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Authors: Courtney Sheets

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BOOK: DaughterofFire
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Kalama gasped and pressed a hand to her heart. Sam nodded as
if some unspoken message had passed between them. Jack watched as tears filled
her eyes.

“Why would someone do something like that? How the hell did
they get in?” Jack couldn’t believe what Sam was telling him. Sure, he didn’t
buy into all the voodoo, hoodoo, magic stuff but the statues were cultural
icons and priceless. For someone to willfully destroy them was almost
incomprehensible.

“The museum head has no idea. There was nothing on the
security cameras. And I mean nothing,
brah
. It’s like some ghost did it.
They called me because of the trouble we’ve been having over here. They’ve
asked us to send someone over to look at the damage. I think our two cases are
connected but I just don’t know how.”

“I’ll go,” Kalama said. She looked at them, her eyes clouded
and her expression blank. Jack would give his eyeteeth to know what was running
around in that beautiful head. He’d bet his vintage stereo she knew more about
what was going on then she let on.

“Take my boat. I know it will take a day or two to get there
but it’ll be less hassle then flying. I’ll call the guy at the Bishop and tell
him to meet you at the docks in Honolulu,” Sam said as he pulled out a key ring
from his pocket and began removing a single key. He passed it to Kalama with a
sad look in his eyes. “Find out what’s going on,
sistah
. The islands
need you.”

Jealousy flared in Jack as he observed the unspoken
connection between Kalama and Sam. He hated himself for the feeling. Shaking
his head to clear his thoughts, Jack sighed.

“I’ll go with you. Nani can watch HVO for the day or two
we’ll be gone.”

“I’ll run back up to the house and pack a bag. Pick me up in
an hour?” Kalama asked.

Jack nodded and flashed a smile. “We’ll figure this out. I
promise.”

“Oh, I know we will,” Kalama said as she headed for the
door, “Hopefully, you’ll understand what’s happening,” she mumbled under her
breath.

“What?”

“Never mind. See you in an hour.”

Chapter Seven

 

The water was extremely choppy and the swells rocked the
boat in the midafternoon sun, making Jack a little seasick. They probably
should have waited for the wind to stop before embarking on the trip to Oahu,
but Kalama was adamant about getting there as quickly as possible. As it was
they hadn’t gotten moving until around noon.

“You look a little green over there, Dr. Jack,” Kalama said,
coming from below deck with a glass of water in her hand.

Sam’s boat was a hand-me-down from his father, but the small
craft had a lower deck with seats that converted to a bed, a galley and a head.
They had taken fishing trips on this tug from time to time. Usually Jack’s
stomach behaved itself but for some reason today was different. They’d received
a call from Sam about another incident. This time on the island of Maui. Since
they had to pass Maui to get to Oahu, Jack told his friend they’d stop there
first. Once they were off shore a ways from Kaho’olawe, Jack killed the engine
for a moment and let them float.

“Thanks,” he said, taking the glass of water from her. He
let his gaze drift over her body. She’d donned another pair of shorts that
hugged her ass and hips as well as a tank top that seemed crafted for the sole
purpose of driving him mad with lust. Her feet were bare, she’d kicked her flip
flops off the second they’d stepped on board.

The breeze picked up her long hair and tossed it around her,
giving her an ethereal look.

“What did Nani say when you told her we were headed to
Oahu?” Kalama’s voice held a strange note as she asked the question. Her usual
lyrical tone seemed to trip over the other woman’s name.

The boat pitched and Kalama stumbled straight into him. He
braced her body the best he could, the sea starting to act up even more.

“Careful. You all right?” he asked, wrapping an arm around
her waist in an effort to steady her.

“I’m fine, but you look like you need to sit down for a
moment.” Kalama tugged away from him and led him to the bench seat at the back
of the boat. Laughing as she shoved him down on the seat with more force than
necessary, Jack looked up at her, enthralled despite his rebelling stomach.

“Nani? What did she say when you told her what happened?”

“She wasn’t there actually. David told me she’s gone to the
Kona side for the weekend. He’s going to watch things and call me if anything
weird happens.” He watched her expression change, the sparkle in her dark eyes
shifted to something stormy.

“Does she go away often?”

“No, not normally.” Jack reached up and grabbed her hand,
yanking her gently closer to him. His thoughts were not on his assistant back
at the lab or even on the desecration at the museum in Oahu but on how he could
separate Kalama from her clothing. He knew he should concentrate on the serious
business at hand, but it seemed every time he was within arm’s reach of Kalama
all he wanted was to touch her, taste her, make her cry out in pleasure as he
had this morning. She was becoming an obsession in a short span of time. Jack
didn’t have the willpower to stop it. She was magical and intoxicating and he
was drunk on her nearness.

