A Touch of Greek

By: Tina Folsom

(OUT OF OLYMPUS #1)




Acknowledgments

Many thanks to my critique partners Grace and Virna for their continued support, invaluable ideas, their laughter, and their friendship. And to my husband Mark for his patience, his love, and support.



A big THANK YOU to the readers and bloggers who help support my writing by spreading the word, recommending my books, and reviewing them.





PROLOGUE



Sophia stomped through the white sand with her little red plastic bucket and headed for the water. Just because Michael was two months older than she, he thought he could order her around. Now he wanted her to fetch water so he could build a sandcastle. And, of course, he would take all the credit for it.

She’d show her little creep of a cousin what he could do with his water. She would pour it all over him instead of in the sand. That would teach him to treat her like his personal slave. And after this summer, she’d be starting school, and then she would make her own friends and wouldn’t have to play with him anymore.

There, take that, Michael!

Sophia waded into the shallow water and dipped the bucket into it, filling it to the rim. As she straightened, a movement caught her eye. Several feet further out in the ocean, the tail fin of a huge fish sank back beneath the surface. She stumbled backwards, startled. Her grip on the bucket slipped. It sank, and with the next wave it was pulled out of her reach.

She cursed with the only cuss word she’d ever heard her aunt Eleni use, “Shit!” and instantly put her hand over her mouth, praying nobody had heard her. She darted a nervous look over her shoulder, but luckily nobody was close. According to Eleni, five-year-old girls weren’t supposed to use words like that.

A splash in the water made her turn to her right. And then she saw him.

He was resting on one of the large rocks which stuck out from the water. Like a sea lion, he lay there sunning himself. Only she’d seen sea lions before, in the zoo, and he looked like no such creature. No, he looked like a … mermaid. But that wasn’t possible, was it? Mermaids were girls, not men.

Sophia waded through the surf to get a closer look at the strange man.

“Are you a mermaid?” she asked loudly, waving her arms so he would notice her.

He instantly sat up, gave her a startled look, and jumped back into the water.

“Wait, don’t go!” she yelled. She hadn’t meant to scare him off.

All of a sudden, she felt new waves rush at her feet and lost her balance. She fell backwards, and the current pulled her into deeper water. She kicked her legs to keep her head above water, but she was scared—more than she’d ever been. Before the current could pull her under, arms grabbed her and lifted her up. Sophia wiped the water out of her eyes and stared at her rescuer.

It was the mermaid man—he’d come back. She gave him a huge smile, her fear instantly forgotten.

“Are you a mermaid?” Sophia asked him again and looked at him. His upper body was that of a big man, but just below the surface of the water she could see the scales of a fish and a large fin moving as if he treaded water.

He chuckled. “No, little one, I’m not a mermaid.”

“What’s your name?” Eleni had told her it was impolite to ask strangers questions, but she didn’t care.

“I’m Poseidon. What’s yours?”

“Sophia. And I’m five.” She held up her hand, showing him all five fingers so he would know for sure how grown up she already was.

“Well, Sophia, now that we’re friends, can you make me a promise?” His look was conspiratorial, the same way her aunt always looked when telling her a big secret.

“Yes,” she whispered and drew her head closer to him.

“Promise me to never tell anybody that you’ve seen me. Nobody is supposed to, because I’m invisible.”

“But you’re not. I can see you,” she protested.

Poseidon smiled. “Yes, and that’s quite a bit of a surprise. So how about I promise you something in return?”

Sophia listened up. A present? A new toy? “Okay?”

“You promise me you won’t tell anybody that you’ve seen me, and I’ll let you play with my son one day. Deal?”

She was a tough negotiator. “When?”

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