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Song of Siren and Blood

Song of Siren and Blood

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 54+ 5 Star Reviews

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Book 1 of the Stone Singers series

A tale of power, privilege, dark magic, and betrayal set among the Hundred Halls elite.  The first book in the Stone Singers Hall series

Disgraced former pop star Minerva Sune is thrown into a family of immense wealth and sinister dynamics, where she must quickly learn the ropes of magical scholarship and navigate a maze of treachery involving backstabbing friends, hostile professors, and an occult mastermind aware of her darkest secrets. Amidst the familial chaos, Minerva struggles to prevent an impending catastrophe that could lead to a devastating tragedy.


Family is everything. Even if it's dysfunctional.

Thrust into a family of grotesque wealth and led by a tyrannical patriarch, Minerva Sune—disgraced former pop star—must navigate a world of cutthroat intrigue and magical scholarship she knows nothing about. Backstabbing best friends, combative professors, and an occult mastermind who knows her secrets keep her rushing to stay ahead of a familial catastrophe which she fears might end in the ultimate tragedy.

Chapter One Look Inside

The ten-minute standing ovation dissipated into confused silence when Minerva fled the stage. Blood rushed into her ears, pounding like a bass drum as she threw herself behind the stage left curtain, trying not to pass out. Her band, The Moves, recovered from her escape—normally they would have bowed together first—by waving and offering blown kisses to the packed crowd.
"You good?" asked Darian, her guitarist, his curly mop of black hair falling into his face. He had sweet brown eyes and a too-kind heart that left him swirling around the B-team gigs rather than riffing in the front of an arena.
Minerva stayed behind the curtain, avoiding the urge to look back at where she'd been standing, as she tried to fabricate a reasonable reason for her behavior. The rest of the band passed, and she managed to give them a perfectly normal smile, a minor miracle considering the spots in her vision and the feeling that her lower body had went numb.
"You know, I'm not getting any younger," said Minerva, placing a hand on Darian's upper arm. He'd take it as familiarity, but she needed the stability.
"That's a load and you know it." He nodded towards the stage, where roadies had started tearing down the equipment. The post-gig crowd chatter rose up like crickets at dusk, a sign they'd forgotten the strange ending faster than she had. "Singers half your age couldn't go as hard and as long as you do and still hit as many beautiful and interesting notes. Minnie, we played three and a half hours tonight. Most kids these days don't even know forty minutes' worth, let alone keep up the energy to sing them." He shook his head incredulously. "I've seen the way you take care of yourself. It ain't age."
The cavalier half-cocked smile was a reminder that he'd inquired about being more than her guitarist twenty years ago when they first started playing together, but she'd always told herself she'd never mix business with her personal life again.
"That's sweet." She cupped his face, applying a soft kiss to his cheek, before hooking her arm around his. "Walk me back to my room. My feet are killing me."
"It would be my honor."
The distance between the stage at the Mystic Chord and the dressing room was only thirty feet, but it felt like it was the length of an airport runway. Crew in matte black clothing rushed past, venue personnel chattered into earpieces, and starstruck fans with backstage lanyards around their necks loomed into her vision offering praise and asking for autographs, which she dutifully dispensed with a smile. With every step, the heat of bodies and the smell of stale alcohol became a little more unbearable until she finally reached the sweet relief of her dressing room.
Darian leaned in the doorway as chaos reigned behind him. He had his forearm on the frame.
"Need me to hang for a bit?"
Without anyone to hold onto, the world teetered around her. "I'll meet you at the bar in fifteen for the usual."
He winked before shutting the door gently. The cacophony muted to a low roar. Minerva collapsed onto the ratty lime green couch in a dressing room the size of a bathroom. But she was blissfully alone.
Minerva buried her face in her hands, taking deep breaths until she no longer felt like a helium balloon about to pop. When she looked up, she caught herself in the mirror and almost didn’t recognize herself.
The shimmering gold dress seemed normal enough. Her updo had survived two sets, an encore that could have almost been called a third set, and a pound of sweat that had poured from her forehead. Even the cheap enchanted fingernails that pulsed with the beat of the music—and currently flashed randomly from background noise—had survived the epic show.
"When did I get so old?"
But that wasn't really the question she wanted to ask herself. Makeup hid the signs of her seventy years, while inside she'd never felt younger.
A knock on the door was almost dismissed with a curt "Go away" but she'd hate herself if it were a fan or a crewmember with a need.
"Come in."
One of the venue crew poked her head in, cradling an armful of roses and other materials that had been thrown onto the stage. She couldn't have been more than twenty.
"Darian said you'd want these."
"Oh." She swallowed. "You can set them over there on the chair."
The girl wore a giddy grin as she maneuvered her load onto its resting place. "There's probably three times as much left on the stage, but I couldn't carry it all." She hesitated with her arms still around the flowers. "Can I just say, that was amazing. I've been working here nearly three years and I don't think I've seen anything like your show. The crowd was losing their minds and that ovation. We would have had to bring in EMTs if it'd gone any longer."
A glow of pride washed away the black tar that had glommed on to her heart.
"The venue was great. I couldn't have asked for a better crew to run the show. I've played much bigger places that weren't as organized."
The girl's expression broke into embarrassed relief as she shifted her arms out of the load that now rested on the chair. "Thank you."
The polite exit was interrupted when an object dropped from the pile of roses, clattering onto the floor. Minerva's gut clenched even before she recognized it. The girl crouched down, scooped up the diamond tiara, and held it out.