He pulled her closer into the space between his knees.
Inhaling her exotic scent, he closed his eyes and nuzzled her stomach through
the fabric of her tank.

“Jack,” she whispered and ran her hand though his hair.
Resting her palm at the nape of his neck, she toyed with the strands, sending
shockwaves of pleasure down his spine. His cock stirred.

“I can’t help it, Kalama. I need to touch you. I don’t
understand it, but I can’t fight it.”

She leaned down, her lips mere centimeters from his, and
whispered, “I understand the feeling.”

She pressed her mouth to his and he groaned with the
sweetness of it, but he wanted more. Pulling back, she swiped her tongue over
his lips in a leisurely lick.

“It’s as if I’ve known you my whole life.” He slid a free
hand up her hip and slipped a single finger under the waistband of her shorts.
Her stomach muscles flinched as his reward.

She slanted her lips against his, this time demanding more
from him. She sucked on his bottom lip, nipping it gently with her teeth. His
cock hardened even more and scraped against the confines of his jeans. Her
hand, which had been resting on his shoulder, began a slow meander down his
body. Fingertips tripped down his chest leaving rivers of fire burning into his
flesh until she reached his straining erection.

“Very nice, Dr. Jack,” she murmured against his lips. “I
didn’t get to see that much this morning. Now I want it all.” She squeezed and
Jack groaned low in his throat.

Snaking his fingers under the hem of her tank top, Jack
caressed her body as he worked his way up. He cupped her full breasts and ran
his thumb over her nipple. She arched her back and let out a keening moan.

Her fingers began to fumble at the button on his jeans in a
desperate attempt to free his cock.

“God, Kalama, if you keep that up I’ll toss you down on this
deck and fuck you blind.” She closed her eyes at his words, her body shuddering
at his words. He could smell the scent of her arousal, feel the desire
pulsating off her. She was throwing off more heat than Kilauea. She rubbed her
palm against the fly of his jeans, tracing the growing ridge of his erection.

“No,” came a husky cry.

Jack watched as Kalama’s eyes flew open and she stared down
at him in confusion.

“What?” she whispered.

“That wasn’t me, baby,” Jack stared up at her dumbfounded.
They had both heard the voice clear as day.

“Get away from him.” The voice came again, this time louder
and full of anger. Without warning the boat pitched wildly, spilling Kalama out
of his arms and onto the deck.

Jack jumped to his feet to try and help her only to be
pushed back down as another wave shoved hard at the boat.

“What the hell? Kalama, are you all right?” The wind whipped
harder around them, the storm building faster and faster.

“I’m fine.” She scrambled to her feet. Kalama glanced out
over the angry sea as if an enemy were out there. Waiting, plotting.

A flash of lightning split the sea as a war cry pierced the
air. Jack looked around him, searching for the source of the sound.

“Thunder. It was only thunder,” he said more to himself then
Kalama.

“Kahekili, oh great god of thunder and storms, hear me,”
Kalama whispered into the air.

Another wave, bigger than the other two, rose up and
splashed against the boat and soaked the deck.

“We have to get out of here. The boat’s too small to
withstand this onslaught and it’s only going to get worse,” Kalama said,
darting to the controls. Jack made his way toward the steering wheel.

A wall of water washed over the side and knocked him off his
feet.

“Never turn your back to the sea!” Kalama’s words were
ripped from her mouth and tossed on the wind. “She can hurt you that way.”

“What? What are you talking about?” Jack grabbed the
steering wheel and pulled himself upright. What he saw in front of him stopped
him dead in his tracks.

The water rose up, forming a body. Long limbs and lush
curves, silver hair and piercing eyes emerged from the glistening fluid.

“What the fuck?” Jack shouted.

Kalama turned and looked at the shape beginning to form in
the water at the bow of the boat.

“Namakaokaha’i is here.”

“Just like your whore of a mother, taking something that
should have been mine,” the voice hissed, snakelike and liquid.

“Auntie, we don’t have to fight,” Kalama said. “Give me the
tiki pieces.”

“Your mother beat me once, trapping me in the sea for over
two hundred years. I’m not going to let her survive this time. I will destroy
Pele and her precious islands.”

Thrusting her hands in front of her body, Namakaokaha’i sent
waves of seawater crashing at the boat. Kalama threw up her hands, blocking the
wall of water. The rushing liquid pummeled her body but she held her ground,
her muscles screaming in protest. Mustering all the power in her, Kalama pushed
back at the wall of water. She had to protect Jack from her aunt’s wrath. And
she had to survive.

“Jack, get behind me now!” Kalama shouted over the sound of
the rushing water. He darted behind her, his face twisted in confusion and
fear. The water died down around them.

“What the hell is going on, Kalama?”

