All Posts By

Derek Murphy

YA Scavenger Hunt #140

Welcome! You’ve sailed to the final port in the YA Summer Scavenger Hunt! Scroll down to find the final word and complete the short story. In the meantime, I’ve made a bunch of my books free on Amazon this week. I have over 1000 reviews and these usually cost $2.99 each – grab them while you can!


Free Books by D.S. Murphy


Here are two more projects I’m working on – you can get the first few chapters for free.

If you like them, sign up to my list to read the rest when it’s ready.


Can’t use Amazon? You can sign up on my email list and I’ll tell you how to download a free copy.


And now, what you’ve all been waiting for.

Drum roll please…


The final word in the scavenger hunt is:


Finish the story with the final stroke – you can get it in the next post HERE.






Prescient part two (the full book) is almost ready!

This month I’m working on part two of Prescient and I’m kind of loving it. It was going to be my first novel, but the time-travel plotting elements were too challenging to keep straight. There are some big twists and reveals, and while it’s not exactly a zombie apocalypse thriller (though it will be by book 2 or 3), there are some great scenes and a lot of dramatic tension between characters. I think it’ll be my best work yet so I’m excited to share.

In the meantime, you can read part one here – or you can sign up to my list to get part one for free. When the whole book is done, I’ll update the book on Amazon with this new cover, and I’ll send out free ARC copies to everyone on my list so you can read the full thing.

The YA Summer Scavenger Hunt

In June, the Alliance of Young Adult Authors is sponsoring a massive young adult scavenger hunt. This is a chance to meet some new authors, grab a bunch of free books, and sign up to win a whole bunch of epic prizes!

In addition to the $500 grand prize, each author will be giving away lots of free books and cool stuff (for my part, I’ll probably have a set of dystopian books and possibly a huge vampire hunter’s kit).

When the scavenger hunt begins (June 1st) all you have to do is visit each site below in order and write down the special word to reconstruct the story. You can enter any of the giveaways or offers on anybody’s site, or just grab the special word and move on. I’ll add a link soon where you can enter for the grand prize when you have the full story.


Each author will be given a special keyword, which will be bolded and all caps like this: BUTTERFLIES.

All you have to do is visit all the author’s sites in this order, write down the special keywords to discover the short story, then enter the giveaway with the completed short story HERE (link will be posted soon).

There will be one main giveaway for the main prize, but most of the participating authors will also have smaller giveaways for free books, amazon credit and author swag, so make sure you read their post carefully to see what else they’re offering while you’re on their site for the keyword.

TREASURE MAP (list of participating authors)

