When an accident claims her mother’s life, Keahilani Alana must take charge of
her `ohana(family) or risk losing what little they have. With an underage brother to care for and
no education, she has few options. The door to a heavenly hellish opportunity opens when she
stumbles upon a valuable secret her mother left behind on the slopes of an extinct volcano—a
legacy that tempts the family with riches beyond their wildest dreams. But the secret is much
bigger and more sinister than they realize. As reality unravels and exposes eerie truths about
the ‘ohana that should have remained deep under the mountain, Keahilani must either resist the
call of her blood or risk being consumed by its darkness.
Blake Murphy is an assassin working to infiltrate a new Hawaiian cartel. His investigation
reveals that Keahilani, the sexy surfing instructor he pegged as an informant, is much closer to
the drug ring than he thought. Passion ignites between them in the bedroom, but their ironclad
ties to opposing interests pit them against each other everywhere else.
When tensions reach the breaking point and her ‘ohana is threatened, the only cure for
Keahilani’s hot-blooded fury is a loaded clip with a body bag chaser.
They don’t call her Pele for nothing
WARNING: HOT-BLOODED does NOT end with a happily ever after. It contains drug use and
graphic sex, language, and violence. The story is intended to entertain, not to condone or glorify
illegal or immoral activities. This book is unsuitable for sensitive readers and those under the age
TEASERS and EXCERPTS:
“You think Bane will win this year?” Kai asked from the backseat. It was hard to hear him over
the sputter of the coughing engine, but a tinge of uncertainty blurred his soft voice.
From the passenger seat, Keahilani glanced back at her twin. The wind from Mahina’s open
window in front of him blew the sun-kissed brown hair from his face. His locks executed
complicated flips like a drunk diver stumbling off the cliffs of Black Rock on Kāʻanapali Beach.
“Maybe.” Keahilani didn’t want to jinx their little brother’s chances, so she kept her thoughts
to herself. Kai had always been the optimistic one who searched for the good in every situation.
She considered herself practical above all else. In short, Kai hoped. Keahilani hedged.
That said, she had no doubt Bane would totally kill it in the surfing competition today.
“Absolutely,” Mahina said. Keahilani felt her mother’s smile rather than saw it. That’s how
Mahina was. Energy rather than form. Larger than life. A force to be reckoned with. To those
who didn’t know her, Mahina was intimidation made flesh. To her family, she was the epitome of
love and respect with a sharp edge.
Years filled with alternating tragedies and triumphs had that hard-on-the-outside, soft-on-theinside
effect on a person.
Keahilani fumbled with her hair, wrestling the tangles from the wind’s clutches as she
squinted into the sun. Damn car’s air conditioning hadn’t worked in ages, and Mahina probably
wouldn’t have run it even if it did. She pinched pennies at the expense of the smallest comforts.
Recycled water for gardening. No lights on during the day. Not a single bite of food wasted. Hell,
the members of the household even took timed, lukewarm showers. Five minutes was all anyone
ever got, birthdays included.
Keahilani sighed. As soon as she landed a higher-paying job, she’d help the family move out
of government housing into something better. Her mother had given so much of herself to keep
the ‘ohana strong. She deserved some reward for her struggles. They all did.
Mahina shoved one hand into the hemp bag lying between the bucket seats while the other
maintained tenuous control of the steering wheel. She glanced away from the road a couple of
Sitting up, Keahilani swiped the thin sheen of sweat from her leg. God, this heat. “What do
you need? I’ll get it.”
Mahina gently pushed her away and continued fumbling around in the bag.
“Keep your eyes on the road,” Keahilani gibed. Her mother always said the same when she
Mahina paused her rifling as she rounded a sharp curve. “Bane told me that rude haole boy
from Kihei—what’s his name? Josh something?—is the biggest competition this year. That little
shit needs his ass handed to him.”
True. Josh beat Bane (barely) at their last surfing contest, and afterward he bragged about
haole surfers being better than Natives. Mahina’s lip curled, and she bared her teeth over a growl.
Keahilani had to physically restrain her from attacking the kid. Mahina could take a lot of crap,
but when you brought her or her children’s heritage and/or wave-riding abilities into question,
things were guaranteed to get ugly.
And they did. Josh ran to his mother and hid behind her. Keahilani was pretty sure he peed his
pants too. Served him right.
Most people agreed religion, money, and politics were topics best avoided in social situations.
