From the author of Incendiary and the Brooklyn Brujas series, a long-lost heir of the mermaid Sea Court must fight for his life, and his humanity, as he's suddenly caught in a race for a throne that is as ancient as the gods.
One crashing wave and Tristan Hart was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth.
His best friend Layla is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotions like never before? How can he explain he's the heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he's suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods?
Something happened to him in those three days. He was claimed by the sea...and now it wants him back.
The Vicious Deep Series:
The Vicious Deep (Book 1)
The Savage Blue (Book 2)
The Vast and Brutal Sea (Book 3)
About the Author
Zoraida Córdova is the award-winning author of The Vicious Deep trilogy and the Brooklyn Brujas series. Her short fiction has appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology, Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, and Toil & Trouble: 16 Tales of Women and Witchcraft. She is a New Yorker at heart and is currently working on her next novel. Send her a tweet @Zlikeinzorro.
Read an Excerpt
I hear the first wave before I see it
Hear the rumble of the sky that reaches down to the belly of the sea, hear the clouds that appear out of nowhere. They churn and curl inside themselves in big gray mouths across the sky. The sky that up to a few seconds ago was perfect and blue.
I'm standing at the bottom of the lifeguard tower. The white-washed wood is warm where I lean my arm. It's supposed to be mine and Layla's shift, but I've given up my seat so she can sit with Maddy. Together they sit up top in that way girls do when they're joined in a single purposeand that's loathing me with all their evil-eyed, purse-lipped, cross-armed attitude. And I take it like a man, because after what I did to Maddy, that's the least I can do to make things right.
I can't shake the feeling of water stuck in my ear. But that could also be because I'm hungover, which means I shouldn't be swimming or actually trying to save anyone's life. I hate not showing up for work or a meet. I may be a lot of things, but flaky isn't one of them.
Behind me is a stretch of the Coney Island boardwalk, and behind that are Luna Park, Nathan's Hot Dogs, and the Cyclone. There's Sideshows by the Seashore and the unused parachute tower, which is the best place to take a girl on a cheap date after all the rides are shut down. I've come here every day since I can remember. There's just something in the air that makes you want to be here. It's in the screams and thrills of the rickety rides that have been running longer than most people's grandparents have been alive. In the food courts that sell you questionable but delicious meat. It is beauty and grime all mixed in one, and I love being in the middle of it. Plus, chicks love lifeguards.
Chicks who aren't Layla and Maddyat least, not anymore. I can hear Maddy whisper to Layla, and both of them scoff. A group of girls walks past me. They're the same bunch of girls who have been pacing back and forth in bikinis too small for their goods, and on any other day, I wouldn't be complaining. They hold paddling boards with Hawaiian flower patterns on them, even though their hair is ironed perfectly straight and their fake eyelashes haven't been touched by the water.
I know what Maddy and Layla are thinkingthat I'm enjoying the way these girls tiptoe around shells, winking in my direction. Sure, they're regular-hot, but they're doing the Lifeguard Catwalk from one end of the beach to the other. It's when girls are on the prowl to pick us up, and honestly, I'm not the only one they're checking out. No matter what a lifeguard looks like, the girls just go nuts. They're past our station now and halfway down to Jerry, who isn't exactly a girl magnet, but, hey, lifeguards are the more naked version of firementhe girls just love the uniforms. In my case, the orange Speedo.
Suddenly, Layla's laugh cuts through the noise around usgirls giggling on beach towels taking turns pouring baby oil on their already browned shoulders, cops in a 4x4 giving some kids hell because they're drinking, two little girls fighting over a pink plastic shovel. Layla's laugh has a certain effect on me. It always comes from her gut when she thinks something is really funny. When we were little, we'd have contests to see who had the best evil-villain laugh. She'd always win. I glance up at her, and my hungover stomach does a flip. She smirks with her heart-shaped lips, listening to Maddy, who wears a T-shirt over her bathing suit. I can practically feel their eyes rolling into the back of their heads. Probably about me.
Something catches Layla's attention on the shore. She lowers the aviators she "borrowed" from her dad right to the tip of her nose. I follow her stare toward some guy wearing only ripped pants and looking like he just washed up on shore from a sinking ship. The water bounces off his shoulders like light on glass. I really hate kids who wear clothes to the beach. It's the beach. If you don't want to tan, stay at home. That must be the reason she's staring. He stands with one hand blocking the sun from his eyes, scanning the crowd. What he needs to look for is a pair of trunks and a towel.
I blow my whistle lightly, even though no one is doing anything wrong. The little girls still fighting over the shovel think it's at them, and they stop, so at least that's something.
That's when my ears start feeling clogged and my head a little fuzzy, like when I sit too long on the lifeguard tower without a cap. That's when people start standing up and looking out at the water. That's when people start screaming.