By Anne Lange
Simon shoved his fists into the front pockets of his cargo shorts and strolled along the beach, gazing out over the endless blanket of blue. With every wave that broke the shoreline, his hair whipped around his head and a light, briny-scented spray of water coated him. His younger sister had joked he needed a haircut. His mother had told him a shave would make him not look so forlorn or scary.
With each step, he sunk heel first into the wet sand, cold and clammy against his bare feet. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath in—God, he loved the water—and let it out.
And he hated it just as much.
He opened his eyes and glanced over to where his family and closest friends had gathered on the beach after their day of playing in the sand and a picnic dinner. One of his cousins had brought his guitar, and Simon could hear the faint strums as Dean goofed around with some lively tunes. Most of them had switched to sweats or sat wrapped in camping blankets now that the sun had set. Even with the bonfire they were preparing, the cooler air coming in off the water warranted warmer clothing.
Simon didn’t feel the cold. He didn’t feel much of anything these days.
He appreciated that his family thought this little excursion would help. Though it was more like ripping off a Band-Aid in his opinion. They believed after all this time, it would bring him closure. Allow him to move on and finally fix what appeared to be broken.
But how did one fix a broken heart?
There had been a time that a trip to the beach or an outing on his boat would have done the trick. But not anymore. The boat was long gone. The trips to the beach… Well, this was the first since that day. Hell, he didn’t even own a bathing suit anymore. And if Dean hadn’t dragged him here, he’d be at home in his darkened living room, staring at photo albums.
Everyone around that fire probably thought his meandering along the edge of the water was his way of saying good-bye to the past. He snorted. Fuck. If they only knew. The only thing on his mind had nothing to do with the future.
It should have been him.
Simon trudged along, putting more distance between him and the others. The sounds of laughter, music, and crackling fire faded away until he couldn’t hear them at all.
When he looked up, he’d reached the outcropping of rocks at the end of the beach. If he felt so inclined, he could clamor over those boulders and truly be on his own. Few people bothered because they were wet and slimy, smooth from years of abuse from the sea, making them treacherous to navigate. But he knew from experience that the trip was worth it. After a handful of slips and scrapes, it felt like being on a totally isolated island on the other side.
The perfect place to fall in love.
To make love.
Too many memories reared up and pain sliced through him. Simon began to turn back, not ready to face them right now. They’d come soon enough when he finally closed his eyes.
From the corner of his eye, he caught a flash of something and paused. He stepped into cold water that swirled and frothed around his ankles and craned his neck to see as far around the rocks as he could. Bubbles rose from the other side of a particularly large boulder. As they popped, the scent of Sulphur hit his nose. What the hell?
Simon jerked and stumbled back. That was a female voice. There was only one way onto this beach, other than by boat of course. And his family had been the sole visitors today.
“Oh dear. Now what am I going to do?”
Simon stood there, speechless, while she grumbled and grunted somewhere out of his line of vision.
“How could I have been so stupid?”
He didn’t have an answer for that. He didn’t know how to respond to that voice at all. That soft, sweet, melodic voice.
“Elnora says go. We go. No questions. Just do as she bids. Again.”
Who was Elnora? And who belonged to that voice?
By Aubrey Wynne
An invisible rope pulled at him—no, something subtler and even more compelling. A silky thread of gentle influence that spun around his head and shoulders and drew him toward the highest boulder. Simon climbed the rock, his fingernails scraping the slick algae that clung to his skin. A yellow froth simmered in the water. Just below his line of vision, a splash dissolved the golden foam.
He peered over the top, sharp points digging into his chest and ribs. A glint of sparkling scales in blues and greens and silvers. A soft sigh. He inched closer to the edge. Long slender arms gracefully stroked the water. The moonlight shimmered off her pale, creamy skin and gave the woman an almost ghostly appearance. As if sensing his presence, she turned her head.
He froze, feeling the earth spin beneath him as sea green eyes gazed up at him. She wasn’t a ghost; she was an angel. And then his hand slipped, his chin smashed against the stone, and he tumbled over the ragged cliff and into the water below. Splash!
He fought for breath as the cold water soaked his clothes. He kicked and floated up, breaking through the clear surface with a yell. He tread water, turning in circles, searching for the heavenly, raven-haired girl.Where did she go? Have I lost my mind? The scent of suphur burned his nostrils again.
“Are you all right?”
Her voice washed over him and warmed his skin. It was the sweetest sound he had heard in two years. She sat just inside a small cave, her knees up and arms wrapped around her legs—naked. I do need therapy. No one will ever believe this.
“Perhaps we can help each other?” She spoke in a slow, sensual tone like honey dripping from a spoon.
He swam over to her and she reached down to help pull him from the water. As he dripped over her, she quickly covered herself again. “Could you spare a wet shirt for a female in need?”
