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Mari’s Mistake – Icehome

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Ruby Dixon

Language:
English
ISBN/ ASIN:
B08D1TK2HX
Book Information:

I’ve ruined everything.

I had a mate. Resonance. Happiness. But then T’chai’s attacked by ravenous sky-claw and almost killed. To help him recover, I tell the healer to turn off our unfulfilled resonance. It’s temporary…or so I think.

Big mistake. Because now my khui acts like it’s dead and it hates T’chai. But I still love him. How do we move forward when I can’t bear his touch? Is there a way to get back our happiness together, or is it time to give up on what we once had?

T’chai has other plans, though. He’s not giving up on us. If it means crossing the world, he’s ready to do it at my side.

Books by Author:

Ruby Dixon

1

T’CHAI

The waters of the cove seem unusually warm this day. Warm…and empty.

That part is not so unusual. What was once populated with colorful corals and teeming schools of fish is now a nearly empty pool of water. I blame the Great Smoking Mountain. Not that it has anything to do with fish, but it is easy to blame for all the ills of my tribe. The weather is too hot? I blame the Great Smoking Mountain. The game is gone? The mountain. The coral dead? Mountain. The drift of ash in the air that makes it hard to breathe? Mountain. The stink of rotten things in the air? Mountain. The deaths of nearly my entire tribe?

Mountain, mountain, mountain.

I scowl down at the glimmering, clear water that swirls around my legs. On days like today, with a hungry belly and equally hungry friends waiting back at camp? It is hard to be content with life. It is hard to look around me and be grateful that I survived the death of the Great Smoking Mountain many turns of the seasons ago, if all I am going to do is slowly starve to death. There are no fierce warrior games, no provings, no tribal gatherings, no matings, no nothing.

There are four of us, trying desperately to survive on a beach that provides less and less with every season.

A small glimmer of scales catches my eye in the water, and I immediately camouflage, turning my skin the same color as the waves as I clutch my spear. I do not move, but wait instead. Wait for the pitifully small fish to swim in my direction. I barely breathe as it darts about the empty cove, picking at dead coral and taking far too much time before it wanders close enough for me to strike. Whip-fast, I thrust my spear into the water and stab it through its belly.

With a growl of triumph, I lift my triple-pronged spear and study my catch. Barely two mouthfuls, but if I can find more, it will make a decent meal. Or if S’bren manages to find roots in the jungle, then we will make a stew and split four ways.

The only good thing about Tall Horn being utterly decimated is that there are so few mouths to feed. I grimace to myself even as I think such a thing. I would trade a full belly for the return of my father and mother, my uncles, and my younger brother. I would trade that full belly even to see stern R’sash, our scowling, unpleasant chieftain one more time or the sniping, teasing elders who joked that I was too tall and thin to carry a spear if I was shaped like one.

I am no longer that whipcord-thin youth I was…but there is no one to show. I glare at the tiny fish as I pluck it off my spear and hook it on the thick, woven cord around my waist. “Come now,” I tell it softly as I ready my spear over the water again. “Bring your friends out to play.”

Another fish darts into view soon enough, this one smaller than the last, and I tense, waiting.

“Ho! Brothers!” R’jaal bellows from the shore. “Come and see!”

My ears prick, curiosity getting the better of me. R’jaal is not one to bound around making as much noise as a kaari in heat. That is S’bren. It makes me want to see what has brought such excitement to his voice, but the fish swims closer, tantalizingly close. Just a bit more and I can spear it…

“T’chai!” R’jaal cries. “S’bren! M’tok!”

I clench my jaw and focus. Come nearer, little bite of fish. Come…

From afar, I hear S’bren make a sound of astonishment, and M’tok, too. Their voices do not carry over the calm slap of the water, so I slide back into the hunting trance, ignoring everything but the fish that moves ever closer—

“T’chai!” R’jaal bellows again. “Come and see my female!”

Female?

I have heard him wrong.

Surely.

All the females died six turns of the seasons ago with the rest of the Tall Horn tribe. I have heard wrong. Perhaps he says “long sail” and has caught one of the flying lizards and wishes to share it. Distracted, I twitch—and the fish darts away under the coral.

With a growl of frustration, I turn and wade toward the beach.

My spear is clutched in hand, and I am far enough out in the shallow water that it is not a quick journey back. I can see my three clan-brothers hunched over something in the sand, their heads bent. Are they…eating the long sail without me? Surely not. Scowling harder, I jog toward the shore. “You had better save me at least a mouthful,” I call.

R’jaal sits up and turns toward me with an utterly radiant look on his face.


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