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Dr. Laura Martin, Chief Extraterrestrial Life Scientist at The Touchstone Institute of Oceanographic Research, noticed troubling but subtle changes in the Atlantic Ocean. Before she could make sense of it all, her longtime assistant abruptly walked out. Laura hired young, handsome Scott Conner to be her personal assistant. Mayhem ensued, mainly because of Zara, the mermaid/siren/monster in the basement of the Touchstone Institute, who eyed on Scott as her possible mate in a plot for total domination of planet Earth.“The Touchstone Institute of Oceanographic Research is the most fantastic, exhilarating place on the planet to work. It is high energy, exciting, sometimes maddening, often frightening, heart-pounding work. It’s not a job. It’s a lifetime commitment. It gets in your blood. It grabs you by the throat and possesses you, body and soul. And it is work. If you’re not prepared to work your ass off day in and day out, weekends, holidays, your birthday, and your mamma’s birthday, leave now.”
Man-eating she-beasts need love too
If you like romance with science fiction, you’re going to really enjoy this. It’s kind of like Men in Black but with USOs (Unidentified Submerged Objects) but the main characters aren’t government agents, but scientists (but they definitely aren’t afraid to use a gun or kill when necessary). I won’t go into the plot because that would spoil things but you get some real twists thrown into here with two very human characters, who don’t necessarily remain that way. And, yes, the romance is quite good once you get past Scott’s immediate and complete infatuation.
The villain of the piece, Zara, even comes across as sympathic… well, as sympathetic as an man-eating alien she-beast can be. If I had one ding against the story it was Zara’s wildly shifting emotions. In a lot of ways, it can be explained by the events in the story but it is very obliquely done. Also, even better, there are plenty of seeds in this story for a sequel and I really hope that happens.