|Available June 12, 2012|
Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters must prey on humans and absorb their positive energy. Usually they select their victims at random, but this time around the underwater clan chooses its target for a reason: revenge. They want to kill Jason Hancock, the man they blame for their mother’s death.
It’s going to take the whole family to lure the aquaphobic Hancock onto the water. Calder’s job is to gain Hancock’s trust by getting close to his family. Relying on his irresistible good looks and charm, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock’s daughter Lily. Easy enough, but Calder screws everything up by falling in love – just as Lily starts to suspect that there’s more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined, and just as the mermaids threaten to take matters into their own hands, forcing Calder to choose between family and the girl he loves. One thing’s for sure, whatever Calder decides, the outcome won’t be pretty.
I picked Lies Beneath simply because the title's double meaning appealed to me. And I can now add mermaids and mermen to my list of paranormal love stories.
As described above, Calder and his sisters are looking to avenge the death of their mother. They lay the blame squarely at the feet of the Hancock family and they will not be appeased until they have succeeded. Calder goes along with this out of family loyalty and also because his eldest sister Maris has promised him his freedom should he help them succeed in getting Jason Hancock. Calder does his best to ingratiate himself into the family. And because he's literally a fish out of water, he's often awkward. He decides that Hancock's older daughter, Lily will be the way to get to him.
Lily, however, is no dainty little thing. She has a pretty strong mind and can’t be easily swayed. She's attracted to Calder but also deeply suspicious and can sense that there's something off about him. So while the story begins with Lily being the prey, it’s Calder who ends up being backed into a corner. Since he's not generally among humans a lot, Calder can be rough around the edges and gets more uncomfortable as he becomes more drawn to Lily.
Calder’s sisters add a lot of tension to the plot – in particular Maris, who as head of the clan is hell bent on revenge. She’s the loose canon that Calder must always pacify and keep in check. Calder is also facing a crisis of his own. He craves human emotions as much as his body craves the water. But he has refused to feed off humans for months, staying “dry” and pushing himself further just to see how far he can take it. To give in to temptation would draw unwanted attention to him and his sisters and potentially ruin all their plans. Add to that Lily’s growing suspicions, the mounting lies and Calder is caught in one tangled web.
I liked Lies Beneath. I admit that I’m not familiar with mermaid lore but I found this story interesting and well paced. I liked that Lily wasn’t an easy mark for Calder and that he wasn’t this perfect suave guy. Calder’s internal battle to fight his nature was very compelling and provided a sinister undercurrent to the story. There's enough going on that keeps up the suspense delivering a surprising and turbulent climax.
*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing us the ARC.