"Did you—"
The girl's question died in her throat. Minerva had tried to steel her reaction, but the retracted arm and pursed lips told her she'd failed. The girl looked to the item in her hands.
"It's just plastic."
"It's okay," said Minerva, forcing the words out. "Just tired. You can have it. Please."
Confusion turned to professionalism, and the girl tucked the tiara into her back pocket before slipping out of the room, leaving Minerva to collect herself for a second time.
Remembering that Darian would be waiting for her at the bar, she rose and slipped out of her gold dress, before carefully folding it and placing it in her gig bag. Jeans and a fuzzy pink sweater helped wash away her ill ease, but not as much as the cushioned running shoes that replaced her three-inch heels. A trash compactor might be able to massage the feeling back into her feet later, but for now, a tingling numbness would have to suffice. As she unpinned her jet-black hair, letting it fall around her shoulders, the door swung open, revealing the sweaty club owner.
"A knock is customary, Dwight."
He wiped the wetness from his forehead with the bottom of his shirt. "Like I give a crap about seein' an old lady's wrinkled bones." He pulled an envelope out of his back pocket and tossed it on the desk. "Here's your take."
As soon as it landed, she knew it was light. Minerva scooped it up and riffled through the crinkled bills.
"Merlin's wrinkly balls, what's this? The place was packed. This is barely enough to pay for a taxi home. Our cut should be twenty or thirty times this."
Dwight smacked his lips, not bothering to hide the derision in his meaty face. "The deal was based on a percentage of regular paying customers. Half the crowd paid discount prices for their tickets, and you didn't cover the threshold for regular cut."
"Cover the threshold? The place was packed. Wall to wall. And what are you talking about discount prices? I don't control ticket sales. That's you." She squinted. "You did this. You purposely tinkered with the sales so you wouldn't have to pay me what I deserve."
"A contract's a contract."
"My agent will be having a word with you."
He smirked. "Your agent approved the contract. See how far that goes." He tapped his finger to his forehead. "Nice doin' business with ya."
The horror that had consumed her before was replaced with unbridled anger. She cupped her hand around her mouth, stared at the old cigarette stains on the ceiling, and tried not to scream, because that would only injure her instrument after an extended show. A buzz from the couch alerted her to a message. Eight missed calls. One hundred and twelve unread texts. Too many emails.
She grabbed her phone, shoved it into her back pocket, and marched to the door. For a moment, she thought about leaving the meager envelope of cash, but knew that it wouldn't bother Dwight one bit, and she needed the funds badly.
After composing herself, Minerva opened the door and strode through the hallways, smiling and greeting everyone she passed. The band was at the far end of the bar with a line of shot glasses ready for the final toast. The weirdness at the end of the show forgotten, everyone greeted her like a conquering hero.
For those brief few minutes, she smiled and laughed with her band. Darian gave her a few raised eyebrows, but she shook him off. No need to ruin their night with the news of how the club owner had screwed them.
The shot of delirium spider–infused whiskey already warming her belly and kneading away the tension in her shoulders, Minerva grabbed Darian at the end of the bar as the band was leaving. She shoved the envelope into his hands. He checked the contents, frowning.
"What's this?"
"Dwight screwed us."
Darian scanned the room. "This is all we get? It was a packed house."
"I'll talk to Flo. He claimed it was within the contract."
"Minnie," said Darian, waving the envelope. "This doesn't even pay for expenses to get here. Most of the band doesn’t live in town. This isn't going to go over well."
Minerva closed her eyes. "I know. I know. I'm not even taking my cut. You can have it all. I'll find a way to pay out of my pocket. I'm sorry."
"You can't afford that."
"I'll find a way."
She inhaled through her nose. "I know."
The way Darian looked at her as he left the bar tore a hole in her heart. Music was everything, and without the band, she was nothing. She'd never played with such talented musicians. They sensed when she was going on a run, and could shift into a new song on the fly without missing a beat as if they'd planned it.
Minerva stared at the empty shot glass as fans wandered past, too shy to interrupt. She smiled while inside she wanted to throw the glass at the big mirror behind the bar. In a perfect world, the one hit would bring the whole structure down, shattering every bottle. But she knew it'd probably only bounce off and land impotently on the sticky floor.
When the bartender came over smiling, she thought he was going to comment about the show, but then he slid a bill over to her.
"A bill?"
"Contract states house liquor only, no brands or specialties."
Her mouth tasted like ash. She hadn't chosen the shots. Her band had them ready when she'd come out of the dressing room. The venue morphed into a prison cell. Her thoughts felt like they'd been shoved into a barrel full of rocks and tumbled down a mountain.
The bartender disappeared in back with an armful of empty bottles. No one stood near her. Without considering the repercussions, Minerva ducked under the server entrance and jammed her thumb against the cash register button. As her heart rode up into her throat, she grabbed the larger bills with two fists and shoved them into her pockets before anyone noticed her.
As she hurried out of the Mystic Chord, she remembered her gig bag in the dressing room, but the guilt burning in her pocket kept her from turning back. She barely acknowledged the gate staff and bouncer as she rushed onto the street, the early October evening air like oxygen to a dying woman. She looked down to see bits of cash sticking out of her pocket, and hurriedly shoved them back down as someone touched her shoulder.

Main Tropes

  • Urban Fantasy
  • Magical Academy
  • Found Family
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Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
Soul Robbing!

Slow beginning, but the author is just putting the back story into place. An interesting, original, unpredictable story about second chances, with unique characters.