Here is the opening scene from BREATHE, my new YA fantasy about a suicidal, street smart Philly girl who makes a deadly mistake by seeking comfort from a clan of mermaids who hunt and kill humans for sport . Who said mermaids were friendly?
Cocoa Beach, Florida
On the dark ocean floor, a warm body stirred. His eyes flicked opened as hands rubbed up against him, pushing him toward the light coming from above. He stretched his arms past his head, reaching upward as his powerful tail propelled him away from the black depth. Water glazed over his braids, his face, and his massive shoulders as he broke through the water’s surface and breathed.
Cool water slapped his chest as he cast his silver eyes on the coastline far ahead. The beach looked empty. It was too cold for sunbathers and too misty for a stroll. Perfect.
He trailed his hand along the braids that covered his head, fingering the amulets woven through them, hoping to add to their numbers that day. A tingling sensation worked its way up his back, his neck, to the top of his head. He swallowed, letting his anxiousness pass. And waited.
The mist turned into a light rain. The swells tossed him about in an erratic motion he found strangely invigorating. Finally, the human came into view, and his heart pounded. At the edge of the beach, he spotted his co-hunters, their long legs stretching across the sands as they herded the human closer to the water, as if they were all going to go for a swim. At least that’s what it should look like to anyone watching.
With a thirst building inside him, he squared his jaw and a shadow crossed his brow. It was time, and a smile reached his lips as that tingling feeling returned and snapped through his body, heightening that desire, that instinct he couldn’t repress.
He dipped below the surface and soared toward the shoreline, punching through blooms of jellyfish blocking his path. Within moments he neared the coast. Through the frothy surf rushing over his head, he focused on the trembling face of the human. The human pivoted back and forth on the sands, shaking like a trapped animal the moment it realized its doom. His co-hunters surrounded the human, preventing the human from running away. The human screamed, but the roar of the surf muffled his cries.
He was close enough now. With a flick of his tail, he leaped from the water, grabbed hold of the human on the shoreline, and then the body that had stirred on the floor of the ocean returned there with its prey.