Rikki has felt isolated from the rest of humanity since she was young. Bound to the element of water, she has unique gifts that allow her to control it in whatever form it takes. But in Rikki's case, having fantastic, mystical abilities doesn't translate well towards being a "normal" member of society. At a loss to really fit in except with her family of adopted "sisters", she turns to her best source of comfort: the sea, where she makes a living diving for urchins. Then one day, she rescues a man from drowning in the ocean, and nothing can be the same again.
Lev is a damaged hero with emotional pain to rival Rikki's. His memories are broken, but he knows that he is an assassin. His mission and how he ended up being cared for by the element-tied woman remain a mystery to him, but he does know that he has never before experienced a connection like he has with Rikki; able to read her thoughts and communicate with her telepathically, he is perhaps the only man truly able to understand her as she needs to be understood.
These are both very unique characters; I know the idea of characters having special, element-associated abilities has been played with before, and an assassin-hero is nothing new, but Feehan has given a lot of depth to the concepts. Rikki is far from perfect, but so is Lev, in a different way - together they complement and strengthen one another, understanding and reassuring each other in spite of their own failings.
Though a little slow to start moving, plot-wise, the book takes a lot of time to introduce the characters and the dynamics between them, and it really helps to develop the romantic aspects of the story. This is bolstered by excellent descriptions, especially of the settings, which really color this book and give it life; it's easy to get caught up in her world and picture it, which adds so much to the story.
Set alongside Feehan's "Drake Sisters" books but still standalone, "Water Bound" should be picked up by anyone looking for a romance well-based in emotion and interaction between the characters -- this isn't just for paranormal fans. I really like this start to her new series and I look forward to seeing more of these books.