The Tide of the Mermaid Tears

Regency Historical Romance

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Ember Taffee had always lived with her mother and sister in the little cottage by the sea. Her father had once lived there too, but the deep had claimed his life long ago. Still, her existence was a happy one, and Ember found joy, imagination, and respite in the sea and the trinkets it would leave for her on the sand. Each morning Ember would wander the shore searching for treasures left by the tides. Though she cherished each pretty shell she found, her favorite gifts from Neptune were the rare mermaid tears-bits of tinted glass worn smooth and lovely by ocean. To Ember, in all the world there were no jewels lovelier than mermaid tears. Yet one morning, Ember was to discover that Neptune would present her with a gift more rare than any other-something she would value far more than the shells and sea glass she collected. One morning Ember Taffee would find a living, breathing man washed up on the sand-a man who would own claim to her heart as full as Neptune himself owned claim to the seas.

Book Excerpt:

She took two more steps and paused—squeezed her eyes tightly shut and listened.  The gulls—the water—yet there was something else.  She listened harder—concentrating on the unfamiliar sound.

Instantly, her eyes popped open as she half expected to see a lingering mermaid on the sand, gasping for breath.  Gasping—coughing!  That was the unfamiliar sound.

Ember gasped herself as she looked forward up the shore to see a man struggling in the water.  He was coughing—spitting water from his mouth as he crawled from the water and onto the sand.  As he collapsed face-down on the shore, Ember lifted her skirt and ran toward the man, dropping to her knees beside him.

“Sir?” she cried, nudging one broad shoulder.  The man was stripped of his shirt—dressed only in a pair of trousers—no shoes…

Ember shook her head, rolling her eyes at her own foolishness.

“Sir?” she called again, nudging his broad shoulder once more.  The man lay on his stomach—his face turned away from her.  “Are you dead, sir?” she asked.  Placing a hand to his back, she sighed with relief as she felt he yet breathed.

“Sir?” she said, clambering over the man’s broad torso. “Sir, are you…?”  Ember gasped as she looked to the man’s face—half buried in the sand...

The man coughed.  His eyes opened—his deep blue eyes, so shaded by thick, wet lashes that Ember wondered how it was he could see beyond them.

“Sir?” Ember ventured.

He coughed, asking, “Where am I?”

“On the seashore, sir,” Ember answered.

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