Kanui sighs, thinking about Kiko in the arms of that brat Newlin. The couple made it very apparent their excitement for one another over the past few weeks, and Kanui has no doubt Kiko will ask Newlin to be her mate. The contest for her heart is over.
“Why should Newlin always get what he wants?” Kanui asks the Maker in a little prayer. He never does what he’s supposed to. When chores are to be done, Kanui is constantly needling him to finish. When special ceremonies occur, someone must find Newlin and beg him to come. When Runoi cooks a delicious dessert, Newlin is first in line for his portion. Why do evil people always succeed while someone like Kanui gets the leftovers.
It isn’t fair.
Speaking of leftovers, before Kanui can finish his internal rant, Lilit settles in next to him, giving Kanui a jolt.
“Hello, handsome. Waiting to go to the temple?”
Kanui cocks his head. “The temple? I thought we were doing that tomorrow. It’s a little late at night, my lady. There are jungle creatures that prowl in the evening.” That’s a bit farfetched, Kanui knows, but he doesn’t want to spend most of his night listening to Lilit’s incessant flirting and constant babble.
“Nonsense, slave. It’s barely dusk. We have all night!” She grasps his hand and bounces out the door, chattering about all the treasures they might find.
Kanui tries hard not to roll his eyes. He decides to renew his attitude. Maybe he could have fun. He does like interesting artifacts and myths. And he’d been putting off going to the temple for two weeks when finally he acquiesced that day to do it the following morning. A few hours earlier isn’t going to change anything.
The temple turned out to be the most interesting building Kanui had ever seen. The ancient amazons were a superstitious people, believing in supernatural powers from the darkness, something Kanui had only heard about from campfire stories the slaves would tell each other at night.
“What do you think this does, Kanui?” Lilit asks, pulling him out of his thoughts.
“I wouldn’t touch that, my lady,” Kanui warns.
But Lilit being Lilit, she doesn’t listen to him. “Fibblefobble, Kanui. There’s a perfect hand sized hole here.”
“What’s this?” she cries. “Is it going to give me treasure?”
The obelisk moans, spewing sand at Lilit. “Oh no!”
Kanui laughs, he cannot hold back. The look on her face is priceless.
“Do you not know it’s impolite to laugh at one’s folly, Kanui?” Lilit chides.
Arching an eyebrow, Kanui retorts, “I was not laughing at you, my dearest lady. It’s just…your face was too charming. Try it again!”
“You wish me to fail anew? I think not. But I believe there are more treasures to be had. This one blunder doesn’t have to be my last.”
Kanui laughs again. To his surprise, Lilit could be quite funny.
Bowing, Kanui says, “After you, my lady.”
And she was right. She did fail again.
“Lilit, back away from that thing,” Kanui yells. “Its red face means doom!”
“Oh my Maker!” Lilit cries, shuddering.
Kanui rushes over. “Are you well, my lady?” He didn’t see anything come out of the statue, just red light.
Lilit rubs her face and says, “I think I’m done with these ancient creations, Kanui. They just don’t like me.”
“I don’t think it has anything to do whether the things ‘like’ you, Lilit. They’re probably meant to ward off thieves.”
Waving an arm, she says, “That’s not true. My mother told me of a time my father went to this very spot and was blessed with many treasures. But I am not blessed by the Maker. I’m just an unlucky, ugly girl with no special qualities. I know you’re just here with me because I made you go with me. You’ve made that very clear. But I thank you for putting up with me. In the future, I won’t bother you anymore. Let’s go, Kanui. I’m done with this place.”
Guilt pricks Kanui’s heart. She is right. She did force him to come, but he never gave her a chance in the past. “Lilit, I’m sorry. I’ve been a horse’s ass. I promise I am having a good time, and I’m delighted with your company.”
Her eyes widen as she fiddles with her fingers. “You…are?”
Nodding, he says, “Come. Let’s leave this foreboding place. I saw a nice quiet area near a beautiful pond in the gardens.” Taking Lilit by the hand, they hike down a few flights of steps and then Kanui stops as the sun sets behind the clouds. “Does this place make you feel better, Lilit?”
Flopping her arms around Kanui’s shoulders, Lilit gives him a sly smile and nods.
“Lilit…” Kanui says, heart pounding. “What are you doing?”
“I’m going to kiss you, silly. Pucker up!”
Kanui chuckles to himself, not believing he is actually falling for Lilit’s charms.
Breathing hard, Kiko has just defeated Newlin in a battle match for the first time in all these weeks of training. Her mastery of mana is growing stronger with each passing day. She feels she is ready to become the Champion of her tribe, and she has her love to thank.
Without a word, Newlin jerks his head for her to come near him by the roaring falls.
Once she meets with him, it’s as if the air is filled with electric fire. The two cannot hold back any longer. His lips are more urgent than Kiko has ever felt before–fierce, pressing like he’s wanting her as much as she wants him.
She feels the smoothness of his neck, smells the rich, musky scent of his skin. He pulls her closer until they are body to body.
Fear creeps into Kiko’s heart because she knows she’s already gone too far.
But she doesn’t care.
There, in the cover of darkness, with the mist of the waterfall raining down on them, Kiko’s heart is filled with her lover. She would not think about the consequences for all she desires is Newlin.
“I did it, Mommy!” Hoku cries, waving her hands in such a cute way. Kalani wouldn’t trade seeing this for all the tribes in the Amazon.
“You sure did, sweetheart! We must tell Daddy.”
“I’m a big girl now.”
“You’re an Amazon princess who can go in the big girl potty. I’m so proud of you.”
Most Creators would never sully their hands training their children like this. That was the Provider’s job, but Elui was not herself ever since she lost her mate, Ricci, and honestly, the Creator Heiress, Makana, was left to her own devices without much supervision when she was little. Kalani was not going to make that mistake with Hoku. She wanted to find a new Provider but couldn’t do that to Elui. She’d served this tribe for so long. Hopefully, in a few moons, she’d allow Elui’s daughter, Lilit, to step in and “help” all the while Lilit would actually be the “new” Provider and Kalani would find another position for Elui to fulfill.
Placing Hoku with her toys in the living room, the mouth watering scent of blackened fish drifted through the air. “What are you cooking, my love?” Kalani asks.
“Horus went to the stream this morning and caught our supper. Wasn’t that nice of him, my rosy darling?”
“I never knew Horus to be a fisherman. I thought he liked only his plants.”
“Well, I gave him a rod and reel and he couldn’t refuse me now could he? I’m hard to resist when I’m demanding.” Runoi shot her a sultry look which only made Kalani laugh.
“I won’t disagree, my love,” Kalani says, eyeing Runoi with adoration. “You are indeed hard to resist.”