SEA SHENANIGANS SERIES
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Mix one part Mermaid—one part Genie. Throw in an intoxicated God of the Sea and a few smack-talking Pirates. What have you got?
Petunia’s Pandemonium to be more accurate.
Letting the ocean current take me where it may for the last twenty-five years hasn’t worked out so great. So, instead of getting my tail in a knot, I’m making some swimmingly simple changes.
—Stay on Mystical Isle with my cousins who love me.
—Avenge my parents and eliminate the sea monster who’s wreaking havoc.
—Forget about the gorgeous, no-good Genie who left me at the altar… so to speak.
—Stay away from Genies until the end of time.
—Join Poseidon’s embarrassingly named online dating service for Immortals and get back into the game.
What could go wrong?
READ AN EXCERPT
“Ahoy, Petunia! If ye might be needin’ a BFF, I’d be delighted to be at yer service,” the strange looking little man said, peeping into the open door of my beach hut.
His hat bore a skull-and-crossbones. In what I assumed was an attempt at good manners, he removed his head-wear and held it smashed against his scrawny chest. My visitor’s hair was sparse and his nose was crooked as if he’d brawled repeatedly and lost most of the time. However, his eyes twinkled and his smile was sweet in an alarming, gap-toothed way. My potential BFF sported royal-blue breeches that had seen better days, knee-high boots and a shirt with so much ruffled material it could have passed for a dress.
Sighing dramatically, I closed my eyes and shook my head. This was a new ploy and it wasn’t going to work better than any of the others. My cousins were determined for me to be happy and we’re clearly resorting to desperate measures at this point. I certainly didn’t need an ancient Pirate as a BFF. Honestly, a couple of hours of retail therapy followed by a massage and a pedicure would be far better than getting attached to a tiny balding Pirate with questionable fashion sense. People never stayed around. So, neither did I.
I’d been holed up in my hut 24-7 for a few weeks. Well, not exactly. I swam in the ocean at night under the stars while everyone slept. Less complicated that way.
“Not interested in a BFF,” I lied as I gave him a look that would have sent most running for their lives.
This one didn’t run. He was either daft or had a death wish.
The little Pirate ignored the warning glare and ambled right into my swanky temporary abode. Making himself comfortable on the shimmering seashell encrusted chaise lounge, he removed his boots and wiggled his skinny, hairy toes.
“I didn’t take ye for a green gilled, cowardly tar stain,” he commented casually, raising a bushy brow at me.
For a brief moment I felt like a teenager being reprimanded by my father if my father had been a scrawny Pirate—which he wasn’t. He was a Merman—strong and wise… and gone.
The feeling was fleeting, but it brought back long forgotten memories of feeling safe and loved. I quickly pushed the ludicrous thought aside. I was a two-hundred-year-old Mermaid. My parents had been gone for a century thanks to a vicious sea monster. I was on my own and I was going to stay that way.
Narrowing my eyes at my unwanted guest, I tamped back my instinct to drop kick the little dude right back out the way he came in. “What language are you speaking?”
“Pirate,” he replied with a grin and what I could only describe as a giggle.
I almost smiled.
“Name?” I inquired, pressing my lips together so I didn’t reveal my amusement. He’d never leave if he’d thought he’d won. He seemed like a determined little bastard.
Puffing his bony chest out then bowing gallantly, my new buddy slowly slid into a right split and raised his arms in the air.
“Upton ‘Iron Chest’ Driscol,” he announced and then adjusted his position so he could display his left split. “Me friends just call me Upton or arsehole.”
I was shocked to silence… and impressed. The day had gone from simply boring and depressing to bizarre, boring and depressing. How could an elderly Pirate who answered to arsehole do the splits and I couldn’t? Well, at least I’d found a new life goal. While being immortal was awesome most of the time, it could get monotonous. You had to have aspirations for growth—or at the very least, the splits—or you would go crazy.
“You’re very limber,” I pointed out while considering giving the splits a try. I was immortal and healed quickly. If I ripped a hamstring, I’d be fine within the hour.
“Aye,” Upton said with pride. “I can lick me own nards.”
