To save his depleting clan from frequent shark attacks, merman Kyle seeks refuge for his people in the hidden and sunken city of Atlantis. Kyle knows this is the safest place for his people even if it means sacrificing his chance for love and happiness, for Kyle is well aware of the rule that relations between men is forbidden.
Love, however, is waiting for Kyle as he arrives in Atlantis when his gaze lands upon Prince Finn, heir to the throne. Finn has never been allowed to leave the water and go to the mating grounds during the heat that occurs twice a year as his mother, the Queen, forbids him to surface. The longer a merman is denied release during mating season, the stronger their physical pain becomes each year.
When Finn and Kyle are discovered attempting to sneak off to the island, Kyle is banished from Atlantis as well as the water. He feels betrayed by Finn’s subsequent actions and is driven out broken hearted. He seeks shelter in England and is discovered naked on the beach by Jake and his best friend Alex.
Jake has just returned to his home after almost a year after leaving due to being in love with his straight best friend. Bringing Kyle into their home leads to mysterious visits from the mystical Caspian and a wealth of unanswered questions as to who Kyle is and where he came from.
As Kyle and Jake fall in love, Kyle’s secrets surface and may just be what drives them apart. But, Kyle also learns Finn’s secret and knows he must return to Atlantis no matter what dangers await. Conflicted in his feelings for both Jake and Finn, Kyle thinks he has to make a choice, but maybe three men can survive together in what will ultimately be a tangled and complicated relationship.
When I first learned about this book, I was intrigued, not only by the world of mermen, but intrigued by what would happen when a merman enters contemporary life. Forbidden Waters is told in four parts as we alternate between water and land.
Part one shows Kyle’s world and his decision to relocate his clan for safety. There is a good lead up initially to being in the underwater world. There is some world building showing how the mer people communicate and live, but ultimately there was a lack of detail to fully being immersed in their world. There was a lot of detail regarding their mating needs, but not as much about every day life. We are led to their defensive trident training and are told there is a machine to sharpen the tridents, but are not told how that works underwater. We are told that guests come over for dinner, but not what they are eating, where the food comes from, or how it is prepared. A few more details of how life works in the underwater world overall would have given a better feel to being in a completely different world. Finn and Kyle say they are in love with each other, but other than their physical need for each other, the emotion stays on the page. The lust was there, but the love was not leaping out at me.
When Kyle makes it to land, the story just did not go where I was led to believe or where I was expecting it to or hoping that it would. Jake reunites with his best friend Alex and Alex’s girlfriend, Summer, who are not overly empathetic about Jake’s feelings for Alex, and Summer is quite a bit annoying.
Kyle acclimates to contemporary life fairly well with the help of the mysterious Caspian. But, again, when he says he is in love with Jake, the emotions just stayed on the page. When Kyle’s secret is revealed, along with quite a few other secrets as well, with the exception of Jake, everyone is fairly okay with the discovery of mythical creatures and Alex is more concerned with Jake being in a non-traditional threesome. Oh, that’s right, the threesome. When Kyle returns to Finn and tells him about Jake, the mermen don’t consider a threesome because they don’t know what one is. So cue Finn’s mother to describe the merits of a“ménage a trios.” And when the three men do get together it becomes overly technical as they try to figure out all of their positioning.
The story then shifts to supernatural powers, the reawakening of gods and goddesses, and that’s where the story is heading as the ending is open-ended for a sequel. There were some good moments in the story, but the way the book ultimately played out just wasn’t for me overall and mostly had to do with the minimal world building and all of the emotions staying on page.