Walking in Fire: Hawaiian Heroes, Book 1
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by Cathryn Cade
Description: Born to defend his people, he will sacrifice everything--for her. Hawaiian Heroes, Book 1 Nawea Bay, a remote Hawaiian paradise, is just the haven Melia Carson needs to escape the chill of heartache. Instead, she finds herself swept up in a tropical heat wave, fueled by her unexpected attraction to a handsome native she meets on a snorkel tour. He's big, powerful, hot enough to melt her defenses--and he's not all he seems. How else could he survive an injury that should have killed him?and why does she dream of him garbed in ancient native dress and wreathed in flames? David "Malu" Ho'omalu is on the Big Island to find and destroy a cache of dangerous designer drugs before they can be sold to his people. Fending off amorous female tourists is part of the job, but one look in Melia's blue eyes, and his instincts scream that she is his. As Melia surrenders to the desire burning between them, she discovers more than a fiery heritage that defies modern logic. She discovers a man who would descend into the molten heart of the volcano to protect his island. And her?if she can find the strength to trust her heart to him. Warning: Hot, hot Hawaiian hero with volcanic passion on his mind. Better pack a heat-proof bikini for this island paradise.
eBook Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd., 2012 2012
eBookwise Release Date: April 2012
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [317 KB]
Reading time: 200-280 min.
Monday, May 9th
He awoke in a rough bed, a roof of green moving above him. Through the icy talons of pain gripping his head and shoulders, he gathered enough strength to focus one eye. The other seemed to be swollen shut.
The shadows shifting overhead were huge ferns hanging from a steep bank. He turned his gaze the other way as much as he was able. The ground sloped off abruptly past black lava boulders.
Somewhere above him, the tropical sun burned fierce and bright, but only a little light filtered down through the layers of tropical rain forest. Warm, humid shadows enclosed him. The bed on which he lay was earth, fallen leaves and palm fronds. He was on Mauna Loa.
Not dead, then, but badly injured. Pain held him in its grip, making every breath an effort.
Shifting carefully, exerting his will over his leaden limbs, he discovered he could move both his hands and feet. Arms and legs worked too, although not without clawing from the pilikua nui, the monster that seemed to have him by the side of his head and neck. Slowly, he lifted a hand to touch his temple. It came away wet and sticky. Blood.
He remembered now--finding the woman, then hearing a noise behind him, and pain exploding in his head. He was a fool. He'd let his guard down, thinking he was superior to his opponent. This was his punishment.
Voices murmured in his head. The old ones. Somewhere, the Ho'omalu were chanting for him. That was good, for theirs were not the only voices he heard. His heart gave a great thump and began to race, urgency thrumming through his veins as a man called out just above him on the mountainside.
"Oh my God!" he exclaimed. "Is she dead?"
Footsteps pounded. Small lava rocks skittered down, bouncing past him. A gecko, startled by the motion, darted onto his chest, its tiny feet a familiar tickle. It ran down his belly, toward his hand. Something draped over his fingers.
Slowly, nearly groaning with the effort, he lifted his hand and squinted at the gecko's gift. It was a small, knotted length of leather, broken in one place. His hand clenched around it. He'd last seen it only hours before--on someone's wrist.
"She's not dead--she's alive," said another man's voice. "Get over here, help me lift her. Careful!"
"She looks terrible."
"Of course she looks bad--beat up, then left lying here all night. Let's get her on the stretcher."
"Oh God. Who would do this to her?"
"What do you mean, who?" another man demanded. "Malu disappeared at the same time, didn't he?"
At this new voice, the injured man tensed. His good eye narrowed to a slit as if his gaze could penetrate the ferns over his head. Rage roared through him, hot and fierce, a deep, primal rumble in his chest battling to erupt from his throat. Though he hadn't seen who had clubbed him and beaten the woman into unconsciousness, he knew. The evidence lay in his fist.
He held himself still, sweating with the strain. He mustn't move yet. The enemy was just above him, but so was the injured woman and her rescuers. He wouldn't risk their safety. The only one who knew he was down here was his attacker, who no doubt thought him safely dead. Before that kepolo returned to check, he'd be gone.
