What an HONOR to have one of my absolute FAVORITE authors again around the neighborhood, this time with a love story as beautiful as the hidden treasures beneath the sea: ‘Into the Wind: Mermen of Ea Book 2’
Since learning of his merman shifter heritage, Taren has begun building a life with Ian Dunaidh among the mainland Ea. But memories of his past life still haunt him, and as the threat of war with the hostile island merfolk looms ever closer, Taren fears he will lose Ian the same way he lost his beloved centuries before. Together they sail to the Gateway Islands in search of the fabled rune stone—a weapon of great power the Ea believe will protect them—and Odhrán, the pirate rumored to possess it.
After humans attack the Phantom, Taren finds himself washed up on an island, faced with a mysterious boy named Brynn who promises to lead him to Odhrán. But Taren isn’t sure if he can trust Brynn, and Odhrán is rumored to enslave Ea to protect his stronghold. Taren will have to put his life on the line to find his way back to Ian and attempt to recover the stone. Even if he does find it, his troubles are far from over: he and Ian are being stalked by an enemy who wants them dead at all costs.
Tired of Vampires and Werewolves? How About Mermen?
Thanks so much, Sophie, for hosting me on your blog and letting me ramble a bit about my mermen. For those of you who haven’t heard, Into the Wind, the second book in the Mermen of Ea Series was just released from Dreamspinner Press! High fantasy, adventure and romance, set on the high seas. With a twist. Mermen, of course!
When I first imagined the creatures who inhabit the books, there were very few stories about mermen (gay mermen in particular) on the market. Now, I’m hearing about lots of books soon to be released, and I have to wonder if mermen aren’t the new vampires or werewolves in the MM genre. Not that I’d mind—I love the myths of merfolk, and there’s so much unexplored territory, I think there’s plenty of room for a million different takes on the myth.
My merman are not frilly fish. In fact, I didn’t pattern them on fish at all—they are patterned on dolphins. I did this for a few different reasons, not the least of which is that dolphins are mammals, and I just didn’t see my mermen laying eggs or being cold-blooded! Totally un-sexy! I’ve seen dolphins in the wild; we often see them when we sail the Carolina coast on our sailboat. They’re powerful, sleek, intelligent mammals and they’re social creatures, often chasing our boat for miles and playing in the surf.
The mermen of Ea exist primarily in their human form (a point which becomes important as the story progresses). They must live near water and must transform into their mer-forms regularly, however, or they die. They are powerful, sensual creatures who struggle with their non-human side and primal need to dominate. They also possess powerful magical “gifts” and are deeply spiritual beings. Over the centuries, however, the Ea have become distrustful of humans and are at war internally over whether their future should be linked to humankind.
The Mermen of Ea books are both romances and adventure stories. They follow the story of Ian Dunaidh and Taren Laxley, and the strange bond they share. For Taren, it’s a journey of self-discovery. Born a slave and not knowing his true nature, when Ian reveals that Taren is a merman, Taren’s life takes an unexpected turn.
In Into the Wind, the second book in what I’ve planned as a trilogy, Taren and Ian are an established couple, but things have hardly settled down for them. They are pulled into a looming war between mermen factions, and they are separated as they hunt for the illusive rune stone, a weapon they believe is the key to their people’s survival. For Taren, who hasn’t quite come to terms with the fact that he’s no longer a slave, their time apart allows him to grow and change in ways that will help him prepare for the final installment of their story, and the battle they know they will soon face. Running with the Wind, Book 3 in the series, will be release sometime in 2015.
Would you like a chance to win a gorgeous unisex pendant and a Mermen of Ea goodie basket? I’m running a special Into the Wind Blog Tour Giveaway! Here’s the link to the Rafflecopter widget: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/cf0ba93/ The giveaway ends on May 31st at midnight! Good luck! –Shira
TAREN CHASED Ian through the surf, the water flying about him as his bare feet slapped the sand. The warm autumn sun on his shoulders and the salty tang of the water made him smile.
“You’re too slow!” Ian called from halfway across the beach.
Taren laughed and dove into a wave, swam in his human form until he came upon Ian, grabbed him around the ankles, then knocked him into the water. Ian spluttered and transformed, planting his powerful tail. He paused for only an instant, then pivoted and swam against a wave that crested and broke near shore.