  1. Cindy Ray Hale
  2. Katherine Bogle
  3. Melle Amade
  4. David Kudler
  5. A.M. Yates
  6. Alethea Kontis
  7. Stevie Rae Causey
  8. Katlyn Duncan
  9. Debbie Manber Kupfer
  10. Meredith Efken  
  11. Meredith Rose
  12. Lara Ann  
  13. K.M. Robinson
  14. J.A. Culican
  15. Heather Karn
  16. Rob L. Slater
  17. Dylan Keefer
  18. Sarah K. Wilson  
  19. L.J. Higgins
  20. Gina Marie Long 
  21. Em Kazmierski
  22. Travis Hall
  23. Heather Young-Nichols
  24. Anna Santos
  25. J.L. Weil  
  26. Jo Schneider 
  27. Rebecca Fernfield
  28. Kristin D. Van Risseghem
  29. Martine Lewis 
  30. Tara Benham
  31. Stacy Claflin
  32. Beth Hammond
  33. Erica Monroe Cope
  34. Nicole Zoltack
  35. Char Webster
  36. Sabrina Ramoth
  37. T.J. Muir
  38. Raquel Lyon
  39. Beth Rodgers
  40. S.L. Beaumont
  41. Eva Pohler
  42. Melanie McFarlane
  43. Cheryllynn Dyess
  44. Audrey Rich
  45. Amanda Zieba
  46. Sandie Will
  47. Elle Scott
  48. Angie Grigaliunas
  49. Ashley Maker 
  50. Mandy Peterson
  51. Audrey Grey
  52. Elisa Dane  
  53. Amy McNulty
  54. Melinda Cordell
  55. Monica Leonelle
  56. Claire Luana
  57. Frost Kay
  58. Preeti C. Sharma
  59. Bentz Deyo 
  60. April Wood
  61. Lena Mae Hill
  62. Angel Leya
  63. Wendi Wilson
  64. Wendy Knight
  65. Chogan Swan
  66. Tamara Hart Heiner
  67. Norma Hinkens
  68. Patti Larsen
  69. Megan Crewe  
  70. Jamie Thornton
  71. Jessie Renée
  72. T.A. Maclagan  
  73. Lydia Sherrer
  74. Phyllis Moore
  75. P.D. Workman
  76. J.A. Armitage
  77. K.N. Lee
  78. Angela Fristoe
  79. Rhonda Sermon
  80. G.K. DeRosa 
  81. Erin Richards
  82. Ali Winters
  83. Larissa C. Hardesty
  84. Kristine Tate
  85. Debra Kristi
  86. Bella Rose 
  87. Cortney Pearson
  88. Jeff Kohanek
  89. Kristal Shaff
  90. Rachel Morgan  
  91. Emma Right
  92. C.L. Cannon
  93. Joanne Macgregor
  94. Lindsey Loucks
  95. Farah Kuck
  96. Erin Hayes
  97. Jesikah Sundin
  98. Dorothy Dreyer
  99. Danielle Annett
  100. C.J. Ethington
  101. L.C. Hibbett 
  102. Madeline Dyer
  103. Katie John
  104. Nicole Schubert  
  105. Rachel Medhurst 
  106. Tee G Ayer  
  107. May Freighter 
  108. Heather Dyer
  109. Jen Minkman  
  110. J.L. Gillham
  111. Karen Tomlinson
  112. Kate Haye
  113. Tom Shutt
  114. Martina Billings
  115. Jo Ho
  116. Brian King
  117. Inna Hardison
  118. Rachel Bateman
  119. Sally Henson  
  120. J.L. Hendricks 
  121. A.L. Knorr  
  122. T.M. Franklin  
  123. Konstanz Silverbow
  124. felisha Antonette
  125. Jake Devlin
  126. S.F. Benson
  127. Laurie Treacy
  128. Emily Martha Sorensen 
  129. Leia Stone
  130. T. Rae Mitchell
  131. J. Keller Ford
  132. Kat Stiles
  133. Jessica Hawke
  134. Elyse Reyes
  135. Sophie Davis
  136. Bianca Scardoni
  137. Jenetta Penner
  138. David R. Bernstein
  139. Olivia Wildenstein
  140. Derek Murphy
 For rules, updates or trouble-shooting, make sure to check out this main post which will stay updated.



Authors will post the rules and the full list of participating authors sometime in June, and have their post up and visible on their site/blog, with their keyword, by June 1st. Readers just need to go through the list, find the words, and use the story to enter for the grand prize.

Golden Shears – Fated Destruction Book Two LAUNCH

I’m so excited to announce that The Golden Shears is done and will be available in a few days!

I really got to dig deep into the mythology in this one, and there are a LOT of twists and surprises.

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who preordered a copy. Please leave a review as soon as you can if you liked it!



The audiobook edition of Scarlet Thread is now available! If you’ve bought the book on Amazon previously, you should be able to get it for free. It’s my first ever audiobook, and I hope you like it – if so please leave a review of the audiobook here.

View the audiobook on Audible or sign up for a free trial.


What you can do to help

If you’ve read The Scarlet Thread and enjoyed it, please add it to some lists on Goodreads.

Here are some options:

You can also leave a review on Goodreads or post one on Amazon.



My wife found this awesome metal glove on Instagram and it’s similar to one Kaidance will get in book three – so I’m giving one away, along with an obnibus edition of the full series (when it’s ready).

Sign up here to win!




In Other News

Shearwater (Get the full book!)


I really hope you enjoyed Part One of Shearwater – if so please review part one.

The full book is available but exclusive to Amazon right now.

>>>Get it now on<<<

New cover!

I’ve remade the cover for Shearwater many times, but I’m pretty happy with this version.

Most people still prefer the original cover, which I will continue using for Part One.

But I wanted something dark and moody. I’ve also revised the blurb, and focused less on mermaids, and a little more on one part of the book that I know is particularly strong. Some people may say this looks too much like a thriller/murder mystery, and not enough like a mermaid fantasy romance… but it doesn’t really matter. Plus, I think the first cover would attract young teen mermaid fans, and most mermaid books in that category are pretty different from mine, which is a lot darker. And all that really matters is how well the new cover and blurb are converting new readers. So far, this is working better than what I had before, which is why I changed it.

