(Siren Prophecy #1)
Publication date: January 7th 2019
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Rule #1: Never go out after dark.
Rule #2: Never go into large bodies of water.
Rule #3: Stay off of social media.
Myreen always knew her mom held some deep dark secret; the rules, the moving, the years of unanswered questions. But she didn’t think breaking one rule, just once, would lead to the death of her mother. And she never expected to find out that she was a mermaid shifter, or that her mother was killed by vampires.
Whisked away in the middle of the night for her own safety, Myreen finds herself in a secret school for shifters. But starting over in a new school in the middle of the year–even if it is for the millionth time–is never easy. With rumors swirling, mean girls circling, and two incredibly attractive guys tugging her in separate directions, Myreen just wants to get through the school year without having a meltdown in front of everyone.
She’s learning so much, but for every question answered, a new one bubbles up. Myreen will need to untangle the web of secrets surrounding her if she ever wants to find out why her mother was murdered. As she dives deeper into the mystery, she discovers a truth about herself that no one saw coming, and it will change the fate of the shifter world forever.
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Excerpt from Shifted (Siren Prophecy #1)
**I could have gone with chapters one or two, but I’m kinda partial to chapter 3, as it’s the first real glimpse we get of Kenzie’s perspective. But chapters 1 & 2 are featured on other spots on the tour, and they’re also on the Shifter Academy page (which features a new chapter every #TeaserTuesday!).
Chapter 3 – Kenzie
Kenzie watched with a slack jaw as the man before her turned into a spectacular gryphon. Myreen’s panic barely registered, and she couldn’t seem to bring herself to move to help her friend up after she’d fallen flat on her face.
Every nerve in her body sizzled.
She’d known about the shifter world, had even heard stories from Gram, but she’d never been this close to it. Oh sure, there were the occasional whispered conversations or clandestine meetings that she was never allowed to watch. Not that she hadn’t tried to snag a peek, but the wards Gram knew could keep even the most curious cat away.
And now she was in the middle of the shifter world. She could almost taste the excitement–a wild citrus flavor, if she had to guess. She wanted in that school, more than she’d ever wanted anything in her life. And that was saying a lot, considering all she’d ever dreamed of was learning more about the magic her family possessed.
Of course, with no grimoire to guide her, the chances of that ever happening were about a million to one.
But Myreen. Kenzie looked down at her raven-haired friend at last, who was just managing to pick herself up off the ground. A mermaid. That’s what Oberon had said. It didn’t entirely surprise Kenzie. She’d known something was special about Myreen from the first time they’d met. Something about those sky blue eyes. Besides, she was a little too pretty to be human. I mean come on, most people had to be photoshopped to look that good.
Kenzie cleared her throat, a bubble of nerves fluttering in her stomach. “I wanna go to the school, too.”
Oberon looked at her, his feathered brow raised. He turned and shifted back to human, pulling his clothes off the ground. Kenzie wasn’t normally into older guys, but dang, he was hot. If he stopped once he had his pants on, she wouldn’t complain.
“Are you a shifter?” Oberon asked, before pulling his shirt over his head. Dang it. “I’m assuming no, since we likely would’ve found you before now.” His eyes shifted to where Myreen stood, one arm wrapped around her waist.
Kenzie’s heart dropped a touch. It seemed selfish, trying to get into a shifter school when her best friend had just lost her mom. She put a hand on Myreen’s shoulder, giving her an encouraging smile.
“I’m a selkie. Shifter enough for you?” Kenzie raised a brow at Oberon, who was frowning. Myreen gasped, pulling away from Kenzie’s touch.
“We need to keep moving.” Oberon waved them towards the car, looking around the area as if he expected to be attacked at any moment. It might have seemed absurd if it wasn’t the middle of the night and Myreen’s mom hadn’t just been killed by a vampire. Yeah, they needed to get moving.
Kenzie grabbed Myreen’s hand and tugged her toward the car. “No,” Myreen said, pulling back. “This is insane.” Kenzie sighed, her shoulders slumping. “I know it’s a lot to process, but it’s all true. I swear.” Myreen’s eyes narrowed. “What do you mean, selkie?” “I can turn into a seal.”
