Read Deeper (Elemental Series) Online
Authors: Christine DePetrillo
“There’s no other way?”
She didn’t like the panic in her voice or how hard her damn heart was pounding
in her chest.
Drown or die of a heart attack? Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.
“This is the way it’s
been done for eons.”
“Well, it sucks.”
She braced for a huge
wave heading their way. It crashed over them, and for a moment, she lost
contact with Ray. He was no longer in her arms, and she couldn’t see him
She was so alone and
When his head
resurfaced a few feet away, she nearly screamed. He swam toward her, looking
stronger and…shimmery? His skin didn’t look human anymore.
“Do you want it?” he
asked, his eyes looking like the sea glass her mother used to make into
Another wave tried to
swallow them as a zap of lightning split the sky in half.
“The nightmare won’t
happen anymore if you come with me,” Ray said.
An image of herself
with a gorgeous silvery-purple tailfin burst into her mind. Her brown hair was
lush and shiny. Her blue eyes were piercing. In the vision, Ray was beside her,
sexy as hell in full merman form. He was kissing her, holding her, loving her.
“It can be like that,”
he yelled above the turbulent sea. “I will love you. I already do, my crystal
Was she seeing the
future? Had she been all along with her nightmare? Did she always know this
moment would come?
Ray took her hand and
pulled her close to him.
Yes, she always knew.
“I want to go deeper,”
The smile that
stretched across Ray’s face made all her worries disappear. He dropped a kiss
on her nose and backed away. “See you below, my love.”
He was gone, a
splashing blue-green tailfin disappearing behind him. A snake of lightning
slithered along the surface of the water toward Crystal. Unlike in her
nightmare, she didn’t want it to miss her. She wanted it to hit its target, do
Make her a mermaid.
When the bolt slammed
into her, the paralysis came, but for the first time, she wasn’t afraid.
“Her name is Crystal
Bawle,” Ray told his father, King Delnis while his mother, Queen Farina sat by
Crystal’s bedside inside Selecahnia’s royal palace. “She has the gift of sight,
though it has not been a blessing to her for many years. She’s dreamed of the
night after night, causing her to go without sleep.”
The queen shuddered.
“The poor dear. How horrible. Why was she not made known to us sooner?”
“That is not for us to
question,” the king said. “It is as Poseidon has wished it to be. She is one of
us now, but…”
“But what, Father?” Ray
stole a quick look at Crystal as she made a small noise in her sleep. She’d
been asleep for three hours. Would she be awake soon? He desperately wanted to
show her everything about Selecahnia, her new home. He wanted her to love it.
To love him.
“You just surprise me,
son. You have been so singularly focused on your mission to keep the seas
healthy for our kind. We are eternally grateful and proud of you, but I never
thought you’d find someone you wanted to call your own. Your mother and I were
beginning to wonder if our line would end with you,” the king teased.
“Leave him be, Delnis.”
Farina got up from her seat and took both of Ray’s hands in her own. “We are
happy for you, Ray. She is breathtaking.”
“Thank you, Mother.” He
leaned down and dropped a kiss on each of Farina’s cheeks.
“Come, Delnis,” Farina
said. “We must see that the spectacle these two caused on that Bermuda beach
has been cleaned up.”
“I’m sorry.” Ray knew
that transforming a human was secret business, best done under the cover of
night. He’d done it with an auditorium load of conference onlookers on a
bright, sunny morning.
“You had no choice,
dear. You weren’t well yourself.” Farina patted his arm. “We’re just glad to
have you here, safe and sound.” She glanced at a stirring Crystal. “Both of
you. We look forward to meeting her later.”
With a slight smile,
she edged Delnis out of the room, leaving Ray alone with Crystal. When Crystal
opened her eyes, his breath got caught in his throat.
Holy gods, she’s really
here with me.
“You’re awake,” he
She sat up and stretched
out her arms. “Yes. Does that mean I’ve been sleeping?”
“For three hours.”
“Three hours! In a row?
No wonder I feel so wonderful.” She glanced down at herself and frowned as she
wiggled her toes. “But where’s the tailfin I was promised and the scales? Where
are yours for that matter?”
She swung her legs over
the side of the bed and stood in front of Ray. He wanted nothing more than to
fold his arms around her and never let go.
“You’re in the palace.
You don’t need fins in here. There’s no water.”
“Oh.” Her bottom lip
puckered in disappointment, but all Ray could think about was how delicious
that lip looked. “I have a lot to learn about this place and lifestyle, don’t
“Don’t worry. I’ll
teach you, and the fin comes back once you hit the water.” He lowered so his
forehead touched hers. “And your fin is truly beautiful. Just like the rest of
The smile Crystal
rewarded him made his heart soar.
“Can we go swimming?
Now?” She leaned against him, excitement leaping off her in waves.
“Of course. We can do
whatever you want.” He laughed when she clapped her hands.
“Okay, first a tour of
“As you wish.”
Ray led her through
room after room in the palace. She loved the sand-textured walls, the
stone-lined windows, the seashell mosaic floors.
“Oh, Ray! It’s exactly
how I pictured it right before my transformation. Your world is magnificent.”
She threw herself into his arms and caught his lips in a heated kiss.
“It is now.” He
returned the kiss and held her for a long moment. “Will you help me keep this
eyebrows lowered. “You missed your conference, your chance at speaking to all
those important people.”
“There will be other
conferences, and now I have a sidekick.”
“You have a
is what you meant to say.” She wagged a finger at him.
“Partner, yes. That’s
what I meant.”
“And don’t you forget
They reached the huge
coral doors of the palace. Crystal ran her fingers along the seam where the two
“How does this work?”
