Yummy freebie for Stolen by the Sea Lord

Fourth Helping of Bonus Happy Endings!

Here is the fourth "happy ending to the happy ending," this time for Stolen by the Sea Lord, book four in the Lords of Atlantis series: "Zara's Fins."

You should have already read Stolen by the Sea Lord. It's currently available as an ebook in the Sirens & Scales anthology here: http://www.sirensandscalesanthology.com

"Zara's Fins" Download

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Can't read either format? No worries. I've reproduced the whole text below!

This is exclusive to newsletter subscribers, so please do not share it. Also, you should really read Stolen by the Sea Lord first. This story contains massive spoilers! It is a yummy, heart-warming scene of Zara + family after all the danger has passed and they can relax together enjoying a "normal" life.

Epilogue for Stolen by the Sea Lord

"Zara's Fins"

“I made my fins!”

Zara burst into the hotel room. Elan was sitting on the rumpled bed watching TV. Their son, Zain, was sitting on the floor digging into her tipped-over purse. Both looked over at her excited pronouncement.

“I did it based on some yoga moves. Milly sent me a bunch of materials.” She extended her long, water-dotted leg. “I have to envision my foot chakra expanding and then it happens.”

Elan’s aquamarine tattoos bunched on his forehead as he raised both brows. “Chakra?”

“It’s an energy thing. Here, see?”

She closed her eyes, extended her toes, imagined the energy in her chest pushing outward, through her feet, and…

Tingling sensation in her toes, then an unusual breeze, like the California motel’s air conditioner had suddenly come on…

She opened her eyes.

Her toes extended like a frog’s toes and stretched apart, turning her feet into scuba-like flippers. She modeled the change, leaning against the door frame. The skin was a dark caramel-auburn color.

“It is like the color of your soul light,” Elan commented, a pleased smile on his face.

“Is it?”

 She couldn’t see this mythical light that apparently mermen could see in everyone’s chest. Man, woman, or child, the mermen could see a light shining from within. The stronger and brighter the light, the more powerful the person. Once, he’d described her as bright as the sun. But he hadn’t mentioned the sun was a dark gold color.

“It’s different from what I imagined.”

“But still beautiful.” He rose from the bed and crossed the room, mindless of his nakedness. The thick, beautiful cock swinging between his muscular thighs, his surfaces swirled with aquamarine tattoos marking his honorable deeds.

He rested his hands on her biceps. “Shall we swim?”

“Oh.” This made her feel stupid. “They go away in the water. I tried so many times before I gave up and came in here. I lose my concentration and they go away.”

Well, actually, her fins snapped back into the shape of  human feet like a spring-loaded mouse trap. And they did so now, just by her thinking about it.

His eyes gleamed. “Hmm. Maybe I will have to help you…”

It was too early for Zain’s nap, but he willingly rolled into the crib and played quietly with his rattle mobile and board books. They couldn’t put him in the tub anymore because he had figured out how to turn it on and nearly overflowed Milly’s bathroom, soaking the floor while he giggled, splashed, and shifted between human and mer forms.

Elan closed the crib into the hotel bathroom with Zara’s phone playing pleasant baby music. The hotel walls were thinner than in Milly’s house, and although it was likely that Zain wouldn’t be scarred by hearing things he shouldn’t at a little over a year old, she didn’t want to find she was wrong, either.

She probably shouldn’t put him in the bathroom either. The walls were bare; not very stimulating. Or what if he reached out of the crib and grabbed a towel, and smothered?

“You are worrying again,” Elan said, smiling over his shoulder as he clicked the door closed.

“I can’t help it. I’m a parent.”

“You know, under the water, young fry are raised near barracudas, spiny toxic fish, and sharks.”

Elan knew her too well. In comparison to those things, being closed into a bathroom for half an hour didn’t seem so very dangerous.

She slid up behind him, resting her thighs against his, and reached around the front to curl her fingers over his hardening cock. “You’ve calmed my fears.”

An arrogant smile curved his lips. “Anything I can do to help.”

“I can think of a few things.”

He turned and walked her backward across the room. She hit the edge of the king size bed and buckled. He pushed his knee between her thigh and eased her back, peeled off her swim suit, and revealed her body to his hungry gaze. His aquamarine-flecked eyes gleamed with the feast of skin she unveiled, and his warrior’s hands kneaded her soft flesh in worship.

Her body relaxed into his masterful command.

He pushed her more securely onto the bed and kissed inside her thighs. A groan of approval emerged from his lips.

She smiled. He must be finding her hot, waiting, and needing him. Her slick desire throbbed.

He drove conscious thought from her mind with every pleasure-soaked flick of his tongue.

His hard cock pulsed in her hands, reminding her of their favorite position. It was harder on land but not impossible. She twisted on the bed to taste his gorgeous cock.

Her tongue wet his hard tip and her lips closed over the taut member.

He sucked in a breath through his teeth. “So good.”

She released him to smile. “Aren’t you teaching me about concentration?”

