Continuing our teasing theme leading up to the release of Changeling: Book Three of the Seeder Saga…here’s a little more of Rain and Ajan’s story from book two of the Seeder Saga, Rain in the Moonlight.
The following day greeted them with an endless downpour. It was senseless walking in it. They’d only get sick from the loss of body heat, particularly since they had no coverings or dry clothes without the supplies that were on the boat. There was nothing to do but sit where it was dry and hope it broke soon.
They slept as long as they could in cramped quarters, stepping out into the rain briefly to take care of their body’s more pressing needs. Rain thought she’d find a way to run and lose him when she did, but he insisted on taking the bindings off her wrists and forming a tether from her leg to his, politely turning his back for a moment.
Mid-way through the day, Ajan produced one remaining piece of fruit from their first meal and shared it with Rain. Eventually, the boredom and forced confines got the better of them, and Rain decided she’d get as much information on her captor as he was willing to give.
“Who are your people, anyway?” she finally asked.
Ajan scooped up a handful of small stones, tossing them out into the rain.
“I’m an off-worlder.”
“I know that,” she pressed. “But where?”
“I grew up all over, but my Mother’s people are often referred to as Prims.”
“Primitives.” He stopped to take a pull from his flask, offering it to her. “We’re good hunters. We can track and find people better than most.”
“So you’re a tracker.” She took a drink, leaving the lid off and setting the flask down outside the shelter of the overhang so that it could collect the rainwater. “We have a lot of trackers in the valley.”
“It’s not just the tracking,” he explained. “Prims are well-known because we didn’t evolve like the rest of you.”
She raised an eyebrow. “What?”
He stretched his legs out, trying to get comfortable. “Most civilizations outgrow many of the abilities their early ancestors had, once they begin industrializing. They don’t need to hunt daily for food or worry about predators much, and their primitive instincts and abilities are lost over time. Prims never lost anything.”
“You swim well,” she granted. “You were able to catch me.”
“And I can run faster and longer than most men. I can see well in daylight or in dark, my reflexes are faster than most, my hearing is outstanding and I have an acute sense of smell.” He looked at her sideways. “Among other attributes.”
“So if I get away from you—”
“I can smell your trail easily. But I’ll likely run you down before you get far.” He shrugged. “And if you try going in the river again to hide your scent, I’ll strip you down and slap your bottom red when I catch you. I don’t look forward to another night in wet clothing.”
She made a snorting sound. “You would lose that hand if you tried.”
He looked over his shoulder, smiling at her. “Maybe I’ll strip you down and touch your bottom a bit more gently, then.”
She stiffened instantly, and he shook his head.
“You see? The minute I talk about anything pleasurable, you lose all function in your muscles. Maybe you should find a doctor and have that looked at.” He chuckled to himself as she folded her arms across her chest.
Rain turned her back and leaned her head against the cave wall. She closed her eyes, hoping to fall asleep and escape this forced camaraderie. Eventually, she drifted off.
Ajan stared at her for far too long. Who was she? And why hadn’t Blood Painter come after her? Did he think she’d been captured? Killed?
He wasn’t stupid enough to believe she’d lead him right into their stronghold, but she’d definitely get him close. He could hold his own from there. She probably thought she was outsmarting him.
Ajan shifted carefully closer, sliding an arm around her and guiding her gently into a reclining position. She pulled her knees up, murmuring softly as she settled again into a deeper sleep. He kept her head cradled in his hand. She looked a lot more vulnerable like this, and it called to every protective instinct he never knew he had. She looked cold.
He slid down next to her, curving into her back as he lifted her head to pillow it on the curve of his outstretched arm. As he drifted off to sleep, he wondered idly if she’d be the same trusting woman after waking in his arms.
And the answer to that is a resounding “no.” Rain isn’t that easily won over, but when these two finally collide….oh, is it tempestuous fun. You can buy “Rain In The Moonlight” at Amazon and Smashwords.