Seventeen-year-old Emma Harris is drowning on dry land.
No one knows what’s happening to her, and she’d like to keep her evolution from human to mermaid a secret, but the truth is getting harder and harder to hide. From her adoptive family, from her friends, and especially from the irresistible James Phelps.
Her time in the ocean is spent dodging a possessive merman, while her time on land is split between caring for her special-needs brother and squeezing in every last possible moment of human life. She soon realizes falling for James is unavoidable when he constantly comes to Emma’s rescue and somehow manages to see through her carefully constructed icy facade to the vulnerability she lives with every day. Everything about James makes Emma yearn for a life on land she just can’t have.
When Emma’s brother disappears on her watch, James is the only person she trusts to help her save him. But even if they can save her brother, nothing can prevent her return to the sea. Whether she likes it or not, Emma is changing—unable to breathe without yielding to the tide—and it’s only a matter of time before she’s forced to surrender forever.
Water So Deep
The locker next to hers slammed, and Emma’s gaze riveted on the eyes of the person on the other side of the door. They were steel gray, enormous, and framed by thick lashes. The boy smiled and flipped back his dark, long-ish hair. “That your family? You look nothing like them.”
“I’m adopted,” she blurted, wincing at her automatic response.
That made him pause. “Lucky family. I’m James.”
Emma bit back a nasty reply and forced a weak smile. Not every guy was like Tom. She didn’t have to trust this guy—or any guy, for that matter—but she could talk to one every so often. Especially one who went out of his way to be nice. “Emma.”
James leaned against his locker, studying a map of the school. He crossed one ankle over the other—looking both confident and casual in his distressed jeans—and waved the slip of paper. “This place is a maze. I hope you know where you’re going, ’cause I’m pretty well clueless.”
Emma nodded, glancing at her schedule and taking slow, even breaths. In. Out. In. Out. “English. Barnes. Room 302.”
“Must be fate. Me too.” James straightened to his full height—which had to be somewhere near six feet—his grin revealing a sexy dimple in his left cheek. “Do you mind if I shadow you to class? I really don’t want to be late because I’m directionally challenged.” He held up a notebook. “Maybe by the end of the year, I’ll know my way around.”
His infectious smile eased Emma’s apprehension, loosening the knot between her shoulders. Across the hall, two girls glared at Emma, then bent their heads, whispering. Although it wouldn’t hurt her feelings if new-guy-James never heard the rumors, she should caution him anyway. Tom’s friends made sure everyone heard eventually. “I should warn you. Being seen with me could be bad for you.”
“Ah.” James’s smile fell. “Your boyfriend’s going to hurt me, huh? Don’t worry.” He flexed his bicep. “I can take him.”
A short, quick giggle burst past her lips in a way that felt both foreign and freeing. “No. No boyfriend.” Anymore. Thank goodness. They started down the hall together, her long hair brushing against her back in a comforting rhythm as she tried to decide how best to explain without explaining. “All the better.” His face brightened considerably. “Why would I be concerned? Are you, like, a serial killer in your spare time?”
She offered an apologetic smile. “The way people talk, you’d think it was something like that.”
Nichole Giles, the author of the Descendant trilogy, has lived in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Texas. She loves to spend time with her husband and four children, travel to tropical and exotic destinations, drive in the rain with the convertible top down, and play music at full volume so she can sing along.