I feel Pierce's jealous frown on the back of my neck as we fly from West Marin Heights to the DOT Corporation barn where we are to have our first press event planning session. Having "disposed" of the real party planner, we are going with Cupid to meet with the boss himself! Apparently this party is too important to hand off to his underlings. But the closer we get to the barn, the tighter the knot in my stomach. I am worried about two things: 1. Will our disguises be enough to convince the boss that we are event planners? And 2. Will I be able to keep from throwing him into the merfolk tank with an electric eel, a box jelly, and a starving lionfish?

The weather belies my trepidation-the afternoon sun is warm, the sky is a deep, show-off blue, the few clouds are frothy dollops of sea foam. Because we are so high it's cold, especially with the ice sculpture that is Pierce Knightguard, holding me. But I endure the ... um ... hardship. Thank Neptune he can't read my mind any more. I may never let him drink my blood again!

But even as I think this, I know it's a lie. My blood is singing with the desire to become Pierce's lunch. Shut up blood!

Pierce has barely spoken to me since Cupid planted that kiss on me in the cafeteria. I think he noticed that I kind of liked it and that I sort of tried to kiss Cupid back. But Cupid's got powers! Love powers! It's not like I go around throwing myself at random gods. It doesn't help that Cupid's flying ahead of us and looking back over his shoulder every few minutes and smirking.

"Ouch, you're crushing me, vampire."

"Just making sure you don't fall. We're not over the ocean now, mermaid. That's a forest. It's a long ways down. There are very pointy treetops you would impale yourself on."

Never anger a vampire poet boyfriend. Not because you're worried he might drink all your blood, but because the brooding is as annoying as sand-burn. Is it wrong that I'm thinking about impaling him on the pointy treetops? No, I suppose that wouldn't be a great plan. Maybe instead I should hitch a ride with Cupid, though that probably wouldn't make my life any easier.

Cupid spins and dives toward the earth. Pierce, not to be outdone by Cupid's flying artistry, twists, and we plummet. I clutch my wig and scream. It's like the Undertow, the spinning roller coaster at the boardwalk, I try to tell myself. But myself argues and says that there's very little probability of death on the coaster. The ground is moving quickly toward us, a blur of sand-colored grasses and dirt road. At the last moment, Pierce turns us right-side up, and we land hard on our feet. I glare at Pierce but decide not to say anything about his competitive stunt, because we have a job to do. And if I'm being totally honest, I love that he is possessive of me. It makes my spine prickle and my cheekbones ache because I grin whenever I think about his jealousy. I am a very bad mermaid.

"Why did we land in a field next to a road?" I ask. Before we started our hair-raising descent I could see that the barn was still fairly far off, over the next knoll. Around us are brown hills, and the liquorice smell of fennel floats in on the light wind. Even though there's a breeze, my head is hot under the wig, and I haven't worn contacts in so long, since the last time Carla and I went to the boardwalk, that I keep wiping my eyes.

"We landed here because we obviously can't fly into the human enclave. The "boss" can't know we're supernaturals. It'd blow the whole thing. We are just ordinary party planners here to rescue his event," Pierce says. "We talked about this, Wave. Weren't you listening?"

"Sometimes I have a hard time concentrating," I say. What I don't say is: especially when you're around, because I don't want Pierce to know the effect he has on me. "So he'll think we walked to the meeting at the barn?"

"Nope," says Cupid.

A couple of small cars drive past the field we are standing on. Then suddenly Pierce steps into the middle of the road; something sleek and powerful looking, and the color of fresh blood, approaches. The driver of the car stops it so hard, dirt flies everywhere.

Mermaids and the Vampires Who Love Them (Winner Watty Award 2014)Read this story for FREE!