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Authors: Kitty Thomas

Tags: #Erotica

Awakening

Awakening

Kitty Thomas

Kindle Edition

Copyright © 2011 Kitty Thomas

all rights reserved.

Kindle Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Amazon and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Publisher's Note:

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Contact [email protected]

Acknowledgments

Thank you to the following people in no particular order:

Robin for cover art.

Natasha for copyedits and developmental edits.

Jackie, Mark, Cari, Annabel, Claudia, Jamie, Michelle, and Cara for beta reading.

M for believing in me.

Disclaimer

This is a work of fiction, and the author does not endorse or condone any behavior done to another human being without their consent.

You may know or think you know of Atlantis, but you are probably less familiar with another island people think of as equally mythic: Meropis. Both of these places exist in a world that stands next to yours but never can overlap or cross. Basically, you can’t get there from here, or here from there. But I can tell you about it, and you can believe me. Or not.

Meropis is just beyond Oceanus, or what most here call the world-ocean. On this island are three key places, two of which I would suggest visiting if it were possible for you to get here. The third of which I would suggest never coming near. These places are Eusebes, Machimos, and Anostos.

Anostos has no day or night and is covered in a red, cloudy haze. I’d seen it many times from the water when I swam too close to the shore. The place fascinated me in its strangeness. It is on Anostos that I met my Master, Kyros. Only it didn’t start out that way, since he’s human, and I was a mermaid.

When I was young, my mother warned me, not just of Anostos, but of land. She said: “Nerina, never go too close to the shore or a man might take you and seduce you. If that happens, you can never come back to the sea.”

My mother was on the dramatic side. She believed in myths and legends more than I ever did. The legend went that if a man could arouse a mermaid’s desire deeply enough, she’d turn human and forevermore be at the mercy of his lust. It sounded like a scare story my father would have cooked up to keep us all in line. And it worked. On most of us.

Mermaids don’t have sex. We’d heard about it. Some of us got close enough to see a few humans do it once. Or a few monkeys. And if you ask me, there just is no difference. We were glad we didn’t have to do something so undignified to reproduce.

Merfolk are very private. Although we don’t wear clothing, our lack of sexual reproduction makes nothing seem sexual to us. Females lay their eggs in private, then a male comes along and fertilizes them. It’s a very neat, clean partnership.

So the idea that a human male could ever awaken a physical lust in a mermaid was too silly to entertain. Which might be why, in my curiosity over Anostos, I swam too close to the shore one day and got caught in a net.

A fisherman eyed me curiously, then started yelling to others to come take a look. They ogled my chest, and I quickly moved my hands to cover the parts that looked too much like the parts of their kind’s females. Mermaids produce milk for the babies. That’s all breasts are for. No one else would ever think to
touch
them. That was another one of those dirty human things.

“What does the master want done with it? Mermaid fin is a delicacy. He’s got that party tonight.”

My heart hammered in my chest. I’d forgotten their kind were known to eat my kind. Well, not everything, just the part that was different. The part that didn’t look like them. This knowledge brought little comfort, since they couldn’t have part of me for dinner without killing all of me. And I very much didn’t want to die.

One of them came closer and ran a hand over my fin in the way one touches an object they’ve just purchased or a piece of fruit they’re trying to decide if they want to buy. “Looks like there’s enough here to feed the whole party.”

I cringed and tried to pull away from him, but it was harder to maneuver myself on the shore. I was utterly helpless, and for a brief moment I desperately wished I had legs so I could run. All at once the fishermen fell silent. When I looked up, I saw why. Coming down from the hill, out of the red haze, was a large and intimidating male, the man they’d been talking about. The man who held my life in his hands.

“What have we here?” He looked down on me, his black eyes fathomless like the sea monsters my kind feared.

One of the fishermen did a lot of genuflecting and said, “Master Kyros, we caught a mermaid. Would you like us to slaughter and prepare it for the party? There will be several nobles from Eusebes. Mermaid fin would please them very much. It would make trading go more smoothly.”

I moved my arms away from my chest and looked up at him. While I didn’t like the idea of being touched in
that way
, breasts hypnotized human males, and it was either the possibility of being touched like that or becoming an appetizer. I fought back the wave of nausea at thinking of the latter option. And although the former held no real thrill for me, at least it wasn’t death.

Kyros stared at me, his eyes darkening more—if that were possible. His nostrils flared, and I think I stopped breathing while he weighed his options. Finally he said, “That won’t be necessary, Aric. The menu is already set, and I’m afraid introducing such a delicacy at the last minute is bound to end in mistakes. Cook is already stressed enough. If only she’d been caught a couple of hours sooner.”

I shuddered, thinking of how I’d wanted to go for a swim earlier, but my mother had stopped me, needing help watching some of the young in our school. It may have detained me for just the window of time necessary to spare my life. At least for now.

“Then what shall we do with her, sir? Toss her back in?”

Yes, please. Oh, please please toss me back in. I’ll never swim this close again. I’ve learned my lesson.

He watched me, his eyes sweeping over my chest before I could cover myself now that the immediate threat of death seemed over. “No. Take her to my chambers. I’ll decide what to do with her after the party.”

He looked at me for another long moment, then turned and made his way back up the hill, the red haze finally swallowing him until it was as if he’d disappeared from the island altogether.

