Ines Johnson

Two if by Sea

Two if by Sea COVERSet sail on this fish out of water adventure as the Arthurian Lady of the Lake crash lands into the Greek God of the Sea!

Finally freed from her role as Camelot’s Lady of the Lake, Viviane sets off on the quest of her life—to nab her very own pair of Italy’s hottest designer high heels! But when she turns up in Athens instead of Rome, she’ll face her greatest challenge when the God of the Seas decides she’s the catch of a lifetime.

Tired of fake women, idol worshippers, and followers who are only after what he can do for them, Poseidon is captivated the moment Vivi washes up on his shores. She’s a breath of fresh air with her garish fashion sense and cold-blooded curves. Psi’s all too happy to help her on her quest for shoes, but only after he takes a bite out of her.

You can preorder this book now!

AmazoniBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo  |  Google Play

Chapter One

Longing clung to Psi as he stood on the hotel balcony, peering across the city at the neglected temple of the Parthenon. The bones of the building were still sturdy, holding everything aloft. There was much wear and tear on the once pristine marble. Psi had been there when the shrine had been lovingly carved and raised to the sky. The temple had been built in his family’s honor in the fifth century during the time when the Greek gods had many devoted followers. But much had changed since then.

Construction was currently underway to restore the aged structure. Pristine marble was mixed with the ancient stone of old creating an eyesore. Steel rods were put in place to give the structure a new backbone that made it stand rigid. It was an absolute travesty what the human race was doing to honor the memory of the gods.

“Lord Poseidon, it would be my honor and privilege to offer you pleasure tonight.”

Psi didn’t even bother to turn around to address the human woman who spoke to him. There was no point. The women were all alike. Plastic faces colored with powder. Inflated breasts, surgically flattened middles, and engorged behinds, cloaked in labels like packaged foods.

That was what was considered sexy in this age. Dozens more just like her buzzed around the party going on in the suite behind him. Why did they even approach him when the thought of water getting anywhere near their starched hair or their painted faces or their delicate fabrics would make them yelp and spring away from him?

“You can have me in any way you want me. And you can put it anywhere you like. Choose me and I’ll give you my complete eternal devotion,” the woman said.

Right. That was why they approached him. To offer him their devotion in exchange for immortality and riches. Unlike the temple builders of the past, modern humans gave nothing freely. But wasn’t that the way of mankind and gods? Humans only called on the gods when they wanted something.

He should’ve gotten angry at the insult of her words. First came devotion, then a god chose whether or not to bless the disciple with gifts. But he couldn’t even muster any emotion other than boredom and dissatisfaction.

“You haven’t chosen a woman in a long time,” she purred.

Her warm-blooded hand landed on his bicep making him shiver like he’d been plunged into ice-cold water. No, that wasn’t a good comparison. He loved the feeling of cold water surrounding his body. Or hot water surrounding him, for that matter. This human’s touch felt like sand scratching on dry skin in the middle of a desert.

“You must be starved. I can offer you my whole soul.” Her cactus-like fingers continued their unwanted assault on his skin. But then she jerked her fingers away. “Or, perhaps, it’s men you prefer?”

Psi turned and, as expected, was met with a carbon copy of every woman at this infernal party. Breasts pushed up to her chin in a dress that undoubtedly cost enough to feed a small, third world village for a month. Heels so high she nearly stood on tiptoes. His keen eyes made out the tracks in her scalp that added fake tresses. He could barely see her eyes with all the makeup caked on her face. In the light of so much distortion, Psi forgot his manners and reared back from her.

Finally, she took the hint and moved away from him. Psi realized belatedly that she came to the wrong conclusion with that last mention of a man being the reason that he wasn’t interested in her affections. But he didn’t care that she mistakenly thought he preferred his own gender in bed sport. Whatever it took to shake free of yet another idolater.

Off in the distance, his brother Zeus was happily buried in a pile of idol worshippers. Psi could barely make out his brother’s golden head for all of the arms and legs that surrounded the demigod, seeking his attention and favor. Zuzu had no qualms in using the women, or men, that hung on the Olympians hoping to become Chosen.

Psi needed more than a compliment and a quick tumble to create a Chosen: a devoted worshipper of the Olympian gods. True, he was down to a few dozen Chosen. Those few had been with him for centuries, but they were all true believers—a rare thing in the human race these days.

In exchange for immortality, the Olympians fed off the human souls of the Chosen. Worship was the fuel of the gods. Without it, gods ceased to exist.

The way of the Olympians was better than what their parents, the Titans, had done in their day which had been to eat humans whole and spit out their bones. At least with this exchange, everyone got something out of the deal.

Only, Psi no longer felt the trade was even. Taking a soul left a bitter taste in his mouth these days and so he largely abstained from the practice. His siblings called him a vegan because he no longer took on any more of the living.

The headache he was experiencing now was likely from hunger, but Psi was not about to take a bite out of this bunch and wind up with an upset stomach. Instead, he left the revelry and headed down the elevator. The ride was long as he and his siblings lived on the top floor of the Royal Olympic Hotel.

