Genre: Time Travel/Paranormal Romance
Digital Price: $3.99 (99c/99p through 27 June)
One minute, Hattie Williams is in a museum, sketching a gold necklace that belonged to Hatshepsut, first female Pharaoh of Egypt; and the next, she's lying in a room too archaic to be the museum, with a breathtakingly handsome, half-naked man named Senemut bending over her.
Hattie soon discovers she's been thrust into the body and life of Hatshepsut, with no way back to her own time. Tuthmosis, the heir to the throne, hates her; the High Priest of Amun and the commander of the army want to kill her and Tuthmosis; and the best bathroom facilities in the country are the equivalent of a cat-box.
To make matters more difficult, she's falling helplessly in love with Senemut, and soon, she's not sure she even wants to return home. To protect Tuthmosis from assassination, the lovers arrange to put Hattie on the throne. But, what should she do when she suddenly finds herself, an obscure artist from Chicago, crowned ruler of all Egypt?
• • •
Tom laughed, then left her alone. As soon as his footsteps died away, she flipped open her sketch pad to a clean page and set it on the table next to the necklace. Before she tried again to imagine Hatshepsut’s features, she wanted to make a detailed drawing of the collar.
Within half an hour, she had the broad outlines of the necklace faithfully reproduced on the paper. Yawning, she laid her pencil beside the tablet. Even the beauty of the necklace couldn’t keep her awake forever. Maybe it was time to call it a day. She could duplicate the intricate hieroglyphs tomorrow.
No sooner had she decided to quit than the back of her neck prickled, and a warm breeze stroked her cheek. Not again! She whipped around, determined to catch the furtive watcher this time. Her left arm hit the partially open door, which promptly slammed shut.
Hattie reached for the doorknob and turned it, giving the door a jerk. It remained firmly closed. She jiggled the knob and pulled on it, but it was quite obviously locked. “Great!” she muttered. “Just what I need. I wonder how long that meeting of Tom’s will last?”
Her mouth dropped open as a horrible thought occurred to her. What if Tom didn’t return after the meeting? What if he went straight home? “Tomorrow’s Sunday,” she reminded herself grimly. “I might be stuck here in this…this broom closet for two days!” There was no one at her apartment to miss her or report her absence—not even a dog to bark and alert the neighbors.
Hattie banged on the door. “Is anyone there? Let me out!” She shouted and beat on the door with her palms, but all was ominously silent. If someone had been watching her, they had no intention of helping her out of her dilemma.
At last, resigned to her fate, she returned to her sketchpad. “If I’m going to be stuck in here, I might as well finish my work,” she murmured. “Tom’s bound to come back—I’m sure he will.” Her voice echoed unconvincingly in the dusty, claustrophobic room.
Picking up her pencil, she focused deliberately on copying the tiny hieroglyphics with extreme precision. Gradually, she became absorbed in her work and forgot her predicament. Minutes flowed by with the only sound in the room the scratching of her pencil on the paper.
At last, she completed the final symbol on her detailed drawing and set down her pencil with a twinge of disappointment. She was curiously drawn to the glittering possession of the ancient, yet strangely modern woman. Hatshepsut had ruled Egypt fifteen hundred years before Christ, at a time when women were considered no more important than servants or dogs. How had she managed it?
The vagrant breeze whispered past her face again, leaving a whiff of exquisite perfume in its wake. A rustle, like the caress of costly linen against bare skin, drew her attention. She felt a strong presence, though she knew she was alone in the tiny room.
The words were so faint, Hattie wasn’t sure she’d actually heard them.
“Who’s there?” she asked, though she didn’t expect to get a response. The room was too small to hide anyone.
“Touch the necklace.”
Hattie spun around, searching for the source of the barely audible words. “Tom, is that you? If it’s you, I don’t think this is funny! Open the door right now.” She thumped it with her fist for emphasis.
There was no response.
Hattie turned back to the exquisitely fashioned falcon. Maybe it was her overworked imagination playing a trick on her, but the advice seemed sound. Perhaps if she touched the necklace, she could make a connection—psychic, empathic?—with the long-dead monarch. The necklace was strangely compelling, like a long forgotten yet treasured memory.
She reached out slowly, cautiously. As her fingertips gently grazed the golden bird, an electric shock pulsed through her and a sudden wave of dizziness sapped her strength.
“Come to me,” the ghostly voice whispered, stronger now. “Come to me. I have need of you.”
The sweet, cloying scent of incense filled Hattie’s nostrils, and flashes of light exploded behind her eyes. Her vision blurred; she felt as if she were reeling, falling down a long, dark tunnel. Gasping, she reached out blindly for something, anything, to steady herself. Her fingers skimmed across the surface of the table and fastened around the necklace. Clutching it, she fell heavily to the floor as everything went black.
• • •
Elizabeth Delisi wanted to be a writer since she was in first grade, and probably would have written in the womb if she could have convinced her mother to swallow a pencil. But life hasn't always gone the way she planned, and on her road to publication she worked as a motel maid, waitress, secretary, administrative aide, substitute teacher, and newspaper reporter.
Elizabeth is a multi-published, award-winning author of romance, mystery and suspense. Her time-travel romance set in ancient Egypt, Lady of the Two Lands, won a Bloody Dagger Award and was a Golden Rose Award nominee. Her romantic suspense novel, Since All is Passing, was an EPPIE Award finalist and Bloody Dagger Award finalist. Fatal Fortune was a Word Museum Reviewer’s Choice Masterpiece. Elizabeth's contemporary romance novella The Heart of the Matter is featured in the Valentine's Day-themed anthology Cupid's Capers and was an EPPIE Award finalist. A Carol of Love is part of Holiday Hearts anthology and an EPPIE Award finalist. A Cup of Christmas Charm is part of Holiday Hearts 2 anthology and was also an EPPIE Award finalist. Elizabeth is also the author of the newly released speculative short fiction collection, The Midnight Zone.
Elizabeth is an instructor for Writer’s Digest University. She has taught Creative Writing at the community college level, has worked as a copyeditor for several small publishers, and edits for individuals. She holds a B.A. in English with a Creative Writing major from St. Leo University.
Elizabeth is currently at work on Deadly Destiny and Perilous Prediction, the sequels to Fatal Fortune, and Knit A Spell, a paranormal romance.
Elizabeth lives in New Hampshire with her husband and feisty parakeet. She enjoys hearing from her readers.
Find Elizabeth online:
Website - http://www.elizabethdelisi.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/edelisi
Twitter - http://twitter.com/delisi
Tirgearr Publishing - http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Delisi_Elizabeth