Myreen crinkled her nose, a look that was altogether too cute for someone who was obviously in so much distress.
“Only if you have an enchanted seal skin,” Oberon cut in. “And we need to go. Now!” Seeing Myreen’s hesitation, he added, “Unless you prefer to become a vampire’s snack?”
Myreen shook her head, but followed Kenzie into the back seat. Her normally pale features looked even whiter–if that were possible–with just a hint of green around the edges. She was practically luminescent in the shadows.
Once they were all settled and Oberon was clipping down the road once more, he leaned back into his seat. “We only allow shifters at the school.”
“But I said–”
“I heard you. You’re not a shifter, you’re a magic user. There’s a difference.”
Magic user? Myreen mouthed, her brows arching towards her hairline. Kenzie patted Myreen’s hand, trying to convey with just one look that she’d explain everything. “Difference?” Kenzie snorted. “I don’t see how.”
“Shifters don’t exactly have a choice. You do. We need a safe place to practice and perfect our powers. You don’t.” “I don’t think it’s that simple.”
“The answer is no.”
“But Myreen will need me.” She felt almost dirty for using her friend’s trauma as a bargaining chip. Surely Oberon would see the girls’ bond and realize it was for the best. And Kenzie really did want to be there for her friend. She hadn’t felt so close to anyone since kindergarten, when she’d accidentally caught fire to her best-friend-at-the-time’s skirt in attempt to show off. Yeah, that got her labelled “freak” faster than a die-hard Cavalier fan at a Bulls game. Ugh.
“The answer is still no.”
“What kind of monster are you?” Myreen asked Oberon, the green to her skin replaced by a flaming red. “My mom just died and you want to separate me from my only friend in the world.” Her fists clenched, and Kenzie could see her eyes starting to brim with tears. She had to bail. Oberon wasn’t likely to bend, and she didn’t want her friend hurting anymore than she already was.
“There are plenty of her kind at the school,” Oberon said, directing his comment at Kenzie. Addressing Myreen, he added, “You’ll be well taken care of, I promise you.”
Myreen growled, but Kenzie caught her eye and shook her head. “Let’s just call this a draw.” For now. This wasn’t over, not by a long shot. But she couldn’t put her friend through anything else. “We’ll text or write or something. Our friendship isn’t going to end. You can count on that. Maybe you can finally get that social media account you’ve been drooling over.” Kenzie gave Myreen a half-hearted smile, desperately hoping to lighten the mood.
Myreen let out a short and bitter burst of a laugh, then hiccuped. “Right.”
“Myreen, we’ll talk about your options when we get to the school.” Oberon pulled into a parking lot after paying the toll for entrance. “For now, Kenzie, you’ll have to catch a cab home.” He reached into his pocket, pulling out a wad of bills. Peeling some twenties off the outside, he handed them to Kenzie. “Here’s some money for the fare. I’m sorry I can’t take you back myself, but it’s not safe.”
“What if the vampires come looking for me?” Kenzie asked, jutting out her chin. She slipped the money into the pocket of her skin-tight jeans.
“They won’t. It’s not you they’re after.” Oberon ran a hand through his hair, then got out of the car.
Kenzie and Myreen slid out of the back seat, Kenzie watching her friend to see what she would do. But Myreen was back to hugging herself, her gaze dark as the night sky. Kenzie thought she detected the hint of a shiver from Myreen’s suddenly frail looking body.
She threw her arms around Myreen’s neck, squeezing her tight. “It’s gonna be okay,” Kenzie whispered. Myreen’s head nodded against her shoulder. “I’ll always be here for you. No matter what. Okay?” Myreen nodded again, sniffling.
Kenzie slowly peeled herself away. She shot a glare at Oberon, who was still wearing that hunted look, his foot tapping an impatient tune. I mean seriously, does this guy ever smile?
“Your mom’s a selkie too, right?” Oberon asked Kenzie.
“Uh, yeah,” Kenzie said, sarcasm lacing her words. “Why?”
“You should be fine, but you’ll want to tell her what happened. She should be able to make sure they don’t follow Myreen’s scent to your house.”
“Ah.” Of course. She didn’t bother asking why Oberon assumed she couldn’t do it. That
was a sore enough point without arguing it over with Mr. Hottie McMoody. “Well, thanks. I guess.”
