Normal people sneak out to a party and have fun. Maya Rao ends the evening by incinerating the guy who attacks her.
Nik Lucas, sexy, new in town and totally forbidden, happens to walk in on her. Normal guys would run for the hills. Nik knows a whole lot more than he's telling.
Maya doesn't believe the gods are real, doesn't waste her time with mere mythology. But when gods, demons and hellhound's become the new normal and wielding fire becomes her new skill, she must decide what it is she really believes.
Can Maya accept that normal is something she will never be because it isn't normal to be
...the Hand of Kali.
5 of 5 Fire
Fire where to start this review..... man I am all over the place because I have never ever read a book that captivated and kept reading about Gods and mythology. For those of you reading this review wondering why that is important I will tell you that I love love love MYTHOLOGY books and history books. I love reading about the Gods and the different believes people have. This book was no exception and they way it started out to the very end was great to. Tee knows how to weave a story and hold you there until you have finished it and your wondering how in the heck had I read that so fast?
Maya Rao thought she was normal. She thought she was your average teen going to school and parties with her friends until one night she is at a party and she is attacked and burns the kid to death. At first she is not sure what is happening but soon realizes she burned the boy to death. What is more strange is the new guy in town Nik Lucas walks in on her while she is burning the boy and acts like everything is okay.
Maya wants answers and when she asks them what she finds out will blow her mind. She does not believe it at first but soon realizes that her parents kept a very big secret from her and when they tell her she will have to decide on whether or not she believes in myths or if her parents are just flat out crazy. She will have to trust people she barley knows and she will have to come to terms with who she is.
Love reincarnation and myths..... well this is the book for you! Happy Reading!
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Fear spun Maya around on stricken feet. To defend her back perhaps. She just felt less vulnerable facing her attacker, where she could see his next move. He barreled straight at her. And for all her training in martial arts, she did the one thing her dad always said never to do. She ducked her head and hid her face with her hands. Hands out, as if she could fend off this vicious attacker merely with the soft skin of her palms.
Maya felt the heat before she saw it.
Byron was on fire. A living column of shimmering orange flames. She couldn't breathe. Was afraid to breathe. How did that happen? She glanced around the bathroom as panic filled her veins, her fear taking on a whole new level of hysteria. She had to put the fire out.
She turned to the faucet to fill her hands with water. And froze. In the mirror she saw the burning reflection of Byron disappear. Byron was there one moment and gone the next. Only a few burnt shards of fabric left to say he was ever there. But she remembered the last thing she'd seen before Byron became nothing: brilliant blue eyes turning a frighteningly blood-red.
And Nik, holding the doorknob, staring at the empty space on the floor behind her.
Maya stepped into the foyer, swallowing a bubble of nervous excitement. Nik leaned against a wall near the stairs, dark hair curling onto his shoulder. His nonchalant slouch didn’t fool her. His black eyes stared right through her as if he knew something she didn’t. Her Nik-based musings were short-lived as Amber tightened her grip, steering her to the left. Maya avoided Nik’s gaze and turned, submitting to Amber’s direction. And found herself staring right into the brightest blue eyes she’d ever seen. Electric blue and purely predatory.
“Come. Let’s go outside,” Byron spoke in her ear. His voice loud and cutting. His breath moved across her cheek, hot and fetid. Worse than alcohol. Like something had crawled in there and died a long time ago. Maya shuddered and winced as his lips touched her temple.
The cold softness freaked her out.
Maya’s heart pounded harder. She knew Byron had felt her pulse race when he threw her a knowing smile that curled at the corner of his lip and said volumes as his thumb dug into her waist, then drew small circles on her skin.
Maya stalked to the door and flung it open. She had every intention of shoving past him and getting the hell away. Joss would still be in the car so if she ran fast enough she’d get there before Byron.
Byron was ready for her.
Maya tried to run past him, but he slammed his palm into her chest. She stumbled backward, her hip hitting the basin with a solid thwack. Her body ached but her gaze remained on Byron. He kept his head down, looking at her out of the top of his eyes. Like a bull, readying himself to charge straight at her. She expected smoke to rise from his nose soon.
Byron closed the distance between them in the blink of an eye. His hand spread around her neck before Maya could move. Before she could think. Even before she realized there was nowhere to go. He lifted her by the throat, her feet dangling at least a foot off the floor. He was so strong, so frighteningly strong. His fingers dug deep.
“You’re crazy. What could possibly be worse than spontaneous combustion?” she asked, shaking her head.
