Before we get started with Mermaids, I wanted to share a link.
Remember how you guys are awesome and I got 43 reviews (because I turned 43) on Fractured Memories in July? And then I promised the story of Jeff and Wendy meeting for the first time from HIS point of view?
Do enjoy it. 🙂
The time has come!
Fractured Sea comes out this Friday
Which means that the pre-order price of 0.99 is only good until then.
In case you’ve been on the fence about this, I’ve decided to give you a little push. Er, I mean help.
The first chapter of my story in the collection is below the image!
Each story is very different, but if you like mermaids, romance, mystery and fun, I suggest you check out the entire collection.
Click on the image to go to Amazon
Ri’s eyes slid past her father’s palace and beyond the forest of seaweed. Above, a school of fish turned in unison and shot toward the top of the ocean. Sunlight sparkled and twisted on the surface, waning as it descended until it crested the coral palace’s top spires.
“Are you even listening to me?”
Ri blinked, returning her attention to her grandmother. “Uh, yes?”
The older mermaid shook her head, her long gray hair slowly following the motion through the water. “It’s like you’ve already got your land legs.”
“Grandmother.” Ri flicked her tail, moving closer. She reached a slender hand out to touch her mother’s, mother’s shoulder. “I’m ready for this. You’ve been preparing me for months.” Ri lowered her voice, speaking in a familiar cadence. “‘Pay attention in class.’ ‘Don’t commit to anything on the first day.’ ‘Keep your options open.’ ‘Try not to provoke the orcs, watch out for the faerie folk, and be nice to your roommate.’ ‘Don’t flaunt your beauty, because your sisters won’t like it.’” Ri threw her most dazzling smile. “See, I listen.”
“Child, you are going to be the death of me,” Ri’s grandmother muttered.
Ri opened her mouth to retort, but spotted her father and his foreign diplomatic advisor—Ri’s oldest sister’s husband—over her grandmother’s shoulder.
Her father, Triton, swam straight and tall. His shoulders reached an impressive spread for a merman his age. A golden crown sat atop his brow, and streaks of white shot from his temples and through his mane of hair.
People always said that Ri’s hair was an even more beautiful shade of red.
Triton’s tail shimmered as he approached, catching the light from above and sending a rainbow of colors off his scales. Even the oysters attached to his caudal fin shimmered. Ri knew he’d trained himself to reflect the light while he swam. It had taken her a year to master it.
Next to Triton, her sister’s husband looked scrawny. Instead of wide, he was tall. He cut a fine figure, but in a slender way. He’d drawn his dark hair into a piece of seaweed at the base of his neck. The scales on his tail reflected a dark red. Unusual, and very fashionable right now.
The two mermen inclined their heads together, talking.
Ri leaned around her grandmother, willing her ears to catch their conversation.
“The humans have always been reluctant to meet with us,” Karel said to the king.
“I must speak with their king,” Ri’s father said.
“I have asked multiple times, but they either do not respond, or they tell me their king is out of the capital.”
Triton snorted. “We know where he’s been.”
Karel held up a finger. “We think we know where he’s been.” He leaned closer. “Perhaps one of your daughters could speak with the prince at the school.”
“They don’t like him,” Triton said. “You know that.”
Ri’s eyes narrowed. The human prince? He was a student at the Academy? Neither of her sisters had said a word about him.
A peal of laughter sounded behind the two mermen, and a tiny, red-tailed mermaid shot between them, leaving a trail of bubbles leading right to Ri.
“Auntie Ri!” The young blonde-haired, blue-eyed mermaid approached with her arms out. The blue eyes went wide when she discovered she was headed for Grandmother.
Ri smiled, moving to catch her niece. The little mermaid’s hands closed around Ri’s neck, and Ri turned in a circle to slow her down.
Ri held her niece out where she could see her. “What are you doing, Gail?”
Gail’s entire round face pouted. “You’re leaving.”
“Just for a little while.”
“For a long while.”
Ri patted Gail on the shoulder. “I’m going to school. Just like you have classes.”
“But they’re on land.” Gail scrunched her nose. “It smells funny up there.”
