by Jennifer Rose McMahon


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Meet Maeve. College Student. Treasure Hunter. Cursed.

When your dreams become reality, being cursed can be a real nightmare.

Like a punch in the face, eighteen-year-old Maeve O'Malley's visions knock her off her path. The Pirate Queen stalking Maeve in her dreams killed her mother years ago, and now, the villain is coming for her. Maeve's decision to ditch Boston College takes everyone by surprise as she packs her bags, leaves America, and heads to the west coast of Ireland to chase her dreams--and end them.

Maeve uncovers an ancient family curse that refuses to remain silent until she accepts her predestined role in what many thought was only a legend. Her Irish history professor--a man she shouldn't be falling for--is the only person who understands the origins of her torment.

Maeve's journey becomes a medieval treasure hunt through Ireland's castles and ruins as she tracks the wrathful Pirate Queen who has her marked for vengeance.

"Excellent debut. Teen and adult readers alike will be clamoring for the sequel." - Publishers Weekly Starred Review ★★★★★

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781944728144
Publisher: City Owl LLC
Publication date: 04/04/2017
Series: Pirate Queen , #1
Pages: 266
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt


By Jennifer Rose McMahon, Amanda Roberts

City Owl Press

Copyright © 2017 Jennifer Rose McMahon
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-944728-14-4


The Hunt

Clawing up the steep hill, slipping on loose gravel, I cursed the new rip in my favorite jeans as I vanished into the town cemetery. Every inch of the place was familiar, from the oldest tombstone to the freshest newcomer. It used to be a playground to me for as long as I could remember; hide and seek grew into manhunt, sniffing fresh-laid flowers in the sun turned into stargazing in the black night sky. But it was different now.

My feet dragged through the old section of the graveyard, passing the centuries-old stones of early Massachusetts settlers. The thin slate hand-carved headstones, some cracked or fallen, leaned toward me, straining to be noticed.

I slipped past the World War II monument, avoiding eye contact with the weathered bust-sculpture of some famous general. His eyes supposedly possessed your soul if you looked directly into them. It always gave me that unsettling feeling like I was being watched, so I moved with purpose, flinching at every little sound. I kept focus, past the cannons and into the new section of thick granite stones, shiny on the front, rough on the back, all the same.

The straight rows were packed tight with cold efficiency, draining the warmth of the old section from my core and replacing it with the chill of mass-produced memorials. I shimmied through to the far edge, avoiding stepping directly on any plots, especially ones with fresh-cut sod because, well, the possessed thing again. You're just not supposed to.

Grateful to be somewhat on the outskirts of the grid, I found my mother's grassy patch by the young maple that shaded it.

"Hi, Mom," I whispered as I dropped to my knees in front of her, looking around to be sure I was alone — wondering if every time I looked up, whatever it was that was out there hid, with stealth timing. "I'm gonna hang out with you for a little while. I think I need your help." I paused and tried not to feel dumb.

I plucked the dead leaves from the pot of pansies my grandparents had left and gently pulled a tuft of grass away from the base of her stone to be sure my senior picture was still buried there.

"It's like something's wrong with me," I mumbled. The comment seeped out of my mouth like the sick bile that was churning in my stomach. "Like something's following me ... or someone. I don't know."

I flashed back to the smell of wind and rain, the echo of words spoken just out of my hearing. I'd been having the feeling more and more lately — not quite the disturbing visions I had before Mom's death six years ago, but subtle reminders of them.

"Mom, it's my awake dream. The scary wind, the screams, everything. It's coming back. I can feel it. And now that you're gone, I think I'm next."

My heart palpitated in my chest. Hearing my harrowing words made it all the more real. My grandparents and the doctors — they'd all claimed Mom's death was caused by a "heart condition." But I knew better. I knew the truth. It was behind their hushed whispers, behind their tears, behind the hands brushing me away from grown-up talk. My awake dream killed my mother. She was always in the visions, being pulled away from me into the mist. And now ... now, it was my turn.

"Am I going crazy?" My exhale expelled resignation and even submission as my hands pulled across my face and into my hair. "I just need to know everything's okay. Like there's not really anything wrong. Can't you just give me a sign?"

A falling leaf, a swooping bird, a rainbow? Anything.

