by Kassandra Lamb
A row of palm trees and tropical underbrush–with foliage Kate recognized from houseplants in Maryland–greeted her at the edge of the beach. She was about to step out onto the sand when she noticed a young man loading a canoe off to her right.
The predawn light made his movements seem furtive. He hefted a large gray sack and slid it into the boat.
Kate’s fertile imagination wondered if there was a body in that sack.
She’d had more than her share of adventures with corpses and wouldn’t mind if she never encountered one again, thank you very much!
The young man, a blond wearing a tropical shirt and swim trunks, leaned down to shove the canoe into the froth at the edge of the ocean. Then he climbed in and lifted a paddle to steer the boat further out into the surf. Once clear of the breaking waves, he let the boat drift. It shifted around, and Kate could now see that it was an outrigger–from one side, a float extended on two curved supports to keep the vessel more stable. The increasing daylight revealed a mast. A white sail unfurled in the early morning breeze.
Ah, that’s what was in the sack–the sail.
The man looked back to shore, his head turning slowly as if scanning the beach.
Kate instinctively moved back into the shadow of the palm trees, then wondered why she’d done that. She was considering stepping out into the open and waving, when the man turned his head toward the open sea and pulled in the sail to make it taut. The boat skimmed off across the water.
Kate soon forgot the young man as she walked along the deserted beach. Beams of sunlight streamed across the water, sparkling like bracelets on a young girl’s arm. But the puffy white clouds in the sky were only slightly tinged with pink. Disappointed in the poor showing the sunrise was making, Kate turned her head toward land.
There, above the mountain, the sky was streaked in pale yellow and pink.
Duh, this is the western side of the island. The sun would set over the ocean this evening.
Kate yawned, unsure if her jet-lagged body would be able to stay awake until sunset.
She strolled on the beach, one eye on the rolling surf and one on her footing. The sand was deep, making it hard to walk. Ahead of her, the shoreline curved outward a bit into the sea, giving her a view of sand and water juxtaposed against red and black lava cliffs. She sucked in air at the beauty of the sight. The green hillside sloped upward to the top of the dormant volcano that had formed this section of the island of Maui.
Kate set a goal of rounding that point. Then she would rest. She slogged forward through the thick sand. The sun was now peeking above the top of the mountain, and the sea sparkled in various shades of blue, from turquoise to indigo and everything in between.
By the time she reached the point, her legs were wobbly from the strain of walking in the deep sand. She gingerly lowered herself to sit on the beach. Leaning back on her elbows, she raised her face to the morning light.
She hadn’t realized she’d drifted off until one elbow gave out, dumping her sideways into the sand.
The sound of a throat clearing. She startled and jerked her head up.
A massive shadow blocked the sun.
Missing On Maui, A Kate on Vacation Mystery
It’s an awkward situation at best, and a deadly one at worst.
Days before Kate Huntington is scheduled to leave for her niece’s wedding on Maui, she receives a frantic call from said niece. Amy’s mother–Kate’s rather difficult sister-in-law–is at it again, alienating the groom’s family and even the wedding planner. Can Aunt Kate come early and run interference?
Soon after her arrival, Kate discovers that young women are going missing on the island, and Amy’s maid of honor is hanging out with a notorious local player. Is he involved in the disappearances?
Hawaii is supposed to be a relaxing paradise, but Aunt Kate is kept busy locating a new wedding planner (the delightful Pali Moon), refereeing between Amy and her mother and chasing down errant wedding party members… Oh, and facing off with a psychopath.