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Secrets in the Sand (The Lost Pharaoh Chronicles, Book II)

Secrets in the Sand (The Lost Pharaoh Chronicles, Book II)

A Failing Country. A Cunning Rival. A Strategic Murder. One Unimaginable Response.

1335 B.C. Egypt is failing. Allies are leaving. War is inevitable.

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Main Tropes and Themes

  • Power at a Price
  • Forbidden Love
  • Tragic Rose
  • Family Disunion
  • Secret Baby
  • Sacrifice

What is this story about?

1335 B.C. Egypt is failing. Allies are leaving. War is inevitable.

The power struggle for the throne should have ended long ago, yet it rages onward, shrouded in conspiracy and murder. Pharaoh Akhenaten's plan to regain power from the priesthood of Amun is done, but his religious zeal has stripped the economy and the people’s morale.

Whisperings of rebellion fill the streets as enemies close in on Egypt’s borders, leaving Nefertiti to fend off political wolves as she attempts to stabilize the nation and keep her crown.

Who is this story for?

Perfect for fans of Michelle Moran, Amy Tan, and Stephanie Dray.

Anyone who loves epic historical sagas, slow-burn closed-door romance, and Ancient Egyptian historical retellings, the series sequel of The Lost Pharaoh Chronicles offers a compelling and imaginative take on the Amarna period of the 18th Dynasty.

With its richly detailed world-building and complex characters, Secrets in the Sand is a must-read for anyone who loves tales of love, loss, and sacrifice.

Grab this gripping historical drama today.

Content Disclaimers

Author Rating:

The author rated this book for ages 14+ for the following Elements / Themes:

  • disability (character with)
  • child death due to accident or illness
  • closed-door romance (in non-romance genres)
  • sexually active underage teens or tweens (due to the time period)
  • violence
  • adult themes

Chapter 1 Preview

The Time of Waiting

Aketaten, 1335 B.C.

The thud of Nefertiti’s heart numbed her chest as a bitter taste settled on her tongue. Leaning back into the door of Pharaoh’s bedchambers, the thud dropped like a weight to her stomach. 

Should I go back? Should I take the poisoned wine back? 

Her breath hitched as her arms lay limp at her sides. The agony of the answer to her question attacked what was left of her dignity and seared its red stain upon her cheeks. 

No . . . what is done is done, she thought, and lifted her head from the door and straightened her back, raising her chin to the sky. 

“Amun”—her thick whisper clogged her throat—“forgive me.” 

I leave the wine for you, Amun, and for Egypt, she prayed in silence. I leave it for the safety of my family and myself. Her hands balled into fists as she thought of Pawah and Beketaten’s threat of rebellion, of her children’s lives. I leave the wine for him to drink, if the gods will him gone. When the time comes, I wish him a painless journey west. 

A cry caught in her throat as unshed tears became a stream down her cheeks. She wiped them away as she stared into the hallway, her face lit only by the hall’s torches. 

“Goodbye, my love,” she whispered and walked down the hallway to face whatever may become of her, knowing she would have to deal with Pawah and Beketaten in the morning.

“Is it done?” Chief Royal Guard Jabari whispered, stepping from the shadows. 

Nefertiti stopped in her gait and shuffled back a step as her red-rimmed, widening eyes found his. It took a moment for her to recognize him, and then her shoulders released their tension. You too, my chief of guards? she thought. My father, my commander, my chief royal guard—all a part of this plan to kill my husband. She pressed her lips into a grimace. And now, I suppose, so am I.

Her gaze dropped to the stone floor. “The morning sun shall uncover what is to be.” Her words danced to him and painted his expression with confusion. 

Not wanting to say more, Nefertiti continued down the long corridor toward her bedchambers. 

“When the gods want him gone, he will drink of the poisoned wine,” she whispered to herself as she let her fingers slide across the wall’s cold stone. I have said my goodbye.

* * *

Jabari watched her go before hurrying to the council room to tell Beketaten, Pawah, and all those who awaited the outcome. 

Beketaten pounded a fist into the table after she heard Jabari’s incomplete report. “So? Did he drink?” 

“At the morning’s first light, we shall see,” Jabari said again. 

Beketaten shot up. “Coward!” 

Pawah took his wife’s hand, calming her as he guided her back in her seat. Turning to Jabari, he asked, “Did she at least leave the wine in his chambers?”

Jabari nodded. “She emerged with nothing in hand.” 

“Then it will only be a matter of time,” Master of Pharaoh’s Horses, Ay, said from the corner. “My daughter did well.”

“We are short of time,” Beketaten said through her teeth. 

“Yes, but let the Coregent keep her dignity,” Commander Horemheb said. “She is not a murderer. She knows Pharaoh must be dealt with in order for Egypt to survive, but . . .”

“But what?” Beketaten gripped the edge of the table. “We all do what we must do,” she said as she leaned toward him. “And if she must give the Pharaoh poisoned wine to save herself, her children, and Egypt . . . what coward would not do it?”

“My daughter is no coward,” Ay said, uncrossing his arms and putting his weight firmly planted on both feet. 

In the back of the room, Jabari and his subordinates, Khabek, Ineni, and Hori, shuffled their feet, their eyes darting back and forth between the leaders of the People’s Restoration of Egypt, Pawah and Beketaten, and the second- and third-highest ranking commanders of the Egyptian military, Ay and Horemheb. They shared glances, wondering where the other would place his loyalty. 

“Of course our Coregent Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti is no coward,” Pawah said, sensing the tension in the room. 

Beketaten’s glare snapped to her husband. 

“As you said, my wife, one way or another, we must be rid of him. If he drinks the cup laid for him tonight or tomorrow or a month from now, he will still become one with Re. The Coregent did what she said she would do—she brought him the poisoned wine.” Pawah looked at Horemheb to confirm his report of escorting Nefertiti to Akhenaten’s bedchambers and witnessing the hemlock poured into the wine goblet Nefertiti took to the king.

