In the final chapter of the exciting Last Warrior series, Lio Paikai rushes to the hospital with his lover, Kord, for the birth of his baby brother, Lono. They’re soon waylaid, however, by traffic on the Pali Highway.
Not by cars, but foot traffic. He and Kord, who once were warriors for the last king of Oahu, have intercepted an ancient procession of devotees marching down the old Pali for the Makahiki. They’re stunned to learn dark kahuna forces plan to provide a blood sacrifice for the New Year festival.
The sacrifice they have inadvertently crossed paths with is Lio’s. He must right past wrongs—or there won’t be any future for him or the man he loves.
“Oh, God,” I shrieked, panicked.
I’d gone back in time. We were at Pālehua, the ancient stone site sacred to the deadly art of Lua, a form of fighting and black magic arts perfected by Hawaii’s ancient warriors. Kord was on top of me, still inside me. Rain had started to fall.
He’d had dreams of fucking me here. I’d only ever seen us fighting together. He pulled out of me slowly as the others circled us.
“You are mahu!” one of our fellow warriors shouted.
I tried to sit up. I wanted to be ready to defend my lover and myself at a second’s notice but suddenly realized our weapons were missing.
Mahu was a derogatory term for homosexual. Many warriors partnered up in those days. But I had a weird feeling as I experienced the dream that I was supposed to be with somebody else.
“I love him,” I said.
“‘Ailani, you don’t even know the meaning of it,” a voice spat from behind me. Kord pulled me to my feet. ‘Ailani had been my name back then.
I tried to peer through the steadily pouring rain to see who had said this when Kord leaned into me, pressing my malo, my loincloth, into my hands.
“Dress yourself,” he instructed me in a low voice.
A chill ran from the back of my neck to my spine. My back arched against the pressure. The chill was the sharp end of a spear. I focused on wrapping the malo around my skinny hips as Kord kept trying to put me behind him.
The male voice that taunted me said, “You don’t know what love is.”
“Yes, I do.”
“We love each other,” Kord insisted. He kept moving me around, trying to keep the spears from me. The men circled us, jabbing at us. They’d hidden our weapons. I knew that now but was powerless to do anything to defend us empty-handed.
And then I heard a shout. The others turned as one. The man who’d been taunting me was the same blank-faced man who’d appeared on the terrace of the old Pali.
Who was he?
The men around us gave a collective shout. They tossed swords and spears toward me and Kord, and we joined the battle. A few seconds ago, they’d been ready to kill us. Now we were comrades because we’d been ambushed.
I heard somebody chanting. Ancient words. I’d heard them before. I felt the fear when King Kamehameha’s men invaded our secret training ground. I felt hot tears as our men fell, one by one. Kord deflected a blow coming at me, not from one of Kamehameha’s men, but one of our own.
The man with the blank face.
I’d seen this dream before and knew that Kord would die soon.
If only I could change things. If only I could stop it…
How could the ancient land spirits that protected Pālehua not rise and defend us? We were cornered, like hunted pigs, to be slaughtered.
To a king’s cruel god who demanded more. More. More blood. More pain.
I was surprised to pick out men’s faces in the king’s forces now. I’d never seen that before. In other dreams, they were a blur. Now they were clear.
Oh, man. The man charging me was Eddie Duran, Arrabella’s father. I killed him easily as he tried to charge Kord.
And then the man with the blank face attacked Kord.
All I saw was blood. So much blood.
And the relentless, pouring rain.