"Malu did this?" one man asked. "But...he seemed so nice. Are you sure? Maybe he was attacked too."
"I'll worry about Malu. Right now, all of you help me get this girl out of here."
The footsteps moved slowly away, down the trail. The voices of the rescuers faded. He listened, straining to hear if they were truly gone. Would one set of footsteps return in stealthy haste? No, all was quiet in the forest. The birds had begun to call again. They would warn him of an intruder.
The voices in his head continued, steady and rhythmic, soothing, encouraging. Spreading his hands flat on the warm earth, he drew on the power of his island. He let the chant take him, let healing flow into his battered body.
Deep beneath him, the island rumbled as Pele stirred, sighing in her sleep. She sent a stream of heat and healing up through her island to him.
He must rest, gather his strength. The blow that felled him would have killed a lesser man, but he belonged to Pele, patroness of these islands.
One of her warriors. One of her Ho'omalu--ancient protectors of Hawaii.
* * * *
Melia's Make It Fresh Blog
Recipe for fun--take one Hawaiian vacation and enjoy.
I'll be away for a week, but when I get back, I hope to have lots of fun ideas for you. Fresh cooking with an island twist. Aloha!
Saturday, May 7th
Melia Carson climbed onto the Hawaiian Dive boat. As the shining white catamaran bobbed slightly under her feet, she grabbed the high railing for balance.
She couldn't believe she was finally here in Kona, Hawaii, with palm trees swaying overhead and the tropical sun warming her clear to her toes. This was definitely an antidote to the chill of early spring in Washington State. Hopefully, it would warm the chill in her heart as well.
Hot, buttery sunlight poured down on the boats, the buildings lining the shore and the clustered palms. Two long canoes slid by, paddles flashing in unison as the teams propelled their crafts toward the mouth of Kailua Bay. On the other end of the pier, a big pontoon boat with a blue awning was also boarding passengers. Above them all, the mountains stood, mysterious and cloud-capped.
"Aloha." The Hawaiian woman waiting on the boat smiled at Melia. She wore a white tank with the Hawaiian Dive emblem on it, her long, wavy black hair caught up under a baseball cap. "I'm Leilani. We leave for Nawea Bay in ten minutes. Help yourself to cold drinks." She gestured to an open cooler of soda and bottled water in the sliver of shade from the tall mast.
"Hey, Melia, you made it." A small group of people stood in the prow of the boat. One of them waved at her. The afternoon breeze coming in off the ocean tousled his streaked blond hair. "Come and meet everyone."
"Hi, Dane." She'd met Dane Gifford in the Kona Winds hotel lounge the first evening, and the next morning in the lobby, when she was poring over excursion pamphlets, deciding which snorkel trip to take. Discovering she was traveling alone, he'd asked her if she'd like to join a group of his friends on a three-day trip down the coast.
At first, her naturally cautious nature had made her hesitate, but on learning there would be other women along and that they'd be staying in a place with staff, she'd agreed. Now she was glad to see a familiar face, even such a recent acquaintance.
Dane was surrounded by the same people she'd seen him with in Kona--two men and two women, young, glossy and tanned. And someone new.
He lounged against the rail like an ad for sexy Hawaiian vacations. He was big, Polynesian heritage clear in his build. He wore a pair of long, red swim trunks over one of the most impressive physiques she'd seen, Hawaiian from his golden skin and short black hair to the dark tattoos on one side of his broad, smooth chest and one huge shoulder. His white teeth flashed as he smiled at something one of the women said. Still smiling, he turned and looked at Melia.
Melia took one look into his dark eyes and felt a solid thunk in her middle, as if that dark, liquid gaze had reached clear inside her. A shiver of heat rocked her to her core, signaling the force of their collision. She'd never seen this man before, but in some visceral way, she felt as if she knew him. Her smile echoed the cautious joy blossoming inside her. She knew it was crazy--she was so not the type to fall for a guy, even one as drop-dead gorgeous as this one. Especially not one as gorgeous as this one--they were usually trouble with a capital T.