JADE STAR by Catherine Coulter

JADE STAR by Catherine Coulter

JADE STAR by Catherine Coulter

Books by Catherine Coulter Published by The House of Ulverscroft:




Complete and Unabridged



Lahaina, Maui, 1854

The warm, coarse beach sand was the odd pinkish color of the squirrelfish, the ocean as deep an aqua as the bluefin trevally.

‘Come on, Jules, stop dreaming the morning away!’

Juliana DuPres laughed with the pleasure of a now forbidden swim, tightened her kapa-cloth sarong more tightly over her breasts, and dashed into the swirling waves after Kanola. The tides were strong at Makila Point, but Jules, an expert swimmer, merely relaxed in the grip of the pulling crosscurrents until she was safely beyond them.

‘Slow down, Kanola,’ she called. ‘There should be a school of parrotfish here and I want to see them.’Without waiting for a reply from her friend, Jules drew a deep breath and dove down several feet to the coral reef below. She knew her eyes would be red and swollen from the salt water, but it didn’t matter. Not only were there parrotfish, but yellowstrip goatfish as well, a treat. She thought to herself as her head cleared the surface: Father, if you truly believed in the glory of creation, you would open your eyes to the incredible beauty that surrounds you.

She grinned at her thought, and spit out a mouthful of salt water. She could just see Reverend Etienne DuPres stripped of his sweat-soaked black broad-cloth, cavorting in the ocean and calling out the names of fish. Or lying on his back on the beach, his sallow face becoming healthy and tanned.

‘Well, what did you see, Jules? An eel maybe?’ Kanola shuddered in distaste. Juliana swam easily to where Kanola was

resting on an irregular outcropping of coral that acted as something of a narrow breakwater. The coral was rough, pitted, and slimy. Jules dug her fingers into a crevice, holding tight to keep from being pulled back into the water. There was room enough for just the two of them.

Jules, her voice filled with enthusiasm as she pulled two soaked hunks of bread from a large pocket on the side of the sarong, told her tolerantly smiling friend, ‘Now, let’s see just how hungry all my friends are. Maybe even that zebra moray who was slithering between my feet.’ She scattered the bread all about her. Within seconds more fish than she could count – even a whitetip reef shark

– were swarming about her and Kanola.


Jules smiled when their smooth bodies brushed hers. ‘More saddle wrasse than anything else,’ she said in some disappointment.

Kanola regarded Jules with the same affectionate smile she gave her own sister. Jules was only two years younger than she, but she clung tenaciously to her childhood pursuits, and, Kanola admitted, Jules knew more about fish than any haole she’d ever known. She listened to her friend go on about every sort of fish consuming the bread, then interrupted her with a raised hand. She said in English as idiomatic as her friend’s-, ‘Your papa has been after you again, I gather?’

Jules sighed, and fell silent for a moment. ‘Papa is Papa,’ she said finally. ‘Everything fun and natural is kapu – particularly,’ she added on a bitter note, ‘if one happens to be a female.’

‘I thought as much,’ Kanola said. ‘What has he done now? Forbidden you to swim?’ Jules nodded, a small smile playing about

her mouth. ‘Three years ago,’ she said. Kanola was startled. ‘However have you managed to keep it a secret from him all this time?’

‘Thomas helps me, washes me down and all that. I assume that Papa thinks I’m just excessively susceptible to the heat and take a lot of baths, because my hair is usually wet. He doesn’t seem to notice my red eyes.’

‘You are nineteen, Jules, a woman grown. There is more to life than searching out and cataloging fish, birds, flowers . . . ‘ Her voice trailed off when Jules shot her an angry look.

‘For instance,’ she continued at her friend’s obstinate silence, ‘there’s John Bleecher.’ Kanola had been married for five years now and was the proud mother of two children.

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Categories: Catherine Coulter