Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Bite Of...Hunters of the Nile

Welcome to our fortnightly "A Bite Of", today I'd like to introduce to Eleanor Maine with a bite of her book Hunters of the Nile.


Can you, in less than five words describe your book?
Time-travel romance, ancient Egypt


What inspired you to write it?
Hunters of the Nile was inspired by another themed open call. It was my second successful romance, and my first erotic romance. The open call asked for an erotic romance novella in which at least one of the protagonists traveled through time to a real historical era.

This was a hard call for me—no magic, no mythical beasties, just a time-shift followed by straight-forward reality. At first I wasn’t sure I could do it, but then I decided that Egypt was mystical enough that it didn’t need any help.

In Hunters of the Nile, a young woman is transported through a rift in time to ancient Egypt. Hunted by perverts in our present, she is captured by an Egyptian noble in the past. Perhaps not the easiest setting in which to begin exploring erotica, but certainly a challenge, and one that let me work in an era that has long held me in thrall.

And without further ado, here's the snippet!
 
When Callista arrives in Egypt, she can’t understand the language and knows little about the world. Taken in by an Egyptian noble, and finally accepting that her mind might not be playing tricks on her, she decides to take her situation head on. The following excerpt is about her adjustment:
Callista decided she couldn’t just sit and wait for the world to happen to her. She stood up and moved quietly to the door of her room, then out along the corridor to the dining room, and finally to the front door of the house.
Opening it quietly, she peered around it and realized she was in a compound, and that the walls and gate from the night before were very real. Looking to the left, she gasped in surprise as she noticed the soldier standing outside.
He tensed and raised a hand as he greeted her. It sounded as though he was asking her to do something. Callista gave him a puzzled stare and took a step forward as though she’d leave the house. He rested a hand on her arm and his tone turned pleading.
From the inclination of his head, Callista guessed he was asking her to return inside. Before she could obey, he turned his head and looked towards the gate, his body becoming more tense and alert. Seconds later, Callista realized why.
Hoofbeats echoed in the still morning air, and the guards on the tower above the gate shouted a greeting, one hurrying down a narrow set of stairs Callista hadn’t noticed before. Callista stepped forward, ignoring the guard’s words and remonstrating hand as she watched a chariot sweep through the gates.
The horses that drew it were magnificent—unmatched in color, they were small and well-muscled, their coats gleaming with good care despite the dust. Callista had never seen a breed like them. She watched the horses as the chariot disappeared around the side of the house, listening as the rhythm of their gait slowed. So intently was she waiting to see them a second time, that she failed to hear the hurried slap of sandals in the hall behind her.
A well-muscled arm encircled her, turning her away from the horses as they returned around the corner of the house, and the smell of her host’s perfumed skin surrounded her. Before she could protest he’d stooped and covered her lips with his own, kissing her lightly, but laying his claim on her nonetheless.
Miu’s exclamation of mock outrage only made him smile, as he stood back from Callista, before swooping in for another kiss and hurrying to the chariot.
“Horem…”
He gave no sign of hearing her soft cry, claiming the reins and urging the horses into motion. Miu’s quiet presence at her side, made Callie look down. The woman was watching Horem’s departure with something like concern in her eyes.
“Horem,” Callie said, staring after his dwindling figure, before turning to the lady by her side.
“Miu,” she added, touching the woman’s shoulder.
The smile she received in return was a reward in itself.
*   *   * 
Horem was away for almost two months. In that time, Callie learned the names of most of the household staff, what to call the food on her plate, and the correct word for each household item. And Miu had begun to teach her the rudiments of weaving.
Miu had also encouraged Callie to help prepare the meals, and shown her what to do in the kitchen garden, but Callie went nowhere without one soldier trailing in her wake. There were times she wasn’t sure if she was an honored guest or a prisoner.
When Horem returned, he greeted Callie by placing his hands on her shoulders and looking at her, before drawing her into his arms. He smelt great, all horses and sweat, overlaid by scented oil and good, clean dust. Releasing her, he’d disappeared into the house, his valet at his heels.
Later, while the sun set and Miu prepared the evening meal, Horem led Callie into the garden. She walked uncertainly beside him, liking the touch of his hand on her own, and feeling her breasts swell at his nearness, her nipples pushing against her linen dress.
He’d bathed, applying fresh oil and scent, and making her painfully aware that she’d been too busy with Miu to freshen up. When they reached the soft shadows beneath the date palms, surrounding the house pond, Horem turned her to face him.
Now Callie felt the first frisson of nerves tingle across her skin, felt her stomach tighten and an ache between her thighs. She’d been in Egypt for two months. Two months that, without a man, or the companionship she’d shared with her friends, had seemed an age.
Without the pain of sunburn to distract her, and with an established routine, her mind was beginning to accept her situation. How many times in the last few weeks had it turned to the night Horem had chased the intruder through this garden? How many times had she imagined him looking back as he drove away? Callista had so many questions about that night, even though she was still trying to grasp the words needed to frame them.
She had some of what she needed and more words were untangling themselves in her mind every day. Even though she still had trouble framing questions, she could now understand most of what Miu and the household servants were saying. Sometimes Callie would surprise them by adding a comment to their discussion.
… but this man… Callie licked lips gone dry, and tried to swallow. This man was an Egyptian warrior, a commander of men, and probably a member of the minor nobility. She raised her head, letting her eyes take in the way his tunic fitted the breadth of his chest and spanned his shoulders, noticing the heavy gold arm band that twined around each bicep.
Tonight he also wore a collar of flat, rectangular stones, and a carefully set wig. The black make-up lining his eyes had been freshly applied, different to the green udju that she wore. His lips curved faintly as Callie looked into his face.
“You look lovely, tonight,” he said, and his voice made her tremble. He took her other hand, until their hands were joined between them. His next words stretched just out of reach, but his tone was sincere.
“Thank you,” Callie whispered in her newly acquired Egyptian, and was rewarded by the look of delight that crossed his face. It was then that she registered, tucked amongst the other words, the Egyptian term for ‘wife’. Her eyes widened in startlement as Horem bent his head and claimed her lips with his own.
Part of her wanted to resist, to deny that she would be here long enough for a relationship, let alone the forever implied by marriage, but his mouth felt so good, and his tongue… She moaned. His tongue made her weak at the knees.
 
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