Zarya flicked her powerful tail and slowed her pace. The pod of bottlenose dolphins swam ahead, diving deeper into the ocean. Their speed, while impressive, was no match for hers. She smiled. How could she have forgotten the sheer joy it was to swim with them?
There it was again, the voice inside her head ruining her fun. Her smile disappeared.
It had been a while since she’d allowed the lure of the ocean to enter her soul, but despite the annoying voice, she was glad she’d come now.
Her witchy friend had been right when she’d insisted, ‘A couple of days down in Cornwall will be great, you’ll see. Sun, sea, and sex—what more could you ask for?’
She’d been surprised since Harper rarely took a break from running Love Bites, her dating agency for supernaturals. Business was booming, they had new clients signing up from around the world, and Zarya was more than happy to help her friend/boss with the bookkeeping side of things—the reason she hadn’t succumbed to her mermaid form in months.
But now she was here, swimming in the warm waters a few miles off the coast, she welcomed the tranquillity the ocean always evoked. Granted, being in the sea reminded her of her duties as an ocean priestess—duties her mother would not let her forget: abide by her law but mainly procreate—but she refused to dwell.
The voice was weaker now.
She swished her tail in annoyance. Help who?
Then she felt it, the unmistakable tingle along her spine, the quiver in her dorsal fin.
The inherent sense of another of her kind nearby.
Surely her mother hadn’t found her already.
Zarya spun around, searching the murky depths. Her nictitating membrane, like a translucent third eyelid, allowed her eyes to focus underwater.
There, to her left, a shadowy figure. Not her sea witch of a mother, though, thankfully. No, the figure was a man. A man sinking deeper into the ocean.
She glanced upwards to the ocean’s surface. No sign of a boat. She searched the olive-green waters again. No sign of another mermaid anywhere either.
So why was her sensor going haywire?
With a twist of her tail, she swam a little nearer to the human figure, her mother’s words echoing inside her head. ‘Don’t ever let the humans see you, no matter how much you think they have the right to know of our existence.’ She’d offered her a gold doubloon she found in a shipwreck as if a trinket would change her mind. ‘Have you any idea what the humans would do if they knew merfolk existed?’
Yeah, she knew all right. She’d watched Splash a hundred times, one of her favourite movies, but the humans only acted that way out of fear. If they knew all manner of supernatural creatures had been living in their world since the beginning of time, maybe they’d accept them.
After all, most supernatural beings were harmless. Most.
Zarya focused. The lone figure sank deeper. To hell with Mother’s warning—she had to save him.
The closer she swam towards him, the more certain the sensation along her spine was.
He wasn’t human.