Mahina’s top three incendiary topics were Native Hawaiians, surfing, and social justice.
“He’ll get his.” Keahilani gazed at the ocean. “They always do.”
The bend navigated, Mahina returned to digging through her purse. “Damn it. Where did I put
those cigarettes?” She glanced down and shoved half of the contents aside.
Smoking was her one vice—the single luxury she allowed herself. She only smoked two
cigarettes a day, always out of sight from Bane, so Keahilani tried not to nag her too much about
it. Mahina said she felt guilty for spending an extra seven bucks every week and a half on cancer
sticks, but Keahilani was more concerned about her health than a few lost dollars.
Another curve snuck up on them like a rogue wave out of nowhere, and a motorcycle breached
the double yellow lines, heading straight for them.
Fear punched her in the gut, and Keahilani slapped a hand to the dashboard.
“Mahina!” Kai’s shout from the backseat struck a perfect chord with Keahilani’s cry.
“Shit!” Their mother yanked the steering wheel, avoiding the motorcycle, but the car careened
across pavement, tires screaming in protest.
Keahilani clutched her seat, and the world slowed to a dreadful, slow-motion panorama.
Reality spun into blurred brown lines intermingled with blood-curdling, rubber-ripping howls that
danced around her head like little cartoon birds. Her body succumbed to laws of physics she
couldn’t break as it thrashed against the belt crossing her chest. Bones protested at the impact.
Twirl. Skid. SLAM!
The dreamlike scene ended abruptly. A bloody wake-up call infused with a double shot of
delayed reaction lit up her pain receptors. Deadly silence, save for a hissing radiator, commanded
Keahilani tried to unbuckle herself, but her arm wouldn’t cooperate. It was stuck between the
seat and the door. Dazed, she turned toward Mahina and wished she hadn’t.
Red. Not on her lips where it should be, but trickling down her temple. Saturating her light
shirt. Pooling on the seat. The crumpled door embedded her side as if it were made of cardboard
rather than steel. Red-dipped glass fragments lay shattered in a macabre butterfly shape on her
A chill alighted on Keahilani’s skin, soft like a blanket at first, but then it seeped in, a sinister
terror, seizing her whole body.
“Mahina?” Keahilani whispered, afraid that if she spoke too loudly, she might somehow break
her mother further. Heart shuffling into a gallop, she couldn’t catch her breath. Couldn’t catch her
racing thoughts as they sped away, leaving her control high and dry. Sanity whirled into a vortex,
and adrenaline-powered fear clamped around her throat. “Makuahine?” she said more forcefully.
Kai groaned behind Mahina and lifted his head from his tipped-over position in the seat. He’d
avoided the impact when the door caved in. Thank God.
A quiet rattle nabbed Keahilani’s attention. Dread anchored to her gut, and gravity dragged it
down. No. No. No. Mahina would be okay. She had to be.
She wrestled the door and with great effort, wriggled her sore arm free and scrambled for the
seatbelt. Mahina’s chest crested with another rattle.
Mahina … oh God, Mahina … Her pulse increased to an impossible speed, flooding her ears
with wild thumps, goading her into action. The belt sprung loose, and Keahilani’s hands flew to
her mother, who was such a horrific mess, she didn’t even know where to start.
Flag someone down for help. You can’t fix this yourself.
“Makuahine?” The high pitch of Kai’s normally low voice startled her.
Keahilani yanked the door handle and shouldered it open. The grisly rattling spurring her on,
she stumbled out of the car. Searing pain shot down her leg. She caught herself before faceplanting
on the pavement and limped into the road.
The asshole on the bike that almost hit them was long gone, but a car headed their way. She
waved her good arm in an exaggerated arc. Eyes wide, the driver slammed into park and pulled
out a cell phone. “I’ll get help.” Keahilani nodded her thanks. She awkwardly galloped back to
Kai tumbled out of the backseat, wincing, eyes watering, brows knitted together in a tight
weave of physical and emotional agony. A furious bruise bloomed on his cheek. “She’s gonna
die.” His voice cracked. “Mahina’s gonna die.”
Keahilani ignored him and rounded the car to the driver’s side. Avoiding the bloodied bag of
flesh trapped in the seat, she studied the accordion of metal and gave it a gentle tug. Nothing
happened. She grasped the panel with one hand, the handle with the other, and put all of her
might into pulling it open. Kai appeared beside her, sniffling, shoulders heaving. Barely
controlled panic rolled off him. With his help, she managed to budge the door open. Mahina
jerked as the air hit her, and blood flooded out of her side in a rush.
