Drawn to his abandoned temple on the banks of the Nile by an enchanting song, Sobek the Crocodile God is even more captivated by the sight of the singer herself. Appearing to her as a man, he learns she is Merys, a descendant of his last priestess. Though filled with lust, Sobek believes Merys deserves to be more than just his mistress. But the rules that govern the Egyptian pantheon forbid anything beyond a physical joining of a Great One and a human.
Merys is attracted to the handsome stranger, who arouses passions in her that no man ever has. But with no dowry and no hope of ever leaving her village, she dares not dream of the future--or love.
Sobek takes every opportunity to visit Merys, taxing his resolve to leave her pure. When he saves her life, their mutual desire must be sated. But can a love between a human and an immortal survive the ultimate test of the gods?
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January 23, 2012
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Excerpt from Priestess of the Nile by Veronica Scott
The old abandoned temple remained one of his favorite spots along the Nile, overlooking the river from a small bluff, with a deserted beach below. Bek stood gazing across the sparkling water at bronze- and black-spotted crocodiles sunbathing in the final rays of the setting sun. A breathtaking mix of colors stained the sky as the Goddess Nuit spread her cloak across the heavens, sprinkling the black velvet with stars.
A beautiful soprano voice rose from the beach below the bluff. Bek recognized the words of a familiar old song, given new meaning by the hypnotizing, alluring voice. I must see this songbird. She's cast some kind of spell over me.
He strolled along the path from the ruins toward the beach. Taking the last turn on the trail, he walked out on the sand and found the woman. She waded in the water, casting a small fishing net and retrieving it, every once in a while picking out a wriggling silver fish and throwing it into a waiting basket on the beach. Her ample breasts flashed into view when she leaned over. She had kilted her skirt to her thighs, revealing shapely legs. Long ebony hair was caught behind her ears with combs in the shape of seashells.
Wouldn't I like to take those combs out and see her hair tumble down--she's as beautiful as her voice.
He must have made some sound. She stopped singing and wheeled, taking an involuntary step deeper into the river at the sight of him, a stranger. Her face paled under her tan and her eyes opened wide as she staggered, caught by an eddy of the current.
"Don't be frightened, please. I mean you no harm." He held his hands up, palms out, and smiled. "I heard your singing and it drew me here. I only wanted to give my thanks for the concert."
She laid one hand on her graceful throat, toying with an amulet on a thong. "You startled me." Poised to bolt, the girl appeared wary, probably planning an attempt to run past him.
"I apologize." He kicked off his sandals and waded into the water at an angle from her. The net drifted lazily in a whirlpool; he reached out and caught it, lifting the tangled strands from the river.
"Oh, don't! You'll ruin your fine kilt, sir." She came to him hastily and took the net from his hands. "The river runs muddy at this time of the year. Your servants will labor in vain to get the stains out."
He glanced at his waist. Oh yes, I did choose to wear the pleated white kilt of a nobleman. He followed her to the shore as she splashed through tiny waves with her net. "Fortunately, I have no servants to worry with such things."
While putting his sandals on, Bek frowned at the Nile crocodiles lying deceptively immobile on the opposite bank, then glanced at her. "You take great risks, walking into the river with those beasts nearby." One of the animals twitched. Bek glared at it. The creature met his eyes for a second, then settled onto the sand.
"Oh, I'm not afraid. I'm protected." She was busy folding the net and packing it into a compartment in the lid of her fish creel. She didn't even spare a moment to consider the predators across the water.
He coughed to cover his instinctive laugh. "Protected? And exactly how are you warded against attack?"
She stood briskly, raised her chin and tugged an amulet free of her dress to show him. It was a small green stone crocodile hanging on a frayed black leather thong. "My great-grandmother was the last priestess of the temple on the bluff above."
He indicated the amulet. "May I see it?"