Asfocd's Rec of the Week: 6/25/12

June 27, 2012

Beneath the Surface by MyBella & Eternally Addicted
Review by AnonymouslySufferingFromOCD

Rating: M
Genre: Adventure/Friendship
Characters: Edward & Bella

Summary: One summer, an internship in Africa, bloodlust, sharp teeth, and a boatload of fear are all that stand in the way of Bella Cullen landing a job at the Atlanta Aquarium - As long as she doesn't count cocky shark expert Edward Masen on her list.

Last year a very good friend of mine let me know that a new story was on the horizon, involving some of my favorite things, Sharks! Beneath the Surface follows a team of shark researchers from Masen Marine Research on the research vessel Galeos as they research sharks in their natural habitat, documenting their daily lives and patterns to provide the world at large with a true understanding of the life cycles of the amazing creatures that are sharks. Masen Marine Research or MMR, based in Hawaii, is the culmination of blood, sweat and tears of some very close friends/crew members, who are more like family to one another than anything. Edward Masen, or Masen as those close to him know him by, is the founder, president and captain of this crew and he takes being responsible for this team very seriously. So seriously that he doesn’t have time for distractions. However, unbeknownst to him, he is about to be majorly distracted for the summer by one Sea World employee.

At the encouragement of his Aunt Esme, Masen decides to begin a summer intern program. This is how we come to meet the newest member of the Galeos crew, Guppy aka Bella Cullen. Bella is a marine biologist from Florida that needs to gain some experience in field research in order to get the job of her dreams at the Atlanta Aquarium. She is also hoping to learn to overcome her greatest fear in life, sharks.

Bella has been through some extremely traumatic things in her life, and though we don’t know what all of those things are yet, we can make some assumptions about what those things might have been. While, it isn’t easy for Bella to leave her Uncle Carlisle and sister Alice behind to go face her fears, she knows that she has to do it if she is going to be successful in her career and in her life.

He walked with her until they were about a third of the way in before stopping her and trying again to ease her worries. Taking her by the shoulders, he pulled her in front of him and faced her toward the acrylic wall. "Look, there's a spotted eagle ray," he pointed out, picking what he figured would be the least threatening fish in the exhibit. "The Hawaiians call it hihimanu." 

The only sign that she was listening was the way her eyes tracked the ray up and over the small coral wall in front of them. 

"What do you know about eagle rays?" he asked, trying to distract her from her fear. 

"They're not a stingray." 

"Good. What else?" he encouraged. He was still holding onto her shoulders and his thumbs had started to rub the soft skin at the base of her neck. He told himself it was for her comfort but deep down he didn't really believe that was the only reason. 

"They're not a stingray because they don't have a venomous spine at the tail base. They have a long whip-like tail instead. They like eating crabs, shrimp, snails, and squid like other rays. They also have a long wingspan and are covered with white spots on the top and dark spots at the edges on the underside of their wings." 

"Very good," he said sincerely. He lifted one hand from her shoulder and used it to point out a white-tip reef shark to her. "That little shark right there with the white tip on its dorsal fin, that's one of the only sharks that doesn't have to be constantly moving to breathe. They can stay almost completely still until they're ready to move. They like to eat reef fish, octopus, crabs, and lobsters and like to live in caves and along ledges." 

"What's their other name?" She had asked the question so quietly that he almost didn't hear it over the laughing children and chattering adults surrounding them. 

"Mano lalakea. People see them a lot when they go scuba diving near the caves around Maui. They're not aggressive at all but it's still best to be cautious. A lot of marine life will bite when scared, especially fish whose biggest weapon against predators is their teeth." 

His comment about teeth sent a shiver through her but it was the large cruising tiger shark suddenly appearing in front of them that had her stepping away from the window and into his chest. "Relax, Guppy. We're just checking out the local marine life under safe, controlled circumstances. There's nothing for you to be worried about or afraid of here." 

They moved a little further into the exhibit with him pointing out the fish he knew and asking questions about the ones he figured she would know about it. It even seemed like she was starting to finally relax since she was asking a few questions of her own. 

MMR has been built by very close friends and family. Lee Hale, or Rosalie, Whit, or Jasper Whitlock and Masen have been friends for years, they have personal experience with a shark attack and that experience has driven them to better understand what makes sharks tick. Masen is a very driven and determined individual and MMR is his baby, well MMR and Lizzie his adorable Boston terrier.

Masen and Guppy get off to an interesting start when they meet in a bar not knowing who the other is and share a steamy dance and an even steamier kiss. After their debacle of a meeting it is hard for Masen to get Guppy off of his mind even though he fights it as hard as he can. He also becomes increasingly frustrated that she is so very afraid of sharks, but she hasn’t shared why yet. Don’t worry though we have Whit on our side and he pushes Masen whenever possible. Lee and her boyfriend, Gopher—that’s right ladies, Emmett McCarty is the crew’s gopher— round out the crew. And I should also mention that Lee doesn’t deal well with the newcomer.

"I'm going to guess you guys didn't ask names," Whit said, looking between Bella and the guy she'd been kissing. 

"I was just standing there and then he was … and it was … really fast," she blathered. She was trying to focus but her mind was too busy replaying those kisses. 

Whit looked as though he wanted to laugh but then he looked over at the guy and his expression immediately went neutral. "I better make introductions then. Isabella Cullen, this is Edward Masen." 

Her stomach clenched and she felt her face drain of blood and color. Edward had the opposite reaction—his face and neck turned an alarming shade of red and his hands curled into such tight fists that it made the tendons in his forearms flex before her stunned eyes. "What kind of bullshit is this? Did you think it was funny? Some kind of joke?" He was not quite yelling the questions at her but it was pretty darn close. 

"I could ask the same thing," she defended. "I know I look like the picture I sent Esme but you don't look anything like the one I got." 

"What's going on?" a female asked, sliding in beside Edward and wrapping her arm around his. "Major case of mistaken identity," Whit quickly answered. "Esme must have used an old pic of Masen here." 

"Very old," Bella agreed with a stiff nod. "Short hair, clean face, dark glasses, red tie. Complete opposite of … of you." 

So far this story has blown me away. The story line is new and exciting and it keeps us coming back for more. It has a little bit of everything you look for in a great story. Romance, sexual tension, drama, sexual tension, humor and suspense. Oh, did I mention the sexual tension?

 We are only eleven chapters in, with updates usually once every three to four weeks, but the updates are long, we are already at one hundred thousand words, which makes it completely worth the wait. My-Bella and Eternally Addicted have once again proven themselves with so many great stories, and they have put there hearts and souls into this one. They not only write a kick ass story, but they also have a phenomenal blog that actually has updates from all of the crewmembers! There are so many truly talented authors out there that don’t get enough credit and My-Bella and Eternally Addicted are two of them, check out Beneath the Surface, it truly deserves the read.


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