Crazy Little Spring Called Love: Eight Magical Stories of Fantasy Romance
This delightful fantasy romance anthology features eight magical stories inspired by the awakenings and renewal of springtime. If you like fairies, djinn, gods and goddesses, druids, mermaids, magic, and true love, then this is the anthology for you.
Featuring: L.J. Longo – “Seaweed and Silk”
Svildna is not the type of mermaid who suns herself on the ice all day. She can kill a shark, scour a keel, and patch a sail as easy as they comb their hair. So she’s more than capable of escorting The Apple Jack and its crew to the warmer southern waters. When a storm blows the ship off course, she finds herself in dangerous waters, under suspicion, and falling in love with the last man she’d expect.
Excerpt from Seaweed and Silk
“Gonna be a bitch of a storm.” Gekko grumbles at the bow over my head.
I can’t see nothing but sunrise water from my station below the bowsprit of The Apple Jack. The sky, redder than shark’s blood, bathes the ice flows and barely penetrates the black ocean. The breaking water flares around my tail in icy splashes, and I lean out of the merrow shelf, holding the metal bar. High above Gekko stands shivering on deck, bundled to her long green nose in her over-sized quilt.
“Well, look who’s here! Morning, Ms. Wizard. I never saw you up so early. You gonna disappoint the wolves and take your share of breakfast for a change?”
I’m not entirely sure what a wolf is. When I asked they said they could turn into wolves, that it was a kind of animal. Something like a shark only on land and in packs. Four men in our little eight-person crew are wolves.
The wind-chill reddens the tip of Gekko’s nose and floppy long ears. A goblin from the tropics, even a wizard like her, has no business being this far north. “Can you feel that storm, Seaweed?”
“I’m a mermaid, ain’t I?” I’ve given up on getting the crew to say my name. Svilnda is apparently too hard for land-dwellers. “Told Captain about it last night. By the course he set, he means to barrel under it before it breaks.”
“Hope we’re fast enough.” Gekko clutches her blankets tighter.
Hoping it will sooth her fears, I make a show of my magic and move a chunk of ice noisily away from the bit of metal, canvas, steam that keeps her afloat. “Captain knows what he’s doing.”
“More than you do certainly.” The goblin plops down at the bow and looks out at the wild water.
The waves chop across the horizon. Little mountains of white foam with only occasional towers of ice to break the endless ripple of the sea. Below the waves, a blue whale keens for her calf; I hear it in my mind. They’re running from the storm.
“Did you talk to Tan about this storm?” Gekko calls down.
Instantly, thoughts of the storm disappear, as if the danger of tumultuous skies cannot coexist with Tan and his warm smile.
It’s a funny thing about how his smile changes his face. He’s fierce ugly when you don’t know him. The fellow ‘s enormously tall and made of stone. I don’t know what race that makes him. Not one I’ve ever heard of, though I suspect stone-people don’t make a habit of swimming in deep water. With the pebbles across his face and arms grating when he talks and a bare chest that’s just a wide swathe of sheets of sliding stones which he only covered with a weird half-dress thing called an apron, he looks strange and hard. Until he notices you and he smiles. Then you hardly notice the pebbles and certainly when he start chatting in his deep voice or whistling soft, sweet melodies it’s hard not to like him.
The name Seaweed is Tan’s fault, but I’d never hold it against him. He was only teasing because I wear woven kelp instead of seashells. Seashells are for the mindless rich maids who sun themselves on the ice all day and comb their hair and flirt shamelessly with sailors and other idle fools. I’m not pretty, or rich, or idle. I’m a merrow who can scour your keel, weave you a seaweed shirt, or patch your sail. I can tan a seal skin and kill a shark better than I can comb my hair.
And sailors like Tan and the wolves never give me a second glance. In a way, I’m proud to be above their leering—means I’m part of the crew, not some pretty thing to look at—but I’m sometimes a little ashamed too. Everyone likes to be beautiful now and then.
Though Tan, when he smiles, can make anyone feel special.
“Seaweed! Did you—”
“Why would I talk to the ship cook about the storm?” Of course, that’s no reason to sit and smile thinkin’ about him when there’s a goblin wizard waiting for your half of the conversation. “What’s he gonna do? Bake it away?”
Gekko snorts. “Don’t be nasty, mermaid. Tan’s got more experience with ships than you ever will. Captain only hired you because you bid cheaper than any other merrow in the job auction. It was a mistake and I’m not much interested in being aboard the ship that suffers from a water-witch’s learning curve.”
I stare hard at the sea until I’m sure I’ve swallowed my pride. No sense in annoying the wizard. Not when she’s right.
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ANTHOLOGY WEBSITE: http://starsandstonebooks.com/crazy-little-spring-called -love