“Egypt will not suffer more if he is alive one day or seven days,” Horemheb said, nodding. “It would matter,” he added, “if he were alive for years more.”

“Yes,” Pawah said, resting back in his chair. “And then more drastic measures would have to be taken.” 

“Should a rebellion come, you will spare my daughter and her children in your attack,” Ay said. It was less a question than a commandment.

“It is hard to control an armed, angry riot,” Pawah said, swirling his finger over an imaginary point on the table. “Sometimes, they just get . . . bloodthirsty.” He pushed his finger into the table as his eyes lifted to meet Ay’s, making his point. 

Ay took a step and leaned forward on the table, both hands supporting his hearty frame. “You will control those who fight for you.”

“Of course.” Pawah slid his hand from the table as the shuffling of feet in the corner of the room slowed and stopped. “Just as I assume you would as well.”

“My men follow my order,” Ay said.

Pawah smirked, shaking his head. “Of course, Master of Pharaoh’s Horses.”

Ay stood up straight and peered down at this enemy he had to call an ally. When this is all over, I will make you pay for forcing my hand and persuading my firstborn to murder her husband. He gritted his teeth at the thought and put his hand on the top of the dagger’s handle that hung from his belt. You can threaten your rebellion—you can imply my men will betray me . . . and now, having no other option, I have gone along with your plan to return Egypt to its former glory. But, in the end, I may even kill you for what you have made me do to my Nefertiti, my precious lotus blossom.

Pawah sneered, adding, “We will follow your wishes . . . for now.”

* * *

“Why were you defending Nefertiti?” 

Beketaten cut her husband off in his saunter down an outer palace hall after they had left the council room. Her shrill hush and her firmly planted feet made Pawah pause and look her up and down. 

“Because I only strike when I know I can win,” Pawah whispered in her ear as he gripped her shoulder. As he waited for her response, he carefully planned his rebuttal to her every objection. When she only glared back, he added, “There were men in that room whose loyalty was not with me, and I did not want to put us in danger, my golden flower.” He traced the outline of her face with the back of his hand and then patted her chin. His chest tingled at his quick wit, and with a smug smile, he sidestepped her and continued down the path.

She grabbed his shoulder and pulled him back, placing herself in front of him again. “You always defend that woman.” Her eyes narrowed at him. “Even when she exiled us to Nubia, you defended her.”

“I did no such thing!” Pawah grabbed her and pushed her against the wall. Pressing his body against hers, he whispered in her ear, “Nefertiti is only a tool to return Egypt to Amun. My dear wife, when will you trust me completely?”

Beketaten tried to push him away, but his strength surpassed hers. “It is hard to trust you when you wouldn’t even stand up to my father the first time he tried to exile us. It is hard to trust you when you call out other women’s names in your sleep.” 

Pawah smirked. “Those names are from a lifetime ago. Besides . . . you are a better lover when you are jealous.”

Beketaten wanted to slap him across the face, but still, he held her arms down. “Even Nefertiti? You called her name once or twice.”

Pawah jutted out his chin and peered down at her. “I must have been thinking about the plan and the movement we lead.”

“You lie,” Beketaten hissed. “I thought you loved me. I thought you would make a life for us. But no . . . you have only used me to get what you want. You made me look the fool in front of those men.”

Pawah let out a tsk-tsk and bit her earlobe with his lips. “No. You looked a fool by yourself. I only stopped you from further embarrassment.”

Beketaten huffed.

Pawah kissed her neck a few times, sliding his lips from one spot to the next. “Remember, my love, you begged me to marry you so you would not have to marry your brother. There is a cost to going against your father’s command. This is how we planned to get out of Nubia and back into Egypt. If I have to defend Our Majesty, Coregent Neferneferuaten, then so be it. If I have to marry her, then so be it. You knew perfectly well the cost.”

“You told me you loved me”—Beketaten lowered her chin to block his lips from going farther—“and would do anything for me because you cherished me. I should be on the throne. Nefertiti banished me. She stripped everything from me. She slept in her palace while I slept on a bed of straw in Nubia. I am Pharaoh’s daughter. She is no one—and should be no one. Yet you call out her name? You defend her? You love her! You lied to me.” The burn of envy simmered in her chest as the coals in her stomach added strength to the flame. 

“My sweet Nile Reed,” Pawah crooned, and he pushed her wig’s hair from her cheek. “I never lie to you.” He hovered his lips over hers. “I do love you. I do cherish you, my beautiful daughter of the King.”

“I don’t believe you,” Beketaten said, turning her face away. 

He pulled her chin with his fingers so that she faced him again. 

“Don’t you?” His lips brushed past hers. 

“No,” she whispered, and closed her eyes, breathing him in. 

He kissed her, and not a moment later, she kissed him back, pulling him closer.

Product Information

eBook File Size: 1.4 MB

Paperback Size: 5" x 8"

404 pages

Book Information

Publisher: LLMBooks Publishing

Published: May 2018

ISBN-13: 978-1523205882

Genre: Historical Fiction

Audiobook Information

Coming Soon

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  • (★★★★★)

    "Fans of political and bloodthirsty dramas like Game of Thrones are sure to dive right into the conspiracy and murder amongst the pages ofSecrets in the Sand in just the same, compelling way...a page-turning frenzy...a superb continuation of a fantastic and immersive historical series." -K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

  • (★★★★★)

    "...a vivid portrayal of a society characterized by the quest for power..." -Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

  • (★★★★★)

    "From high-level political intrigues to the tender blossoming of romance, Secrets in the Sand has it all...with characters that step off the page." -Caitlin Lyle Farley for Readers' Favorite