I was hoping I’d heard him wrong, but then he demonstrated. Thankfully, he was clothed.
“Umm… Upton,” I choked out on a gag.
“Aye, swimmin’ hooker?” he inquired politely, glancing up from his lewd contortionist act.
“If you insist on doing that, I’m going to call you Upchuck. I would think that might be enough to curb your unappetizing habit. However, I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that name calling won’t do the trick since you also answer to arsehole. So, if being referred to as Upchuck isn’t gonna do it and you continue to become one with your privates, I’ll zap your nards clean off your body. Also, if you call me a swimming hooker ever again, I’ll pick you up and throw your ass so far out into the ocean it will take you a month to swim back. You feel me?”
“Yar a violent eyeliner wearin’ dinghy dangler of a wench,” Upton said with a nod of approval and a thumbs up.
Again, I had hold back my amusement. The little idiot was kind of charming in an uncouth way.
“Thank you,” I replied. A compliment was a compliment no matter how gross. “We clear about you leaving your man berries out of your mouth? It would be a real shame if I had to perform a ballsectomy.”
“So yar is sayin’ I shouldn’t cleanse me bits?” Upton asked trying to work out the particulars of my threat.
Slowly blowing my breath out between partially clenched lips, I did my best not to laugh. Watching Upton have a go at his package wasn’t remotely funny… or maybe it was. I needed help.
“How about this,” I offered, not wanting to be mean to someone who was extending friendship—no matter how odd he was. “Why don’t you stick to slurping on your junk in the privacy of your own home—as long as there are no people within three thousand yards or so.”
Upton considered my suggestion and then nodded his head thoughtfully. “Blimey, I suppose I could scour me danglers on the poop deck or possibly in the head. Ye make a fine point, Mermaid Petunia. Swabbin’ me nickel ticklers in public might be why I’m havin’ a hard time keepin’ mateys. Although, methinks the weevil eatin’, rum swiggin’ sea serpents are green at the gills at me talent for disinfecting me chumblies.”
“Mmmkay, I understood very little of that,” I said, squinting at Upton in confusion. “And that’s probably a good thing. Just keep your lips off your jibblies and we’re good.”
Upton smiled wide and a little giggle left his lips. “So, ye do want me to be yer BFF?”
Sighing, I was tempted to say yes. I was lonely—which was entirely my own fault. My cousins, Tallulah, Ariel, Misty and Madison had done everything they could think of to make me happy and feel welcome on their island. It was so lovely it made me itch.
Good never lasted long in my life. I was bad luck. Getting used to being cared for and loved was dangerous. It always ended. Always.
“Not in the market for a BFF,” I told Upton as I stood and indicated he should exit my hut. “I’m leaving the Mystical Isle soon.”
Upton’s chin dropped to his chest. He stared at his hands and sniffled.
Shit on a seashell. Had I made him cry?
“Is it because I tongue sponged me gangoolies?” he asked as fat salty tears ran down his cheeks. “Me mateys call me a greasy-haired sea rat. Mebbe the peg-legged bow bunglers are right. Ye would be ashamed to have a BFF like me.”
“Of course, they’re not right,” I sputtered before I thought about the consequences of making Upton feel better. “You don’t have enough hair for it to be greasy. And you are not a rat. I mean, you’re kind of tiny, but rats can’t do the splits. I suppose they might be able to lick their marbles—but that’s not the point here and it’s disgusting. Plus, I think puking in my mouth right now would be counterproductive. Most importantly, I would not be ashamed to have you for a BFF. Any Mermaid would be lucky to have such a limber best friend forever.”
Slapping my hand over my mouth, I realized I’d gone too far. The mini-Pirate shrieked with joy and was so delighted he did a barefoot jig around my hut. However, when he decided to add a round-off into the middle splits and inadvertently destroyed my vanity, I knew I was stuck.
I had a new BFF named Upton.
“Are you just going to hang around all the time?” I asked as Upton made an impressive sandcastle in the moonlight. “Don’t you have a job? Or a family?”
