Drift (Book 1 of the Merallo series)

When Mariah's best friend Jace moves to the other side of town it feels like they are drifting apart. They no longer have any classes together and he starts making new friends and dating Kiara who is pretty, popular & the best at everything.

Then, Mariah discovers something she is good at, swimming. With an unusual offer from Murray, the swim team superstar, Mariah has the chance to ruin the blossoming romance. All Murray wants in return is a kiss.

With a warning from her mum, famous for her fortune-telling skills, to stay away from Murray, Mariah has to choose between accepting Murray's offer or following her or letting Jace go. But her complicated romantic life is just the 'spark' of her problems as Mariah learns she's a type of mermaid. Now, she needs to learn to control her storm summoning powers before she loses control and hurts someone or worse, kills them.


2. 2. Goodbyes

Jace and I sat on my front doorstep looking at the gravel. Neither of us wanted to face what was going on next-door at his house. The day had been loomed over us like a black cloud, threatening rain. Now the icy cold downpour was upon us, and the loss of my lifetime best friend sent a chill through my cotton T-shirt, despite the August sun.

We both wore our shorts, my freckly left knee pressed against his tanned right knee. My head hung heavy, my curly hair falling around my face.

The short picket fence acted like a protective shield from all that was happening next door. For weeks, I hadn't dared think about the move, as if, by not thinking about it, it wouldn't happen. But now the removal men were carrying cardboard boxes marked 'Jace's Room'. I shut my eyes tightly to push back the image of him being taken from me.

His jaw twitched and he looked like he might cry.

"Are you okay?"

"Fine." He huffed.

"Are you going to cry?"

"Only pansies cry," Jace said. He lowered his voice sheepishly. "You know, I could live anywhere in the world just as long as you were next door. I'm going to hate the new house."

With mum's help, I had made him a bracelet as a goodbye gift.  I had given it to him earlier and now he wore it around his wrist. I'd used fourteen silver and blue beads to represent each year of our friendship.

I'd intended to tell him that I'd chosen blue, not because it was his favourite colour but because it was the colour of friendship; mum and I had soaked it in white wine and crushed basil leaves.  She said it would encourage him to visit more. Now, those facts seemed pointless and the words remained unspoken.

My thoughts were interrupted by the loud clang of the lorry door slamming shut. The sound rang with injustice like a judge's gavel on a silent court room. Desperately I flung my arms around Jace. I wasn't ready to let him go. I breathed in his smell, a mix of boy and the great outdoors. It brought back memories of splashing in puddles wearing bright yellow wellies, climbing up trees and scraping our knees, racing along the seafront and camping in the backyard sharing spooky tales in torch light. All those memories that had once made me blissfully happy now caused an aching hollowness in my heart. It felt so final. A tear ran down my cheek.

"Don't cry, Freckles. You could set me off," he whispered into my ear.

As I calmed, Jace gently pried me away from his body and brushed the tear from my cheek with his thumb. A frown creased his forehead and his eyes were heavy with sadness.

"I'm sorry," I croaked.

"Chin up." He smiled. "We'll make it work."

Denny lent over the fence, "Come on you two, it's not like you'll never see each other again." In her hands was the basil plant and new broom that mum had given her as a house warming present.

"Are you all packed up?" Mum asked.

Dave stood next to his car, keys in hand. "Yep," he said with a huge grin on his face.

Didn't he have any compassion for what he was doing to Jace and I? My blood began to boil... except the bubbling felt more like a tingling. As if an electric current was coursing through my veins. So charged, I felt I needed to defuse. I threw my hands in the air and screamed.

"Mariah..!" Mum began to say something but stopped.

Dramatically, the sky lit up like my stormy backdrop. Lightning pitched down from the sky and hit the lorry and the engine cut out. As the door to the removal men opened, the black cloud moved in to darken the previously clear sky. The first plop of rain sent a chill through my cotton T-Shirt. The sky rumbled and let go as buckets of rain began to empty.

I caught Jace laughing, "Temper, temper," he teased.

"Quick!" Mum yelled over the rumbling sky as it began to chuck it down, "everyone inside."

We ran into my house. Denny invited the removal men to take shelter at our house too with the promise of their famous Sparkle cakes and a cup of tea.

As Jace and I were about to run up the stairs mum pulled me to the side. "Are you okay Mariah?"

"What do you think?" I snapped at her stupid question and shrugged her off me. Jace and I hurried up the stairs to my room to reveal in the storms blessing of extra time together. I grinned, pleased with myself, as if I'd caused the storm.



The unexpected guests had caused extra washing up but Gwyn had just finished the last mug. She took off her marigold gloves and listened. The house was quiet; Mariah was asleep.

Gwyn reached to the back of the cutlery draw to obtain an old mobile phone. Switching it on, she called the only number saved on it. Gwyn waited until the other person answered.

"It's Gwyn."

"Sorry, to call so late but we have a problem."

"Mariah's fine but I think she's going to come into her powers."

"I know it's not possible but with her lineage..."

"Are you sure? Did he tell you about the vision I had the other night?"

Gwyn sighed. "Okay. I won't tell her anything."

"Yes, you know I'll keep her safe."

"Okay. Good night."

Gwyn ended the call, turned the mobile off and put it back in its hiding place.  

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