“Stupid
haole
mortal,” Namakaokaha’i hissed. The
woman waved a hand and the boat pitched once more. She let out a harsh laugh as
Kalama and Jack landed on the deck.

Kalama pushed herself to her knees and shouted into the air,
“Kanaloa, I call on you to help me. Uncle, please!”

Namakaokaha’i cried out in anger.

“This is our fight, guardian.”

Thunder rolled through the air and lightning split the sea.
Kalama watched as the sea beyond her aunt shifted and turned black.

“I guess I get some help from the rest of the family.”

She pointed toward the churning waters behind Namakaokaha’i.
The goddess turned to look. With a cry of anger, she launched herself away from
the boat.

The black, churning water built and built until a whirlpool
formed. Namakaokaha’i watery body seemed to melt before their eyes as she was
sucked into the whirlpool. Kalama watched as her uncle Kanaloa, the god of the
ocean, pulled her aunt under his mighty waves. She wasn’t naïve though. Kalama
knew her aunt would be back. They had to race to find the last remaining pieces
before her aunt returned or Hawaii would be lost.


Mahalo, anakala
,” Kalama whispered into the wind as
the waves died down and the sea calmed once more. She rose to her feet and
brushed some of the water from her clothes. They were drenched.

“Kalama, what the fuck was that?”

Chapter Eight

 

Kalama looked at Jack and let the minutes tick by. She
wasn’t sure how to explain what had happened, especially given the handsome
doctor’s vehement denial of magic and the mystical history of Hawaii.

“Well?” He finally pulled himself up from the desk and
sprawled in the captain’s chair, thoroughly waterlogged and annoyed.

“You’re not going to believe me,” she said, taking a step
away from him and looking out at the now calm sea.

“I just watched the ocean turn into some watery female and
you stop waves from capsizing us with your bare hands. Try me.”

She took a deep breath and counted to ten. She’d never had
to tell her mortal friends about her true identity.

“It’s complicated,” Kalama said as she turned back to face
him. He raised an eyebrow at her words. “You’re going to think I’m crazy.”

“Just tell me, Kalama. I’ve seen enough crap today to at
least listen with an open mind.”

She took another calming breath and blurted out, “I’m a fire
guardian. That woman, the wall of water, was my aunt Namakaokaha’i.”

“Why do I know that name?” Jack asked.

“She’s the goddess of the sea, hence all the waves crashing
over us and her trying to drown us.”

“Wait, your aunt is the goddess of the sea? Are you telling
me the Hawaiian Pantheon is real?” Jack looked at her incredulously. She could
almost see his scientific brain trying to process the thought. She was amazed
smoke wasn’t billowing from his ears at the effort.

“Yes, Jack, they’re real. Kane, Kanaloa, Lono, and Ku. And
of course, Pele,” Kalama paused for a moment, building up her courage to drop
the biggest bomb on her poor volcanologist. “My mother.”

He stared at her. Simply stared, not moving, and not
blinking. She watched him swallow. Minutes ticked by as Jack’s gaze never left
her face. A huge knot formed in the pit of her stomach. His face was completely
unreadable.

After what seemed like hours he finally spoke. “Pele. The
same Pele who supposedly lives in my volcano?”

“Well technically, it’s her volcano. She just lets you and
the USGS hang out there,” Kalama said, biting her lip when she realized how
crazy the comment made her sound.

“Right. Okay, I’ll go with this for a second. Pele’s your
mom. So, what does that make you?”

“Demi-goddess. My father was mortal.”

“Well that explains why the earth actually moved when you
orgasmed this morning,” Jack said, finally cracking into a smile.

“That is a hazard,” she answered with a laugh. The tension
between them melted away. Kalama let out the breath she’d been holding. Jack
stood up and crossed the distance between them. Reaching out, he grabbed her
elbows and gently pulled her close to him.

“I can’t wait to see what happens when we have full-blown
sex. You might set off the Ring of Fire,” he said with a comical leer. “Can you
explain to me what is going on? I can’t promise I’ll believe everything, but
I’ll try.”

“The vandalism at the volcano, that’s the handiwork of my
aunt. She and my mom have been at odds for centuries. Namakaokaha’i even chased
Pele across the sea from Vaka Nui until Mom formed Hawaii as her safe place.”

“Why is she attacking the artifacts?” Jack wrapped an arm
around her waist and yanked her closer.

Kalama laid her forehead on his chest and waited, breathing
in the clean scent of him and enjoying the feel of his strong arm around her
for a moment. She was a two-hundred-and-seventy-year-old fire guardian. She’d
been raised to be strong in the face of anything the gods threw at her. The
volcano and all of Hawaii was hers to protect. Her lineage demanded it. For
once it was nice to pretend someone else would take care of her.

