Calling all readers!From the award-winning, bestselling author P.S. Meraux with John Green comes an unusual, supernatural, mystery-thriller.
She has no memory.
When this girl gets out of the hospital it’s going to be a helluva week.
Her hands are a wreck, fingers bruised, swollen and bandaged. Her parents are nowhere to be found. What’s a girl without an identity to do? It’s not like she’s Jason Bourne; there’s no clue implanted in her hip.
Even her supernatural gift is a mystery. How does it work? Where does the magic come from? And what’s causing sparks to shoot out of her fingers?
Targeted by a mysterious group of thugs, they want something they think she has. She has no clue what it is or where she may have stashed it.
Before she can solve the mystery of her past, she must get away from them, cross the border -- all without an identity, money or friends. Oh, and magic or not, she doesn’t have any particular skills to make it easier. She’s no blonde assassin. No government in the world would put a gun in the banged-up hands of this girl.
Racing for her life, fleeing capture-- someone calls her “Merit.” Who is she? Adopting the name may kill her. Yet, Without Merit -- she has no clue to follow at all.
Here's your chance to check out my new novel. It's a thrilling teen paranormal adventure story. Don't take my word for it, read on in this exclusive sneak peek.
Excerpt from Without Merit:
I felt weightless like my body was rising while drifting with the rushing cold ocean that surrounded and carried me on a dubious trajectory toward safety. Dubious because the threat that the water could swallow the life from me always lingered in the background, hungry and churning -- like a shark circling -- never satisfied that I’d somehow escaped its jaws.
My lungs burned and ached for relief. I kept my lips pressed tightly closed, forcing what meager molecules of air left in my lungs out through my nose to keep the water from coming in. I wanted desperately to breathe the water in, to breathe anything in -- just to stop this suffocating sensation.
Fear gripped me. I didn’t want to die. My heart was hammering with adrenaline.
Somewhere in the back of my mind an errant thought was jumping up and down like an irate toddler throwing a tantrum, trying to catch my attention; urging me to remember HOW I got here. A more aggressive, combative thought demanded that I survive first. My survival instinct was boss.
I saw it again.
The glimmer was above me, distorted by the water that twisted the image as it moved. Yet a beacon it remained. Calling me to; Swim! Kick your feet. Reach! Reach! Reach! It seemed to encourage.
Was it a lighted buoy? Logically it made sense. What else would be floating in the ocean with me?
It was certainly lighter up there than here below. Just a few more feet and salvation awaited. I stretched out my hand knowing my fingers would break the surface before my face and felt marginally better imagining that if the fingertips felt air -- that would somehow sustain me in the final seconds until my nose was up there as well. Up there there’s air; oxygen means life.
The air was cold on my fingertips. It hurt. Air shouldn’t hurt.
I curled my fingers protectively into a fist and vaguely recalled that something was wrong. At that moment I didn’t fret about it much, I had more pressing worries. My lungs were ready to burst -- I needed to breathe.
My head broke the surface, I felt a rush of wind on my forehead and more pain. One ear was stinging. I gasped as the awful sensation sent chills down my spine and opened my mouth too soon, nearly choking on the sea water I gulped. It took several heartbeats until I managed to spit enough out to breathe freely.
On the joyous briny scent! I gasped again, filling my lungs, knowing that I was alive. Grateful. My alarm began to subside.
The howl of the wind over the waves was a comfort after the oppressive silence of the deep. Wisps of drenched hair began curling around my ears. The wet locks helped numb the pain. Other blowing tendrils tickled the back of my neck and I shivered. Caught up in my own thankfulness all I could think was; Lordy this is what I nee--
And I was under again. Water crashed over my head pushing me down. The cold was a shock as it enveloped me a second time. It hit hard on the back of my head. My skull throbbed. That meant something, something important, I just couldn’t remember what.
I twisted my body, flapping my arms and legs in wildly uncoordinated movements trying to rise to the surface. There was a brief sensation of something gently passing across my skin more solid than water. Unexpectedly my friendship bracelet detached from my wrist -- then it was gone. I didn’t see where it went amid the flurry of flailing arms.
The knot on the delicate embroidery floss was no match against the powerful ocean. I felt a pang of sadness knowing that I couldn’t spare time looking for it.
My lungs weren’t burning this instant, but I didn’t know how long that would last. I had to get my head to the surface. All my frantic fluttering created was more agitation in the water and a distressing feeling of disorientation. I didn’t know which way was up.
‘Watch where the bubbles go,’ a helpful corner of my brain advised.
In the absence of any other sage benefactor, I did.
The bubbles went the wrong way. They headed past my chin. I bent my head, eyes following them as they bobbed hurriedly past by chest, stomach, hips -- obviously heading toward my shoes.
Wait, they shouldn’t be going that way. Bubbles equal oxygen. They should be heading up to the surface.
I took another look at my shoes as the burning began in my lungs again. My alarm growing with it.
