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That’s not me,” he countered, then wiped his hands over his face. (About making her decisions for her) “Okay. Maybe it is me, but not because I think you aren’t smart enough to see a situation. I don’t like you in danger. When a man finds the only person of worth to him, that one person who matters more than anything and makes everything he’s ever seen or done or gone through worthwhile, believe me, Rikki, the urge to protect her is overwhelming. If that bothers you, then I’m sorry, because it’s going to be happening over and over throughout our years together.

~ Lev Prakenskii

Water BoundWater Bound (Sisters of the Heart, Book One) by Christine Feehan

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Synopsis: 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 a 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.

Review: The first book in Feehan’s Drake Sister’s spin-off picks up  right where the last Drake Sisters book (Hidden Currents) leaves off.  It focuses on Lev Prakenskii, Ilya’s brother and the bodyguard to Stavros (very bad guy in Hidden Currents).  He his rescued from the sea by Rikki, a water element who happens to be autistic, though very high functioning.  At first Lev doesn’t remember anything of what happened, but he does know that he is a bad man and has skills only a very violent man should have, so he considering killing Rikki and taking off with her boat.  But thankfully, something draws him to her and he begins rationalizing why he shouldn’t, though he does fight the attraction (a little).  The only negative I found in the beginning of the book is that he doesn’t resist long, and a man like him shouldn’t accept or stop fighting the attraction as quickly as he does. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Lev, he was cool and developed into a strong character with some vulnerabilities that were touching to witness. He just could have started off a little bit more anti-attraction, anti-relationship, anti-weakness (for he sees giving in to his attraction as a weakness).

Rikki, on the other hand, is really a cool character.  She is quirky and entertaining to read. She is perfect for Lev.  The conflicts in the book fit well and were not overdramatized or over the top. They fall into the It-could-happen-in-real-life category.  There is no mastermind or evil incarnate, but rather someone who is mentally unstable and has been tracking Rikki since she was 13. The second conflict is a cleaner who has been sent to verify if Lev is in fact dead, and if not, to kill him. I think they work well in the plot.  The plot itself didn’t really have any dull or dry spots, it moved along smoothly and the two characters carried it well.  The dynamic of the relationship was fun to watch, and watching Lev struggle with his strong desire for a new life, outside of the shadows, and one with Rikki was one of my favorite parts of the plot.  Jonas and Hannah make an appearance in this book, and I am hoping for more cameos as I continue with the series.

There are several quotes from this book; too many cute scenes, I couldn’t pick just two or three

Favorite Quotes 1: This scene takes place early on in the story and it’s when both Lev and Rikki are discovering that they might not be opposed to touching each other (because they both hate to be touched by anyone and in any fashion). It is also one of the first instances where Rikki’s dry sense of humor and sarcastic nature becomes apparent. I call it “Mother Teresa”

“Don’t go.”

“I don’t like people touching me.”

He should have let go of her, but instead he rubbed the pads of his fingers up and down her bare arm.  Her shirt was still half buttoned, and he was tempted to stroke her flat belly just to know the texture of her.

“I don’t like it either,” he said. And it was true. Funny. He’d never admitted that to anyone.  It didn’t particularly matter, he did what had to be done, but he didn’t like it–maybe not in the same way she meant. His was a matter of personal space, a natural avoidance of closeness with others. But Rikki…He studied her face.  “I don’t think my touch bothers you that much.”

She blinked. She rarely blinked, but he’d struck home. She compressed her lips and then narrowed her eyes at him. “You’re pretty arrogant for a man who can’t move with a pile of weapons sitting next to him.”

“You have such a penchant for violence.”

She looked outraged. “I do? You’re the one being hostile. I’m Mother Teresa here. And I don’t like sick people.”

“Do you like anyone?” Amusement was creeping in again. He was beginning to like the feeling. “Anything?”

“Not particularly.” She snatched her arm away from him as if just remembering he was touching her and she was supposed to protesting. “And you especially.”