Here’s the new sales copy…


They found the dead girl on my birthday.

And I’m not entirely sure that her killer isn’t the boy I just tried to kiss.

The longer I spend in Ireland, the deeper my life seems to unravel. Whisperings of a dark secret that caused my mother to flee from her homeland. Run-ins with a pair of undeniably handsome and strangely mysterious guys. A sleep-walking adventure that nearly got me killed. The nearness of the moon and the ocean would be almost romantic, if I wasn’t being hunted for powers I didn’t know I possessed.

Not everything in mythology is just a story.
Not every fairy-tale is harmless.
Magic is very, very real… but so are the monsters from your worst nightmares.

Now I’m being chased by immortals, hunted by wizards, and forced to pick sides in a supernatural war I want no part of.

I might be the only one who can stop it.
But it will mean giving up the one thing my heart can’t bear to lose.

>>>Get it now on<<<

15 YA dystopian books for teens who loved Hunger Games and Divergent

Golden Shears has been giving me grief but I’m getting closer to the end… however I’m really excited about my next three projects, which are all dystopians.

Taste: kind of Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Hunger Games…
Selfie: an apocalyptic thriller where an smart phone app can alter our appearance (and melt flesh off bones)
Prescient: a time travel, post apocalyptic adventure… with zombies (part one is out already but I need to finish it).

Those will all be series, and I actually have THREE MORE dystopian series mapped out for later. I also want to write some more mainstream vampire/werewolf stuff… but I think all my stories will have world-ending consequences, so maybe that’s why this genre appeals to me most (plus, revolution!).

Anyway, in the meantime, I made a list of 14 other dystopian novels from friends of mine – a bunch of them are on sale for 99cents today, so check them out!


influence dystopian fiction for teens

“Exciting! Captivating! Couldn’t put it down!” ★★★★★

If you could manipulate reality, would you?

Seventeen-year-old Kaylin has been on the run, hiding her untapped abilities for six years, but rescuing a mysterious guy risks exposing the depths of her power. The manipulative sector groups hunt her kind. Life has never been easy, but resisting is even harder. This harsh, new world will no longer allow her to remain hidden.

In a future where greed and corruption has torn society apart; these relentless sector groups prey on powerful youths to mold the populace to expand their reach. Young people with the ability to shift the mindset of others are high-value targets. War is waging to expand and control this new world. Influencers, as they’re called, hold the key to humanity’s future.

Will fighting back cost Kaylin everything?

Get Influence on Amazon now!



Glitch dystopian fiction for teensOn the brink of extinction, being human means more than just surviving. 

In Lib’s world, it’s dangerous to deviate from the norm. In fact, for someone who doesn’t live up to the Artificial Intelligence’s standards, it’s practically a death sentence. Lib learns this the hard way when she wakes up in a barren wasteland, with her memories erased, and only one thought lodged in her mind:

“It’s all my fault.”

Lib is a Glitch—an imperfect human component of the utopian world called the Norm. Now she’s thrown out, Lib will be forced to team up with another Glitch, Raj, and the mysterious Rogue Wolf and his clan to survive. Wolf only cares about the survival of his group, but Raj thinks they can hack the A.I. and change the Norm for the better.

Now, Lib will have to decide which path to choose—whether to go with striking loner Raj or stay with Wolf and his tight-knit group. Her heart is drawn to both, but she’s carrying a deadly secret that could jeopardize them all. Will she be able to sa

Get Glitch on Amazon now!



Block out thoughts.
Talia Lyons has one goal at the McDonough School for the Talented: learn to use her Talent as a Mental Manipulator to kill the man who murdered her parents.
Block out pain.
She’ll deal with anything. The brutal physical demands. The emotional toll. Whatever it takes to reach her objective.
Block out friendship.
With only one year left in the program, though, seventeen-year-old Talia is suddenly finding it harder than ever to ignore the rest of her life.
Block out love.
Even worse, she can’t seem to turn off her psychic connection to her first love…or quit thinking about her fascinating new teammate.
Feel only vengeance.
Ian Crane. The man who destroyed Talia’s life. The one she’s determined to eradicate.
Now focus.
It’s time to kill.

Get Talented on Amazon now!



There will come a day… when love will mark you as a traitor.
In a society where emotions are nothing and function is everything, Avlyn Lark is just trying to blend in. She’s lucky to be alive, unlike her twin brother Ben who died when they were four. And she’s lucky to have been taken from her biological parents and assigned to a Level Two family. But mastering her emotions? That’s a problem, especially when a rebel bomb blows up a building right in front of her.

