The Indians and the Crackedskulls are locked in the turmoil of war. Neiko--a warrior with the glistening title of "the Chosen One"--finds herself facing a collection of enemies. Her archenemies, Raven and Bloodhawk, have come up with a scheme to destroy her reputation with the help of a phony Indian chieftain.
However, during the unfolding of their plan, Neiko finds out that a land she thought she had only imagined is actually real--and more terrifying than she ever imagined. It turns out that Ramses--the arch-villain of her collection--has sinister plans of his own for Neiko, whom he eventually traps in Qari.
Neiko must find her way back home and turn the tables on her enemies, but what she finds out during her travels in Qari will change her entire existence for all eternity.
Seeking his revenge on Neiko for exposing him, Francesco banishes Neiko into ancient Egypt just like he did her friends eleven years ago. During her stay there, she unravels the mystery of what happened to her four friends. Now she’s faced with a bigger problem—how to get home. After a series of unfortunate events, Neiko is now entangled with Pharaoh Ramesses II. Francesco also comes to make sure their fates are sealed. Can Neiko and her friends beat impossible odds and return to Hawote and back to the present?
My Book Orders ** Nook ** Sony ** Ebooks.com ** Barnes&Noble ** iBookstore
Excerpt Neiko's Five Land Adventure
Thursday passed quickly, and the dreaded day came. Neiko’s parents backed down the driveway and waved as they left Neiko behind. As soon as they were out of sight, Neiko sprang into action. She put the water in the canteen, got the weapons, and put them in the coat closet with her backpack. She found the marbles and hid them behind the pillow on the couch. She then sprinted to her room and fixed the barricade; she laid the Super Soaker on the bed and laid Quickstrike’s gun on the top of the entertainment center. Neiko put on her buckskin tank top and shorts, her socks, and her black Nikes, and she put the pistol in the belt of her shorts. She put on her bead headband with a falcon in the center, and she painted her face for war in red and blue stripes on her cheeks and chin; the battle was ready. Neiko waited for several hours behind the barricade, but there was no sign of Ramses. “Man, is he coming or not?” Neiko asked irritated.
Quickstrike drummed his legs on the entertainment center nervously. “Hmm, he’s coming alright, but he wishes to attack when he gets ready, and probably when we least expect it.”
“Let’s play some music,” Neiko said. After she had listened to all of her tapes, she played video games, but every creak or noise made her jump. Neiko threw her controller down in disgust. “I can’t play games!”
Neiko looked at her clock, it was five. “He ain’t coming, it’s five—,”
“I’m here!” Ramses said as he walked into the door to her room. “Have you been waiting for me?” he asked sweetly.
Neiko did a backflip into her barricade and grabbed the Super Soaker.
“Yeah, and I have a present for you, and it’s called Pharaoh Spray! Have some!” Neiko said as she fired at him, but she sprayed him in the neck, in a drenching blast. “Oh, darn I missed.”
Ramses wiped some off and smelled of it then looked at Neiko angrily. “So, you wish to blind me? Is this your game? Ha! I presume you wish to continue this idiotic combat. Well, let’s get started!” he said then he did a side slap and sent the gun flying out of her hands landing at the head of the bed. Neiko dove for it and was able to retrieve it, and she spun dodging his sweeping hands. Neiko got a good aim at his eyes and before she could fire, he snatched it out of her grasp and threw it behind him. Neiko jumped on the floor and she headed for the door, but he tripped her with his foot.
Neiko tried to crawl out, but he grabbed her ankle, yanked her to him, and held her upside down by her ankle. “Now, do you yield?”
Neiko dangled with her hands over her head, her other leg bent, and swinging dazedly. “Yeah, you win, I bet Qari is beautiful this time of year, and I bet Skull Fort is a wonderful place to visit,” Neiko said quickly with a twinge of fear.
“That’s better. Now let’s be off.” Neiko’s pistol slipped on the floor, and she tried to reach it, but Ramses kicked it out of reach. “Uh, uh.”
“Hey, Chrome Daddy! Put her down!” Quickstrike yelled from the floor.
Ramses dropped Neiko and turned to Quickstrike. “You! I will crush you like the bug you are for insulting me!” he said as he went after him trying to stomp him with his armored foot. Seeing his narrow escapes, Neiko grabbed the bat and hit him on top of the head. Ramses cried out as his helmet began to ring. He grabbed it to stop it from ringing then he turned and faced her. “Argh! You won’t get away with this, Falcon!” Neiko swung it several times, but he blocked it with his arms and with the backs of his hands because of the hand guards, and it clanged on every hit.
