she relinquished her home.
To save her people,
she buried her feelings and her past.
Torn between two loves
her heart is no longer her own.
As war beneath the ocean brews,
a tempest will be unleashed…
In The Depths of the Ocean…
Eight months have passed since Tempest Maguire embraced her mermaid heritage and her mother’s clan. As the future merQueen, Tempest holds dominion over the entire ocean and has access to more magic than she had ever dreamed possible. More important, she has Kona, the selkie prince whose passion and power kindle her own.
But when Tempest receives word that her brother has been gravely injured, she rushes to his side—once again facing a choice. Her father and brothers have barely survived her absence, and the intense connection she once felt for her old flame, Mark, has only strengthened with time.
Caught between two worlds …
But Tempest’s life is not the only one at stake. The sea witch Tiamat still desires to control all who live among the ocean depths—and Tempest alone has enough power to face her. As a deadly battle looms beneath the waves, Tempest once again finds herself caught—between Kona and Mark, sea and land—and this time, she might not survive her choice.
Read an Excerpt
I froze for one long second, then dove deep as panic swamped me. Swim, my brain screamed. Get away from here! Get away from him. It’s too dangerous! Swim, swim, swim!
I started to put as much distance between me and the beach as I could,as fast as possible. But I hadn’t gone very far before I realized, with utter certainty, that self-preservation wasn’t what I wanted.
Maintaining the status quo wasn’t what I wanted.
I didn’t want to go anywhere. Not yet. Instead, I wanted to talk to Mark, to hear his surf-and-sand-roughened voice as he demanded to know where the hell I had been for all these months.
Of course, that could just be wishful thinking. Maybe he’d forgotten what we’d been to each other, the same as I had so desperately tried to forget him.
Suddenly, I knew I couldn’t go any farther until I was certain. I stopped swimming, turned around. I didn’t go back—I wasn’t that stupid—but I wanted to know what Mark would do. Would he write off his sighting of me to his imagination? Or would he stand in the ocean and call my name, sure that his eyes hadn’t been deceiving him?
I hoped it was the latter, even as I told myself I was being selfish, petty. I should be happy that he’d moved on with his life, with Chelsea. I had moved on with Kona. But nothing I told myself just then mattered—in those few minutes, all I cared about was whether Mark missed me anywhere near as much as I missed him.
“Tempest!” The wind whipped my name straight to me in Mark’s snarly voice. “Tempest, damn it, I know you’re out here!”
I didn’t answer. I couldn’t. My heart had nearly stopped at the first sound of his voice. Instead, I stayed where I was, immersed in the ocean up to my chin, and watched as Mark’s powerful body waded through the water. He was thigh-deep, waist-deep, chest-deep and still he yelled my name.
It made me feel awful, made me feel wonderful, confused me as nothing had since I’d made the decision to be mermaid. I yearned to go to him, everything in my body straining to answer his call. My skin aching for just one touch of his fingers.
As I was watching him, memorizing him, Mark dove deep into the water. He was looking for me, as determined today as he had been eight months ago when I’d nearly drowned during a routine early morning surf. Back when this whole alternate life of mine was just beginning.
I watched the surface anxiously, waiting for him to come back up. One minute passed as I counted numbers in my head, then two minutes as I struggled to reassure myself he was okay. Mark was a terrific swimmer, could hold his breath for a long time underwater. Not as long as I used to be able to, but then he was human and I never had been. Not really. Not completely.
My internal count had reached one hundred and fifty-seven before I saw Mark bob back to the surface. I was too far away to see him clearly, but the verdant green of his wetsuit stood out against the opalescent azure of the waves. I knew he was sucking in air, gulp after gulp, and my lungs ached in sympathy.
I waited for him to catch his breath and head back to shore and the board he had so carelessly tossed aside. Instead, he disappeared beneath the water yet again.
And again, I began to count and wait and worry.
Every second dragged. One hundred one, one hundred two, one hundred three. There he was, his head and shoulders popping powerfully above the surface. He was closer to me now, so close that I imagined I could see his chest rising and falling.
I started to back up. To submerge myself, to flee. But I watched as he went under again and accepted that I wasn’t going anywhere. I had caused this mess and I had to see it through. Especially since it was Mark who had seen me, Mark who was out here looking for me.
He was the most stubborn person I had ever met, and since it was obvious he hadn’t forgotten me, I knew if I just disappeared, he would keep looking until he was completely exhausted. Already, he had swum a good distance from shore. Who knew how much farther he would swim before he finally figured out it was hopeless? And who knew if he’d have enough energy to make it back to land?
I ducked under the water, started to swim toward where I had last seen him. Ninety-four, ninety-five, ninety-six, ninety-seven. He should be heading up for air soon. When I got to one hundred nine, I propelled myself to the surface with a few powerful kicks of my legs.
He wasn’t up yet. I dove back under, swam a little more. Came up again. Still no Mark.
