Authors: Sutton Shields
Tags: #Young Adult, #horror, #ocean, #Romance, #Fantasy, #Mermaid, #Sea, #Merpeople, #paranormal romance, #Merman
The Merworld Water Wars
Copyright © 2013 Sutton Shields
All Rights Reserved
Further Information: http://suttonshields.blogspot.com/
Cover Art by The Incomparable Claudia McKinney at phatpuppyart.com
Cover Design by The Phenomenal Ashley at bookish-brunette.com
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons—living, dead, merperson, or non-merperson—business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
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For my papaw, who is undoubtedly entertaining all of heaven with big band jams and cheering for his LSU Tigers…and probably enjoying the bakery section of the puffy white clouds.
Table of Contents:
The Root of Beer
July: A new kind of freedom
Monthly Life Caption: A New Kind of Stupid
Eating: Not spinach…yet
Music: Whatever inspires me to kick major fin
If getting it on with a merman was anything like awakening as the Siren Savior, then I’m in for one hell of a ride someday. Nothing compared to my inner Savior bursting free beneath my skin—not the sparkly Fourth of July fireworks, not the bubbly joy of having Troy back, alive…not even my boyfriend’s very large, very sneaky hand traveling towards my right bum cheek could measure up.
As one final Savior-surge trickled through my veins, I released a sigh and followed up with a very satisfied, “Ooh.”
“Damn. I’m good. I didn’t even completely grab the rear I love to view. I’m trying to ease from gentleman back to Neanderthal. Guess I’m ahead of schedule,” said Troy, looking exceedingly proud.
“Oh, that wasn’t you. It was me. I mean, I did it to myself,” I said, feeling seriously energized.
“Really? When? And…how?” he asked, staring strangely at my body.
“Never mind. It’s just, uh, well…what are
“Uh-huh. Open eyes, talking, and sitting upright generally define being awake.”
“You don’t get it, and I sure as hell can’t explain it. But, I do know what we need.”
“Whatever you have in mind, you won’t hear me complain,” he said, smirking sexily.
“Manakel,” I said.
I jumped up off the sand and started shouting for the snarky, horny, maybe-ally angel. “Manakel! Manakel!”
“You have got to be kidding me! Need I remind you what happened the last time you shouted for the winged wonder?”
“You’re not going to go all demon on me tonight, Troy. Besides, even if you did, I have a feeling I could kick your fin from here to Florida before you could say gutter-brain,” I said, winking. I continued calling for the angel who was clearly ignoring me. “Hey, sorta-angel, get your feathered butt down here!”
“What is all the noise? I do have a head, and it does ache from time to time…like now.” Manakel swooped down from the clouds, landing right in front of me. Though his auburn hair was a tangled mess, the ridiculously handsome Aussie angel oozed sex from every invisible pore on his chiseled face. “Bleeding fireworks. Mortals
over the sparkly little pretties, but those bloody things are louder than thunder to us…and they singe feathers.”
“Look, I’m sorry to shake you from your cloud, but something’s happened and—”
“You’ve awakened,” he said, staring into my eyes, smiling.
“Full force,” I said.
“What the hell am I missing?” asked Troy, agitated.
“You really want me to answer that one, mate?” asked Manakel.
“I know a group of hammerheads that would kill for some flambéed angel. Interested?” said Troy, standing up.
“Ooh, little fish prince is pulling out the fancy vocabulary. Very masculine. I’m trembling with fear,” said Manakel, faking a quiver.
“Lord Almighty. There’s no time for a testosterone-filled war of snark,” I said. “Manakel, I need you to find Doctor Tenly. Tell him to bring everybody—my mom, Meikle, Airi, Bobby, Mr. Gibbs, Benji, and Treeva—to Hambury House immediately. And I need you to find Trey and Ophelia. Can you do that for me?”
“Yeah, all right, but only because I don’t want to anger the Savior and her new set of skills,” said Manakel.
“Aw, hell. You’ve awakened as the Savior! Damn, I’m slow today,” said Troy, shaking his head.
“And the brain finally shows up to the conversation,” Manakel quipped.
“I think almost dying gives me a get-out-of-dumb-free card,” muttered Troy, shoving his hands in his pockets and kicking a little sand.
“Of course it does, babe,” I said, stroking his arm, and probably his ego. “Manakel, I need you to break-neck it, okay? We’re talking
“Will do. Meet you both at Hambury?”
“We’ll be there, and thank you,” I said.
“Eh, that’s what angels are for…or so I hear,” he said before flying out of sight.
I flipped around to face Troy. “Wanna race to Hambury?”
“Not thinking that’s a good idea.”