Ri laughed. “Yes it does, but if I want to be a real princess then I need to know as much as I can.” She looked hard at Gail. “You know you’re going to be a princess too, right?”
“Well then, you’d better keep track of things down here for me.”
The blue eyes went wide. “Really?”
Ri leaned in. “Someone has to watch out for Grandpa, Great-Grandma, and your parents. You know how adults are—they get too serious.”
Gail’s head bobbed up and down.
“Don’t let that happen.” Ri poked Gail in the stomach, which drew a giggle.
“Gail,” Karel said in a stern voice, “you’re supposed to be with your mother.”
“I was,” Gail said, “but I escaped.”
“That’s my girl,” Triton said with a wink. Then he turned his eyes on Ri.
Ri braced herself.
One of the king’s eyebrows rose as his gaze traveled to Ri’s fin. “Interesting choice in oysters.”
She had attached eight oysters to the end of her fin, four on each side. It was tradition that the royal family wear them, and Ri had spent hours picking these out. They would, in time, produce unique and valuable pearls that would go to her children when she died. She rose and flapped her tail. “Do you like them?”
“They’re a bit showy.”
“Daddy,” Ri said before he could get going, “I’m the princess. Aren’t I allowed to be a little showy?”
Triton’s eyes traveled to her torso. “And you’d better be wearing more than that when you transform.”
The form-fitting—and even, Ri had to admit, slightly revealing—top had been her latest purchase from the market. It fit her perfectly. The blue-green color matched her eyes and complemented her hair. It clashed a little with her orange and green tail, but once she had legs, no one on land would know.
“It rolls down into a dress,” she said.
“And a jacket?”
Ri was surprised her father knew what a jacket was. It wasn’t like they ever needed them in the ocean. “Of course.”
Technically she was telling the truth. She had a jacket, just not one she was going to put on after she transformed.
The look on her father’s face told her he knew as much, but she smiled and swam toward him. “Oh Daddy, I’m so excited.” She turned on her big eyes and her best expression of wonder. “You know I’ve wanted to go to the Academy since I was Gail’s age.” Ri reached out, and her father sighed and took her hands. Ri bent down and kissed his ring. “I promise to make you proud.”
“All my girls make me proud.”
Gail, who had gone to Grandmother, squealed. Triton gave her another wink, then turned back to Ri. “Remember, you’re a princess of the merpeople. My daughter. Your duty is to bring honor to our name, learn everything you can, make friends, and do not make me come up there for any reason.”
“Of course!” Ri said.
“And don’t forget: two of your sisters are already there. Do not be afraid to ask them for help.”
Ri waved her hand. “I won’t need any help from them.”
The deep vibration of a horn thrummed in the water.
A thrill ran from the tip of Ri’s tail up through the top of her head. Her insides churned, but her smile grew wider. “It’s time.”
“My baby, going off to school,” Triton said.
“Please don’t cry, Dad,” Ri said. “You promised.”
When her father—the king—spoke, his voice caught in his throat. “Your mother would be so proud.”
Ri had to keep from rolling her eyes. She moved forward and embraced her father. His strong arms wrapped around her, and for a moment panic pushed at her calm. He’d always been there, just a short swim away. And now she wouldn’t see him for many moon cycles.
But she couldn’t show weakness. If she did, he might change his mind and keep her under the sea for another year.
She pulled away, shooting a grin at Kalel. “Take care of him while I’m gone.”
“We’ll do our best. Shiari said to wish you luck. She’s struggling.”
“That’s what happens when you two go at it all the time.” Ri winked.
Kalel had the decency to blush, but then he grinned. “Good luck.”
“You too. Send me a message when Gail has a little sister.”
“With our family’s luck? It’s a girl for sure.” Ri gave her grandmother one last hug, showered Gail with a flurry of kisses, then turned her attention upward.
A dark shadow had moved right over them.
“Are you ready?” Grandmother asked.
“I’m ready.” Ri squared her shoulders and rose.
“Bye!” Gail said.
“I love you, Ariel,” Triton said. “Remember who you are.”
“I love you, too,” Ri said over her shoulder, and without another look back, she rose to the water’s surface.