I started to panic. Was he in trouble? Was he caught in the undertow? Was he drowning because of me? I looked back at shore, saw that the guys had all jumped in after Mark. They were still pretty far back, but I knew they were all good swimmers. I didn’t have much time.
Going deep one last time, I searched the water around me for Mark’s wet suit. I didn’t see it, didn’t see him. Oh my God, he was drowning, he was—
“Tempest!” The word was low and growly and so close to my ear that I couldn’t mistake it for anything but what it was.
I whirled around. “Mark!”
“What are you—”
I threw myself at him, nearly took him under as I wrapped my arms around his neck and squeezed as tightly as I could. And then he was hugging me back, his firm, hard body pressed against me from shoulder to hip, while our legs kicked again and again to keep us from going under.
He pulled away. “Where have you been? I’ve been looking for you for months—”
My voice froze in my throat. What was I supposed to say? What could I say after all this time?
“Damn it, Tempest!” he snarled. “Answer me.”
I opened my mouth, my mind racing for a response. An excuse. Anything. But before I could do more than take a breath, his lips were on mine and any hope I had of thinking dissolved like so much sea foam.
He tasted just the same, only wilder. Better. Like lemons and peppermints and my Saturday morning mocha.
He tasted like home—with an edge.
I knew I should stop him. I even started to push away, but in the end all I did was wrap my arms around his neck and kiss him back with all the emotion this crazy, mixed-up roller- coaster ride of a day had awakened inside of me.
I couldn’t do anything else, not while one of his hands cupped my jaw and the other pressed against my lower back in a hold so possessive I forgot for a minute that we no longer belonged to each other.
Kissing Mark, being held by him, reminded me too much of everything I’d given up by becoming mermaid and for those few, brief seconds I wanted it all back.
Wanted him back.
But if there was one thing my mother’s life—and death—had taught me, it was that it wasn’t possible to go back. Whatever we’ve done, wherever we’ve gone, whichever path we’ve chosen, we have to walk down it. Or in my case, swim down it. Either way, going back to the way things had once been, was impossible.
I knew this, understood this—or at least told myself I did. And still I didn’t pull back from Mark right away. Instead, I pressed myself more tightly against him and gave us, gave myself, this one, perfect kiss. It was the last we would ever share and I was determined to hold on to the first boy I’d ever loved as long as I could.
But the ocean had other plans for us. A huge wave came along, sweeping us up in its wake until our only choice was to let go of each other or drown. I pulled away immediately, but it took Mark longer to let go. Almost as if he didn’t mind being dragged under if it meant we would be together again.
But that was fanciful thinking, I reminded myself as the splash of cold water against my face brought me back to my senses. He had Chelsea and I had Kona. Kissing him had been just one more mistake. It seemed like I was making a lot of them these days.
Knowledge flashed through me at the thought, an understanding that I was coming precariously close to where I’d been eight months before. At the precipice of a cliff I had no chance of backing away from. And like eight months before, I wouldn’t be the only one who got hurt.
The thought had me propelling myself backwards, away from Mark and the wary, wanting look on his face.
“This isn’t over, Tempest.” His voice was dark, dangerous, sexy. “You don’t get to just show up here, kiss me in the middle of the frickin’ ocean, and then disappear again.”
“You kissed me.” It was an inane answer, especially considering the way I’d twined myself around him like a piece of seaweed. But I didn’t know what else to say. What excuse to level for my imminent disappearance. All I knew was that I had to go. The air was closing in on me, the shore far too close for comfort—especially with Scooter and the others paddling straight toward us on their boards.
He cocked an eyebrow, gave a sardonic little grin that got to me even as I forced myself to keep retreating. “Is that the excuse you’re giving yourself?”
“It’s the truth,” I insisted. “Besides, I have to go.”
“Let’s go then. I’ll take you back to shore and we can talk—”
“I’m not going back, Mark. I think you know that.”
“Where are you going then, Tempest?” His eyes narrowed and he started to swim toward me. “Where can you go?”
His advance galvanized me to action like few other things could have. If he came near me again, if he touched me, I knew without a doubt that I’d end up right back in his arms. And I couldn’t do that—not to myself, not to Kona, and not to Mark.
I needed to tell him the truth, needed to let him know why things would never work between us. But I didn’t know how to say it in a way that would make him believe.
So, in the end, I did the only thing I could do. I swam forward, reached out my hand. Stroked it down his cheek. Then I turned and dove deep, knowing a word from him could melt my already shaky resolve.
At the last second, I shifted—again so easily that it surprised me—and turned my legs back into a tail. I might not be able to find the words to tell Mark why we couldn’t be together, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t show him. Which was why I very slowly, very deliberately, extended the bottom half of my tail just above the surface, slapping the water with it and no doubt spraying droplets of sea water all over Mark’s face.
Then I took off without bothering to try to find my bikini bottoms, too cowardly to stick around and wait for his reaction.