He exited in the garage. He bypassed Zuzu’s Ferrari and Desi’s Mustang. All three of his sisters preferred to be driven around in limos and town cars, not particularly caring for the speed certain cars afforded them. Psi put his Stingray Corvette in gear and headed someplace where he could be alone and think.

As he drove closer to the sea and the salty air hit his tongue, he felt immeasurably better. He parked and headed down to the water’s edge. Unfortunately, like his home high in the sky at the hotel, his watery haven was also overrun by humans.

Loud music polluted the air from stereos in cars, boats, and blankets. Coeds on vacation, dressed in togas, tossed beer bottles into the sea. An older seaman pulled his prick out and pissed off the side of a boat.

Psi felt weary once more. He was thousands of years old, but he felt like he was having a midlife crisis. There was nothing real left in this world. He hadn’t been excited about anything in over a century. Not even the warm-blooded women of his brothers’ parties could rouse him any longer. Nothing could, except the cool brine of the Mediterranean.

He headed out farther along the shore, coming to sit at the edge of a pier. He dipped his toe in the cold waters and felt somewhat soothed. But not for long. Something felt wrong.

An electric current tickled the fleshy part of his toe, zipping under the toenail. He didn’t need his sight to see into the depths, but he couldn’t believe what his amphibious senses were telling him. Something magic this way came.

He should pull his foot from the sea. It felt like he would be consumed by the energy building down there. But that thought was ridiculous. He was the God of the Sea. There was nothing in the waters stronger than him.

Then the feeling tugged at him. It zipped up his leg, sloshing the indifferent fluids of his gut, and kicking his heart into gear. Off in the distance, he spotted the source of the disturbance.

A bubble crested the water. The orb was big and iridescent, like a translucent moon. It was also full, like the moon. Inside was the unmistakable shape of a woman.

The bubble burst and the woman stepped out. Well, she didn’t step. She floated. Her pale toes glided over the crests of the waves.

Her hair was as white as the moon, her skin barely a shade darker. She looked like a star in human form. What she wore on her body was another story entirely.

Psi was certain that the garish orange frock that clung damply to her body had no human designer. He couldn’t imagine anyone putting their name on such a garment. But on her pale body, somehow, it worked.

She gave a shake and the water droplets floated off her body and the garment. As the beads fell back into the sea, Psi felt a stirring in his loins. He blinked, taking more of this creature in.

Her breasts weren’t big enough to fill his hands. Her body was more straight lines than curves. Her face was bare of any rouging or powder, and still, he couldn’t take his eyes off her. His heart pounded in his chest, the beats growing fasting and stronger like a car turning over for the first time after being left idle all winter.

The strange woman reached down into the water and pulled out another bubble. In that bubble was a shiny pair of red shoes. She sat down on the surface of the water and slipped first one and then the other shoe on her foot. She took a moment to admire her feet, even though the blood-red shoes and the neon-orange outfit clashed horribly.

Psi felt like a voyeur watching the nimble nymph as she put her feet under her. He didn’t dare turn his head to miss a single action of this graceful fairy’s ascent. The woman stood tall, elegant as a ballet dancer. She took one step onto land. And fell promptly onto her face.

 

Chapter Two

 

Vivi broke the surface of the sea in a spray of surf. Foam tickled the bottoms of her feet. Suds rolled off her shoulders. Droplets of salted water soaked into the fabric of her dress.

The dress she wore had been the height of fashion when she was a girl back in the fifteenth century. The women and witches of Camelot would parade around the riverbed in these types of gowns while on the arms of knights and lords. Vivi doubted she’d ever walk escorted on a man’s arm. She didn’t care. She could walk on her own now.

She was no longer the Lady of the Lake, cursed by a deformity at birth to never use her legs outside of the water. She was Vivi on land. After years of living in the River Usk on the grounds of Caerleon where the current kingdom of Camelot sat, she was simply thrilled to be out of the water and on her own two feet.

Her powerful friends—because, yeah, Vivi had friends now—had broken the curse, but she wasn’t exactly cured. Her legs were still as useless as eyelids on a fish. To offset this, Lady Gwin, the most powerful witch in all of Camelot, and Dame Loren, the first female knight of the Roundtable, had enchanted a pair of shoes so Vivi could walk on land.

Though she loved the Nicotera heels she donned, Vivi had been wearing the same pair for a while now and they were so last season. The designer’s new batch was releasing in the morning and she would be the first in line at his shop in Rome to snag her very own pair.

She stood up in the water, her magic supporting her useless lower limbs. With a flick of her wrist, she shook all of the water from the gown. She wanted to look her best for her very first solo trip out of Camelot, not like a fish out of water. So, soggy clothes wouldn’t do.

Once her dress was dry, she stepped into the magical shoes that fit her dainty feet perfectly. Taking a deep breath as she prepared for the completion of her maiden quest as an independent woman, Vivi took a step onto dry land and fell flat on her face.

