Fins Are Forever Page 1

Author: Tera Lynn Childs

Series: Fins #2

Genres: Fantasy , Young Adult

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Chapter 1

At the moment I am sole heir to the throne of Thalassinia, Aone of the most prosperous underwater kingdoms in the world. I am a princess without equal in most of the seven seas, or any other body of water, for that matter. Raised to al the duties that my title requires and prepared to be my kingdom’s future queen, I am respected, revered, and real y, real y loved by (most of) the people.

A mermaid and a princess, al wrapped into one. Talk about every little human girl’s dream.

But come my eighteenth birthday in eighteen days—not that I’m counting—I’l be just a girl. Wel , stil a mer girl, true, but an average mergirl just the same.

At midnight, after my birthday bal , I wil sign the renunciation paperwork, inking Princess Waterlily out of existence. In her place wil be plain old Lily Sanderson, living on land, dating the boy she loves, and trying to figure out this human thing once and for al . I’m also facing a whole new wave of pressures that go along with the job—college, career, future, tests and applications and GPA and a mil ion other little things that weren’t even on my sonar when the plan was to return to Thalassinia after graduation next month.

It’s a little overwhelming at times, which possibly explains why I’m doodling hearts and bubbles and L+Q=4EVA instead of copying Mr. Kingsley’s notes from the board.

“There should be a law against having trig this late in the day,” Quince complains from the desk next to mine.

Startled, I hastily cover my daydreamy notes with my textbook and look up at Quince. But his attention is focused—as mine should be—on our teacher and the equation on the board. I sigh with relief. I shouldn’t be embarrassed by my love doodles, because we are official y a couple now, so I have every right. Stil , I don’t want him to think I’m any more of a lovesick guppy than he already knows.

Casual y as I can, I flip to a clean page and try—pretend—to focus on math. My attention is stil on Quince.

Head hanging down over my textbook, I slide another sideways glance at his handsome face. Mostly just because I can, but also because he’s nice to look at.

There’s not much fault to find in his strong jaw, dark blond hair, and Caribbean blue eyes. Eyes that remind me of home.

Before the accidental kiss and bond that brought us together, he sat one row over, on the other side of my recently former crush, Brody. When I came back to Seaview and we started dating official y and for certain, Quince made Brody switch so he could sit next to me. I never knew Brody was such a pushover, but I’m glad. This is the only class Quince and I have together, and I’d rather have him at my side.

“I know, right,” Brody says from one row over. “Maybe we should start an antitrig petition.”

Quince laughs. He’s been a lot nicer to Brody since I got over my ridiculous and unfounded crush and started dating him instead.

Tearing his attention away from the board, Quince turns to face me, catching me staring—okay, ogling. Even though, as his official girlfriend, I have free rein to stare—okay, ogle—I stil can’t stop the heat that blushes my cheeks to what I’m sure is an anemone shade of red.

“You’re watching me, princess.” His soft lips spread into an appreciative smile. “People might get the wrong idea.”

“What, that I actual y like you now?” I tease.

He shakes his head and leans toward me. “No, that you’re trying to see past me to get an eyeful of Benson.” He tilts his head in Brody’s direction. He knows it bugs me when he deliberately gets Brody’s name wrong. But I’m learning not to rise to the bait. Instead, I fight back.

I shift my gaze to the board and fix an innocent look on my face.

“What makes you think that’s the wrong idea?” Quince leans even closer and says, “Because you came back for me.”

“I—”

Thankful y I’m saved from coming up with a response by the bel signaling the end of sixth period. I’m getting better at trading barbs with him, but I’m not even close to his level yet.

Everyone, including Quince and me, hurriedly shoves their trig books into backpacks and messenger bags and bolts for the hal before Kingsley can assign the homework he’s forgotten.

“I wish you had study hal ,” I say as we weave through the crowd. It would be nice if we had it together.

“Me, too,” he says, placing a gentle hand on my lower back to guide me into an opening in the stream of students.

“Between my job and your extracurriculars, I’ve barely gotten to see you since you came back.”

“I know.” I weave closer to him to avoid an overstuffed backpack. “It wil be better after graduation.”

“Then I’l start working ful -time,” he argues.

“It’l stil be better,” I insist. “No more homework until col ege.”

If I get in, that is. My grades have been submediocre—partly because many of the subjects are completely foreign to the mer world, and partly because I never imagined going to col ege. I didn’t need a degree to rule Thalassinia.

Now that’s al changed, and at my meeting with the school counselor this week, I learned that the only way I’l get into col ege— any col ege—is to ace the SATs. I’ve enlisted my genius best human friend’s help and enrol ed in an intensive test-prep class, but I’m not counting on a decent score. Tests and I don’t real y get along.

“You’l get in,” Quince assures me, proving once again that he can read my mind, even without a magical bond.

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