My anxiety twitched in my eye. It lurked in my sweaty palms and my racing heart. I really hated that out-of-control feeling, and it was poisoning every day for me now.

All I needed was reassurance. For my mother to say yes, this was all just my imagination, a ghost story. Maybe my mind had taken my stress and my longing for her and spun it into a remembered nightmare, bad movie-type: Deadly Wind With a Vengeance. But now, facing my high school graduation, it was time for me to get a grip.

I sat in the grass tracing the engraved letters and shamrocks in her headstone, waiting for answers that never seemed to come. Finally, I curled up, leaned in against her stone, and rested.

The clink of metal on granite disturbed me — or did it wake me? — and I sat up on my knees, frowning. If I wasn't alone anymore, I'd be out of there so fast.

I peeked over Mom's headstone. The wind had whipped up without warning, flinging mist and twigs at me like shrapnel, making me squint and shield my face. My hair twisted wildly and my jacket flapped against my body, raising alarm in every nerve. I gripped the top of Mom's stone, straining to see past the wind, trying to figure out who was out there.

A thick smell of iron coated my throat and I retched. Blood was in the air, mixed with rage in the violent gusts, and fear burst into my heart. I could swear I heard my name swirling in the blasts, the sounds of an unknown or dead language, and pressed my hands over my ears to stop it. I fell back, wiping the assault from my face and searched Mom's stone, eyes wide with panic.

Desperate for a response, I stared into her monument as if looking into her safe, nurturing face. I blinked for better clarity, leaning in to it, when somewhere deep in my mind, her voice exploded as she commanded me —


My legs sprinted before I was even standing. I had never run faster in my entire life. Every obstacle was against me — rigid headstones, flying petals, loose sod.

I flew out of the cemetery without looking back, my hair trailing behind me, arms pounding me forward. My lungs burned, not only from the effort of sucking extra oxygen, but actually my chest was burning, on my skin, like fire. Something had hurt me. Something unseen.

My pace slowed only when I was within a safe distance from home. Evil self-consciousness washed over me as I considered how crazy I must have looked — early morning May, running for my life, out of a cemetery. Aw, jeez. What an idiot. I prayed the neighbors weren't looking.

What was I running from anyway? Guilt again? Probably. The truth behind my mother's death? I always wondered if I had something to do with it, if I was responsible somehow ... I mean, of course I was. Maybe I just wasn't strong enough to help or, more likely, too afraid.

Closing myself off from the rest of the world had always been my best defense from facing it. Worked like a charm, I thought. No one to question me, nobody to need me, no chance of letting anyone else down. I preferred it that way.

But if these crazy visions were coming back, forget it. I couldn't face them. Not again. Especially alone. Without Mom.

No way.

Not a chance.

* * *

"Maeve Grace. ..." My grandmother's sing-songy voice called to me from the porch. "Time fer dinner. Fetch some extra tomatoes on yer way up, dear."

Lost in her backyard in my own roaming thoughts again, feeling safer since my earlier "episode" at the cemetery, her voice snapped me back to my present job: filling the wooden salad bowl for dinner. My drawn-out sigh was louder than necessary.

The house would be full of Irish visitors in no time, gathering with my grandfather to watch Ireland play Italy in the World Cup. Michael O'Brien might come with his uncle, Paddy. Blush burned my cheeks just thinking about him and I threw myself back into the vegetable patch.

Searching for more tomatoes seemed way better than a loud soccer match laced with Irish swearing, and definitely better than making an idiot of myself in front of my life-long crush, which was what I managed to do any time Michael was near. I poked around behind the St. Brendan statue, moving the dense greenery in search of anything worthy.

"Are yeh comin', loov?" Gram's voice sounded like a distant echo from the porch high above.

In a knee-jerk response to her call, I tripped on some zucchini vines and landed at the base of the St. Brendan statue in the middle of the garden, my face nearly hitting it.

"Jesus!" The accusation rang clear in my voice. I blamed him for a lot more than nearly breaking my face on one of his anointed ones.

A handmade shelter enclosed the three-foot whitewashed statue of Brendan on three sides. From the back, I couldn't see the religious icon but knew its every feature by heart: peaceful, bearded face, robe-like clothing, cross in one hand, gesturing to the open expanses with the other. Always mocking me.

