10 September 2009

Excerpt Thursday: Jean Adams

This week on Unusual Historicals we're featuring our own Queen of Egypt, Jean Adams! She's getting ready to celebrate the release of ETERNAL HEARTS and will be with us on Sunday to discuss it and give away a copy. Hope you join us! Here's the blurb:

She found the love of her life, 3000 years too late.

When Alexandra Kelly returns a broadcollar to Egypt she is swept through a time portal on a breathtaking, yet terrifying journey to a land of majesty and splendour, the land of the pharaohs.

Death is Lord Khafra's fate if he embarks upon his dangerous quest. Can Alex's arrival save him from his date with a lonely, fiery death?

Together they find love and face terrible danger and hardship but the sexy charioteer could make any woman believe the gods were smiling on her.

But at the next full moon Alex must return to the 21st century and Khafra will have been dead for 3000 years.

Khafra's face looked grim and ashen. "Abana. I am under arrest. For treason."

Alex threw herself to her feet "Treason? Dear God, no!" That's the death penalty.

As soon as she'd heard hoof beats galloping through the streets in the middle of the night Alex had sensed that something was very wrong. The pounding on their door confirmed her fears. Now her roiling stomach turned inside out and back again as fear loomed large and terrifying.

"They say that I have conspired to kill the king." His voice was grave.

"But you're not involved in ..." Her voice rose shrilly as hysteria grew in her stomach. "Tell them."

She could see by his drawn face and tight lips that this didn't look good. When he spoke, his voice sounded hoarse. "I must prove to the king himself that I am innocent of this crime, and I must do it without implicating my father."

"Can you?" She held her breath.

He shook his head. "I know not."

Hearing Khafra choke on the words didn't help. She ran to him and threw her arms around his neck. "I won't let them take you. You've done nothing."

It was a futile gesture. One of the king's charioteers unhooked her arms roughly and pushed her away from Khafra.

He straightened his spine, squared his shoulders and tried to smile but the attempt was futile. "I must go with them now, sweet love. Try not to worry."

She could see that his bravado was for her benefit but he couldn't disguise the fear in his eyes. "What if you're found guilty?"

"Pray to Ma'at, Goddess of Justice, that I can prove my innocence," he said solemnly.

Dear God, What if they found him guilty? Put him to death? How did a man prove he had no part in plots to kill the king? Her panic grew. "But—what if you can't? What if ...?"

Khafra merely lowered his gaze. Alex couldn't finish. Lifting her chin she fixed him with a look of determination. "I'm going with you."

He took a step toward her but the king's guard stopped him. "No, Abana. You cannot help me."

"But I can't just wait around here while they accuse you of heaven knows what. I'll beg for you life if I have to."

"Abana. They will not understand you." He lifted his hand to cup her cheek. "I promise I will return."

"You'd better." She gave a frightened little laugh and watched helplessly as the guard bound Khafra's hands behind his back.

They led him away. Proud head high, bearing erect, Khafra walked out between two guards, yet he looked so vulnerable dressed only in his kilt.

Grief-stricken, she followed them out into the courtyard. Three chariots waited—one for the prisoner and his guard, the other two each bore two men as escort.

Khafra was shoved like a common criminal into the leading chariot.

He managed to turn and face her, a grim smile on his lips. "Abana, my heart-mate, always know that I will love you into eternity."

Tears spilled down her cheeks. "As I will you, Khafra, my love" she called back. But her voice was lost in the sound of clanking bridles and chariot wheels, as they drove through the gateway in single file. Then he was gone, swallowed up by darkness.

"Come back to me, Khafra," she whispered into the night. "Don't die. Please come back."

How long she stood in the courtyard, staring into the night through tear-filled eyes, Alex had no idea. Maybe her nightmare would end soon and she would wake up to find him sleeping peacefully beside her. But she was awake—and alone in Egypt.

She shivered and wrapped her arms around her waist. Khafra had been her only protection and now he could be put to death for a crime of which he was innocent.

Put to death!

Alex couldn't breathe. Her heart pounded in her chest. He'd done nothing wrong so why had he been arrested? Could he prove his innocence? What evidence did Akhenaten have against him? Surely it was a mistake, a misunderstanding.

If that little creep, Ikui, had overheard him praying the night she was taken away, he would have listened to everything and it would he his word against Khafra's.

Was Khafra afraid? He should be terrified. Knowing him, he'd be more afraid of what would become of her than for himself.

If he were found guilty, he wouldn't be coming back. She would be alone. The truth hit her squarely in the solar plexus as frightening thoughts nudged at her brain.

If Khafra didn't come back how would she survive? Maybe she could try to return home. But how? Even if she could get back to the Temple of Thoth it wouldn't do any good. Khafra alone knew how to open the portal.

She would never get back to the 21st century.