Taren looked around, trying to sense Ian. During the time they’d spent together at Callaecia, the powerful sensations he shared with Ian had only grown in their intensity. Even though he couldn’t see him, Taren felt Ian’s heart race as he swam, felt his pleasure, heard his lungs fill with water, and knew he was nearby. He didn’t see Ian until he surfaced in a spray of foam, took Taren’s hands, and dragged him down, forcing him to transform as well.
You cheated! Taren wriggled away from Ian and took off for one of the underwater caves near the cliffs. He flicked his tail harder when he sensed the movement of water behind him. Ian was the stronger swimmer, although in the months Taren had lived amongst the Ea at Callaecia, he’d learned to use his Ea body to its greatest advantage.
Ian caught up with Taren a moment later, swimming beneath Taren before encircling his waist with his powerful arms, capturing him in his embrace.
I yield! Taren laughed and allowed Ian to pull him closer. Besides, you’ve long ago captured my heart. He nipped at Ian’s neck, eliciting a low rumble he could feel in his belly more than hear with his ears. Taren still marveled that in his Ea form he could hear so much under the water. He’d asked Ian once why the Ea didn’t choose to spend their lives in this form, so taken was he with the joys of his Ea body and the beauty of the sea. Ian had just shrugged and told him that the Ea viewed their transformation as a gift from the goddess that set them apart from humans, but that they believed they were meant to live on land.
They swam out from land as they held each other, tails beating the water in tandem as they spiraled in a dizzying dance. More than anything, Taren found the Ea mating ritual a beautiful thing. Ian’s Ea body was also beautiful. In this form, Ian’s chest was broad and the muscles of his belly and arms more powerful. As a human, Ian was strong. As an Ea, he possessed strength and surprising grace few others did. Taren loved to watch Ian swim, watch the sinews of his body ripple as he moved his tail, watch his hair twist in the current. More thrilling, perhaps, was the knowledge that Ian was his, that Ian desired him above all others, that Taren held Ian’s heart.
Ian released Taren as they glided over the sand at the bottom. Large schools of silver fish followed the contours of their bodies, calling to mind the shimmer of moon across the waves. Here, many feet below the surface, the pressure of the water created a warm cocoon around Taren and drove the warmth in his chest to his extremities, making his fingers more sensitive.
Taren flicked his tail to propel him around so that he and Ian swam toward each other, arms extended, then moved upward as they laced their fingers together and floated perpendicular to the sea floor. They kissed and their tongues entwined. Ian tasted of the ocean and of the promise of Taren’s new life. Their former incarnations, Treande and Owyn, had been equals in everything. Partners, friends, lovers. Taren both relished and feared the power of his connection to Ian and the unexpected turn of fate that had brought them together, as well as the revelations of their past.
With a grin, Taren spun around so that he faced Ian’s tail. He rotated his arm so that the sharp tines that ran from his fingers to his wrist grazed the slick surface. He’d learned how to retract the barbs so they would not injure; he’d also learned that if used properly, the gentle scrape of the barbs was a sensual treat Ian could not resist.
“Goddess!” Ian shouted in his mind. “Is it your wish to render me completely helpless with lust?”
Taren repressed a chuckle as he continued to stroke Ian’s body. He might not be able to best Ian with his physical prowess, but he knew he held a stronger power over Ian. He relished the thought that he possessed Ian’s heart and soul, for it made his own uncontrollable hunger to be near Ian bearable.
- Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4975&cPath=55_484
- AllRomanceEbooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-intothewind-1496001-143.html
- Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K4PX4BS/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb
- Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stealing-the-wind-shira-anthony/1116395006?ean=9781627980531
Also from Shira Anthony
Grand Prize: Handmade Merman Tail Fluke Pendant
- 1st Prize: Mermen of Ea Goodie Basket (includes autographed copy of “Stealing the Wind” paperback, t-shirt, and lots of other fun stuff)
- 2nd Prize: $10.00 Dreamspinner Press Gift Certificate
- 3rd Prize: Paperback copy of “Stealing the Wind” (Mermen of Ea #1) – or for non-US winners, a $10 Dreamspinner Press Gift Certificate