Sunshine State Stories Blog Hop Excerpt: MURDER HOOKS A MERMAID by Christy Fifield

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This week, Books Make Me Happy blog and a handful of UF/PNR authors are celebrating stories set in sunny Florida. The authors showcased have offered excerpts, written cool blog posts, and are all participating in a blog hop GRAND PRIZE giveaway full of books and other goodies. Be sure to click on the header above to see the complete list of participating sites. Check out each day’s excerpt (here on Books Make Me Happy), and the Featured Author’s site for fun posts and chances to win!!

Today we’re featured an excerpt from Christy Fifield’s  MURDER HOOKS A MERMAID, #2 in the Haunted Souvenir Shop Mysteries.

Be sure to check out Christy’s post for the rafflecopter entry form for the Grand Prize, and a signed copy of MURDER BUYS A T-SHIRT (the firsts book in the series) as well as an awesome Florida surprise!

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Like many tourist restaurants in resort towns, the Grotto didn’t have much of a dress code. Jeans were fine, and chinos were considered dressed up, and the Friday-night crowd in the restaurant wasn’t exactly fashion forward. Which meant I fit right in.

Mermaid’s Grotto was a throwback to another era, and I watched Jake’s eyes widen when we walked in. I had to admit, if I hadn’t seen it before, the giant fish tank would have been overwhelming. Even knowing it was there, it was still pretty amazing.

“There really were mermaids here, once upon a time,” I told Jake, after we were seated in the dining room. “There was an underwater show with mermaids swimming in the tank.”

Jake stared at the giant tank that formed a wall between the bar and the dining room. “They swam in there?” he asked.

I nodded. “They used a system of air hoses that let them breathe underwater. That way they could stay down through the whole show, without having to use respirators or tanks or anything.”

“How long ago was that?”

“Well, I remember coming here a couple times when I was a little kid. Really little, like three or four. I thought the mermaids were the most beautiful things I had ever seen, and I remember telling my dad he was a liar when he told me they were real people.”

I reddened a little at the memory. My parents usually didn’t allow such back talk, but that one time my dad had just laughed and let it pass—which was probably why I remembered it so clearly.

Jake chuckled. “So you’ve always had strong opinions, eh?”

“I guess so. I also told him I was going to grow a tail so I could be a mermaid.” I glanced at the tank, then back at Jake. “Which wasn’t such a great idea, since at the time I couldn’t even swim.”

“But you lived here, right by the beach. You must have learned.”

“I did, once I had some incentive. I spent that entire summer and the year after that practicing holding my breath underwater. Got pretty good at it, too. But by then they’d closed the show, and I couldn’t see much future as a mermaid.

“I understand there is still a show somewhere down south, Weeki Wachee Springs, maybe. But I think I’m over my dreams of being a mermaid.”

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