Welcome to my blog! For my first post, please enjoy an excerpt from The Time Stone, the first Stone Scavengers novel coming out on April 20, 2018. Pre-order links below!
“I have something for you, Sydney.”
Sydney Pointer looked up at the old man in rumpled layers of dirty clothing. Her nose wrinkled all on its own at the nasty smell that accompanied him, and she tried to remember everything her mom had taught her in case a strange man ever tried to take her. She opened her mouth to yell for help and grabbed her bag as he slid into the booth across from her.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” the man said, sliding a tattered piece of paper to her across the table. “But I need to give you this. It’s something your father was working on until just recently. I’m sure he’d want you to have it.”
Sydney forgot her fear for a moment at the mention of her dad – an amateur archaeologist who could never be happy in one place. When Sydney was a toddler, he’d gone off on one of the treasure hunts he was so fond of and never come back. He’d tried, her mother told her with a wistful smile, but after a year of missed holidays and sporadic hour-long visits, they’d divorced and Sydney hadn’t seen him since, even though he still kept a house in town for the rare occasion when he wasn’t treasure-hunting.
“You know my dad?” Sydney let her bag fall to the bench and looked closer at the man. He looked…tired. His hair was long and knotted, his beard in serious need of a comb and wash, his teeth crooked and brown, and the lines on his face etched in deep, sunburned furrows. Something in his gaze made her relax a little more. His hunched posture and shaking bent fingers weren’t exactly the hallmarks of a kidnapper. Not that Sydney had ever met one.
“I know him very well, child.” He pointed to the list, but made no move to reach across the table. “Your dad was looking for these stone talismans – keys, he called them – when he disappeared six months ago. Insisted that together they would open some sort of ancient treasure trove. One that supposedly holds the secret to life-long happiness for whoever opens it.”
Sydney looked at the list, which consisted of six crude pencil drawings with a name scrawled in rough handwriting under each one. At the top the drawing was a circle with a triangle on top. It was labeled The Time Stone. There was also a flower, an arrowhead, a heart with a crack down the middle, and what looked like a scroll of some sort.
“He was trying to find these? But how did he know where to look? And if they’re made of stone, aren’t they very heavy?”
The old man chuckled. “A talisman is a small object believed to bring good luck to whoever holds it. Your father found the first one – The Time Stone, there at the top of the page. I’ve seen it. It’s a sundial about the size of a half-dollar coin.” He curled his gnarled thumb and forefinger into a circle to demonstrate. “Legend has it that each talisman has a clue hidden with it that leads to the next. Whoever follows the clues and finds the stones will eventually find the treasure as well.”
Sydney frowned. “He disappeared? What happened to him? Is someone looking for him?” She looked around the diner for her mother again, but it was strangely quiet. They had to do something. “Did you call the police?”
“I don’t know what happened to him, kiddo. And I suspect the police won’t be able to help.” The man hesitated, and then looked her in the eye. “He had some…trouble getting the first stone. As if there were something protecting it. The last thing he told me before he left was that I should pass this list on to you when you turn eighteen.” He coughed, a wet, phlegmy sound. “I’m afraid I’m not going to live that long, kiddo, so you’ll have to take it now.”
Want to keep reading? Pre-order The Time Stone at your favorite online retailer (Barnes & Noble and iBooks coming soon):