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Love, reincarnation, spiritual awakenings, suspense! The ancient jungle comes alive with fires, and modern India reels with dangerous floods and deadly mud slides. A struggle for survival. A feast for the senses.
"... a broad-stroked, magnificent picture of a lavish India of the past and the present... a vivid tale of suspense... a gripping account of a woman coming to terms with heightened awareness... a destiny that yields true fulfillment." The Book Reader
"... entertaining, fast-paces yet deeply spiritual... Here is a superior metaphysical novel!" Richard Fuller - Metaphysical Reviews
"... passionate... love, lust, faith and deception... a magnificent offering to the world of fiction..." Charlotte Austin Review
"...rich, sensual... multilayered... a thriller... magical, mystical book..." Writer's Digest
The flames devouring the jungle muffled Lakshmi’s desperate call. She squinted through the smoke. The messenger said her beloved would be waiting by the hot springs, so where was he?
Gasping, Lakshmi steadied herself with a bloody hand against the bark of a tall banyan. She wiped the sweat from her forehead, then raised her veil to cover nose and mouth. Black clouds from the blazing jungle dirtied the blue sky of May. Coconut trees, palms, sugarcane, papaya trees and banana stalks steamed and cracked ominously under the assault of the fire.
In the mounting heat, Lakshmi hitched up the red cotton sari to run, but in which direction? Down, toward the river. In her flight, strands of black hair escaped the veil, threatening to ignite at any flying spark.
Lakshmi cried out when she stumbled. Catching herself she paused, hand on her chest. A tiger! She held her breath, while the feline rushed by silently, intent on its own escape. Beneath the girl's bare feet, the jungle ground slithered with cobras, huge rats, and burrowing insects. Overhead, birds and monkeys shrieked frantic warnings as they fled. A dark crocodile shot out of a thicket. Lakshmi gasped, but the ancient beast disappeared into the underbrush. The river should flow near, but where? The pounding roar of blood rushing through her veins covered even the sound of the inferno.
Lord Ganesh, Elephant God, do with me as you please, but keep Mukunda safe!
The stink and loud trumpeting of elephants gave the girl hope. Hunters! They’d know the way out. Relief washed over Lakshmi. I’m so grateful for your help, Lord Ganesh, but please, save the man I love. Panting, the girl labored in the direction of the sound. Thorny branches snagged her sari and scratched the creamy skin of her belly, but she kept running. When she reached the clearing, half naked slaves shouted as they gathered the Rajah's herd, jerking the animals' heavy chains.
"Help me!" Lakshmi managed to yell between gasps.
Perched atop the largest elephant, the master mahout stared at her from under a turban. A dangerous smile lit up his face. Lakshmi felt her legs dissolve when she recognized the huge garnet on the man's chest. He worshiped Kali The Black with the Rajah's daughter and her murderous priests.
Spurring the big bull forward, the mahout barked an order. The old elephant trumpeted in response, answered by his herd. Within seconds, the ground shook. Saplings shattered under the charge of the pachyderms. Bellows filled the air as the herd stampeded, tearing the burning jungle asunder.
Fear constricting her throat, Lakshmi turned to run. Her foot caught on a banyan root. "Mukunda!" she called as she fell.
Lakshmi couldn't move. Lying in black mud, she looked up and saw branches crashing down in flames. Suddenly, the wide foot of an elephant blocked the gray light and descended on her face, silencing a scream.
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Romance with a Kick