GENRE: YA Fantasy
Tlanis, one of the oppressed dwellers of a rain-less land, has learned that naShola was only pretending to be a heartless noble. In secret she was the veiled windcaller who used her powers to bring rain to his people.
His gaze softened. “Do not blame yourself, Arris.”
A tremor ran through her at the sound of her secret name. She took a hesitant step toward him. “You’re too kind. Life in the Aridlands should have made you hard as stone, but here you are.” She blinked away her tears. “I love you, Tlanis.”
Once more his brow crinkled up. He had not expected this. naShola could not bear to meet his gaze. “I’m sorry. I wanted you to know. I won’t say it again.”
She started to go, but he caught her hand, pulled her closer. “Say it again,” he said quietly.
naShola gave him a wondering look, her heartbeat quickening. “I love you.”
“I love you, Arris.”
While she stood there, too stunned to believe it, Tlanis smiled and brought her face to his. Their lips met.
A thousand sensations enveloped her. She was so happy she thought she might drown in them. His soft mouth, his warm calloused palms on her cheeks, the ragged cloth of his sleeves as she clutched his arms, the scent of rain all around them…
It was raining. They broke apart and looked up together at the gentle mist coming down from the sky. Far in the west, the setting sun was a spot of pink through the pale gray clouds. Tlanis laughed and gripped her hand tight. naShola whispered to the wind, urging the clouds to spread and carry the hope of green beyond the Plateau.