Oberon nodded, then put a hand behind Myreen’s back and steered her toward the subway entrance. Myreen cast a backward glance, and Kenzie waved her hand and tried to smile. She wasn’t all that close with her mom, due to their differing opinions on magic, but she couldn’t imagine losing her and then being forced to go to some school–albeit a rather cool school–all in one day. And the rules . . . Kenzie always knew those rules were weird, even for Myreen’s helicopter mom, but why would she keep her own daughter from the shifter world? What was she hiding from?
Kenzie watched Myreen and Oberon until they disappeared. After looking around the parking lot to see if anyone was watching her, she ducked her head and jogged to where the pair had disappeared. If she could just see which line they were taking, she might be able to figure out where the school was. If she could get inside the building, maybe she could gather some respect. Or support. A little teenage rebellion might help give her an in. Besides, she wasn’t letting even a fabled gryphon take her friend somewhere without knowing where.
Kenzie crept down the stairs, crouching to see past the ceiling. She didn’t need Oberon knowing she was spying on them. Oberon nodded at the attendant and handed a ticket to Myreen. She took it, and they slid through the turnstiles, Oberon flashing his own pass. Kenzie frowned. The man had a car, so why was he taking the subway to the school? And it must be he did that a lot, considering he had a pass. She waited, frozen on her step, until they had disappeared from view once more.
Rushing down the stairs, she looked for Oberon and Myreen, but they were likely down the next set of stairs, well out of view. Kenzie slowed her walk to something a bit more casual, trying to look as harmless as possible. A couple of people were approaching the turnstiles, and Kenzie tried to position herself between that person and the guard as she swung over the contraption.
“Hey!” came the indignant response from a woman behind her.
Kenzie turned a little, lifting her hand. “Not riding. My friend needs her phone.” And she took off, to the alarmed protests of fellow passengers, and the angry glare of the guard
on duty. Kenzie wasn’t sure when the next train would pull through, but she had to get a sight on her friend before she boarded. The guard caught her arm just as she reached the platform.
Kenzie held up her free hand in surrender. “Not looking for any trouble. Just wanted to get this phone to my friend before she boarded.” Kenzie looked around, spotting Myreen’s tell-tale blue-black locks, Oberon’s impressive form beside her. Kenzie’s gaze flicked to the sign hanging overhead, the unmistakable green strip beckoning to riders seeking to take the green line south.
“Likely story,” the woman said, looking Kenzie over. Her brow arched. “You don’t look like one of our regular jumpers. You’re not a runaway, are you?”
Kenzie shook her head. “No, ma’am. And I wasn’t trying to ride. Look, see?” Kenzie pulled out her own phone, showing it to the woman. “My friend accidentally left this. She’s going to be devastated.”
The woman snorted. “Kids. Hey, what’s your name?” She had a badge on, Kenzie noticed, that said Officer L. Ward.
“Kenzie. Kenzie MacLugh. Please, Ms. Ward. I won’t do it again. I promise!”
Officer Ward grimaced, but led Kenzie to the turnstile, opening a side gate to let her through. “I better not catch you doing anything like that again.”
Kenzie nodded eagerly.
“You have what you need to get you home?”
“Good. Now get.” Officer Ward shooed Kenzie away, putting her hands on her belt. Kenzie gave a final nod and a smile, her heart beating about a hundred miles a minute.
She’d rather not have an offence on her record, and she really didn’t want her mom to know. Things were complicated enough without a court date hanging over her head.
Kenzie forced a deep breath as she headed back up the stairs. She might see if there was a way to track Myreen’s phone, but at least she knew they were headed south on the green line. It wasn’t a location, but it was a start. She pulled out her phone, checking out all the stops on the green line, wondering where her friend would get off.
Too bad she didn’t have magic for this kind of situation. Lighting a candle, basic object moving, sure. Most of the magic she knew was the garden variety, but what she really wanted was the opportunity to find out what her magic was capable of. Without a grimoire to guide her, she’d need someplace safe to test and study–or maybe another selkie to help her find new incantations and potions. Which was part of the reason it was imperative that she find a way into that school.
Besides, her friend needed her. Of that, she was certain.
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