Then on Configuration Day, Avlyn’s official transition to adulthood, she starts seeing strange visions. And instead of being placed with a low-level tech company where she could hide away, she’s hired by Genesis Technologies the government firm that monitors every citizen.  Now, instead of blending in, Avlyn fears she’ll be exposed for what she really is. If Gen Tech finds out how deeply she feels, it will ruin her life. And if they find out about her secret meetings with a mysterious but handsome member of the rebel forces, her life will be more than ruined. It will be over.

Fans of Divergent, Matched, and the Maze Runner will love this world of dark secrets, intrigue and thirst for a better tomorrow.

Get Configured on Amazon now!



War is coming between humans and Arvies, leaving me trapped between two enemies. This time, I don’t think I’ll survive.
The government will stop at nothing to get me back in their clutches. They want what’s inside me—a power I call Venge—and will use my greatest weakness to bring me to my knees.
The Arvies know of my gift, and use my telepathy and their numbers, in an effort to take me out.
My name is Abigail Park, and I promise retribution against those who’ve wronged me, even if it’s the last thing I do.

Get Retribution on Amazon!







Sixteen year-old Jinxy James spends her days trapped at home – immersed in virtual reality, worrying about the plague and longing for freedom. Then she wins a war simulation game and is recruited into a top-secret organisation where talented teenagers are trained to become agents in the war on terror. Eager to escape her mother’s over-protectiveness and to serve her country, Jinxy enlists and becomes an expert sniper of infected mutant rats.

She’s immediately drawn to Quinn O’Riley, a charming and subversive intelligence analyst who knows more about the new order of government and society than he is telling. Then a shocking revelation forces Jinxy to make an impossible decision, and she risks losing everything.

Get Recoil on Amazon!





2081 and England is broken.

Civil society has collapsed and in the place of government, wannabe warlords and criminal gangs are taking control.

Among the few survivors, Edie and Robin live within a tiny community at the edges of a dying town, struggling to survive, desperate to stay hidden from prying eyes.

Edie’s determination to provide for her family takes her deep inside the forbidden parts of town where disease still lingers and the Snatchers sit in wait.

What she discovers there is a threat far worse. One that will rob her of freedom and the man she loves.

Get Burning on Amazon!





You’d think time-travel would be a useful gift. For cheating on tests and winning the lottery – stuff like that. I might have even enjoyed it… if I hadn’t discovered humanity only had a few more years on earth. Now I’m torn between my present-day crush, whose father might accidentally destroy civilization, and my mysterious savior from the future, who won’t exist if I succeed in saving the world from a zombie apocalypse.
Only I have the power to stop what’s going to happen. But I might need to kill someone to do it. Can I do what it takes to save the world… and do I even want to, if it means losing the one thing I want most?


Get Prescient on Amazon (it’s FREE right now).






In a world where addiction is encouraged, one girl must fight to stay clean…

As one of the last Untamed humans left in the world, Seven’s life has always been controlled by tight rules. Stay away from the Enhanced. Don’t question your leader. And, most importantly, never switch sides–because once you’re Enhanced there’s no going back. Even if you have become the perfect human being.

But after a disastrous raid on an Enhanced city, Seven soon finds herself in her enemy’s power. Realizing it’s only a matter of time before she too develops a taste for the chemical augmenters responsible for the erosion of humanity, Seven knows she must act quickly if she’s to escape and save her family from the same fate.


Get Untamed on Amazon!

ORIGIN. DESTINY. FATE. How far would you go to unravel the truth?

Trattora is the adopted daughter of the Chieftain on a primitive frontier planet. Velkan is an indentured serf who has never known a day of freedom. Forced to flee a terrifying invasion by Galactic Pirates, they find themselves thrown together on a ramshackle mining vessel that harbors more than one dark secret. Fate and chemistry combine when the pair’s matching birth bracelets lead them to a shocking discovery about their true lineage. Stakes rise when they uncover the classified Expulsion Project, and the devastating sacrifice their birth families made to spare their lives. Determined to save them from liquidation, Trattora and Velkan plunge headlong into a frantic race against time and space to take down the genocidal self-actualizing software that now controls large swathes of their home planet.

But will they navigate the treacherous dealings of the seedy Galactic underworld in time to rescue the families who loved them enough to let them go?

