Do you like whiskey? Whether you do or don’t, it’s a drink with a fascinating history. The name comes from the old Irish uisce beatha, which means “water of life.” It was invented by Irish and Scottish monks in the Middle Ages, who used it for medicinal purposes. Now that’s a good excuse for a dram if ever I heard one! St Patrick’s Day was on 17 March, so now seemed a good time to tell you about my favorite drink and how I came to discover it.
I arrived in England from France in 1997, and one of my first jobs was as a finance analyst for a drinks company that owned several brands of Scotch and Irish whiskeys. They sold it, and they loved it. I’ll never forget the time when I was helping one of the directors with his budget figures. When we finished the work, he breathed a sigh and declared, “Ah, time for a break!” I expected him to brew a cup of tea or coffee. Instead, he pulled a book from his bookshelf. Behind it sat a bottle of Scotch. He opened it and drank a good mouthful, then offered it to me. It was 10 am, so I declined politely. There was also the time when we arrived at a company meeting, to be met with six shot glasses of whiskey lined up before every seat. We were to drink the shots, then guess which whiskey was the new one we were launching. I work in the pharmaceutical industry now, nothing this fun happens to me anymore!
Many countries produce whiskey, including Japan and India. It remains the liquor of choice in its old Celtic heartlands of Ireland and Scotland. Wales has also recently started, or rather restarted, to produce whiskey. When I created the world of my award-winning Sea of Love fantasy romance series, it seemed natural that my Welsh shape-shifting mermen would produce and drink whiskey. In the first book of the series, A Merman’s Choice, the merman hero Yann and the heroine Alex are stranded on Yann’s island during a storm. Yann is forced to take Alex to his home, in defiance of the laws of the merfolk. Alex is soaked and frozen. Yann wants to warm her up… what better way than to offer her a glass of his own whiskey? Read on to discover more!
A MERMAN’S CHOICE is the first book in the Sea of Love series, winner in the Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award. Buy link: https://books2read.com/u/31xw7a
A Merman’s Choice
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 fulfill 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?
MUSIC FOR A MERMAN is Book 2 in the Sea of Love series. The books can be read independently. Buy link: https://books2read.com/u/mdG7Bw
Music for a Merman
Rob Regor knew that humans were trouble. All the shape-shifting mermen of the Morvann Islands knew it. And human women were double trouble… especially when they were lying on the road in front of a digger.
Rob has a mission. Go to the mainland. Work as a policeman. Spy on humans. Report back to his father, the head of the Regor Merman Clan. It should be easy. Until he has to arrest Charlie. Rob can’t fight his attraction to the sexy eco-warrior, and it puts him on one hell of a collision course with his family and his Clan. Will he break the rules – or break her heart, and his?
Love ‘em and leave ‘em, that was Charlie’s motto. It had served her well until now. But Rob is different… Can she open up her heart to Rob – when a secret buried in her past surfaces and changes her completely?
Excerpt from A Merman’s Choice
An ear-shattering roll of thunder shook the air. Alex flinched. “It’s right above our heads.”
Yann stopped himself from stroking her shoulder to reassure her. “That means it’ll soon go away.”
Not soon enough. How could he pass the time until then? He glanced at the clock on the wall. It was almost midday. Lunch would distract her from the storm and the ocean she’d only just escaped. Perhaps it would distract him from the sight of her, shimmering in the gloomy room like a pearl made of flesh.
He went to the dresser against the wall and picked up a bottle and two glasses. “Would you like a dram of whiskey to warm you up?”
She 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 smoldered 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 center 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 woolen 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 whiskey is just as good.”