Exclusive ExcerptWhen he was ready to give up, Lamark finally got a small spark, the beginnings of a fire.
Yuvie jolted from his nap.
Lamark cupped the little flame and blew gently on it to kindle it, then lowered it into the sticks and brush.
Yuvie leaned closer to the flame, staring at it in awe. Of course, he’d never seen fire, Lamark presumed.
“Careful,” he said, waving his hand between the flames and Yuvie’s nose. “It’s hot.”
“It’s hot?” Yuvie repeated and pointed to the fire.
“Aye, I mean—no.” Lamark fumbled for words. He extended his finger towards the fire. “Fire.”
“Aye.” Lamark nodded.
“Fire!” Yuvie reached out his hand and Lamark had to dive to snatch it back from the flames.
“No, it’ll hurt you.” Lamark made a hissing sound to symbolize pain. “Ouch. Hurt.” He hoped Yuvie would understand and not try to touch it again.
“Ouuuch. Hurt! Fire!”
Yuvie still seemed fascinated, likely at both the words and the flames. At the same time, they both seemed to realize just how close their faces were, and that Lamark was still clasping Yuvie’s hand.
Yuvie jumped, and Lamark skittered back to the opposite side of the fire automatically. His heart thumped wildly against his chest at the sudden proximity, and at the thought of scaring off Yuvie. He looked to Yuvie, at his wide-eyed stare and heaving chest, and feared the merman might disappear back into the deep.
“Please don’t go,” Lamark said. Yuvie was tense, as if he’d jump into the water at any moment.
Thankfully after a moment, he seemed to relax and offered Lamark a gentle smile. His golden hair was illuminated by the setting sun on the horizon, and now it was Lamark’s turn to be rapt.
Lamark shook himself out of it and returned his attention to the fire. He skewered the fish on sticks sharpened on a rock, then held them over the flames. Yuvie watched with keen interest as the fish cooked, even trying to touch them a few times, despite Lamark’s multiple discouragements from doing so.
Once the fish was browned and crisp on the outside, Lamark broke the stick into three kabobs and held one out to Yuvie. “Here, now you can touch it.”
Lamark bit into his and gave a moan of satisfaction. After all the time spent getting a fire going, he was famished, and the fish tasted heavenly. Dirt probably would’ve tasted like fine cuisine, as hungry as he’d been. Slaving over sticks and stones to cook the fish had been worth it.
He looked over at Yuvie, laughing when he saw how quickly the merman was gobbling up his fish.
That must mean he liked it. For Yuvie, biting into a raw fish was probably considered normal, and this was likely his first time experiencing a cooked fish.
After Lamark had finished his fish, he had to split the third one with Yuvie, since he stared at it with pleading, ravenous eyes. Yuvie scarfed his half just as quickly as the first fish, then started reaching for Lamark’s half.
“H-Hey!” Lamark laughed and batted him away playfully.
Once they were finished, Lamark stared across the fire at Yuvie. He couldn’t help it. Yuvie was too intriguing not to gawk at. His skin was lean, tanned, and littered with scars, from shoulders to hips, probably from his life deep under the sea fighting with sharks and swordfish, or hunting grey whales, or whatever it was merfolk did. Around his neck were a few necklaces made of shells and coral, vibrant hues of pink and purple and sea green unlike anything Lamark had ever seen. Several shells were woven into his hair. There were small green keyhole limpets, bright orange and pink scallop shells, and tiny golden conches and cockles that almost blended in with the color of Yuvie’s hair.
Lamark was most enraptured by Yuvie’s eyes, which seemed to be ever changing shades of blue, ranging from light to dark. Would Yuvie let him move closer again without flinching? His body leaned forward of its own accord, his hand outstretched, closing in on Yuvie’s cheek. Yuvie showed no sign of retreating, smiling warmly at Lamark at looking back at him.
Lamark leaned in just a little more…
Suddenly the sand shifted, and he went flopping down on his belly. “Ouch,” Lamark groaned. Then the heat of the fire hit him. “Ack!” He flopped about, rolling and patting his shirt to extinguish the flame.
A splash of water hit him, and the flames sizzled out. Lamark sat up, panting and heart pounding. He’d somehow ended up right next to Yuvie in his rolling about.
Yuvie laughed at him and poked his wet, slightly singed shirt. “Afeuy,” he said softly.
A sudden wave crashed into them, knocking Lamark off balance. When the water receded, Yuvie was lying on top of him, nose to nose. Lamark’s face burned at the proximity. Yuvie tilted his head, and his lips, which were surprisingly soft and slick, brushed against Lamark’s.In an instant the kiss was over, Yuvie jumping off of him and splashing into the water, into the ocean, into the unknown, leaving Lamark blushing, bewildered, and mystified by what had just happened.
Lamark moved his fire out of range of the rising tides, adding sticks to increase the size and keep him warm through the night.As he lay by the fire, watching the rise and fall of the waves, he wondered if Yuvie would return in the morning.Lamark had a feeling he would, if that parting kiss was anything to go by.
Luck has never been on Lamark’s side.
After his father’s untimely death, the new captain casts Lamark off the ship, leaving him in a dinghy in the middle of the ocean. Lamark is sure his life is over.
In a stroke of luck, Lamark encounters a merman, who saves him from drowning and brings him to a deserted island. Lamark quickly learns that on this mysterious island, not everything is as it seems, and danger lurks in every nook. This island may very well be the death of him.
Adventure, romance, and maybe some swashbuckling await Lamark, so long as he’s not too lily-livered to venture into the deep…
Into the Deep is a 45k pirate fantasy adventure novel with a heavy helping of slapstick comedy and a sweet, steamy m/m romance.
Amara is addicted to music and gets the most inspiration from moving songs and lyrics. When not writing, Amara usually reads, listens to podcasts, watches anime, plays a video game here and there (but mostly collects them), and takes way too many cat pictures.
Amara is non-binary/enby and queer and uses they/them pronouns.
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