I wish you a mermaid Christmas! If you love danger, treachery, and forbidden love, then you’ll enjoy EVERBLUE and the rest of the Mer Tales series.
Ashlyn stood awkwardly as I approached. Her curvy hips and wavy red hair took my breath away. For a moment, I caught her scent and hummed—honeysuckle with just a hint of chlorine from her morning swim. Briefly, I imagined us playing in the water. She’d give me a run for my money in a race.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
Her green eyes darted away. “Not much.”
“Sorry I interrupted—” I pointed toward the imprint of my sister’s towel in the sand.
“Oh,” she said with a gulp and a smile, “it’s okay.”
She pressed her lips together and suddenly all I wanted to do was kiss her right then and there. I took a deep breath and glanced at my feet.
“Is school going well?” I asked, kicking a rock.
“Yeah.” She shrugged and then shot me that look—one with a hint of yearning behind it. I couldn’t help myself. I stepped forward and cupped her cheek. Her skin was as soft as a rose petal, but within her startled eyes I caught my reflection—my very selfish expression.
Her whole life flashed before me. This kiss I desired to give her would change everything—her dreams, her life with her family, her future. Innocent and trusting, she closed her eyes and tilted her chin upward in anticipation anyway. My soul protested, but I did the only thing I could—the responsible thing.
“You’ve got something on your cheek,” I said, wiping my thumb over her skin.
She opened her eyes and pulled away, her cheeks reddening. “I do?”
I stepped back and grimaced at myself. I was being one of those guys, the jerk who led girls on and toyed with their emotions.
“I’m going to go,” she said, rubbing her hand where I’d touched, and faked a smile. “See ya later.”
She quickly stumbled up the path toward her Grandmother’s house before I could comment, but I heard what she said under her breath. “I’m so stupid.”
I sulked back to the Jeep and slammed the door, hating myself for being such an ass. The only reason I’d come in the first place was to tell Tatch about the meeting we had to attend, not get distracted by Ashlyn’s captivating beauty. And I’d made a complete mess of things.
I spun out of the spot and drove the small distance back to our house.
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