Title: Separate, But Together
Author: Raven Starr
Publisher: Mocha Memoirs Press, LLC
Purchase Link: http://stores.lulu.com/mochamemoirspress
Genre: interracial fantasy
Blurb: This is a sad tale of loves lost. In a Hartslst, a risky world, two people from different tribes fall in love. Kaali, from the East Falls Turtle Clan, falls hard for Sar’tac, a northlander. Only once yearly, or if in dire need, do the two clans ever meet. But from the moment Kaali saw Sar’tac her heart belonged to him. How long would she wait to see him again? Will another love steal her heart?
Kaali was known for getting into trouble, not on purpose you see, it usually followed her. Maybe it was the way her brain worked, like her grandmother always told her. She believed in the words of the people around her. If lies were to spill out of people’s mouths, then Kaali wished their tongues would have the same fate and fall out as well. Looking up again, she caught glimpse of several men starting to file off the ship and head right in her direction.
Kaali instantly pressed her back against the filthy stone blocks and held her breath. The strong scent of urine and animal dung reeking from behind the barrels made her gag. She covered her mouth, not wanting to lose her breakfast on her feet. Not a sound did she make as they passed by her, their faded, fuzzy gray capes flew behind them like fabric wings. Their green slaves carried their wares. They had thicker blankets than her weaved one and shiny baubles boys would give to girls.
As the troupe passed, a young warrior stopped and stared at her. His strange blue eyes probed her doe brown eyes as she pleaded for him to keep her presence a secret.
“What’s there Sar’tac? Anything interesting?” a deep eerie voice bellowed.
“Nothing,” the young man called over his shoulder.
“Move along then. I want to see their women dance around the fire. After we eat I wish to pluck a few out and let them feel what a North Man can do.” Hearing the line, all the men burst out in infectious, but lustful, laughter that made Kaali shiver.
With a slight nod, Sar’tac traveled forward. By the time Kaali made it back to Tar-na she could tell her grandmother was two seconds from angry.
Kaali held up her hands. “First, let me explain.”
“Those are the northlanders. They live in the cold and rain, where the sun barely shines. They sell and trade people like cattle.” Tar-na spat on the ground. “Stay away from them, Kaali. They bring more than wares here believe you me. You know of the young one here called Fur?
“His mother was smitten by one of them. They used her, and then traded her for someone else. Someone from another tribe heard about her being missing and the girl’s family had to buy her back, and by that time she was full of child.”
Kaali watched as the men set up their tents and began to mill around. The guards straightened their backs as they watched the strange Northers.
“Ow,” Kaali felt a hard tug on her long black hair. “What was that for, grandmother?” She asked, rubbing her scalp.
“I see the way your mind works, child. There are good men here for you.”
Kaali turned around. “Like who?”
Tar-na rocked back on her haunches and thought. “What about Derk? He is a powerful man and a good hunter.”
“And he is as ugly as a rock fish.” Kaali folded her arms.
Tar-na tried to hide her giggle. “That is very true. What about Jaguar Claw? He is both powerful and good-looking. I have heard him ask about you.”
Kaali shook her head. She turned to see Jaguar Claw surrounded by ladies, all of them touching his weapons and acting like giddy girls. Kaali cut her eyes away as soon as Jaguar caught her staring. He was good-looking but something in her soul told her he was not the one, at least not now. He loved the girl attention; he wasn’t so trustworthy. Again, Kaali stared at the Northers until she caught the eye of a certain boy and smiled.
To her utter surprise, he smiled back. He had a beautiful smile.