By M.L. Eaden
A Mythical Desires Universe Novel
Royce’s childhood was anything but calm. As an adult with famous parents, he preferred to live away from the public eye. All he needed was a boat, a crew, and his best friend Pete. That changed when Royce made a mistake that dropped him into the Gulf. Struggling for survival, his rescue isn’t from above, instead it comes from the sea itself in the shape of a legend long thought extinct and relegated to stories.
Fascinated with life above the waterline, Troller happens upon a fishing boat with a lone person on deck. When the sailor falls overboard, he doesn’t stop to think about the consequences of rescuing the human. When he comes face to face with Royce, he’s instantly enamored, but his people haven’t shown themselves in centuries. Troller swims away, afraid he’s risked his people’s safety, unable to forget the man he saved.
A year later, Troller uncovers the secret keeping his people below the waves. That knowledge could cost him his life. He swims to the one place he might be safe and arrives on Royce’s boat, naked and exhausted. Their mutual attraction quickly becomes more as they build a life together. When their secrets threaten to separate them, will love and trust be enough to keep them together and alive?
Content Warnings: Explicit on-page sex. Capture, torture, imprisonment by antagonist.
From Chapter 3 - The Redhead - Royce POV
“Do you have a name?” He glanced at me but continued to drink. “Nombre?” I asked. My Spanish was horrible, but that didn’t seem to spark any kind of recognition, either.
“Royce,” I said as I pointed to myself. If that didn’t work, I could make up a name for him.
He nodded and patted his chest. “Troller.”
“Hmmm. Okay.” He pronounced it as troll-er. It reminded me of trolling, which was an old form of fishing where the boat moved slowly and dragged fishing lines behind it. It wasn’t as sustainable as trap fishing and eventually it, and trawling with nets, were phased out.
He looked at me with a blank expression. Yeah, just my luck that trying to communicate wouldn’t be easy. The tablet I used to track things for the boat and my business was on my desk. I grabbed it and moved to sit on the platform next to him. I searched for a language app, then realized that wouldn’t work. Whatever his language was to begin with, it wasn’t likely to be anything current. I opened my e-reader instead and loaded several children’s books with read-along functionality. I held out my hand for his empty cup. He gave it to me, and I set it aside, then put the tablet in his hands.
“Okay, let’s see what you can do with this.” I showed him the motions to turn pages and sat with him as he went through the first book. He stopped on the letter P and looked at me.
“Pants.” He pointed to the one article of clothing I wore, then pointed to himself. “Pants,” he repeated.
“F*ck, right. Maybe I can pilfer something from Pete’s locker. You’re about his size.” As I stood, Troller didn’t stop me. Engrossed with the images from the book, he only glanced at me as I left the room.
When I came back from grabbing some of Pete’s clothes, Troller was animated. He pulled me through the door and excitedly pointed at things. I tried to ignore the fact that he was naked and kept my eyes above his waist.
“Desk!” Troller pointed. “Pencil. Cup. Chair. Bed. Blanket. Book.” I nodded as he displayed how fast he learned.
“Shirt,” I said as I tossed it at him. “Pants.” I tossed him the pair I had found.
He caught the items and looked them over. “Shirt. Pants,” he repeated. He looked at me as he stood there holding them.
It dawned on me that he probably knew what clothes were, though if this was his first time on land he wouldn’t know what to do with them. I thanked myself for grabbing gray sweatpants instead of a pair of Pete’s jeans.
He didn’t shy away from me as I moved toward him. I took the shirt from his hands and bunched it up, then pulled it over his head. I helped guide one arm through a sleeve, then repeated it with the other. He smiled as he looked at what he wore. The T-shirt had a band logo on it. It wasn’t fancy, but it hugged his chest like a second skin and highlighted the fact that he was nude from the waist down.
As I picked up the sweatpants from where he had dropped them, I cleared my throat and crouched down, bunching up the legs. He instinctively put his hand on my shoulder as I reached for his leg and put one foot through, then repeated the same motion with the other. I grabbed the elastic of the waistband and pulled them up his legs, holding it open wide enough that I wouldn’t brush against his groin too much, then pulled them to his waist. I pulled the strings, and he grasped my forearms as I cinched and tied the pants so they wouldn’t fall off.
Troller and Pete were pretty close in size, though Troller’s waist was slightly smaller and he was more toned versus the muscles Pete sported in his upper body. Though Troller did have abs and a defined chest, with nipples. Why would a merfolk have nipples? I was distracted from the odd thought by Troller’s voice.
“Thanks,” Troller said, in a quiet tenor voice that made me smile.
Enter the Giveaway:
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About the Author:
M.L. Eaden works by day in the tech industry, but at night, she reads books, writes stories, throws axes, and is an avid gamer with a current addiction to Azul. Originally from the sunflower state, she migrated to one with a lone star—and more sun and tries desperately to keep up with two adorable cattle dogs that still act like they are five years old instead of the seniors their vet says they are.
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