Fred's a mermaid. She's also a marine biologist, and doesn't sit on a rock combing her long ocean-blue hair (to match her eyes). She's long known her dad wasn't her biological father, and she's never felt anything but acceptance from him and from her hippy home birth mother (a decision which meant little Fred's first finning wasn't witnessed outside the family). She's never known any other merfolk before, though, and the need to keep her identity a secret (from all but platonic best friend Jonas) means she's never really had a boyfriend, either.
That all changes when, within the space of a few days, she meets hunky new marine biologist/romance fiction writer Thomas, who springs her in the tank. Already attracted to her, Thomas has long had a mermaid fantasy and is delighted to meet a real one. He gets more than he expected - High Prince Artur of the Undersea Folk also pops in for a visit, and Fred gets to know a little more of her kin than she expected. Her father, a one-night stand on the beach, tried to overthrow the King and was banished. Now that side of the family need her help - there are toxins in the ocean and Fred's the only one who can work out why, before all the sea life in the area, including her kin, are irreparably harmed.
This is a good start for a new series by Davidson, well known for her Undead series among others. I particularly liked the utter lack of shoe love, as I find that really irritating in the genre in general and in that series in particular. The characters are well drawn, the tension between romantic interests is believable (at least within the universe they live in), Fred is genuinely fun, and her boss (Dr Barb) is a great invention - annoying, hidebound, well-meaning and flawed.
I borrowed this and the sequel for the library - look out for another Fred review soon. - Alex