Ever since she was eight years old, Erica Peck has been terrified of the ocean. Something scary happened to her when she was swimming (she can't quite remember what) and she hasn't been near the water since. Which is a bit of a difficulty because her family runs a marina in New Jersey. Since her brothers are away on military service, the running of the place falls upon her shoulders. And she was doing okay, really. She even got up the gumption to take the urn with Grandpa's ashes out and scatter them. Overcoming her demons. Way to go, Erica.
Except. Ex-fiance Joey, skirt chaser and cheater (hence the ex) apparently hid some diamonds in Grandpa's urn and he's not too happy that Erica has dumped them in the sea. So not happy that he drags her out to the site at gunpoint and forces her into shark infested waters to retrieve them. When she is unable to find them an infuriated Joey shoots at her, grazing her temple and knocking her out. Then he takes off (what a charmer), leaving Erica to be eaten by a circling shark.
Named Vincent. Fortunately for Erica she has been admired from afar for years. Well, since the aforementioned incident when she was eight, at least. Reel Tritone, second son of the under sea's version of the royal family, fell for her that day and has been hoping she would return ever since. And here she is, about to be eaten by Vincent the shark or drowned, dead either way. He talks Vincent out of eating her and then saves her the only way he can, by kissing her to turn her into a water-breather. Never mind that it breaks every rule of the Mer-people and could lead to the punishment of death for both of them. He'll tackle that later.
You see, Reel is the only mer-person to not have a tail. He has legs, just like humans. In the Mer world the oldest royal son is born with a tail and younger sons are born with legs to dissuade them from trying to grab the top spot. Makes sense, but also means that Reel has felt like an outcast for much of his life and is fascinated with humans, who look more like him.
So, Erica wakes up in Reel's bottom-of-the-sea home, breathing water, talking fish everywhere and a beautiful naked merman in front of her. It is a lot for a girl to take in all at once. Especially when they are almost immediately commanded to appear before the High Council to defend themselves. Reel has an ace up his non-existent sleeve, though. The council wants those diamonds, too. And he knows where they are. Better not to tell Erica that a sea monster, the mother of all sea monsters, actually, is hoarding them. If they can get those diamonds back the council will agree to cancel the death sentence. That's a BIG if.
This was my first paranormal romance and I read it because I loved the premise, it just sounded like so much fun. What mom who has been forced to see Disney's The Little Mermaid a hundred and fifty times wouldn't want an adult version to spice things up? (I'm not a mom, but I have seven nieces and nephews...my poor sister and sisters-in-law know the dialogue of those Disney movies by heart, they have heard them so many times). And this story is fun! The author has taken her unique idea and created a whole underwater society where the fish talk (where a human would say "Oh, man!" they say "Oh, fish!"), work (marlins are the equivalent of a team of horses pulling a stagecoach) and generally get up to the same kinds of mischief that humans do. There is action and excitement (especially the sexual kind) and quite a bit of humor, too. This one takes romance to a new height, er, depth. (Note that there is some rather explicit hot sex, rather well done, I thought, but needs to be mentioned). Take this one to the beach this summer, you will have a whole new appreciation for the waves lapping at your toes.
With a cast of such fun and interesting characters, it would be a shame to stop with just one book! Thankfully the author has sequels in the works already. Wild Blue Under and Catch of a Lifetime will be published soon by Sourcebooks. Many thanks to Danielle at Sourcebooks for sending me this one and to Judi for her fabulous guest post yesterday! Remember to stop by the author's website, she has a great Romantic Getaway contest going on right now!
How about some other reviews?