“Dang! C’mon, eat chrome!” Neiko growled as she tried another hit.
Ramses fended off the attack with his arm, and then he backhanded it, and it fell behind the entertainment center. Seeing Neiko disarmed, his sightless red eyes shone with triumph, but Neiko was not giving up. She ran and jumped on him trying to claw at his eyes and trying to clobber him with her hands, but he threw her on the bed and pinned her by her arms, yet Neiko still fought by trying to kick him and fighting to get up.
He laughed cruelly. “I’ve got you now! It seems the fight hasn’t gone out of you yet!”
“Yo! Chrome Sneeze! Look over here, I stole your mom’s platinum panties!” Quickstrike yelled from the top of the entertainment center with his gun aimed. Furious, Ramses looked as he jerked Neiko up to her feet. Quickstrike hit the trigger, and he scored a direct hit in both of his eyes. Ramses screamed in pain, and he released Neiko immediately because the pain was so intense. Neiko moved quickly, but he had her cornered. Neiko ran behind the barricade and started to go under the bed. In his fury he had forgotten where the bed was, and he tripped on it. Neiko popped out the other side, ran, and grabbed Quickstrike. Hearing her footsteps, he charged after her. Neiko barely got past him and into the hall, and then he ran into the wall with a crunch of sheetrock breaking. Neiko sprinted down the hall and threw the marbles all down the hall. Neiko ran to the closet to get the weapons and backpack, and she heard him trip on the marbles and hit his head on the wall making a huge hole. Growling with rage, Ramses tried to get up, but then he tripped on his cape and on a few marbles and fell on his back. Neiko saw it and started laughing as she peeked around the corner of the hallway.
“You just wait till I get my hands on you, Indian! You will not get away so easily!” Ramses snarled indignantly.
“Watch me if you can!” Neiko shouted back as she headed for the door. Hearing his quarry escaping, he growled in a seething tantrum, but then an idea popped into his head. He smiled in spite of himself, and he began to chant the spell, then he clapped his hands. Once he finished, he touched his eyes to get rid of the sting of the Pharaoh Spray, and walked after them. Neiko ran out the door, but once she ran out, there was a light, and then a strange land spread before her. Neiko saw enormous trees with strange leaves, and a dusty road reached as far as she could see. Neiko spun around, and she saw her front door hanging in space closing. Neiko ran to it trying to go back in. “Please don’t close, please!” Neiko prayed, but the door closed and disappeared. Neiko then heard a thunder of hooves coming. She spun around and saw an army rushing to her. She dove into the ditch, and they rode past her; when they were gone, she came out and looked for Quickstrike. She called his name, but he was nowhere in sight.
Suddenly, she heard a clap of thunder, and Ramses came out of the sky and landed catlike on the ground one hundred yards away! Neiko ran into the woods, and she searched for a place to hide. Moments passed slowly as she ran, taking cover behind trees and bushes as she tried to find a better hiding place. Finally, there was a tree that had a split in it big enough for her to fit fairly concealed. The land was getting dark, and she went into the tree and sat down, pulled her knees to her chest, and wrapped her arms around them. She heard him running in the woods looking for her, and then he came into sight. Neiko closed her eyes and pressed her lips on her knees. “Please don’t find me,” she prayed over and over in her mind.
Ramses stopped and looked around, but Neiko was nowhere in sight. “Well! I know you are here somewhere! You may have escaped this time, but you can’t hide forever, and I will find you wherever you go! Welcome to Qari, my dear! Ha, ha, ha!” He left the woods laughing wickedly, and Neiko huddled up tighter in the tree, shuddered, and closed her eyes.
“Neiko!” Quickstrike’s voice called. “Where are you?” Thinking Ramses was trying to trap her, she stayed silent, closed her eyes, and started praying.
Excerpt Escape From Ancient Egypt
It was the night for the pit fights to begin, and the Indians’ imprisonment to end—or so they hoped. Many rich families brought in their finest combatants to do battle in the fights Kenes was hosting. The Indians were dressed in their clothes, and they all possessed weapons, including Neiko. Neiko was shown before the contests in her warrior regalia, along with her weapons. Guards and Kenes himself watched her closely to make sure she didn’t try anything. Many people paid to see her, and they looked at her amazed. But she looked at them sternly, folded her arms, and stood in a proud Indian stance.
