Brianna floated boneless as sea kelp, luxuriating in the afterglow of the merman’s lovemaking. As primal as the act had been, she still thought of it as lovemaking. She could have sworn he’d whispered his devotion in her ear as they’d coupled. Or perhaps it was just her subconscious desire to be loved and cherished.
She opened heavy lids but could see nothing beyond the shoulders of the merman in the inky depths. Featureless. Maybe this was all a dream and she was dead. Could you dream when you were dead? Whatever the case, she never wanted to wake up. Not if death was like this. With a sigh, she wrapped her arms around the merman’s waist and pressed her cheek against his shoulder. He smelled briny and herbal at the same time.
I wonder what his name is.
A voice like a song came to her. Zantu.
She giggled, bubbles tickling her nose. Now I’m hearing voices. What kind of a name is Zantu?
The palm he’d been stroking against the small of her back stopped. He thrust her away to look into her face, his hands like claws around her biceps. You can hear me?
His silver eyes flashed fiercely, and he grinned; every one of his pearly whites was sharp as a canine. How had she not noticed that while they’d kissed? For the first time, she was afraid.
Can you hear me? The sonorous voice again floated through her mind.
A shiver started in her chest and rattled outward through her bones. Her heart raced until her vision jostled with every pounding beat. She managed to nod at him.
He released one hand from her bicep and stroked her cheek.
She recoiled at the sight of the slight webbing between his fingers. A word formed in her mind as his gyrating tail caught her attention. Monster.
His hand hovered millimeters from her cheek, and she swung her gaze up to meet his, suddenly horrified that he’d heard. His mouth no longer smiled. His liquid-silver eyes gleamed like twin moons. I’m sorry, she thought, hoping he could hear her.
He sucked in his cheeks as if willing himself not to speak and dropped the hand from her face. Come.
His other hand slid down her arm to take her hand, and he turned away. With a powerful thrash of his tail, he pulled her along behind him, towing her like a bit of flotsam.