Actually it's in the sea.
And on land. But definitely not in the air. (I'll save that for the Genie Series.)
But it's now official - my third book from Sourcebooks has been released - and there's something about "Catch is Released" that just tickles my funny bone.
When I think back to June, only 7 months ago, my first book was coming out and how excited I was about that, I remember how nervous I was. Would people like it? Would they embrace the world? Was the suspension of disbelief enough to let them "go" with the idea of mermen? It definitely helps to have an editor who loves your work, so that nervousness was taken down a few notches, but you know what? It never goes away. And even with such great reception to the first two books, I'm still nervous.
And then I get emails from readers who I've come to know over the past 7 months, who say things like, "I'm so excited for you," or "I can't wait to read this story!" or "this was my favorite story so far!" Yes, sharing the love definitely helps with the butterflies. (Although... those butterflies come in awfully handy in the first genie book, I Dream of Genies...)
I have an excerpt up on my website and I've put a few more in the blogs I'm doing for the blog tour (listed/linked below), but I thought you all should have an exclusive excerpt. And it's exclusive because this part never made it into the book.
Sometimes I have to write the backstory to see where the book needs to start and who my characters are. Oh, it's not on purpose; most times I plan to use these scenes. But then I go along and finish the story and realize that not everything is necessary and some things should be cut.
Here's one of those cuts. You might eventually see it on my website, but for now, it's available only here:
"So my mom didn’t lie? There’s no such thing as Santa?” Five-year-old Michael Hardington turned his big, brown, puppy-dog eyes on his father. “That’s why he never comes to my house?”
Logan stuck the fishing rod in its holder and wiped his forehead against his bicep. The late afternoon sun blistered the deck of his boat, the Mir-a-Mar. “Look, Michael, I’m sorry, but, yeah, there’s no Santa.” Why the hell would Christine do this to a kid? No, wait. Make that, why would Rainbow do this to a kid?
Rainbow. Christ. It was a wonder the kid wasn’t completely screwed up. Here’s hoping it wasn’t too late for normalcy to work some magic. Well, as normal as a single guy with a kid could be.
A single guy with a surprise kid.
At least Christine hadn’t named him Snowball like every pet she’d ever owned. Given the latest bout of weirdness, he was surprised she hadn’t. Surprised and damned glad.
“Mike.” The boy’s fists clenched against his sides.
“I like Mike. Michael sounds like a baby.”
Logan swallowed. His son as a baby. Something his ex had taken from him. “Okay. Mike it is.”
“So what about the Easter Bunny?” Michael ran his fingers over the brass reel—No, Mike ran his fingers over the brass reel.
And… hell. That wasn’t sea spray in the kid’s eyes. Logan rubbed his own eyes. He didn’t know how to do this. How to raise a child. Relate to a five-year-old. To his son.
Logan sat on the bench and adjusted Michael’s baseball cap—just in case it was sea spray—wondering how he was supposed to deal with this mess. Lie to him and have the kid question if his mother had ever told him the truth? Have him wonder why he’d never gotten any gifts, why he wasn’t worthy? Or, should he tell him the truth and help him lose his innocence?
Great choices—all thanks to his flighty and irresponsible ex-girlfriend.
“Look, Michael—Mike. Those are just stories. Made up so kids will go to bed early on holidays and to get them to behave. They don’t exist. Parents bring the gifts.”
“Nu-uh. Rainbow didn’t. And you didn’t either.”
Ouch. The kid didn’t pull any punches. “That’s because I didn’t know I was a parent.”
“Now you do.”
“Right. Now I do.” What the hell he was going to do about it was a whole other story.
Damn her for doing this to him. To Michael. Mike. The little boy should’ve known he had a father. Logan should have known he had a son. She should have told him.
And not with a note flapping against the kid’s shirt while he stood on the front porch holding a threadbare, stuffed toy raccoon and a pillowcase filled with a tattered selection of children’s books and the sorriest lot of clothing Logan had ever seen.
If Rainb—no, Christine, dammit!—hadn’t run out on both of them, Logan sure as hell would have sent her away. Far away.
Jesus. Once again, he let someone get too close and he was paying the price.
“So?” Mike cocked the rim of the cap backwards, those puppy-dog eyes narrowing.
At least this price was his son. Six years later than he would have liked to have known him, but still... “So… what, Mike?”
“So do I get presents now?”
Logan had to hide the smile. Two days of normalcy did seem to be working. He’d even managed to convince Mike that a boat was no place for Rocky, the toy raccoon. “Well, sure, but Christmas isn’t for another four months. And Easter’s after that. You’ll get presents then.”
“Not for my birthday?”
“Your birthday? You know when your birthday is?” Wonder-Mother had neglected to mention that little detail in her note.
Logan, this is Michael. He’s ours—yours and mine. I can’t do this anymore. I’ve done almost six years. It’s your turn. You can afford it, Mr. Hot Shot Money Whiz. Plus he has to go to school and you know I don’t do well with authority.
Or her birth control, obviously. Or responsibility. Or sharing important facts like a pregnancy—
“… tomorrow.” Mike tapped the fishing rod.