“It’s my fault in a way,” she whispered. “My aunt and mother
fought because of my father. Namakaokaha’i never forgave my mom for taking him
from her, or for having me. She thinks I should have been her child.”

“That’s not your fault. All of that happened before you were
even born. You can’t blame yourself.”

“We have to find the tiki pieces, Jack. If she gets to them
first, Hawaii as we know it will be destroyed.” Kalama raised her head and
looked him dead in the eye. “That’s why all the incidents on other islands.
She’s searching for the remaining pieces. Once she puts them all together she
can command the lava. She’ll unleash the Ring of Fire and wreak havoc across
the Pacific.”

“Then let’s get moving. I’m assuming whatever happened with
the whirlpool has slowed her down a bit,” Jack wrapped his other arm around her
and placed his palm on the small of her back.

“Yes, it should give us at least a day or two head start,
depending on how far down my uncle takes her.” Kalama placed her hands on his
pecs. She gently kneaded the sculpted muscle she encountered before moving them
up to wrap around his neck.

“Good to know,” he said, leaning down slowly. “I’m going to
kiss you first and then we’ll get moving.”

Her eyes drifted shut as she felt his lips touch hers. He
gently rubbed his lips over hers. He was so warm, so soft, so intoxicating. A
zing of sexual heat streaked through her. A simple kiss turned into so much
more when his tongue took hers. She gasped, growing instantly wet and aching at
the touch. Instead of fighting the hunger, Kalama gave herself up to the power
of his demanding mouth. All the tension of their battle with Namakaokaha’i
seemed to fuel their lust for each other. She let herself free-fall with the raging
passion tightening in her belly.

“Jack, we need to stop,” she whispered, breaking the
embrace, but pressing kisses along the edge of his jaw.

He stepped away from her, putting his hands on her
shoulders. “You’re right. Later. We finish this later.”

He scrubbed a hand over his face and she watched him compose
himself as best he could with the sizable erection tenting his jeans. Flashing
a goofy smile, he turned and headed to the wheel.

He turned the key in the ignition but nothing happened.

“Not again. What is it with me and starting engines?” Jack
asked with frustration.

“I don’t think you have any problems getting engines
started,” she said with a laugh. He looked at her for a moment and then joined
in her amusement.

“Good to know at least I can get you started.”

He tried again and still nothing.

“I think the engine is dead. We’ll have to weigh anchor and
call for help,” Jack pulled out his cell phone as he spoke and punched some
numbers.

Kalama set about lowering the anchor while he made the call.
She looked out over the water and realized that the fight with her aunt had
pushed them closer to Kaho’olawe. The uninhabited, protected island was within
swimming distance.

“Sam can’t get out here for a couple of hours, so we can do
one of two things. We can hold tight and wait, or call the Coast Guard.”

“Let’s wait. Auntie isn’t going anywhere right now. Come on.
We can swim over to Kaho’olawe and have lunch. But you have to promise to never
tell anyone you were over there. No
haoles
allowed. And no one is supposed
to be there without permission.” Kalama tossed off her flip-flops.

“We probably shouldn’t go over then.”

“Look at it this way, if we get caught, I’ll call up a
rainstorm or earthquake to take the heat off us.” She flashed him a smile and
wiggled her eyebrows in what she hoped was a silly fashion. “Throw some towels
and the sandwiches on that surfboard and we’ll haul it to the island.”

Kalama turned to face the water. Reaching behind her, she
quickly coiled her long hair into a bun and secured it with a clip she always
carried. With a slow taunt, she pulled the tank top off and tossed it to one
side. She stripped out of her shorts next, fully aware of Jack’s eyes on her
body.

“What is that?”

Peering over her shoulder to meet his gaze, she smiled,
knowing full well what he was talking about. Starting at her right shoulder
blade and traversing down her back in a straight line to her waist was a bold,
traditional tattoo in stark black. It was several inches thick in length
continuing down her back but only about an inch in width. The thick straps of
her tank tops and her long hair trailing down her skin had hidden the ink from
view. In all their intimate moments, Jack had never gotten her naked so she
knew the tattoo came as a bit of a surprise.

The design was one that had been passed down for centuries
from the Ancient Hawaiians and contained a series of interlocking triangles and
lines. A powerful
kahuna
had tattooed it on her flesh two hundred years
ago.

“It’s a tattoo, Jack.
Tatau
. You live in Hawaii. I know
you’ve seen them before.”

He reached out and lightly ran a fingertip along the design.
He followed the path until he arrived at the top of her bikini bottoms.

“How far does this go down?” he asked, his voice a husky
whisper.

“You’ll have to strip me naked to find out,” she said with a
laugh and darted away from him. Before he could react, she jumped over the side
of the boat and dove into the water.

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