by Leyla Kader Dahm
Publication date: December 15th 2015
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
At first, teenager Annabeth Prescott thinks she’s found quite a deal when she talks down the price of an ankh pendant she discovers at a flea market. She soon wonders if the bauble is more than she’s bargained for when she faints and glimpses images from a past life in ancient Egypt.
The discovery coincides with another new find: Gabriel, a handsome young man who takes an interest in her. When she meets his twin brother C. J. at a Halloween party, she realizes they look exactly like two boys who figure prominently into her memories.
Does C. J. share the heroic qualities held by his past incarnation Sethe, her bodyguard when she was Princess Ana? Does Gabriel possess the same evil powers he wielded as Kha, the black sorcerer who sought her affection?
Love meets the supernatural in this gripping young adult paranormal romance. Readers with an interest in reincarnation, as well as ancient Egypt, will be drawn to its mystical mixture of history and hesitation as Annabeth sways between the two brothers.
Will her reincarnated soulmate win out? Or will Kha finally find the way to her heart?
I give over the encrusted ornament to Mrs. Lansing, who offers to clean the piece. She takes out a buffing cloth and polishes the necklace in a flash.
“This shape is an ankh. It’s an ancient Egyptian symbol.”
“Do you know what it means?” I ask, curiosity seeping in.
“I believe it represents some sort of key.”
Now that it’s been spiffed up, Mrs. Lansing and I admire my find, which sparkles in the muted autumn sun.
“Is it real gold?” I wonder aloud.
“I’d say so. In fact, this is the darkest, most beautiful gold I’ve ever seen. Just enough alloy was added to the precious metal to make it durable while maintaining its warmth of color. What did you pay for it?”
“Looks like somebody’s a born negotiator,” Mrs. Lansing states, with a hint of pride. “You got quite a bargain, kiddo.”
I take the ankh back into my possession and caress its cool, smooth surface. I feel everything around me go topsy-turvy, upside down and inside out…
I’m enveloped by heat stronger and more intense than any I’ve experienced before. Drops of perspiration tickle my skin as they run underneath my flowing linen gown. I feel arms clasping a chain behind my neck. My hands fly up to find the ankh resting on my collarbone, but I didn’t move them there. It’s as though I’m a mere observer, instead of a participant, when it comes to this body’s actions.
The man who has just bestowed the necklace upon me pulls away, and I’m allowed a good look at him. He’s a hideous fellow with bulging eyes, a hooked nose, and a shock of bright red hair that peeks out from underneath a black-and-white headdress. His outfit, the way he has about him, makes him seem important. Is he a pharaoh?
He grins, semitoothlessly, and I feel myself smiling in return.
“This is all for you, to commemorate your sixteenth year, your entry into womanhood,” says the probable monarch.
“My gratitude runs as deep as the Nile,” I reply, in a voice that is not my own, in a language that is not my own, and yet I know exactly what I’m saying.
The man, who’s wearing a tunic covered with fringe, motions to a procession of beautiful objects, the likes of which I never could have imagined. Priceless treasures zoom past, carried by servants wearing loose shift dresses and stiff black wigs. Elaborately carved pieces of ivory and ebony furniture, lion and leopard skins, gem-encrusted gold jewelry in the shape of beetles and butterflies, and granite statues of animal-faced men and women are all presented to me individually. Clearly, these are gifts for a very privileged young lady. What I wouldn’t give to own them myself.
Another Egyptian, a young man who is ostensibly a prince, looks to be seething with anger. His arms are crossed; his face, set in a scowl. He watches on in disgust as the gifts continue to appear.
“This show of generosity shall stir jealousy in her sisters,” he states venomously.
“I reserve the right to spoil my favorite daughter as I see fit,” replies the suspected ruler.
And now, the last offering, the one with the place of honor at the end of the parade, is finally brought before me.
A boy! Or is he a man?
“This prisoner of war is such a fine specimen, he would be wasted as a lowly house slave. He shall serve as your bodyguard,” announces the intimidating patriarch. “His name is Sethe.”
The captive has shackles on his hands and feet. I can even make out a brand upon his chest. It seems as though it’s still scarring over, which is understandable, since he was not born into slavery. Regardless, he looks like somebody who has done nothing but labor in the sun. His skin is bronzed, and his muscles are impossibly defined. He seems reluctant to look at me.
Finally, his gaze meets mine. I’m at a distance, yet I can still make out the flecks of gold that dapple his hazel eyes. For a blissful moment, I’m lost in them, swimming in their beauty, floating in their comfort.
Wisconsin native Leyla Kader Dahm popped popcorn and dreamt of a career in show business while working in a movie theater during high school. The small-town Midwestern girl opted for the practical route and studied communications at Carroll College and Cornell University. But her life changed course dramatically when a temp agency placed her in a production and development gig at Miramax/Dimension Films.
Dahm went on to work as a script consultant for numerous production companies. She appeared in the acclaimed spoken word show Sit ‘N Spin and had her comedy feature spec, Due North, optioned by Michael Levy Enterprises. She sold her pitch, Survival Instinct, to Nickelodeon Original Movies.
Dahm lives with her husband and children in Los Angeles, where she focuses on writing quality material for families and young adults.