Part one of the Sacred Amulet series. Part two is Sacrifice.
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 Nne 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.
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.