May 25 2013 1:00pm

First Look: Jacquelyn Frank’s Forever (May 28, 2013)

Forever by Jacquelyn Frank Jacquelyn Frank
Ballantine / May 28, 2013 / $7.99 print / digital

After being brought back from death, police officer Jackson Waverly receives the shock of his life: he has become host to a Bodywalker, a spirit that is reborn in flesh and blood, and part of a proud, ancient race that uses its extraordinary gifts to battle dark, evil forces. Jackson’s spirit is a powerful one—none other than the Egyptian pharaoh Menes, who longs to reunite with his eternal love, the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut.

While Menes is obsessed with finding the perfect vessel for his queen, Jackson cannot stop thinking about Dr. Marissa Anderson, the gorgeous precinct shrink who keeps pushing him to confront his grief over the loss of his K-9 partner. But what Marissa really arouses most in Jackson is intense desire, which is exactly what Menes is looking for. To fight a great enemy, pharaoh and queen must join; but to host Hatshepsut, Marissa will first have to die. Fate has given Jackson a profound choice: save Marissa from Menes’s plan or keep an entire species from the brink of extinction.

Jacquelyn Frank’s newest World of Nightwalker’s novel, Forever, introduces us to the concept of Bodywalkers—when the ancient Egyptians were worshiping their Gods and practicing their art of preparing the dead for life eternal in the afterworld, they did not realize that this grab for eternal life would anger the God Ra. As a punishment, the humans are eternally barred from heaven, and their mummified bodies tether them to the mortal world. Each time they die, they are returned to the Ether, a type of limbo, where they wait until they are strong enough to Bodywalk again.

At that moment between life and death, the Bodywalkers could intercept a soul and offer that person a chance to live, but in return they would need to share their body with the soul of a Bodywalker. Once taking a Bodywalker into their body, their lives would change dramatically—they'd be given a superhuman  ability to heal and an almost immortal existence. But the Sun God has not only denied them heaven, he has denied them the ability to walk in the sun, making them forever Nightwalkers.

When Officer Jackson Waverly was killed trying to defend his sister from the rival Nightwalkers, the Templers, he was given an opportunity to return to the living and become a host for a Bodywalker. The Pharaoh Menes, King of the Politic, believes Jackson’s strength, his morality and his desire to protect people will make him the perfect host body, and Jackson’s spirit will Blend well with Menes’s. Together they will fight against the Templers who are causing this civil war between the Bodywalkers.

“They make it as clear as possible, pull no punches, make you see the good and the bad of what you are about to become. Menes was especially careful, knowing that he is pharaoh over a warring race. It cannot be just anyone, you see, to Blend with a being of such heavy duty and responsibility…not to mention having a target painted on your back.

“But he asked, Marissa, and I said yes. And now I am asking. I’m telling you everything you need to know, I am seeking out in you everything I need to seek. Menes wasn’t a part of me five minutes before he knew what I had been hiding from myself for so long now. He knew you were special. He knew I wanted you. And he knew that, had we not been restricted by ethics and protocol, I would have done anything to make you mine.”

“You..b-but…” she stammered.

“Her name is Hatshepsut. In her original life she was one of the most powerful queens of Egypt. She is going to need a very precious host, a woman of strength and beauty. A woman of fire and passion. A woman of heart and wisdom. She is going to need you, Marissa, just like I need you.”

Pharoah Menes has two great desires: to save his people and to return his soul mate, his Queen, to the earth. Together he and his Queen will lead their people with the same love and passion they hold for each other. What better choice of a host to return his beloved Queen, Hatshepsut, but Dr. Marisa Anderson, the police psychologist and red-headed, vixen who has been the center of Jackson’s fantasies for the last two years? Menes believes her kindness and her spirit will be a perfect blend for his Queen, and the fact that she causes Jackson’s body to react with an instant flood of lust every time he sees her, leaves him with no doubt that no other woman would do. He has to have Marissa for his Queen’s host.

They must be together, he thought with no little amount of heat. Marissa and Hatshepsut must come together. It was the only solution he would be satisfied with. Yes, intelligent, curvy redheads were dying all the time, but he wanted this redhead and no other. This redhead had tormented Jackson with her very presence for so long…and there was a reason for that. She was very much a woman worth having. Now all he had to do was convince her of the same.

Menes knows that thought Marissa hides behind the excuse of doctor/patient ethics, her desire for Jackson is just as strong as his for her. Menes just has to convince Marissa that sharing her body with Queen Hatshepsut would bring them all a lifetime of joy. There is just one little hitch to the plan…

Jackson was watching her face very closely at that point, waiting like a cat in front of a mouse hole, waiting for it to dawn on her what he was truly asking her to do.

And there it was. The widening of clear blue eyes and the sharp intake of breath.

“You mean you want me to die?” She asked him incredulously. “That is what you mean, right? In order for the queen or whatever to come and share space with me, I have to die first!

Together Jackson and Menes must convince Marissa that the risk will bring them all a lifetime of passion, because now they don’t want anyone but her, and this is one fight they intend to win.

Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.

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