Authors: Jade Buchanan
Tags: #erotic, #paranormal, #mermaid, #Menage
Aella is searching for strength. When the seals under her care start to die, Aella needs all the help she can get. She asks two mermen, Damon and Pythias, for their assistance but they have secrets about themselves they aren’t willing to share, and their help could come at a very high price. Can Aella trust Damon and Pythias? Or will misplaced trust leave her under their spell, and in their control?
PRAISE FOR JADE BUCHANAN
“Jade Buchanan is a natural at creating believable characters and stories that reach out to the reader." – Scandalous Minx, Literary Nymphs
“Jade Buchanan has proven time and again that she is a gifted author...” – Kimberley Spinney, Sensual Reads
“The sexual tension and the sexual culminations were so hot I was wiping the fog off my ebook reader’s screen." – Hayley, Fallen Angel Reviews
“Jade Buchanan has created a marvelous saga packed with emotional dilemma, breathtaking intimacy and humor.” – Chocolate Minx, Literary Nymphs
“With an erotic edge that keeps me coming back for more, this book will knock you off your feet.” – Tara Renee, TwoLips Reviews
Copyright 2012 Jade Buchanan
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Aella paused, catching sight of a small face peaking out of the entrance to the cave ahead of her. He was covered in a black woolly coat, and although she couldn’t see if from here she knew there would be a white patch on his belly. She smiled, ducking quickly behind the outcropping beside her. She swished her aquamarine tail -- silently counting to ten -- idly flicking it back and forth.
Tilting her head, she waited another five counts. The rock against her back was silky smooth in the water. She pressed against it, waiting for the right moment. Darting out, she gave a heave of her tail, powering through the waters toward the small body. He reared back, moving his flippers to sink into the cave. Giving chase, she squeezed her body through the opening, wincing at the pull on her hip where it scraped against the wall. She flexed her muscles, bending and twisting to follow the small, black body through the narrow passageway.
Reaching forward, her fingers grazed his backside, just missing him. She laughed, her voice ringing out inside the cave. He turned his head to look back at her, flitting away when she made to grab him again. Aella shook her head, determined to catch him this time. She was going to catch him -- if it was the last thing she did.
The cave walls rushed past her. The ledges and crags would normally capture her attention, but she had different prey on her mind today.
He flicked his tail at her, mocking her attempts. She laughed again. A bright, cheerful sound. He twisted around to watch her for a moment. She knew he was always drawn to the sound of her voice. She would have him in a minute, when the path opened up ahead of them, and her bigger body would have the advantage.
Suddenly, she sensed a larger presence in front of them. She looked up, crying out a warning seconds too late. He slammed into the figure in front of him, his small body taking the brunt of the impact.
She swam toward him, reaching him in seconds, running her hands down his fragile body. She ignored the large male hands that tried to get her to let go of her bounty.
“Easy, easy now,” the man crooned.
“Is he hurt? Oh gods, I know better than to play tag in the caves.” She also knew better than to be this close to the shore where any fisherman or tourist with a fancy underwater camera could ruin her day. Not that her father wouldn’t take care of things eventually, but it wouldn’t be pretty.
“He’s fine, just a little stunned.”
Aella stroked the body of Phocas, crooning softly to him. He couldn’t be injured, she didn’t know what she would do without her little seal.
Phocas jerked, blinking open his large, soulful eyes. She cried out, hugging him tighter to her. He wriggled and she set him loose.
“I apologize, I didn’t see him until he was already upon me.”
Aella finally dragged her attention from Phocas to look at the man in front of her. She just barely managed to stifle her gasp. Damon! She’d been so distracted by Phocas that she hadn’t really noticed who they’d run into.
Tall and leanly muscled, Damon towered over her. His chest was chiseled, his arms corded with ropy muscles. His raven hair was pulled back from his face with a tie. He had prominent cheekbones and a narrow, aquiline nose. He should be intimidating, but she couldn’t stop looking at him. Every new feature was like another piece of a puzzle, fitting into an altogether breathtaking picture. It was like this every time she saw him, but it only served to get worse the older she became.
This one-sided attraction was beyond frustrating.
His lips curved, and she finally noticed that he had been taking his own leisurely perusal of her. She could feel her cheeks heat up. Against her will, she raised her arm, bringing it up to cover her breasts. He chuckled darkly, and she ducked her head in embarrassment. She should have just stayed still. Now she looked like an innocent. And maybe it wasn’t so one-sided after all.
His tail was larger than her own, covered in silvery black scales. The rest of his body was deeply tanned. He held out his hand, waiting until she placed her slender milky-white fingers within his own.
“You haven’t accepted my apology yet, my lady. Was it not acceptable?”
“Oh no, I just… I accept your apology, of course,” she stuttered. She didn’t know how to deal with Damon. He had such an old-world air about him. It made her realize how very young she must seem to him some days. She’d grown up reading the tales of the Greek gods thousands of years after they’d first been written. He’d lived through it.
He smiled at the small body that had crept back up to his side. Phocas peered up at him, moving closer to rub against the man’s scales.
“Are you forgetting about me?” A voice sounded at her back.
