Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Excerpt from DANCER OF THE NILE Free Ancient World Romance

Posted by: Veronica Scott
My award winning, bestselling paranormal novel of ancient Egypt, Dancer of the Nile (Gods of Egypt), is currently free, so I thought I'd share an excerpt today!

The story: 
1550 BCE
Nima’s beauty and skill as a dancer leads an infatuated enemy to kidnap her after destroying an Egyptian border town. However, she’s not the only hostage in the enemy camp: Kamin, an Egyptian soldier on a secret mission for Pharaoh, has been taken as well. Working together to escape, the two of them embark on a desperate quest across the desert to carry word of the enemy’s invasion plans to Pharaoh’s people.

As they flee for their lives, these two strangers thrown together by misfortune have to trust in each other to survive.  Nima suspects Kamin is more than the simple soldier he seems, but she finds it hard to resist the effect he has on her heart.  Kamin has a duty to his Pharaoh to see his mission completed, but this clever and courageous dancer is claiming more of his loyalty and love by the moment. Kamin starts to worry, if it comes to a choice between saving Egypt or saving Nima’s life…what will he do?

Aided by the Egyptian god Horus and the Snake Goddess Renenutet, beset by the enemy’s black magic, can Nima and Kamin evade the enemy and reach the safety of the Nile in time to foil the planned attack?

The Excerpt:

Far too early the next morning, Nima leaned on the stone wall surrounding the well, stifling a yawn and nibbled at a piece of journey bread, waiting for the caravan to push itself into motion. She’d deliberately spent the night away from Kamin again, testing her feelings for him, assessing the reality of what she was about to do. She’d enjoyed her time with the Minoan dancers, not just sharing steps and new moves, but also asking them questions about living and traveling with the caravan.
Andrios and his dancers probably thought she was really considering Ptahnetamun’s offer and were excited, providing advice and encouragement. And I know Andrios is hoping my curiosity extends to his talents in lovemaking as well. But she knew she was just playing with the concept, living the nomad artist’s life by proxy for a night or two.

The opportunity was opening up too late. Even a few weeks ago, she’d have signed the contract and been gone without a backward glance. Why didn’t I ever at least talk to a caravan master about the possibilities? Note taken for the future—if there was a future to be had after this Hyksos problem ended—be bold and pursue dreams. No more drifting along.

Bracelets jangling, Thala nudged her in the ribs. “Here comes your man, looking for you.”

“Uh huh.” Affecting a casual air she didn’t really feel, Nima pushed down a little surge of excitement. I hope he was as upset by our spat yesterday as I was. She turned to rummage in her sack for some fruit, offering a date to her companion. “Making sure I haven’t wandered into Andrios’s bed.”

“It means something that the soldier was so jealous,” Thala said, licking yogurt from her fingers. “He must have feelings for you, my friend. “

“He seemed so bereft when you turned your back on him and ignored him,” Mika added, leaning over to grab a fig for herself from the sack.

“And he stayed on the fringe of the crowd the entire evening, watching you dance.” Thala nodded, patting Nima on the shoulder. “Actually, he was watching the bystanders more than he paid attention to you, in case the men got out of hand, I think. It must be nice to have such a fearsome warrior looking out for you.” She shrugged. “Andrios is a fine troupe master, an excellent dancer, but he’ll never settle for any one woman. This soldier of yours acts like a man who’s given his heart, perhaps in spite of himself.”

“I think we should leave the lovebirds alone,” Mika said with a laugh. “In case they want to quarrel again before the inevitable lovemaking heals the anger.” Taking one more date, she and Thala strolled away, heading for the dance troupe’s wagons.

Shrugging off the girls’ lighthearted banter, Nima watched Kamin striding confidently through the lines of camels and the hurrying workers. What about him captivates me so? He’s not like any other soldier I’ve ever met. Handsome, yes. She knew he would have drawn her attention in any crowded inn. But looks were only part of the attraction. Handsome she could walk away from. Was it his confidence? His skill as a warrior? The way he took such good care of her on the hard trail they followed?

 “He treats me like an equal in this adventure,” she said out loud. Not some burden he has to shoulder for honor’s sake because I happened to free him. She’d been acutely conscious of him at her back during the endless senet game, lending her silent strength and support, trusting her to use her skills and win their freedom again. We’re partners. I’ve never had anything close to trust and true partnership with any other person, and I don’t want to give that up. True, he’d spoken no words of love, although her foolish heart beat faster now just remembering how he’d claimed her as his woman twice in front of the caravan crew. I know he was only trying to protect me, but perhaps... I’m willing to stay the course and hope.

Always a gambler!

And he certainly was unhappy with the attention Andrios was giving me.

Nima felt an irrepressible smile curving her lips as Kamin approached, walking fast.  
Giving her a bow, as if she was some grand lady at Pharaoh’s court, he said, “One of the camels has given birth this morning. Out of season, but the calf appears healthy.”

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