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?
Hattie opened her eyes, but she saw nothing. Everything was still as black as midnight. Her heart leapt to her throat. Was she blind? Had someone overpowered
her and locked her in a dark, eerie cell?
Suddenly, a cooling breath of comfort filtered through her and she relaxed, sighing. She felt the ghostly presence again, but she was no longer afraid. She turned and saw, glowing like a lamp in the darkness, a lovely, slender woman wearing a diaphanous white gown and an array of glittering jewels. Her reddish-gold hair was braided intricately, and her slim feet were encased in delicate sandals. She looked like Hattie, and yet she didn’t. She exuded an aura of graciousness, elegance—and antiquity. It was as though Hattie stared at the portrait of a long-dead ancestor.
“Who…who are you?” Hattie whispered. “Do I know you?”
“Yes—and no,” the woman responded.
It was the same voice she’d heard in the storage room of the museum. Hattie was sure of it. She felt the woman’s words in her head more than she heard them with her ears. “What do you mean, yes and no?” she asked.
“I am your past, and your future.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Hattie shook her head. “Where am I?
Why am I here? Did you bring me here?”
“I have searched for you for millennia,” the mysterious woman responded. “I have waited many ages for the one who could fulfill my destiny and my life, which was unjustly cut short so long ago.”
Hattie shuddered. This woman was definitely out to lunch. “Listen, I don’t know who you are or what you want, but I suggest you let me go at once. Tom will be looking for me, you know.”
The woman shrugged slightly as the glow around her diminished and brightened, like a star twinkling in the dark night sky. “I am sorry, but I have need of you. The thread of my life was severed before its time, and you must finish what I started.”
Hattie tried to edge away. Hadn’t she read somewhere it was important not to challenge the delusions of a crazy person? “Why me? I have a life of my own. I don’t want to fulfill your destiny.” As an afterthought, she added, “I’m sorry.”
“Ah…but my destiny is your destiny. You are fated to perform the task stolen from me. Only then can you resume your own life.”
“And what is that task?” Hattie asked suspiciously. “Do you want me to bring you the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West?”
The woman laughed, a sparkling sound like water splashing in a fountain. “Some have called me witch, but none could truthfully claim I was wicked. Nay, the task you
must fulfill is to protect the heir to the throne, my stepson, Prince Tuthmosis. You must determine the identity of the betrayer who cut short my life and who also threatens the young prince. I was close to discovering the name of the traitor, but he learned I was a danger to him and had me killed.” She smiled grimly. “I knew the necklace would bring you to me. Now, you must find him. Only then can I resume the path of my life as the gods intended, and you can return to yours.”
“Tuthmosis? Traitors?” Hattie backed up another step, giving up all hope of going along with the crazy woman. The conversation was so ridiculous, it was difficult to participate in. “Even if what you say is true, why me? Why am I the one who has to go back and solve your problems?”
“Because you are of my blood. You sprang from my stock. Though the link is distant, my blood runs truer in your veins than in any who came before you.” The woman stepped closer. “Only you can right this grave injustice. You must protect Tuthmosis. He is but a boy, and without me to protect him, he is helpless.”
“Now you’re saying I’m Egyptian? You must be crazy! I’m as American as they come. Just who are you anyway?”
“I am King’s Great Wife, God’s Wife of Amun, Lady of the Two Lands—
Hatshepsut.” Hatshepsut reached out and touched Hattie’s cheek with a feather-light touch, but Hattie felt it in every fiber of her being, like an electric shock.
A gasp died in Hattie’s throat. Her head swam, her heart pounded; blackness rushed up to engulf her, and she surrendered to a force she didn’t understand and couldn’t overcome.
Elizabeth Delisi is the author of Lady of the Two Lands (a Bloody Dagger Award winner and Golden Rose Award nominee); Since All is Passing (an EPPIE Award finalist and Bloody Dagger Award finalist); and Fatal Fortune (a Word Museum Reviewer’s Choice Masterpiece), the first in the Lottie Baldwin Mystery series. Observant Oracle and Mistletoe Medium, books 2 and 3 in the Lottie Baldwin Mystery series, are also available.
She is the author of a short story collection, The Midnight Zone; an erotic romance, Practical Passion; and her contemporary romance anthology, Heart Spell, to be released soon.
Elizabeth is an instructor for Writer’s Digest University. She has taught Creative Writing at the community college level, and has edited for several small publishers. She holds a B.A. in English with a Creative Writing major from St. Leo University. Elizabeth is currently at work on Perilous Prediction and Deadly Destiny, books 4 and 5 in the Lottie Baldwin Mystery series.
For more information, visit Elizabeth at any or all of these sites: