BY: TARA ELDANA
Best dream ever…
Marinda Rhinehart loathes the cold and has been scared to swim ever since she fell through the ice of Lake Huron when she was a teenager. So why is she standing with Gavin, the most handsome man she has ever seen, in a frigid icy place in a formal wedding-type ceremony, and giving up her V-card for mind-blowing sex she’s only read about in books?
Except it isn’t a dream…
When she wakes up in her apartment in Gainesville, Florida and makes plans to go back to Michigan in the winter for her aunt’s funeral, dream guy is at the airport. She doesn’t believe he’s real and still has major trust issues after she was dumped in college by her long-term boyfriend who was on another date at the time.
Gavin insists he’s not a dream and that she has really joined with him. He doesn’t tell her he must battle Ramian, a ranking leader at his home under the waves in the Granite Cliffs, to allow her to take her place with him in his homeland. And it must be her choice.
Can she give up her life on land and trust her heart and life to a man she barely knows in an alien place? And can he keep her safe from Ramian’s hatred?
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In On Thin Ice by Tara Eldana, Marinda has moved from Michigan to Florida because she is always cold, ever since she fell through ice into the lake when she was a teenager. Now she is having dreams about a man who lives under the sea. When her aunt dies, Marinda goes home to Michigan for the funeral and discovers that her dream lover is not a dream after all. But can she conquer her fears and go with him, or are they doomed to ever love from afar?
With wonderful characters and lots of hot spicy love scenes, this is my kind of book. I heartily recommend it.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: On Thin Ice by Tara Eldana is the third in her Mermaid series. Marinda Rhinehart has moved from the chilly Michigan winters to the sun of Florida, where she hopes she will no longer be cold. Then her aunt dies and Marinda goes home for the funeral. However, at the airport when she arrives in Michigan, she sees a man she has only seen in dreams. At least she thought they were dreams. Gavin, her dream lover, claims to be real and tells they are betrothed. He wants her to leave her family to come with him under sea and take on her fish form—which she does in some embarrassing places.
On Thin Ice is a cute and clever romance with plenty of hot sex scenes. What’s not to love?
Marinda Rhinehart was always cold.
That was why she took a job down south in Gainesville, doing public relations for the University of Florida after she finished her master’s in business from the University of Michigan, although she knew nobody in Florida.
She’d fallen through the thin ice on Lake Huron during a mild winter as a kid and, since then, never quite shook the cold that settled in her bones.
But here she stood, her breath forming plumes of smoke as she stood waiting. Her wavy blonde hair that she never wore down in the Florida humidity hung down to her shoulders. A necklace of dark blue stones encircled her neck.
A man wearing a purple robe appeared from behind a cliff. He had long black hair secured back from his face, eyes the color of the Atlantic Ocean, and a clean, hard jawline. He smiled and came toward her, taking her hands in his warm ones.
“You are not cold, yes?” His voice was deep and melodic.
English, she thought, was not his first language.
“I’m not cold,” she said, although it made no sense.
“Come with me, Marinda.”
This had to be a dream. The man who held her hand had broad shoulders, a toned chest, and lean flanks. She felt she knew him.
He looked down the icy cavern to the narrow channel of water. “I am Gavin.”
He led her past the cliffs, through a series of winding chambers that looked like granite, to a great hall filled with people wearing robes similar to Gavin’s in shades of red and gold. Nobody else wore white or purple.
The crowd spoke a language she didn’t recognize. He stopped at a raised platform in front of a woman with white hair and an unlined face. Her eyes were the same color blue as his.
He took hold of Miranda’s hands, holding both of them, and smiled into her eyes as the woman spoke. He said a few words then stopped. She understood none of it.
Everyone watched her.
What was she supposed to do?
He squeezed her hands. The woman placed her hand on Marinda’s shoulder. Her eyes were kind.
“Will you be with him?” she said.
Why not? This was only a dream.