Upton had followed me like a puppy since the moment I’d taken him on as a BFF. It was disconcerting and somewhat annoying to have a Pirate barnacle. Secretly it was wonderful. Although, when he tried to follow me to the bathroom, I zapped his ass and his breeches exploded into flames—my guess was that they were polyester. The royal-blue pantaloons went up like a firework. My BFF got the picture quick. He’d sprinted to the ocean to put the inferno out. To make up for the third-degree burns on his bottom, I conjured up a new pair of fire-retardant breeches in a nice red and navy plaid. Upton was thrilled.
“Me family is me crew and now the swimmin’ hookers… I mean, Mermaids,” Upton quickly corrected himself and backed away in case I made good on my threat to dropkick his scrawny butt a few miles out into the ocean. “Me and me crew will be lootin’ a Target soon.”
“You steal from Target?” I asked with a laugh.
“Aye,” Upton said with an answering grin. “School for the wee bairns is startin’ soon.”
Tilting my head to the side, I stared at my new buddy. “Not following.”
“Me and me sea farin’ arses will loot pencils, notebooks, and glue sticks and then distribute to the wee bairns who be needin’ them,” he answered, settling his little body next to me in the sand.
“So, you’re kind of like Robin Hood?” I inquired.
“Ye could say that,” Upton agreed with a wink. “So why are ye leavin’ the Mystical Isle, Petunia? Seems to me, yar cousins would be sad if ye left.”
I had no answer for that, so I simply ignored the question—kind of.
“You know how on a cloudy night you can look up at the sky and see a star in your peripheral vision? But when you try to look directly at the star it disappears?” I asked.
“Aye, lassie. I do,” Upton said, nodding.
“I want to find that star. I need to find it.”
“The one ye can’t really see?” he asked.
“Yes, I want to see the star that won’t let me look upon it. I feel like everything would be okay if I could finally see that star.”
“What if the star isn’t as pretty as ye might think it is?” Upton inquired, as he glanced up at the sky. “What if ye’ve been searchin’ fer something that doesn’t exist? What if everything ye need is right in front of ye already?”
His point wasn’t lost on me. I’d considered it myself many times… especially lately.
“Ye know,” Upton went on. “I’ve searched out many a hidden treasure in me time.”
“You mean pilfered?” I asked with a raised brow trying to lighten the heavy conversation.
“Aye,” Upton said with a cute giggle. “Semantics. But oftentimes the treasure isn’t as precious as what’s already in me life. Stars in the sky, gold nuggets, glue sticks and pilfered lawn furniture can’t replace people.”
I caught myself right before I almost called Upton dad… My stomach clenched and my heart beat so quickly I was sure he could hear it. If he did, he made no comment. However, little did my BFF know his point only strengthened my resolve to leave.
“Specially people like ye, Petunia,” Upton added with a shy smile. “Ye is a wonderful lassie.”
“Are you hitting on me, Upton?” I asked with a laugh. I was fairly sure he wasn’t, but I was hit on a lot. Sadly, the kind of guys who liked me were jerks… I was the Petunia the Mermaid Loser Magnet.
“Nay, lassie!” Upton said with a belly laugh. “I have me own lovely wench. Love the violent she-devil to the moon and back.”
“You have a mate?” I asked with interest. I’d almost had a mate once, but he disappeared just like everything else good in my life. If I ever laid eyes on the scoundrel again in my eternal lifetime, I’d drop kick his sorry, good-looking, ridiculously sexy ass into the next century.
“Aye, I do,” Upton said with a dreamy look on his adorably goofy face. “Met the scurvy harlot on an online datin’ service run by the mighty and usually wasted god, Poseidon. Me tricorn-sprotin’ stern fouler of a gal almost beheaded me during our first round of courtin’. Good times. Good times.”
I wasn’t quite sure how to react to that, but Upton seemed to think his potential decapitation was normal. I’d just go with it. I mean, Mermaids were as violent as they came. A good knife fight or brawl was par for the course with us. Maybe Upton was into kinky stuff. After all, he did become one with his own nuts.