“Attention, everyone. Let the fights begin!” said Kenes loudly, and everyone herded to the arena. Several fights passed on, and each Indian dreaded when he would be next.
“Okay, we’re all outside and armed. When the first one of us fights and wins—hopefully, then yell out a hawk’s call for a signal. We need to strike like lightning. Neiko will follow our lead just like we went over. Everyone understand?” asked Panthero.
“Roger,” Tito and Mactalon said in unison.
“You’re next, savage,” snapped Het as he shoved Mactalon toward the arena.
Mactalon walked into the arena to meet his opponent with his shield and sword. A tall Philistine met him on the field with a spear. He laughed at Mactalon’s appearance because he was taller than the poorly armed Indian was. The signal was given, and the fight began. The two fought skillfully as people cheered. Mactalon’s three friends yelled to him to wish him luck. The Philistine kicked him and sent him to the ground. He raised his spear, ready to kill Mactalon, but he defended himself with the shield. Without thinking, he sliced the Philistine in the leg and got up.
“I will kill you, painted warrior!” snarled the Philistine in pain.
“C’mon, kill me!” Mactalon challenged.
The wounded Philistine charged and tried to stab again, but Mactalon fended off the attack. Mactalon lashed out and cut the spear in half, scoring a cut down his opponent’s chest. The Philistine howled in pain and tried to use the spear as a club to pound him. Mactalon defended himself, but the angry opponent cuffed him in the side of the head, sending him falling to the ground. He tried to stab again, but Mactalon painfully jerked to the side to dodge the spearhead. He thrust out his sword and stabbed the Philistine in the chest. He groaned, crumpled to the ground, and then lay still. Mactalon staggered to his feet, panting. The crowd was taken aback because this Philistine had been a longtime champion.
“Way to go, Mack!” Neiko yelled from a distance.
“Way to show ’em!” called Tito and Panthero in unison.
Mactalon raised his shield and bloodied sword in victory. He took a deep breath, threw back his head, and let loose the shrill call of a hawk, which was the signal. Tito and Panthero knocked out their guards and sprinted to meet Mactalon. Seeing them and following their lead, Neiko cuffed her two guards, drew her sword, and wounded two more who were trying to catch her. She found a rope she could use to slide down to make a shortcut to the field because Egyptians were coming from both sides, cutting her off. She put the sword in between her teeth and slid down onto the field to her friends. The four ran out of the arena, with a mob of Egyptians chasing them. They found four bareback horses, unhitched from a chariot, and tied up at a watering hole. They grabbed the reins, jumped on the backs of the horses, and rode off toward the south—toward Thebes—as they lifted their weapons in triumph and yelled in victory calls. Kenes sent men after them as he went to his house to gather a band to hunt them down.
The four traveled in the desert, along the river, heading south for days. They made a rest stop for supplies at
They also had to give Kenes’ scouts the slip at this riverside town before they
could cross the river by ferry to Dendera. The next day they crossed the river
to the east to Dendera and continued following the river south for around a
day. They could now see the city, Thebes,
clearly in the distance.
Thebes dead ahead!”
shouted Tito, and they kicked their horses to a run and rode to the city.
They all marveled at the splendor of the place as well as keeping an eye out for Sito. Music filled the air and people bustled about. This place seemed even larger and more bustling than
Monuments, statues, jugglers, and markets were everywhere, along with peasants
and snake charmers and workers.
“Wow! This place is kinda cool,” said Neiko as she scanned the area.
“Yeah, I know, but keep your eyes open,” warned Tito.
Several platoons of soldiers marched through, and several people peered at the strange-looking newcomers.
“How are we supposed to find Sito in all of this?” complained Mactalon. “I mean, he could look like everyone else, you know.”
“Yeah, it seems like we’re playing a live version of Where’s Waldo,” grumbled Neiko.
“Mactalon’s right. Maybe we should try to find Senu first,” said Panthero.
“How will we find his house? The further we move in, the more crowded it gets,” said Neiko.
“Just look for the nicest house in
“Uh, correction—if we look for the nicest house, then we will end up at Pharaoh’s house. So I think you mean the second nicest,” said Mactalon.
“You know what I meant,” Tito said, shoving his friend playfully. They explored the winding streets and alleys of the city, but there was no sign of Sito or Senu.