“Why? Oh, duh. You’re still recovering and shouldn’t overexert yourself.”
“Nah, I’m good to go. Might be a little slower than usual, but I’d still whip you.”
“Oh, really? Well, ten bucks says differently.”
“You’re awake, I get that. Your powers have been activated. Thing is, you’ll need to learn how to implement those powers. It’s not like flipping a switch, Marina. Pretty sure it’s not as easy as you think.”
“Bull crap. Watch.” I tied back my unruly red hair and started sprinting down the beach…only my sprint was certainly nothing super. The fact that Troy was already waiting for me confirmed my lack of super speed, as did my seriously embarrassing case of wheezes. Crouched over with my hands on my knees, I looked up at him. “So, we’ll take your truck, then?”
“Truck it is,” he said, working very hard not to laugh.
We hurried to his driveway, hopped in his truck, and headed for Hambury House. After stumping King Zale with my ability to create a weird golden shield from the palms of my hands, Saxet Shores resembled a ghost town. Everything was far too quiet and far too foreboding.
“There are no lights on…anywhere,” I said as we drove by dark house after dark house. “That can’t be good.”
“Marina, you single-handedly saved Airi, Tree, Benji, and me. No matter how scared you were, you talked to them like a Savior…
Savior. I have no doubt Zale called for some emergency Ravenflame meeting,” said Troy. “Knowing Doctor Tenly is helping us only adds to his wrath.”
“Not to mention your dad returning to rescue you from the skinning.”
“Zale has a lot to concern himself with. He knows you will be formidable. Hell, you already are,” he said.
“Oh, yeah, my not-so-super sprint screams threat.”
“Those powers will come in time, trust me. We’ll rain check on that race. I’m kinda curious to see if I can beat the one and only Savior.”
“Honestly, I don’t think I can possibly win against Troy, the Trifecta—prince, merman, demon,” I said playfully.
Troy’s smile faded suddenly, and the steering wheel was in serious danger of snapping in two. “Don’t talk about my demon side like it’s some noble thing. It’s not. It’s evil. It does evil. I do evil.”
“That’s in the past now. It forced you to do evil, yes, but—”
“But nothing. I’m dangerous.”
“Damn it, listen to me. The demon is not your soul, Troy. Everything in my gut tells me that the demon inside you can be used for good. I can’t explain it…but I feel it.”
Troy loosened his hold on the wheel. “You don’t know how much I want to believe that could be true.”
“I’ll prove it to you someday. You’ll see.”
He grabbed my hand and squeezed. “Hope so.”
“Not digging the doubtful edge in your voice. I mean, you got around Benji’s stalking blocker to try and save me. That wasn’t the demon working against you, Troy. That was
making it work
“It wasn’t the best stalking blocker I’ve ever seen. Benji’s good, but he ain’t that good,” he said, winking.
“For once I hit on a really insightful example and you have to pull the macho merman mentality. Is it really so hard for you to see that there are moments where you and the demon are a force for good?”
“Marina, I couldn’t see those moments if the sun, moon, stars, a billion flashlights, and Rudolph’s nose teamed up to shine the way.”
“So that’s an overly dramatic ‘yes,’ then. You make my job tough, merman.”
“It’s not your job, Rubylocks,” he said, kissing my hand.
“You’re right, it’s not. It’s my
to show the man I love just how good he is.”
“Not to alarm you, but the word ‘love’ just escaped your lips during regular conversation, minus the gag.”
“How do you like that? I’m totally maturing,” I said.
“Here’s one place in Saxet Shores that isn’t dark,” said Troy, pulling up to Hambury House.
Every light in the peach-colored manor was on, glowing like beacons of warmth and hope. “Kind of ironic,” I said.
“It really is. I don’t know about you, but I like the symbolism,” he said, climbing out of his truck. Ever the gentleman—despite his protests to the contrary—Troy zipped over to open the door for me. Hmm. Either he was truly being a gentleman or he was totally showing off his speed skills—doubt it, though…that was just my bruised ego talking.
I smiled and took his hand as we headed into Doctor Tenly’s mansion. The hall was quiet, yet oddly inviting. The bright glow of chandeliers seemed to smile as we passed beneath them, almost as if they were guiding us to the kindness waiting behind the first door on the left. With barely a turn of the study’s golden doorknob, we found ourselves pulled into a swarm of open arms and smiling faces.
“Trey! Oh, God, I’m so glad you’re safe.” It felt so good to feel his hug again. “You look good. Sporting some bigger guns, there,” I said, squeezing his arms. “Whoa, what is up with your hair?” His once caramel brown hair now had a single white streak, right near his forehead.