Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tales of the Egyptian Gods - Warrior of the Nile

VS sez: One from the Archives! I just released a new book set in Ancient Egypt, MAGIC OF THE NILE, and thought I'd revisit a previous book, which is a standalone story set in ancient times...(post revised a bit  to update!)

Here were snippets from three of the reviews at the time the book came out:

RT Book Reviews: "4 Stars...HOT...you're in for the most romantic desert story since Elizabeth Taylor's Cleopatra. Khenet and Tiya are realistically resigned to their joined fates and the distrust-turned-love will make hearts clench." October 2013

Night Owl Romance Reviews: Top Pick  5 Stars "...another awesome read by  the wonderful storyteller Veronica Scott."

KIRKUS REVIEWS: "...Scott's ancient Egyptian milieu should pique the interest of historical-romance readers looking for a story set outside the usual scenery..."

 If you read my posts here regularly on the 13th of the month, you know how much I love all things having to do with life along the Nile, untold centuries ago.

(Yes, I did kinda get hung up on using "Nile" in my titles, I'll freely admit. Carina Press decided to add "Gods of Egypt" for some variety I think, LOL.)

Here's the story for Warrior:
Egypt, 1500 BCE
Lady Tiya is bound to the service of the goddess Nephthys, who plans to sacrifice Tiya’s body to protect Egypt from an ancient terror. She embarks to meet her grim fate alone but for the hardened warrior Khenet, who is fated to die at her side. Tiya’s dreams of love and family now seem impossible, and Khenet, who is the last of his line, knows his culture will die with him. Struggling with the high cost of Nephthys’s demands, both resolve to remain loyal.
Neither expects the passion that flowers when Tiya’s quiet courage and ethereal beauty meet Khenet’s firm strength and resolve. On a boat down the Nile, their two lonely souls find in each other a reason to live. But time is short and trust elusive.
Without the willing sacrifice of Tiya and Khenet, a great evil will return to Egypt. How could the gods demand their deaths when they’ve only just begun to live?
Here's a short excerpt from midway through Chapter One to tempt you a tiny bit. The scene takes place in the temple of the goddess Nephthys:
Khenet felt a breeze swirl around him emanating from the closed door. Glancing over his shoulder to look, he saw the pins holding the bolts on the door to the innermost sanctum slowly turning. As he watched, one fell to the floor with a crash, followed a moment later by the other. The door drifted open very slightly, light blazing through the narrow opening and at the sides.
            “The goddess is present,” said the high priest, clutching his staff so hard his knuckles went white. “Everyone is dismissed and may leave the inner sanctum, except for Lady Tiya and Pharaoh’s representative.”
            Tiya gave her relieved cousin a hasty kiss as the man who’d been holding her earlier rushed forward to remove the woman from the dais, carrying her out of the sanctum, followed by their family members. Tiya’s father came to brush a kiss on her cheek before rejoining his impatient young wife and her brother and they too left.  Khenet saw that while Tiya didn’t glance after them, she did hastily wipe away a tear.
            Murmuring prayers of praise and thanksgiving, the other priests filed out of the room.
            Going down the steps, he offered Tiya his help in leaving the dais. “Allow me.”
            She rested her fingers on his hand just long enough to keep her balance before snatching her hand back, wrapping her sheer, fringed shawl more closely around her. Preceding him up the stairs to the door of the innermost sanctum, Tiya held herself tall and dignified.
He restrained a sigh. If she’s as haughty and rude as all her kind, this will be a long journey. But the other would have driven me to distraction with her interminable weeping, should Nephthys have selected her.
The high priest regarded them solemnly. “We go to meet the goddess. Nephthys wishes to assess both her Daughter and the guardian.”
“I’m ready,” Khenet said, fists clenched.
Tiya just nodded.
Checking to see that everyone else had left the chamber before walking to the partially open doors, the priest flung the gilded panels wide open. Light streamed out and Khenet heard the buzzing of wasps, as if he was about to step into a hive of the angry creatures. Tiya shrank back a little, took a deep breath and followed the priest.
Not knowing what he expected, never having been in the innermost sanctum of a temple before, other than once as a boy to swear allegiance to Horus, Khenet sized up the room in a quick glance as he crossed the threshold. The room was dominated by a ten foot tall statue of the goddess, with her arms out to the sides, palms up, her proud face carved as if she was staring directly at anyone foolish enough to enter her domain. The sculptor had depicted Nephthys wearing a tightly fitting, pleated sheath and the entire statue had been covered in gold, which gleamed in the unearthly light the goddess herself was providing. A gleaming collar of turquoise, coral and lapis lay across the statue’s chest, matching earrings affixed to the shell-like ears. The strong scent of the lotus threatened to choke him
“The goddess is present,” whispered the priest, going to his knees, arms crossed over his chest, head down.
Tiya muttered a little prayer and knelt, copying the man’s pose. Khenet planted his feet well apart, in a fighter’s stance and stood. I’m here in Pharaoh’s place and he wouldn’t kneel to any goddess. Besides, I swear no fealty to Nephthys.

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