Excerpt Discarding the towel, he conjured a loose pair of white, cotton pajama bottoms, and slipped them on. He left the room, clutching Pain Bearer in his hand, and padded barefoot toward the pool.
"Hey! If it isn't Braveheart!" Marin called out softly as Liam approached the pool. His arms rested on the concrete deck at the deep end of the pool, only his head and shoulders visible above the water. His dark, wet hair was plastered to his skull. Beads of moisture on his shoulders sparkled in the moonlight.
At that hour of the night, the hotel had shut off all but the emergency lighting. The brightest light came from the moon overhead, and it bathed the water and Marin with a lustrous silver glow.
Liam's heart skipped a beat and his cock hardened instantly. Marin was truly beautiful in the moonlight. For a moment, Liam's arms hung loosely at his side, the tip of his sword dragging on the concrete as he forgot everything but the sudden flush of need radiating through his body.
Liam nearly tripped over a lounge chair on the pool deck, bringing him out of his fugue, and he cursed himself softly. "Wallace was Scottish, not Irish." He growled, and nudged the chair out of his way with his foot.
"Oh, I beg your pardon. Seriously, Liam, are deadly weapons truly necessary? I promise you there are no enemies hiding in the poolside potted palms. Ditch the sword, okay? It makes me nervous." Marin flicked his fingers at the weapon. Droplets of water flew in Liam's direction.
"Pain Bearer should make you nervous. It's very sharp, and right now, I'm tempted to turn you into sushi for leaving the hotel room after I told you not to go. It's too dangerous out here, Marin. You need to come back inside right now." Liam tried to sound stern. In reality, all he could think about was how much he wanted to see what Marin looked like from the waist down.
Of course, Marin heard every word spoken inside Liam's head.
"Come see." He laughed softly, and crooked a finger at Liam. "Come on, I won't bite. You know you want to, Liam."
Although Liam shook his head, his traitorous feet carried him closer to the edge of pool. He would have accused Marin of forcing him to move, but he knew it would've been a lie. He wanted to see.
Even so, Liam glanced around the pool area until he was satisfied that they were alone and in no immediate danger. All the windows facing the pool were dark, curtains drawn, and there was no one else in sight. The parking lot on the far side of the pool was practically empty of cars, and completely devoid of humans. Placing Pain Bearer carefully across the seat of a deck chair, he went to the edge of the pool where Marin rested, and crouched down.
Marin chose that moment to push off from the side of the pool, grinning as he dived under. Liam blinked in surprise when Marin's twin flukes, greenish-blue in color and shimmering in the silver moonlight, broke the surface. The wave of water they pushed up soaked Liam to the skin.
"Goddamn it, Marin! I'm drenched!" Liam braced himself with one hand, and wiped the water out of his eyes with the other.
"Well, since you're already wet… "
Liam had only enough time to take a brief gulp of air when Marin's hand shot up, snagged his arm and pulled him headfirst into the water. He came up sputtering, Marin's arms keeping him afloat.
"Let me go!" he cried, trying to reach the wall of the pool, but Marin's arms held him firmly around the waist from behind, dragging him to the center of the deep end. "Do you see fins on me? I'm not a bloody fish, Marin!" He was ashamed to admit that he'd never learned to swim.
"Relax. I've got you," Marin whispered in his mind. "I won't let you drown."
Damn this mental link between them! Would nothing Liam thought remain private? "Let go!" He growled, trying to twist out of Marin's embrace.
"If I do, you'll go under."
"I'd rather drown."
"That's not what the little voice in your head is saying."
"Stop reading my mind!" Liam hissed. But he couldn't quite work up the indignation he'd felt before when he'd yelled at Marin for the same offense. After all, Marin was right. There was a small niggling voice in the back of Liam's mind, and it was noticing how good Marin's arms felt wrapped around him. How the hard muscles of Marin's arms flexed as they tightened their hold rather than relaxed it; how warm Marin's powerful chest was against Liam's back. How the strong beat of Marin's heart seemed to mimic his own.
Against his better judgment, Liam began to relax.
"That's it. Nice, huh?"
"Mmm. Maybe." Liam still didn't want to give Marin the satisfaction of being right, even though he agreed. It was nice. Very nice, in fact.
Marin's breath tickled his ear. "Stubborn Sidhe."
They floated for a while, the water glinting where the moonlight kissed it, the quiet broken only by the soft murmuring of the pool's filter and their own breathing.
Then Marin's lips touched Liam's bare shoulder, petal soft and warm despite the chill of the water.
"Marin, no… "
"Why not? I know you want me. You know I want you. Why dance around it any longer? Touch me, Liam. Please." Marin's words ghosted against Liam's skin, his voice raw with desire. "It's been so fucking long... I need you to touch me. I need it so badly it hurts."
Liam simply couldn't help himself anymore. He didn't even want to try.
Reaching down between them, Liam slid a hand over Marin's waist to his hips where his tail began. It was unlike anything he'd ever felt before. It was a little like touching diamond-plated steel - cool, solid, and bit bumpy -- but it was also smooth and soft at the same time. Marin's soft sigh against his neck encouraged him. He turned in Marin's arms and looked down between them into the clear water.
Much longer than Marin's legs would be, his tail was sleek, his flukes graceful and delicate, undulating slowly, keeping them both afloat. What power he must possess! Liam thought. His tail looks like it's all solid muscle.
"It is. Muscle, I mean." Marin's thumb stroked Liam's cheek, drawing Liam's gaze back up to his face. "Strong, too. Are you disgusted?"
"Disgusted? Why would I be disgusted?"
"I would think some men would be turned off by the whole fishtail thing."
Liam looked back down unable to help the smile that tilted his lips. "I think it's beautiful." He figured he might as well be honest -- Marin would know what he was really thinking anyway. He'd learned that much the hard way. "And sexy."