Swimming With The Manatees #inthespotlight #katherineeddingersmits #waterdesires

This week in the spotlight our guest is Katherine Smits, Author of Water Desires. She is going to tell us why she loves Florida in the Spring. and about her book Water desires.

I love Spring in Florida. Our brownish lawns brighten to green and the temperature rises to the mid-eighties. Azaleas turn the tree outside my office window bright pink and the birds entertain us with a concert every day.

I moved to Florida when I was two years old and consider myself almost a native. However, after I married my husband, we moved “up north” for his job and lived there many years.  When I had to drive on ice or bundle up to go to the mailbox, I longed to escape to Florida.

One freezing day in early March, when it seemed like it should be Spring, but wasn’t, I heard the song “Blue Bayou” on the radio. It transported me to Florida in my mind. That was the day I decided we had to move back.

We live in Homosassa now, a small town on the west coast. It’s one of the few places where you can swim with manatees.

Manatee photo provided by my daughter with her permission to share.

When the Gulf of Mexico water turns cold, manatees flee to the rivers in the area, where the water temperature remains about 72 degrees all year long. This is considerably warmer than the Gulf temperatures, which can descend into the 50’s, which manatees can’t tolerate. They love the cozy headsprings where they can munch on eel grass and other natural vegetation until the Gulf warms up.

While they are in the rivers, tour boats take visitors to snorkel with them. This is truly a transformative experience. Manatees are huge, sometimes weighing in at over a thousand pounds. However, they are gentle, curious, and friendly. Wild manatees come up to swimmers and interact with them, enjoying a belly rub or using their flippers to give a lucky person a hug. We adhere to a strict policy of passive observation. You can watch them, but you shouldn’t bother or touch them. Not touching them is a little hard if they come up to you, but you aren’t supposed to initiate contact. Floating along beside these adorable creatures is amazing. They radiate joy and playfulness.

Even without their intriguing history, I would love manatees, but a fascinating mythology surrounds them. Sailors originally thought they were mermaids. When you see their bulky bodies and whiskery chins, you realize those seafarers must have been drunk or desperately lonely! Or maybe they saw the tail flukes and imagined the gorgeous female forms attached to them.

Since I write paranormal romance and my books are about mermaids (and hunky mermen), the manatee/mermaid connection enchants me.  Water Desires, Love’s Siren Song Book II starts out in Greece, but mostly takes place in Tarpon Springs, Florida. If you like mermaids and mermen, mages and magical romance, you’ll love it. Read it as a stand alone or start with Water Dreams, book one in the series. For a free short story, sign up for my newsletter.

Title: Water Desires, Love’s Siren Song, Book II
Love’s Siren Song, book 2
Author: Katherine Eddinger Smits
Publisher: Foundations Books
Cover artist: Dawné Dominique
Editor Mary Cassell Vallely
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 337

When a strange Nerei carries an unconscious and badly injured Bas in from the Aegean Sea, Nik knows she must get him to an island in the Atlantic where a hidden spring of healing water will restore her Nerei (merman) lover. At the same time, her adoptive father is dying from a boating accident in her home town of Tarpon Springs, and he’s asking for her. While battling a strange illness which antibiotics won’t cure, Nik must figure out a way to save Bas and get home to help her father. When Bas follows Nik to Florida, he is forced to keep his distance from her. He has already escaped one death sentence for having a relationship with a human and he can’t risk another one. Still, he’s furious when Nik turns to her old friend, a mage Bas dislikes, to help her unravel the hidden truth behind her father’s accident. Water Desires is Book II in the Love’s Siren Song Series. The thrilling sequel to the award-winning Water Dreams will drag you under and not let you up for air until the end. If you like mermaids, mages and magical romance, you’ll love this book.


A male voice shouted above the rush and roar of the surf and the screech of the birds. Turning, she shaded her eyes. A jade-colored tail slapped the water as a strange Nerei swam in from beyond the breakers. He had the ivory skin and dark hair of all the Nerei, and a large, Romanesque nose. Although Nik knew she had never met him before, he looked familiar.  

