Rick has been interested in Marty for a while now, and it seems like Marty returns his feelings. But Marty runs hot and cold, canceling dates and puling away every time the guys start to get close. It is making Rick crazy as he really wants things to work out between them, and he can tell Marty is attracted to him, yet Marty keeps pulling away.
When Marty cancels another date and goes home sick from work, Rick gets worried when Marty doesn’t answer his phone. So Rick heads to Marty’s apartment and breaks in to make sure everything is ok. And there he finds a huge surprise as he encounters Marty in the bathtub… with a giant merman tail. Despite his surprise, Rick takes it all in stride. He still really likes Marty and is attracted to him in both forms.
The guys finally get together, both sexually and emotionally. It seems like their relationship is finally moving forward and Rick is thrilled, despite the oddness of seeing Marty swim in the ocean and transform before his eyes. But there is more that Marty hasn’t told Rick about his life as a merman, and pretty soon Rick is in for a host of new surprises. When it all comes to light, Rick will have to figure out if he is ready for a new life with the man he is growing to love.
So I am a big merman fan, and have really enjoyed Kat’s Shifter series, so I was looking forward to giving this one a try. I think overall this is a pleasant story with some nice areas of creative world building. When Marty and Rick go undersea and we learn more about the mer world, the mating and bonding rituals, and some of the other shifter details, there are a lot of interesting elements brought out. And in general the story is a light, easy read in a fairly short novel.
I did have some issues here however. I found the writing fairly simplistic in style with a lot of telling, rather than showing. We get very little background on either man and their characters aren’t particularly well developed. We start the book by coming in to this pre-existing hot/cold relationship. It seems like the guys just can’t get their footing, and while we know Rick really likes Marty, it seems pretty clear that nothing is really moving forward because Marty keeps pulling away. But yet, as soon as Rick finds out Marty is a merman, suddenly everything is resolved with no real discussion. I mean, not only does Rick completely and immediately accept Marty is a merman (complete with jerking him off in mer form seconds after he finds out), but their relationship suddenly seems solid out of nowhere.
After this point, there are a bunch of revelations that happen when Rick learns more about the mer world, including the impact of the bonding between them. There are some major ramifications that will change both their lives and it just seems to roll out far too easily for guys who barely had a relationship the day before. I just had trouble really believing in their romantic or emotional connection, or that Rick would be so easily accepting of all these new things he is learning. It all just happens so fast, and without that real character development or sense of these guys in a relationship, I couldn’t find it believable or connect with them like I wanted.
So in the end I was kind of of mixed feelings here. The story is nice and has some interesting moments. If you are fan of mer stories, I think Kat has some nice creativity in some of her world building that may be fun to explore. But in this case, I think there needed to be more development here, of the characters, the relationship between them, and even the larger world. I think more showing versus telling, and perhaps more time to really see things develop in the story would have helped a lot. As it was, things just seemed too simple and not explored well enough to give this book the richness I wanted to see.
Cover Review: I love this cover. The image is beautiful and captures a nice scene from the book.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.