Water So Deep
Seventeen-year-old Emma Harris is drowning on dry land.
No one knows what’s happening to her, and she’d like to keep her evolution from human to mermaid a secret, but the truth is getting harder and harder to hide. From her adoptive family, from her friends, and especially from the irresistible James Phelps.
Her time in the ocean is spent dodging a possessive merman, while her time on land is split between caring for her special-needs brother and squeezing in every last possible moment of human life. She soon realizes falling for James is unavoidable when he constantly comes to Emma’s rescue and somehow manages to see through her carefully constructed icy facade to the vulnerability she lives with every day. Everything about James makes Emma yearn for a life on land she just can't have.
When Emma’s brother disappears on her watch, James is the only person she trusts to help her save him. But even if they can save her brother, nothing can prevent her return to the sea. Whether she likes it or not, Emma is changing—unable to breathe without yielding to the tide—and it's only a matter of time before she's forced to surrender forever.
He gulped the last of his pop and crunched the can, tossing it at a nearby recycle bin as he stood from his perch on the low brick wall. He headed inside to the gym, nearly plowing over someone on the way.
“Watch it.” The guy stood about as tall as James, had the shoulders of a bull, and a look in his eyes that said he was every bit as dangerous.
“Sorry, man. Didn’t mean it, I swear.”
The kid glowered at James, but then turned and walked away. James sighed, relieved. It wouldn’t serve him well to damage his knuckles on his first day.
He wasn’t the first in the gym, but it was obvious he was the only newbie. A number of guys were dribbling, sweating, calling to each other like they’d played together their whole lives. Some probably had. James shook his head, fighting back nerves. To make it on an already established team was like trying to force through a concrete barrier, and came with plenty of risks.
But they were risks James was going to have to take. He had no other choice if he wanted any semblance of a real future.
Wrapping himself in confidence he didn’t necessarily feel, he strode past the court and knocked on the office door.
“Yeah, come in.”
James twisted the knob and entered.
The fifty-something coach raised a dark eyebrow, his fingers hovering over a computer keyboard. “Can I help you?”
“You the basketball coach?” At the man’s nod, James offered a hand to shake. “Name’s James Phelps. I’m a senior, new to the school. Thought I’d introduce myself before tryouts, since you’re going to want me for point guard.”
“Nice to meet you.” The coach gripped James’s offered hand with a frown. “Hate to flatten your fizz, but we already have most of our first-string line-up. You can try out, but even if you make the team, you probably won’t be starting. And unless you’ve got superhuman skills, I can almost guarantee it won’t be as point guard.”
James rocked back on his heels, crossing his arms over his chest. “I can work with ‘probably’ and ‘almost.’”
Unimpressed, the coach turned back to his computer. “Pretty sure of yourself.”
“I know my strengths. See you at tryouts next month.” James pulled the door closed on his way out, grinning. He didn’t have anything close to superhuman skills. But determination was good enough, and he had bucketloads of that.
Nichole Giles, the author of the Descendant trilogy, has lived in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Texas. She loves to spend time with her husband and four children, travel to tropical and exotic destinations, drive in the rain with the convertible top down, and play music at full volume so she can sing along.