Tidal / Page 3

Page 3


Over and over again, Gemma had been asking herself, What would you do if you only had a matter of weeks to live? Because weeks sounded right to her. She didn’t think the sirens would tolerate her or Capri for much longer than that.

The problem was that Gemma still hadn’t been able to come up with an answer. What she really wanted to do—spend time with her parents, Harper, and Alex, on the beach, swimming all day and night—was impossible.

Now she had to come up with a second choice. So far the only thing she had was kissing Kirby and pretending like everything was going to be okay.

TWO

Obsession

The wind blowing off the bay helped cool his bare skin against the heat of the sun as he pulled into the harbor. Daniel eased The Dirty Gull into the dock. Once it was stopped, he hopped off the boat to tie it up.

He’d barely made it through the knot when he heard the splash of water behind him, and he sighed deeply. He didn’t even have to look over his shoulder to see it was her. By now he could almost feel her watching him.

Daniel may not have fallen under the sirens’ spell the way other guys did, but he wasn’t completely oblivious to their charms. Penn had a presence about her, one that defied all sensibilities. The air seemed to change when she grew closer, with a new electricity churning through it.

As he’d been coming over to the mainland from Bernie’s Island, he thought he’d seen Penn trailing him. He couldn’t be certain of it, but almost every time he was out on the water, he thought he saw her shadow just below the surface of the water—the dark outline of her fish form as she swam alongside the boat.

Sometimes he could chalk it up to seeing things, but when Penn appeared on the dock like this, it only confirmed his suspicions. She was stalking him.

“Nice day for a swim?” Daniel asked.

He glanced back just long enough to ascertain that Penn wasn’t wearing a bottom to go with her bikini top and quickly looked away.

“You’re going to get arrested if you don’t cover up,” he told her as he stood up.

Penn snickered. “I doubt that. I’ve never been arrested for anything.”

From the corner of his eye, he saw her pull out the tiny bottom. She’d had it rolled up in a little ball and carried it in her bikini top.

Daniel climbed back onto his boat. A T-shirt was lying out on the deck, and he pulled it on over his head. Penn clicked her tongue in disappointment, and he went belowdeck to grab his shoes and socks, the small door swinging shut behind him.

Since he’d moved onto Bernie’s Island, his former living quarters were much more sparse, but that made it harder for him to find his shoes. In transit, they’d moved about, and now they actually had room to slide underneath the bed.

Once he grabbed them, he turned to hurry back onto the deck. He didn’t trust Penn to wait outside without getting into something.

When he pushed open the small door leading back up to the top, he almost ran right into her. She stood at the top of the stairs, her long black hair dripping wet down her tanned skin, and her dark eyes sparkling at him.

“Aren’t you going to offer me a towel?” Penn asked, her voice like velvet.

“Why are you on my boat?” Daniel asked. “I don’t recall inviting you on.”

“I’m not a vampire,” Penn said with a subtle edge to her words. “I don’t need an invitation.”

“I don’t have any towels on board anymore,” Daniel said, answering her question.

He went up the stairs, and since she hadn’t moved, he pushed past her. Her skin felt hot through his T-shirt, and as he brushed up against her, he heard her inhale deeply. That wasn’t what creeped him out, though—it was the strange growling sound.

There was something inhuman about it, and it had a prehistoric quality to it. It was a small noise, one that Penn had seemed to make unconsciously, but it was enough to make his skin crawl.

“I still can’t decide what I’m going to do with you,” Penn admitted with a sigh. “One minute, I can’t wait to devour you, and the next, I’d much rather sleep with you.”

“Why do you want to do anything with me?” Daniel asked. He sat down on the seat at the edge of his boat and pulled on his shoes.

“I don’t know,” she said, and that seemed to upset her.

Daniel looked up at her, squinting in the bright sunlight, and she leaned back against the bench across from him. Her legs were stretched out long before her, and she tilted her head back, letting her hair hang over the edge of the boat.

“Are you familiar with Orpheus?” Penn asked.

“No.” He’d finished putting on his shoes and leaned back. “Am I supposed to be?”

“He’s a very popular figure in Greek history,” Penn said. “He’s renowned for musical ability and poetry.”

“Sorry, I don’t read that much poetry,” Daniel replied.

“Neither do I.” She shrugged. “I never read much of his, anyway. But when I was with him, he’d all but stopped writing and he’d given up his music and went by the name Bastian. The ‘mythology’ says that he died after the death of his wife, but the truth is that he only changed his name and gave up his old life.”

“So he’s like you, then?” Daniel asked. “Immortal or whatever?”

Penn nodded. “He is. But unlike sirens, who gained their immortality through a curse, he got his from being blessed. The gods were so pleased with him and his music that they granted him eternal life.”

“Why are you asking me about this guy?” Daniel asked. “What does he have to do with me?”

“Nothing, probably.” Penn crossed and uncrossed her legs. “We were very close for a while, Bastian and I. He was one of a handful of immortals who was immune to siren song. All the gods and goddesses were unaffected by it, but many of the other immortals—humans who gained eternal life from either a curse or blessing—still succumbed to it.

“But not Bastian.” She stared off, something wistful flitting across her expression, but she quickly erased it. “Anyway. I thought maybe you were a relation of his.”

“I’m fairly certain that nobody’s immortal in my family tree.” He stood up. “Listen, Penn, it’s been great, but I really have to get to work. I have—”

Before he could finish his sentence, she was upon him. She pushed him down so hard, his back slammed painfully into the bar. Then she leapt on him, straddling him. She squeezed her thighs tightly against his sides so he couldn’t move.


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