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Authors: Nicola Cameron

Deep Water

BOOK: Deep Water
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Evernight Publishing ®

 

www.evernightpublishing.com

 

 

 

Copyright© 2015 Nicola Cameron

 

 

 
ISBN: 978-1-77233-458-6

 

Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Designs

 

Editor:
Karyn
White

 

 

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

 

WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or
distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal.
 
No part of this book may be used or
reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the
case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.

 

This is a work of fiction. All names, characters,
and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales,
organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

 

 

DEDICATION

 

To Patrick and Nathan, who
proved that love is worth waiting
for.

 

DEEP WATER

 

Olympic Cove, 3

 

Nicola Cameron

 

Copyright © 2015

 

 

 

Prologue

 

Poseidon, God of
the Sea, glared at the shimmering silver net surrounding him. “Well, this is
another fine mess you’ve gotten us into,” he said to the dolphin floating at
his side.

Delphinus let out
an offended squeak. It translated to, “It’s not my fault you plunged in here
without looking, lord. I told you that fish was behaving oddly.”

Poseidon studied
the coral walls around them with annoyance. He’d been out for a day of sport
fishing with Delphinus, mainly to get his mind off his recent breakup with the
Nereid Thetis. The weather was perfect for chasing down the canny fish that
thronged the Mediterranean, and after spotting a choice
bluefin
the sea god had set off in hot pursuit, Delphinus in his wake.

The
bluefin
had lured them on a merry chase before diving down into
a thick knot of seaweed. Poseidon and Delphinus had followed, swimming straight
into a small coral grotto thickly carpeted with lichen, seaweed, and sponges. The
plant life had cushioned their abrupt stop, but neither god nor dolphin had
noticed the enchanted net lining the walls until it snapped closed behind them.
“You didn’t say it was leading us into a trap.”

“Why yes, this is
true,” Delphinus said, rolling his eyes. “I humbly beg your pardon for not
having godly senses that are supposed to detect magic nets like this one, lord.
I’ll work on that in the future.”

Ignoring the
cetacean sarcasm, Poseidon poked a finger into the gleaming net. It had only
contracted at the entrance to the grotto, giving them more than enough room to
move. But the silvery net wouldn’t tear, no matter how hard he pulled on it. Using
the sharp tines of his trident to rip at the deceptively fragile strands had
the same result. Whoever had created this cage was a clever being indeed.

And as soon as I get out of it
, Poseidon thought grimly,
I’m going to track down that clever being and beat him bloody.

“Problems?”

Both Poseidon and
Delphinus startled, turning towards the figure that was now hovering just
outside the grotto’s entrance. “Amphitrite?” Poseidon said, drifting closer. “What
are
you doing here?”

“Waiting for you,”
the Nereid said, tucking a lock of dark hair behind one ear. She wore a
clinging wisp of fabric that did nothing to hide her feminine curves, and her
eyes were bright in a preternaturally lovely face. “Took you long enough to
stumble into my trap, sea lord. I’m going to have to feed that
bluefin
for weeks, now.”

Delphinus muttered
something uncomplimentary at that, and Poseidon glared at both of them. “Is
this because I broke things off with Thetis?” he asked, annoyed. “I assure you
I meant no insult to your sister, but I cannot marry her—”

Amphitrite held up
a slender hand. “Because of the prophecy about her son overthrowing his father.
I know. This has nothing to do with Thetis.”

That gave Poseidon
pause. Brows furrowed, he studied the beautiful sea nymph floating outside his
prison. Her father
Nereus
was a primal sea god, and
he and his fifty daughters were allies of the Olympian Gods. Poseidon had
considered himself a welcome presence among them.

Until now, that is.
“If this isn’t about Thetis, then what
is
it about?” he said.

Amphitrite pursed
her lips thoughtfully. “Two things. I wanted to ask you a question. And I want
something from you.”

