Welcome to one of the many blog stops on the book blitz for Beyond the Shore and Shadows by Chantal Gadoury, organized by XPresso Book Tours. Look for other participating in this blitz across social media and on your favourite bookish blogs May 11-15.
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About the Book
Beyond the Shore and Shadows
Lena Book Two
by Chantal Gadoury
Published 11 May 2021
The Parliament House Press
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Count: 291
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
The merrow who angered Poseidon
The man who loves her
And an evil that could destroy them both
The sea is calling. . .
Lena—who was born as a merrow but walks as a human—is now in possession of the Magiske Skal: the shell once owned by the queen of the merrows. With its power comes untold danger, and should it fall into the wrong hands, the Fosse-Søfolk will face an evil they cannot overcome. Lord Jarl knows what Lena has, and he wants it for himself.
After running away from the Lundby-Wyatt Inn, leaving behind everything she was familiar with, Lena finds herself in the company of the warm and kind Soren Emil.
When the villagers turn against her and Soren, they’re forced to leave the burning Bror Boghandel behind and escape to a forgotten cottage on the edge of the shore, where no one will find them. Lena knows she must get the shell back to the sea and destroy it, before it falls into the hands of Lord Jarl—or worse, his possessive apprentice, Jace Wyatt.
With the help of some unruly pirates, Lena and Soren journey to the sea, where Lena thought she’d never return. There, she will have to face not only the Sea King’s army, the Fosse-Søfolk, but the impossible choice to sacrifice her own life, or the life of the man she loves to keep the Magiske Skal from the evil that craves it.
What will Lena choose? Who will win the struggle for power?
“I’ve been waiting for you,” Soren’s voice broke out behind her. Lena turned suddenly, meeting his warm, emerald gaze. He glanced up at the captain before moving his hand to her elbow, gently pulling her toward him.
“Bookkeeper!” the captain bellowed as he began to walk from the wheel. “Ye brought a woman on board the Skatkisten and she’s never…”
“Come,” Soren murmured softly against her ear before shaking his head. “It seems the captain is a drunken fool this evening.”
“Bookkeeper!” Captain Asher laughed tauntingly as Soren began to pull her away. “Ye doin’ yourself no favors, matey. Tup the lass!”
Lena darted her gaze between the two of them, confused. What exactly was the captain speaking of? Soren seemed to pay no mind to the captain’s jeers.
“Just ignore him, Lena,” Soren murmured, letting out a breath. “Too much ale will do that to even the best of men.”
“Has such a thing ever happened to you?” Lena asked curiously.
Soren released a small chuckle before nodding. “A time or two.”
“And the quiffing?”
Soren slid a hand through his hair before shaking his head. “Such things should never be discussed around a lady, Lena. The captain is quite drunk.”
Lena wanted to press him for more information. By the tone of Soren’s unease, it seemed whatever this ‘quiffing’ was, the mere mention had unsettled him.
“Were you able to help the captain?”
Soren shrugged as they came to pause beside the thick, wooden railing. He slid his hands over the wood and sighed again. “At first, but I found most tasks were left to the crew. We spent much of the afternoon discussing his planned route.”
He peered at her for a moment before moving his gaze back to the sea. Everything around them was dark and quiet, aside from the boisterous crew members. The world seemed so big and vast; so endless. Lena took in a deep breath, smelling the familiar scents of the salty air; she could almost taste the water in her mouth.
Home was not far. Home was just beneath her feet…and all around them.
“The sea is quieter than I expected,” Soren murmured gently.
Lena could only nod. She found herself trembling against the railing, unsure if it was from the cold breeze, or the fear of what was to come. The stinging ache of her wounded skin and the droplets of blood on her pillow reminded her that she was closer to danger; closer to what called for not only her, but the skal. Her unknown enemies swam just below the surface. Turning her gaze to the sky, she admired the tiny, brilliant stars shining above.
“Is it always this quiet?” Soren asked, breaking the silence between them.
Lena pondered for a moment, biting her bottom lip.
“Sometimes. Beneath the waves, the quiet is different. I suppose they are similar, though, yes.”
He seemed appeased by her answer, nodding silently before continuing, “I used to feel troubled by the silence in the Bror Boghandel after my father passed away. Everything felt too still, and the air was stifling.”
Lena turned her gaze back to Soren, watching him release a breath of air. Her heart ached at the thought of Soren sitting all alone in his bookshop. How lonely he must have felt.
“I think one becomes used to the silence, when you live with it long enough,” Soren added. “After a while, silence and sadness become more like limbs than wounds. We learn to live with them, as much as we wish otherwise.”
“Do you think there’s ever a chance for the silence and sadness to…disappear?” Lena asked thoughtfully.
