With the cancellation of the Kindle Worlds program, many authors are working hard to revise and republish their Kindle World novellas and stories themselves.
I’m one of them, and I’m making good progress on my new four-book Hawaiian Storm series. This weekend, enjoy this taste of the first: the new Torn Roots.
Chapter 5: Chase
Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.
“They’re after me.”
Sam rubbed his eyes and looked again. No, I’m not dreaming. “Rowan?”
The tall woman pushed past him and shut the door. “Geez, will you ever clue in. What do you think it means when someone says ‘They’re after me’? Think they want to stand on your doorstep?”
“Who’s after you?”
“I didn’t see their ID, but obviously, the government or the corporation. What difference does it make?”
“What are you talking about?”
Instead of answering, she went into Sam’s kitchen, where his dinner, just prepared, sat on the table. She picked up his big glass of ice water and drained it in one long drink. “So thirsty. I’ve been running all day. Do you have any wine?”
“Not since you left, no. Do you want a beer?”
Rowan made a face, but when Sam handed her a bottle from the refrigerator, she cracked the cap and downed half the bottle in three fast swallows. Then, still standing, she picked up Sam’s fork and began eating the vegetables on his plate.
“Hungry?” Sam asked.
“I haven’t eaten all day. I’ve been running for hours. It makes a girl hungry. You got anything else to eat? What am I saying, of course you do. You’re a foodie.” She looked in the fridge and pulled out a plastic container. “What’s in here?”
“Leftover kalua pig from last week. It’s still good, but maybe a little dry.”
Sam smiled as he anticipated pushing Rowan’s buttons. “Pigs are an invasive species and a bit of a problem here. I killed, butchered and cooked that one myself. Go ahead, eat it up. I’ve got plenty more in the freezer.”
“You know I don’t eat meat.” She practically threw the container back into the refrigerator and brought out a head of lettuce and a mango. She put the mango on a cutting board on the counter, rummaged in a drawer until she found a knife, cut the mango in two and then cut a slice. She popped it into her mouth. “Oh, that’s good. Fresh, fresh mango,” she said, chewing. Juice ran down her chin and onto her shirt. “Damn. Do you have a clean shirt I could borrow? My clothes are soaked with sweat.”
“They might be kind of big for you. But hang on a sec.” He went to his bedroom and returned with a folded forest service shirt.
Rowan had already dropped her t-shirt shirt and shorts onto the floor. Unabashedly bare-breasted, she reached for the shirt. “Thanks, dude.”
“No worries.” Sam reluctantly pulled his eyes from Rowan’s nipples. “So, why—”
“Hey, you got a spare pair of shorts? Mine are dirty,” She gestured vaguely toward the clothes on Sam’s floor. “And torn. And I lost the button a couple of weeks ago, anyway.”
Sam sighed and went back to the bedroom for a pair of gym shorts. “Okay, tell me—”
“This place is nice,” she interrupted, looking around Sam’s home, still topless. “Hardwood floors, open concept. I even like the rattan sofa. Very Hawaiian.” Tugging the shirt down, she stepped closer to the bookshelf that covered nearly a whole wall. “Lots of geology and scicence books. No poetry, though.” She paused her inspection to tie the shorts as tight as she could.
“What are you doing here, Rowan? I mean, it’s nice to see you again, but …”
“What were you doing at the marina construction site this morning?” she interrupted again as she pulled Sam’s forest service shirt on. She did up only three buttons on the shirt and rolled up the sleeves.
“I came to complain about their workers joy-riding in the national park yesterday. They started a forest fire. What are you even doing on Maui? I thought you went home months ago.”
Rowan shrugged and took another bite of mango. “There’s important work to do here, protecting the environment for the Hawaiian people.”
“I thought your group was out of money. You told me they couldn’t pay your rent anymore, and that’s why you had to go back to Vancouver. Plus, you said you wanted to go back to university.”
“We got a donation.”
Sam didn’t know which of the hundred questions swirling in his head he should ask next, but then he heard a clattering, chopping roar accompanied by rapid clicking. A sudden wind blew dust and stones against the windows and walls of his house. “What’s going on?”
Outside the window, a small, black helicopter settled onto his front lawn.