“Nope, not crazy. I just know what I saw.”
“Which was?” she questioned him but it was almost a challenge. As if she dared him to make up some ridiculously unbelievable story.
“It was you. You killed him.”
The sand beside her shifted, and someone dumped themselves beside her. She didn’t look. Knew before he sat down it was him. He had a unique scent. Some exotic, spicy fragrance he wore. No doubt he knew it drove the girls crazy.
"Knowledge?" Maya glared at him. "What do I need to know other than the fact that I can roast a person with my hands?"
"Yes, knowledge." Nik's face darkened. "Tell me, how much do you know about Rakshasas?"
"I can kill them and they stink."
Maya flinched. A thousand tiny knives of white-hot pain splintered through her skin. Her teacher’s knuckles crunched against her cheekbone and she spared a fleeting thought for the beautiful bruise sure to flower across the side of her face by the next morning. It was her own fault. Her attention had strayed. Again. Not that she was very good at any form of martial arts anyway. But she did try.
She should have tried harder. If she had, she wouldn’t be lying flat on her back with the whole room spinning around her. She wouldn't be lying so close to the gym mat that she had to wonder if the odd smell came from the plastic or from the hundreds of sweaty fighting bodies travelling over it every day. Neither would she be cursing the fact that she'd be sporting this hideous bruise all the way until prom.
“Honey, are you okay?” Leela Rao hurried to her daughter’s side, her dark hair escaping from the knot at the top of her head. She knelt and threw a narrow-eyed glance at Maya’s teacher.
At least Mom cared enough to check if I’m still alive. Maya groaned as her mom's fingers probed her cheekbone, only causing further pain. And maybe even breaking off splintered bone.
Her mom tucked a stray strand of Maya's black hair behind her ear and sat on her heels. “It’s fine, nothing broken. But you will have a lovely bruise for the next few days.”
“Yeah, let’s see what Child Services says.” Maya muttered. She was prone to opening her mouth and spewing out words without thinking. It’s what usually got her in trouble. She immediately regretted the words and hoped her mom hadn't heard. One look at her mom told her otherwise. Leela frowned and shook her head, as if wanting to scold, but knowing the time and the place was entirely wrong for disciplining her daughter. Still, Maya had no intention of apologizing.
“Come on. If you’re fine enough to be a smart-ass then you’re fine to get back up and practice.” Her Kung Fu teacher smiled, all teeth, and stuck his hand in front of Maya’s face. She glared at the hand. She really had no choice so she took it and allowed him to lift her back to her feet in one fluid move. “No pain no gain, hey Maya?”
She dusted herself off despite knowing full well no dust clung to her. She kept her eyes on the floor, not daring look around. How many of the other students had witnessed her embarrassing knockout?
Nik was there too, somewhere within the broiling group, greeting their instructors and filing out of the studio. Nik who always seemed to be around, ever since his arrival three months ago. If he didn't happen to run in the same circles as her, Maya would have suspected him of stalking. But no, they went to the same school, and within days of Nik’s arrival they shared the same martial arts class, even had a few short and awkward conversations when she’d caught him watching and he hadn’t been able to flee easily.
Nik Lucas, with his dark curling hair, strong chiseled features and deep black eyes.
Nik Lucas. The forbidden fruit.
Nope, only nice Indian boys need apply. Besides, if she’d heard it once she’d heard it a thousand times - when she was ready for boys then she was ready for marriage. Nik remained off-limits. Too white. Not Indian enough. Whatever. Maya couldn't even allow herself the pleasure of daydreams. She’d be setting her heart up for the inevitable break.
Maya tried to stop thinking of Nik, tried to convince herself he'd probably missed the whole debacle. She resumed her position, wide stance, bent knees, weight on the balls of her feet. Her cheek stung, a reminder to keep her eyes on her teacher's hands, or rather her Sifu. She had to call him Sifu during her lessons. Them’s the rules. She really wanted to grit her teeth but the blow to her cheekbone bled icy pain into her jaw.
Maya blocked her instructor’s first strike with an effortless snap of her wrist. He was going easy on her. Which meant he’d bring out the big guns soon enough. She tested her jaw, moving it side to side as she circled him. Eye to eye. Hand to hand. She hoped eating wouldn't be a problem.
Two lightning fast moves later, she froze nose to skin with his fist. He'd spared her the full impact of the punch. He wasn’t usually that generous. Maya blinked, staring at his golden-brown eyes over the edges of his knuckles. Nope, not a hint of sympathy. Nothing.