He growled and nipped her thighs playfully, teasing her to giggles. Giggles? That was something Zara had not done for a very long time. Elan made her feel so centered, so loved, and so safe that it was easy for her to let go of her shields  with him and be unguarded.

He recognized her vulnerability and rolled onto his back, tugging her on top of him. The hotel sheets flew. She straddled his well-muscled waist between her damp thighs.

His delicious cock nudged her entrance. “The world ceases to exist when I join with you.”

She cupped his face. His smooth jaw, firm and hers, made her smile. He was so beautiful. “I feel the same.”

And then she eased down on him, inviting him in as she centered and filled her channel full of his rigid, pleasure-strengthened shaft.

He groaned. His fingers digging into her hips, and he closed his eyes.

The world could cease to exist. She was okay with that.

Rolling forward, Elan caught her breast in his hot mouth. His lips closed her over pearled nipple. Pleasure shot to her center, squeezing her in goodness. She gasped.

Grinding herself against his cock, she lost and found herself, sliding up and down his hard shaft. Their bodies slapped together with abandon. Glitter flashed behind her eyes like pleasure-soaked confetti. Throbbing release rocked through her body and crashed against Elan’s shore.

He gripped her tight and groaned. His hot liquid release filled her channel, uniting them as one.

She collapsed on top of him. His hard chest supported her like a plank of wood, powerful and unmovable.

He tugged a tangled sheet on top of her and smoothed it, making her comfortable.

Still pinioned by him, she closed her eyes and lost track of time.

Zain cried out in the bathroom, startling her and Elan awake. She rolled off, smothering a yawn in the sleepy hotel sheets, and he rose to check on Zain.

“Your phone paused its music,” he reported. “There was an incoming call.”

Uh oh. Zara pushed herself upright and located the time.

“Shall we swim in the hotel pool?” Elan asked, holding Zain’s half-empty tub of orange fish crackers.

She scrambled for towels and soap. “We’ve got to run. My aunt gets off work in an hour and you won’t believe traffic.”

They showered quickly. Zain rolled around at their feet and played with the plug. They rushed into diapers and nice clothes and double-checking appearances. It’s not that her aunt cared much about appearances. It was just that Zara wanted her to approve of Elan and Zain so much.

She returned her aunt’s phone call, shared that they were leaving the hotel, and got a quick update on anything important that she’d missed by her mid-afternoon nap.

“Milly called,” her aunt said in her usual brisk, no-nonsense manner. “She was waiting for your daily text.”

“We were sleeping! Sorry. Jet lag,” Zara said lamely.

Her aunt wisely said nothing — although she used to berate the girls for staying up (usually because they were reading some book about wizards or vampires) and sleeping away the weekends.

Milly remained in the Azores along with one of Elan’s warriors, Uvim, as a liaison. If anything went wrong, then Zara was to fly back immediately.

The Dragao Azul elders had been hesitant to let her go so far away — until she reminded them that they had no say. She was queen and protecting their city with her newly discovered powers was her gift. They were still learning how to respect her autonomy as a queen rather than boss her around as a helpless bride who needed to be hidden away and sequestered, and they also still infuriated her by treating Elan like a fallen warrior they could order around rather than respecting him as their second-most-powerful First Lieutenant — the warrior directly responsible for the safety and security of the city below King.

Honestly, Zara’s relationship with the king had vastly improved during her several weeks’ long stay. She brought Zain to see him every day of his recovery, and he kindly told her that seeing Zain’s innocent smiles sped his healing. Although things were not perfect between them, the king never forgot her position or Elan’s. Once he took over fully again, then it was likely the rest of the city would fall into line behind his thoughtful example.

The elders were somewhat mollified that she could fly back in a day, direct-flight, and descend with Elan if there was an emergency. And they were even more mollified when she reminded them that the whole reason she was leaving temporarily was to try getting back more of their ex-brides.

The bride before Zara lived in seclusion in an ashram in India and had no interest in ever leaving it. Her experience had been more traumatic than Zara’s; her parents were even more forceful and abusive, and they had been the “friends” that had told Zara’s nightmare parents all about how to force Milly into the same position.

The next bride back had been raised in a traditional sacred bride family. She’d gone into it with the healthy attitude of a surrogate, accepted that she must give up the mer baby because he wasn’t hers; now she had only a passing interest in her child.

The bride before that considered her underwater experience more than six years earlier a youthful misadventure and painful first love. She had grown up, married, and had two human children in central Portugal.

“Revisiting that time in my life could only be a bittersweet memory,” she said, through an interpreter, when responding to Mel and Zara’s request to meet. “I would like to help these marine people but I cannot leave my family.”

Elan took these dead ends and rejections to heart. “The brides really do forget,” he’d said sadly. “Warriors do not.”

She felt more cynical. “Don’t be so judgmental. You’re stuck in an all-male, no-female culture where ‘remembering your bride’ is the highest honor. We’re put back into a world that tells us you don’t even exist, and your own elders told us to forget it ever happened. We have nothing except a small gemstone to even know we’re not crazy.”

