Romeo Quiles has accepted a job online in lush and sunny Kauai. Upon his arrival in the Hawaiian Islands, however, he discovers the job is a scam. The company that hired him has emptied his bank accounts, and he must scramble to either return home to Cupertino, California, and certain unemployment, or give paradise a chance.
At first, he’s thrilled when he lands another job, ironically at the same resort hotel used by the scam artists to lure him to Hawaii. But then, Romeo falls for hotter-than-hot Julius, who has taken the job Romeo wanted—and he’s not a very nice boss.
And to top it off, there are secrets galore, from ancient fire knife dancing and mysterious chants, to an old blind man Romeo eventually comes to cherish. Yet through it all, love rips at Romeo’s heart.
Can Romeo and Julius break the curse that separates them and find true happiness? Or will they wind up apart?
NOTE: This story was previously published with the ISBN: 978-1-55487-878-9. This reissued version of the story has been revised and reedited.
Genres: Gay / Contemporary / The Arts / Romantic Comedy
Heat Level: 3
Length: Novella (28k words)
.Romeo was about to ask him about his training regimen when he noticed a long burn mark across the dancer’s forearm. He touched Kumi’s wound, shocked at the savage heat emanating from it.
“My God…what happened to you? Did you just do that tonight?”
Kumi drew his arm away. “Occupational hazard, but this one hurts like a muddah.”
“I can feel the heat. What are you putting on it?”
“An ointment my grandma makes. It’s an old Samoan folk remedy.”
“Is your family Samoan?”
Kumi smiled, his face softening. “Yes, my mom’s family is from Samoa. My dad’s originally Portuguese and Hawaiian.”
“So you have a long history of fire dancers in your family? Because if I remember correctly, it is originally from Samoa.”
“Very good.” Kumi raised his can and took a swig. ”Yes, it is. My father was a champion in his day, and my uncle, too. Things have changed a lot since then. It’s very competitive, and I train for months.” He shrugged. “The accidents still happen but we never talk about those much.”
“Did you put the ointment on it?”
Kumi shook his head. “Not yet. I will as soon as I get home.”
“Would ice help?”
“I try to live with the pain. It’s a good reminder not to show off.”
“Yeah, I looked across the stage, saw you and just started showing off.”
Romeo almost dropped his glass. “You saw…me?”
“I sure did. I couldn’t wait to get off the stage and come meet you. My name’s Kumi, in case you didn’t get it.” He extended his hand for Romeo to shake. Romeo took hold of it, wishing he didn’t have to let go.
“My name is Romeo. Romeo Quiles.”
“Nice name. I’ve never met a Romeo before.”
“I’ve never met a fire knife dancer before.”
Kumi grinned. “Did you enjoy the show?”
“Hell, yeah, it was amazing. You’re amazing. I’m still in awe.”
“It’s the truth.” Two mai tais and half a glass of porter had unleashed all of Romeo’s inhibitions. His inner buffoon was shedding his clothes and doing the wave. He was feeling so fine, tickled that the hottest guy he’d ever seen had singled him out. He only hoped he wouldn’t say anything to blow the moment.
“I was thinking,” Kumi said, leaning into him, “would you be interested in coming to my room and checking out my fire knives?” He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.
Fire knives were a novel spin on etchings. He wouldn’t mind seeing Kumi’s knives, etchings, underpants…or…seeing him fully naked. He put down his can and smiled.
“I’d love to see your knives, Kumi. And ah…anything else you’d like to show me…”
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A. J. Llewellyn lives in California, but dreams of living in Hawaii. Frequent trips to all the islands, bags of Kona coffee in his fridge and a healthy collection of Hawaiian records keep this writer refueled. A. J. loves male/male erotica, has a passion for all animals—especially the dog, the cat and the turtle. A. J. believes that love is a song best sung out loud.