“I think we would have a better time trying to find an Apache in downtown
Atlanta,” grumbled Neiko.
“There they are! After them!” a voice yelled, and they turned and saw Kenes with a band of armed men on horses. Among the numbers were also the scouts they had ditched back at
People screamed seeing the weapons and backed out of the street. The Indians bolted forward in a full-scale retreat. They couldn’t risk a battle or be recaptured. The Egyptians divided up and started gaining. Kenes and a small group came from the front, and the Indians split up, with Neiko going left and the others going right. Kenes and his small group went after Neiko, while everyone else of the party went after the others. Neiko rode street to street aimlessly, trying to shake her pursuers. She saw a stand with huge melons on it, and leaned over and grabbed one. She turned and threw it at the group hoping to hit someone. She was able to hit one man in the eye. He didn’t see a low-hanging rope, and it hooked him in the chest. He flipped off the back of the horse and landed on the ground. The remaining nine men still chased her. Just ahead was an overhead ledge where bricks were lying, and only a few logs supported them. Neiko sliced the rope binding the supports with her sword, and the bricks fell, toppling five more men. The man who had put the bricks up there called after her, shaking his fist angrily.
“Sorry!” Neiko called back. Neiko turned a hard left and fell into a mob of people. She rode through and fought to get to the opening in the street.
“Excuse me, pardon me, sorry—comin’ through,” Neiko said as she and her horse fought through. She made it to the middle of the street, but there was a mob on the other side. Kenes and his remaining four men had her trapped. Neiko brandished her sword, bared her teeth menacingly, and gave a shrill war call. “Come and get me if you dare!” she challenged.
“Get her!” commanded Kenes, but no one noticed a man who walked up with his wife and a large number of people behind him. He watched in amazement on what was going on and was somewhat entertained. Neiko charged on her horse and jumped onto one of the men. They both fell off as the horse fell, and she landed on top of him, knocking the breath out of him. She dealt him two side punches in the jaw, and a final double punch in the forehead, knocking him out. People looked at the battling group, horrified as Neiko picked up the fallen Egyptian’s spear and stabbed an oncoming man’s horse. The horse died, and they both fell over. The horse fell on the man’s leg, and he couldn’t get up. Neiko hit him in the head, making him unconscious.
One of Kenes’ men dropped his staff and ran off.
“Do something!” Kenes shouted at his remaining man.
The man jumped off the horse, tackled her, and tried to restrain her. The pair wrestled on the ground, but Neiko was able to free her right arm. She socked him in the nose. He growled in pain, but he kept holding her. She grabbed his hand and bit it as hard as she could; he let go, yelling in agony. She kicked him between the legs, and he doubled over and danced in anguish. She picked up her spear and hit him in the chin with the butt; he landed face down in the sand, motionless. Kenes was taken aback by Neiko’s skill. She ran and jumped up on the horse tackling him and sending him crashing on the ground from the horse.
“How do you like being hit and beaten? You want to enslave me do you? Huh?” Neiko snarled, punching Kenes mercilessly in the face in a left-right manner.
Kenes didn’t understand her, but he could hear the hostility in her voice. Kenes pushed her off of him and tried to make a hasty retreat. He had to return home to get more reinforcements and come back for her. Her friends were going to die, and she was going to be his even if he had to have her in chains to keep her under control. As he tried to flee, Neiko stabbed him in the leg, and he fell down. She tied him by one leg to his own horse with the rope he had brought, as he lay on the ground. She tied the other end to the saddle tightly. Then she stood over him and put the point of her spear to his throat. People covered their mouths in fear, and the woman hid behind her husband because she wasn’t sure if Neiko was going to kill Kenes. “Try to hurt us again, and I’ll kill you,” she snapped as she pricked his neck with the point. She took the point from him and slapped the horse’s flank. It ran off, dragging Kenes behind it, who yelled curses and threats to her as he was dragged away. His threats didn’t mean anything to her since she couldn’t understand him. Neiko raised her spear in triumph and yelled, “Victory! Indians rule, and Egyptians drool!” Then she released a shrill call and watched Kenes disappear. “Yeah! Who’s the better fighter?”
Soon a shadow loomed over Neiko, and she saw it in front of her. She spun around and stood face to face with a wealthy man. She poised her spear, ready to kill if he tried to capture her. A few soldiers began to draw their weapons and approach her with angry faces, but the man raised his hand stopping them. The man seemed to have an aura of complete control about him. She held the spear at his chest, but he didn’t fear her. “Are you Senu?” she asked. She repeated the name and pointed at him in trying to make him understand her.
