The Holiday Mermaid: A Sea of Love story in the Desire Me Again romance anthology by BVS

My inspiration for my fantasy romance series Sea of Love is… the sea. The clue’s in the title! I grew up by the sea, in a coastal village in Brittany, western France. My mother is Welsh, so I spent most of my childhood holidays in Wales with my grandparents, uncle and aunt and cousins. The ocean, the coast and its creatures, real and imaginary, peopled my waking hours and my dreams. And who better embodies the ocean than mermaids and mermen? Half-human, half-fish… or are they?

Say “mermaid” and the image that pops into your mind is probably a beautiful woman with long (probably golden or copper) hair, and a seashell bra. But there are many different versions of mermaids in different cultures. The Sirens that seduced Odysseus had birds’ wings. Mermaids are not always beautiful. Some versions have sharp teeth and clawed fingers, all the better to grab sailors and drag them to their death! Brrr!

My mermen and mermaids are halfway between these two depictions. They have a tail, but not a fish tail – a foot-long, flexible appendage that helps them steer in choppy waters. They also have webbed hands and feet, grey or black skin, sharp teeth (all the better to grab fish) and a bald head. Of course, bald – do you know many sea mammals with a full head of hair?

They are also shape shifters. They can change into the human form at will. This is what has enabled them to live incognito alongside humans for centuries. In their human form, they are very attractive. In their aquatic form… not so much, at least to a human eye. When my mermaid heroine falls for a human man, though, it’s important to her that he should appreciate her in both her shapes… not just the human shape. She can’t give her heart to a man who will only love one half of her. This is only one of the challenges that my interspecies couples face. They also have to defy the laws of the mermen, which forbid them from marrying humans, and their families’ expectations.

Heroines in romantic novels are usually very good-looking. I like writing about plain heroines though – heroines who are perhaps insecure about their looks, and who can’t rely on just their bodies to attract the man they want. My shape shifting mermaids want a man who will love them just as they are… not just the pretty version of themselves.

Blurb for the BVS anthology Desire Me Again

The hopeless romantic believes that a soulmate exists for each of us. That there is one person who makes us feel how good it is to love them. For some couples, things trigger them to push that love away. They find out too late they’ve lost true-love. Sometimes genuine love deserves a second-chance at the happy ending that eluded them the first time.

Desire Me Again is an eclectic assortment of short stories exploring a second-chance at love. The collection is as diverse as the authors who wrote them. Here’s a chance to read the work of talented writers you may not have read before. Within these pages, there are blends of tender, often moving and thought-provoking stories.

Blurb for The Holiday Mermaid, a seasonal fantasy romance by Alice Renaud: Adam fell for surfer girl Rowena the second he saw her. But just as their summer fling was becoming serious, she left him without any explanation. Now, with Christmas just a few days away, she’s back… and Adam discovers that she’s a shape-shifting mermaid, from a Clan that hates humans. Can he love her as she is? Can she brave her family to be with Adam for good, not just for Christmas?

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