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Salt & Stone

Salt & Stone

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Audiobook narrated by Marni Penning. Listen to a sample:

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Under the sea lie the secrets of her past… and a deadly threat to her future.

Targa fears the truth will lose her the man she loves. As she returns to Poland to reunite with Antoni, she wishes she could share her mermaid secrets without betraying her kind. But when a magical stone goes missing from her museum, the siren may have to choose between protecting her loved ones and treason.

As Targa tracks the stolen gem, she discovers a sinister plot centuries in the making. And the power the thieves seek could leave both the land and the sea utterly devastated.

Can Targa protect the secrets of her people, or will her attempt at a double life take everything she loves away?

Salt & Stone is an enchanting book in The Siren’s Curse YA fantasy series. If you like conflicted heroines, simmering romance, and modern mermaids, you’ll love USA Today Bestselling Author A.L. Knorr’s aquatic adventure.

Intro to Chapter One

For a mermaid, flying is torture. The best thing to do is to sleep. Any hopes I had that becoming an elemental would make it easier to fly vanished soon after takeoff. Imaginary chains wrapped around every joint and threatened to pull me down through the floor as the plane ascended. Mom had surmised that sirens were tied to the ocean in inexplicable ways, and flying thirty-thousand feet over the earth’s surface was just too far from water. Thank goodness I never wanted to be an astronaut, I’d probably die a few minutes after take-off. Mom and I were roused awake by the steward after landing, groggy and exhausted. But at least the feeling of having lead for bones was over.

We staggered drunkenly off the plane and were met at the small Gdansk airstrip by a Novak driver. He introduced himself to us but I immediately forgot his name in my haze of exhaustion. Relieved to be on the ground and in desperate need of a good night’s sleep, even after all the hours we’d been unconscious, Mom and I leaned against one another in the back of the limousine until we arrived at the manor. I sent Antoni, my sweetheart, a text letting him know we were on the ground and he sent back a heart and a ‘see you soon.’ 

Somehow, we and our bags made our way into a suite in the manor by the kindly staff, but the whole thing was a bit of a blur.

Rolling over in bed the next morning and opening my eyes, it took a full fifteen seconds before I remembered where I was. I was not in the same suite as when we had been in Gdansk last time. Lifting my head from the pillow, I looked around, blinking owlishly at my surroundings like I’d jumped through a wormhole and tumbled into an alternate universe.

The bed was enormous—–a bonafide king-sized mattress. The bedding was soft and smelled faintly of lavender. The duvet cover and pillow cases were a crisp, bright white embroidered with the Novak logo. The dove gray walls with white trim and wainscoting looked freshly painted and two mahogany dressers sat side by side against the wall. Beyond the bed, two open double doors revealed a sitting room with plush furniture and an entertainment unit. Bookshelves filled with colorful spines bracketed the cabinet and a large vase filled with lilies sat on a coffee table. I gave a delicate sniff––real lilies, not silk ones.

I grabbed my phone and sent Antoni a text: When do I get to see you?

A loud buzzing sound made me jump out of my skin. I threw back the covers, looking frantically for its source. Locating the panel with a speaker near the door to the suite, I pressed the talk button and the buzzing sound ceased.

“Hello? Hello?”

“Miss MacAuley?” asked a warm female voice with the rich Polish accent I had come to love so much.

“Yes, that’s me.”

“I hope I didn’t wake you.”

“No, I was awake.” I yawned. “Just.”

“Did you have a good rest?”

“Yes, actually.” I realized that I had slept through the night without dreams or tossing and turning. This was a blessing because after what had happened to my hometown and to one of my best friends, I had suffered a few nightmares. “I feel good.”

“Great, because you have a big day today, remember?”

“Sorry, but who am I speaking with?” I cringed. In all likelihood, I’d met this person when we arrived last night but didn’t remember.

“It’s Marian Suhre, Mrs. Krulikoski’s secretary.” There was no hint of irony in her tone, she sounded professional and kind. 

I remembered Marian because we’d been emailing since Mom and I had made the decision to return to Poland, but the other name… something about it was familiar but I couldn’t place it. I wracked my memory in earnest. Krulikoski, I knew this name, somehow...

Marian hadn’t responded, but was waiting for me to confirm that I knew who she was talking about. So I replied dumbly, “Okay.”

“It’s eight o’clock. The car is scheduled to take you to the office in one hour’s time. Breakfast is served in the dining room. I will meet you and Mrs. MacAuley in the front foyer at nine.”

“Right.” I projected confidence, but squirmed internally. I had barely paid attention to the schedule I had been sent via email, we’d been so busy preparing for our international move. “Uh, Marian? Mrs. Suhre?”

“Call me Marian, if you like.”

“Thanks, and please call me Targa. Does my mother––you can call her Mira, by the way––does she know all this?”

There was a long pause, during which she was probably wondering why I hadn’t communicated this to my mother myself after I’d received her carefully structured and thorough email with this very information and itinerary.

“I’ll make sure she does.”

“Thank you.” I rested my forehead against the wall beside the panel and grimaced. I wasn’t making a good impression. She was probably questioning Martinius’s good sense for the hundredth time. Why had he given over his company to these two daft Canadian women? Couldn’t say I blamed her.

“Not a problem,” she said. “See you in an hour.”

I wanted to find my mom, just to make sure she was awake and indeed up to speed, but poking my head out of my suite door revealed a bewilderingly long hallway––in both directions––lined with many doors. I didn’t have time to find her now.

After hopping in the shower and coming fully awake, my spirits brightened. This was an exciting new chapter of my life, and Antoni was here somewhere. I could barely restrain myself from dancing for joy under the spray of the showerhead. Butterflies took flight in my stomach when I imagined throwing myself into his arms and feeling his big, warm body next to mine again. My skin tingled with inspired gooseflesh and excitement, not just for Antoni, but for all of the recent changes for me…and Mom. 

She no longer had to work in a job she hated, and she had control of the artifacts from The Sybellen. I could be with the man I had fallen so hard for only a few months ago, much sooner than I had ever anticipated. Of course, at the time, no one knew Saltford was going to suffer from a massive natural disaster (supernatural attack), or that my high school was going to be destroyed (pulverized by a demon), or that my friends had had their own transformative summers (becoming powerful elementals) and were changing their lives just as drastically as I was changing mine. It was scary and sad and exhilarating all at once.

  • mermaids
  • sweet romance
  • action & adventure
  • Legend of Atlantis
  • set in Poland, Canada & N. Africa
  • full novel
  • sequel to Mermaid's Return & Born of Water
  • completed trilogy
  • gift with purchase of the audiobook
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