Rating: 3.75 stars
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Adrian’s life has never been his own. As a prince of the mer people, he has been raised to do his duty, and that includes marrying the partner of his father’s choice. When it all becomes too much for Adrian, he flees for the surface, even knowing his father will be furious. Adrian has had some forays on land before, but never tried to stay longer than brief visits. He knows he can’t be out of the ocean forever; his body needs the sea to survive. But he needs at least some time to escape the pressures of his life and live for himself.
Chad Bonaventure had given up on life four years ago, but a close friend saved him and turned him into a vampire. Chad wasn’t happy to be turned, as the idea of eternal life is not something he wants. When he sees a man struggling in the water near the beach, Chad rushes to save him. With Adrian seeming to have nowhere to turn, Chad brings him back to his own house. He knows it’s probably a terrible idea, given he needs to keep it secret that he is a vampire. But something about Adrian calls to him and Chad can’t leave him to fend for himself.
The men find a near instant bond with one another, and soon the truth comes out about their mer and vampire natures. The pair can’t get enough of each other, and Adrian is eager to explore sex for the first time, while Chad finds a happiness that he has long been missing. But Adrian’s body requires the sea — and the moment he touches it, his father’s guards will be able to find him. That means the men have only three days together before Adrian will have to go home, likely for good. As they fall harder for one another, the idea of separating becomes all the more painful. But with Adrian meant to live in the sea and Chad stuck on land, a future between the men is not going to be easy to achieve.
Blood in the Water captured my attention right away. I really enjoy both of these authors and the premise pairing a merman and a vampire totally sold me. It’s not often I come across something I have never seen in a romance novel, so when I heard vampire/merman, I was intrigued. The story has a wonderful opening, with a twist or two that I didn’t see coming, so I found myself engaged from the start and eager to see how things would play out. Chad and Adrian are pretty much all in with one another immediately, and they are sweet and gushy and adorably into each other. They have this sense of wonder about them in finding each other. Not only can they not keep their hands off each other, but they are so captivated with one another. They are both all in from the start, but they find a happiness together that neither had apart. I found them an endearing couple and I enjoyed the way both men made the other so happy with their lives for the first time in a long time.
Of course, the big complication is that Adrian can’t remain on land forever, and Chad can’t live in the sea. It puts a hard deadline on their relationship that gives a nice sense of urgency and intensity to their interactions. I loved the way both of these guys doted on one another and worked to find little things to make the other happy. Watching Chad sleep in the tub so that Adrian could have access to water is adorable. And you can’t help but be a little heartbroken when the men face their separation after falling so hard for each other. The place I struggled here was with the timeline. I am prepared to suspend disbelief in a paranormal, but I’ll admit I had a hard time with the idea it all happens over three days. Not just that, but the men are totally all in with one another almost immediately, way before it is time to separate. While I wanted to just let go and enjoy it all, part of my mind kept saying “but you have only known one another a day.” I think this is going to be a your mileage may vary situation, as some folks won’t be bothered by the instalove and others may feel like me. And it’s not just that they are in love so fast, but they are all each other needs. Chad, who has struggled with depression, who tried to kill himself four years ago and still doesn’t much feel like life is worth living seems immediately “cured” by his love for Adrian. And Adrian seems to have no reservations about leaving his life, his family, etc for the idea of staying on land. I so wished the timeline had been a little longer here, as I wanted to be emotionally all in with these guys, but I struggled with their immediately not only falling in love, but being all each other needed going forward.
I also wished for a bit more time in the mer world, as I felt this wasn’t as developed as the vampire side of things and I loved the idea of these two so different supernaturals. But we get less of Adrian’s side, and for most of the book, the only real impact of him being mer was the need to get back to the water. I found the bits of world building we got for the mer folk really interesting and I would have loved to see more.
Overall, I found this story sweet and lovely. These two guys are quite endearing individually and as a couple. As much as I wanted a longer timeline, I can admit to being swoony over the way they fall for one another. They are so passionate and caring with each other, and have a wonderful intensity and great heat. If you are looking for a unique paranormal, or just a sexy, high intensity romance, definitely check this one out.
This does sound like a unique premise, Jay! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.