Here’s another scene from IN HER NAME, involving another character I developed a surprising fondness for. Fayd Mustafa was meant to be nothing more than a foil for the difficulties in Matt and Manara’s relationship (or lack thereof), at the point they met him. Imagine my surprise when, instead, he told a story that firmly entrenched him not only in the foundation of IN HER NAME’s story, but also in the life and history of one of my other surprising favorites from this book, whom will make a return in BLOOD DEBT.
Excerpt from IN HER NAME (Project Prometheus, Atlantis Silver, Book #1) —
“You give away more than you wish, Sayyid.”
Matt bristled at the observation. He only just met this man. There were people who knew him most of his life who couldn’t read him so quickly. Suspicion kindled and his eyes narrowed as he recalled how the mercenaries’ escort to the camp were almost reverent toward Manara. Were these people more of her kind, whatever that was?
Mustafa’s smile widened into a toothy grin. “I see your fear, Sayyid, and your questions. Ask. I am a man of few secrets.”
“Who are you people? How do you know who Manara is? And why does everyone keep calling me Sayyid?” The questions poured out before he could dam them, pushed from his lips by frustration he could no longer contain.
Mustafa sighed and rose from his place among the cushions. He was a short man, barely taller than Manara, but clearly a man used to doing as much work as any of his people. His form was lean, judging by the belts cinched around his waist.
“It must be disconcerting to find yourself thrust into our battles without warning. Have you no training in the ancient ways?”
Ancient ways? Matt wasn’t even sure what those were. “I know a thing or two about ancient civilizations.”
Mustafa nodded. “That is well. Keep those lessons in mind and they will help you understand.”
Mustafa gestured Matt to his side as he moved to the edge of the tent and lifted one panel. “All of this land which surrounds us once belonged to Sumeria. My people have a long memory. We traded with the Sumerians and their descendants in ancient times, and took away the lessons of their mighty cities to Egypt and Phoenicia.”
Matt frowned. “I thought Bedouin segregated their women.”
“Most do. We revere ours, choosing to remain with the old ways where women were sacred life-givers.”
Matt nodded. That made a little more sense, but still didn’t explain the regal welcome Manara received. “And Manara?”
“If you refer to Mukarramma, ours is a long kinship with her Temple. She has come to our aid before when we were threatened by evil. She will always have sanctuary here, no matter her enemy.”
Matt froze beneath the stern look Mustafa favored him with. No question about it, the old man knew there was turbulence, at very least, between himself and Manara.
“As for why I call you Sayyid,” Mustafa let the tent panel fall again, “that is something you will learn as time goes on. When you truly come into your right, you will no longer question that title. For now, be careful what you give away. Your enemies will use your weakness against you, if you allow them to see it.”
Matt straightened. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Mustafa shook his head. “Youth is always blind to the ways of the heart, but the soul is clear witness within the eyes. You love her as much as you fear her.”
Matt jerked back, his eyes wide in shock. Mustafa’s words struck home and twisted like a knife in his gut. How could anyone know that? After a moment he shrugged it away. “That’s where I know you’re wrong. I’m not even sure I like her.”
Mustafa’s booming laugh filled the tent as he settled back into his seat of cushions. “You believe you have a choice? It is your destiny, Sayyid.”
Matt’s eyes narrowed. Enough mumbo-jumbo. Was this whole region touched in the head? “I don’t believe in destiny.”
Get ready for danger, demons, and the start of an epic battle that’s been building for ten thousand years, as Matt Raleigh and his Prometheans go head-to-head with the Brotherhood of Spiders, beginning with IN HER NAME, available now from Desert Breeze Publishing! Pick up your copy today!