So, here we are again.
I’m posting yet another edit of Out of the Blue. If you’ve been following along I hope you see growth in the excerpt. I added at bit more to it today for your reading pleasure. Including the Prologues I haven’t decided if I’m going to keep. This version is the result of my editor, Genevieve Scholl and a great lady, Renee Stanley, who is a big help to me.
Out of the Blue January 19
Out of the Blue December 8
Out of the Blue December 1
Out of the Blue September 29
Out of the Blue
16 years ago.
Callie clings to her husband as the sun sets across the ocean, knowing his pride has already decided the outcome of the events about to unfold. Callie’s heart beats against her chest, she knows by the end of the day, she might be a widow left to care for four little girls alone in an unfamiliar world.
“It’s time.” Finn informs her as he pulls away from their embrace. “Remember, no matter what happens today, I love you and our girls.”
Callie hits his chest with her balled up fist. “This is not your fight. You are not even a merperson. Why do you need to get involved?”
Finn face locks into a stoic expression, he grabs her shoulders softly saying, “But my girls are; my whole world is.”
Callie cries out. “Damn it! I do not want you to be a part of this.”
15 years ago.
Callie pleads with her binding partner on the cool sandy beach outside of A Sea Life, surrounded by the protective rocky shores. “Cyrus, please let the children play in the surf.”
Cyrus acknowledges her with a flick of his eyes before he proceeds up the beach. He declares, to no one in particular, “Someone might see them.”
Callie rushes up behind him, arguing her case. “Not here. We are sheltered.”
Cyrus’s stops but doesn’t turn around. His anger is always close to the surface and Callie fears she may have pushed him to far. “The children need to be taught their duties instead of playing, especially girls. Later, you won’t have time to teach them when you’re fulfilling your obligations to my family. They’ll learn the expectations on them when they become binded from watching you. They don’t have time for playing.”
Callie eyes narrow. “Only if they choose this life. Only if they choose to stay.”
He dismisses her with the wave of his hand. “Hush woman. You know they’re all already promised as binding partners to other families. Payment for looking the other way when my family took you back in from the outside, back from the human world.”
Chapter One-Friday, November 14, 2014
Callisto slides through the currents as graceful as a ballerina, twirling and gliding around obstacles in her path as she makes her way to an unfamiliar beach. Knots of eagerness have afflicted her through her whole journey, but her anticipation for a better life away from the pod continues to propel her forward.
Upon waking that morning in her branch of her family’s underwater cavern from a sleep plagued with insomnia, Callisto sensed a change in herself. The darkness of the cavern was invading her soul, the bleakness of it suffocating her heart. Her home in general seemed more sullied than normal by the way of life of her people. She felt only disgust for it, and them. She needed to start her new life to escape, even if it meant giving up life as a mermaid to do it.
Her mother’s urging once she heard of Callisto’s decision sealed her fate, and her father’s departure to another pod for business provided the perfect opportunity for her to slip away unnoticed. Her father fought against the idea of any ever leaving the pods.
All the mermaids of age must choose to stay or leave—a decision must be made by twenty-two moons. Callisto’s decision to leave today seemed planned by destiny, for only a short time remained before her twenty-second birth moon rose. Riding on the wings of possibility, its approach is unrelenting.
She reaches the sandy shore and stumbles up onto the beach, looking more like a drunkard than a ballerina, her legs still weakened and trembling from her transformation. To steady herself, she reaches out to grab one of the posts from the pier, but misses. Her unsteady legs give out under her weight, crashing her into the gritty sand below. Callisto lays face down, tired and spent, until she wills herself to roll over. She stares up at the moon, wishing on it for what feels like an eternity as she wonders if it will keep her secret.
The light from her only witness to her true-identity becomes blocked. It takes her a moment to focus on the obstruction that blocks her view. Surprise overwhelms Callisto when she makes out the obstruction.
It’s a man! A human man.
To get a better look she rises to her elbows and squints. Her witness backlights him, making fine details impossible to extract at this angle. He appears large and imposing, which should inspire dread in her, but, instead, kicks Callisto’s female instincts into gear.
He appears startled by her presence and inquires, “Are you okay?”
A nod is her only response.
“Do you need help?”
Callisto shakes her head, causing her wet hair to fling all around her.
He chuckles. “Well, as long as you’re okay. I’ll leave you to your … adventurous swim.”
Callisto tries to stand, but is still too feeble and can’t quite get her footing. He catches her before she can fall back onto the beach. His musky, virile scent reaches out to her, luring her feminine yearnings to approach the surface. His intoxicating nature succeeds in causing her desire to swell. His rough hands on her supple skin remind her of her nakedness. Heat radiates from her body and adds to her instability. Callisto wonders if she can survive him and the spell he casts on her. Funny, I’m the one legended to be related to the Sirens, and he’s the one casting spells.
“Easy! Guess you’re not as okay as you thought. The currents out there can wear out even the best swimmers,” he says while keeping his arm around her bare waist.
The sweet timbre of his voice lulls her farther into a state of arousal, distancing him further from an image of inspired dread. Her remaining strength spent, Callisto collapses back down on the beach with his assistance. His kindness gets rewarded as she reveals her name to him.
“I am Callisto Blue.”
He doesn’t speak as he grabs his shirt by the bottom, raises his arms above his head, and removes it in one swift motion. He hands it to her before her protests can even reach her lips. In a deep voice, he instructs, “Here; put this on.”
Callisto stares in amazement at his muscular body glistening in the moonlight, a bit mesmerized by the sight before her. She struggles to put on his shirt, which causes his scent to surround her. She revels in it as it covers her body and soaks into her damp skin.
“It’s a pleasure, Callisto Blue. I’m Drake Banning. If I may, where are you staying? I’ll drive you there.”
Pondering his question, Callisto wonders where she needs to go. She lacks any ideas, and knows no one to help her figure it out. She chose to leave her life in the ocean and everyone she ever knew.
Callisto is still fighting to adjusts his shirt. “Thank you for your shirt and concern, but I have nowhere to go. I am not from here, and do not know anyone—well, except you.”
Drake nods. “I see. Fresh off the bus, huh? Let me guess: your clothes are somewhere in the surf, where you threw them as you ran into the ocean?”
“Bus?” What is that? Callisto’s experience with the human world consists of some children’s books her mother taught her to read. She did travel a few times to a small store called A Sea Life, but a merman who preferred to live as a human owned it.
“Don’t tell me you hitchhiked here!” He pauses, looks up and then down the beach, asking, “Hey. Where’s your stuff?”
“Stuff?” In her sea home with her family, Callisto needed nothing—just a bathing suit to wear to the small store in case they ran into humans. Now, looking back her decision to not bring it tormented her.
“Swimming at night in the ocean, hitchhiking…” Drake exclaims, “…you’re lucky to be alive! I bet you’ve never swam in the ocean before, have you?” “And yet, when you got here, the first thing you decide to do is enjoy a nude swim.” He shakes his head in amazement.
Callisto remains silent, willing to allow him to make all the assumptions he wants to about her, hoping her silence keeps him from learning her secret.
“Well, I guess you’ll come home with me and sleep in the guest room tonight. Tomorrow, we’ll see about getting you settled.” Drake reaches his hand out for Callisto to take.
Shaking her head, Callisto is adamant. “Oh, I cannot ask that of you! We just met.”
“I don’t recall you asking. I offered.” Thrusting his hand towards her again, he says, “Now, I think we need to get you some clothes and a shower.”
Clothes! Callisto keeps forgetting her tabooed nudity, a requirement in her old life.