of the story, to give you a taste of what’s in store…
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“Carver Ashmore!” bellowed the madman. “Did you think I wouldn’t master that place? Did you think I’d never get out? That I’d never find you?”
Startled, Siren turned her inquisitive gaze back to Carver, who half-rose in the chair to peer over the milling staff.
He came to his full height of six and a half feet, his shoulders straightening, his head lifting with pride. “Not here.”
“Don’t you want to know how I escaped?”
Siren reached for his hand, his name a desperate breath on her lips, “Carver?”
He didn’t respond at first, but lowered something onto the table and then leaned outward. He started walking away as if drawn by some otherworldly force.
She started to stand but sensing her movement behind him, he turned and held a hand up in a strange gesture meant to silence and stop her. He tilted his head, the look he wore pleading.
“Siren, please go sit down.”
She’d never been very good at following instructions, and even the severity of his expression was not enough to deter her. “What are you doing?” She was out of her chair, nearly tripping over her own feet as she stepped quickly to catch him. She grabbed the soft black fabric of his jacket sleeve in an attempt to hold him there with her.
“He’s paying his dues.” The lunatic pushed through the wait staff, arriving in front of Carver. He brought up a hand, static red bolts dancing across the tips of his fingers, crisp and crackling. She felt the energy of them, the sparse hair on her arms rising to attention as chills rippled through her. “Hello, beautiful.” The man smiled at her, but there was stiffness in his grin that nullified the sincerity of the gesture. “She’s a vision,” he turned his wild eyes back to Carver. “A Talbot?”
“Leave her alone.”
“I don’t think so,” he shook his head. “Don’t worry, I’ll take good care of her for you.”
“You won’t touch her. Not now, not ever.”
The madman threw his head back and laughed, a sound both furious and terrifying. “I’d like to see you try to stop me. Do you think I spent my time in that place sitting idly by? Do you think I learned nothing in the prison you cast me into in hopes I would die?”
“I said not here.”
“Carver, what is going on?”
“Sit down, Siren.” It wasn’t a command, but a request. “I’ll be right back and then I’ll tell you everything,” he promised. The look he gave her was sincere and gentle, a silent vow that everything would be all right just so long as she trusted him.
She started to say his name again, but it caught in the back of her throat as he smiled at her, a soft flare of silver light flashing in his pale eyes. It was just a reflection from the chandeliers overhead, she was sure of it, but then she began to question her motive to panic. Everything was fine. There was nothing to worry about, no need to panic.
“That’s my girl.” He watched as she unclenched her fingers from the sleeve of his jacket. “Sit down and wait for me, sweetheart. I’ll be right back, I promise you.” He leaned forward and whispered something in her ear, his hand sliding down her arm. “I’m just going to use the bathroom.”
“Right,” she nodded, “the bathroom.”
She stepped backward, her will to comply easily won. Too easily, and though there was mild awareness of how quickly she’d given into his command, she felt like she had no choice in the matter at all. Somewhere in the back of her mind she felt like she’d been bound and gagged. Head tilted thoughtfully, she watched Carver weave through the staff members, pushing the madman who’d stormed into the restaurant toward the door. The wait staff fell easily back into place after he pushed them aside and maneuvered around them, blocking Siren’s view of the door, and though she felt like she should panic, she was sure everything was going to be okay.
Outside she saw a flash of lightning and thunder cracked the sky.
Funny, she thought. There hadn’t been a cloud on the horizon at all when they were driving to the restaurant.
She was hungry. She should eat. Turning her attention to the salad in front of her, she watched the glossy French dressing drip and slide down a crisp, bold leaf of romaine. She glanced over at Carver’s plate. He’d barely touched his food at all, the seared skin of the trout looked dull as flecks of dill lodged in the cooling butter glaze.
There was no urgency to the moment, no compelling need for her to even look in the direction he’d gone. Instead she found herself drawn to a black velvet box propped on the pristine white table cloth just a reach away from her hand. Fingers twitching, she started to grab it then drew back.
She knew what was inside that box and she wanted to see it, but she had no right to peek—even if his proposal had been ruined. Once more her hand reached for the box, the tip of her index finger stroking the soft velvet before she withdrew her hand and lowered it into her lap to rest atop her napkin.
Another thunderbolt and the building shook. Glasses and dishes and flatware clanged and rattled, but no one seemed the least bit concerned. Siren looked around, mildly intrigued, and when what could only be compared in her mind to a sonic boom shook the ground below Makewell, she reached her hand up to steady herself by holding onto the table top.
And then it stopped.
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Happy reading! If you’d like to learn more about Jennifer and all of her amazing works, explore more at her website here.
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