Title: PRIESTESS OF THE NILE (GODS OF EGYPT)
Author: Veronica Scott
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Ancient World Romance
Drawn to his abandoned temple on the banks of the Nile one evening by the notes of a half forgotten, sacred song, Sobek the Crocodile God is unable to resist Merys, the beautiful singer who innocently summons him. Appearing to her as a man and concealing his true identity, he’s captivated by this descendant of his last priestess.
Treated by her family as a servant, denied a dowry and with no prospects for anything but a life of drudgery, Merys is happy to steal away to spend time with the handsome stranger.
Their mutual attraction burns hot but Sobek is forbidden to pursue a human woman and can offer Merys nothing beyond a few hours snatched from his duties tending the Nile.
Then Egypt’s enemies attack the peaceful village. Can the love between Merys and the Crocodile God survive the ultimate test of the gods?
A 21,000 word novella of ancient Egypt…
Merys stood carefully in one spot. She pushed her hair out of her eyes roughly and sighed in frustration, checking her neck one more time, not quite accepting the loss of her necklace. The slithering sensation against her skin as the old leather thong parted and the amulet fell had been so startling, she hadn’t grabbed for it in time. Peering uselessly into the murk of the Nile, Merys blinked back tears. The only possession of my great-grandmother’s I had left, the symbol of my being a priestess—gone. I’ll wait for the silt to settle and then hopefully I can find it. Taking a moment to enjoy the soaring flight of a flock of white ibis against the blue sky, she stood straighter, easing her muscles. I envy them their freedom.
The sky tilted and vertigo assailed her as her feet were violently yanked out from under her. A crocodile closed its mighty jaws around her ankle, ripping a desperate scream from her throat. The bone-crushing force sent a sheet of hot pain up her leg and through her body until adrenaline pulsed in her system.
The beast dragged her under the surface of the Nile, pulling her toward the center of the river. Cold water rushed over her face, into her open mouth. Merys gagged, tried to hold her breath, beating on the animal’s closed jaws with her fists, then trying to jab at the nearest eye. Her stomach heaved, nausea and weakness from the intensity of the pain in her leg spreading outward from her gut.
The crocodile rolled her over and over, tossing her like Tyema’s puppy with a rag doll. Black spots danced before her eyes and she scrunched them tightly closed against the dizziness. What do I do to get away before I drown? I have to breathe. My chest is going to explode. I’ve got to have air. Just as her lungs were bursting, something huge flashed by her in the water and struck the crocodile with enough force to shove it sideways a few feet against the current. The predator opened its jaws to deal with the threat and Merys floated free.
A tiny hope of survival bloomed within her. A spurt of energy sizzled through her nerves, giving her new strength. Kicking as hard as she could with the injured leg, heart pounding, Merys clawed her way to the surface. The water in her vicinity churned bright red. Something solid rose from the murky depths. Merys screamed and flailed, too weak to swim. A hard surface lay under her, lifting her completely out of the water, supporting her as if she were stretched out on a board or a raft. Thank the gods for helping me. Nausea and dizziness overwhelmed her and the world faded from her view.
When Merys regained consciousness, she was held safe in Bek’s muscular arms, nestled against his broad chest. Too exhausted to question the miracle of his presence she curled closer to him in relief while he strode across the beach toward her favorite spot under the palm trees. Tenderly he laid her in the softest spot, then bent to examine her leg.
Blood gushed from a long series of deep, serrated slashes, staining her dress as well as his hands and kilt. The crocodile’s teeth had shredded her lower leg from ankle to knee. The bone showed through. The pain was excruciating.
Merys leaned to the side and vomited river water that burned her throat while Bek held her hair out of the way. As she wiped her mouth, exhausted, he pushed her gently to a reclining position. Chanting something, he proceeded to run his hands over her legs. The pain spiked, then receded.
What is he doing? Some kind of healing, but how? Green light shone from his hands, radiating from his palms in a cold, numbing rush. The light brought blessed relief, mending her skin and bones in front of her eyes. Thank the gods.
When he finished, Bek sat on his haunches, resting his hands on his thighs, and scrutinized her. His face was lined, his eyes shadowed. He was dripping wet.
Another time I would have appreciated this view. But right now I need to understand what happened. “You saved me? How? How could you defeat a crocodile? And what did you do to my leg?” Wriggling her toes, Merys touched her shin hesitantly with the tips of her fingers. I’m safe in his arms. Her pulse slowed. The weakness ebbed away as she relaxed.
Bek gathered her in for a hug and she breathed deeply of his clean masculine scent. Crooning her name over and over, he buried his face in her hair. Then he pulled back, framing her face with both of his broad hands, and met her eyes. “I thought I’d lost you.”
She put a trembling hand on his cheek. “Who are you, Bek?”
“Sobek.” He cleared his throat as he stroked her back with one hand. She realized her soaked dress must be clinging to her as tightly as his wet tunic was plastered to his body. She leaned into the shelter of his mighty arms. Bek rested his lips next to her ear and whispered, “I am Sobek.”
New strength pumped through her, making her heart pound and sending a hot pulse along her nerves. “The Crocodile God?” I’ve been sitting and talking to the Great One all this time, treating him like a human man? I fell in love with him. How could I have been so blind? So stupid? “The Crocodile God himself?”
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Fascinated by ancient Egypt? Here’s what Dear Author said about the series: “There’s Egypt and gods and magic and strong men and stronger women and love even beyond death and into the Afterlife. The historic details add spice throughout the story and these definitely aren’t 21st C people in linen kilts.”
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USA Today Best-Selling Author
Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Seven-time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances!
She read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the official audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”
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