The life of a merman should be relatively simple, but not for Danyl. His mother’s been murdered, his father’s responsible and now he’s out for blood. Thank the gods, the key to doing so rests in the hands of a beautiful human who is his pleasure to pursue.
Di has hit pay dirt. Years of solo dives on a barely functioning boat has yielded an ancient coin certain to secure her financial future. A chance rescue by a merman knocks her plans awry. Falling for him certainly was never a part of those plans.
Now, the two must depend on each other--extending a little bit of faith, and a whole lot of trust--in a quest for vengeance and their ultimate survival.
Danyl used the powerful muscles of his tail to push through the water. He would not let them see his disappointment. Or his anger.
Another pairing ritual and another humiliation he'd been forced to live through. Coupled with everything else he'd been through recently, he didn't know how much more he could stand.
Of course. He didn't have to turn to recognize to whom that voice belonged. No one else would bother to seek him out.
He slowed enough to allow Gagan to catch up. He remained facing forward though. If he had to look upon his best friend's luminescent skin or the perfection of his silver fluke right now, he'd vomit. The only things really silver about himself were his eyes. Of course, they weren't quite natural either. Every other mer-person had mesmerizing blue eyes.
No point in mentioning his own tail, which for years had the disappointing habit of becoming legs at a moment's notice until he'd learned to control it. Legs. Who in Hades had need for human legs underwater?
"What?" he snarled, forcing the cool ocean through his gill sac. Despite being located in the back of his throat, he could feel it wave in the water with the effort. Yet another thing that marred him as not quite like the others. To them, breathing was just another natural act. For him, it was an ongoing agony.
"Danyl, be patient. You will be mated--"
He whirled on him. "When Gagan? When the maids have decided that they wouldn't mind being mated to a freak? When their curiosity about fucking me overrides their common sense?"
What could he offer a mate? Unnatural sex and perhaps, deformed children who had legs, too. If nothing else, choosing to mate him guaranteed a lifetime of ridicule for any maid, for sure.
Gagan shooed at a school of fish daring to linger and eavesdrop. "Danyl, you are a good man. If none of the maids have realized that yet, it's their loss. When the time is right, you will be mated. And I have no doubt, you will love her with a passion that is unrivaled. With an intensity that will be the envy of merfolk for generations to come."
Good old Gagan. Ever the poet, who wore his heart on the outside for the world to see.
Danyl looked away, for if he looked into his friend's eyes a moment longer, he would fall under their hypnotic spell. His friend believed so truly that a mate existed for him, while Danyl's hope in that belief faded with each passing day. His friend believed so deeply in love and forever that he'd convinced Danyl to attend a pairing ritual yet again, as he had time and time before.
Danyl kicked and rode the undercurrent away from Gagan. "I don't have the stomach for this," he muttered.
"Gods damn it, will you wait?"
He wouldn't wait. Everything about his life had reached a crux. The ridicule, the alienation and now the abandonment and the loneliness left him shattered in ways that made him an unsuitable companion, anyway. Why this desperate hope for shelter and acceptance he could never dream of attaining?
Danyl pulled his shoulders forward as he swam. He knew why.
Because without the sliver of hope still shining through, he no longer had anything worth living for.
Gagan managed to catch him up, his lean length an enviable sight as he swam. Few of the mer-people could match his strength or speed. How they'd become fast friends was anybody's guess. He didn't so much as breathe heavily when he called out to him again. "Danyl!"
He made a show of swimming beneath Danyl, rising up to his other side without breaking his cruising speed. Fucking show off.
When he did it again, Danyl surged forward, determined to not be outdone. Damned mermen were always playing games. Why couldn't the idiot see he wasn't in the mood for friendly competition? He didn't want to have fun. He wanted to find some dark hole where blind fish nestled and hide from the world.
Putting on another burst of energy, he sliced through the water, almost daring Gagan to match him around the jagged edges of coral and through the stinging wisps of grass growing in crags. Despite his very best effort to not enjoy it, stretching out and gliding through the water at breakneck speeds sent a thrill through him. He thought little of safety or boundaries. He gave no care to mermaids or matings. He almost managed to discard thoughts of family and home, too.
The two mermen whipped past startled schools of fish, scattering them in various directions before they reassembled. Jutting rocks from cliff ledges gave Danyl opportunity to dodge and put distance between them. They swam through hot spots only to be greeted by frigid cold spots moments later. Through it all, the vast ocean fanned out around them in a kaleidoscope of greens, blues and blacks.
By the time Danyl slowed, his earlier disappointment had worked out of his system. Chest heaving, he waited for Gagan to catch him up. To his complete surprise, he'd manage to out-swim his friend by a few lengths and they'd swum at least three nautical miles if not further. More energy must have been penned up inside him than he thought.
"That was awesome," Gagan called as he neared. "I didn't know you could do that!"
That made two of them. "It wasn't a race. I was trying to get rid of your sorry tail."
Gagan chuckled before his face straightened, becoming serious. "I wanted to talk with you alone, Danyl, and out here," he glanced at their sparse surroundings, "is probably a better place than any. It's about your mother. And your father."
Danyl almost looked away, but forced himself not to move. "What is it?"
"I'm sorry to tell you this, but we've looked into your suspicions."
"You were right." Gagan reached for his shoulder and clamped a supportive hand around it. "The evidence is stacked against him. Based on what we've found, we agree that he most likely murdered your mother."
He wasn't surprised. He couldn't be. And now, he wouldn't let the news affect him.
No--that wasn't true.
He would let it affect him, for now he had something to live for.
He needed to stay alive long enough to kill his father.
Danyl is a merman. He is unique...he has legs! He wants to find a mate but due to the fact that he is so different, no one will have him.
Di finds an ancient coin on one of her solo dives in the ocean. Di is getting ready to leave but the anchor is stuck. She dives down, only to have a panic attack and become incapacitated. Di is rescued by Danyl. Di must have hit her head as she awakes to a tall naked man on her boat.
Daryl was searching for something, when he spotted Di in trouble. Now he plans to stay right by her side until he finds what he is looking for. Will Danyl realize that what he is really looking for is right in front of his eyes before it is too late?
Deeper Than the Ocean is book one of the Phoenix Prophecy. This short story is a good start to this series. Dee Carney invites readers into a magical fun world of mermen, mermaids, and the deep blue ocean. This book is like the updated, adult version of The Little Mermaid. The love scenes between Danyl and Di were so steamy that I needed a dive into the ocean. You have got to check out Deeper Than the Ocean before it swims off the shelves.
Manic Readers receives books from authors, publishers, and publicists which are given to
reviewers in exchange for their honest opinion. Each review represents the opinion of the reviewer
which may or may not have been influenced by receiving the book at no cost.
No comments available.