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.
Excerpt: Water So Deep
BY THE TIME SHE HIKED down the steep embankment and around the tide pools to her cove, the pressure in her chest squeezed so tight, black spots floated in her vision. Not a good sign. It had only been five days since her last swim— usually she was good for seven.
Emma hung her bag on a rock that jutted out of the cave wall and stripped off her clothes, breathing deep, squeezing her hands into fists to avoid the panic creeping up on her. Panicking stole precious air from her half-converted lungs, and she was already on the verge of passing out.
If she did pass out, she couldn’t get to the water, and if she couldn’t get to the water, this terrible pressure wouldn’t ease, and if the pressure didn’t ease, she would soon stop breathing altogether. It would be hours before anyone missed her and came looking, and by that time, she’d be shriveled like a washed-up fish, and probably just as dead.
By the time she’d put on her suit, her vision blurred and she had to step carefully, trailing her hand along the wall of the shallow cave so she wouldn’t trip and hurt herself before she got to the water. Finally at the edge, she sucked in a last breath of air and dove, relieved as slits opened up to gills in the side of her neck and water filtered through them, finally allowing her lungs to expand.
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.