Walking was still a new skill for her. She was also on new ground here in Italy. But she was undaunted. She rose, dusted herself off and–

The world fell away from her. She was being lifted into the air. There was no ground beneath her heeled feet. No water to weave her magic in.

It was terrifying. Just like it had been when she was a child and had been cast into the cold river waters to drown. But she hadn’t drowned in the water. She’d survived and thrived.

In the air, she flailed. Her limbs punched and kicked out, anxious to find a way to anchor herself in the light breeze. Looking down, she saw that a sea monster had her in his grip. The beast was big and broad, with dark tendrils radiating from his head like an octopus, and brown skin like the glistening coat of a seal. Vivi hated anything with tentacles like eels and octopi.

But she liked seals. The creatures were fiercely protective of their young. Still, a seal had never picked her up and out of the water. No seal had ever flashed its teeth at her as this brute did. His broad and wide teeth gleamed white as he prepared to eat her.

She kicked out again and made contact. But all her attempt at defense earned her was the loss of one of her precious shoes.

Vivi slumped in the beast’s grip and shut her eyes. She’d come so far on her own. And now she would be eaten by this terrible monster. And there was nothing she could do about it.

She was out of the water. She was defenseless. She was as useless as her father had accused her of being before he’d tossed her in the waters to meet her death. And this time she was going to die.

“Hello,” said the monster.

The deep, melodic tone of his voice was like a shockwave inside Vivi. It rolled up her lifeless toes, shook her limp knees, warmed the spot at the crest of her thighs, and punched her in the gut until she was forced to open her eyes and look at him. His eyes were the color of sea waves before they crashed into the shore. She felt caught in them like she’d been pulled under and was now drowning in earnest.

Bonjour?” he said and another wave hit her, pulling her down deeper. “Ciao? Ola? Can you speak at all?”

“Of course I can speak,” Vivi said. “I speak a number of languages, you beast. I don’t appreciate being trifled with. Get it over with and I hope you choke on my bones.”

His sea-bright eyes widened and he flashed his teeth again. Vivi struggled, trying to turn away before he bit her. Instead, she stared at his beauty in avid fascination. She wondered if he was the type to play with his food.

“Eat you?” he said. “I’m not going to eat you.”

But the way he glanced down her captive body, the way his nostrils flared, and his sharp, gleaming incisors sank into his lush bottom lip, Vivi was certain he told a lie.

“I was only trying to help,” he said when his gaze rose back to her. “I was being a gentleman.”

“No gentleman I know touches a lady without her permission,” she said. “Put me down.”

She didn’t expect it, but he obeyed. He turned his body away from the receding tide and set her down gently on the sand. Vivi breathed a sigh of relief the moment her toes touched the ground. Only one foot was shoed. So, the moment the monster let her go, she fell to her knees.

But she didn’t impact the ground as hard as she expected. His arms were around her once more, bringing her up. This time he held her to his big body instead of in the air. The toe of her one shoe tapped the ground. The other, the one that was bare, rested on the top of the beast’s foot.

“It doesn’t appear you can stand on your own,” he said.

“I can, too.” Vivi frowned up at him, feeling like a guppy arguing with a whale. “I just need my shoe.”

The beast peered down at her fallen shoe, then back to her. He crouched with her still in his arms, until he sat her bottom gently on the ground. He took a seat beside her and then he reached for the lone shoe.

Vivi flinched when he reached for her leg next. She whimpered when he flashed his teeth at her again. When his fingertips wrapped around the back of her knee she shuddered, the fear of being eaten momentarily fleeing her body.

“Who are you?” he asked in that deep brogue. “What are you?”

“I am Viviane of the Lake. Well, actually, it’s just Viviane now. But my friends call me Vivi.”

He should know that she had friends. People who would notice if she was gone too long. Or eaten by a sea monster with dark skin, thick locks of hair, and deep, blue eyes.

“May I?” the blue-eyed monster asked. “May I call you Vivi?’

Vivi’s breath caught at the request. His blue eyes implored her even as his wide, shark-like grin promised to devour her. “Do you promise not to eat me?”

He broke into a smile again. This time he didn’t flash his teeth. His lips stretched across his face as he gazed at her. The look heated her from the center outward, touching her pale cheeks.

She felt his thumb rub at her skin, settling on the moisture there. Then he frowned, and Vivi was sorry to see his hungry smile go. He looked down at her knee and she followed his gaze. The skin there had torn from her fall and a trickle of blood flowed.

The monster reached out to the water. It came to him without him even standing in it. The water swirled in his hand and he placed it on her knee. Vivi gasped as a warm tingle arrested her leg. His touch felt like diving deep in a hot spring, like surfacing from beneath a waterfall on a summer’s day.

“My name’s Poseidon. My friends call me Psi. I’d like it if you called me Psi, Vivi.”

He didn’t flash his teeth this time when he smiled at her. Still, something in his eyes told her that she would not be safe with this man. She didn’t believe that he meant her any physical harm. But she knew that her world would never be the same if she took the offer to call him by his name.

“All right,” she said. “Psi.”

You can preorder this book now!

AmazoniBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo  |  Google Play