Blurb: SHIPPING TYCOON ROEN DORAN IS A BASTARD. Yes, he knows it. No, he doesn’t care. He’s got money and power, and he depends on no one. But when his estranged father dies, willing him a secret island, Roen will come face to face with an even bigger secret: its occupants. And these savage, sea-obsessed warriors are quick to make their position clear: Leave now or die. There’s only one problem; nobody tells Roen what to do. Ever. Oh, and there’s one other thing…
SOLE SHIPWRECK SURVIVOR LIV STRATTON had been adrift at sea for ten grueling days when salvation miraculously appeared: an uncharted island. Only, the deceivingly beautiful men who live there aren’t interested in saving her. No, not at all. Because they somehow believe she is their property, a gift from the ocean to do with as they please. This is not good.
Her only hope? Billionaire Roen Doran, of all people. A man who’s said to care for nothing and no one.
Can she convince this cold-hearted man to risk his life to save her? Or will she end up lost forever to these savages of the sea?
I can’t remember how I came across this book, but I saw it on Goodreads and the idea of Mermen tickles me, especially with the tag line, “Mermen are coming for you.” When the author offered to post the first chapter, I thought it would be a fun post for the Smexy readers. I have not read this book, so I can’t give my thoughts – but here is the first chapter. Mermen, the first in the Mermen trilogy releases May 15.
Book 1, The Mermen Trilogy
MIMI JEAN PAMFILOFF
“What the fuck was that?” Twenty-nine-year-old Liv Stratton sat up in her sagging life raft, trying to stay conscious.
There it is again. Shielding her eyes from the glare of the warm March sun, Liv’s eyes skimmed the perimeter but saw nothing except the endless stretch of eerily calm North Pacific.
Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to—
From the corner of her eye, she caught a splash about a hundred yards out. It appeared to be…Wait. She leaned forward. Is that…is that? No. You did not just see a naked man swimming. The dehydration was playing tricks on her, making her believe she’d just seen a tanned, muscular man floating on his back, everything on display.
You’re hallucinating again. Liv sighed and flopped back onto the raft, shoving her sticky dark hair over her eyes to block the sun from her face. I’m so thirsty. I’m so thirsty. Oh God…
It had been ten days since the fishing boat capsized in a storm, taking with it the crew of eight to the bottom of the ocean. Now she wished she’d gone with them instead of having been ordered into the life raft. “What about your crew? What about you?” she’d screamed over the roar of wind and relentless waves pounding the side of the vessel. Captain Harris, a man in his late sixties with a weather-beaten face, flashed his crooked teeth. “We are men of the sea, my dear. Here we live, and here we will die.”
Moments after boarding the raft, Liv watched the boat disappear into the depths of the North Pacific, while she hung on for dear life, the violently rolling waves tossing her around like a wet sock in a drier.
At first, she didn’t understand why Captain Harris and his seasoned crew hadn’t lifted a finger to save themselves, but in the days ahead, baking in the sun during the day and freezing at night, Liv realized the captain never would have left his ship and his men would never have left him. Three weeks aboard as an observer had taught her that. They were a family as close knit as any, and it was the reason she’d chosen them for her dissertation. That, and Captain Harris had been a friend of her father who didn’t mind the intrusion.
Liv glanced at the empty plastic bottle to her side and felt her parched throat aching and burning for the water—the only provision she’d managed to grab during the storm—that was long gone.
You’re dying, Liv. Accept it. Just let go… She’d already said her goodbyes this morning to her mother, father, and two sisters when delirium had convinced her that they were real.
But, of course, they hadn’t been. Her family was safe in Wrangell, Alaska, probably mourning her death along with the crew’s families.
Soon they’ll be right to mourn. Liv suddenly felt another bump, followed by a violent gust of wind.
Liv sat up again, but this time she saw something unexpected: land. Golden sand, black volcanic rocks jutting from the water, thick green vegetation spiked with colossal pine trees. Sweet Jesus…
Liv gaped at the shore, pinching her sanity. How? How? There weren’t any landmasses for a thousand miles in any direction from the spot where the fishing boat went down. No, she wasn’t a map-geek, but she wasn’t a slouch in geography either. And it wasn’t possible to have floated back to Alaska or any other land, for that matter.
Wait. This can’t be real. It can’t be. Yes, another goddamned hallucination.
She placed her hand over her empty stomach and burst with laughter. “Why not let me die?” she mumbled toward the sky, unsure of who she was speaking to.
She didn’t know, and she didn’t care. But to die like this wasn’t fair. She was a good person who’d tried her best. Family, friends, strangers she met at the women’s shelter where she volunteered—didn’t matter who—she always gave what she could to everyone. Because life was all about relationships—friendship and love. It was what had drawn her to sociology for her doctorate. It was what separated humans from animals.
Liv was about to lie back again when she suddenly noticed a naked man with long black hair emerging from the waves onto the beach. Her imaginary beach.
Liv rubbed her eyes, but the island was still there.
Ohmygod. She cupped her hands over her mouth. He’s real?
She wasn’t sure, but regardless, Liv started waving her arms in the air and trying to scream, but was unable to manage above a raspy whisper.
Oh God, please! Please turn around and look at me! Instead, the man grabbed a piece of black cloth from the sand and dried off, looking like he was about to head into the forest that skirted the edge of the beach.
No, no, no. Don’t go! She started to paddle, but that was when she noticed the cold water pouring in from a giant tear along the bottom of the raft. What? What the hell?
Her body jolted once more, and then a large gray fin popped from the water.
“Oh fuck!” This time the words came out loud and clear.
Suddenly, she noticed the large man turn in her direction. He stared for a moment and then dove head first into the waves. His muscular arms exploded from the water with each powerful stroke, pulling him closer and closer at a speed that wasn’t humanly possible.
“Go back!” she tried to yell, only managing a throaty whisper. No, no…please turn back.
All she could do now was hope that her salvation was a fantasy or that if he wasn’t, the shark wouldn’t kill him. Or her.
Two large hands suddenly gripped the side of the raft, and if she’d had the strength to gasp, she would’ve. The man’s face appeared just inches from hers, and it was exquisite—short black beard and dark-green eyes surrounded by long lashes. Ropes of wet black hair snake down his deeply bronzed, powerful-looking shoulders.
“How the fuck did you get here, woman?” he growled while studying her, his thick lips lacking any sign of warmth or reassurance.
Of course, she didn’t have the mental clarity to respond.
“Well,” he said, “if you live, maybe you’ll save me from the Collection—waste of fucking time.”
Liv now had no doubt in her mind that she was still hallucinating. Large, beautiful men didn’t simply pop from the ocean and strike up random conversations.
The man’s body jerked to one side. He winced and then glanced over his shoulder before being yanked beneath the surface.
Oh shit. Oh shit. The shark. She used her last ounce of energy to flip to her stomach. There was no sign of her manly hallucination, but red liquid clouded the water, encircling the raft.
She wanted to scream, but she could barely swallow let alone make a sound.
Large bubbles surfaced next to her, and then the man’s head reappeared.
He half-gasped half-growled. “Fucking shark. Bit my ankle.” He swung his arm and flung a large gray mass right into her raft.
Whatthefuck? The shark flopped around, the lower half of its jaw missing and gushing blood.
Liv stared, unable to believe there was a ten-foot shark bleeding out in her raft.
“And now we’ve got dinner.” The man smiled at her, but it was a cold, calculating sort of smile that didn’t touch his eyes. “By the way, welcome to El Corazón.”