“Same as any other
“Isn’t water going to
Ray pointed to the
drains in the floor. “Yes, but it’ll go into these and get recycled back out.”
“Well, what are we
waiting for then?” She hopped on one foot then the other while tugging Ray’s
arm toward the doors.
“My, you’re frisky when
you’re fully rested.”
“Don’t complain. It’s
your fault. You let me sleep, but you also woke me up from the piece of crap
life I was living, Ray. I don’t know how to thank you.”
“I have a few ideas on
how you can show your gratitude.” He caught her around the waist and squeezed
her close. Kissing a trail down her neck, he nudged aside the shoulder straps
on the dress one of his kin had loaned him for Crystal. “You won’t need this
when we swim…or later.”
He let the dress drop
to her feet. He absolutely loved when Crystal untied the belt around his
princely robe and kicked it and her dress away.
“Let’s go, Dr. Fish.
The sooner we go for a swim, the sooner we can get to those other ideas of
She put her hand on the
seashell doorknob and looked to Ray. He nodded, and she pulled open the door.
Water immediately came gushing in. As soon as it touched him, Ray felt the
familiar tingle of his tailfin forming.
“Holy shit!” Crystal
yelled. “This is wild!”
Her own fin, all
silvery-purple, appeared, and she was off like a dart through the water. Ray
swam after her, but gave her some space to explore. He was delighted when she
beckoned to him with her hand.
What is it?
He didn’t have to say the words aloud.
Crystal’s eyes widened.
You were in my head at the hotel too, weren’t you?
Her voice echoed in
One of my people’s
abilities. It’s handy for underwater communication.
She swam closer and
caressed his cheek.
It’s also handy for telling mermen that you love them. I
know we just met, but I feel as if I’ve known you my entire life. Or at least
I’ve been waiting for you that long.
Crystal pressed a watery kiss to his
I love you too.
grabbed her hand and turned her in a few whirlpool-like twists. Love had been
the last thing on his mind when he was on land.
Until he’d seen Crystal
at the front desk.
Want to go deeper?
There’s so much more I want to show you
. He was as eager as a
I want to go wherever
you’re going. Always.
That’s all he needed to
hear. Ray dashed down into the depths, a firm grip on this gorgeous mermaid’s
hand. A hand he forever wanted to hold.
He would spend a
lifetime—and merfolk’s were extra long—loving Crystal Bawle as deeply as he
could. They would spend their days fighting for the seas and their nights
sleeping, nightmare free, in each other’s arms. That would be their purpose.
That’s what I see too.
Crystal smiled before playfully flicking her tailfin at him.
Ray wasn’t one to doubt
a crystal ball, especially his own.
Rionne D’Agestine could
not believe the ocean had swallowed her friend. Well,
strong word. Too strong. Crystal Bawle had been a coworker at Breezes Resort in
Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda and someone she could have a few drinks with now and
then. For the most part though, the girl was always too tired to really get to
know. She’d perked up a bit when that weird doctor checked in for the Marine
Wellness Conference, but who wouldn’t perk up after getting an eyeful of him?
He’d been gorgeous with that dark hair and those sea-green eyes.
But there’d been
something…off…about him. Something Rionne couldn’t quite put a finger on. Turns
out her intuition had been right on the mark. Crystal had drowned along with
that doctor only a week ago. No bodies. No explanations. No nothing.
A shiver worked its way
up Rionne’s spine as she sat at the resort’s front desk. She’d learned a lesson
from what had happened to Crystal. Don’t trust every beautiful face that walked
into Breezes Resort. An important lesson to learn, because she generally tried
the buffet of gorgeous men that traipsed in and out of the
hotel as either guests or employees.
She looked down at her
ample cleavage held back only by lace and Lycra under her stupid, flowered
Maybe it’s time to keep the girls behind the scenes.
sense in attracting attention if there were lunatics around bent on drowning
Another shiver rippled
through Rionne’s body and she glanced at the clock. 1:00 PM. Quitting time. She
tapped a hot pink fingernail on the granite top of the front desk as she
scanned the few people in the lobby area.
Where is Janice?
girl was always late, and being late meant Rionne couldn’t leave her post until
coverage showed up. Not being able to leave the front desk meant the peak rays
of sunshine outside were going to waste as Rionne’s tan cried for rejuvenation.
There was a lounge chair on the beach with her name on it. One of the few perks
of working at Breezes Resort, and she didn’t want to underuse it.
“OMG, I’m like, so
sorry, Ri.” Janice stumbled into the area behind the front desk. “My alarm
clock failed me.”
“Again?” Rionne rolled
her eyes. “You do know how to set an alarm clock, don’t you?” She slid off her
stool and straightened her red mini-skirt.
“Yeah. I know how.”
Janice smiled. “I just don’t know how to get up when it goes off.” She nudged
Rionne with a dagger-like elbow and let out a laugh that ended with a nasally
snort. “Where are you off to?” Janice hopped up onto the stool Rionne had
Rionne didn’t hang
around for any more small talk. She found Janice to be a complete bore and
again, the sun was all fired up and waiting.
In the staff room where
employees kept their personal items, Rionne used the small bathroom to change
into her swimsuit—a silver bikini that had caused three retail associates in
the boutique where she’d bought the suit to
envious approval. Looking in the mirror along the wall above the sink, Rionne
had to agree the bikini highlighted the girls, showcased her derriere, and
amplified her mile-long legs. A guy once told her he’d sell his soul to the
devil to touch those legs. And why not? She worked on keeping her legs and the
rest of her thirty-year old body in top form. Running, yoga, swimming, though
seeing Crystal go down in the waves had put a little damper on that last one.