She sank into her stance again and knew it would inevitably end in trouble. This time he used a smooth roundhouse kick, and whacked her feet from under her. The bone-shattering impact with the ground left Maya in stunned agony. Way worse after the blow to her cheekbone. Way worse when her head hit the floor so hard she almost passed out.
“Dad!” Maya cried, her voice filled with unshed tears and pain.
“Sorry honey, are you okay?” he peered at her, a cheeky grin pasted on his face. It wasn't fair when he did that. In fact he got away with everything because of that stupid, lopsided grin. He pushed wet strands of hair from her cheeks, his fingers moving to her neck to check her pulse. “Maybe we should call it a day, okay?”
Er... Like I’m going to actually say no? Really Dad?. She nodded, and allowed him to help her to her feet. When her knees buckled he swung her into his arms.
So embarrassing. Sixteen years old, and her father carried her as if she weighed the same as she had ten years ago. But she let him, resting her head on his chest. This time she refused to fight him.
Teacher or not, next time he’d better watch out.
Maya’s mom fluffed up her pillows and smiled down at her daughter. “You’ll be happy to know this injury will get you out of going to temple this week.”
“Why is that? Wouldn’t it be better to go and show all your friends you are bringing up you daughter the traditional well-disciplined way?” The words were out and there was nothing she could do to take them back.
“Maya,” her mom gasped. But the shock melted from her face as she sat on the edge of Maya’s bed. “Honey, you know we haven’t brought you up in the ‘traditional’ way. You wouldn’t be learning to fight if we did.”
“So why am I? You and dad can both see how terrible I am?. Why don’t you let me give it up?” Maya pouted, glad they’d moved on to another topic.
Her mom tucked Maya's hair behind ear; she'd always said Maya shouldn't hide her pretty face behind her hair. “Because you have must learn to protect yourself. We need to know that you have at least some ability to defend yourself. Just in case.”
“In case of what? Somerville's probably the safest suburb in the state of California. Maybe even the whole of the western seaboard.” Maya grumbled, grabbing a cushion from beside her she began to pull at the beaded tassels. She’d been training under her dad’s tutelage since she was six years old. He’d been running the school ever since her parents arrived in America when Maya was just a baby.
“Well you just never know-” a note of hesitation in her mom’s voice drew Maya’s gaze. Her mom opened her mouth to say something, but a moment later the urge seemed to subside and she went silent. Then she sighed and said, “Maya you should send up a prayer or two.” Maya stared as her mom pointed a finger to the ceiling. “You probably need all the help you can get especially with a black eye that bad.”
“Mom,” Maya scolded, shocked she’d suggest such a thing. “You know what I think.”
“Yes, honey. I know you don’t believe now. But someday soon you may no longer have a choice. “Now get some rest.” Her mom stood up, gently patted Maya’s cheek before leaning over to kiss her forehead. Her waist length hair, so like Maya’s swayed as she walked out of the room. At the doorway she turned and winked at her daughter, “If you don’t want the gods to help you then you better be prepared to help yourself.”
The door closed with a snick just as the cushion Maya had been playing with hit it. Maya shook her head, chuckling. Her mom always had a way with words. Although her parents had accepted she didn’t fully believe in the theology of Hinduism, her mom never failed to try her luck at convincing her every so often. Still, she was thankful they didn’t force her to perform all the rituals and customs. They were less Orthodox than the other parents in the community, like Ria’s father. But they still maintained their belief in the gods. It's merely mythology. Not actually real.
But when her mother looked at her that way, Maya had to wonder what it really took to believe.
About The Author:
I have been a writer from the time I was old enough to recognize that reading was a doorway into my imagination. Poetry was my first foray into the art of the written word. Books were my best friends, my escape, my haven. I am essentially a recluse but this part of my personality is impossible to practice given I have two teenage daughters, who are actually my friends, my tea-makers, my confidantes… I am blessed with a husband who has left me for golf. It’s a fair trade as I have left him for writing. We are both passionate supporters of each other's loves – it works wonderfully…
My heart is currently broken in two. One half resides in South Africa where my old roots still remain, and my heart still longs for the endless beaches and the smell of moist soil after a summer downpour. My love for Ma Afrika will never fade. The other half of me has been transplanted to the Land of the Long White Cloud. The land of the Taniwha, beautiful Maraes, and volcanoes. The land of green, pure beauty that truly inspires. And because I am so torn between these two lands – I shall forever remain cross-eyed.