“Your birthday is tomorrow?” Shit. Christine just loved surprises. No wonder she’d neglected to mention it.
“Yep. I’m gonna be six.” Mike opened the reel and several hundred feet of line went running into the ocean. Logan didn’t have the heart to stop him when he was enjoying himself. “And I get to go to school so I can learn to read and write so I can get a job and make lots of money. I’ll buy a big house someday so Rainbow won’t have to keep looking for hand-me-outs and soup kitchens. I’m gonna take real good care of us when I grow bigger.”
The little guy puffed out his scrawny chest and his eyes sparkled with an intensity a soon-to-be-six-year-old should only have for a new Matchbox car or baseball glove. Not for making a living.
Logan wanted to cry.
“All right then, sport.” He flicked the rim of Mike’s baseball cap and cleared his throat. “Presents it is. What do you want for your birthday?”
A mermaid. Logan shook his head. Leave it to Rainbow’s son to want a mermaid.
He patted Mike on the back and headed over to the bait box. “Hate to break it to you, Mike, but mermaids don’t exist either.”
Angel Tritone swam as fast as she could, but the pull of water from behind her was strong. Hades, Harry was fast.
She couldn’t risk a look back or he’d overtake her before she got close to that boat up ahead.
She called on every reserve of energy in her body and poured it into her tail. Just another few feet and Harry wouldn’t dare approach her. Not that close to a Human fishing boat. Hammerheads were prize catches.
She snorted. And Mers weren’t?
She swam as close to the surface as she dared so Harry’s tail would cut like a sailboat above the waves and bring the Humans to Hammerhead Hunting Mode if he followed her in. Harry would be running for his life and he knew it.
It was either his or hers and Angel knew which one she’d prefer.
Especially since he’d made her abandon all her tools and notes to the bottom of the sea to get away from him. With no coral reefs below to catch them, all her hard work and the treasured crafts of her trade were going to drift. She hadn’t even had the chance to check the strength of the current to be able to find them later, and there wasn’t a fish in sight she could ask to help her out. Harry was going to pay if anything happened to those notes. Her career would be over.
Tremors passed over her tail. Or her life would be. Harry was getting closer.
Angel dug deeper for an inner core of speed. One more surge and she’d be home free.
She kicked and—
Something pierced her tail.
Godsdammit, that hurt! She fluttered her flukes, trying to shake away whatever it was, but that threw off her rhythm and slowed her down. She looked over her shoulder. Harry hung thirty feet below her to the left, his tail flicking from side to side.
“This is precious, princess.”
“Don’t call me that, Harry.” She shook her tail harder, but the pain didn’t stop. She couldn’t see anything on it. She twisted from side to side.
“Why not? It’s your title.”
“One I don’t use. What’s the sense, since I’m like fourteenth in line anyway?” Flutter, flutter. What was that thing?
“Right. Which makes this little scenario utterly perfect.”
“What are you talking about?” She gave her tail a good whump, hoping that’d do the trick. She didn’t know why Harry hadn’t moved in on her yet, but she wasn’t going to take her eyes off him. She crossed her arms over her designer sand dollar top, tugging the braided seaweed ties back in place, and shook her head to keep her hair from floating across her face. As usual, that didn’t happen.
Harry grinned. Considering the grin stretched from one eyeball to the other across that rectangular face of his, it was just plain eerie.
“You’re hooked, princess. Some Human finally hooked a Mer. Brought you off your throne in one quick flick of the wrist. How ironic.”
Of course and oh shit.
Angel doubled over on her tail, her fingers searching through her amethyst scales for the hook. This so wasn’t good. No Humans could know Mers existed or they’d be out in full hunting force. She could not show up on the end of a fishing line.
She looked around for anyone—anything—to help her, but Harry had sent every creature fleeing for their lives. Great.
“Harry, help me. Bite the line.”
“Now why would I want to do that? Besides, if I’m that close, I should just bite you.”
Oh, yeah. She hadn’t thought about that.
“But, hey, if you’re offering— ”
“Never mind.” Frantically combing her scales with one hand, Angel swished the water around her fins with the other. This so wasn’t good. She had to get free.
Hooked. Her. It was ironic, really, but not the way Harry meant.
Snagged on the end of a Human fishing line… She’d come out today to study their fishing techniques, not get caught in them.
If she could only find the line, maybe she could break it. She had to try.
She swam in a circle, staying near the top of the water, searching for the line. Ah, there. At the tip of her fin.
She swished her fin toward her, reaching out with one hand to follow the line to the hook when—Her tail got yanked backwards and someone started reeling her toward the boat.
My blog tour:
1/27 Book Faery Reviews
1/29 Booking Mama
2/2 Fresh Fiction
2/3 Overstuffed Bookshelf
2/4 Wendy’s Minding Spot
2/5 Peeking Bet. the Pages
2/8 Anna’s Book Blog
2/10 Night Owl Romance
2/10 FF&P Chapter, RWA
2/15 Over the Edge
2/17 Sia McKye Over Coffee
2/19 Fang-tastic Books
2/22 Love Romance Passion
2/25 Yankee Rom Reviewers