Kai tugged his shirt over his head and stuffed it into the wound. He smoothed Mahina’s wet
hair. “Makuahine. Makuahine, can you hear me?” The sudden calmness in his tenor frightened
Keahilani more than the blood did. Her brother was right. Mahina—her mother, her sister, her
best friend—was going to die.
A lump clogged Keahilani’s throat, but the approach of a wailing siren didn’t give her time to
grieve. Kai knelt beside their mom until the paramedics barreled up with a gurney and took over.
The ensuing moments were yet another blur in the blizzard of unbelievable events. Someone
asked if she was okay. They helped her to the side of the road and checked out her and Kai. Red
and white lights whirred. Urgent voices chattered. A line of cars backed up the highway. Dazed,
Keahilani followed when a paramedic guided her into the back of the ambulance with Kai and the
bundle of splintered pieces that used to be their mother.
Doors slammed behind them, locking her into a wheeled mausoleum. She couldn’t do this.
She couldn’t be trapped in there with her mother as she died. Panic tore through her, weakening
and electrifying all at once.
The engine roared, the siren shrieked, and tires spun.
No, no, no. This couldn’t be happening.
“I’m dying,” Mahina whispered on a shallow current of air. The garbled words blended with
what Keahilani feared was blood filling her mother’s punctured lung. They were almost a plea.
Whether for relief, a merciful end, or escape, Keahilani wasn’t sure, but she felt as if she was the
one who’d been crushed by the door.
Clutching the crisp white sheet on the gurney, Mahina tensed and arched her back. More blood
seeped through the bandages the EMT slapped over her abdomen. God, so much blood. The
horrible rattling inside her chest picked up. Thick creases of anguish and fear marred her
unusually pale face, gobbling up her ha, her very breath.
“Be still, Mahina.” Trembling hand squeezing her mother’s, Keahilani shot her gaze out the
ambulance window. Not too far from the hospital, but the way things were going, it might not
Her mother could not die. Could not.
“Makuahine, you gotta stay awake. Let me know you’re still with me.” Keahilani kissed her
mother’s clammy cheek. Forbidden droplets poised at the corners of her lids. A fresh rush of
adrenaline surged and prevented those damned tears from falling. She had to be strong for
Mahina. And for Kai.
She glanced to her twin in the seat beside her, head stuffed in his tanned, shaking hands.
Damp brown waves of hair framed his thumb and fingers. The unbearable siren stifled what must
have been chokes issuing through his dry lips.
“The doctors will help you.” Keahilani didn’t believe the words any more than her mother or
Kai did. Even if her mom had a chance, the family had no insurance. Odds of getting quality
treatment were nil. The haole doctors were interested in paying patients, not “moochers” off their
precious system. If you couldn’t help them cover their golf expenses at the country club or the
mortgage on their multimillion-dollar suites at the tourist-dominated condominiums, they’d
provide only the most basic services because they had to. People like Mahina were nothing more
than quickly forgotten chores marked off over-filled to-do lists.
Keahilani clutched her mother’s hand tighter and wiped her nose on a lifted shoulder. Another
deep rumble of fluid inside Mahina’s chest fought for control of a space designed only for air.
Mahina’s body rose from the gurney again. She emerged gasping, nails digging into Keahilani’s
flesh. With a glut of super strength, her mother commandeered Keahilani’s T-shirt, balling the
thin, faded cotton. Her bloodshot brown eyes widened, and frightening acceptance dawned over
them. She swallowed a couple times in quick succession, her gulps like those of a fish left on a
dock to die.
“My garden. You must protect my garden. You know where it is, huh? You remember?” Her
words transformed from desperate pleas into unyielding demands.
Keahilani nodded. “I remember. But I won’t need to tend to your plants. You’ll be here to do
it,” she lied.
Somehow Mahina’s eyes popped even wider, and her grip became painful. Heated droplets
pooled in Keahilani’s palm. Blood.
“No. Death hunted me for years, and now he’s found me. My secrets—our secrets—lie near
Kula within the slopes of Haleakalā.” Her brows wrenched together. “Protect them.”
Why would Mahina care about her stupid plants at a time like this?