He carried something. Her heart lurched. No… oh, no…

Bas sprawled unmoving in the newcomer’s arms. A gash gaped his side below his muscled chest and his eyes were shut.

What’s wrong with him? Oh God, he’s not… 

When the Nerei reached the shallows, he shifted to human shape and stood on two legs, still holding Bas. 

Bas remained in his Nerei form, unmoving.  

With aching pressure in her chest, she splashed out toward them and reached for Bas. 

“No.” The Nerei pulled Bas away from her. “Let me carry him. It’ll be faster. We must get him out of sight.” He glanced around, but the approaching squall had chased away all the sunbathers.

Heart pounding, she pointed toward Aggie’s home. “Over here.” 

Lightning sizzled into the water not far from them, and the rain fell in sheets. They raced to the villa.

The Nerei hoisted Bas over his shoulder while he went up the steep steps to the balcony and into the airy kitchen, then eased him down on the blue and white mosaic tile floor.

Nik sank down beside Bas and took a limp hand in both of hers. She kissed his knuckles, then carefully positioned his palm on the floor. She leaned forward to examine the slashes along his ribs. Touching his cold, clammy face, she counted his breaths. A pool of seawater and rain dripped from the three of them onto the floor. 

Aggie walked in and gave the Nerei a towel which he wrapped around himself. The sea folk were relaxed about nudity, but they respected human customs.

Nik choked out a few words. “What happened to him?”

The new Nerei snatched a pillow from a chair and slipped it beneath Bas’ head. “Those gashes were made by a Nerei spear. They’re almost healed, but he’s still out cold.”

“A Nerei did this to him? Who? Why?” Nik leaped to her feet. “Did you do it?” She scowled at the intruder, every muscle tensed, ready to fight him if he threatened Bas in any way.

Aggie moved between them and rested her palms on Nik’s arms. “No, he would never do anything like this.”

Nik turned toward the woman who she still sometimes thought of as her aunt. “And I can believe you because… Let’s see, you were so upfront with me and told me you were my mother the instant we met. Oh wait! No, you didn’t. You lied to me before. How can I trust you now?”

Aggie dropped her hands. “I’m sorry. I know you’ve had a rough time, but please accept this. He wouldn’t harm Bas. He brought him here, remember?”

Nik glared first at the stranger, then at Aggie. “Who is he?”

Aggie answered. “His name is Gregorios Thorakios.”

The hot spurt of anger drained away, replaced by confusion. “But that’s…”

“Your Nerei sire.” Aggie moved to stand beside the man, who encircled her with his arm. Nik opened her mouth, but she had no words, so she shut it again. 

You can buy a copy here.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Water-Desires-Loves-Siren-Song/dp/1795535903

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130434474?ean=2940155961666

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/water-desires-loves-siren-song-series-book-ii

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/920731

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43806669-water-desires-loves-siren-song-series-book-ii?ac=1&from_search=true

Meet Katherine Eddinger Smits          

Katherine Eddinger Smits started writing stories in grade school. While she raised her family and worked as a Clinical Social Worker at four different Veterans Affairs Medical Centers around the country, she honed her ideas for novels.  Since she retired to pursue her passion for writing, she has published three paranormal romances. She has also written numerous blogs and book reviews. Katherine lives with her husband in Homosassa, Florida and Falling Waters, West Virginia. They have a daughter who resides in Alexandria, Virginia and a son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters in Chesapeake, Virginia. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Sunshine State Romance Authors, Florida Writers Association and Outreach International Romance Writers.

You can stalk Katherine Eddinger Smits

Website http://katherineeddingersmits.weebly.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Katherine-Eddinger-Smits-1570871886468704/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katherinesmits

4 responses to “Swimming With The Manatees #inthespotlight #katherineeddingersmits #waterdesires”

  1. Thanks so much for having me today, Cathy. I really enjoyed it. I probably should have clarified that swimming with the manatees is mostly a winter activity, but there are a few places where some stay all year. In Spring, they come and go from the rivers, so colder days increase your chances of seeing them.

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