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Teenage mermaid Danika DelMar loves high school more than anything in the ocean. She fights with her mother about joining their pod, but she fights her hormones even more. No matter what her body says, she's not ready to kill someone with sex. Things get harder when Danika falls for a new boy at school. He claims to be a sea creature like she is, but she isn’t sure she can trust him or herself.
When a dead body shows up at Danika's reef she risks giving away her secret to make sure the police find the victim. It doesn't stop the bodies from coming. Soon she's lost her friend and the first boy she ever loved. Danika is sure a sea creature is involved, and she’s the only one who can help. As her friends become targets, Danika races to find the killer.
Page Count: 272
Word Count: 70600
“The ocean is a woman?” His eyes twinkled, amused by the story, not disrespectful.
“Of course it is. Think of all the life it gives.”
“I guess I can agree to that. But the water takes life, too.”
“It does what it has to.” I thought about Mom and all the other mermaids, the way they hunted. I turned my face to the horizon thinking about those girls and how they might be getting ready to hunt right now. Instead, in the center of the water I saw a blur of brown. It could’ve been anything, but I knew it was a body.
“Did you see that?” Sam leaned forward and squinted.
“The only thing I see is you.” I kissed him, turning his head away from the waves. I couldn’t let him find it, not when it could be another mermaid. We were about ten minutes from my house. If I could get him to take me home, I could get the body into shore if it was a dry-lander, or take her home if it wasn’t. Part of my mind raced through the possibilities, scared and anxious, the rest of it focused on how good it was to kiss him.
“Are you trying to distract me?”
“Is it working?” I passed his lips and went to his ear, nibbling softly while I looked out at the water. The brown blur, the maybe mermaid, was drifting toward my reef. “Thanks for the wonderful birthday dinner.”
“I think it’s time I acted like a grown-up and faced my problems.”
We walked back to the parking lot hand in hand. It had been a wonderful birthday dinner, and a great afternoon. Now I had to protect my reef, find out if that blur was a mermaid, and do something about it.
Sam dropped me off and I waved good-bye from the top of my stairs. As his car moved out of sight I went straight through the house, shedding my clothes as I moved. Mom wasn’t home, a small blessing. I hit the water and started to swim fast. The sun wouldn’t set for another couple of hours. I wanted to find that blur before it got dark. I didn’t have to swim far, a mile or two away from our beach and there it was, riding the tide, proving me right.
Up close I recognized the body, saw the hair I’d run my hand through, the shoulders I’d rested my head on. It was Ryan, my boyfriend from a summer ago.
I put my hand on his cold skin and thought about how warm he’d felt. Now his skin felt too slick. Small fish scattered as I approached him, more of them nibbling at his face, at the lips I’d kissed once.
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