"A new paranormal series written by Marcy Jacks always gets me excited, and with this one involving mermen as well, I couldn’t wait to read the first book. Since Matty is a human and Aldis a mer prince, there are bound to be problems, and I was not disappointed. The world of the mers in this series is set up nicely, and even though I didn’t get a glimpse of New Atlantis, I am hoping for more in the next book. Both Matty and Aldis are great characters, and their getting to know each other slowly, as Matty grows up, gives their relationship changing from friendship into more a nice touch. Matty first met Aldis when he was twelve and staying with his grandparents in their beachside home. He managed to save the mer prince’s life and has been looking forward to his visits ever since. Matty’s feelings have changed over time, and he has fallen in love without any hope of that love being returned. The one kiss he attempted when he was fifteen ended in Aldis retreating in panic, and even though it is now ten years later and Matty long since an adult, he never attempted anything like that again. Losing Aldis’s friendship is the worst possible situation he can imagine, so he enjoys that as much as he can. Until an unknown merman tries to kill him, Aldis comes to see him on his twenty-fifth birthday and everything changes. Aldis knows Matty is his mate, but mermen don’t become adults until they are twenty-five, so he has had to wait. He feels bad for having had feelings for Matty for the last seven years or so, but he has manfully, or mermanly, suppressed them. Having to save Matty’s life was not something he had planned on having to do, but Aldis doesn’t hesitate even when the only way to keep Matty alive is to change him into a Mer. Aldis already knows mating with a human will not be seen favorably, to put it mildly, so adding another offense is not going to make his life any more difficult. What does make it very hard for Aldis to keep his cool is discovering who was behind the attack on Matty’s life, and dealing with this unexpected enemy is more difficult than Aldis would have imagined. If you like mermen and their secret underwater lives, if you like finding out more about men from different worlds who need to figure out how to make a relationship work, and if you’re looking for a read that is entertaining, has interesting details to get to know, and contains some very hot and sweet man-on-merman action, then you will probably like this novella. I look forward to more adventures set in this world!" -- Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews
The water was dark. The moonlight shone silver on the waves as they crested the shore. The only sounds came when his dog howled and from the white noise of the water pushing back and forth against the beach in the darkness.
He waited. Aldis didn’t step out of the water, as he did whenever there were no tourists around to see him. Matty was used to watching for that dark, black hair cresting the surface of equally dark water, but he didn’t see it.
Matty’s house was sort of out of the way, but every once in a while there would be people coming back around here for surfing and sometimes sex. The summer months were when the college kids liked to show up, and even in a day and age when college kids seemed strangely more conservative than their parents, they still liked to have their parties and get drunk and wander.
Aldis was better at sensing whenever they were around than Matty was, so that could be keeping him in the water.
Matty didn’t see any tourists either, and even then, had they been out here, he was sure he would’ve heard the laughter and noises from the rest of their party in the distance, or seen a hint of glow from a bonfire far down the beach. Made no sense.
But Marvel was barking at something. Matty stepped outside. “Marvel? Hey, come on back.”
In the distance, he could hear his dog still barking lamely. Anyone else might’ve thought it was far away with how weak that noise was, but Matty new better.
He followed the noise.
He walked along the deck and around to the back. He could hear the clicking of his dog’s nails against the wooden deck. He was close. He hadn’t gone far, and it sounded like he couldn’t chase off whatever was there.
Suddenly, Marvel rounded around the other side of the deck, and Matty stopped as the little hound waddled toward him.
He sighed. “There you are.”
Jesus, he hadn’t realized how worried he’d been until then. He bent down. “Did you find a bird? Was some critter on your territory?”
The old tail wagged, and Matty scratched the floppy ears.
Marvel had belonged to his grandfather, who had learned English in part thanks to Marvel comics. He was the only thing Matty had left of his grandparents, and the last thing he wanted was to have the dog wander off and get hurt in the night.
“Come on. Let’s go wait for—”
Heavy footsteps, pounding steps. Matty looked up just in time to see a pale knee smashing into his face, and the white that exploded immediately after.
He went down hard, crashing into the wooden deck beneath him. Warm blood rushed to the back of his nose and mouth. He could taste it even as his hair was grabbed up in a strong fist and he was dragged to his feet.
Marvel barked, then whined sharply.
Matty went a little crazy. Did this motherfucker just kick his dog?
He thrashed and kicked and punched blindly at his attacker. The grunting noise of whoever was grabbing at him told him he was at least hurting him, landing his blows, but they weren’t strong enough to make the guy let go.
His dog howled, but there was no protection to be had there, and then Matty’s feet were kicking up the sand.
This guy was pulling him away from the house. Matty hadn’t realized it until he no longer felt the wooden deck beneath his bare feet.
“Get off me!”
A hand gripped his hair, yanked hard, then pushed his face down into a hard knee.
The pain was worse than the first time, and another rush of blood surged down the back of his throat and nose.
This guy meant to hurt him. Matty’s heart stopped and a blind panic took him when he realized the possibility of a knife was very real.
Then his legs splashed in the water. Not just his feet, but really, his legs. He was being pulled deeper in.
This guy was…holy shit! He was going to drown him!
He fought and struggled harder, but in the water, his body was weaker, especially when it got up to his shoulders, and the strong hands on him grabbed at his throat and gripped his hair tighter, trying to dunk him in.
He succeeded too well. Matty didn’t have the chance to call out for help or take in a last breath of air. He thought he heard his dog howling from beneath the water, but he couldn’t be sure because he was too busy trying to escape.