Soren slowly slid his gaze back to her; his emerald eyes sparkled in the moonlight.
“I hope so.”
They stared at one another for a moment more, before Lena glanced back up at the open night sky.
She admired the way the stars glittered like tiny, rare diamonds. The sky seemed as endless as the sea—and yet, even more enchanting.
“It was never quiet at home,” Lena confessed, a small smile growing on her lips. “Javelin and I always kept each other company. We’d explore so many different caverns and ships and took care of our father. Papa always seemed so pleased with the things we’d bring home to him. At night, Javelin would tell me all the stories he’d heard at the market. I never quite felt lonely with him.”
Her throat tightened at the memory of Javelin’s smiling face.
“When Javelin was going to leave…” So much fear and worry had filled her then; Javelin would join the Fosse-Søfolk and their shared days would be gone forever. Even more, Asger had wished for her hand, and she knew her family had expected her to accept. Releasing a shaky breath, Lena shook her head. “Everything would have changed.”
Soren reached for her hand and gently squeezed, silently watching.
“I think loneliness can find anyone even in the most beautiful of places,” she finally murmured after a long moment.
Soren slowly nodded and eased closer to her.
“I think of my father often,” Lena continued, “and how lonely he must feel. He lost us both on the same day. It’s hard to not feel guilt when I think of him.”
“Your father would wish nothing but your happiness too, Lena. Even here. A father’s love…it is much greater than his own selfishness. There is no doubt in my mind that he thinks of you often but knows…trusts that you are where you belong.”
She released a huff of air before shaking her head. She could feel tears begin to build behind her eyes.
“As I told you, my mother was a human. My papa never told us the truth. And when my mother…drowned…we were forced to flee our home. We lived in our small, hidden cavern, away from everyone and everything. I didn’t even learn the truth until…” She swallowed hard at the memory of Asger coming to the shore with the news of what Carrick had confessed surfaced in her mind. It had been the first time he had ever visited her on land, and he had told Lena the truth of her mother’s origins—she’d been human.
“I suppose I’ve always been destined to come here. I spent my entire life dreaming of this world. And now that I’m here…” Her words drifted to silence before she shrugged. “Sometimes I feel as though I’ll never truly belong anywhere.”
“That’s not true,” Soren murmured, and his hands moved to the sides of her shoulders. “You belong here. With me.”
Lena met his gaze as he studied her closely. She could see the sincerity in his eyes.
“Do you think this was all a coincidence?” He continued, “Of all the people in the world, it was you and I who found each other. We both share this deep connection to the sea. Our mothers…”
He flashed a grin before taking a step even closer to her. Lena could feel the warmth of body against her. There was nothing but sea, the sky, and Soren.
“Lena, as long as you wish for it, you will always have me. I will never betray you. It’s clear the queen of the merrows was blinded by her love for Lord Jarl, to not see his true intentions. Both of our mothers paid a price for the harm done to each of our kind. You and I…things are different for us.”
“How can you be so sure?” Lena asked, shaking her head. “How will they be different? The skal will be destroyed, Soren. If we cannot restore the stone, I will shift back into a merrow. There will be no us. There is nothing beyond this ship.”
Her own words echoed in her ears; the harshness of the truth seemed to linger in the air. Soren lifted his hand and brushed a thumb over her cheek. His jaw tightened as he watched her. Lena could see the unspoken emotion in his eyes; the heartache she must have caused by her words.
“Do you truly believe that?” he asked, watching her hard.
“How can I not?” she asked, with a small tear beginning to roll down the curve of her cheek. “As soon as we manage to return the shell back where it belongs…” She shook her head. “You’ll never see me again.”
“I told you that I wouldn’t leave you behind, Lena,” Soren retorted.
“You say that, but I fear you’ll have no choice. Your life is already in danger, the farther this ship sets out to sea. I already know they’re watching from below. They know.”
With trembling fingers, Lena released the first few buttons of her shirt, exposing the burnt flesh of her chest. Soren peered at the wound; his finger brushed the skal out of the way. The hint of his touch sent ripples of pleasure throughout her body, all of which she tried to resist.
“It is only a matter of time, Soren,” she continued. “This is all we’ll ever be. The Bror Boghandel. The cottage…tonight. These moments…”
About the Author
Amazon Best Selling Author, Chantal Gadoury, is a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. Since graduation, she has published “The Songs in Our Hearts” with 48Fourteen Publishing, and “Allerleirauh” with Parliament House Press, with future titles to follow. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with that love of writing today. Writing novels for Chantal has become a life-long dream come true! When she’s not writing, she enjoys painting, drinking lots of DD Iced Coffee, and watching Disney classics. Chantal lives in Muncy, Pennsylvania with her Mom, Sister and furry-‘brother’ (aka, puppy) Taran.
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