A Merman’s Choice
Fantasy Romance – Book 1 in the Sea of Love series
For centuries the shape-shifting mermen of the Morvann Islands have lived incognito among humans. But one of them, Yann, has developed some bad habits. Like rescuing humans, even when doing so risks revealing his true nature. When he fishes Alex out of the sea, he doesn’t expect her to reappear eight months later, and turn his life upside down by asking him to be her guide.
Alex is determined to fulfil a promise to her dying grandmother, by gathering pictures and stories of the Morvanns. But she soon discovers that, on these remote Welsh islands, legends have a habit of becoming true!
Over the course of a few days, Yann and Alex grow close. But some mermen hate humans. Their hostility, and Yann’s secret, threaten to tear the couple apart just as they are discovering that they are soul mates. Can Yann overcome the obstacles in his path and make the right choice?
The girl wasn’t swimming any more. Yann’s sonar gave him a clear picture of her distress. She was flailing. Sinking.
Fear punched him between the ribs. Just a few minutes earlier, she’d been splashing in the shallows, laughing and humming to herself. That music had rippled around him, brightening his journey. Now the sea was snuffing that light out. No! He wouldn’t let it happen. His webbed hands and feet churned the water, and he shot towards her like a torpedo.
Not this one, sea. Not this time.
She came in sight, slim and lovely, with long bronzed limbs and hair the colour of sunshine. But her eyes were closed, her movements slow, hesitant, as if she were falling asleep. His fear hardened into cold, sharp dread. He poured all his energy into the last powerful strokes. He’d almost reached her, when his eye caught the shadow, beyond the crystal surface, out there in the dry world. He sent a sound wave. It came back with an image, and the icy blade inside him twisted: two-legged shapes on the beach. Humans!
If they saw him, they’d know him for what he was. His people’s secret, kept for thousands of years, would be out.
The girl’s head vanished under the waves. To hell with that. He couldn’t let her drown.
He grabbed her and dragged her back to the surface. She thrashed in his arms and coughed up seawater. Intense relief swept through him as he hugged her to his chest. He’d sworn he’d never again swim by and let a human drown, and he’d kept his promise. If the young woman’s eyes remained closed, he might even get away with it. He wanted her to breathe, not scream in horror at the sight of his dark grey face.
He looked up. The shapes on the beach had gone. Another miracle, or perhaps he’d only imagined them. What if they came back? A fresh stab of anxiety propelled him through the surf. He lay the girl down on the sand, cushioning her head on his arm. Her round breasts, encased in the turquoise bikini top, rose and fell in a regular rhythm, but her skin felt clammy under his hands. He scanned the beach in vain for something to cover her with, and saw the motorbike. A sleek, sporty number, well camouflaged among the grass-covered dunes.
Shit. He retracted the webs between his fingers and toes, but his body would take at least twenty minutes to shift from the aquatic shape to the human form. And even when it did, what would the humans think, if they found him naked next to an unconscious girl?
They’d arrest him for indecent exposure, or worse. He touched the girl’s face with a tentative finger. The thought of leaving her sickened him. But he couldn’t stay.
Her eyelids fluttered and she muttered a name. “Boris?”
As if in answer, a male voice tore through the air, from behind the dunes. “Alex!”
Yann flew towards the waves. Help was coming for the girl. She’d be fine.
He sped into the open sea, leaving the human world and human fears behind. He’d saved her. That knowledge glowed inside him as he plunged into the depths. She was safe, and his people would remain safe too. He sang as he rode the riptide, a song full of triumph and laughter. Far away, the humpback whales heard him and picked up the tune. He’d got away with it.
For now. His euphoria abated. No humans had seen him, but his people had sharper eyes and ears. He shouldn’t even have been hanging around, in full merman shape, so close to an inhabited island, but he’d thought he’d be OK. In late September so few tourists were around, and locals had better things to do than go swimming in cold water. He sniffed the current, tuned his sonar towards the Clans’ Islands. Nothing. With luck, no one would notice that he’d broken the merpeople’s rules.
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Alice was born and brought up in Brittany, Western France, her father was French and her mother British (from Wales). She moved to London, UK, in 1997, where she now lives with her husband and son. She works full time as a compliance specialist in a pharmaceutical company. She has been writing in her free time since she was 14. She got quite a few short stories published in UK magazines, before moving to longer fiction. She wrote three contemporary romance books, but didn’t find a publisher for them. She then realized that mermen, sea witches and water demons were a lot more fun than sheikhs and billionaires! Her first two paranormal romances did not find a publisher either, then she wrote A Merman’s Choice, which was published in January this year by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the first book in a fantasy romance trilogy inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second book, Music for a Merman, will be out later this year. She loves reading and writing stories, and sharing them with anyone who’s interested!
Find Alice Renaud here
Did you bond more with a particular character? Who was it and why?
I felt an affinity with Alex, the heroine, because at the beginning of the book she suffers from a phobia of water, which is a bit of a problem when you’re in love with a merman, right? But she learns to overcome it. I suffered from severe anxiety a few years ago, so I can empathize with Alex. I like the fact that she turns feisty at the end and realizes she’s stronger than she thought she was.
What’s your favourite colour?
Blue and green are my favourite colours. In Welsh and Breton, we have a colour called “glas”: it can be blue, green, or purple, or all of them. The colour of the sea!
What’s your favourite food?
Chips. I cannot resist chips. If there are chips on my plate, or anywhere on the table to be honest, I HAVE to eat them. All of them. Even the ones that have turned all soggy and cold at the bottom. I can’t help it.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?
Reading! And watching fantasy films and TV series. My husband and I are big sci-fi, fantasy, and historical fiction fans.
What are you writing now?
I am working on the third book in my Sea of Love series, “Mermaids Marry in Green”. I’ve also just finished a short story for a supernatural romance anthology, featuring an apprentice witch and a time-travelling warlock.
What’s the hardest part about being an author? And the easiest?
I think the hardest part is selling books. You have to put a lot of effort into promotion. I’m very grateful to my publisher, Black Velvet Seductions, and the other BVS authors, as well as authors such as yourself, for their help and support. I wouldn’t have known where to start!
I think the easiest part for me is coming up with ideas. Writing them down is a different matter!
Have you learned anything from your readers? Or had a response that especially touched you?
A reader said she identified with the characters’ struggle against family obligations and expectations. I hadn’t thought of my book in that way, and it was lovely to see my story could have that meaning for readers. She clearly spoke from the heart, and personal experience, and it touched me.
Don’t forget, you can buy A Merman’s Choice here: