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Tattooed mer-shifters are climbing out of the secret depths to claim their soul mates and save their race!
Steadfast mer king Kadir has endured ridicule, banishment, and undersea prison for his belief that modern human women will save their dwindling race. Freed to found a city of mermen shifters who share his beliefs, he sets out to the surface to woo his bride. And sweet, sensual Elyssa is his.
Elyssa can’t even match her socks. How can she rule an undersea kingdom? But when King Kadir holds her in his bulging, silver-tattooed arms and claims her as his soul mate, deep down the shy introvert holds big dreams. Maybe his magical elixir will transform her into more than just a mousy, water-breathing version of herself. Maybe it will make her into an exceptional woman worthy to be a queen.
All is not well in the fragile new city, and it will take every ounce of Elyssa’s bright courage and Kadir’s unshakeable faith to prove humans and mer shifters can live in harmony. Someone will stop at nothing to end this experiment. And they have deadly allies…
This is a complete novel with a happy ending! Also, it features steamy mer shifter love scenes, exciting shark attacks, and a crotchety giant cephalopod named Octopus Kong. Fall in love with these men of the sea!
These were not your mama’s mermen.
First, the mermen had two powerful kicking legs, just like humans. Second, they were all built like power lifters. Third, they were gorgeous, tattooed, and usually swam around naked. And fourth, there was this whole kidnapping-women-to-make-babies rumor in the ancient past. They were the original creatures from the black lagoon, only gorgeous instead of “finny.”
Unnamed sources claimed the kidnappings still happened today…
Their king, Kadir, took over the conversation, recapturing Elyssa’s gaze. “What is a blind date?”
“You meet up for something casual. Coffee or a movie. If you hit it off, you meet up again. And so on.”
“Hit it off? What do you hit off?”
“Your feelings. If you get a special feeling in your heart.” She tugged her hand free to place it on her chest. “You’re meant to be together. It’s fate.”
In Kadir’s case, her special feeling was also several inches lower, making her panties damp.
He had that deliciously unreachable rock star vibe. The hot, smart, talented athlete who breezed through the halls, making her wish that she were smarter and hotter and more talented so someday he would glance in her direction.
Now that he was actually glancing — more than that, he was holding one of her hands! — she wanted this moment to go on forever. The one moment she did something useful. Entertained a gorgeous monarch, educated him about human dating, and helped him to find the one perfect woman who would make love grow in his heart.
“So you do sense the resonance,” Kadir confirmed.
By “resonance,” did he mean an inner glow? Her friend had told her that mermen could see actual lights glowing in people’s chests.
“We don’t see it the same way you do, but I do think we can sense something when we hit it off. Love at first sight, or second sight, or tenth sight, or whatever.”
He recaptured her free hand. “My warriors wish to blind date.”
The mermen nodded.
“I’m sure you will.” She smiled at him. At all of them. “You definitely all will.”
They stared at her.
And although they were all mesmerizingly good looking, Kadir’s gaze gripped her with such power she was unable to fully look away. She wanted to crawl into his lap and lick that silver lightning bolt tattooed across his broad chest. His intense concentration on her increased. He seemed to see straight into her soul.
But he was not for her. She was a disaster, not future royalty. Maybe she could hit it off with a hot lieutenant. Or something. Did the mermen have low-paid jobs? In merman HR?
“The best way to meet women is to choose Aya for your bride,” Elyssa said. “She’s amazing. She’s like already a queen. You’ll love her, I swear.”
“You fiercely champion your cousin. That loyalty is admirable. But I will not choose Aya for my bride.”
“Because, Elyssa of Van Cartier.” He arrested her with his dark gaze. “I choose you.”
Also in the Series
Hazel brushed the tattoos on Lotar’s sternum. “These have a meaning, right? What does this one mean?”
“It is the symbol of my city.”
“My origin city. Syrenka.”
She traced the lines up. The snowflake pattern branched into geometric shapes. Smaller hashes and squares divided each square. “Where’s Syrenka?”
The steam of the shower wrapped them in slippery fog.
She was still terrified about what accepting Lotar would mean. The fate of the mermen would rest on her small shoulders.
But she had already decided.
She’d decided when she’d brought him back to her apartment.
The door was there. She’d already opened it.
Now she just had to walk through.
Hazel lowered her hand and forced herself to look up into his deep, watchful eyes. “What happens now?”
“You accept my claim.”
“I thought I did.”
“With a kiss.”
Right. She’d gotten him naked and seen everything but still hadn’t shared a kiss.
Hazel did everything out of order.
Whatever. It didn’t matter. All that mattered was that she took the next step.
Her stomach filled with butterflies. She was ready. She chose this. She chose him.
Hazel closed her eyes and lifted her lips.
She opened her eyes.
Lotar looked conflicted.
A dark frown slashed his brow. His worried gaze fixed on her lips and all his muscles flexed, taut, as he struggled.
When he noticed her question, he blinked as though trying to clear away his emotions, concealing an internal fight behind the quiet, impassive watchfulness.
He’d said she was his soul mate. He knew. And the next step was to kiss…
“Okay, well.” She patted his chest. “When you want to do that, let me know.”
She turned away to shut off the water.
Lotar’s hand closed over her wrist.
He pulled her back, gently but decisively.
Haha, okay, maybe she had misread him. “Oh, hey, you—”
His mouth covered hers in a kiss.
The shower pattered on her back. The scent of vanilla and cardamom mixed with sea salt and male.
Heat streaked through her body.
He was all muscle, hardness and pride, strength and dominance.
His mouth opened, and his tongue sought hers.
She licked his intoxicating male flavor, lapped up every drop, teasing his mouth, delving and swirling, nibbling.
His hand at her wrist tightened and the heat of his body crossed the last inch to draw her against him. Her thigh slid against his, her belly pressed his upper hip, her breasts slid against his chest.
He pursued her mouth doggedly. She teased him, swirling and looping until he released her lips. Then she bit his sharp jaw with little nips and grazed her teeth across his rough chin.
He sucked in a breath.
Her nipples tightened to hard pearls, and desire streaked into her center.
He was quiet but expressive. Ready but uncertain.
And that was just fine.
She kissed down the column of his neck, over the cord of the spiral shell necklace, to his collarbone. So broad, so powerful. Down his pectorals, over the swirling tattoos. Like kissing ice fields, but hot and trembling. This was as meaningful to him as it was to her. After tonight, their lives would never be the—
He caught her wrists, stopping her.
Uncertainty flashed in his eyes.
No, not uncertainty.
He stared at her with absolute terror.
Had she gotten it all wrong?
Hazel looked up at him, worry tilting her head. “Are you okay?”
Because he was. He was more than okay.
His soul mate opened her body to him, pressed her soft form to his, accepted, and even covered him with hungry kisses. She wanted his claim. His kiss, his caress, his touch.
It was a dream.
His heart pounded as if a pack of angry bull sharks had scented him.
Hazel was so open. So confident in the moment of melding their bodies to create a young fry. Easy and yet serious, playful and yet passionate. She was a pure and beautiful soul.
He must protect her.
From danger, from injury.