The fishermen set to work immediately unwrapping the net. One of them carried me by my arms, the other by my tail—the one near my head—occasionally brushed his fingertips over my breast. I knew he’d done it on purpose. It felt so strange and wrong. What was the matter with these people? How did the females of their kind stand all that pawing? There were rumors among the merfolk that some of the female humans even liked it. We had a word for them. Slut.

I didn’t know exactly what the word meant, except that it was an insult and we applied it almost unilaterally to human women. At the time, I didn’t know some humans used the term as well, and that not all females seemed to like sex. The ones who didn’t maybe would have been happier as mermaids.

When we reached Kyros’ chambers, they dropped me unceremoniously on his bed. The one who’d held me by the tail was already on his way out the door, but the other looked on me with dark interest. He stroked his chin, sizing me up.

I tried to squirm away as he moved closer, but the other fisherman interrupted. “Aric, come on. We’ve got too much work to do for this. Leave her.”

He grumbled in irritation. “I’ll be back for you, pretty thing. More than one way to taste you.”

I wasn’t sure what he meant by that. He looked at me for another long moment in a way that made my scales crawl, then I was left alone. For the first half hour I was in shock. It took me a while to orient myself to my surroundings.

The room was nice and clean at least. Paintings of goddesses draped in white fabric adorned the walls. In the sea, we focus more on the deities associated with the water, but I knew there were many others. In the ocean we are pretty primitive; many of the technologies humans have on land just won’t work in the water. On land they have a sense of the ancient with their large stone castles and simple fishing nets. But there is also a lot of technology.

From the beach, I’d noticed things that seemed to work by magic, but I’d heard rumors that it was really electricity, like what the storms make. Evidence of their ability to harness lightning was clear by the lights on the wall. Even fire is fairly foreign to a mermaid, but I knew what fire looked like. This wasn’t fire. It was a light contained in a circle of glass that couldn’t be snuffed out in the normal ways.

Humans seemed to also have very complex irrigation systems and a way to make water move through pipes. Or this was something I’d heard anyway. So far I hadn’t seen the evidence of it. There was a shiny black square mounted on the wall and then something near it with buttons. I wasn’t sure what it did, but it looked somewhat out of place with the rest of the décor.

Time passed, and I heard music and loud noises drifting up the stairs: clanging pots from the kitchen down below, partying, and merrymaking. The door had been left ajar, and I was afraid someone would come in. But the other side of that was … maybe there was a way out.

I slid and wriggled to the end of the bed, my arms going out, my hands bracing against the floor as I walked my way down with my hands. I dragged myself on my belly to the door and then out into the hallway. I tried not to think about how this looked. Humiliating. Undignified.

A side stairway seemed like it might lead to an exit. I didn’t know if a door would already be open or how I would manage to get a closed one open, but the hope flared inside me that somehow there was still a way out of this mess, and that I’d be swimming in the sea in an hour or two.

I somehow made it down the stairs and to a back door. People came and went near it, so I scooted behind a large potted fern to watch and wait for my moment of escape. But it never came. Nobody opened that door.

Hours passed and a weakness began to overtake me, not only because I hadn’t had anything to eat in a long time, but because I was drying out. We can breathe in both air and water. A special mechanism in the human-looking part of us closes when underwater where we breathe through our fins. It’s our primary way of breathing.

We can be out of the ocean a long time if salt water is poured over our fins every few hours. It had been longer than that. My scales were dry, and I was desperate for nourishment and for water to swim in so everything inside me wouldn’t feel so tight and wrong.

More time passed and then the castle was silent except for the sound of my sobbing. Crying wasn’t helping the moisture situation, but I was so scared I couldn’t stop. With all of the revelers gone, the noise I was making quickly drew Kyros to me. I looked up when his boots entered my line of sight. His arms were crossed over his chest, and he gave me a disapproving glare, as if I were inconveniencing him. He could have thrown me back in the sea earlier. It had been his choice not to.

“Why aren’t you in my chambers?”

It was the first time he’d spoken directly to me. Earlier he’d spoken around me and near me and about me. But never to me. For the first time, I felt like another sentient being in his presence instead of something he might cook later for a party.

“I-I-please … ”

He arched a brow. “Please what?”

“Please spare me.”

His lips twisted in a smirk. “I believe I already did that. Were you not present when I announced we would not be dining on mermaid fin tonight?”

“Yes, but why didn’t you put me back in the ocean? I need to be in water. Please put me back. I haven’t had water on my fin in hours … I’ll … I could die.” I wasn’t entirely sure that wasn’t his purpose anyway. I also wasn’t sure lack of water would kill me. I only knew it was very uncomfortable, and growing more so. So whether or not it could kill me, it couldn’t be good.

“I have another purpose for you,” he said, enigmatically.

That purpose was unlikely to come to pass if he didn’t get me into some water. But I wisely kept that thought to myself.

He was silent for a minute as his eyes roved over me. It almost felt as if his gaze caressed my skin. “I propose a trade. I will let you swim, if you give yourself to me without reservation to do with as I wish.”

“You already have that,” I said. I was completely at his mercy; my agreeing to it wasn’t going to make it more factual. And I had the feeling that my denial wouldn’t change my circumstances.

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