Laurin Marshall is a qualified teacher who travels among the settlements seeing to the children’s educational needs. Unknown to the clans of the “People of the Sea” Laurin is hiding from her clan who are air shifters. She is an excellent teacher and loves her work but to maintain her anonymity has declined any personal relationships for over 2 years. Ms. Arend’s shifters are highly sensual so it is natural for them to be intimate, often. So, both Laurin and Matt have been fighting their innate natures by avoiding sexual activity.
Laurin has made sure to avoid meeting the visiting shaman while teaching at the settlement for fear her true nature will be discovered. She is after all a bird hiding amongst fish. ;) When Matt and Laurin meet for the first time, they cannot resist a powerful mutual sexual attraction and share a night of passion. Ms. Arend pens extremely sensual love scenes and Matt and Laurin’s magical abilities enhance their experience. What neither of them expect is that their one night stand develops into much more.
“The magic filling the room was more powerful than he’d ever experienced. Sexual pleasure was a strong catalyst for shaman skills, but of this intensity? The unreasonable concentration of passion he felt scared him. Made him hesitate and wonder if it was safe to continue. He sat beside her with care and laid his hand on her chest, his fingers splaying out as he opened himself to his mystic side. It wasn’t an invasive search, only a surface questioning of her innate skills.”
Stormchild © Vivian Arend
While reading Stormchild, the first of what is a trilogy of stories centering on Matt and Laurin’s romance I was reminded of the line from the 1998 film Ever After; “A bird may love a fish, signore, but where will they live?”1 However, when the lovers involved are a shifters, and able to transform to human form where they live doesn’t really present as a problem and Matt decides very quickly he isn't about to let Laurin go. Using their sexual compatibility as a basis Matt convinces Laurin they should stay together leading to an HFN ending it also sets the stage for the next story of the series Stormy Seduction.
I enjoyed Stormchild very much, and considering this is a short story, felt Ms. Arend did an excellent job of world building as well as developing Matt and Laurin’s unique relationship. I didn't find the narrative to be overburdened with secondary characters or sub plots, and I was impressed with the author's lush descriptive prose detailing the beauty of the Pacific Ocean and British Columbia. What does the title of Stormchild signify? Well, you’ll have to read the story to find out.. ;)
1 Ever After. Dir. Andy Tennant. Perf. Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston, and Dougray Scott. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, 1998.