Monday, September 13, 2010

Water Bound

Water Bound, a Sea Haven novel by Christine Feehan
The last thing Lev Prakenskii remembered was being lost in the swirling currents of the ocean and getting sucked deeper into the nothingness of a freezing black eddy off the coastal town of Sea Haven. Just as quickly, just as miraculously, he was saved—pulled ashore by a beautiful stranger. But Lev has no memory of who he is—or why he seems to possess the violent instincts of a trained killer. All he knows is that he fears for his life, and for the life of his unexpected savior.

Her name is Rikki, a sea-urchin diver in Sea Haven. She has always felt an affinity for the ocean, and for the seductive pull of the tides. And now she feels drawn in the same way to the enigmatic man she rescued. But soon they will be bound by something even stronger, and their tantalizing secrets will engulf them both in a whirlpool of dizzying passion and inescapable danger.
--Water Prey by Christine Feehan, Copyright ©August 2010 by Christine Feehan, published by Jove Books

My Review

I thoroughly enjoy Christine Feehan’s stories and I’m glad she stepped away from the crueler, darker path that she was starting to go down (those who have read her last Drake and Dark stories know what I’m talking about). Water Prey introduces us to some new characters, namely Rikki Sitmore and her “sisters” on their farm outside Sea Haven, the home of the Drake Sisters.

Rikki’s a loner, working solo as a sea urchin diver and is very happy with her solitary lifestyle until the day she’s swept off her boat by a rogue wave. Quickly gaining her equilibrium under water, she spies something unexpected. There’s a man in the water, and if she doesn’t act quickly, he’s going to die.

Lev Prakenskii probably would have welcomed his death, if it weren’t for the piercing gaze of the woman who rescued him. She didn’t just see him, she saw into him, and that sensation was one he would treasure for the rest of his days. Once on her boat, however, his battered, broken mind not only sees her as his savior, but as a threat. And threats must be eliminated.

Rikki slips easily past his defenses and takes him to her home to rest and heal. Romance blossoms quickly, but Lev senses something different about Rikki. The jerky little hand motions, her almost-obsessive cleanliness, the need to keep everyone out of her home (except him, somehow), brings him to one conclusion about her, a conclusion her “older sister” Blythe confirms.

But he didn’t need Blythe to confirm that she’s a water element, someone who is drawn almost compulsively to water, and water to her. Lev figures he might as well be water for the way he is drawn to her. But someone else is drawn to Rikki. Someone whose element counters Rikki’s, and if Lev isn’t careful, he may lose his love to the one thing she most fears.

Can Lev save Rikki from her fire-starting stalker and carve out a new life for himself in Sea Haven, knowing someone else out there wants him dead too?

I actually felt a little let down at the end of this story, though I couldn’t figure out why. Later, I resumed listening to my current audio book (Obsidian Prey--review coming very, very soon!) and figured out why. We readers have become accustomed to the villain—once uncovered—explaining all the reasons for his crimes and his plans for what comes next. That didn’t happen in this story. Through a mistake he made, Sheriff Jonas Harrington was able to trace the bad guy's fingerprints and come up with an ID. Rikki didn’t recognize the name, so they dug deeper and found the connection. Once Rikki was no longer in danger, Jonas explained everything to her and Lev. End of story. No protracted explanation for the reasons for his crimes, no baiting by the heroine to throw the villain off-track so the hero could swoop in and rescue her, no last minute boastful cry by the bad guy. Just boom, done, here’s why, now let’s get on with life. And, I have to admit, I like it. Because, let’s face it, it’s a much more realistic ending (seriously, do bad guys do this in real life?), and I like writers who keep it real.

I give this story FOUR STARS.

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