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MURKY WATERS

Mermaid Sisters Cozy Mystery #2
eBook ISBN: 9781939197658

Bad boys can catch you, hook, line, and sinker . . .

Kyra had always been the baby. Third mermaid daughter of three, she had been overprotected since birth. More interested in boys and makeup than adventures like sister Zoe or inheriting command of Sirenia like Ava, she studies underwater dance at the academy and spends her spare time flirting with mermen. But when she catches a member of Poseidon’s security team dismantling the safe that protects the mermaid treasures, she fears the worst. The problem? Thanks to her practiced naiveite, nobody takes her warning seriously.

What happens when a sweet mermaid suspects corruption in the ranks?
If you’re that mermaid, you might have to grow up fast.

Kyra embarks on a double life: Lolita by day, Mata Hari by night. Navigating cloudy waters tainted by the ink of squid intended to hide the merman’s trail, she leaves the safety of Sirenia and follows his path . . . until that path leads to his dead body. With an unknown killer inside Sirenia, Kyra knows no one is safe. Lacking the drive and bravery of her two older sisters, she uses her purity to discover the truth, but what happens when her childlike charm hooks a dangerous killer? Hidden reserves of courage could save her life . . . or leave her dangling on the line.


You’ll love frolicking in the virtual world of Sirenia, because mermaid mysteries are fantastically fabulous.

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

“Like I said, I’m not jealous of Zoe,” I said. “She’s my sister, and I love her. And she did help the human police solve a case they’d been working on, and the ocean is safer because of her, and now she has a job working as liaison to the divers.”

I know how it sounds, but I meant it. I wasn’t jealous of Zoe. But this new development, the job that had been created for her after Mother met with Poseidon, had changed things around Sirenia. It used to be that me and my sisters, Zoe and Ava, were responsible for being schooled in mermaid ways. There were chores and lessons. We each excelled at different things, and our assignments were aligned to our talents. Now, with Ava serving as Mother’s assistant on the mermaid council and Zoe spending time swimming by the unchartered waters to look for clues to help the human dive teams, I was often left alone.

Maybe that’s what bothered me. Zoe was the one who wanted adventure, and because she swam out and found it (or it found her, the counter point she used in the argument she had with Ava a few nights ago), she now gets to have adventures every day, which means I’m left behind by myself. Yesterday, I even put on a new luxury eye shadow that I bought from Mad Midge at the Ebb Tide Emporium’s monthly luxury sale and nobody was around to notice!

Today will be different, though. I have singing lessons with Diatomic Jones. He’s the most musical of the mermen and lives on the outskirts of Sirenia by the algae garden. He’s an unconventional choice for a music teacher, (the other mermaids get their lessons at Coelacanth University—Sea U—where vocal lessons are part of the mermaid coming-of-age curriculum), but the scholars told Mother to provide me with additional learning opportunities. Of all the teachers I’ve had since then, Diatomic Jones is my favorite.

Mother calls Diatomic a hippie. His pad is filled with instruments made from shells and plants and even some he bought from the emporium, but he’s most known for playing the upright sea bass. The first lesson I had, he was inside, playing bongo music on a sea urchin. I never heard drumming like that, and the rhythm inspired me to dance. Diatomic didn’t miss a beat (quite literally) and we didn’t speak for the first fifteen minutes of the lesson. After that, we both relaxed a bit. Turns out he was as reticent about schooling me as I was of being schooled by him. I guess some mermaids don’t appreciate music the way I do.

Mother said Diatomic chose to live an unconventional lifestyle independent of the mermaid colony. At first, I was nervous about going to his place for lessons. I’m not naturally brave like Zoe. But Mother said if I wanted to pursue the underwater musical arts, then I had to be sure to round out my education, and I’m glad she did.

He calls his place a crash pad, because it’s known throughout the ocean that other musicians are always welcome. Because of that, you never know who you might find or what you might end up singing. Diatomic had arranged for a group of the top jazz musicians in the ocean to assemble for our lesson today. And the idea of singing and dancing along with their jam session was so exciting that, of course, I had to dress up.

Where my sister, Zoe, was born with a blue tail that glowed coral when she was antagonized or nervous, mine was white like my long hair. Before performances, I coated it with a glitter-infused silicone gel. The substance smoothed my scales and eliminated their protective functionality, so I saved it only for those occasions where appearance was more important than comfort or self-preservation.

I secured my hair to the top of my head and let long tendrils hang down on either side, and then decorated it with blue gemstones. My sisters thought it was stupid to spend my allowance on makeup and jewelry at the market, but pretty things made me happy. Mother encouraged me, too. She said being the center of attention was part of being a performer. I bet if Zoe had been born with the voice, Mother would have had a real challenge!

Today, Sirenia, the mermaid colony where the merfolk live, was quiet. Mother and Ava were at a Mermaid Tribunal to discuss the possible tour of a sculpture that had been gifted to Mother when she first inherited Sirenia, and Zoe was probably doing laps around some old, rusty shipwreck. The mermen were busy weaving palm fronds into a divider outside the wall of coral. A new family was moving into the village, and new families meant new living quarters. Once they moved in, there would be a party and a welcome ceremony, and I’d be asked to perform. And since I heard Ava tell Zoe there was a merman my age in the family, I had every reason to make sure my voice was in top form.

That’s the other part about being a performer. It’s not all about appearances. You have to have talent to back things up or else you’re just a flash in the pan. And to a mermaid, that’s fatal.

I swam away from Sirenia to Diatomic Jones’s pad and was so lost in my thoughts about my lesson that I almost didn’t realized I’d reached the Nautilus Vault. It was a massive underwater structure that housed a vast collection of rare and valuable mermaid treasures that had accumulated in different colonies for generations. Whenever a new item was to be added to the vault, rumors about what it could be spread through the ocean. Because of Mother’s rank in Poseidon’s cabinet, we were among the first to know about new acquisitions, and sometimes we even got an opportunity to view the latest artifact in a private setting before the vault was resealed.

The Nautilus Vault was under protection by a legion of specially trained mermen. Zoe says the reason I like going to Diatomic Jones’s place for lessons is because I get to flirt with the mermen guards who protect the vault, which may or may not be true.

There’s nothing wrong with that, is there? I mean, it is the shortest distance between two points, and we learned at Sea U that the shortest distance between two points is usually the best way to get someplace. It would be inefficient to go any other way to get where I wanted to go. 

I relaxed my tail and glided through the water, looking for mermen. The water was cloudier than usual. Too late, I realized exactly what had caused the inky darkness and what it meant. I turned, prepared to put a safe distance between myself and the Nautilus Vault, and got hit in the face with a stream of blue squid ink.

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