“Keahilani!” She tried to sit up, but the straps across her chest stopped her. “Promise me!”
“I promise.” Keahilani pressed her lips together to keep the emotion at bay, but an eruption
was overdue. Boiling sorrow welled from deep within, tainted by the injustice of her mother’s
situation. Waves of regret rolled off Kai beside her, clashing with the whiff of death surrounding
Mahina. The combined stench overwhelmed her, suffocated her, lured the burning lava higher up
her gullet. She tried bargaining with the impending explosion. Mahina needs you to remain calm.
Don’t upset her. If this is her end, honor her with your silence.
“How much longer?” she demanded of the driver through clenched teeth.
Mahina didn’t have three minutes.
Ironic how fast life could transform into death. One moment, they’d been driving to Lāhainā
Harbor to see Bane surf in the groms competition. The next, a freak car crash robbed her not only
of her mother’s life, but her entire family’s. If Mahina hadn’t been rifling through her bag for that
damned cigarette instead of paying attention to the road, they’d probably be sitting on the beach
now, cheering for Bane as he dominated ka po‘ina nalu and showed the haole surfers how it was
Keahilani had always feared smoking would kill her mother.
She hated being right.
Mahina’s breaths decreased to mere whispers of garbled air. Her dark eyes lost focus. Her
hold on Keahilani loosened.
“Stay with me, Makuahine. Come on. Wake up.” Keahilani tapped her mother’s cheek a
couple times. Kai lifted his head, his face streaked with tears. He leaned closer.
“Makuahine.” His voice cracked.
Their mother latched onto Keahilani and Kai in turn. “‘Ohana is everything. The blood is
everything…” The words were barely intelligible. The ghost of a smile passed over her parted
lips. The gurgle kicked up again with her inhale.
Keahilani held her own breath and counted the seconds.
Five … six … seven …
The word “‘ohana” surfed on the wave of Mahina’s lengthy exhale.
The ambulance driver slammed the brakes and took a sharp right into the emergency entrance
at the hospital, jostling the three bodies in back. Two reacted. One didn’t.
Kai shook their mother. Her vacant gaze remained fastened on Keahilani, her final word
forever emblazoned in Keahilani’s mind.
As shadows converged and undiluted rage consumed her, she channeled the heavenly fire she
was named after, pushed it out from her core, and unleashed all of her anger and frustration and
sorrow into a vocal eruption. “NO!”
The ambulance windows rattled and sent the petrified EMTs scrambling to cover their ears.
When the last echo of the word died on her lips, the searing heat cooled like lava expelled
from the darkest depths, forced to chill in the unyielding harshness of reality. Left with cold blood
and too many memories, Keahilani threw herself over her mother’s lifeless body. “No …,” she
Kai’s shaky hand pressed into the small of her back. “We’re alone.” His frame quaking, he
nuzzled her shoulder.
‘Ohana was all they had left.
5 Fun Facts about HOT-Blooded
1. HOT-BLOODED is a cross between Point Break, The Sopranos, and Twin Peaks. So, if you like
surfing, gangster-style grit with a side of psychological suspense, this one might be right up your
2. HOT-BLOODED’s heroine, Keahilani Alana, is a Hawaiian surfer chick with skeletons (and
some other dark, bump-in-the-night baddies) in her closet. She’s strong-willed, independent,
and more than willing to use force to get her point across.
3. The tagline for HOT-BLOODED is “‘Ohana is everything,” and boy is it EVER! ‘Ohana means
“family” in Hawaiian, and this book explores the nature of family—good, bad, and deadly—on
4. It’s set on the lush island of Maui where every color of the rainbow rules—and where
terrifying shadows exist in places you least expect them.
5. HOT-BLOODED is loosely connected to Kendall’s JUST BREATHE urban fantasy series. You
don’t have to have read those books to enjoy this one, but JUST BREATHE readers who do a
little digging may notice some subtle connections. There’s a reason for that. Stick with the
‘Ohana series to find out more! :-)
ABOUT the AUTHOR:
Badly Club. A whale warrior and indie freedom fighter, she spends summers in the corner
(usually with a dunce cap on her head) and winters hunched at the peak of Mt. Trouble, fiery
pens of fury (complete with invisible ink) flying across the pages. She has a big set of cajones,
and she's not afraid to use them. In her spare time, Kendall speaks your mind so you don't have