He was Brendan the Navigator. A courageous mariner, in search of paradise or the Garden of Eden. My grandmother's bedtime stories retold St. Brendan's Voyage, his epic travel to the promised land, a million times, engraving his fearless curiosity onto my soul.

White paint peeled down in delicate rolls from the outer back wall of Brendan's enclosure, moving my eyes toward its stony base. And there, in the statue's foundation, was a hidden metal door the size of the long side of a shoebox, with countless coats of paint, rusty hinges, and a small, aged padlock.

My eyes widened. How could a little door be here all this time and I never noticed? I cupped my palm around the lock to inspect its tiny designs: Irish artwork, Celtic-type swirls and knots pulled me in, whispering their secrets too quietly for me to hear.

I closed in for a better look, pressing the overgrowth out of my way, drawn to the mystery that only a secret door in an Irish garden could create. A faint burning returned to the skin on my chest, reminding me of my strange injury from the cemetery, heightening my senses.

The pressure of a comforting hand rested on my shoulder, nudging me closer. I turned to ask Gram what it could be and gasped for air when I saw no one there. My eyes darted back and forth, finding only green around me. I snapped back to the secret door without blinking, ignoring the sting of my drying eyes. Strange sounds filled my mind, lonely, haunting sounds of tin whistles lost on the wind, maybe coming from inside the statue.

I reached for the lock again and rubbed the Celtic carvings with my thumb. The metal door was sealed by the paint of countless years. I pushed my fingernails into the top line of the seal, moving along the length, trying to break through —

"There yeh are!" My grandmother's voice pierced through my soul.

I flew back from the statue and landed in the zucchinis. "Jeez, Gram!"

"Didn't mean ta startle yeh, dear. Go on, now. What's keepin' ya?"

Gram positioned herself between the statue and me, blocking my view of the secret door. I pushed left and then right, trying to get another glimpse of it, desperate to confirm it wasn't my imagination. But somehow, Gram was able to block it no matter how I squirmed.

"Gram, behind you, in the St. Brendan statue. ..." I started, dying to show it to her. "What is that?" I tilted my head for a better look, reaching around with my curious fingers.

"Oh, nothing." Gram swatted with her dishtowel, stopping my hand from further exploration. I pulled back, feeling like a small child caught with her hand in the cookie jar. "Another one of yer grandfather's projects, 'tis all, his handiwork, sure. Prob'ly keeps some old tools in there or whatnot."

My chin pulled in as I scowled at her. Did she think I was dumb? Her efforts at distracting me from the secret door were useless. I was going to find out what was in there. My eyes were drawn back to it. What could be in there?

"Come on now. Stop yer dilly-dallying and daydreamin'. Time to come in. Scooch." She swatted at me again with her dishtowel. God. That was really annoying.

Could she actually be hiding something from me?

Walking up the rolling lawn toward the porch stairs, I looked back at the statue. Its head was tipped a little — maybe it always had been — but now it was more obvious. It knew something. I had discovered its secret and now its gentle face was encouraging me to do something about it. Daring me even. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up as we held eye contact.

"Come along now, loov," Gram said.

Climbing the high stairs, I was paralyzed with the need for answers. Real answers. Not just the ones you're given as a child, hollow and flat, that let the adults avoid or move on, but real, concrete answers ... about Mom, about my grandparents, about Ireland. Lots more about Ireland. Why was it always shrouded with mystery and secrets in my family? No one ever wanted to talk about it, but it was who we were. It didn't make sense, all the silence.

* * *

"Are you ever going to really tell me why you and Joey left Ireland?" I'd asked a million times before but was never satisfied with the simple or unfinished answer, like I was always "too young" to be told.

Gram's pace slowed on the stairs and she turned to look at me. Her eyes were usually soft and bright, but today, hidden behind her veil of gray strands, they looked steely and guarded.

"Nothin' ta tell, Maeve. You're always lookin' for some grand story."

Did she think I was still ten? I waited for more, not budging.

"There was nothing left fer me at home. Twelve siblings, tiny cottage, no jobs. I had ta go and, sure, I met yer grandfather around that time and he was in a great hurry t' get to America."

Same story as every time. I was sick of all the pleasantries. Just be honest for once and tell me what really happened. Say what you mean.

