*Second Edition Release. The content and author have not changed.*
Caught between two worlds—what’s a merman to do?
Marcus Krill, a creature of the sea, is a perfectly content bachelor. Mating someone? No thank you. Living anywhere but in the ocean? Ha! Not happening. Spending more than the barest necessity of time on land? Nope. Not this merman. And humans? They’re perfectly fine as a diversion, but that’s all. They might be interesting, but complications follow them like a hungry shark during a feeding frenzy. So what if he’s a little lonely? A little tired of one-night stands? That doesn’t mean he’s ready to mate. Not him.
Blair Estes, a creature of land, is perfectly happy with his nomadic lifestyle. No strings keep him tied to any one place long. Adventure is his lover and adrenaline his master. He loves to travel, and the things he’d seen—things that defy description. Now his wandering has brought him to the Seychelle islands and a mysterious merman who’s going to take him on the journey of a lifetime.
Gray shadows cut through the water as the dolphins called out, greeting him like an old friend, their calls and clicks beckoning him to come further out. He cut through the water with a mighty thrust of his tail, heading toward them. Even though there was no sunlight, he could see perfectly in the dark waters. Joy spread through Marcus as he joined the pod of about fifteen dolphins.
They swam together, their tails flipping smartly as they played. Bodies turned in a rolling, graceful dance. Marcus hung suspended in the water, watching the dolphins interact. They moved toward him, their tails moving up and down.
They twisted and turned, darting back and forth in the water, rushing at him and then away. He laughed softly and called to them, his sounds similar but not exactly like theirs. Moving together slowly they circled around him turning cartwheels. He ran his hands over the smooth bodies as they bumped against him.
Time lost all meaning as he swam with the dolphins until the low drone of a motor caught his and the dolphins’ attention. Eagerly they swam toward the slow-moving ship, but Marcus hesitated. There were humans on the ship. The dolphins might enjoy interacting with them, but he couldn’t.
Still, if he didn’t surface he should be okay. Once he was deep enough he couldn’t be seen, he peered up, the lights from the ship shining on the water making it easier for him to see. The dolphins showed off for the humans who leaned over the railings, pointing and laughing. Marcus chuckled as he listened to the dolphins.
The little imps were hoping the humans would throw food to them. Even over the noise of the ship’s motor and the excited clicks of the dolphins, he could hear the human voices, but he couldn’t distinguish their words.
Losing interest, he swam from the ship. Once he was far enough, he surfaced and flipped his long hair out of the way. A warm tropical breeze swirled around him then moved on. There was nothing he enjoyed more than the moonlight on the water. It was a beautiful sight, and one he treasured.
Then the wind shifted, and a scent—the most tantalizing fragrance he’d ever smelled—slammed into him. Heady and tropical, the smell reminded him of Wright’s Gardenia, one of the Seychelles’s loveliest trees. Its white flowers were speckled with deep red splotches and its scent was strong… something he shouldn’t smell this far out in the ocean.
M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!
When not writing, she’s on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two grown children.
She is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.