Read on for a teaser from Novice Of The Afterlife (with caution if you haven't read Initiate Of The Jackal yet! There are minor spoilers).
Nik and Ani's relationships is one of my favourite parts of this series - which is kind of unexpected, because I thought I'd love the world building the most!
Copyright 2022 Laura Greenwood
"Did you know about this?" I ask Nik as we follow the others up the stairs. I'm reasonably sure I know the answer, but it's always good to give him a chance to confirm it.
He shakes his head. "Though Father did mention that there's been an increase in traditional mummification requests."
"Can the temple cope with them?"
"I think so. They've been waning in popularity until now if he's to be believed."
I nod. It makes sense. It's more expensive than modern mummification, and also more time-consuming. If the family want to say goodbye in a cost-effective and timely manner, then the modern method is what they go for. Especially as traditional mummification can take up to seventy days to perform properly, though even within the top tier of embalming, there's a range of prices available.
"Is it wrong to be excited?" I whisper, doing my best to make sure no one else hears my words. I wouldn't be surprised if no one thinks twice about them. They've all been in my position, or are in it now. Even so, it's better to be safe when saying things like that.
Nik chuckles softly, a warm and inviting sound that puts me at ease. "I am too, and I grew up here."
"That doesn't mean it isn't wrong," I point out.
"Perhaps not. But at least we'll have our hearts eaten by Ammit together."
"Only if we die at the same time."
"Oh even if I die first, I'm going to hang around a haunt you for a bit first just to make sure we do."
I let out a loud laugh, causing Hannu and Ibi to look back at us with curious expressions on their faces.
"Sorry," I mutter.
Ibi turns his attention back to the stairs while Hannu shakes his head, mildly bemused.
"You better not haunt me," I warn Nik softly. "I'll get an amulet made specifically to ward against you."
"Aww, stop being a spoilsport, Ani. I thought you'd like being stuck with me for eternity."
The moment the words leave his mouth, a slight discomfort settles over us. It's the kind of thing we'd have been able to continue joking about before our kiss, but it's different now. I'm not sure what's changed, or even why it has, I just know things aren't quite as they were.
Which is strange when the kiss didn't mean anything.
I don't think.
Neffie's insistence that Nik and I have feelings for one another rings around my mind, but I push it to the side. She may be my best friend, but she has no idea what my friendship with Nik is like.
A warm gust of dry air breaks through my thoughts, confusing me. "Why is it so warm up here?" I ask, looking around for the source of fit. While I can understand why it's drier than downstairs up here, it shouldn't be warmer. We're still dealing with dead bodies.
"We're passing by the natural mummification rooms," Nik answers, pointing to a large door. "It's basically an artificial desert in there."
A wry chuckle escapes me. "Isn't it ironic that natural mummification is done in an artificial environment?"
His lips quirk up into an amused smile. "They can't exactly stick them out in the real desert in the middle of London."
"Mmm, it'd probably rain unexpectedly."
"Or you'd hold off on interring the body because there's rain forecast, and then Tefnut wouldn't send any rain for weeks."
"You shouldn't take the goddess' name in vain," I fake-scold.
He shrugs. "I'm just saying it like it is."
"Just don't say it too loud and maybe make an offering to her next time you pass her temple."
"If it'll keep you happy," he quips.
Our group comes to a stop before I'm able to respond, with Addaya standing in front of an unremarkable door.
Urban Fantasy in an Alternate Timeline
An urban fantasy series set in an alternative world where the Egyptian empire still rules. It follows a new priestess of Anubis, Ani, as she navigates temple politics and uncovers something she can't ignore.
Heat Level: Low - Relationship Type: m/f - Build: Slow - Point of View Character: Single first person POV, same throughout books - Cliffhangers: Yes - Tense: Present