Title: Outcast & Sacrifice
Series: Sacred Amulet Duet
Author: Kiru Taye
Genre: Paranormal / Fantasy / Romance
Tagline: Mating an outcast requires a blood sacrifice.
OUTCAST (Sacred Amulet, Part 1) Ugo’ji is an outcast, an untouchable. She lives on the fringe of society as the lowest of the low, a living sacrifice to the gods. The only person she interacts with is her aged grandmother who nurtures her powerful gift of healing. Until the day she meets Ebube a strange warrior to their lands. He ignites a yearning within her she's unable to ignore. Ebube is drawn to the young maiden with the emerald green eyes who possesses the body of a goddess and the healing touch of an angel. But he is forbidden from mating with a human and the consequence is the wrath of the gods. Moreover he is on a mission. If he fails, the gates of hell will be opened and the earth plunged into darkness. He cannot stay and she cannot go with him.
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EXCERPT A twig snapped. Ebube froze for a heartbeat. Unsure of what was approaching, he reached for his scabbard still strapped to his hips. Without making a noise, he withdrew the dagger in a slow fluid motion. The trees and shrubs around him provided some cover for him. He wouldn't be seen until he was ready to attack. Footsteps walked in his direction. Human? Knife poised to strike, he manoeuvred his aching body into a crouching position. As the leaves of the shrubs in front of him parted, he swung his leg out tripping the creature. The person tumbled down onto the ground beside him and he pounced, his dagger already on its downward motion. Then he froze. It was a young woman. “No!” Her scream rent the air as his arm stopped mid-swing. His grip on his weapon tightened. His other hand held her side down firmly. Soft, smooth, warm skin trembled beneath his palm. He stared at her, fixated by her allure. The shape of her face reminded him of an eagle’s egg, beautiful and fragile, full of inner strength. Eyes the vibrant green of okra twirled in the cream of ukwa stared back at him with fright. They held him captive and he fell into their depths, barely aware of his increased breathing and heart rate. Mine. For the first time today, his spirit beast roused, alert and pushing to get to the fore. What? The feral creature living in him had just laid claim to the maiden which made her... Mine. The word whispered again in his mind. This girl was his bond mate? The woman destined to be his life partner? This couldn’t be. She was human. Her life force undulated beneath his skin as proof. He was Ure, part human and part god. A supernatural being. He wasn’t permitted to bond with humans. But his spirit beast had never risen before without the amulet to connect them. Yet it had done so on this occasion.
SACRIFICE (Sacred Amulet, Part 2) Ebube has rejoined his warriors on the hunt for the sacred amulet but his heart is left behind with Ugo. He's focused on completing his task and returning to her quickly. Ugo has found a new confidence since Ebube's departure. After saving a child's life, she is now in demand for her skills and those who had previously ignored her now take an interest in her. Her quiet moments are preoccupied by thoughts of Ebube's return. But the gods are not so forgiving or forgetful and they will demand a high price for Ebube's and Ugo's disobedience.
EXCERPT Ebube’s favourite dream involved waking with Ugo beside him in his home on the Amauwa settlement. There they had a good, simple, and happy life. Peace in the realms and the warriors at home. She placed a kiss to his face, the tip of his nose and his closed eyelid before whispering, “good morning.” Half befuddled with sleep he reached for her, hand settling on her hip as he struggled to stay still, needing her in ways that he couldn’t always express. “The morning is good because you are here,” he replied in a voice still gruff from the night. “You are awake,” her voice was filled with amusement. “I am now.” He cracked his eyes open and filled them with a vision of Ugo dappled in dawn’s grey light. A smile played on her lips even as strands of her braided hair brushed over her shoulders and plump breasts. He trailed his hand down her smooth back over the curve of her waist to her wide hips and pliant buttocks swell over long legs that he now pulled down on either side of his so that she sat astride of him. In the time that he’d known her, her body had ripened from that of a girl into a woman. He had always been a man ready to go to war to protect the realms. Ready to put himself in danger and journey to whatever lands his missions took him. Now he wanted to stay close to Ugo. To have her as a constant in his life. He couldn't imagine a future without her. A mate to share highs and lows and make family. “Now that you’re awake, my warrior, what would you like?” She rolled her bum over his groin. His breath hitched as he hardened. “Precious,” the endearment was hardly more than a groan on his lips. She had never been this bold before. He glanced up to find her smirking as she rolled her hips again. “Yes, my warrior. I have exactly what you want.”
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