Masked Hearts, A Fantasy Romance Anthology
Can a Spanish water woman and an African mythical two-horned creature save themselves and their families from harm at the same time they are falling in love?
“You have need of me? In what way? One does not hire an Aloja as one would a common housekeeper.” She tossed her head, feeling her hair settle across her back in a wave. The mask dug into her skin and she pulled it off, holding it in her hands while looking at him haughtily. She was not to be hired. She did not want for money.
He inclined his head in an acknowledgment of her statement.
“I would never presume to hire you as I would a housekeeper. I have need of you. We have need of you.”
The “we” made her frown again. What was the “we?” Was there another Abada in Kimoni’s life? She did not like that idea.
Her cell phone blatted, forgotten in the small purse she had tucked inside her gown. The sumptuous fabric that echoed but did not clash with her dark red hair had taken on some dust and branches in their flight. She brushed at the material and dirt bloomed off it. She would need to have it cleaned. It was a pity, but it was of little concern. Clothing was pleasant but unimportant.
It was not a number she recognized. Isidora gave Kimoni a startled glance. He was standing there, arms folded, his brow furrowed. After a moment’s hesitation, she answered it, putting it on speaker. It was late, and the call was as strange as this entire night had been. She didn’t know who had invited her to the masked ball, only that an invitation had arrived. It had seemed harmless at the time.
“Hello?” she asked.
There was a rushing sound of wind as if the other person was outside. “You escaped,” the unknown male voice said. “That was not wise. You should not run, Aloja. I know where your lake is. You cannot escape me.”
“Who is this?” she asked, chagrined she had doubted Kimoni even for a second. This man sounded rough, and the voice like the one she had heard on the field. What would have happened if Kimoni had not been there? She had not come prepared to the ball with her usual accoutrements. They could not have held her for long even if they managed to capture her, but she would have been at a disadvantage. It had been a mistake to go anywhere without her items of power. She would not make that error again. She had grown complacent.
She met Kimoni’s golden colored eyes and saw anger there. He snorted like he would in his other form and it made her heart glad. She had little need of a champion, but she liked the idea that he had rescued her and appeared ready to defend her.
“I have a preferred lake,” she admitted, her voice cold. “But whoever you are, do not make the mistake of thinking my power is limited to that one. I can be anywhere. Do you not know your Majorcan tales? I can be like Maria Encanxa, and be found in all your standing water. I will steal your soul if you are not careful. You should fear me. Who are you who dares to try and capture me?”