Today was beautiful, all clear blue skies and warm temperatures. The Las Vegas valley weather is dicey this time of year. One day it is spring-like the next it has wind gusts up to 25 mph. But for today I am enjoying 70 degrees and a balmy breeze.
I have been tweaking my new WIP, stuck on this one scene between my MC and another important character. Trying not only to get the emotions correct but the tempo and flow of the prose. There is something missing from this scene which I will post below for you to see for yourself. It is a bit of a spoiler but that is OK. Sometimes you have to let the cat out of the bag, at least for a moment or two. *smile*
This past week I have had the honor of being included as a beta reader for the second book in a series. The first book was well received as an ebook and is not going to paperback -- exciting times, exciting time. The second book is looking better than the first, at least IMHO. The MC is younger than the first MC but more mature in more ways than one. I also think the author likes this particular MC better. At least that is what is coming across. The prose and story structure of this second book is better than the first too. The author has grown.
Anyway, I'm liking it.
So now for this weeks scene.
The Beautiful Woman Has Come, copyright 2013, by Debra J. Giuffrida, all rights reserved.
The royal stables was a vast complex of several buildings surrounding a large arena divided into sections. Within the largest section, horses were being worked, in long reins or in hand or behind the small light chariot that Kemet was known, by sun-browned military men, their short white kilts gleaming in the sun.
Hotpi led me towards one of the buildings away from the arena.
As we walked into the dim coolness of the mud brick stable, I inhaled deeply. The air smelled of hay and dung, leather and urine. Horses nickered softly as we passed. When I was a young girl I had spent most of my days within my father’s royal stables. It had been the only place I had felt completely safe, completely at peace. Sadness gripped my heart as I spied a dappled grey horse, its head hung over a short wall separating it from the aisle. It yawned, exposing great ivory colored teeth.
“Apolloiana,” I whispered.
“What did you say?” Hotpi asked not slowing his stride.
“That one, there, has the looks of my horse ... from before,” my voice thickened. Hotpi stopped when we were opposite the grey.
“This one? He is mine,” Hotpi said running his hand along the horses glossy neck.
We both turned. Hotpi stiffened then relaxed.
“WerAt!” Hotpi addressed the old man walking towards us. “This is Nefertiti, Lord Aye’s ward,” he said pulling me around to face the old man. “She is the one I told you of.”
The old man nodded his head and looked me over.
“She is as beautiful as you said. From Sparta, you say?”
I stiffened. “Yes, I am Sparta’s Queen, my husband, Menelaus, is King,” I said before Hotpi could answer for me.
“You told me not that she was wed.” The old man turned towards Hotpi, a deep frown creasing his age lined forehead. Hotpi brushed off the statement with a wave of his hand.
“He has no claim on her.”
“By her own words he does,” the old man glared at Hotpi.
“That will do, WerAt,” Hotpi said in a low threatening voice and the old man took a step back with a quick nod of his head.
“Forgive,” he said.
“Fix Heru’s Pride and Anate is Blessed to my racing chariot, I wish to show Nefertiti the raceway.”
I wanted to rip my hand out of his and spit at him. Once again I was just a commodity to be talked about, bartered, used and then thrown away.
Hotpi fixed me with those liquid brown eyes of his.
“Is everything all right?” He cocked his head to the side and smiled. “WerAt is my grandfather. Forgive my rudeness. He is Lord Yuya, the Master of Horse, Aye’s father, your guardian,” his voice rose at the end along with his eyebrows.
I must have appeared puzzled as he continued to add description upon description. I wet my lips and took a breath.
“I am Helen, Queen of Sparta, daughter of a god and will be treated as such.” A chill ran over me as I spoke the words. Hotpi dropped my hand and took a step back, then bowed deeply at the waist.
“Forgive me, Nefertiti,” he said remaining bent over.
“You will not call me Nefertiti, I am Helen,” I said my voice quivering with suppressed emotion. I swallowed. Hotpi stood up and looked me in the eyes. The urge to turn and run caused my leg muscles to bunch up preparing to do just that, but his eyes, his eyes held me fast.
“As you wish, but I still want to show you the raceway. That is why my family stays here in MenNefer, to race,” he said a smile curling his full lips, the skin around his eyes crinkling. “Come Helen,” he said reaching out for my hand.