Get Girl of Fire on Amazon!



200 years after the world ends, their future begins.

In 2157, a mysterious gas known as Variant spreads across the globe, killing or mutating most organic life. The surviving humans take refuge in an underground city, determined to return home. But after generations of failures and botched attempts, hope is beginning to dwindle. That is, until a young scientist makes a unique discovery–and everything changes. Suddenly, there’s reason to hope again, and it rests within a group of genetically engineered children that are both human and Variant.

Terry is one of these children, modified and trained to endure the harsh conditions of a planet he cannot begin to understand. After years of preparation, Terry thinks he knows what to expect. But the reality is far stranger than anything he can imagine–and what he will become is far more dangerous.

Get The Amber Project on Amazon!






Not Every Girl Can Be Katniss Everdeen

Her father never taught her to hunt or survive in the wild.

No. Her dad was a scientist.

Her battle is with a parasitic virus and it’s good that she knows a thing or two about labs.

The world needs her data before it’s too late. There’s just one problem…

…she’s three hundred miles away from the people that can do something about it and in the post-crisis world getting there is harder than you’d think.

Get The Girl Who Shot First on Amazon!





How far would you go to save your friends?

When Chase finds survival gear hidden in the attic of his boarding school, he realizes Ashwood Prep isn’t what it seems. Thrust into a conspiracy that is centuries old, he can choose to run or stand up and fight.

After an earthquake cuts the school off from the rest of the world, Chase has to figure out who’s a friend, who’s an enemy, and if there’s really any difference at all. As the world starts to collapse, trusting the wrong person can have deadly consequences. Caught between his classmates and the professors’ schemes, he can’t afford to choose wrong. It would all be a lot easier if Taylor and Maya weren’t pulling him in opposite directions.

Is it really the apocalypse? Or is it something much worse?

Get Collapse on Amazon!




A sensible young nobleman, Leaf Watson, and his sister, Willow Oak, live a rustic medieval life rich in traditions and chivalry. Sealed inside an experimental biodome since infancy, they have been groomed by The Code to build a sustainable community devoid of Outsider interference.

They are unwitting pioneers on a path toward confined interplanetary homesteading.

Life within their walled garden is predictable and peaceful until the unthinkable happens. With his dying breath, Leaf and Willow’s noble father bequeaths a family secret, placing an invisible crown of power on Leaf’s head. Grief-stricken and afraid for their lives, the siblings defy their upbringing by connecting with Fillion Nichols, a punk hacker who, unbeknownst to them, is linked to their lives in shocking ways. Their encounter launches Fillion into a battle with his turbulent past as he urgently decodes the many secrets that bind them together, a necessity for each to survive.

Get Legacy on Amazon!




“Stay on guard. Be aware of your surroundings. Notice the nuances. Cover your tracks. Always be prepared. Question everything. This is how you stay alive, Joy. This is how you keep the ones you love alive.”

The words of sixteen-year-old Joy Montgomery’s late father, Zephyr the Magnificent, urge her onward in this quest for truth and freedom, with the allusion that all is not as it seems in Bygonne.

Faced with the exhausting task of building mechanical trees that produce the precious oxygen they breathe, the Greenleigh orphan slaves piece together clues about the existence of a possible forbidden paradise beyond The Wall. To find the truth, shatter the illusions, and free the children, Joy must entrust the aid of an unlikely ally who harbors dangerous secrets.

Get The Treemakers on Amazon!





Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the Internet. Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint has made her extremely valuable and upon graduation Blanca, and those like her, are sold to the highest bidders.

Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeal’s are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable. By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online.

Get Genesis Girl on Amazon


Taste – free short story (vampire dystopia)

A couple years ago I started plotting a vampire dystopian fantasy… kind of Hunger Games meets Van Helsing. This is the cover…

I put the first few chapters of Taste in the YA anthology I helped publish last year, That Moment When (it’s free, go download it!). But now I’m trying to finish the whole story. Hopefully it’ll be epic and you’ll love it… I’ve actually agreed to join a boxset of fantasy/scifi books called Dominion Rising, and I THINK the full novel will be exclusive to that boxset for the first three months, until I publish it on its own. There’s a chance I’ll include another project, I need to get busy writing to see what I can finish this spring.

