Her mother was sitting at the dining table in the great cabin, scribbling something on a piece of paper. She looked up and smiled. “There you are, dearest.”
Talia settled into the chair across from her. “You’re looking very well.”
Another smile. “I’m feeling much better.” Scritch scritch scratch went her pen. Moonlight poured in through the windows, illuminating her elegant handwriting.
“What are you doing?” Talia asked carefully.
“I’m transcribing the story my father told me when he took me to the seaside as a child. I just remembered it.” She beamed at her paper, and kept writing.
The moon rose a little higher over the sea, and Talia saw sweat glimmering on her mother’s brow. “Are you sure you wouldn’t like to lie down again?”
“When I’ve finished.” Scritch scritch scratch.
Talia wondered if she ought to go for Hanid or Captain Oblaine. “What’s the story about?”
“You’ll see. I’m so pleased I remembered! It explains everything.” She paused to dip her pen in an inkwell.
The ship rolled beneath them, and the lantern swung back and forth from its hook in the ceiling, creaking.
Talia watched in silence as her mother wrote three more sentences across the paper. Then she laid the pen down, and blew on the ink to dry it. Her smile reached her ears as she handed the page over to her daughter.
Talia’s eyes traveled across the words, so carefully and beautifully written.
“Well? Now do you understand?”
Talia bit her lip and met her mother’s gaze, forcing herself to smile. “I do. Thank you for writing it down for me.”
Her mother grinned, laughed, reached across the table to hug her. “I’d like to go on deck and watch for a while now.”
“The captain and I have been watching in turns so you can get some rest, Mama. Don’t worry, you can watch again soon.”
Her mother nodded. “I can’t watch all the time.”
“Of course not. No one could. Now let’s get you back to bed.”
She allowed Talia to help her up from the table, leaning on her with her good arm. Talia led her through the door to the captain’s bunk, and she climbed under the covers, pulling the blankets up to her chin.
“I’m glad you understand now,” she whispered, her eyes drifting shut.
“Me too, Mama.” Talia kissed her forehead and slipped back out of the cabin. The moon was directly overhead now, flooding the whole deck in silver.
She thought she might be sick.
The story her mother had written for her was complete and utter nonsense.
Excerpted from BENEATH THE HAUNTING SEA © Copyright 2018 by Joanna Ruth Meyer. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
Courtesy of Page Street, I have a review copy of Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Ruth Meyer for one (1) lucky winner!
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About the book:
Can’t you hear it, Talia?
Can’t you hear the waves singing?
Sixteen-year-old Talia was born to a life of certainty and luxury, destined to become Empress of half the world. But when an ambitious rival seizes power, she and her mother are banished to a nowhere province on the far edge of the Northern Sea.
It is here, in the drafty halls of the Ruen-Dahr, that Talia discovers family secrets, a melancholy boy with a troubling vision of her future, and a relic that holds the power of an ancient Star. On these shores, the eerie melody of the sea is stronger than ever, revealing long-forgotten tales of the Goddess Rahn. The more dark truths that Talia unravels about the gods’ history–and her own–the more the waves call to her, and it may be her destiny to answer.
About the Author:
Joanna Ruth Meyer is a writer of Young Adult fantasy. She lives with her dear husband and son in Arizona, where it never rains (or at least not often enough for her!). When she’s not writing, she can be found teaching piano lessons, drinking copious amounts of tea, reading thick books, and dreaming of winter.