Shannon here: Biblical fiction author, Carole Towriss shares an excerpt from her novel, In the Shadow of Sinai. Comment on any post dated Nov 26 – 30 to get your name in the drawing. Deadline: Dec 8, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Carole:
Exceprt: In the Shadow of Sinai by Carole Towriss
Bezalel took the two steps back up in one jump and was almost out the door when someone coughed. He turned to his left and spotted the girl sitting on a cushion, her back against the wall near the door. She hid in the shadows, and had she not made herself known, he would have walked right by her again on his way out. She stood and glided toward him.
He took in a sharp breath. She was even more beautiful than he remembered her. Without her heavy kohl makeup, her deep brown eyes seemed to take up her whole face, though they still radiated sadness.
Bezalel’s mouth went dry. He started to speak but no words came out. He felt like a fish that had landed on the bank gasping for air, his mouth opening and closing. The closer she got, the more stupid he felt.
Her long, black hair fell straight this time—no fancy pins or flowers. Her new tunic was not torn as before, and made of the silkiest linen, not rough and coarse like his. It skimmed her body perfectly, and when she walked it swayed and made his head spin. Three vertical rows of tiny blue-black dots ran down each arm from just below the shoulder to above the elbow: the mark of a concubine.
“Excuse me.” She stepped closer. She was about a head shorter than he was.
That same scent of jasmine. Much as he wanted to, he tried not to close his eyes and drink it in. “Y-yes.” He surprised himself by managing to get the word out and then keeping his mouth closed.
“I wanted to thank you for your kindnesses to me … uh … before.” She came even closer and reached up to touch his neck but stopped just short. “I see your bruise healed nicely.”
His breath came faster. “Yes, it did. And you’re welcome.” His heart beat wildly, and he could barely hear his own voice over the pounding in his ears. He hoped his cheeks didn’t look as red as they felt.
“My name is Meri.”
Her voice sounded like honey tasted. “I’m Bezalel.” She was so close—he just wanted to touch her. He looked away, over her shoulder to steady his heartbeat, and noticed a ragged mat by itself in the far corner. He glanced around at the numerous opulent cushions and linens and returned his gaze to the mat.
Meri turned to follow his stare. “A little boy slept there for a while when I first came here. He was all alone. I never did figure out why. He was the sweetest child. But he left about a month ago. No one knows where he went.”
Bezalel swallowed hard. “Is anyone looking for him?”
She turned back to face him. “I don’t think so. No one seemed to pay much attention to him. And when I first came here, I didn’t either, I’m afraid. I was just getting to know him. I wish I had tried harder. He seemed so alone.” She looked up at him, her dark, sad eyes locked on his, as if she were seeking his forgiveness.
“I think you had your own problems.” He smiled, and the smile he received in return sent a wave of warmth pulsing through his body.
“Why aren’t you with the others?”
She waved her hand toward the river. “They’re out teaching their children. I don’t have any, obviously. Besides, I hate it here. I don’t belong. Everyone else wanted to be his concubine. I didn’t. There hasn’t been a new girl around in several years and I’ve upset things.
They don’t like me, and I’m not too fond of any of them, either.” She paused, and let out a deep breath. “That sounds awful, doesn’t it?”
A smile spread across his face. “No.” He chuckled as he saw her frown. “Not at all.”
About Carole: Carole Towriss grew up in beautiful San Diego, California. Now she and her husband live just north of Washington, DC. In between making tacos and telling her four children to pick up their shoes for the third time, she reads, writes, watches chick flicks and waits for summertime to return to the beach. Her first novel, In the Shadow of Sinai, released November 1. You can find her at http://www.caroletowriss.com/.
About the book – In the Shadow of Sinai: Bezalel is a Hebrew slave to Ramses II. An artisan of the highest order, Ramses has kept him in the palace even when all other Israelites have been banned. Bezalel blames El Shaddai for isolating him from his people.
When Moses and Aaron appear one summer, and El Shaddai shakes Egypt to its core, Bezalel must reexamine his anger. Over the course of the next year, Bezalel’s life becomes intertwined with those of an Egyptian child-slave, the captain of the guard, and especially a beautiful young concubine.
When spring arrives, all of them escape with the young nation of Israel. But that’s only the beginning. . .
Come back Nov 28th for Tina Pinson!