There's a work-safe excerpt on this post. There will be a smutty excerpt on Saturday!
Young tribesman Jael is Quan's other half, but he doesn't know it yet. Where Flows the Water explores the relationship between these two very different men as they meet and begin to build something lasting and necessary, aided by physical closeness that scorches with its intensity.
Jael resists Quan for as long as he can, wanting a normal life with a wife and children. He can only fight the winds so long, though, and eventually he comes to accept that Quan may just be his life, and his love. When the two finally get it right, they connect, and it's them against the world, which sometimes seems determined to tear them apart.
Set in a fantasy world as complex as it is interesting, Where Flows the Water showcases a place where magic is a part of the everyday world in hundreds of small ways, and where love knows few boundaries, if only the stubborn can see.
Check out this Sean Michael classic, set in the Windbrothers’ world.
Evil Plot Bunny
Jael heard the scream only a heartbeat before he heard the infuriated roar of the bear. Sernes whinnied and stamped and then they were off, moving through the forest at a breakneck speed, wind and sound and excitement plummeting him forward.
His throwing knives were in his hand, rahat readied at his side. The huge brown animal had someone treed -- Jael didn't have the time or inclination to be curious as to who yet, as he wheeled Sernes around to aim the first volley of knives. The first knife sliced through the thick fur, but was easily brushed away. The second and third found their marks, burying deep into the thick, ropy muscle of the bear's shoulder. The fourth knife was slapped from the air by a huge paw, the beast turning and roaring furiously. Sernes bucked, screaming shrilly into the air, the smell and vicinity of the bear more than her training could take. Jael managed to throw one more knife as he leapt from her back and began swinging his rahat on a strong, thin mara-silk rope, looking for a wounding blow that would keep him out of range of those claws and teeth. Time slowed, became thick and heavy like good honey on a winter morning. It was always like this, on a good hunt, during the battle -- thick and slow and his heart beat so steady and strong and he could see everything and...
The bear shifted, one arm moving to strike and he let the blades fly, crowing as they sank deep, piercing organ and flesh and bone. With a tug, the blades came free, blood pouring from the bear, weakening it in steady pulses. Jael circled, keeping the dying animal's attention, watching for the killing blow. He disliked when they suffered and prided himself on a clean, quick kill. It was his fondest wish that his prey appeared, surprised and still running, in the green fields of the Land of Summer, still believing themselves in their native woods.
It took only two more blows before the bear fell to the ground, its spirit slipping from its meat and pelt. Jael leaned down and slit the throat before the heart stilled, repeating the motion on the thick pad of flesh below his thumb. He watched as both fluids fell and fed the earth, one dead and one living. As it should be.
As he became aware of his surroundings once more, he realized the screaming hadn't stopped. The man, for it appeared to indeed be a man, who had been treed, was still quite a ways up, crying and screeching and begging for the moon to save him. Jael tilted his head. "You! Up there! It's dead. You can stop now. You hurt?"
Whoever the man was, he wasn't from here -- not with that accent and those clothes. Maybe from the big water or perhaps the tribes by the white mountains. "Dead? Hurt? Yes! Yes, I'm hurt. For the love of the moon, get me down!"
"Where are you hurt?" Jael slipped the rahat into its customary place, climbing easily up the takava. He loved these trees, they smelled like the candies from the Feast days -- minty and spicy and warm.
"Where?" The man was still half-shrieking, half-yelling, panic clear in his voice. "What does it matter where? I am bleeding to death and we are discussing wound placement."
"In my experience, people lose their voices long before they lose their last drop of blood. You must be safe."
"I'm hanging perilously from a tree. I am most assuredly not safe!" The panic in the man's voice had faded somewhat, replaced by indignation.
"Perilously?" Jael frowned and shrugged, holding one hand up towards the man. He didn't look like he was bleeding to death, but he definitely looked unhappy. "Well, come on then. If you don't like being up here, let's go down."
Blue eyes that were almost green, unlike any he'd ever seen before, stared down at him: first at his hand and then the ground and then into his face. "On second thought, maybe I'll just stay where I am."
"Stay? But you said..." Jael blinked and frowned. Maybe the odd man really was wounded. He reached out again, more insistent. "Come now. Falling out of the tree would hurt."
"Yes, I'm sure it would." The man wrapped his arms more firmly around the trunk. "That's why I'll stay right where I am. As long as I keep talking I won't bleed to death, right? That is what you said."
"I did not. I said you couldn't talk if..." He sighed and whistled for Sernes, sliding back down the trunk with a mental shrug. He'd give the man a moment; perhaps he was frightening. He didn't think he was particularly threatening, but he had just killed a bear alone. Oh, Naki would have to be impressed by this. Have to. He pulled his blade as his feet hit the ground, heading for his kill. "You want some of the meat? You did find it, after all."
"Wait! Where are you going? You can't just leave me here!"
smut fixes everything