And of course, Poseidon ran a dating service on the side. He adored meddling in the affairs of those he cared about, and apparently, those he didn’t as well. The perpetually soused, diaper-wearing leader of the sea population was every kind of insane. I loved him like the inebriated non-blood related grandfather he’d become to my cousins and me. The mossy green hair and Huggies were a little hard to take seriously, but the idiot usually meant well. And if a Pirate who could basically blow himself had found true love, well, maybe Poseidon was onto something.
“Your mate. Where is she?” I asked Upton, not sure if I wanted the answer but was too curious not to hear more.
“Yolanda is a Yeti,” Upton whispered with a wide and delighted smile. “Me hairy little cackle fruit likes to mess with the humans who search for Big Foot on the telly. Yolanda has led them landlubbers on a chase for decades! Right now, she has over three hundred idiots trailing her delectable furry bottom.”
Shaking my head, I laughed. It was perfect. Upton the nard licker was mated to Yolanda the furry bottomed Yeti. I was sure she didn’t mind his contortionist act. At least I hoped she didn’t. Upton might be gross on the outside, but he was beautiful on the inside. Having him as a BFF didn’t suck at all.
I had to get out of here. In less than twenty-four hours I was becoming attached to a tiny little Pirate who could lick his bits, enjoyed looting chain stores and was besotted with a furry monster. Being with my cousins felt right and good which was terrible. Nothing good in my life had ever lasted. And if I stayed too long, it would be more devastating when it fell apart. I would not wear out my welcome.
Plus, everyone I came into contact with was happily mated—even Upton. It was freakin’ depressing. Twenty-five years ago, the one man I thought was mine bolted just like everyone else had. Afterward, I’d determined that it had to be me. I was the problem. I knew I was stunning on the outside—all Mermaids were, but I clearly didn’t have beautiful insides like my buddy Upton. People who were ugly inside didn’t get happily ever afters.
So instead, I’d let the ocean current and the wind take me where it may. I knew nothing else. But what I did know was that the ocean had no power over me. I could live and let live without a care in the world.
However, it was also lonely and it sucked.
Here? I was beginning to care.
I was like the star—my elusive star. The one that existed and no one could truly see. And that was how it had to be. Someday I would find that star and I would wish upon it. Someday… maybe I would find someone to love.
“Yes, Upton?” I replied. I was going to miss the little weirdo. He’d grown on me like a fungus in a very short period of time.
“Have ye ever been in love?” he asked.
Ahhh… how to answer. Since I was leaving, I figured the truth would be fine. Most likely I’d never see my scrawny little Pirate BFF again. “Once,” I admitted. “He didn’t want me.”
Upton huffed in disgust. “Well then he’s a thunderin’, worm riddled, fish gizzard. Ye don’t need to be quaffin’ or pining away for an arse like that. If I ever see the galley-hoppin’, arthritic octopus, I’ll put the hempin’ halter on his disco stick and shove his head in the head.”
I was pretty sure Upton had just promised castration and a head flushing. It was all kinds of awesome. No one had looked out for me like this since my parents died.
“If I ever see him again, I’ll be sure to let you know,” I promised with a small smile as my heart hurt a bit. I’d thought I was over it.
“Mebbe ye should try Poseidon’s online dating service,” Upton suggested. “Ye never know. I’m the luckiest cutlass flappin’ bilge drinker in the Universe to have found me Yolanda. Why don’t ye stick around a wee bit longer and give it a try? Ye can find a bloke who will make yer heart pitter-patter. And if the scallywag treats ye wrong, I’ll send the crab-infested dingly dangler to Davey Jones’ locker.”
Upton was making sense in a disgusting kind of way. Maybe putting myself out there was the thing to do. I’d never tried an online dating service. Part of me wanted to punch Upton in the head and part of me wanted to hug him. I did neither. I simply stared at the stars. It was a ridiculous notion, but if I was being honest with myself, I didn’t want to leave. This silliness would give me an excuse to stay on the Mystical Isle a little longer.
If Upton could find love, mebbe I could too.
Series: Sea Shenanigans, Book 5
Publisher: Robyn Peterman
Publication Date: November 18, 2019
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Romantic Comedy
Length: 220 pages
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