“Yes, I will be with him.” Whatever that meant.
He took her in his arms and kissed her, brushing his firm lips over hers, coaxing them open. She had been kissed before, but never like this. His tongue plunged in and out and she met him thrust for thrust.
The crowd cheered. He drew away from her, winked, and then lifted her into his arms. He strode through a series of granite hallways sprinkled with ice crystals to a chamber with a huge oval shaped purple crystals that threw white light.
Morsels of shrimp and other things she didn’t recognize were arranged on oblong shells. He set her down, shrugged out of his robe, and stood clad in only a loincloth. He was lean but muscled, with a swimmer’s body with washboard abs and a smooth chest. His black hair fell loose to his shoulders. She couldn’t stop staring. What was wrong with her?
Looks weren’t everything and could blind you to a guy’s true character. She’d learned that in college. Nate, her boyfriend for two years, dumped her in Dooley’s while he was on a date with another girl.
But this was only a dream, so it didn’t matter, right?
He put his hands on his shoulders and unfastened the back of her gown. It slipped to the floor.
She was naked. She shivered, but not with cold. He pulled her against him, his erection pressing into her backside.
His breath felt warm against her ear. “I am not a dream.”
His hands moved from her shoulders to cup her breasts that suddenly ached for his touch. His lips moved to her nape, and he bit gently as he tweaked her nipples into stiff pebbles. She moaned, and he chuckled.
He took her hand that she’d clenched into a fist, laced his long fingers through hers, and pressed it over his loincloth.
“Feel?” he said. “No dream.”
He murmured a word she didn’t understand. “Means cherished one. Darling,” he said.
It was all so real. She waited for his touch and the room to dissolve into a different nonsense dream where she was late for an exam for a class she hadn’t attended all semester or her teeth to melt then wake up in her apartment in Gainesville.
“No dream, darling.”
How did he seem to know what she was thinking?
“Sea dwellers must share thoughts without speaking under in the waves.”
“You know what I’m thinking?”
He turned her to face him. “Yes. It is essential to survive. Will you be with me?”
Did he mean sex? She couldn’t meet his blue-green eyes and stared at the cleft in his chin. “You look like a movie star,” she said.
“Movie star? Is Brad Pitt?”
She laughed. “Where is this place?
He captured her chin so she looked into his eyes. “Iceland is closest human land mass.”
He looked at her solemnly. “You will be with me.”
Heat flooded her cheeks. “I’ve never–” She bit her lip. “I’m still a virgin.”
He caressed her flaming cheek. “I know this, darling. You please me greatly.”
He kissed her as he had in the great hall and her nerves dissolved. She returned his kiss and wound her arms around his neck then slid her fingers into his hair. He deepened the kiss and lifted her into his arms and onto the bed. He stood and took off his loincloth. She stared at his erection.
Based on what her girlfriends said, and her dismal attempt with Nate, Gavin seemed huge. Her nerves flared.
“Marinda?” He said her name melodically so it sounded like part of a song.
“Your voice, you could be a rock star.”
His mouth quirked into a smile as he fed her a piece of shrimp.
“Rock star, like Men and Monsters?”
She nibbled the shrimp, that tasted better than anything she’d had in Florida, and giggled.
“Of Monsters and Men?”
He stretched out next to her and circled his long finger around her nipple, drawing closer and closer to the tip. He flicked it, teasing it into a pouty point. She arched into his touch, and he replaced his fingers with his mouth, laving her nipple with his tongue, then sucking hard.
Heat flooded her core, and he slipped his long, blunt finger inside her slick channel. He found her G-spot as he bit gently on her nipple and she came hard, screaming his name.
He removed his finger and entered her in one quick thrust. She felt a pinch of pain as he breached her barrier.
He stroked her cheek, his eyes filled with concern. “I cause you pain.”
She pressed a kiss into his palm. ”Just for a moment and not much,” she said. “Best sex dream ever.”