She rubbed at her arm as she stalked away from the bed toward the bathroom.  The rubbing turned gentler, almost a caress, or maybe that was just in his mind. Figuring her out was fast becoming an obsession…

Favorite Quotes 2: This scene I call “You are one of those men,” and it concerns Lev wanting to work on her boat with her, and how she sees him as a demanding sort of man.  It is quite cute (another reason why I love Rikki).

He kept his eyes locked on hers. “I was thinking more like helping out on your boat.”

He saw the shock, the instant rejection.  She even shook her head. And that adorable frown was back, so that he couldn’t help but smooth his fingers over the little lines between her eyes. He laughed softly. “I can see you’re completely behind the idea.”

No one, and I mean no one, goes on my boat.”

“I can understand that. But–” He put his finger over her pursed lips, imagining her kissing his fingers. The thought was fleeting, but vivid enough to cause heat to flood his body. He didn’t seem to have control around her. “As reasonable as that would be, I’ve  already been on your boat.”

“You ripped out my radio.”

“Which I intend to fix,” he pointed out. “What’s a tender?”

He felt her shock. “A what?” she repeated, but she’d heard him the first time.

He waited in silence, but she had gone stubborn on him. He sighed, and although he was taking a chance, he rubbed her chin in the dark with the pad of his thumb. Once, he stroked a caress across her lips. She was definitely frowning and that made him smile.

“It isn’t any great secret, is it? You said your sister Blythe told you that you shouldn’t dive alone. She said you needed a tender. What is that?”

“Someone that would drive me insane. They take care of the boat and equipment, sort of keep watch while a diver is underwater. They need a permit and have to know what they’re doing.  I trained a couple but kicked them off after a couple of dives. They’re annoying. They don’t roll my hoses the right way. And there is a right way. You do it wrong and they’re all tangled.”

“Blythe thinks it’s necessary.”

“You were eavesdropping on my conversation with Blythe.”

“Of course. Would you expect less?”

She opened her mouth and then abruptly closed it. “I don’t want anyone on my boat and that includes you. You’d touch my things.”

“I’ll learn not to.”

Her frown deepened and she narrowed her eyes at him. “You will not. You’ll do whatever you want to do. You’re one of those men.”

“If I don’t know what kind of a man I am, how could you know?”

“Because so far, you’ve been on my boat, in my house, touched my things, slept in my bed, and you’re probably going to want food. You’re demanding.”

Laughter spilled over, startling him. A real laugh. Out loud. He sounded rusty, but it didn’t matter. He was shocked at the sound, at the feeling, at the freedom he felt with her to laugh. “I suppose you’re right about that.”

Favorite Quotes 3: Entitled, “She could pick up a man if she wanted to”. Conversation between Rikki and her “sisters” about her new house guest, Levi.

Blythe waited until both women were seated before she dropped the bombshell. “Rikki’s got a man.”

Five heads turned to stare at her. Rikki lifted an eyebrow and pushed her glasses firmly on her nose, trying to look nonchalant.

“In the house,” Judith hissed. “She won’t let me in to see him.”

“He’s not on display,” Rikki defended.

“I want to see,” Lexi insisted.

Lissa looked at Blythe. “You met him?” There was suspicion in her voice. “Who is this man and how did he get into Rikki’s life? Rikki doesn’t just pick up men.”

Rikki sent Lissa her most ferocious frown. “I certainly am capable of picking up men.”

I wouldn’t be saying that where I can hear you.

You have nothing whatsoever to do with it.

Maybe not yet, but I will. 

Favorite Quotes 4: A very touching moment between Rikki and Lev that just pulls at my heart strings. This was a conversation between Rikki and Lev telepathicly right after he gave the ok to bring in Jonas (which went against everything he knew and was taught to behave). I titled it “My name.”

I was born Lev Prakenskii. Not everything about me is a lie, Rikki. I will never let you down. What I feel for you is real.  It’s all encompassing, and it’s lasting. The things your sister said to you in there, they were things taught to me, survival techniques vital to a man cut off from all aid and hiding. I am not doing that with you. I can give you my real name, one we will never be able to use, but I want you to know it.

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