Aella tried to turn, suddenly hampered by a set of powerful arms that wrapped around her waist. She caught a glimpse of a strong profile, before Pythias lowered his head. Dark, chestnut brown hair wafted over her shoulder, mixing with her coppery red strands.
He rubbed his cheek along her shoulder, tightening his hold around her waist. His arm brushed against her own where she had it wrapped around her breast, the small hairs grazing her skin. She shivered. He smoothed his palm down her side, brushing against the scrape on her hip. She winced when he probed the area with gentle fingers.
“You should be more careful with such delicate skin. It seems a shame to mar it,” he rumbled.
Pythias released her slowly, caressing her body. Her mouth opened, she tried to speak but her mind was blank. Why were they suddenly acting like they liked her? She’d known them both for years, but they’d never once interacted with her. Or, it might be better to say that she knew about them. Growing up, she always seemed to see them at a distance, never gotten to know them personally. They were like shadows, in a way.
When she was little she used to make up stories, until her father found out about that and told her in no uncertain terms that she should mind her own business and focus on her own self. It hadn’t really been her fault. She’d been born in the modern age, but she was surrounded by people who lived in ancient times. How could she not be curious?
“I don’t think you’re supposed to be here. If you leave now, I won’t mention it to my father.”
She was trying to regain the upper hand. She had no idea how the tables had been turned so neatly on her. This was her home -- or as near to it as she could get in the ocean -- and she wouldn’t let them intimidate her.
“And why should we be afraid of your father, daughter of Poseidon?” Pythias’ deep voice vibrated the waters around them.
Aella shivered again, trying to move away imperceptibly. Too bad Phocas -- the traitor -- chose that moment to brush up against Damon again, wriggling in pleasure when Damon stroked him with one strong hand. She tried to squash the thought that she wouldn’t be as mad if only he would stroke her like that.
“My father could eat the two of you for breakfast if I asked him. You should be afraid.”
The two men shared a glance, Damon with a smile and Pythias with a fierce frown.
“Careful, little one, you don’t know who you are playing with,” Damon replied with a grin.
Aella sniffed, entirely unimpressed despite her attraction for them. They may be incredibly appealing, but she wasn’t going to be threatened. She was the daughter of Poseidon, and her father would do anything to make sure she was happy.
Phocas swam up to her, placing his nose close to her own. With a snort, he jerked his head up. She nodded.
“I need to go to the surface with Phocas. He’s afraid of the humans around here and doesn’t like to be alone.” She silently cursed, she didn’t owe them any explanations.
Pythias nodded, moving back to allow her more room. She caught a glimpse of his scales. They were a deep chocolate brown, highlighted with rusty accents. They glistened under the water.
Damon moved in front of her, swishing his tail to glide forward. Phocas immediately abandoned her, swimming beside Damon. With a huff, she followed him.
“How is it that you swim with a monk seal? I was under the impression that they are nearing extinction.” Pythias appeared beside her.
She glanced over at him, sensing his interest. Looking ahead again, she answered him.
“Monk seals were placed under the protection of my father centuries ago. Poseidon favored them because of their love for the sea and the sun. I don’t think he knew how much they would be hunted and decimated. There are less than five hundred where there once used to be thousands. Father asked me to take care of them, and so I do.” She had another job, of course. Working with her computers let her live in the very modern world she’d been born into. But, this… being in the water surrounded by creatures that were so beloved by her father made her feel closer to her roots.
Pythias nodded, lost in thought. She glanced over at him, puzzled by the frown on his face.
“I may not be my sisters, but I’m still passionate about what happens under the sea.” And didn’t that make her sound like she was going to belt out a song from
The Little Mermaid
. Aella inwardly cringed. Gods, every second talking to them made her feel younger and more unsettled as a result. She bet her older siblings never had this problem. Of course, the children of Poseidon had all sorts of issues they had to deal with, but she was the baby of the family. The only one born in this century. It had given her a slight complex.
Pythias mumbled something under his breath. It kind of sounded like ‘I’ll give you something to be passionate about’ but she couldn’t be sure. Shaking her head, she swam for the surface, following the silvery black tail in front of her.
She knew her father would scold her if he found out she was swimming with two men she knew next to nothing about. He always said she acted before she thought everything out. Never mind that Poseidon knew both men. He was protective of her. Between Poseidon and her older brother, Triton, she worried she’d never get the chance to achieve her full potential with the two of them constantly looking over her shoulder.
They broke the surface, entering the small pool deep within the labyrinth of caves. It was highly unlikely that any human would be able to enter this pool unless they could breathe underwater, although it was still possible that they could enter it from above if they were exploring along the island. Of course, anyone with good diving gear could be out here so she knew better. Aella shook her head. She was taking a risk. It wasn’t the first time and truthfully, it probably wouldn’t be the last either. She had to be in the water. It was an itch that got worse the longer she stayed on land.
With that thought, she glanced above her, raising her face to the sun shining down on them. Phocas swam circles around her, dancing in the waters. In front of her, the two men stayed silent, floating with the help of their tails moving under the water.
“You never did answer my question,” she said. “What exactly are you doing here?”