He looked sad for a moment and surged inside her, stretching her. “No dream.” His thumb caressed her bundle of nerves as he eased in and out of her.
He wasn’t wearing a condom and she wasn’t on birth control.
“Gavin, stop.” He did, with his fullness inside her. A nerve twitched in his cheek.
“I’m not on birth control.”
“You don’t want my seed to make baby?” He sounded hurt.
Her heart ached. She caressed his shoulders. “No–yes, I want babies someday, when I’m married.” And awake.
His expression softened. “We are joined, mostly.”
She looked down to where he was buried inside her.
He smiled. “I mean you are my…you are bonded to me…” He said a word she didn’t understand. “I wait for you to be my lady, um, wife.”
He waited for her?
She had a dim memory of when she fell through the ice when she was seventeen and someone with a low melodic voice under the frigid water helped her and said he would wait for her.
“Yes, darling, I wanted to bring you with me then but the council said I must wait.”
“What is this place?”
“Translates to English to Granite Edges, Cliffs. It is under the waves in what you call Arctic Circle.”
Under water? She was under cold water?
She couldn’t stand the cold and never got in cold water. She couldn’t breathe.
He pulled out of her and held her tight. “Marinda, don’t.” He sounded panicked.
She jerked awake and sat up, drenched in sweat, alone in the apartment.
The dream had been so vivid and she felt stretched and different down there.
She could still feel her dream lover’s touch, still smell his essence of fresh water, and taste his kiss.
She peeled off her sweaty T-shirt, grabbed a towel, stepped into the shower, and noticed a tinge of red when she pressed a washcloth into her tingling sex. She must be spotting, although she never had before between her cycles.
Sighing Gavin’s name, she let the water wash over her skin.
Gavin paced before the Ruling Council. Ancient doctrine dictated that he would lead the Council as his sire Garon had done. The Council could challenge this if he was deemed incompetent or unstable. His sire perished in the depths after he helped a pod of whales stranded in waters far from the Granite Cliffs because the portal breaching time and space, which would have shortened his journey back, was damaged.
“He is obsessed with this land dweller who has fear of cold and water,” Ramian said. The Council appointed Ramian to rule after Garon perished.
Gavin’s mother, Laria, who held a seat on the Council, looked at him and made a sign for him to stand still.
“She is my lady,” Gavin said. “I have seen it in the crystals.”
“She must join with you of her own free will,” Ramian sneered.
Gavin forced himself to keep calm. “I know this,’ he said.
“You are not fully joined,” Ramian said.
“You state the obvious,” Laria said. “Do we not have other matters? Shall we let Gavin see to this? We can spare him for a time.”
“The land dwellers are melting the ice in the polar caps,” Ramian said. “Gavin is needed to ensure–”
Laria cut him off, which was permissible because she had co-ruled with her mate, but was deemed too stricken with grief to continue to do so after he perished. She had fought and won to keep her seat on the Council.
“There is nothing urgent. Go to her, my dearest son.”
She extended her hand toward him and chanted ancient words of protection. The others on Council joined in, including Ramian, who glared while he did so.
Gavin grabbed his lucky knife, slid it into his sheath, and made his way to the portal.
Marinda scraped her hair into a ponytail to face the Florida humidity that seeped up the coast in early March. She was running late because her mom phoned early with the sad news that her Aunt Lola, her mother’s twin sister, had lost her battle with ovarian cancer.
Lulu, Marinda’s mother, said it was a relief to know her twin did not suffer but Marinda could feel her mother’s deep grief and said she would come home to Michigan as soon as she could. She would finish up the details for the alumni fundraiser dinner and ask Brenda, her boss, for time off.
She hoped Brenda wouldn’t give her any crap about it. Marinda wanted to take a couple weeks off unpaid, which would strain her budget, tight with student loans, but her mother needed her.