“You receive a gemstone,” he pointed out significantly.

“Would that satisfy you?” she snapped.

He took her into his arms. “No.”

“Of course not,” she said, easing into his embrace. “Anyway, we’re told there’s nothing we can do and we didn’t have Kadir whispering in our ears encouraging us to try for more. Until now.”

Now, she was the brides’ voice. And she wasn’t whispering. If brides had moved on, if they were satisfied in their new lives, if they had grown and changed and no longer needed justice, fine. But if not, then she was there. Standing on the nearest podium, shouting for the edge of the horizon.

You have choices. Your husbands and sons are still there. Things are changing. You can live however you want. Now is your time for reconciliation.

And warriors like Faier were appearing on the front cover of Time with a story to capture the hearts and sympathies of the nation. Kings like Jolan of Sireno and Kadir of Atlantis were standing before the United Nations. Human brides turned queens, like the inimitable Aya Van Cartier, were forcefully advocating for their inclusion as a nation requiring recognition for basic rights. Not only in locations like the UN; Aya also represented Atlantis fearlessly in front of the All-Council with her terrifying husband, Soren.

Change or disband, was Aya’s now infamous message to them. Grow or be left behind.

This was the world Zain was growing up into. He would have to make his own choices.

But for now, as Elan tugged on nice jeans and fastened the buttons on his new, long-sleeved, aquamarine dress shirt, Zara was just trying to convince Zain that her hotel passkey was not a teething toy.

“Don’t eat that,” she told him, handing him a refrigerated cloth instead. “Here, chew on this instead.”

He gnawed on it, drool leaking down his face.

“Try not to drool on your new onesie,” she moaned and sopped liquid from the fake tuxedo bow tie.

“Under the water, we would not notice this drool,” Elan said archly.

She rolled her eyes. If she had to hear about how much better it was to raise a child under the water — whether it related to diaper training or teething — she was going to put Elan on active night duty, since he’d miraculously slept through Zain’s midnight wailing for three whole nights.

Zain was way more his own person than he had been in the seaweed-filled bathtub at their house in the Azores. He had barely made a peep, as though terrified at any moment of monsters appearing from the shadows. Now, he wailed and toddled and got into mischief and squealed just like any other toddler. No one would ever know he’d survived two kidnappings and one assassination. He was her baby star.

She nuzzled the top of Zain’s head. “Your Gram is going to love you.”

They had agreed that Vaw Vaw would be his Portuguese grandma, her aunt would be his Gram, and her biological mother would be his “grandmother who would love him but unfortunately had a lot of personal problems that prevented her from loving anyone, sadly.”

Zara would explain about her biological father the same way.

The last thing she wanted to do was keep secrets, even by accident. By suppressing her worst childhood memories, she’d put Milly into a dangerous situation that had nearly ended with her parents selling her into slavery. Vague honesty seemed the best compromise to inform Zain about his relatives and also warn him they were imprisoned for society’s safety.

Zain had an entire city of grandfathers who loved him, so hopefully he wouldn’t miss the loss.

They got in the rental car, strapping Zain into the car seat in the back with his chilled washcloth and other toys, and Zara got into the driver’s seat.

Elan had been so amazed. He repeated his phrase from the airport yesterday. “You can drive?”

“Of course I can drive.” She adjusted the mirrors and disengaged the parking brake. “I let Milly drive in the Azores because she likes to.”

He was silently contemplating.

“You look like you want to say something.”

He looked at her.

“Like, ‘Gosh, Zara, you’re so amazing. Is there nothing you can’t do?’”

“I would not say that.” He dismissed it immediately. Twining his hands with hers, he smiled. “Today, after many attempts, you made your fins. This was something that we once thought necessary to claim your power.”

“Even though it’s not,” she said. There was a difference between, “Brides always make their fins and then uncover their super powers” and “Brides must make their fins and then uncover their super powers,” as she had proved.

“It worried you not to be able to do it.” He focused on a fear that had, in fact, kept her up at night. “But this is proof of your determination, and gives me hope for the future. Whether convincing cities to overturn their centuries-long ancient covenants or uniting our races, if something is accomplishable, you will certainly accomplish it.”

Her heart warmed.

Elan was arrogant yet sweet, overly confident yet oh so faithful. He was the champion she had always needed, the male who showed her what it meant to be a good father, and the warrior who lifted her up when her own parents had crushed her down. He had taught her to look beyond narrow definitions. Now, they were redefining how the races joined together as a family.

She nuzzled her husband, checked on her child, and pulled out of the hotel garage onto the busy Californian street.

Ahead lay introducing her husband and son to her precious aunt, who had once saved her from her biological mother, and taught her the true definition of unselfish love.

That definition Elan had helped her to grow and Zain had completely redefined. Now, together, she shared it not only with her family, but with the whole world.

Starla Night

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