Rain In The Moonlight is the second book of the Seeder Saga, and the lead characters were so incredibly intense to write. Their chemistry and particular their backstories are incredible, and the book takes a couple of unexpected turns before they work out whatever it is between them.
In this scene, we see Rain trying to reason with Ajan, who has been sent to capture the leader of the River Valley. He ends up captured himself, but Rain realizes soon enough that his skills could come in handy in their battle against the encroaching Mountain city. Now she has to convince him to work with her, instead of against her.
~ ~ ~
“What did they offer you?” Rain asked again. “How much money?”
“What then?” Rain waved her hand impatiently.
“Land.” He replied. “Parmet offered me land.”
Dark Water’s eyes narrowed. “Where?”
“The River Valley.”
Stone in his Fist made a noise of outrage. “That isn’t his to give!”
Rain held up a hand, gesturing for him to calm down. “No, it isn’t. But it’s ours.” She turned her gaze back to Ajan. “How much land?”
“All of it.”
Rain’s jaw dropped as her friends jumped to their feet. Stone in his Fist was cursing fluently and Dark Water was demanding that they kill him on the spot.
“Enough!” Rain leveled a warning glance at her captains, and they took their seats. She stared at Ajan shrewdly. “We can’t give you land that belongs to the families of the River Valley, but we can certainly find a good-sized allotment for you. In addition, we may be able to pool our resources and increase the offer.”
“I am not bargaining with the people of the River Valley,” Ajan said firmly.
Rain leaned across the table, exasperated. “We have things – things of value. You can sell–”
Ajan leaned down, looking Rain right in the eye. “I’m not bargaining with them. I’m bargaining with you.” His eyes shifted to the others at the table. “Tell them to leave.”
“No. Absolutely not,” Stone in his Fist said emphatically. Dark Water was shaking her head as well.
Rain’s eyes were locked on Ajan’s. “What do you want?” she asked quietly.
“This is between you and me,” he said. “If you want me, you bargain with me. You. Alone.”
She stared at him a moment longer, weighing his request.
“Go,” she said to the others. “I’ve got this.” Her tone brooked no argument.
“We’ll be right outside,” Dark Water said. “And there are sentries outside the window, too.” She gave Ajan a warning glance as she walked out, with Stone in his Fist right behind her. The door closed, and they were alone.
Rain took a deep breath, and slowly stood. She didn’t like being at a disadvantage, and she wasn’t about to remain seated while he was naming his terms.
“What is it that you want?” she asked, eyeing him carefully.
“I think you know.” He didn’t smile. Her eyes widened as he slowly walked around the table to where she stood.
“Just so we’re clear,” she said carefully. “I can’t give you the entire valley.”
“You already promised a generous parcel of land. But you’re going to give me more.”
She rolled her eyes. “I can’t give you more land, that’s the point. It’s not all mine to give.”
“I’m not talking about the land and you know it.” He said with obvious intent.
He stepped closer, almost touching her, and Rain forgot to breathe.
~ ~ ~