I’m really excited about writing vampire book, but I think I may need to brand better… even though Taste is actually a dystopian/post apoc setting and the “elites” are not true, supernatural vampires (they have a scientific basis), I’d also like to have a more traditional urban fantasy/supernatural thriller with vampires, werewolves, fae, dragons and magic… something more stereotypically vampire.

I’m working on a plot for that too, and believe I’m going to call it Vampire Magic. Today I was playing around with some art. I’m not quite sure if I’ll use the above cover for Taste, or rebrand it with a better title and some fancy art like those below… or if I’ll save the art below for the new series I want to start.

I’ll probably ask for some cover feedback once I have the story finished and send out ARCs to see which cover you thinks fits the story (though, that doesn’t actually matter as much as which covers make you want to read the story).

Some of this art was made by the amazing Consuelo Parra.


Anyway, go download That Moment When (it’s free) – and let me know if you like the first few chapters of Taste… and if you want to read more, check out Dominion Rising (20+ full-length novels for 99cents).


Welcome! (Start Here)

Hi there! I’m Derek Murphy. I’m a book designer turned YA author with a PhD in Literature. I also founded the Young Adult Authors Alliance, and run lots of book giveaways and joint-promotions to increase visibility.

If you haven’t had the chance to read my books (mostly fantasy / scifi) you can get started with my free starter library. After you sign up, you can grab four free books and see if you like my stories.

More about me

I’ve been designing books and helping authors reach their readers for the past decade… when I started publishing fiction, I took all the advice I’d been giving writers and applied it to my own books. Things are going well. Although I just started publishing fiction in 2016, I’ve gotten over 50,000 downloads and 500+ reviews.

I love writing, and I am trying to produce meaningful, entertaining, fulfilling books that leave you with a book hangover. My fans are my #1 concern, so I’ll listen to feedback, ask your opinions and try to keep you involved in my writing process.

I’ll continue to make each book free for subscribers when I launch; and I’m organizing a “starter library” so you can read my books for free. I don’t believe I deserve to get paid until I’ve proven my value – if you enjoy my free books and want to continue reading the series, you can buy them on Amazon for less than a cup of coffee. If I can’t hook your interest, you don’t owe me anything. All I ask is you give me a chance.

If you want updates, free books, contests and giveaways and more, make sure to sign up to my email list.

>Sign up here!<<


Why I write YA



PS) I don’t think the starter library is all set up right now, so you may have a little trouble finding all the free books – I’ll fix it asap! In the meantime, sign up to my list so you don’t miss out.

Thanks for visiting my site! I’ll keep this post updated with current news and announcements so you can see what I’m working on.



Don’t read this unless you’ve already read all of Shearwater!

You can get it here.


End of final chapter…

I’d used up all my magic. As I sank deeper into the dark ocean, the sparkling lights around my body dimmed. I was done healing—but I was also out of air. My blue dress trailed behind me, the thin fabric billowing in the water, a rainbow colored sheen of scales that reminded me of a peacock. Wait, what? My eyes widened as I tried to kick my legs, and saw only the magnificent tail that wrapped around my lower body and sliced cleanly through the water. I gasped and felt the sea water rush into my lungs. The pain was unbearable as I filled up with ocean. After all these years, I was finally drowning for real. Rather than dying, however, I felt oxygen reenter my blood stream. It felt like a glowing flame, spreading through my body, making it stronger. A surge of energy hit me and I realized I’d finally changed.

I was a mermaid, a real one. But now I was chained to a massive chunk of stone that was sinking to the bottom of the ocean. I wondered if I’d end up like that seal, trapped and starving to death. A casualty of human greed. But then, I saw a pale white figure swimming towards me through the endless abyss. It had been so long since I’d seen him, I was sure I was just hallucinating after my traumatic experience. But when he smashed through the restraints and ripped open the metal cuff around my neck, I knew he was really there with me. Sebastian. Somehow he’d gotten my message. I started sobbing, from relief and exhaustion, as he carried me to the surface in his powerful arms.



I couldn’t stop admiring my tail. It was dark green and purple, with flecks of blue and gold that sparkled like glitter in the sun.

“If you keep smiling so much, your face might get stuck like that.” Sebastian said, pulling his upper body out of the water and splashing water at me. We were on the rocky island off the coast that I’d begun thinking of as our island. It was so small it didn’t have a name, and wasn’t on any maps.

