We are made of flesh and blood, but also stories. The stories we hear, read, imagine, are as much a part of us as our make-up as our genes or the colour of our eyes. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the stories that shape me. I’d like to tell you a little about them.
The first stories were the Celtic legends that my Welsh grandparents and my older cousin told me. Tales of magic and monsters. Shape-shifting bards. Torrent spectres. And the mysterious Otherworld, always shimmering just out of reach… at the top of the hill… deep in the forest… at the point on the horizon where sea and sky merge. I loved the Ceffyl Dwr, the Water Horse, a mythical shape-shifting creature that lives in water, but can also appear on land. I loved the merfolk too. More about them later!
I also grew up with the Nordic myths that my father used to read to me as bedtime stories. I’d go to sleep with the sound of epic battles ringing in my ears. Thor was my favourite. I was delighted to meet him again recently in the Avengers films, played by the delicious Chris Hemsworth!
When I was twelve, I read The Lord of the Rings. That story changed me. I was so sad when I finished the book, I actually cried. No more Elves or Dwarves? That couldn’t be. I decided that day that I’d become a writer, and create stories like that.
OK… it took me thirty-three years… and I never wrote that big epic novel. But I did write my own books, and eventually one of them got published. I write fantasy romance, because I love fantasy, and I think I’m a romantic at heart. The stories I heard and read as a child and teenager are still with me. The Otherworld is in my head, with all its magic, and every time I read or write a new book, it gets a little richer, a little better.
My book A Merman’s Choice was published in January by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the hot and tender story of the forbidden love between a shape-shifting merman and a human woman. Read a summary and extract below!
The second book in the series, Music for a Merman, is due out later this year. I’m currently working on the third book, where a feisty shape-shifting mermaid teams up with a warlock to save London from a water monster. I have also written a short story, “The Sweetest Magic of All”, for the supernatural romance anthology Mystic Desire by Black Velvet Seductions – pre-sale 1 September, release date 1 October. I’m so excited about it, because it’s about a witch and a warlock who go back in time, and I love witches!
A Merman’s Choice
Book 1 in the Sea of Love series
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?
Yann went to the dresser against the wall and picked up a bottle and two glasses. “Would you like a dram of whisky to warm you up?”
Alex slid back down the sofa. His ears registered the squeak of leg against leather, and his mind instantly pictured her sprawled on the cushions, her golden hair fanned behind her head, milky thighs open wide. He shook his head, trying to rid himself of the maddening image.
Her voice dropped into a seductive purr. “I’m quite warm already, thank you. But I can cope with more heat.”
He poured a glass of the golden liquid and brought it to her.
“Thank you.” She sipped it and made a grimace, which turned into a smile. “Even better than cider.”
Her mouth glowed against her milky skin like a forbidden fruit. He thought of the first summer berries, tart redcurrants, juicy raspberries. Would she taste like them?
They needed food. If he didn’t get lunch down her soon, she’d get drunk. The demon voice in his mind whispered that Alex would be great fun if she lost her inhibitions. He tried to shut the demon out. What could he prepare quickly?
He strode to the trap in the floor by the front door and lifted it. The smell and sound of seawater, sloshing in the dark, rose up.
Alex padded over to investigate. “Oh, wow. You have a whole aquarium down there!”
The corner of her blanket brushed his bare arm, sending another twig to feed the fire that smouldered in his loins. “That’s how Islanders keep their seafood fresh. Why don’t you go and sit at the table, and I’ll open a dozen oysters for you?”
She didn’t need to see the tunnel on the side of the “aquarium,” that led to the lower floor of the house, the level that flooded at high tide and opened onto the sea. The level where a more respectable merman would spend most of his time.
She moved away, to the centre of the room where the oak table stood. Not far enough. He’d become so attuned to her that every one of her movements seemed to ripple across the space and lap against his body. He grabbed a knife and bucket from the tool shelf, snapped the first oyster open and dropped it in the bucket. Now she was crossing her legs, damn her. Did she know that the woollen fabric was opening, uncovering the ivory skin of her inner thigh? Was she flirting with him, or was it his imagination?
“I love oysters.” Her voice wrapped itself around him like a silk scarf. “Pity we don’t have any champagne to go with them, but this whisky is just as good.”
Too late, he remembered that for mainlanders, oysters weren’t a cheap, quick meal. On the mainland, oysters were the food of seduction. An aphrodisiac. What if Alex was misreading his intentions?
Or rather, what if she were reading them all too well?
She patted the bench next to her. “Come and sit here. I can’t eat all these oysters on my own.”
Her grin gave the lie to her words. Her grin said, “I can gobble them all up, and you with it.”
What about you? Which stories shaped your life? Do you remember a favourite story from your childhood? Did a book ever change your life? I’d love to know!
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Here’s to stories, and the folk that read them!