Poseidon kicked
closer, curling his fingers into the silvery netting. “Locking me in a
bespelled
net isn’t making me feel forthcoming
or
generous, Nereid,” he growled.

She seemed
impervious to his irritation. “I’m aware of that. But the last time I tried to talk
to you in private, Thetis swooped in before I got the chance. The next thing I
knew, the two of you were engaged.” Amphitrite tilted her head to the side,
giving him an impish look. “I didn’t want that to happen again. Thus, the net.”

Poseidon tugged
again on the strands, to no effect. She had obviously gone to some lengths in
order to capture him. In a strange way, he supposed he should be flattered. “All
right, you have my attention,” he said, giving her an imperious look. “What is
your question?”

“Why did you court
Thetis instead of me?”

That was not a
question he had expected. Recovering, he said, “I needed a consort. Thetis was
not only beautiful and accomplished, but she was also the eldest daughter of
one of my strongest allies. I thought she would suit the role well.”

Amphitrite’s eyes narrowed.
“And I wouldn’t?”

“I didn’t say
that.”

“But you never
considered me for the role of consort.”

Poseidon
considered his delicate cage. Eventually someone would notice he was missing
and come in search of him, and it wasn’t as if he could drown or starve.
Best to tell the nymph the truth, harsh as
it might be.
“Actually, I did,” he said. “But Thetis struck me as more ... biddable.”

Amphitrite snorted,
silver bubbles streaming from her nose. “You obviously don’t know my sister all
that well,” she said. “I’m aware she’s known as Thetis the Kind, but the last
part is something of a misnomer.”

Poseidon
remembered the unpleasant scene in
Nereus’s
private garden
when he’d returned his Nereid’s Band to Thetis, explaining why he was breaking their
engagement. She had flung the heavy silver bracelet at his head, screeching
imprecations at him until he’d fled. “As I’ve discovered. Whereas you are known
as Amphitrite the Wise.” He plucked a strand of the net meaningfully. “A wise
woman wouldn’t trap a god in something as flimsy as a net.”

Amphitrite folded
her arms across what he had to admit was a rather luscious cleavage. “She would
if it was the only way of learning the truth. So you have no interest in me
whatsoever.”

Poseidon sighed,
blinking against the rush of bubbles. “I didn’t say that either. You’re lovely,
and obviously you’re extremely clever. But you’re also very strong-willed, and
I’ve heard tales of your skill with weaponry. The god who marries you will not
have a quiet marriage.”

He had thought she
would be offended at his assessment. Instead, she dimpled. “Is that truly such
a bad thing, sea lord?” she said. “A pretty bedmate who will adorn your home is
all well and good, but wouldn’t it be better to have a strong consort who will
fight at your side and give you able children?”

Poseidon went very
still. “And who will I be fighting, Amphitrite?”

Her dimples
disappeared. “I’ve served at my father’s table far too long not to know of your
struggles with the Titans,” she said, her tone serious. “You and your brothers
and sisters will not be able to co-exist for much longer with Kronos and his
ilk. Eventually, you will be forced to fight them for dominion. When that
happens, I would prefer to be by your side, as I have fought by my father’s
side.” She bit her lower lip. “I admit, sea lord, I do not wish to watch you
die at the hands of the Titans.”

“I ... see.” Poseidon
had assumed that her earlier attentiveness during his visits was due to his
status as guest and God of the Sea. Apparently he had been wrong.

He quickly reassessed
his opinion of the Nereid. True, Thetis had seemed sweeter and more pliable
than her headstrong younger sister. But Amphitrite demonstrated a loyalty and strength
of character that would serve better in a consort.

And Gaia, she truly
was lovely. “I had no idea you felt this way about me, Amphitrite. I wish you’d
said something earlier.”

One corner of her
mouth curved upwards. “As I already said, I tried. But Thetis got to you
first.”

“But she doesn’t
have me any longer.”

“No, she doesn’t.”
Amphitrite smiled. “Which leads me to my second item.”

