Authors: Cleo Peitsche
BLOOD IN THE WATER
All Romance eBooks Edition
Copyright, Legal Notice and Disclaimer:
BLOOD IN THE WATER
© 2015 by Cleo Peitsche. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means without permission in writing from the author. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, events, locations and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental. This book is for entertainment purposes only.
This book contains mature content and is solely for adults.
Cover Photo ©2014 by Cormar Covers
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BLOOD IN THE WATER
(The Shark Shifter Paranormal Romance #4)
Even though their world is crumbling, Monroe only wants more of Koenraad. She knows it’s dangerous to keep tempting him, but she can’t help herself.
Koenraad struggles against his shifter urges while he tries to fix the life-and-death disasters piling up on his doorstep. If Monroe knew what he was capable of, she’d stop her dangerous games.
He doesn’t want to damage the beautiful human who stole his heart, but there’s only so much teasing a shark can take.
Monroe bobbed in the ocean, the handle of an eight-inch rubber knife between her teeth.
She felt like a cork someone had tossed into a washing machine. Her fingers and toes had passed the prune stage fifteen minutes earlier. Despite the wetsuit and the constant churning of her limbs, she was getting uncomfortably cold.
In contrast, the sun seemed to be broiling her cheeks, and her eyeballs ached from the brightness reflected off the water.
The end of her long braid floated into her peripheral vision. Panicking even as she recognized what it was, she jerked back, her heartbeat shooting into the stratosphere.
She hated this.
She forced herself to take a calming breath. Fingers splayed wide, she waved her arms back and forth in the water as she turned in a small circle, her eyes alert for any sign of movement.
In the past week, she’d progressed from being terrified of deep water… to being terrified of deep water and forced to spend large amounts of time in it.
She tried not to think about things like the Mariana Trench. She was in the Caribbean, but who could say there wasn’t an even deeper trench below her thrashing legs? Something twenty times larger than the Grand Canyon, and filled with nothing but heavy, dark water.
No, not nothing.
There were jellyfish, with their stinging tentacles.
Slimy tangles of seaweed.
Schools of fish.
She definitely didn’t want to think about sharks.
But the more she tried not to think about them, the more she saw triangular dorsal fins in the swell of every wave. Huge teeth powered by muscular bodies. Sharks longer than a minivan, than a school bus.
A whimper escaped from her throat.
She was never coming out here again.
And then she saw it. It started as a shadowy mass that quickly resolved into a torpedo-shaped body. Monroe’s stomach clenched painfully, then tried to force its way up her throat.
She took the knife in her shaking hand, which threw her off balance in the water. She churned her legs faster, her breath coming in panicked gulps.
The shark was closer. Circling.
Koenraad had explained to her that great white sharks liked to attack prey from underneath. She’d seen it, too, a massive body launching into the air, twisting almost gracefully. Dolphins had nothing on sharks when it came to murderous acrobatics.
This shark wasn’t going to swoop from underneath and tear off the lower half of her body. Koenraad had told her many times: as long as she could see an attacking shark, all hope wasn’t lost.
Whatever that meant.
Now her whole body trembled, and she kept swallowing, which turned the rising bile in the back of her mouth salty from the ocean spray. It was a thoroughly revolting combination, but she didn’t have time to dwell on that because the shark was circling closer, and now she could see the animal’s top line, the deep gashes between its dorsal fin and its tail.
She squeezed the knife handle and waited, just as she’d been instructed. She held her position, too, at least until the shark suddenly came at her, its enormous jaws agape.
Shrieking, she blindly slashed out with the knife. It went flying from her fingers and landed several feet away, where it floated on the waves.
Monroe thrust her hands in front of her. If she could hit the shark just right on its nose…
But she missed, her fist glancing off the side of the animal’s face. The neoprene gloves she wore protected her hands from the shark’s rough skin. The shark stopped immediately, then dove.
Sharks like to attack prey from underneath
. Koenraad’s words were as fresh in her mind as if he’d just said them.
“Koenraad!” she screamed, terrified.
She didn’t know if he could hear her, but then the shark was at her side, nudging her toward the waiting yacht.
She couldn’t look at him, didn’t want to see the disappointment in his face—though truth be told, she’d never seen recognizable facial expressions while he was in shark form. She tried not to look at him too closely when he was like this.
His shark form terrified her. To think she’d
to see him shift.
She clambered onto the yacht’s swim platform and collapsed on her hands and knees. The shark disappeared, then it launched into the air.
The moment of change was impossible to see. One moment he was a toothy killer, the next he was the man of her dreams, naked, bronzed, dripping wet.
He landed gracefully on the boat next to her. His hands wrapped around her shoulders as he pulled her into an embrace against his tall, muscular body.
“I suck at this,” she moaned.
