With a short time to go until the release day of Fatal Break, I thought I’d start to share some excerpts from the book.
Here’s a sneak peek at chapter one. I hope you enjoy it!
The atmosphere in The Lava Pot was festive despite the ominous chill that was racing across my skin, causing goose bumps to erupt at its touch. The overhead rattan fan slowly turned, bringing the scent of the tropical storm, and the sound of Benny Hoku and his Ukulele Wahines competed with the torrential rain hitting the roof. I rubbed my arms and listened as Tua recounted the tale, a feeling of dread sitting heavy in my stomach.
“Thunder reverberated along the mountainside, and lightning lit the skies,” he explained, his milky eyes wide as he leaned in close, his voice low and haunting. Chills break-danced down my arms.
Tua was a native to the island of Kauai. His white beard mingled with his long hair, almost indistinguishable as to which was which. His dark skin was weathered, and his smile was enchanting. “Mighty rains roared down the mountainsides,” he continued, his hands telling more of the story than his words. “The waterfalls turned to blood as the red soil buckled in its wake.”
I pushed my back against the chair and sucked in a breath, the feeling of doom hammering in my chest, the sounds of the tiki bar just a distant hum.
“This was known as the blood rain, and the locals knew that something rare was occurring in the life of a chief.”
“Did he die?” I croaked, my dark brown eyes huge with concern as the air pressure from the storm pressed against my skin.
Tua’s eyes crinkled as his smile broke through my dread. “No, Samantha.” He laughed, waving his hand dismissively in front of me. “A young chief was born.”
Oh. I smiled despite feeling like an idiot. But to be fair, Tua had been telling the tale in a very foreboding tone.
“After the storm a beautiful rainbow crossed the skies, showing the people the miraculous powers of the child. Hau-pu was a great warrior who would grow to attack and defeat his enemy, his spear a mighty weapon. Until one night he mistakenly thought that Kauai was under attack from Chief Kaena of Oahu. Kaena had organized a fishing tournament, the canoes filled with lanterns and torches, the noise so loud it drowned out the sounds of the ocean. Hau-pu thought he was being invaded, so he threw rocks and boulders into the ocean, killing Chief Kaena.”
Geez, that was a bit harsh.
“And that is how the Rock of Kauai became what it is,” finished Tua, his tone now light and airy.
“Is that true?” I whispered to my BFF, Alani, as she stared openmouthed at him. Alani was also native to Kauai. She had the gorgeous skin, shiny black hair, and huge brown eyes to prove it.
“He retells the myth correctly, only with much more drama than Dad ever did.”
“That’s intense,” I said to Tua.
“Well, Hawaiian folklore is not to be taken lightly,” he proclaimed, his finger in the air signaling the bartender, as the sounds of the bar once again permeated my mind.
The Lava Pot was the one and only tiki bar in the Aloha Lagoon resort, and their head bartender, Casey, was on duty tonight. He noticed Tua and nodded then moved to the beer taps, knowing what his order was.
“I can tell you more…” Tua continued, but I cut him off.
“Thanks heaps. But I’m not sure I’m going to sleep tonight as it is.”
Tua had entertained us for the last hour recounting many myths of Hawaii, some of which were going to give me nightmares. Luckily Casey was my boyfriend, and I’d arranged to stay at his place tonight, which meant sleep may not be something I needed to worry about anyway. Well, at least I hoped not.
Because of the storm, the large timber and glass doors of The Lava Pot that were usually pulled back revealing the boardwalk and the beach had been closed as the wind was pushing the rain inside. The noise of the room echoed within the confines, and I noticed Casey dodge the crowd as he made his way towards us.
“Here you go, Tua,” he announced, his British accent loud and proud. Casey towered over Tua as he lifted the glass from the tray and placed it on the table before repeating the process with two Lava Flow cocktails. One for me and one for Alani. His electric blue eyes twinkled, and I noticed the bead of perspiration dampening his white shirt as his light brown hair curled at the collar. Casey was born to be a bartender. He had personality, charm, and an extraordinary memory for everyone’s names and drinks.
Me, I’d have forgotten even before I handed it over, but then I hadbeen told that I lacked focus.
“Thank you,” Tua sang, his smile beaming his appreciation.
I too beamed at Casey and then nearly slipped off my chair as he gave me a secret little wink. When it came to boyfriends I was batting well above my average, but I wasn’t going to point that out. Even though the girl with the magnificent chestnut-colored hair sitting at the table next to us was obviously thinking the same thing. Her gaze flipped between me, Alani, and Casey, a confused look creasing her brow.
“Tua, you’ve spent more time with Sam tonight than I have all week,” Casey jovially pointed out. Casey had been exceptionally busy with work, but tonight was the last of his shifts for a few days, so we had plans to change that.
“And I am grateful,” Tua responded. “She’s been such a pleasure. Not everyone gets that enthralled by my stories. At one point I was fearful that she may wet her pants from fright.”
He wasn’t the only one.
I laughed as my cheeks heated up from embarrassment, but then Casey had just allowed his fingers to brush the back of my neck, so the hot flush could have been caused by that. I grabbed the cocktail and relished the flavors of the strawberry and rum as they spilled across my taste buds, the alcohol settling the jitters I had.
I was looking forward to tonight and had put extra effort into it. I’d chosen my outfit to impress—white jeans (which I was now seriously regretting), a pale pink flowy top that showed just enough cleavage yet stayed classy and elegant, and it was all topped off by my glittery painted toenails.
Alani and I had shared a girls’ day at the beauty therapist in town. Her first suggestion was the Moana Spa at the resort, but I may or may not have been banned from there after a previous visit a few months ago. It was best not to try my luck. Anyway, my toenails looked incredible, and for the first time ever, I was wishing Casey had a foot fetish.
“I’m finishing my shift a bit early, hopefully no later than ten,” Casey said to me as Tua and Alani started a conversation about another myth—the Mujina, the faceless lady. I’d heard that myth before and was more than happy to sit that conversation out. “I’ve got Owen to cover for me.”
The Lava Pot closed at 2 a.m., which meant on the nights that Casey worked, he usually crawled into bed only a few hours before I crawled out. To have an early mark was an unexpected treat.
The smile he gave me made my toes curl into my shimmery beaded sandals. I discreetly used my phone screen to check my reflection and groaned. My hair that I had spent ages perfecting was—thanks to the weather—now a frizzy mess. The humidity had caused my makeup to run, and I had sweat stains under the armpits of my shirt. I made a mental note to ask Casey when his next eye exam was, because if he could smile at me the way he just did, he was either blind or desperate.
“Just let me know when you’re ready.” I grinned despite the humiliation I was feeling. I mean, if Casey wasn’t deterred by my appearance, then neither was I.
His smile upped to full wattage as he walked away back towards the bar.