As an agent of The Shallows, Galadir accepts a job escorting a family of Selkies from Tasmania to Ireland, knowing there will be risk. The ocean is filled with sharks and other operatives of The Depths, an organization of shifters bent on reclaiming the oceans for themselves, who are determined to stop them. When things get dire, Galadir is forced to accept aid from an unexpected source.
Chase Crowely is a marine photographer who has just received his first assignment from a major nature magazine. Now he races around the world to try to photograph the unusual sight of a dolphin protecting fur seals. Little does he know there’s much more to the story than he suspects. By the time he gets the pictures he wants, he’s torn between his need to complete the assignment and his need to protect his new love.
The two unlikely men come together to protect others, risking the possibility of destroying their own lives or at the very least their hearts.
Galadir swam ahead of the trio of Selkies. The smallest, a very rare all-white newborn pup, made the pace slower than he would’ve liked. Alone he could’ve made the trip in a month. But with his charges and all the stops they had to make, it would take more than two. Galadir was in dolphin form and built for speed, but because there was a reason he’d been hired to protect them, he had to move at a seal’s pace. The family was one of the few left of their species, and Galadir happened to be a skilled shark hunter. They couldn’t travel by human airplanes, as the little one didn’t have any control over his shape changing, and until he could remove his skin and become human, he had to be isolated to shifter only communities.
If this family wasn’t so important, he would’ve passed on the job. He knew a minion of The Depths was plotting something; he could feel it.
The Depths had started out as a group protesting against human interaction and had grown into a faction of disgruntled ocean shifters. The Enforcers couldn’t police the deeper waters, so they’d turned to the dolphin community for help.
Galadir switched to circling the family. The murky waters around Australia were perfect hiding places for the large predators that lived there. And the perfect place for an ambush. Luckily, being a dolphin shifter, he used echolocation and perceived the distortion of energy around living creatures. The series of clicks he sent out came back showing only small fish in the immediate area.
The final destination, at least for him, was the frigid waters of Great Britain and the small Selkie colony there. Their path would take them around the Cape of Good Hope and up the coast of Africa.
Most of the trip wouldn’t be as dangerous as the cape. The deep, dark water harbored a large population of great whites. If the tip of South America had been a safer choice, they would’ve taken that route instead. Unfortunately, during the spring, the numbers of sharks and orcas increased due to the melting ice, making that route longer and just as dangerous.
The slow pace made Galadir jittery. He had too much energy to meander the way the Selkies were. Even circling the trio wasn’t enough to really burn off his need for speed.
Widening his circle and adding a pass both above and below, Galadir sent out several more calls. There were a few smaller sharks following a school of mackerel, but nothing big enough to pose a threat. Shame—Galadir would’ve liked a challenge to break up the monotony. He wanted something to go after, something to give him an excuse to stop feeling like a babysitter and be a dolphin for a while.
Galadir’s level of anxiety could’ve been due to Gregory’s disappearance. The morning before he was to leave for the Selkie birthing grounds, he woke up to an empty bed. No note. No goodbye. Not even a number to call. They’d only been seeing each other for about a week, but for the first time, Galadir had considered staying human. If it meant waking up to Gregory’s chiseled face and storm cloud eyes, he might have stepped away from his beloved waters.
Even the practical side, the side that made sure his wandering thoughts didn’t take too much of his attention, told him that emotions could make a tense situation seem more ominous. He viewed it as a good thing, though. Being more cautious would mean a greater likelihood of getting the Selkie family to their new home safely.
The same thoughts circled around and around in his mind as the miles stretched on. Galadir chased off a few small sharks that got a little too curious. He didn’t bother killing such meager animals. There was no honor in that. But he did make sure they had nips on their backsides to remind them of the encounter.
They stopped several times on isolated sandy beaches as they crossed the Indian Ocean, mostly to sleep, and only when they found shallows that Galadir deemed safe. Even then, he’d only allow himself to rest lightly while the Selkies regained their strength. He would’ve liked to speak to the father at these times, but part of the agreement was to stay in animal form the entire journey.
More and more stops were needed the closer they came to Africa, and the delay began to wear on Galadir’s nerves. Sure, there were places the Selkies could go ashore and rest, but he was wondering if the pup was sick or something. They’d all started out so strong. Maybe the three days they’d spent out away from any land had been too much for the little guy.
The Selkies swam upward toward the surface. A twinge of panic surged through Galadir, making him twitch his tail in agitation. The third stop of the day, and it wasn’t even noon.
What are they doing? We’re nearing the Cape!
He circled around them and tried to convey the danger with a few clicks. The father shook his head, and they continued toward the surface. Galadir circled underneath them and kept a close watch on the blue-ish black depths below. A shark would stand out in contrast, but wouldn’t appear until the last possible moment.
One by one, starting with the mother, the Selkies climbed out of the water. Galadir finally understood why as the parents struggled to help their infant onto the rocky shore.
The pup must be tiring. Perhaps they left the birthing shores too soon.
Determined to keep to their agreement, Galadir took up a leisurely pattern in the shallows near the beach. There wasn’t any danger he could detect, but he wanted to be safe. From their other breaks, he knew they wouldn’t move very far from the water. He just hoped there wouldn’t be any land-based predators to give them problems.