Raen has always longed to see the world beyond the surface, but nothing could compel him to break the most ancient law of the merfolk. Could it?
Raen should have found his mate during his first hunt, instead he almost died. Two years later, he’s struggling with internal fear, and his father’s disapproval.
Until he encounters a land-dweller.
A man he feels a deep and instant connection to.
A man who will drown if Raen doesn’t save him.
But in order to do so, Raen must break two of the merfolk’s rules:
Don’t interact with land-dwellers.
Don’t go beyond the surface.
If Raen saves the man, he stands to lose everything he’s ever known. But if he lets him drown, he’ll lose something infinitely more precious to his heart and soul.
Beyond the Surface is a paranormal MM romance, with fated mates who almost never met, a sweet and steamy insta-love relationship, and an age-gap.
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Publisher: Independently Published
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 36-45
Tropes: Beach Romance, Fairy Tales Revisited, Fated Mates / Soul Mates, First Time, InstaLove / Love at First Sight, May/December
Word Count: 65980
Languages Available: English
The moment he wrapped his arms around the land-dweller’s chest and shoulders, he felt complete. For a heartbeat he was too stunned to do anything. Then he remembered that the man was dying. He shot upwards, breaking free of the surface before he could talk himself out of it. In his arms lay the land-dweller with heaving chest, and he made a weird, sucking sound. Then he was still, his head lolling against Raen’s shoulder. His damp hair dangled over Raen’s back. The shorter hair on the man’s chin and jaw tickled Raen’s chest. In this fragile state, he looked heartbreakingly beautiful. But he was alive. Raen knew he was alive.READ MORE
Knowing he had saved the land-dweller, Raen gaped at the vastness of the darkening sky. It seemed to go on forever, getting darker and darker the further away from him it stretched. The moon was a clear, unwavering globe, shining brightly upon him. Pinpricks of light were scattered across the darkness. Under the moon, the world above seemed to be nothing but dark blues and black, and he longed to know what visual feast would greet him if he were to break the surface when light filled the above. Most of all he wondered why. Why had his people been forbidden from seeing such beauty?
He could have marvelled at the sight forever, but the weight of the land-dweller in his arms spurred him into action. He could feel the unconscious man shivering against him. Though he wasn’t quite sure what to do, he guessed the man needed to be out of the water; he was supposed to be on land, after all. He glanced at the boat, but between the high sides and the man’s size and build, it would be impossible for him to get him inside it on his own. He looked to the dark blob of land on the horizon. Terror tugged at him, but he knew he had to get the man there. He turned onto his back, hugging the man to his chest to keep his face out of the water, and began to swim.
It was harder than he’d expected. He was swimming against the tide, and the strange, thin wrappings the man wore gave the ocean purchase to try to pull them down. The man’s unfamiliar appendages didn’t help either. Instead of a long, lean tail, he had two limbs that Raen could have mistaken for arms, except they didn’t have hands on the end. They dragged through the water, making swimming that much harder. Raen didn’t give up. He had to get the man to land, and that was all that mattered. If he failed to save the man now, whatever punishment he would face when he returned home would be for nothing.
By the time they reached land, Raen was exhausted. With difficulty, he managed to haul the man onto the shore. He found it odd that there was sand here too, but at least it was familiar. Partly, anyway. It looked silvery blue beneath the moonlight and was warm to the touch. There was no one else in sight, though he did see a handful of tiny crabs, scuttling across the sand. Out of the water, everything was hot, and he quickly began to feel… he shook his head, unable to find one word that described the damp closeness that clung to him. There was a slight coolness that whispered against his skin, but it was another thing he couldn’t name.
Raen stared down at the man, marvelling at how handsome he was, even though the moonlight robbed his skin and hair of natural colour, replacing them with a variety of blue-tinged greys. Raen was bemused as to why—or even how—the man had so much hair covering his body; not just his face and chest, but his arms, underarms, and bottom arms. Whatever they were really called.
He pressed his ear to the man’s chest, feeling the tickle of the soft damp hairs, which covered the man’s skin. There it was, the rhythmic, lazy thud-thud of a heartbeat, just the same as the one he felt in his own chest. He smiled at the comforting sound, astounded by how similar andhow different they were to one another. Cautiously, he ran his fingertips over the man’s cheek and jaw. The connection he felt to the stranger was all-consuming and overwhelming. He needed to deny what it meant because this man—this land-dweller—couldn’t possibly be his mate.COLLAPSE