Lio Paikai, reincarnated warrior of the lost Hawaiian kingdom, finds trouble in paradise. The old island gods demand Pālehua from his family: blood sacrifice.
Lio Paikai is adjusting to both his new, extremely passionate relationship with his lover, Kord Ashley, and his status as 'Ailani, the reincarnated, loyal warrior who fought for the last king of the Hawaiian islands Oahu and Maui. Having severed his ties with his mother, Kalani, Lio grows closer to his father and his new family, but Kalani won't leave them alone.
Violating a restraining order of protection, she is arrested. Hours later, when Lio accompanies his stepmother to a birthing class, a strange woman falls from the sky landing on the hood of his SUV. Old wounds, old curses, and the demand for retribution threaten to destroy his entire family. Lio must uncover the identity of the fallen woman and soon learns her heartbreaking connection to his mother and the damage it has caused Kalani her entire life. Lio must right an ancient wrong and appease the old island gods that demand an immediate Pālehua: blood sacrifice.
One hour and five minutes later, we walked out of the house. Marcella kept assuring me I'd done very well as she held my arm. My back, neck, and shoulders ached. I'd had to act out giving birth to a baby-doll while Marcella pretended to be my birthing partner.
I felt sorry for my dad. The way she'd screamed at me gave me every indication that she would be a real Nazi in the delivery room.
I was in total panic. I'd had to pretend to give birth to the fake baby so that I empathized with Marcella's process, but found the experience so traumatic I didn't think I'd ever get over it. I kept trying to imagine her vagina opening to a huge, cavernous space as my father massaged the baby's emerging head with olive oil.
Had he done this for me and Louie? What about Marcella? Wouldn't the pain be horrendous?
"You did great, sweetie," she said. "You're a champion."
"No, I'm not. I'm a wuss. I couldn't handle the belly."
"You were fabulous."
"Who was better, me or Kord?"
"Oh, sweetie. Don't do this to yourself."
She flashed me a guilty look. "Well, he sang show tunes as he delivered." She frowned suddenly. "I should have realized then that he was gay."
As we got to the SUV, she peered inside. "Sweetie, do we have any apples in there?"
No, we didn't, but a quick stop over at Foodland would fix that.
As I let her into the passenger side, I stared across the road at a newish house right on the corner. I had no idea why it held my interest, but I caught a sudden glimpse of ghostly children running across the street to it.
I blinked, and nostalgia filled my soul. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The streets were all gone, and I stared at miles and miles of sugar crops. I was standing on the site of an old plantation.
I saw a flash of a different building right on this corner. It was the kind of old Hawaiian-style building that marked a different era. Painted white and with a red roof, it had a lanai in front. I swear I smelled ice cream and chocolate. I heard laughter.
Across the top I saw in faded lettering the name Goo.
And just like that, the image faded.
When I got into the driver's side, Marcella said, "What are you seeing, sweetie?"
Shaking my head, I threw off the sudden emotion I felt. "I know it sounds weird, but I got a glimpse of what used to be there."
"What did you see?"
I hesitated. "A huge sugar plantation. And right where the house is, I saw a shop. A lot of kids went to it. I think it was a kind of soda fountain."
She reached her hand over to mine. "It was. It was the old Plantation Store, but people called it Charlie Goo's Store after the owner. It closed about twenty years ago."
I nodded. A strange, unsettled feeling came over me.
"You think maybe the spirits are getting you ready for a new case?" she asked.
"I'm thinking, maybe."
We weren't wrong.
Twenty seconds later, something fell on the hood of the car, making us both scream. It wasn't a coconut. It wasn't a bowling bowl. It wasn't a vagina or even an empathy belly. What fell on my hood and scared the heck out of both of us was a woman. At least, I thought she was.
And she'd fallen out of the clear blue sky.
A.J. Llewellyn is an author whose obsession with myth, magic, love, and romance might have led to serious stalking charges had it not been for the ability to write. Thanks to the existence of some very patient publishers, A.J.'s days are spent writing, reading, and dreaming up new worlds. AJ has definitely stopped Google searching former boyfriends and given up all ambition to taste-test every cupcake in the universe to produce over 150 published gay erotic romance novels.
A.J. wants you to read them all.
You can find this author lurking on Facebook and Twitter—part-time class clown being another occupation. When not writing or reading, A.J.'s other passions include juggling, kite-boarding, and spending a fortune buying upgrade apps for Diner Dash.