Sampler: The Lost Opal by Patty Wiseman
February 18, 2023
Romance novelist Patty Wiseman is the master of the unexpected twist, breathtaking depth, and contagious storylines.
The Lost Opal is a fantasy romantic mystery about an ordinary woman, Maren Raybourn, who is thrust into an alternate world by an evil mermaid who wants her soul.
As an illustrator for children’s books, she seeks solitude on the shores of the Pacific Ocean to finish her latest work. The solace is shattered and replaced with a touch of fear as she encounters an unusual sound coming from the churning waters, accompanied by an indistinguishable form hovering over the water.
Rose Clancy has one desire. To steal the soul of a woman in order to permanently transform from mermaid to human. She needs to entice a man to love her in order to make the metamorphosis complete. She finds Captain Drake Morgan.
Captain Morgan is on hiatus from his yacht rental business for some much-needed R&R when he meets Maren on the beach late at night. Intrigued, he shows up on her doorstep the next morning, groceries in hand, to make breakfast as an apology for startling her the night before. The attraction grows.
Captain Henry Nelson has been banished to an old schooner in an alternate universe for over two hundred years because he spurned Rose’s advances.
Maren and the two captains will ban together to fight the evil mermaid, Rose, and risk being stranded forever in a parallel dimension.
Sampler: The Lost Opal
Maren struggled to open her eyes—to no avail, and panic set in as the fog in her brain dissipated. Have I been drugged?Her head pounded. Both legs and arms felt like weights as she fought to sit up.
Finally, her heavy lids stayed open, but only total darkness engulfed her, and a rocking sensation added to her already nauseous stomach.
Where in the hell am I?
She wracked her brain for the last memory before waking up in this vault of gloom. Where was I? On the beach?
Bit by bit, she pieced together the sparse recollection. I walked on the beach. But why? Oh yes, I heard the noise again and went down to Passion Rock to investigate. Touching the stone and listening to the soulful sound as it receded into the night is the last thing I remember.
Weakness overcame her as she pushed down on the damp wooden boards beneath her and stood rather precariously. The effort took all the strength she could muster. Wobbling, but forcing her body to remain upright, she ventured a few steps. Not sure which direction to pursue, she followed her instinct with hands thrust out in front to ward off any obstacle she might encounter.
Navigation proved difficult because of the rocking motion beneath her feet. Step by step, she inched into the inky blackness trying to connect with something to give her a sense of anything familiar. Finally, she bumped into a wall and followed it hoping to discover a way out of this torture chamber.
Persistence paid off as she hit a corner and almost fell as the rocking motion pitched her forward. Fortunately, a railing caught her hand as she stumbled ahead, but she maintained her balance.
Hope renewed, she grasped the banister and started to climb. One foot in front of the other, the uphill effort drained any reserve energy, but eventually a door signaled the end. After fumbling in total blindness, she found the latch and pulled upward. It released.
She gulped hard, trying to breathe as she emerged from the dungeon-like hole, but only heavy dank air infused her lungs. Coughing ensued and she finally sputtered, “Not the fresh air I’d hoped.” And again, complete darkness surrounded her. The only difference were the stars overhead. Not many, and clouds obscured what pinpoints of light she could see.
Waves crashed against the side of whatever conveyance her misfortune had landed her.
A ship of some sort, I fear.
As the vehicle rocked, she found her footing, squinting into the darkness.
“Help!” she called. “Someone help me. I’ve been kidnapped. Please someone answer me.”
Instead of an onslaught of footsteps to her rescue, she was met with complete silence.
No one rushed to her aid. In fact, the slap of waves against the side of the ship proved the only sound. She ventured forward inspecting the surroundings. Above her, lowered sails flapped in the slight breeze which led her to believe the ship must be an ancient type of schooner—very old and dilapidated.
“How on earth did I get here?” she spoke to the empty deck. The vessel didn’t feel as if it moved forward at all. “Any ship needs an anchor. I have to find it to determine if it’s just drifting or if we’re sitting in one spot.
Carefully, she moved forward. Not very knowledgeable about seafaring things, she had to determine which way was fore and which aft. I wish I had paid more attention to my father. He was the expert. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she spotted what she thought was the helm. The sound of her own voice gave her comfort in an odd way. “I’ve gone the wrong way. The anchor has to be at the front of the boat. The ship wheel faces that way.”
She headed in that direction, carefully picking her way through debris on the rotten deck. Chains, empty boxes, barrels, all sorts of wreckage. Finally, she saw the bow and checked the chain. It was let out all the way, so the anchor had been dropped.
The breeze carried her words to the nothingness of the ocean. “This is freaking me out. Anchored on an old ship with no one on board. Why? I’m stranded here. I certainly don’t have the strength to pull up something that heavy. I’ll either starve to death or throw myself overboard.”
“Not if I have any say in it.”
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