Title: A SINGLE FEATHER
Genre: YA fantasy
Word Count: 54,000
Mamo dreads becoming chief of the island on his eighteenth birthday. It’s bad enough his people can’t speak to him, touch him, or look him in the eye, but now he will have to marry someone he’s never met and wear that pretentious feather cape. His father certainly doesn’t sympathize. He revels in the cold and loveless life of a chief. Mamo’s only solace is his secret ability to transform into a rare and exotic bird, giving him a sense of the freedom he longs to have.
At a chance meeting with sixteen-year-old Kila, all he yearns for crashes into him like a welcome ocean wave. Her loose tongue, forward personality, and brazen stares give him such a thrill, it rivals the sensation of flight itself. Even her simple touch provides a comfort Mamo hadn’t realized he needed. Best of all, she doesn’t know he is the son of the chief, her ignorance a gift from the gods themselves.
As their relationship grows, Mamo must decide between his inherited responsibility and the girl he is falling in love with. When rumors of warring islands reach their shores, the people anxiously await the guidance of their new young ruler. The choice should be simple, especially when Kila’s father arranges her marriage to another. But Mamo soon learns with a girl like Kila, nothing is simple.
Kila stepped into the breaking surf, letting the saltwater of the Pacific dampen the hem of her kapa skirt. A wind from the south pinned the bark cloth to her legs and sent her long black hair into a frenzy about her face. She closed her eyes and raised her arms, willing the wind to carry her away from the island.
“Kila, where are you?” her father, Wana’ao, shouted from the taro fields in the distance.
She smiled and ran to the grassy bank beyond the sand, pausing at the open-air hut where the family’s wa’a sat on stilts off the ground. As always, the wooden engravings along the side of the canoe transported her imagination to another time. The carvings weaved together the story of the ancient chief Akua. She traced the weathered shapes of his many forms: a shark, a sea turtle and a goose stirred beneath her fingertips. Kila longed for such a transformation. Akua’s tale spoke of adventure and freedom. She withdrew her hand and brushed it against her hip, wiping away the temptation with a sigh.
“Kila, hele mai!” Her father’s shout was closer now.
She jumped into the canoe, cringing as it groaned against the stilts. Lying as flat as a banana leaf, Kila tried to silence her breathing so as to not give herself away. When the only sound she heard was the lapping of waves on the sand, she grinned in triumph.
“Aue,” her father said leaning over her. “Nice try, but you are not five anymore.”