The man stared at Neiko in order to get a better look at her. As he peered at her face, his hand went to a huge jade scarab that hung around his neck that rested on his muscular chest. It finally sunk in what she was trying to ask him. “I am not,” he replied shaking his head.
Neiko was dressed in her buckskin tank top with buckskin shorts and no shoes; her tennis shoes were still on her front porch where she left them. She was wearing her falcon headband, and her hair was fixed with hawk feathers. She had armlets on the tops of her arms with feathers, and an eagle and bear claw necklace. Her face was painted in red and black—she had a black bird’s foot on the T-zone of her face, red stripes on her cheeks and chin, and lightning bolts under her eyes.
Neiko studied the man. He was wearing fine linen clothes with a jeweled collar. He wore gold bracelets that came from his wrists to his elbows. He also wore a blue—and white-striped headdress, but she didn’t notice the golden cobra with jeweled eyes coming from his forehead or his beard. He wore rings on his fingers and a heavy gold necklace in addition to the large scarab amulet that he continued to hold and stroke with his fingers. He was well-built, young, and fairly tall. He had a strong jaw, and his dark, piercing eyes, which were outlined, never left her.
“Okay, do you know where I can find Senu?” she asked, not letting down her guard.
The man looked at her, baffled, and she took a step backward. “A woman who can fight? Where do you come from?” he asked.
“Huh?” Neiko asked, dumbfounded because she couldn’t understand.
“Wait—I remember now. You are one of the painted people—like Sito—who my father found years ago and took in. But unlike him—I like you—a lot. And you look so familiar to me—like the one I have been searching for,” the man said rubbing his chin as he stared into her face, and she took a few more steps back. He had released the massive charm. “Could it be you at last?”
The woman, who was dressed like him but wore a golden vulture crown gawked at her, concerned, and looked at him confused. Apparently, she had no idea what he was speaking of.
“Never mind. Since you know nothing of Senu, I’ll find him on my own,” Neiko said backing up with her spear still raised and her eyes still on the man, watching his every move.
The man started to approach her, but Neiko poised her spear in warning, stopping him in his tracks. “Back off,” she said as she twisted her hands on the shaft trying to conceal her fear. Her heart was hammering in her chest.
The man’s eyes sparkled, and he smiled at her. Neiko looked at him coolly. He reached his hand forward and said, “Take my hand and come with me. Come,” he said, beckoning her with his fingers.
Neiko’s eyes widened, and she shook her head. “Ok-kay, I can understand what that look means! I have friends to find and no time to flirt with some rich dude I don’t even know. I don’t take orders from nobody! Now if you will excuse me,” she said, backing away again at a quicker pace.
The man lowered his hand and took a few steps forward. He was not so easily deterred and challenged her. Obviously, he was very stubborn.
Neiko frowned and narrowed her eyes. “I don’t think you get the message. Maybe I should put it in terms you can understand,” Neiko said, as she drew a line in the sand with her big toe. “If you cross this line,” she said, pointing at him and then the line, “Then I’ll kill you,” Neiko said thrusting her spear at him.
The man looked at the line and then at her, but he smiled broader. “You have spirit, but I fear nothing. You are coming with me--like it or not. Guards, get her and bring her to me,” he said, pointing at her, and three soldiers came at her.
“Oh crap! Time to go!” Neiko said as she ran to her horse, jumped on, and rode away barely escaping the advancing soldiers before they could grab her. She went off in search of her friends and Senu’s house.
A.K. Taylor grew up in the backwoods of Georgia where she learned about nature. She enjoys hunting and fishing, beekeeping, gardening, archery, shooting, hiking, and has various collections. She also has interest in music, Native American history and heritage, Egyptian history, and the natural sciences. A.K. Taylor has been writing and drawing since the age of 16. A.K. Taylor has graduated from the University of Georgia with a biology degree, and she shares an interest in herpetology with her husband.
Blog/Website ** Goodreads ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Facebook Fanpage ** New Author Education Blog ** Amazon ** Librarything ** Google+
Goodreads Book Giveaway
Neiko's Five Land Adventure
by A.K. Taylor
Giveaway ends October 28, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Goodreads Book Giveaway
Escape from Ancient Egypt
by A.K. Taylor
Giveaway ends October 28, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Thanks for being my host!
Post a Comment