Since the theme is my choice today, I thought I’d introduce you to an exciting new story! Crescent Moon will release on June 4th—or at least the first installment of the book will release on that date. The scary part for me? It’s not all written. Once the first part releases (the first five chapters), readers will have a chance to interact with me to let me know what they think about the story, and maybe to influence the rest of it! I have just two parts completed and am working on the third. There will be eight altogether. This will be a full-length novel by the time I am done, but you will only have to pay $1.99 to begin reading, and then every two weeks, a new installment will be shipped automatically to your Kindle. You won’t have to pay another penny.
What’s Crescent Moon all about? I’m not 100% sure.
The story’s still germinating. I do know that the first part begins in ancient Egypt with my heroine who lives an exalted life as the wife of a god. You will get a hint of her predicament when you read the following scene. Then the story picks up in New Orleans with a gruff, damaged cop, Juste Henry Boucher, who finds the heroine during a robbery investigation at a local museum. That’s pretty much all I know, except that demons are rising…
Because I’m so excited about this project, I have a special prize to offer one lucky commenter today. Let me know how you like the story so far. Be sure to check out the book at Amazon (just click on the cover!). The prize? A pair of earrings, handmade by me. Silver and lapis lazuli. Something Egyptian-themed to go along with the book! I will choose a winner Sunday night! Enjoy the excerpt!
From Crescent Moon:
One last time, her mind drifted, peacefully content…no shadows or disquiet to disturb her…allowing her to separate the parts of herself, first body from spirit…and then the mournful, dying part of her soul to dwell forever in the pit, while what remained, the part that would be born again, floated upward on golden wings.
Her sprit ba left her mortal shell and spread its wings, flying through the small bright hole in the ceiling, leaving behind her swaddled human form, which lay on a bare wooden bench.
One, two, three strong surges of her fluttering wings and she flew toward the sun, free at last and feeling grateful to her husband for his generous gift. Her wings caught an updraft and she held them still, floating on the wind, the glorious waning sun warming her back.
Her spirit flew above white limestone cliffs and past a deep quarry littered with enormous blocks of carved stone. A sudden gust riffled through her feathers, forcing her to fly west, high above a barren valley.
But at last, her ba tired, circling downward, searching for the great river to lead her home. But no familiar white-washed city dwellings, no temple walls lay below. No fields of cotton and wheat.
Confused, she made her way back to the dismal pit. Not wanting to enter, she flitted around the opening, feeling weary and afraid. Something dark awaited her. Some horror in the shadows.
And then she spotted the man with the dark watchful gaze, standing beneath the opening, his arms outspread to catch her…
Her heart pounded against her chest, the sound intruding on the vision. Khepri’s eyes slammed open.
Freedom was only a dream, a memory. How long had she been sleeping?
Slowly, Khepri grew more aware of her surroundings. Pressure enveloped her from head to toes. Frayed edges of linen strips surrounded her eyes. An ache centered in her head made her want to gasp, but when she tried to draw a deep breath, the constriction around her chest made the movement impossible. She couldn’t feel her fingers or toes. Her body, other than her head and chest, was numb.
Something was terribly wrong. Short, panicked breaths huffed in the silence.
She blinked, bright sunlight streaming through a hole in the rock ceiling above, blinding her, making her eyes tear. Unable to turn her head, she peered beneath the fringe of her dark lashes, through the openings left in the fabric, gazing upward. Her sight cleared slowly, but was filtered as though looking through the gauzy curtains that surrounded her bed in her tiny house inside the temple walls. But the haze obstructing her sight wasn’t merely physical. It was a thin curtain pulled over her mind. One placed there. Purposely, to confuse.
Her head reeled, not understanding, not recognizing where she lay. The sickly-sweet scent of frankincense tickled her nose.
“Precious little warrior, you are awake.”
If she could have drawn a deep breath, she would have spit. Sudden fury trembled through her body. She didn’t understand what was happening, but knew he was the one to blame. She wanted to rage against him, ask how he dared abduct her. She was Amun’s wife, his mortal consort. But the only sound that scratched from her throat was a tiny whimper.
“You have questions,” he crooned from beside her. “We have little time. Pharaoh’s army marches. They will find us soon. We must bury the nameless one, hide him before they can entomb him. No one must ever find his body. He will not sleep in a sarcophagus. No texts will be written to reawaken him, no mask placed over his head so that he may recognize himself in the afterlife. He must not rise.”
Her lashes drifted downward. She remembered the moment the handsome, lying vizier stepped off the plank lowered from the side of the barge.
“Pharaoh is dead,” he’d said, his voice uninflected.
Her heart had grown still. The news was devastating to be sure, but why had he traveled so far from Luxor to tell her?
And then snippets of memories bombarded her mind.
Khepri moaned, spreading her lips and baring her teeth to catch the edges of the strips surrounding her mouth, but they were stiffened and wouldn’t give. Her eyes rounded in fear as she realized how dire was her predicament.
He bent closer, his dark eyes alight with sympathy. But then he moved away. Taking with him his masculine scent, musk she’d found attractive. The odor mocked her now.
Although she feared him, she wanted to cling to the sight of him. Didn’t want to feel so alone, so trapped and helpless. Perhaps she could reason with him. But he was insane. Would no one stop him?
Deep in her mouth, she gurgled, nearly choking on the tears that leaked from her eyes and burned the back of her throat. “Please,” she whispered. From a distance, she heard his footsteps. He drew nearer, holding in one hand a slender reed with one end frayed and trimmed to form a brush and dripping red paint, and in the other a palette, red pigment swirled. He leaned over her and made strokes on the coverings enclosing her chest, down her belly, splitting over her thighs and moving down to her toes.
“What are you doing?” she rasped, as some of the cool liquid seeped through to touch her skin.
“Painting spells, Khepri, Amun’s wife. Introducing you to Set, the protector of souls, entreating him to keep you close until you are needed. To hide you from Osiris so your soul will not be judged. Not yet.”
“Until I am needed? I am needed at the temple.”
He tsked and continued to paint, accompanied by the soft chuffing sounds of bristles rasping on resin-hardened fabric.
Her tears quickened, soaking her skin beneath the wrappings and leaking into her hair. “I am The God’s Wife. You have no right.”
He sighed and strode back into view. When he leaned over her, sympathy no longer shone in his eyes. A deep furrow dug between his sharp dark brows. “I need quiet to think,” he said, his words peppering her like hard pellets. He placed a hand over her nose and mouth, cutting off her air.
Panic made her gurgle, but she was unable to fight. She stared upward at his gleaming eyes until darkness closed over her vision.
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