It had been three days since I single-handedly destroyed one of Ireland’s most famous historical icons. Of course the media thought it was some kind of localized earthquake. The truth was much harder to believe, even for those of us that knew magic was real. After Sebastian brought me back to land, he let me dry out until my tail was eggshell-thin, then snapped it off in pieces like he was unwrapping a present. The salt water healed my wounds, but I was weak from blood loss and barely conscious. He and Aedan tucked me in and I slept for sixteen hours.

When I woke up, Sebastian was at my side.

“Where were you?” I demanded, a single tear dripping down my cheek.

He brushed it away with the back of his finger.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, squeezing my hands in his. “My father locked me up as soon as I got back. I thought, if he knew there was a surviving heir… but he already knew. He killed the royal family. Phyllis escaped somehow and he’s been looking for her ever since. He thanked me for tracking you down and then put me in a dry chamber.”

“Before I confronted him, however, I told some friends about you, to get the word out. The news spread, it was too big to contain. It was the excuse the merrow needed to challenge my father. There were protests, even riots. I got a message to a friend of mine, to find you and tell you what happened—he’d been waiting for his chance when he heard the whales and knew something was wrong. So he organized a team to break me out. We’re all on the run now. Outlaws, according to my father.”

“I can’t believe you’re really here,” I said, stroking his face with the palm of my hand. “I thought I’d lost you.”

On the second day, the coast guard recovered the body of Father Murphy. He’d washed up on shore missing his leg—it looked like a shark had taken more than just a test bite. Since he was fully clothed, they assumed he must have been in the castle when it collapsed, though nobody could guess why. I was glad he wasn’t a threat anymore, but I knew we hadn’t heard the last of the Worrem.

I spent all day swimming with Sebastian and filling him in on what he’d missed, which wasn’t actually that much. Then in the afternoon we met up with the others at the Runkerry house. Jackie made Ethan come look for me at Aedan’s when I didn’t show up at her place. After Sebastian brought me home, Aedan let the others know I was okay, but they were still anxious to see me.

“I’m sorry I ruined the debs ball,” I said after Jackie, Patricia and Derry had given me long hugs.

“There will be other dances,” Jackie said. “We’re just happy that you’re safe.”

“You should have seen me in my tux though,” Derry said, “I looked amazing.”

We cooked hotdogs on a grill over an outdoor fire and celebrated our victory. I told the others that Father Murphy had been the one after me from the beginning. Aedan looked crushed when I exposed Helena’s involvement, but he tried not to let it show. We all knew this wasn’t the end of our problems, but we were going to enjoy the win while we could. There was no telling how long it would be before we got another one.

“There’s one more thing,” Sebastian said at dusk. We were standing alone near the water, away from the others. He had his arms wrapped around me like he was afraid to let me go. “Before I knew that my father was the one responsible for the disappearance of the royal family, I told him about your grandmother’s necklace. I was trying to convince him of your claim, so that he’d have to listen to you. He wasn’t too concerned, he said the merrow would never follow anyone with legs. But now that you’ve turned, you’re a real threat to him. And he’ll stop at nothing to get the necklace—it’s the key he’s been waiting for to start his war against the humans.”

I nodded. So what if I had a target on my back? I was both Tuatha Dé and Merrow, and soon I’d be at the center of a conflict that just might consume civilization. But I wasn’t the same girl I’d been when I came to Ireland. And I wasn’t alone anymore. Looking around at my friends on the beach, their smiles illuminated by the campfire, and standing with Sebastian as the sky turned purple and the sparkling stars reflected on the dark waves, I felt something I hadn’t felt in a long time. Something I wasn’t sure I was ever going to feel again. Hope.

When my parents died, I tried to shut the world out so. I didn’t dare dream about a future where I could be happy again. But then I met Sebastian, and now I had friends and family who accepted me, even though I was different from them.

“I told you once you couldn’t lift the whole ocean,” Sebastian said with stars in his eyes, brushing my hair behind my ears. “I’ll never doubt you again. I have no idea what you’re capable of. I look forward to being continuously surprised by you.”

His kiss felt comfortable, like a favorite jacket you never wanted to take off. I knew exactly how the curves of his body fit against mine, and I had the shape of him memorized. Behind us, the warm glow of the Runkerry lights beckoned in the distance. Gazing out over the ocean, I saw a long shooting star burn across the sky. I watched its bright tail reflect off the dark blue water of the ocean. The future was still uncertain, now more than ever. But it was worth fighting for. And somehow I knew, whatever else was coming, no matter how powerful the forces against us, somehow we’d find a way through it.

Pin It on Pinterest