The Ghost is going to hell. Not even the goddess can forgive his sins: assassin, oath-breaker, traitor (an affair with the queen earned him that title). No one can ever learn the princess is his daughter. To keep this secret, he flees to the land that turned him from a simple stable groom into an infamous killer.
His mission now? To find evildoers and take them to hell with him. But when an impulsive act of heroism saddles him with a damsel who refuses to be distressed, her resilience forces him to questions why he really ran from his daughter.
*While The Ghost in Exile is related to the Kronicles of Korthlundia, it is not part of the series and can be read as a standalone!
Five years had dulled The Ghost’s memory of the horrors of the Saloynan capital. Beggars were everywhere—young children and old men and women, emaciated and covered in running sores. In the poorer sections of the city, sewage ran down the middle of the streets. Whores, far younger than his daughter, plied their trade, and a few bodies of those who’d frozen in the night hadn’t yet been gathered up. The capital of Korthlundia was not without problems, but poverty was nowhere near this widespread or abject. In Saloyna, King Salome, like his father before him, cared nothing about his people. They starved while he lived in luxury that would empty the Korthlundian treasury.
The Ghost was relieved to reach the temple complex, which was kept clean and free of beggars. In sharp contrast to Ares’s temple, Aphrodite’s shone a brilliant white with carvings of lovers frolicking in every imaginable position. While The Ghost had seen Aphrodite’s temple every time he visited Ares’s, he had never been inside. The only thing a woman’s love had ever done for him was ruin his life and send him into exile when he had been only eighteen years old.
When he entered the temple, he was greeted by soft music and delicate perfume. Young women and men—acolytes of Aphrodite—in sheer robes that concealed nothing, danced in celebration of the goddess. Worshipers watched the dance until they found an acolyte to their liking. They gave the priestess the proper donation and disappeared with the acolyte into one of the private rooms that lined one wall of the temple, where they worshiped the goddess in a more intimate manner. Some of the acolytes danced near him. He examined their necks until he saw the one wearing a vulture pendant. He took the young woman’s arm and led her to the priestess. “I’ll take this one,” he told her.
The priestess looked him over and nodded. “Chrysante, make sure this gentleman receives our special treatment.”
Chrysante led him toward the rear of the temple. She opened a door, and they entered a room with nothing other than an altar. Climbing onto the altar, Chrysante purred, “Would you like to take your pleasure on Aphrodite’s altar before meeting your guests? Ares’s high priest said you might, and it will bring you luck with the young woman who accompanies him.” Chrysante arched her back, making her breasts stand out beneath the sheer fabric.
Embarrassed, The Ghost felt himself harden. “I would not,” he snapped.
From early childhood, Jamie has been immersed in books. Her mother, an avid reader, read to her, and her older sister filled her head with fairy tales. Taking into consideration her love for literature and the challenges of supporting herself as a writer, she pursued a Ph.D. in American literature, which she received in 1998. She started teaching writing and literature at Auburn University. But in doing so, she put her true passion on the backburner and neglected her muse. Then one day, in the midst of writing a piece of literary criticism, she realized that what she wanted to be doing was writing fantasy novels. Her muse thus revived, she began the book that was to become The Goddess’s Choice. The second volume in the series, The Soul Stone, will be released on June 25, 2015.
She lives in Auburn, Alabama, with her husband, son, and four cats, which (or so she’s been told) officially makes her a cat lady. She still teaches writing and literature at Auburn University. Her short fiction has been published on Short-Story.Me, and my story was chosen for inclusion in their annual anthology. It has also appeared in the anthologies—Urban Fantasy (KY Story, 2013) and Of Dragon and Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds (Witty Bard Publishing, 2014)—The World of Myth, A Writer’s Haven, and Bards & Sages.
eBooks of all three novels in the series: The Goddess’s Choice, The Soul Stone, and The Ghost in Exile; an autographed print copy of The Ghost in Exile (U.S. only), and a $25 Amazon gift card.