Excerpt: The new Torn Roots



On Saturday, September 29, the first book in the new Hawaiian Storm series will launch. Some readers might remember a book titled Torn Roots. A version was published three years ago by Amazon in a program that has since been cancelled. I’ve revised and expanded it, with some new characters. I’d like you to meet Sophia Keahi.

Chapter 9: Wise woman

Thursday, 11:30 a.m.

Hana Cultural Center and Museum, Maui, HI. Photo: Clio.

The Hana Cultural Center Museum was a single-story, white building with a corrugated tin roof. A low porch was in front, with three wicker chairs and a low stone table to one side. On the table were four glasses and a pitcher of water with lemon slices in it. Twin, intricately carved doors stood wide open, inviting them into a dim interior. Vanessa hoped it would be cooler than the outside.

She made a brief detour to take a look at the building next to the museum. It was also made of wood painted white. It looked like a small clapboard house with a veranda that stretched across the width of the front. But the sign over the veranda burst that illusion.

“Oh, my god,” she could not help but say. “I cannot believe that this town, in the United States, used this building as a one-room police station and courthouse until 1978.”

Kaimi laughed. “That’s Hana for you.”

He led the way up the steps to the Hana Museum. Inside were glass display cases and shelves. Vanessa took in the t-shirts for sale and lingered over the display showing photos from the tsunami that struck Hana Bay in 1946.

Vanessa looked up when Kaimi said “Eh, Sophia.” A small, brown-skinned woman with grey hair that hung down to the small of her back was standing behind a counter. She wore thick horn-rimmed glasses and a bright floral blouse.

“Eh, Kaimi. Nice to see you again so soon. So, you have some questions about the protest yesterday?”

Kaimi turned to Vanessa and cocked an eyebrow. “I knew you’d know why I came before I got here,” he said, turning to the grey-haired woman again.

What is going on? Vanessa wondered. Is Kaimi trying to say she’s some kind of witch?

“Who’s your friend?” Sophia asked.

Kaimi became formal. “Ms. Sophia Keahi, please meet Special Agent Vanessa Storm. Special Agent Storm, Ms. Keahi of the Hana Cultural Center.”

Sophia beamed through her glasses at Vanessa. “So. What can I do for the Federal Bureau of Investigations?”

Vanessa could not help but smile back. “We just have some questions about the people at the protest.” Where is Kaimi going with this?

“What do you know about the woman who led it? Rowan … something,” Kaimi continued.

Sophia’s gaze was fixed on Kaimi. “Don’t pretend you don’t remember her name, ke keiki.” Nephew.

“All right, makuahine.” Auntie. “Rowan Fields. You told me she was going to give me a lot of trouble.”

Torn Roots: A Hawaiian Storm is now available for pre-order at a special price from Amazon.

“Was I wrong?”

Kaimi sighed. “No, you weren’t wrong, Sophia. But how did you know?”

“Would you like a cup of herbal tea, dear?” She came out from around the counter, adjusting a knickknack on a shelf as she passed.

“No, thank you,” Vanessa replied.

Sophia walked out onto the porch and sat gracefully on a wicker chair beside one of the doors. She poured herself a glass of water from the pitcher on the stone table.

Kaimi and Vanessa followed her out. Kaimi crouched, sitting on his heels, and Vanessa sat in another wicker chair.

Sophia took a long drink. “What do you want to know, Kaimi?”

“I want to know who Rowan Fields is and what she’s doing here.”

“She’s a haole who, like many who come to these islands, has fallen in love with them and wants the best for them. She wants to preserve their life and beauty.”

“So she organizes protests?” “Her heart is in the right place. But she doesn’t know as much as she thinks she does.”

Excerpt week: Torn Roots — A Lei Crime Kindle World novella



All this week, Written Words is publishing excerpts from books by fellow author-members of the Jet and Lei Crime Kindle worlds. Today, I’m taking the unusual step and featuring my own Lei Crime novella, Torn Roots.

By Scott Bury

The man stopped a few yards from them. “Rowan Fields, come with me,” he demanded. He had short-cropped, dark hair and thick brows, a thick neck and muscles that bulged under his long-sleeved black shirt. A belt held a holstered automatic at his hip.

“Go f**k yourself,” Rowan answered.

The man scowled, stepped toward them and reached for Rowan’s arm with one hand, his other reaching for his gun.

Rowan yelled, jumped and spun. Her long left leg stretched out horizontally and connected with the strange man’s head with a solid whack. The man cried out and fell, his handgun sailing away into the underbrush.

Rowan landed in a ready pose: knees bent, fists raised. Sam grabbed one hand and pulled her away. “Come on!”

They ran uphill again, plunging into the rain forest. They followed a trail that Sam knew but that Rowan could not even see, jumping over tiny streams and fallen logs, dodging mossy boulders and ducking under low branches, always going uphill.

They paused as Sam assessed which would be the best way to go. “Still keeping up the Tae Kwon Do, I see,” he said.

“I guess you never lose it,” Rowan answered. “Which way?”

Sam indicated a path that Rowan could not see, but she followed him. The jungle got denser as they went, the terrain less even. They jumped over dips and narrow fissures in the moss-covered volcanic rock of Maui. Behind them, they could hear their pursuer crashing through the brush, cursing continually.

Sam led the way he knew well and hoped they would reach the unnamed gorge before their pursuer caught them. He chanced another glance back, and only yards behind Rowan’s shoulder saw movement under the trees. They heard more cursing.

“He’s stuck,” Sam said. He pushed a sapling to one side and let Rowan go past. “Go straight uphill. I’ll catch up.” Rowan looked scared and doubtful, but for once did not say anything and ran uphill.

The man in black appeared from the midst of a thick tangle of wet branches. His black clothes were torn and Sam could see a bruise already forming on his jaw where Rowan’s foot had connected.

Sam let go of the young tree in his hands. It sprang up and smacked the pursuer dead-center in the face. He went down again with another curse, but Sam did not stay to admire his work.

He found Rowan standing at the edge of a shallow gorge twenty feet across. “Now what, genius?”

“I am a genius,” Sam said. He took her elbow and headed to the right. “This way.” Past another tangle of bushes, they reached a mossy log stretched across the gorge.

About Torn Roots

Hawaii is known for volcanoes and sandy beaches. Beauty and danger reign.

After breaking a case of murdered poachers in Maui’s national park, Detective Pono Kaihale accepts a short-term position as Acting Lieutenant in Hana on the island’s rain-forest coast. He is looking forward to redirecting lost hikers and moderating mild lovers’ spats, and enjoying the natural beauty of the southeast shore. But by his second week on the job, Pono finds trouble here comes in unexpected forms.

As environmentalists, property developers, protesters, arsonists, kidnappers and a rogue Homeland Security agent converge on his new post, Pono feels like the eye of a brewing storm. And when a new FBI agent gets involved, Pono realizes the stakes are much higher than a quiet period in his career.

Lives will be lost if he doesn’t solve this mystery quickly.

Find it exclusively on Amazon.

About Amazon Kindle Worlds

Kindle Worlds is an Amazon initiative that allows authors to publish stories set in another author’s fictional universe. The Lei Crime Kindle World is based on the Lei Crime series, created by bestselling author Toby Neal.