His pause was a moment too long. “You’re getting better. Let’s take a quick break—”
“Can we be done for the day?”
His handsome, angular features hardened, then relaxed. “Yeah. Turn around.”
He unzipped her wetsuit and helped her peel it off. Underneath, she wore a bikini, though it was completely unnecessary. Out here, there wasn’t anyone to see her in her naked glory.
“Thanks,” she mumbled. She glanced up at him to see if he was disappointed, but his face showed only concern. “Don’t forget the knife,” she said, uncomfortable with his scrutiny.
Koenraad gently touched her arm, then dove back into the water in human form and swam smoothly out to retrieve the knife. When he climbed back aboard, he tossed it to the side of the deck, where it bounced.
“Do you keep dropping the knife because you’re afraid of hurting me?” he asked as he slicked his blond hair away from his face. The sight of his dilated predator’s pupils made her shiver. Even in human form and despite his refined bearing, Koenraad radiated danger.
She shook her head.
Even if it weren’t a rubber training knife, she wouldn’t have been too worried. Koenraad was practically indestructible, which made her wonder again about his old scars.
The ones that wrapped from the base of his neck and sliced down his torso were from a boat propeller. He’d told her that, but she still hadn’t gotten the whole story.
The scars on his lower back were far worse, and they hadn’t been there when she’d first met him. She’d thought he’d earned them the night he’d saved her life by protecting her from the shark that had almost killed her.
Now she knew they were self-inflicted. He’d mutilated himself to save her life.
She couldn’t begin to wrap her mind around that. Whenever she saw the evidence of how calculating he could be, her blood ran a little colder.
Koenraad was a gentleman. He was kind and sophisticated and attentive and very protective.
But he had a dark side. The shark nature. The practical mindset that resulted in things like maiming himself to save her… like pressuring her to get into the water and practice warding off shark attacks.
His reasons she understood perfectly well. Victoria had challenged her, and it was a fight Monroe had no hope of winning, knife or no. Then there was the matter of Bamboo Menendez, the shifter who’d been hired to kidnap her. Monroe had gotten away… barely.
Koenraad needed to find his young son, and that meant he spent hours every day away from her while he carefully searched the Caribbean Sea near Brady’s last known whereabouts. She understood why he had to do it. Brady was dangerous. He’d attacked one human already. The penalty for that was execution, and Koenraad had risked everything to cover it up. The faster he found Brady, the better.
But she was terrified when Koenraad left, and even though she hid it, he surely knew.
All this training was supposed to make her feel more secure, but it didn’t.
If anything, it proved how woefully unprepared she was.
After showering and putting on a fresh pair of board shorts, Koenraad found Monroe sleeping on the aft deck, her lemonade glass nearly empty, her book shut beside her on the lounge chair.
Her thick hair, now thoroughly sun streaked, was tangled from the water and the wind. Her long, dark eyelashes fluttered softly against her tanned cheeks, but she didn’t wake.
He stared at her ripe, luscious body with appreciation. As a large male, he needed a strong woman. A sturdy woman. It was like Monroe had been made specifically for him. The visual of her full breasts nearly overflowing her bikini top made him want to wake her in a thoroughly wicked way.
Monroe was stunning, and every day he found her more and more irresistible. It had been that way even before he’d claimed her as his mate.
Memories of the mating came back to him, and as he thought of the smells and sensations of that night, heat scorched through him. They’d had sex plenty of times since then, but he longed to mate with her again. To indulge his true nature and to push her to her limits.
As a shifter, the urge was sometimes so powerful that it ached.
Monroe would be up for it, too, but he’d hurt her the first time. He was well-endowed to start with, and as a shark shifter, he had attributes that human males didn’t.
He didn’t like hurting her. Sure, her pain called to something in his nature, but he now worked harder than ever to keep the animal inside him controlled. Soon, though, he’d need to find a safe place in calm water so they could mate again.
They couldn’t return to the crater. Not with Victoria hunting Monroe.
Monroe’s lashes fluttered, and her brown eyes, which reminded him of striated miter shells, opened. She didn’t see him immediately, and as she pulled herself up to sitting, he appreciated the gentle swaying of her breasts and the soft rocking of her hips.
Yeah, he needed to take her again, and not on a comfortable mattress. He wanted her in the water.
She suddenly looked over at him, and her body jerked in surprise. “You scared me! How long have you been there?”
Instead of answering, he bent to kiss her soft lips. The heat in his lower body intensified. Even though he hadn’t willed it, both his cocks had swollen to their full, heavy lengths. Before the mating, he’d never had a problem controlling himself; using both had required a conscious decision on his part.
That, unfortunately, had changed. It was hard enough to ignore one unwanted erection, but two? Impossible.
What he needed, he decided as he straightened, was to jump into the ocean and cool off.