On the beaches of Orkney, Scotland, an evil entity stalks mortal women. Machar “Mack” Kirk is a selkie man with a haunted past, one that has prompted him to become a hunter. He prowls the beaches at night, his arrows aiming for the finman who took his first love.
Beth Pedersen also watches the sea. The haunted widow has suffered losses of her own, ones that have crippled her into a state of stony grief. Beth can no longer feel, can no longer see color and life. Until the day Mack Kirk saves her from a mysterious foe, flooding her world with brightness and foreign temptation.
As Mack and Beth fight their growing passion, the finman escalates his attacks. Before long, Mack realizes he’s not just playing Good Samaritan. He wants Beth, too, and will do anything to ensure his lover isn’t taken by the finman. But can he protect his mate from a monster with no soul?
“Come on, you evil bastards. Show yourselves.”
Machar Kirk, selkie man and hunter of finmen, stood sentinel on a dark Orkney beach. Though he’d patrolled this stretch of the shore a thousand times over, he never let down his guard. Despite the nighttime quiet, Machar knew full well eyes watched those who strolled these sands. Over the past two hundred years, the interval during which he’d been hunting, he’d seen enough cases to give anyone nightmares. He peered into the sea, keen eyes focused on the pounding surf, looking for any irregularity in the tumble of the waves. If there was any indication a finman might be nearby, waiting for an opportunity and reason to surface in his diabolic vessel, he’d spot it.
Machar waited for one particular finman. The one he’d pursued unsuccessfully for several human lifetimes. This finman would feel the tip of the hunter’s poisoned arrows. He may have eluded Machar for years, but he couldn’t hide forever.
Eyes narrowed on the horizon, he grazed the formidable weapon slung over his shoulder with an absentminded touch. Wielding his bow and arrows, he knew he appeared just as intimidating as any finman, but no mortal had cause to fear him. He stood watch on behalf of the humans, itching to protect those who could not protect themselves.
It would only take one lonely woman to entice a finman out of his watery hiding place. He would be ready.
As each hour of his vigil elapsed, Machar gave thanks no one had chosen to walk the beach this night. As daylight broke over the sea, caressing the whitecaps with a soft, rosy hue, Machar decided to call an end to the evening’s hunt. It had been a good night, even though no finman blood had been spilled. No women had come to harm this time, and that was what mattered most. He replaced his silver-tipped arrow in his quiver and turned away from the water’s edge.
And saw her.
A young woman, no, a teenaged girl, no more than sixteen, wandering toward the shore, unsteady on her feet, her legs tangling in the tall grass lining the edge of the beach.
His selkie sense of smell picked up on the scent of booze even though he was at least fifty feet away from her. His animal olfactory senses transferred the fragrance to his tongue and he tasted peach schnapps. “Drunk as a skunk and headed for the beach, lass?” he murmured to himself. “Someone’s had a rough night.”
The girl gesticulated to no one in particular and mumbled, clearly reliving an argument in her head. She’d probably been dumped and was out for a lonely stroll, mulling over all the things she’d done wrong. Machar watched as she kicked at the sand and almost fell. He moved closer.
Right on cue, as if sensing a woman in distress, another presence made itself known. Machar turned to his left, glancing out to sea, and saw a black figure levitating on the waves. The dark creature with burning eyes who beckoned to the girl from his bedeviled kayak.
Is it him?
Machar released his pent-up breath. It was the wrong finman. Still a heartless sorcerer, but not the one against whom he’d sworn vengeance. Most finmen had yellow eyes. The one he sought had deviant orange eyes, a unique shade he would never forget, for they taunted him in his nightmares.
As entranced as any other victim of the finmen he’d ever seen, the young woman turned and began walking toward the entity on the water. She could not resist the call of the finman. No mortal woman could.
Without hesitation, Machar ran forward, reaching back to retrieve the arrow from the quiver on his back. He knocked it into the bow and aimed.
“Not tonight, you dirty beast,” he called.
The finman looked at Machar and let out what could only be a howl of frustration at the sight of the silver arrows. Machar knew his arrows were the stuff of legend among the finmen. Not many instruments could kill one, but his could.
“That’s right,” he called to the finman. “One wrong move and this point will find a new home in your chest. And I’ve had a lot of time to practice my aim. Feel like testing me?”
The creature glanced once more at the girl, at Machar, and then paddled back out to sea in his kayak.
Machar waited for a few moments to make sure the finman was gone and then hurried over to the confused girl, replacing the arrow in the quiver as he did so as not to scare her. He frowned at her, willing her to understand him, even through her schnapps haze. “Go home, lass. Don’t ever come to the beach alone. Bad things linger here.”
The frightened young woman gasped, turned away, and scurried off the beach toward the road.
Machar followed her at a discreet distance to make sure she got home safely. And then, his heart heavy despite his triumph, he walked the desolate country roads toward his home.
Rosanna Leo is a multi-published, erotic romance author with Liquid Silver Books. Her books include For the Love of a God, Up In Flames, and Sweet Hell.
When not writing, she can be found haunting dusty library stacks or planning her next star-crossed love affair.
She blogs at www.rosannaleo.blogspot.com