It felt like the man who had him was swimming out deeper into the water. Farther away from shore, fast and strong and not human at all.
And his lungs burned. He could normally hold his breath pretty decently, his longest record was two minutes and ten seconds, but with all the struggling and moving, his body used more oxygen in his desperate bid to escape. He was going to tire himself out and inhale the water and die.
Oh God. He was going to die and Aldis… He wanted to see him again. He hadn’t seen him in almost two weeks and now he was going to die without seeing him!
He thrashed harder. More out of instinct now than anything else. He used his fingernails to claw at the hands and arms that held him. He wasn’t sure if he left marks or not, but if this guy was going to kill him, then Matty was going to mark him for it. He was still desperately trying to stop himself from inhaling when…that exact thing happened. He breathed water into his lungs just as he felt his head was going to explode.
Then, everything was fine, peaceful even.
He was Aldis’s mate. Of course he would make this good.
"Yeah, just like that. God," Matty said, looking back at him, his eyes clouded with lust.
Aldis pressed his fingers deeper within Matty’s body, stretching him wide, touching everywhere that could be touched.
And then he found the spot that made Matty's spine arch and a long moan leave his throat. Aldis watched as Matty threw his head back again, really digging the back of his skull into the sheets as he opened his mouth in a long sigh.
The gills he now had, that he did not yet know were there, fluttered from the pleasure. Matty shivered and bucked against him, and Aldis just watching this show, felt his prick throb, swell further, the pressure building inside his testicles and cock almost too much for him to bear.
He moaned as he watched Matty's pleasure.
Aldis would have to be careful about touching him there. The gills on infants were small and fragile. These gills had that same transparent, delicate look to them. If Aldis needed to touch or kiss Matty in that spot, he would have to show great care.
“A–Aldis, seriously, please, I’m gonna implode if you don’t get inside me right now. God, please fuck me.”
Aldis blinked, and then he laughed at the look of desperation in Matty’s eyes, at the way he stared with such a begging expression on his face. A thin sheen of sweat was developing over his face and chest. His nipples were peaked and a shade of dark brown.
Aldis leaned in and pressed a kiss to each one of them.
“Do you want me to put you out of your misery?” His cock ached at the thought, but it was pleasurable to tease himself as well as his mate.
Aldis laughed, and he pulled his fingers free from that tight, warm space. “All right, love, whatever your wish.”
* * * *
Did Aldis really just call him love?
Matty went through his mental catalogue of all the reasons he probably hadn’t meant it the way Matty was hoping he’d meant it.
For one thing, Aldis was a mer, and they were in bed together while Aldis slicked his cock, making the thick shaft shiny with lube as he prepared to put it inside of Matty's asshole. Maybe that was just what mers called each other when they were about to get laid. That seemed valid enough. Sex did not equal love.
He wasn’t about to question it and risk that what they were going would come to a stop, however. Not when he was so close to getting what he needed out of this. So close to getting what he'd been fantasizing about ever since he figured out how to masturbate.
Matty immediately stopped thinking about it when he felt the thick, bulging head of Aldis’s cock pressing against his asshole.
He sighed. The burn was the most exquisite thing he’d ever experienced in his entire life. He couldn’t believe this was actually happening. He’d been dreaming about this since puberty, and now it was here and he almost didn’t feel ready for it even as he wanted Aldis to hurry up and fuck him as hard and fast as he wanted.
Aldis sighed as, inch by inch, his slick, heavy cock pushed forward, stretching him wide, opening him up, and then he was there.
Matty felt Aldis’s testicles, and the pearl hoop piercing, press against the back of his ass.
It was wonderful.
“Put your legs around me. I want to feel your thighs on my hips.”
Sounded reasonable enough. Matty gave Aldis what he wanted. He’d give the man absolutely everything he wanted if it meant they could do this again long after it was supposed to end.
Aldis groaned before he leaned down and pressed a sweet, gentle kiss to Matty’s mouth. Aldis’s face was always so smooth. His brows weren’t even that thick, but Matty always had dark stubble, even hours after shaving. Part of him hoped it wasn’t uncomfortable for Aldis to be kissing him with that, but the other part desperately hoped he’d get to see some tiny red scratch marks there when they finished. Anything that would mark Aldis as belonging to him, to prove, at least for a few days, that this had happened. This was real, and they’d finally done it.
Aldis certainly didn’t complain as he did something amazing with his chin, tilting his head to the side as Matty did the same, but in the other direction.
Aldis’s hips moved. He canted back and forth, his cock sliding and stretching, touching every inner wall as the head dragged against Matty’s prostate. It was heaven. It was mind-numbing, toe-curling heaven, and Matty clutched Aldis’s shoulders hard enough that he was probably going to bruise the man.
Which was fine. If Matty could leave a couple of love bruises over those swirling blue tattoos, then all the better as far as he was concerned.
Aldis’s tongue slide forward, licking Matty deep, encouraging his own tongue to participate before he was forced to pull back. The thrust of his hips, the sharp slap of flesh hitting flesh, and the way Matty felt like he was being fucked right across the sheets meant it was probably hard to keep their kiss from involving any teeth.
Without Aldis’s mouth there to muffle the noise, Matty threw his head back and moaned, a long, loud noise that was as much pleasure as it was a gut-deep ache.
There was no explanation for it. It was something he’d never felt before and couldn’t describe, other than it was pulling Matty to Aldis in the strangest possible way.
He belonged to the man. He would always belong to him, even if Aldis left him forever after tonight, Matty was never going to belong to anyone else.
There was never going to be anyone else.