The mermaid met the Witches eyes – they had turned from a deep shade of amethyst to bloodthirsty scarlet. She couldn’t look away from them. Fighting the urge to do just that, she asked, ‘Payment?’
The Witch’s smile broadened. ‘Now now, young one. Nothing in this world is free. You want a chance at your immortal soul? At true love? You must first give something in return.’

Mermaid princess Sirenia has waited her whole life for one special day to come. Her 17th birthday. On this most eagerly anticipated occasion, mermaids of age are allowed to satisfy their curiosity of Humanland for the first time. When each rises to the surface, they always return gratified by their journey, but ultimately agree it is better to be home under the sea.

Not Sirenia.

When she rises to the surface on the day she comes of age, the youngest daughter of the Sea King realises what she’s been missing her whole life. And she’s not ready to let it go. So she goes to see the one creature in the seven seas that might be able to help her – but it will cost her everything she has. Her family. Her home. Even her voice.

A tale of magic, sacrifice and true love, Serenade is a twist in the classic tale based on Hans Christian Andersen’s celebrated fairy tale The Little Mermaid.

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For South African readers, Serenade is available for purchase in ZAR. The prices are:
Paperback: R190.00 (excl. delivery)
eBook: R100.00 (to be emailed to you upon proof of payment)

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Excerpt: What’s in store for the little mermaid?

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She clutched the small glass vial as she was sent hurtling through the brutal whirlpools, this time without Viper’s calming influence, and the urge to scream overcame her. Her mouth opened instinctively, but nothing came out as she flew, terrified, through the maelstrom – it went on boundlessly longer than her journey in.

When she was eventually thrown through the other end, she slammed straight into a cave wall, dropping the bottle. It plummeted through the water and just as it was about to hit a rock, she caught it, breathing a relieved sigh. The water was still and dark, just like before, only it was much later and her window of opportunity to take the tonic was closing. She shot directly up, dodging rock formations as she flipped her fins frantically. As soon as the transformation was complete, she would be able to go up to the palace and find her Prince. They would fall instantly in love and a priest would join their hands in a holy union. She would get her voice back and they would live happily ever after. That thought made her speed up – she would arrive at the surface in a few moments. She thought suddenly of her picture, elated that she would soon be dancing with her Prince, and then ground to a halt as another thought occurred to her. The woman in her picture had been wearing a long garment that covered her skin. If she was going to have her Prince, she would need to blend into Humanland and its customs. She doubled back in the direction of the reef. Time was running out – but she needed the dress she had found all those years ago in the sunken ship. She moved speedily, not even stopping for a breath until eventually she reached her cave. The dress lay exactly where she’d left it, folded away from prying eyes. She turned in the direction of the palace – it hurt to be so close and not go in to say farewell to her sisters – but she didn’t have time to make them understand, especially without a voice.

Her throat burned at the thought. She ignored it and blew a hundred kisses to the palace, where her loved ones slept soundly. Then she took her shells off and left them in the place where she kept her dress, and then hung the dress over her arm. She pushed up using all her might until the water eventually began to lighten and her head finally broke the surface.

The night air was cool on her skin.

A full and very big moon filled the sky, giving the water a shimmering silver sheen. She swam forward until she got to the Prince’s beach and made for the shore. The sky was beginning to lighten when she eventually managed to pull herself out of the water, slowly crawling with her arms across the sand. An occasional small wave would help her along, the tide was rising as though to help her. She crawled a little further up the beach, the Witch’s rasping voice whispering that she would have legs by the time the sun shone in the sky echoed in her ears alongside the sounds of the water breaking and receding against the shoreline. She sat up and opened the small vial with a pop, and a cloud of red smoke appeared over the top of the potion, evaporating into the night air as she tilted it backwards and drained its contents.

At first, she felt nothing.

Then her body suddenly ripped itself in half. Pain shot through her as she registered the sight of the blue of her shiny tail receding from her fins upwards, and then splitting into two, as though it had been sliced apart very quickly by a sharp sword. She tried to scream as the pain rippled through her, clutching at her throat, for no sound came out, even though she was sending a thousand. She wanted to curse the evil hag with her words. Plead with her to make it stop. To kill her and be done with it. But not a single sound came out, and a burning pain scorched her throat each time she tried. She writhed and shook, cursing the fact that she was still alive, that she could still breathe as the white hot, concealed flames enveloped the bottom half of her body. As she quavered around, she looked up at the sky, which was still pitch black, and a bolt of brilliant purple lightning forked down the sky – the witch’s amethyst eyes leering at her in the night. How perfect, she thought, for the sky to also be on fire with her. That there was no blood was perhaps the biggest surprise since it felt as though she should have lost a sea-worth. As the minutes, perhaps even hours, ticked by, a storm waged overhead. The rain pelted her throughout the night, but it was only a mild relief from the pain. Then, as the storm cleared and light began to filter through the darkness, her pain started to recede. First her waist, then the top of her new legs, moving slowly along until it was only her new feet that stung, if ‘stung’ was what you would call the sharp but invisible razors that were slicing into them.

She lay in the sand, unable to move as the sky turned first shades of purple and pink, and then becoming such a beautiful forget-me-not blue that she was convinced it was her father’s eyes that coloured the sky. The change of shades moved in tempo with the receding pain and the giant orb of light and warmth in the sky seemed to fill her with strength once more. It was only then that she could appreciate the magnitude of what had just happened overnight.

She had developed legs. Two beautiful, curvy legs the same creamy colour of her arms and stomach. She grabbed at the blue human dress she had taken and pulled it on over her head, using the image she had looked at every day for years as a reference guide for how to wear it, until she was covered from shoulders to ankle.

Once dressed, she tried to pull herself up using a nearby rock for support, and failed miserably, falling to the floor several times in a fit of silent giggles. Her new legs were wonderful. She wiggled her toes and stretched out her stumps in front of her to admire them between trying to stand and falling in the sand, which was growing steadily hotter. She spent the whole day out on the beach, trying out her new appendages. As evening fell, a gust of wind blew in, which carried with it sounds of men talking. She scrambled up and hid behind a big rock as the talking grew closer and she noticed she could hear from quite a distance away.