Poseidon realized
he’d never seen
Nereus’s
second daughter truly smile
before. Her glorious sunburst of an expression made him feel as if a bolt of
his brother’s lightning had pierced his heart. “Yes, you want something from me,”
he said, unable not to smile back. “You don’t strike me as the type to ask for trinkets
like pearls or jewelry. Do you want a trident of your own? A chariot? Or
perhaps an island to rule as queen? I suspect you’d do well with that.”

The Nereid laughed
softly. “Nothing as complicated as all that. I want a kiss.”

Delphinus made a
surprised squeak. Even Poseidon wasn’t sure that he’d heard the request right.
“A kiss?”

“Yes.”

“That’s all?”

“Yes.”

He thought for a
moment. “Before I give you my answer, may I ask you a question?”

“Of course.”

“Why go to all
these lengths, risking my displeasure and your father’s anger, for a kiss?”

She kicked closer
to the net, hovering just out of reach. “If I had shown up at your palace and asked
you for this boon, you probably would have kissed me, yes.” One dark eyebrow
rose roguishly. “And it’s very likely you would have taken me to bed afterwards.
But the last thing I want to be is one of your assorted conquests. I want you
to take me seriously, to see that I’m worthy of becoming your consort, not
simply
bedsport
.”

Delphinus nudged
him. “She’s more than worthy, lord,” the dolphin said. “And if I may point out,
she’s a better match for you than Thetis.”

Poseidon considered
their words. “I see that now. And I acknowledge your worthiness, Amphitrite. So
yes, you can have a kiss.” He let a thread of playfulness enter his voice. “The
question is, where would you like it?”

She blushed, but the
tip of her tongue also emerged, touching her upper lip. “I’m overwhelmed with
choices, sea lord,” she said in a teasing tone. “But for this first one, I
think on my lips would be best.”

The promise of
more kisses to come was a welcome one. “Well then,” Poseidon said, pressing
closer to the netting. “Come claim your kiss, Amphitrite.”

Amphitrite
mimicked his movement, and their lips met in a gap between the silver strands. Poseidon
knew perfectly well that the water remained calm, that a whirlpool hadn’t
formed and sucked them into its churning
recesses, that
his heart remained inside his chest instead of bursting free.

And yet he would
have sworn that all those things happened when his lips touched hers. When he
finally, reluctantly pulled back from Amphitrite’s soft mouth he was no longer
the same god who had been captured by the clever, beautiful Nereid. Poseidon had
been reborn, and this rebirth was one of love.

He guessed from
the glow on Amphitrite’s face that she had experienced the same overwhelming epiphany.
“Did you know that would happen?” he asked.

“I wasn’t sure,
but I hoped it would,” she said, her fingers closing over his where they
gripped the netting. “Thetis wasn’t the only one to receive a prophecy, you
see. The Oracle told me that we were fated to be
agapetos
.”

Agapetos
,
seafolk
soul mates, fated to be together to fulfill a
destiny. Powerful as he was, Poseidon felt humbled at the thought. Not even
Zeus himself had been granted such a boon. “I was a fool to court Thetis. Will
you ever forgive me?”

Amphitrite shook
her head, her dark hair drifting on the current. “I was a fool to let her
anywhere near you after we received our prophecies. Will
you
ever forgive
me
?”

He shook his head.
“There’s nothing to forgive, beloved.”

Another one of
those sunburst smiles. “Then you have your answer as well. Now that we have
that settled, I need to let you out.” She pursed her lips and let out a squeaky
warbling note. The netting came apart, slithering around her wrist until it
reformed as a heavy silver bracelet. Poseidon recognized it as the twin to the
one that Thetis had flung at his head. All of
Nereus’s
daughters wore the bracelets, but Poseidon knew full well that the sea god
hadn’t invested any of them with this sort of power.
Probably Hephaestus’s work. Never mind, it all ended well.

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