I had the publisher’s approval for Make Me Wet, a selkie (a mythical being that shifts shape between seal and human form) tale, before I wrote the first word. I had the research done, the plot down, the characters drawn. I had everything but the words. And I fought to find them for a couple of months before admitting to myself that something was missing. In this story setting was a character and that character was proving particularly hard to connect with.
My dad was a navy man and had lived by the beach most of my life. I hadn’t been back to the shore since he died. Returning to the ocean, I believed, would prime the creative well, get the words flowing again, and help me reconnect with happy memories. I needed to hear surf pounding shore and taste salt on my lips if I was ever going to be able to call up this selkie and get the story done.
After a long day of driving I arrived on Chincoteague with barely enough time to pitch a tent and set camp as the sun was going down. Yet even with the pressure of night coming on, I had to walk the beach first, watch the sandpipers scurry back and forth at the edge of the surf, watch the sunset turn the water to fire, feel the frothy Atlantic swirl around my ankles.
The selkie was closer, but still submerged.
Later that night as the campfire burned low and the sleeping bags beckoned I found my tooth brush and headed through the dunes toward the bath house. Halfway there, a stallion’s call and the thud of hooves rooted me in place.
We’re talking wild horses here and a real possibility they’d run right over rather than around me, yet I couldn’t tear my eyes away. The shapes of the mares were barely discernable in the faint moonlight, but the ghostly white stallion mesmerized me moving back and forth, whinnying as the horses thudded past. My heart was still galloping around in my chest when they were gone.
In that moment I knew wild ponies island ponies would have a place in my selkie’s story..
The trip came with challenges, both physical and emotional. Sometimes you lose your way in a project and allowing intuition to lead me to Chincoteague and the days I spent camping there helped me find my way into my selkie’s heart and mind. Sometimes you lose a piece of yourself when you lose someone you love. Make Me wet is the story of how Ronin and Maille find love together, but it’s also a story about finding yourself when you get lost.
A piercing cry rose above the thunder of surf. Human? A seal could sound so human it was hard to tell the difference. Whichever, Maille recognized it as a wail of mortal distress. She couldn’t say how she understood that, no more than she could say how she wound up on the beach. One fact she was certain of—she couldn’t ignore it.
Without thought for consequences she plunged into the surf, diving under swells, power-stroking through roiling water.
Once past the breakers Maille paused, treading water as she turned in circles, searching in the inky swells for the curve of a human head. Impossible with the waves breaking moonlight into sequined facets and the rise and fall of swells tall as houses. She’d never find him. She needed him to cry out once more.
“Come on. Give me a hint.”
An irregular shape, not seal-like or wavelike, caught her attention. As she paddled closer, she made out a man waving, heard his hoarse cry before his head disappeared below a wave. He resurfaced choking.
She dove under the water, swimming straight for where she’d seen him last. She resurfaced as he went under again, but she was close enough now to reach his long hair, swirling like dark kelp in the water. She grabbed a handful.
It was surprisingly easy to pull him along, as if he had managed to overcome his instinctive terror and submit to her rescue. He might not have been so submissive had he realized, as she did now, that they weren’t making progress.
Maille fought down a sudden kick of panic in her chest, struggling to swim parallel to the shore, caught by swells that tossed them dangerously close to jagged rocks. She had to concentrate her energy on swimming north until they were beyond the rip where she was free to swim shoreward.
When her feet finally found ground, a wave slammed her, flinging them both onto the sand. Depositing them in a tangle of limbs. Maille on top.
A small wave washed over them, and the sensation was that of a liquid blanket settling around her shoulders and then melting away. Panting, draped over his body, Maille was too spent to lift her head from a pillow of seaweed.
Another wave swept up, warm liquid fingers caressing her thighs.
She needed to move him higher up the beach, away from the rising tide, see to his needs. With a groan she pushed up to hands and knees, still straddling his body.
Damn! She’d hauled in one hell of a wet dream. Jet-black hair fanned out on the sand. His body lean, long and lusciously muscled. She started to lick her lips, caught herself, and forced her tongue back in her mouth. She was supposed to be saving his life, not jumping his bones.
Something was wrong. That realization drowned attraction in a wave of adrenaline.
His chest didn’t seem to be moving. Her breath caught and her heartbeat kicked up to double time. Maille thought there’d been a slight rise and fall of his chest beneath her breasts when they’d first washed ashore. His lips looked blue. But when she put her ear to his chest, the beat of his heart was strong and quick.
She scraped her mind for facts.
Fact—a heart could beat for several minutes after breathing stopped.
Would his lips still be blue?
Fact—in the moonlight everything looked blue.
Fact—his eyelids were at half-mast, and there was a barely perceptible gleam aimed at her. He probably didn’t need to be resuscitated.
Fact—she could discover the state of his respiration in other ways than this slow descent of her head and the pressing of lips to his. He tasted like sin and secrets.
His lips were warm and firm under hers, and they parted in a humid mingling of breath. Goddess, he smelled wonderful. She inhaled the scent of male and mystery laced with magick. Worries over what was real, what wasn’t, where she was, trickled away like so many grains of sand.
Fuck a bunch of facts.
Seven tears cast upon the water summon the selkie, summon seal across the ocean, summon man from beast—liquid keys to break the curse. Freed one night every seven years, Ronin is doomed to repeat that cycle into eternity. Unless he can find a woman powerful enough to resist a selkie’s irresistible pheromones and sex magick.
Maille believes she lost reality between Maine and New Mexico. Between where she is now and where she should be. She believes in facts, not magick. But facts can’t explain how she wound up naked on a beach with the sexiest man she’s ever laid eyes on. Or how she knows in her bones that losing herself in the passion Ronin offers is a path to disaster.
It’s going to be a long, hot, wet night. Caught between sex magick and a sexy selkie, disaster is inevitable for Maille. To break the enchantment she has to rely on the oldest magick of all—the power of love-drenched hearts.
Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO2moGX-IhU
About the Author:
Whether it’s a shapeshifter romance exploring the primal power of the wild feminine, or BDSM romance where love digs into a character’s shadows, Nara believes romance should open the door and push lovers into a new dimension: sexually, emotionally, and sometimes physically.
Nara Malone is an award winning novelist and poet. As a freelance journalist and writer, her feature profiles on women entrepreneurs and her romantic short stories have been published in newspapers, magazines, and digital publications.