She played with her necklace, the one she loyally wore everyday no matter the outfit, and rolled the heavy, vintage charm around in her fingers. The Celtic swirls and mythical beasts danced on it.

"Ah, there's nothin' left there fer me now," she said, clearing her throat to dispel the tightness in her voice.

"What about Joey?" His name rolled off my lips the way 'Grampy' or 'Pop Pop' would for any other grandchild.

"Never." The word came out of her like a shot, smacking me upside the head, and she was quick to soften her reply. "I mean, yer grandfather won't go back now either, dear. Been hiding for too long. He's too old. 'Tis a shame, really."

"Hiding?" My head cocked to one side.

"Hmm?" Gram reached for her necklace and looked away.

"You said, 'He's been hiding'. From what?" My tight gaze bored into her back.

"I'm just sayin' he's lost touch with home, is all." She stuck her head in the fridge, looking for nothing.

My grandfather used terms like "fled" and "escaped" when he talked about his journey to America at eighteen. He would tell stories, after a bit of whiskey, of struggles for land and wealth, for country and clan. I had faded memories of his fairy tales and legends — battles among clashing chieftains, castles, and ships.

Visitors began to arrive for the soccer match and a symphony of brogues livened up the living room. "Uncle" Paddy, one of Joey's closest friends, filled the space with welcomes, his booming voice bringing a smile to my face. Then I heard Michael. My heart stopped. He was greeting Joey, talking stats about the match and cheering some sports chant, making my grandfather laugh.

I pictured his fitted Irish soccer jacket, the lucky one he wore for every game, and his friendly smile. I'd had a crush on him since kindergarten. Butterflies tickled my stomach, but I snapped back to Gram, looking for a distracting kitchen job so I wouldn't have to go out there.

Gram readied her cast-iron skillet for the steaks. The smell of boiling spuds and the hot, garlic-laced pan filled every inch of the kitchen. As I leaned in against the fridge, my shoulder flinched off its surface as if I'd been tazed.

"Wait. When did you tape my acceptance letter to the fridge?"

I specifically remembered burying it at the bottom of the papers on my desk. But now, the Boston College letterhead was staring out at me, waiting for a reply. Or, worse, a commitment.

Thoughts of my looming college plans made me feel like I was going to puke. My grandmother had been so brave in her journey to America, and here I was, squeamish at the thought of going away to the college down the road.

"I haven't made a final decision, you know." My insecurities flooded to the surface. It was obvious to everyone I would be attending BC. Both my parents were alums.

"Nonsense, dear! Yeh're headed off to university, for pity's sake, not the war. Ya just have the nervous jitters." She looked at me sideways. "Sure, when I was yer age, I was on a ship to the States, eighteen years old, with only a dream in me pocket."

Uncle Paddy wandered into the kitchen and Gram was quick to move her attention to him.

"How're me girls?" he asked as he hugged us, planting a kiss on Gram's head. I looked past him to see if Michael was on his heels, but no sign of him. My breath steadied itself.

"Ach, lassie." He looked at me. "You've grown. Not a kid anymore; sure, those big green eyes of yours would hold any lad hostage. Git out there and say hello to Michael. You'll bewitch 'im completely." His smile was wide and his eyes twinkled. "It's that Norwegian beauty. Ya got that from yer da'."


Excerpted from Bohermore by Jennifer Rose McMahon, Amanda Roberts. Copyright © 2017 Jennifer Rose McMahon. Excerpted by permission of City Owl Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

When your dreams become reality, being cursed can be a real nightmare.

Like a punch in the face, eighteen-year-old Maeve O'Malley's visions knock her off her path. The Pirate Queen stalking Maeve in her dreams killed her mother years ago, and now, the villian is coming for her. Maeve's decision to ditch Boston College takes everyone by surprise as she packs her bags, leaves America, and heads to the west coast of Ireland to chase her dreams—and end them.

Maeve uncovers an ancient family curse that refuses to remain silent until she accepts her predestined role in what many thought was only a legend. Her Irish history professor—a man she shouldn't be falling for—is the only person who understands the origins of her torment.

Maeve's journey becomes a medieval treasure hunt through Ireland's castles and ruins as she tracks the wrathful Pirate Queen who has her marked for vengeance.

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