She sent Brenda an email as soon as she got to her desk that she wanted to see her, thinking it would be better to ask her face to face, as Brenda’s emails were terse and bitchy.
Brenda’s reply pinged. Nine-thirty my office.
Marinda had a half hour. She called the catering firm with the final head count for the fundraiser and followed it up with an email. Then she triple-checked a press release and sent it to Brenda for her approval.
Taking a deep breath, she walked to Brenda’s office and explained her situation.
Brenda frowned. ‘We don’t give bereavement for aunts or uncles.”
We? “I’d take it unpaid.”
“You’d be gone for the alumni dinner.”
Sweat trickled into the small of her back. “Everything should be all set. I talked to the catering firm just now and gave them the head count.”
Brenda stared at her computer screen and waved her off dismissively. “Do what you have to do.”
No sorry for your loss or even eye contact. Bitter bile rose in Marinda’s throat. She swallowed it and choked out, “Thanks.”
She hurried toward her office. Her friend Sara, who worked with the large donors, stopped her.
“Rin, what’s wrong?”
Marinda’s tears fell then. Sara pulled her into the break room and sat her down at a corner table, her eyebrows knit with concern.
“My aunt died,” Marinda said. “The one who was fighting cancer. I asked for two weeks, unpaid, and Brenda was a bitch.”
Sara rolled her eyes. “Big surprise. I asked for time for my sister’s wedding in Hawaii and she acted like I was stealing from college endowment fund.”
Marinda rubbed her tears away. “I know, right?”
Sara stood up. “Let’s get you out of here. Anything you need?”
Gavin, she needed Gavin.
Marinda hugged Sara. “I think I’m good. Thanks for listening.”
His mother stopped him before he entered the portal. “Did you look in the crystal so you know where she is? She has left Florida.”
“Where is she?”
His mother looked displeased. “You are impatient, my son. You must leave nothing to chance.”
He ached for Marinda and, in his haste, he did not look in the crystals.
“Your sibling did,” Laria said.
His female sibling Svetlana was so young when their sire perished she had no memory of Garon. She ran to Gavin and he swooped her into his arms.
“What did you see, Svelty?”
“She is sad, Gav. She is on a journey in the machine that goes above the waters and the land.” She held her hand up. “She’s going to a place like this with fresh water all around.”
He set his sibling on her feet. “That is where she fell through the ice,” he said.
They went to the hall of crystals and he saw where her journey would end.
“You must not be rash,” Laria said. “You must do things with careful thought.”
He put his hands on his mother’s shoulders. “I will do so. She is mine. We are life mates. I have waited so long.”
“Time is different on land,” Laria said. “It will be different for her here.”
He tamped down his impatience. “We will help her, won’t we, Svelty?”
His sibling nodded. “Ramian gets red in his face when mother talks about it.”
He chucked his sister under her chin. She giggled. “That’s because he is filled with foul air and he must let it out.”
“You must be back before the equinox,” Laria said. “The portal will not function properly and Ramian’s term of office is up shortly after that.”
“He wants you to join with Zephoria,” his sister said. “I heard it in my fin class. She doesn’t live here either. I don’t understand.”
“Ramian thinks that would strengthen alliances among sea dwellers,” Laria explained.
“I will have Marinda or I will have no one,” he said.
“You have fourteen earth rotations, dearest son. She must come back of her own free will.”
He kissed his mother, then his sister, on their foreheads. “You may alter time and space only once,” Laria said.
“I will miss you, Gav,” his sister pouted.
He swooped his small sister into his arms. “I have been gone longer checking dolphins.”
“I know. I always miss you,” Svelty said.
He set her down next to Laria. She enfolded her daughter into her arms.
He raised his hands over their heads and chanted ancient words of love and protection. “I miss you, too, Svelty, and you Mother.”
They extended their hands and repeated his words.
He winked at his sister. “Thank you, Svelty.”
He checked that his knife was sheathed then stepped into the portal.
© 2017 by Tara Eldana