‘Bubbles go up. Follow the bubbles,’ that rational corner of my mind chimed in again.
Bending forward, I began kicking with all my strength, forcing my legs in the opposite direction and pumping my arms through the seemingly insurmountable fortress of water. Somewhere in the back of my mind a ludicrous thought danced about, unimportant to my current circumstances as a hair-bow to a bald man but there nonetheless.
I’d been upside down in the water like a misguided mermaid standing on her head. Somehow that pleased me a little. I had never in my life been able to do a handstand, much less stand on my head. My body lacked the coordination.
Breaking the surface again, I gasped and gasped, sucking in as much air as I could. My fingers were stinging and tender in the cold air, so was my ear. That meant something. At the moment I couldn’t remember what.
With both feet busily kicking-- keeping my head above the swirling surf -- my brain was less confused. The right and left hemispheres were getting oxygen. I could see more now.
It wasn’t a buoy that had beckoned but the first faint glow of sunrise. The timid rays were glittering across the waves, illuminating a rather desolate seascape. Another wave was coming, huge and smooth like the back of some giant leviathan rising from the deep.
The monster swell must have been twenty feet high. Grimacing and doing my best to ignore the searing pain in my fingers I paddled hard, getting at the base of it, moving with the wave.
Kick! Kick! Kick! I silently commanded my tired legs. Fear was being edged out of my thoughts by fatigue. I had to keep trying -- fug it! If I could keep up a steady pace I might get out of this. There was a strip of land over there in the distance. It wasn’t that far, maybe the length of a football field or two?
An impressive array of seabirds darted into the waves near the distant shore, looking for fish no doubt. Squawking and soaring, they eased their hunger while I wrestled with my own.
I headed in that direction. Was it west? It felt like it was west. The orange-yellow orb was somewhere behind me, not yet high enough in the sky to provide much in the way of warmth. The wondrous light it provided was most appreciated. At least now I had the makings of a plan; razor-thin to be sure but it was better than nothing.
A small part of me felt a smidgen of guilt for not taking more time to admire the color it emitted. Wait! That felt wrong. What drowning girl would stop and dwell on the beauty of the burgeoning sunrise? Maybe after I got out of the water, I mused. Was the pain in my head impacting my reasoning?
Unsettled by the thought, I kept swimming. Hoping the insistent, shrieking wind would blow such foolish distractions away from my frazzled mind, I kept trying to focus.
Kicking and paddling I pushed forward, cursing under my breath. Fingers stinging each time I lifted them out of the water. That meant something. I couldn’t remember what.
Suddenly the sun was in front of me. No, not the sun. An explosion of some kind. Was it lightning?
The blast of yellow and white erupted with such force -- extending glaring tentacles in several directions. I shut my eyes in reflex as it impacted near me. The afterimage was uncomfortably etched on the inside of my eyelids.
That hit too close. My head jerked back with a new pain worse than the previous ache.
The panic returned.
I nosedived-- not by choice. Down, down, down, I sank into the darkness under the waves. Opening my eyes didn’t help much, I was surrounded by nothing but water, cold and murky. It cushioned and protected me. But it was too late. Something from the explosion had hit my skull. My thinking was getting muddled and my vision clouded with spots.
Engulfed in turmoil, my lungs began to burn again. It was torture. After the first dunking, I felt like the threshold for holding my breath had somehow lowered.
I couldn’t die -- not like this, I thought feebly. I was too young to die, barely sixteen, too young for such a watery death. There should be some minimum age requirement before a soul was lost to Davy Jones’ locker, I fumed in indignant horror.
My fingers were stinging. Why where they stinging? All ten digits like the rest of me were underwater. They shouldn’t hurt down here, I grimaced. A lock of hair swept by my ear, tugging across it and reminding me of its tenderness.
The searing pain increased. I wanted to open my mouth and scream in anguish. I almost did. Only the knowledge that that would kill me quicker, halted my actions.
A bubble escaped from my lips, bounced against my nose and swiftly rolled passed my eyelashes directing me to a lifeline. I started kicking again, albeit slowly.
If I could just get back up there. Maybe I could make it, I thought with waning strength. Succeeding seemed of little consequence -- except there was something I was forgetting. Something important.
Reaching my stinging fingers forward, I saw an inexplicable flash of bright light that made me squint against the harshness. A hard object impacted sickeningly with my head and a new bolt of pain shot through my skull.
A feeling of lethargy settled over me -- more peaceful than frightening. Gradually my aches and pains turned numb. Once my eyes closed I seemed to lose focus and drifted into the labyrinth of senselessness.
Grab a copy from Amazon.com: Without Merit by P.S. Meraux with John GreenA special promotion begins tomorrow. Be one of the first 500 readers to click on the Amazon.com link and you could get a free Kindle edition.
Want Easter Eggs?
'Merit' loses how many items during the course of her adventure? Clever readers will see what happens to her when the items begin to return.