Are our childhood summer holidays the best holidays of our lives? Somehow they shimmer in our memory like golden, magical snippets of time. But I think the summers of my childhood were genuinely magical. I was a lucky girl, I grew up by the sea, in a beautiful area of France called Brittany. Holidays were spent swimming, climbing rocks, exploring rock pools and caves, and playing with my friends. One of our favorite games was “mermaids,” where we pretended, yes, you’ve guessed it, to be mermaids. We spent so much time in the sea, I do believe we were almost growing gills by the time September rolled around and it was time to go back to school. Another game was water fairies, another, knights. We each had a castle (rock) and we had to defend it from our enemies.
On one of those long, golden summer days, I saw a group of young men come out of the sea. They were wearing black wetsuits, with palms on their feet. That gave me the idea of shape-shifting mermen, who have two shapes, the human, and the aquatic. In their aquatic shape they have a tail, but not a fish tail, and webbed hands and feet. I imagined that little story, then I forgot about it… for thirty-six years.
I had been writing short stories for magazines for a while, and was trying my hand at contemporary romance novellas, with limited success. Sheikhs, princes and billionaires didn’t really do it for me. I wanted to return to my first love, fantasy. As a child, I devoured fantasy books, myths and legends, and I had never lost the love of magic and supernatural creatures. I wanted to write fantasy romance, but wasn’t sure where to start.
Then the mermen swam up from the depths of my memory, with their webbed hands and feet, their dark skin, their whistling, musical language. They could remain hidden, amongst humans, thanks to their shape-shifting abilities. But what would happen if one of them fell in love with a human?
I hope you will be tempted to read my book to find out!
Title: A Merman’s Choice
Series: Sea of Love
Author: Alice Renaud
Publisher: Black Velvet Seductions
Release date: 4 January 2019
Cover Artist: Jessica Greeley
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Pages: 123 pages
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?
Excerpt: (Heat Rating(pg-R)
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 laid 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.
Meet Alice Renaud (author Bio)
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. Her first book, “A Merman’s Choice,” 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. Alice loves reading and writing stories, and sharing them with anyone who’s interested!
You can stalk Alice here:
1 October – The Sweetest Magic of All, part of the supernatural romance anthology “Mystic Desire” by Black Velvet Seductions. When a sexy apprentice witch and a hot warlock go back in time to search for a healing amulet, they find more than they bargained for. It’s May Eve, the most magical night of the year, and normal rules don’t apply…
“Music for a Merman,” Book 2 in the Sea of Love series.
Rob has a mission. Go the mainland. Work as a policeman. Find out as much as possible about the mainland humans. Report back to his father, the head of the Regor Clan mermen. It should be easy.
Until he has to arrest Charlie. Rob can’t fight his attraction to the sexy eco-warrior, and it puts him on one hell of a collision course with his family and his Clan. Will he break the rules – or break her heart, and his?
Love ‘em and leave ‘em, that was Charlie’s motto. But Rob is different. Can she risk letting him into her heart? And something in her past is about to surface, that will change her in ways she could not have imagined…