Today I am so pleased to welcome Cari Waites to Joyfully Jay. Cari has come to talk to us about her latest release, Hapi. She has also brought copies to give away. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
The house was a wooden place, raised on stumps, with a tin roof. From the outside the building looked like countless others that Jayden had driven past on his way here: lived-in, working-class, probably built in the fifties or sixties before everyone had air conditioning. Houses like this were designed to allow for the climate, not to lock it out.
A huge black dog rested on the front veranda as Hapi led Jayden toward the house. It was sleek and short-coated, with large pointed ears. It had to be as big as a Great Dane, but Jayden had never seen a dog that looked like this one before. It lifted its lip and growled as Hapi approached, his hand clamped around Jayden’s wrist, and Hapi said something to it in a short, sharp language that Jayden didn’t understand. The dog quieted and settled its massive head on its front paws again, ears twitching as it watched Hapi haul Jayden up the steps.
Jayden’s wet feet slipped on the boards of the veranda as Hapi pulled him through the open front door of the house.
There was nothing ordinary about the inside.
Instead of a front room that in some other house might have held a lounge and a TV, or maybe been remodelled into a bar or entertainment area, this room was empty of furniture. The floorboards had been painted black, but the colour had faded, leaving them patchy. The walls were yellow and there were strange symbols painted on them in gold-and-black and brown-and-white. Figures stood out here and there with the heads of birds and dogs and crocodiles. In the central panel a figure with what looked like the head of a hawk stood in front of four shorter figures that didn’t have arms or legs. They had bodies shaped like vases, each one a different colour: one had the head of a man, one a long-eared dog like the one Jayden had seen on the veranda, one what looked like an ape, and one that looked like a bird.
“The sons of Horus,” Hapi said in Jayden’s ear. “My brothers and I.”
The pictures stirred the memory. That’s where Jayden had heard the stuff about the heart being weighed before. It was from Ancient Egypt. He’d made a paper-mache pyramid once for school, with the chambers inside. A girl in his class had drawn a scene from the Book of the Dead—the heart weighed against a feather to discover if a man was worthy of being rewarded in the afterlife.
Was Jayden here to be judged by a madman who thought all that was real?
The flooded river, he thought wildly, the crocodiles, the cat, the ibis… Maybe you didn’t have to be totally crazy to see it. Maybe you just had to squint.
“Hapi,” he whispered, his throat aching. “It’s not real. It’s—”
“Shh.” Hapi reached out and gripped his throat gently, and Jayden froze. “Quiet now.”
Jayden’s heart stuttered as Hapi’s thumb pressed against his pulse point. He jerked his head in a nod—he would be quiet, he would be anything Hapi demanded, if only he didn’t hurt him again—and the pressure turned into a faint caress. He held Hapi’s gaze, trying to read something in those dark depths and failing.
Old floorboards creaked, and Jayden turned his head and saw three men appear in the doorway that led from the front room to farther into the house. The three of them had tanned skin and dark eyes and dark hair. They all looked enough like Hapi that there was no mistaking they were brothers. One had a shaved head. One was taller than the others. One had a thin scar from the edge of his eye down to his mouth. The scar tissue pulled his lip up at one corner and made him look like he was sneering. For some reason Jayden’s mind seized on that scar. These men weren’t gods. They could be hurt.
The thought came with a rush of relief followed quickly by a wave of self-derision.
Jesus, of course they weren’t gods! What the fuck was wrong with him? If he wanted to get out of here, he couldn’t start believing the same bullshit these guys did. Just because they’d painted some shit on their walls didn’t mean it was real. The slight pressure of Hapi’s grip on his throat kept him from voicing any of that aloud. Instead, he watched the three brothers warily as they entered the room, unconsciously shifting closer to Hapi as the brothers drew nearer.
Malicious Gods: Egypt, Book 1
Jayden Sanders is a dead man.
Jayden is trying to reach Cairns when his car dies on the highway and leaves him stranded in a caravan park in Innisfail. As the rain comes down and the crocodile-infested river rises, Jayden becomes fascinated by the strange man who lives across the river—Hapi. What Jayden doesn’t know is that Hapi has already marked him for his own.
Hapi and his brothers, the sons of Horus, prepare the souls of the dead for their father, and each claim protection over a part of the body. When Hapi pulls Jayden from the flooded river, he claims Jayden’s lungs, and his breath, as his due. But what happens when he decides he wants more than that?
Jayden refuses to believe it when Hapi tells him he’s dead, but his only hope of getting out of Innisfail alive is by playing along with Hapi’s delusions. And with Horus due to arrive any day, time is running out for Jayden.
Or maybe it already has.
Welcome to the dark world of Malicious Gods: Egypt. A collection of mm standalone modern tales, both magical and non-magical, featuring deities from Ancient Egypt. You’ll find reincarnated Gods, assassins, gangs, madness, and different realities. Expect high heat and morally ambiguous themes. Seductive and often twisted, they are not for the fainthearted.
Cari Waites is the dark alter ego of Lisa Henry.
Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
Lisa has been published since 2012, and was a LAMBDA finalist for her quirky, awkward coming-of-age romance Adulting 101, and a Rainbow Awards finalist for 2019’s Anhaga.
To connect with Lisa on social media, you can find her here:
She also has a Facebook group where you’ll be kept in the loop with updates on releases, have a chance to win prizes, and probably see lots of lots of pictures of her dog and cats. You can find it here: Lisa Henry’s Hangout.
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