Joanna wakes from her rescue to meet a merman for the first time in Reefcake:
Cold grit seeped into her pores, the stench of burning driftwood shattering through the shades of hell. Joanna pulled in a breath, prepared to shout for the devil’s attention, when pain rattled in her lungs and she opened her eyes.
First, there was fire, puny flames dancing on a stack of bone-white wood. It’d been dug into the sand which was what she was laying upon. Pressing a hand under her, Jo rose off the chilled beach to watch the shadows chase away from the light. They danced against rocky cave walls. Its four sides twisted around the tiny grotto until they rose to an opening above her head. Starlight glittered through the hole, a hint of the moon waxing behind clouds.
Night had already fallen?
A sound drew her to the last section of the cave. While the rock walls opened wider to the South, it was only to embrace a pool of seawater as dark as the backside of the moon. Who knew how deep it was. Jo stared at her only potential exit, trying to calculate her escape, when she watched a form rise from the sand.
She’d dismissed it as a rock, the flesh grey by the darkened sky, but as it stood to a six-foot height above her she knew it to be a man. The face was all edges, chiseled and hewn as if the sculptor couldn’t be bothered to smooth down a nose or brow. It was the jawline in particular that caused her to gulp, its flat and wide form putting her in mind of a shark. The eyes gleamed even in the darkness, a hot-white grey that felt colder than ice.
Unable to take the force of the glare, her gaze darted down his body. His chest was naked, unsurprising on a sailor or…pirate. Jo swallowed, her heart thrumming at the muscles carved into him. She’d never seen ones so prominent, not even in any of the church’s statuary that were declared heretical and covered up. There was no hair to his chest, not even a line of belly fur leading to…
“Oh my God,” she gasped, slapping a hand over her eyes. He was completely naked! And most certainly a man. If there’d been any doubt before, she couldn’t have one now with that…that mast dangling between his legs.
She was alone, in an unreachable cave, with a naked man. Jo skidded back on the sand kicking the black grains up his wet calves as she patted along her clothing. It seemed in place, though drenched to her skin. Did that deter him? Or was he waiting for her to wake?
Why wasn’t he moving? The man stood beside the watery edge, his jolly roger dangling in the wind. While his arms were crossed over his chest, he made no threatening movements and seemed to be watching her as if she was the threat. Mother Mary how she wished that were true.
“Who…” Joanna swallowed hard, “who are you?”
The snow-grey eyes narrowed, his head tilting to the side. A shock of wet black hair tumbled from the move. Placing a thumb to his chest, he said, “Namhu.”