Author Charlie Richards
Now Available at eXtasy Books!
Drifting with a Giant Squid
Beneath Aquatica's Waves: Book Five
World of Aquatica: When a police captain uses a free pass to explore a marine park, he runs across a man whose blatant pursuit turns his life upside down.
Captain John Casinov has two loves in his life—his family and his work. When his son, Jonathan, and the man’s family visit from Santa Cruz—primarily to try to convince him to retire and move south—John takes advantage of one of his detective’s offer. He accepts a bunch of free passes to the marine park, World of Aquatica. While there, he finds his interest snagged by a big, friendly, black-haired man. The handsome man brazenly introduces himself as William Roush…then he asks John on a date. While he’s flattered, John laughs it off while declining. Undeterred, William approaches John a second time later that afternoon, so he accepts. Imagine his surprise when John discovers who William actually is—the partial owner of the marine park. John doesn’t understand why a man who’s young, confident, and rich—who could have anyone he wants—would pursue him. When William shares that shifters are real, John wonders at the man’s sanity…until William actually proves it. Can John come to grips with his newfound knowledge and accept William into his life? Or will retiring and running be the decision of the day?
Excerpt - Drifting with a Giant Squid
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Sweeping his gaze around the area, William cautioned, “That goes to show that even someone experienced with animals can have an accident. No matter the animal, always be careful.”
Many of the children bobbed their heads in acknowledgment.
“You really let just anyone pet something so dangerous?”
Turning back to his right again, William looked beyond the teenager to a dark-haired man who was most lightly her father—judging by the way he pulled her hand away from the pool. “Think of it as taking your kids to the county swimming pool,” he told him, smiling as he ignored the guy’s abrasive tone. “There are rules put in place for everyone’s safety as well as a lifeguard on duty.” William pointed at a sign on the far wall. “No climbing into the pool. No touching a stingray’s tail. Always listen to the instructor. Be gentle.” Offering a disarming smile, he continued, “Our stingrays are used to being touched, but we work very hard to keep everyone safe. In World of Aquatica’s eleven year history, we’ve never had a single sting.”
William knew that was in part due to the fact that the shifter stingrays easily kept the others calm. Hell, if there’d been a giant squid petting aquarium, William would have happily allowed the humans to touch him. That kind of exhibit would be damn impossible to explain, however, no matter how much money it would bring in.
He and his older brother, Kaiser—their pod’s alpha—had even discussed it once.
His words must have placated the man—either that or it was the way his wife rested her hand on his arm and stated, “Relax, Jonathan. This is why we came over here,” for the guy nodded and backed off.
Once the human had moved backward, allowing his two children access to the pool, William found his attention snagged by a third adult. This one was obviously older with gray at his temples and short, salt and pepper hair. He wore jeans that showed off muscular legs and a light jacket that did nothing to hide his wide shoulders and trim form.
While William pegged the human as being in his late forties or early fifties, he thought he still looked amazing. His mouth watered with a desire to taste his full lips which were curved into a smile as he peered into the pool and guided the younger sibling’s hand so he could pet Carlton, the second shifter in the pool. Even his blood heated and flowed south, causing his prick to plump.
Curious at his body’s reactions—and feeling his squid urge him forward—William drifted closer to the man. That was when he smelled the subtle, slightly salty aroma mixed with a masculine scent. Inhaling deeply even as William glanced around—he still had a job to do, after all—he analyzed the scent more fully.
Oh, fuck a duck!
Excited realization coursed through William.
This human is my mate!
William couldn’t stop the huge grin that curved his lips. A shiver of anticipation rolled through him as he swept his gaze over the man again. He licked his lips, then swallowed hard as he swiftly thought about ideas on how to woo the human.
The first step is obvious.
Seeing the way the young man was having trouble reaching Carlton, William took it as his opening to get closer to the pair…and his mate. “Hey, buddy,” he greeted. “Let me help.” William reached out and, using his much longer reach, touched Carlton’s side and guided him closer to the pool’s edge. Grinning at the boy, William added, “Don’t try that at home, buddy. These guys know me.”
“Thanks!” the youngster immediately replied, turning his attention to the stingray. “And I won’t!”
William straightened. After a quick glance around, he turned his attention to the older human. He held out his hand and offered him a winning smile. “Hi, I’m William Roush. And you are?”
The older human’s brows lifted high on his forehead, but he took his hand. “John Casinov.”
The name jogged William’s memory. “Oh, you’re the captain at Detective Canton’s precinct. Good to meet you.” Very, very good to meet you. “He speaks well of you.”
The two times Grisham mentioned the captain, it had been in a good light, at least.
“That’s nice to know,” John replied, tugging his hand, since William hadn’t bothered to release him.
“I’ve always found your job fascinating,” William told him, finally letting go of his mate’s hand. That might have been a stretch—a big one—but William sure felt that way now. “Will you have dinner with me tomorrow? I’d love to hear all about it.”
John’s lips parted in an inviting way, betraying his shock. His cheeks took on a pinkish hue, and he glanced around swiftly. He even swallowed so hard his Adam’s apple bobbed.
William waited impatiently, peering down at the slightly shorter man and holding his gaze.
“Oh, you’re serious?” John laughed as he shifted his weight from foot to foot. He even swept his gaze down, then back up, William’s body. For an instant, it seemed he might accept, then John glanced beyond William before meeting his gaze. “I’m flattered. Really. But I have my son and his family in town, so I’m not available.” With a smile that appeared to hold a hint of disappointment—same as the scent that John was giving off—the captain stated, “My family’s moving on. Thanks for your help getting the stingray over here for Pryce to pet. That was really kind of you.”
Then John brushed past William.
William turned and watched him go, pleased when he saw how John peered over his shoulder at him. Narrowing his eyes, William gave the man a once-over, allowing the human to see the desire he felt for him. John’s cheeks pinked, and he turned away.
“Oh, my mate,” William muttered to himself. “You won’t get away that easily.”
“Everything okay?” Serena asked, touching William’s arm and drawing his attention. The dolphin shifter’s gaze held concern.
William nodded. “I’m pretty fantastic.” He grinned at Serena. “That man is my mate.”
Letting out a little squeak, Serena hugged him, then bounced back a step. “Congratulations, Beta William!”
“Thanks. I’m gonna step away for just a sec,” William told her. “I need to call my brother.” He didn’t mention that he was going to call Eban, their head enforcer, so he could have his mate tracked.
William crossed to a quiet corner as he pulled out his phone. As he waited for Kaiser to pick up, he realized it was a damn good thing they always had two people on duty when they had stingrays in the pool, because William knew he would be very distracted for the two plus hours remaining on his shift.