MERMEN (The Mermen Trilogy #1)

MERMEN (The Mermen Trilogy #1) by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Book: MERMEN (The Mermen Trilogy #1) by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
could’ve sworn his teeth had clacked.
    Roen had expected someone tough, someone large to be these men’s leader. But Roen had not expected this: Lyle. His little brother, who’d supposedly died over fifteen years ago.
    How had he gotten here?
    Roen didn’t know. But Lyle didn’t seem to recognize him. And it wasn’t because Roen had changed. It was because something had clearly been done to Lyle, and Roen wasn’t referring to the fact that Lyle had grown a foot taller or put on a hundred bleedin’ pounds of muscle. The Lyle he knew growing up hated fighting, and he’d certainly never threaten to kill someone.
    What am I going to do? Roen thought while trying to block out the sound of that goddamned war drum thumping away in the back of his mind, telling him how much he wanted Liv, how much he wanted to kill for her.
    “You have some big balls to call me ‘brother,’” said Lyle. “Let’s see what words come from your mouth when I’m ripping out your tongue.”
    Oh hell. Roen needed to win this fight, but killing his brother?
    He needed a moment to think.
    Roen cracked his neck again and grinned. “I meant brother as a term of endearment. Just as one might refer to their dog.”
    A low rumble of chuckles erupted from the crowd. Lyle’s large chest shook with laughter. “I’m going to enjoy killing you, landlover.”
    Roen dipped his head. “And if I win?”
    Lyle raised his brows. “You? Win? Not likely. But if you would like to indulge us with your terms, we’re all ears.”
    “If I win, the woman is mine and she goes home.”
    The man flicked his thick wrist. “If you win, you’ll be the new leader and she is yours to claim and do with as you please—within the laws of the island, of course. But I wouldn’t count my chickens yet, little man. The island hasn’t asked me to step down.”
    “Roen!” he heard Liv call out, but paid no attention. He couldn’t afford to be distracted. And the way she looked, freshly scrubbed body and wrapped up in white like a giant fuckable present, was a definite distraction.
    Roen stepped in closer. “That’s because the island asked me to take you down.”
    Lyle jerked back his head. “The island has spoken to you?”
    It was a bluff, of course, but Roen knew that winning a fight always started with the mind—your own and your opponent’s.
    He’s not your opponent. He’s your brother. And that meant the only way to truly win was to get Lyle to back down or back down himself.
    You think they’ll let you walk away now? You’ve thrown out a challenge. Then what’s going to happen to Liv? There had to be a way out of this.
    Roen nodded. “How the hell do you think I got here?”
    “Like everyone else.”
    “Yes, but not everyone who comes is a Doran. Not everyone here has a right to lead.”
    “And so you are right,” Lyle said, removing the suede wrapped around his waist. “Shall we?”
    The men stepped back and waited for Roen to remove the red sash.
    “Can I ask one question before we begin?” Roen asked.
    Lyle laughed with a smug chuckle. “Of course. I am in a generous mood and would like nothing more than to grant your dying wish.”
    The men around him roared with laughter.
    “Do you know who you are—who you once were?”
    “L’isle. I am called L’isle. Son of Cullan, same as you, Roen.”
    Roen blinked. Cullan was his father’s name. “So you know I’m your brother?”
    “These men,” his arms made a sweeping motion, “are my brothers. You are the useless, landlover offspring of my father.”
    Roen felt a surge of unfathomable conflict. Lyle did remember him. But there was absolutely no way Lyle would ever want to fight him. Their relationship couldn’t have been any closer.
    How close could you have been if Lyle let you believe he’d committed suicide? They’d never found the body, but the note said it all: he couldn’t be happy living like this anymore. Witnesses said they’d seen him jump into the ocean.
    Roen suddenly

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