Leigh is not living the life he wants, but with few options, the life of crime is all he knows. In a town divided by two crime families, Leigh tries to get ahead. But when the Moretti brothers realize what he’s up to, they weigh him down and drop him in the river. Leigh only has moments to accept his fate and wonders if anyone will miss him, but he is startled when he wakes up again on the riverbank. His only memory underwater is of a kiss and the face of a beautiful man.
Tolomeo (Tolly) comes from a race of merfolk who are cruel and who are killers and take pleasure in drowning humans or even their own kind. Tolly, however, longs for a peaceful life and true love. The kiss he gave to Leigh allows him to walk among humans until the next full moon and he shows up at Leigh’s door—naked. If Leigh will then vow to love him, Tolly will be able to stay. If not, the ancient laws state that Tolly will be put to death. Tolly can’t tell Leigh of his predicament and Leigh is too down on himself to speak the words Tolly needs to hear. While Tolly has more secrets he’s keeping, none of it will matter if Tolly is taken away forever.
I was expecting this book to be great. I mean, I hope all books will be, but with this one I really expected a great story with merfolk. This book was not to my liking at all. I did not like either of the characters, nor did I care for the overall story and this was a huge disappointment for me.
When we meet up with Leigh, he is being thrown into the river. His mob dealings veered off and he angered the wrong people. Enter Tolly to save him. Tolly is miserably unhappy and given the way the merfolk are described, it’s understandable. The only allies he had, his parents and few friends, have been killed and Tolly has no one in the entire merfolk race. This background made it seem like Tolly just wanted to find love in the worst way, rather than that Leigh was his soulmate as we are told and I did not feel anything between these guys.
Leigh was particularly difficult to like. He comes across as a petty thief in some kind of mob war and most of the book is about him wanting to get out of that life. When he isn’t killed in the river and returns home, it’s mentioned that the only reason he is still alive is because the guys who want to kill him don’t know where he lives. This explanation, while it kept Leigh alive, seemed ridiculous. Leigh is also on parole and he needs to provide his parole officer with pay stubs showing that he has a job. He wants to open a repair shop and needs a loan and his parole officer was completely taken by surprise when she learns how difficult it is for an ex-con to get a business loan.
Tolly wasn’t much to my liking either. It’s a familiar story with the merfolk having to keep secrets about how they can stay on land. He’s Leigh’s dream man, but there were fine lines between how much of Tolly was real and how much was fabricated to be what Leigh wanted. The plot read as juvenile to me, with the bad guys being called “goons,” and the mob members felt like caricatures and did not read as particularly threatening, and the plot became all muddled for me with Leigh trying start a new life.
I kept putting this book down and was overly hesitant to pick it back up each time. I didn’t feel the romance between Leigh and Tolly and the overall plot was not to my liking, and while it has been a while since I had read a book about merfolk, this one was not satisfying.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.