Overview


Raised by the Kehani tribe since birth, orphaned Niann remains an outcast, denied even a visit to the dreaming-place to discover his spirit guide. Compelled to make the journey anyway, Niann is chosen by the Kala Deer, known for its ability to strengthen the animal spirits of others through sex. Now the tribe's shaman is determined to use Niann's power to transcend into the spirit world...

Hunter and carver Jennar swore to love and protect Niann always, but when his attentions ...

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Hart and Soul

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Overview


Raised by the Kehani tribe since birth, orphaned Niann remains an outcast, denied even a visit to the dreaming-place to discover his spirit guide. Compelled to make the journey anyway, Niann is chosen by the Kala Deer, known for its ability to strengthen the animal spirits of others through sex. Now the tribe's shaman is determined to use Niann's power to transcend into the spirit world...

Hunter and carver Jennar swore to love and protect Niann always, but when his attentions interfere with the shaman's plans, he's forced to leave the tribe—and Niann. Haunted by dreams of the Deer, Jennar returns home, horrified to find Niann changed in body and mind from living under the shaman's influence. To save the man he loves, Jennar must face his secret shame—and risk the destruction of the spirit world by the shaman's relentless ambition...

Previously published, newly revised by author.

52,000 words

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426891649
  • Publisher: Carina Press
  • Publication date: 5/23/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • File size: 302 KB

Meet the Author

Nica Berry is a seventh-generation Coloradan who left her heart in San Diego. She earned her bachelor's degree as a baritone saxophone major and plays jazz, classical, blues, funk and more. Nica's other adventures include kissing the Blarney Stone, climbing the Eiffel Tower, stealing a rock from the Matterhorn, and hiking up the Great Wall of China.

In search of a quieter hobby, Nica returned to one of her childhood interests—writing—and has been publishing queer science fiction and fantasy for several years. She's attended the Clarion workshop for SF/F, the Taos Toolbox workshop for SF/F novelists, and received an M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Visit her online at orossy.com/nicaberry.

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Read an Excerpt


At seventeen Niann knew when he wasn't wanted.

"Here," Lea said and thrust a reed basket at him. It was big, nearly too big for him to put his arms around. "We're out of haka berries. Don't come back until it's full."

Niann held his tongue despite his rage. Collecting haka berries was a child's task. He gave one last murderous glance toward the women's fires as he stalked out of the camp. Too old to be there. Bad enough to be an outcast; worse to be the only boy past the age of six to still claim bed space in the women's circle. It wasn't fair. He could be a man just like any of the others if only they'd give him the chance.

Of course, no one would. They didn't want to waste their time on an outcast. Lea had already hinted he'd be expected to leave the day he came of age. Most days Niann longed for just that chance, until fear overtook reason. Where would he go? Besides the Deshani tribe in the valley below, he knew the locations of no other tribes. As much as he hated being among the Kehani, being alone would be worse.

The women and the cooking fires were in the center, while the men slept in tents by themselves or in pairs on the outside, like kala deer stags protecting the herd. If the men felt like it, they would ask one of the women for companionship for the night, but most of the time the women stayed together, cooking and gossiping. None of the men deigned to look at him as he passed. Niann kept his head down but sneaked a glance to see if Jennar was around. No such luck. Disappointed, Niann sighed. Every once in a while he caught Jennar surreptitiously observing him, which left him confused. Jennar had plenty of lovers, and men weren't allowed to take boys into their tents at night, but that didn't keep Niann from wondering. Jennar was handsome, skilled at carving and hunting and everything Niann wanted to be and couldn't.

The only one who seemed to care about him at all was Heyka. Niann walked by the shaman's tent. To his delight Heyka sat outside, eating his noon meal of flatbread and venison. "Where are you off to?" the shaman asked. Like Niann, he wore only a leather breechclout, owing to the summer warmth. Beads clacked in his hair as he bent his head back to empty the bowl into his mouth.

Niann wrinkled his nose. "Haka berries. Lea sent me to fetch some. Isn't there anything I could do for you instead?"

Heyka chuckled. "If she sent you to fetch berries, you'd best get. The chief's sister is not one to cross."

No, she wasn't. Just as her brother led the tribe, Lea effectively led both the women and those unlucky enough to sleep among them. Niann scuffed his feet in the dirt, utterly unwilling to go on his mission.

"How old are you? Seventeen?"

"Eighteen in a few moons." He held his breath. Maybe soon the shaman would say it was time for him to go up the mountain to the dreaming-place. The other boys and girls went as early as fourteen or fifteen, but Niann hadn't been allowed. Lea said it was because he was an outcast, not part of the tribe and therefore not worthy of the benefits of its members.

The shaman must have seen his hopeful expression, because he smiled. "Not long. I promise you that. Soon you'll know what you're meant to do."

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