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The Merman's Quest
Excerpt from

The Merman's Quest

Madison stowed her camera and ducked back under the pilot canopy to reengage the boata's engine. Whatever she’d seen—if it’d even been real—was long gone, and she needed to find that dolphin pod today or shell out another chunk of money for the boat rental. The engine sputtered to life and then backfired and died. With a curse, she shut everything down and moved to the engine compartment to adjust the choke.

A high, sweet note bounced across the water like a small child’s laugh. What was that? She stopped and searched the waves. The note shifted into something like a sultry oboe or saxophone holding a long note accompanied by a compulsive rhythm like a heartbeat. Was there another vessel nearby playing music? She couldn’t see one.

She closed her eyes, taking a breath of sweet, salty air before opening them again to search for the song’s source. The sun glittered like diamonds across the water’s surface, forcing her to squint. Was that a man swimming toward her?

He disappeared below the surface, and the song thrummed through the deck against her feet. The pulse crept up her legs in delightful shivers to concentrate in her core. God, that feels good. Next thing she knew, she was standing at the gunwale.

A dark haired man surfaced about six meters away, closely trimmed beard dripping water. He had the broad shoulders and lean, muscular torso of a speed swimmer. A spiral shell earring curled through one earlobe, and a large sliver of mother-of-pearl pierced his nipple in one well-sculpted left pec. He stroked a mesmerizing rhythm over a white pronged object hanging from a cord about his neck, seemingly unperturbed about being adrift at sea. What struck her most, however, was the lime-green shade of his eyes. A sense of vertigo blossomed in her stomach, and she yearned to escape the rocking motion of the deck. She leaned against the gunwale to steady herself.

“Hello? Do you need help?” She didn’t know what else to ask. He was too far out to have come from shore.

He opened his mouth, and the shockingly physical melody that had driven her to the side swelled louder.

Her core tightened with surprising intensity, deliciously orgasmic. The scientist in her distantly wondered if orgasm by auditory stimulation was even possible. Then stopped analyzing and allowed the sensation to sweep her along as if it were a curling green wave. Her nipples pebbled against her shirt and warmth pooled deep in her belly. She gripped both hands on the lip of the gunwale, legs trembling.

The man dove, revealing what looked like a lacy green dorsal fin along his spine. A bright green tail followed, the billowing fin sending a shower of water her direction. She blinked, regaining a fleeting moment of scientific curiosity. Had that been…? No way. Then the song changed back into that bone-deep rhythm, rising through the deck, through her legs. Pounding against her pelvis as if a man thrust deep inside her.

Inhaling sharply, she threw back her head, lost in the ecstasy. The tide of primal sensation overwhelmed her logic. Every inch of her skin thrilled with electric desire, and she ached to be touched. Now.

Her hand crept to her breast, fondled her nipple to an aching peak. She needed more. She needed this man, who was somehow calling up her basest emotions. Leaning over, one hand on the gunwale while the other still pinched her nipple, she peered into the water. Where’d he gone?

His face appeared directly below, rising to meet her. A pair of lime-green eyes bored into hers with a come-hither purpose to match the vibrations in her bones. She stretched forward, heeding the call.

He broke the surface and met her lips with his. The contact sent her spiraling into climax. Her grip on the gunwale fell slack, and she plunged past him into the icy water.

* * *

The human’s lips met Rubac’s in a jolt like an electric eel.

Stunned, he dropped back into the water, thoughts colliding like flotsam caught in a riptide. His cock prodded the opening of his sheath, as if waking from a long dream.

What was that all about? Was it part of the quest? The human contact had been nothing like the connection he’d expected. When the mermaid had captured and bonded him, he’d felt a tightening, as if his whole body was constricted by kelp strands. A chain tying him to his bond-mate for eternity. What he’d just experienced with the human felt more like the exhilaration of riding a sailfish as it cleared the water.

Then he realized her limp body was sinking past him, limbs askew. A thin wisp of blood trailed her wake.

He jackknifed and caught her, carrying her limp form to the surface. She must’ve hit her head when she fell. Should he take her to his nest and finish what he’d started? It seemed wrong to take advantage of her when she was unconscious. Doubly wrong after mesmerizing her with song.

Wrapping an arm around her waist, he hauled her to the boat. The back of the vessel had a platform next to the motor, and he managed to leverage himself up. He clutched her to his chest and pulled her onto the deck where she sprawled on top of him. Her shoulder crushed the sea harp between them, shattering the delicate tines.

His entire body tightened. Without the harp’s aid, his task would be more difficult. Maybe impossible. Definitely more dangerous.

Rolling out from under her weight, he pushed himself up on one elbow to look at her. Although lacking a mermaid’s exotic flair, the human seemed attractive enough. The contours of her breasts pressed against the fabric of her shirt with nothing in between, and the curve of her waist rounded pleasantly to her hips.

She lay sprawled and uncomfortable-looking across the hard surface. How did these humans stand it, being weighted like this all their lives? He passed a hand over her heart, verifying her life aura still occupied her body. There it was, a yellow glow mixed with rich brown and pale orange. The information in that glow intrigued him; she was a seeker of knowledge, like him.

He pulled back with a shiver. He should finish what he started or flee before she roused. But curiosity compelled him to examine her just a bit longer. He’d only been this close to a human once before, a brief interaction when his brother had been captured in a mate bond by one. Rubac sometimes spied on the couple from a distance as they walked—his brother walked!—on a beach, but he’d never approached. Now he allowed himself to inspect the close details of this human’s skin. He liked the simplicity of her short, wind-rough hair, generous lips, and smooth, flat nose. A small gold stud gleamed from the crease of her nostril, complimenting her velvety brown skin. The wet fabric of her button-down shirt molded against her breasts, her hard brown nipples begging for his caress. Her flat stomach descended to a V where her legs met, and he found himself curious about what he might find there, so different from a mermaid’s vulval slit.

She stirred, and he dragged his gaze back to her face. Large brown eyes blinked at him, and with the wall previously created by her sunglasses gone, he found himself falling into the depths of her soul. A warm and curious comfort, like finding a kindred spirit after being eternally alone.

“Who are you?” Her aura was tinged with confusion and the pink threads of attraction.

Without thinking, he lowered his face and kissed her.

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