Simon opened his mouth, closed it, and opened it again. Shut your mouth, you look like a gaping fish. Her slender arms barely covered perfect, rounded breasts. The curly dark shadow between her legs glistened with beads of water.
“Who are you? How did you get here? Where are your clothes?” Now that he’d caught his breath, every question in his head seemed to spill from his lips.
“Give a girl a break. I’ll trade you answers for the hoodie.” She smiled and his heart beat faster.
He pulled off the wet material and handed it to her. “What’s your name?”
“Narissa, and thank you. I came a bit unprepared.” The last of her words were muffled as she struggled to push her arms through the sopping sleeves.
Simon started to tug and when her head finally appeared, he was rewarded with a lovely grin on her soft, pink lips. Without thought, he reached around and gently tugged her hair out from the hood and laid it gently over her shoulders. Thick waves of midnight fell through his fingers and framed her heart-shaped face. A tremor passed through him, and he felt himself harden for the first time since… What the hell? I just got out of the ice-cold ocean, how can I be—
“And you are?”
“Simon. Were you in a boating accident? How did you get here?” An image flashed through his mind, the hull of his boat jutting out of the water, blackness all around, a cry for help.
“Oh no, nothing like that. Elnora was a little too adamant about the mission. I took off without a plan.” Narissa shrugged. “I have a bad habit of not thinking first.”
The late spring air chilled his skin and goose bumps rose along his arms and chest. He suddenly felt the stones under his bare feet and his chin hurt. As if reading his mind, she reached up and delicately touched it.
“Is there much pain? I can’t tell without any light.”
“Aren’t you cold?” He caught her hand as she pulled away. “How do you know my chin hurts?”
By Angie Daniels
Narissa couldn’t believe it.
Nothing she’d heard or ever read about had prepared her for the man standing in front of her. Despite what Elnora said about humans being disgusting creatures, the gray-eyed hottie was one sexy beast.
“Did you say you can feel my pain?” he asked, gaze flickering with disbelief.
She nodded. “Yes, I feel what you feel.”
He was wondering if she was crazy. The same thought had crossed her mind. The ability to feel was only supposed to be possible between Hydronid soulmates, not with humans! Yet, there was no denying the dull ache at his cleft chin or the pressure of the rocks beneath his feet. But what caused her to gasp was the overwhelming heat that raged through his body, settling right smack at his groin. It not only had her nipples beading but also the area between her thighs, pulsing with unfamiliar need. Thank goodness for the large hoodie that covered her to mid-thigh.
As he continued to stare at her, Narissa felt an unmistakable magnetic pull between them. “Narissa, where did you come from?” he asked.
She smirked, loving the way her name rolled off his tongue. He had the kind of deep baritone voice dreams were made of. “I come from a place you’ve never been, but if you’re a good boy, I’ll take you home with me.” Playfully, Narissa bumped her shoulder against his.
He blinked at her. “Place? What kind of place?”
She was scaring him, and the last thing she wanted was for him to run away. “I’m on a mission.”
“This is some kind of joke, right?” He flashed a crooked smile that was so deliciously sexy it aroused all her girlie parts.
“What’s your name again?” Narissa asked.
“Simon,” she repeated and found it had a nice ring to it. “Simon, this isn’t a joke.”
He was perfect. Curly brown hair. A strong nose. Gorgeous eyes. And a body like Poseidon. He was exactly what she was looking for to fulfill her mission, and in the flicker of a heartbeat, she was craving the taste of human lips.
“Kiss me.” She felt her body sway toward him.
His eyes widened. “Excuse me?”
Giggling, she whispered, “Kiss me, silly.” Reaching up, Narissa cupped the back of his head, urging his face toward hers. She planned on just a quick peck but his mouth was so soft and moist, a moan slipped from between her lips.
“Now that’s what I call an introduction,” Simon growled and dragged Narissa to him.
The heat radiating from his body surrounded her and then his large arms swallowed her. The pressure of his chest against her tingling nipples was enough to make her quiver. Am I dreaming? If she was, she was in no rush to wake up. Simon’s lips tempted her in ways she’d only imagined.
She deepened the kiss. Simon opened his mouth, inviting her to explore deeper. As soon as his tongue met hers again, all Narissa could think about was how Simon made her feel feminine and fragile, even though she wasn’t. She felt alive and new to passion although she’d experienced kisses before. Only this was far better than any schoolgirl crush.
Desperate for air, she brought a hand to his chest and drew back. His breath fanned her face while she watched him, watching her.
“I’ve never met anyone like you,” he confessed.
“Neither have I.” Narissa nodded slowly while her heart did a weird tap dance in her chest. “Simon, I think we’re going to get along just fine.”
To be continued…
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