My debut novel ‘The Undead Must Die – The Order of the Black Rose, Book 1’ will be published in less than a week (exact date to be announced) and today I’m happy to share with you an #Excerpt.
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Here is the #Excerpt:
“Did you know that Lord Byron carved his name into one of those marble columns?” a voice asked from behind her.
Her first thought was whether the query was addressed to her. The second was to whom that calm and deep voice belonged. She turned around and looked at a male figure standing a few steps away. The light of the sun directly behind him blinded her, and the white-dressed man, in the glare of the sun, appeared to have angel wings on his back. What the hell? There must have been something in the coffee she’d had with breakfast?
“Seriously, did you know that?” asked the stranger taking a step toward her.
“Lord Byron was a great philhellene. He even spent much of his fortune on the Greek battle for independence from the Ottoman Empire”, he explained, ignoring her puzzled look.
She raised her hands to protect her eyes from the sun and tried to discern the man’s facial features.
“Was Lord Byron really here, at Cape Sounion?” she asked.
“Not only did he come here, but he also wrote a poem about Cape Sounion. It is said that his name is engraved into one of the columns of this temple right here. The inscription really exists. It’s just not known for certain whether Byron was the one who engraved it.”
He walked hastily to the north side of the ancient temple, and he motioned for her to follow him. She found it hard to walk fast on that stone-littered, sloping ground.
Seventeen white marble columns were what was left of the ancient temple to Poseidon, god of the sea and water according to ancient Greek mythology. The temple was built at Cape Sounion, about 60km east of the city of Athens, the capital of modern Greece. The tall hill that the temple remains stood upon, which penetrated the Aegean Sea like a pointed spear, had inspired the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. Nowadays, it inspires the romantic feelings of thousands of couples who rush to enjoy the sea views in the morning and the breathtaking sunsets in the evening.
“Here it is. Can you see it?”
She looked carefully at where his finger was pointing. Indeed, on the base of one of the middle columns at the north side of the temple, the word Byron was etched with cursive letters.
She turned to him. Now she could get a better look at him. He was taller than average, with broad shoulders and a slim waist, very active and athletic without a doubt. “Damn, I forgot to comb my hair. Again,” she thought.
“Excuse me, I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Eric.”
He took her hand, and then he bowed and kissed the top of her hand gallantly.
“Um… I’m Floriana.” She was still trying to overcome the shock of the knightly kiss.
“And what are you doing here at this place on the Mediterranean sea, Floriana?” he asked, offering her a black rose.
“A black rose?” She handed the flower amazed by its unnatural beauty. She brought it close to her nose and inhaled its delicate fragrance.
“Um… I study… I mean… I am a student of fine arts. I am interested in the history of art. I thought there’s no better place to begin my study of the ancient arts than Greece. It’s full of ancient ruins.”
“You didn’t pick the right time to come to Sounion, though. It’s more romantic at sunset.”
“Oh, I’m not looking for romance. I travel alone, for educational reasons.”
She regretted it the moment she’d said it. She had been tired of giving the pathetic impression of a sexually inexperienced student. She stroked her neck and opened one button of her shirt. She didn’t manage to do it discreetly, though.
“Now I’m going to get freckles from the sun,” she thought. “And my shoes are so dusty.”
She was so busy observing her appearance that she didn’t notice the nervous glances the charming stranger was throwing around.
“It’s late April, and it’s so hot already,” he said. “Want a drink? There is a cozy café down there.” He pointed to a tidy building near the entrance of the archaeological site.
There was no way to tell him no. They took the downhill road to the coffee shop. She was chatting, uncontrollably excited as she was about the beautiful man whom she’d come across. He was shaking his head condescendingly. She told him about her home in London, about her visit to the Acropolis a few days ago, that she had been running late that morning and had forgotten to wear sunscreen before she left the hotel…
Then everything faded away. The last thing she saw before she fainted was two ominous figures moving straight towards her.”