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Excerpt from HELEN: THE WINE DARK SEA by Phoebe Conn

The willful daughter of Zeus and a mortal queen, Helen is the beautiful wife of the Spartan king, until she finds the magic of love with Paris, a prince of Troy. Their love creates havoc in their world, but is remembered as one of the great love stories of all time.


Paris and Helen of Troy are remembered for the passion of their forbidden love. HELEN, The Wine Dark Sea brings the mythic lovers to life, crowned with the breathless splendor of the magnificent Bronze Age.

Helen is the remarkably beautiful daughter of the god Zeus and the Spartan Queen Leda. Never a well-behaved princess, she prefers a rambunctious life riding horses with her brothers. When she’s kidnapped by the King of Athens, she rebuffs him with a stunning strength of character. Freed by her brothers, she’s a woman now, but not the gentle lady her mother had hoped she’d be. She marries Menelaus, a man she’s known from childhood, but does not love.

When Paris is born a prince, his sister, Cassandra, foretells a dark future that will bring the destruction of Troy. Greatly alarmed, King Priam, hands the infant to a herdsman to kill. Charmed by the baby boy, Agelaus cannot bear to harm him and raises Paris as his own.

Once grown, Paris becomes the prince of Troy he was born to be. Aphrodite has promised him the most beautiful woman in the world, and he comes to Sparta to find her. The gods have entwined his destiny with Helen’s, and they soon become lovers. Paris refuses to see the danger Helen knows will come, but their love is far stronger than any threat of war.

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In the author's words . . .

Helen of Troy is known as the beauty who caused the fall of Troy. She deserves a story that portrays her as a woman of great emotional depth and wisdom rather than a mere footnote to history. I loved beginning with her as a willful child who is later forced to marry a man she doesn't love. When goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite promise Paris the most beautiful woman in the world, his fate is bound to Helen's, and he won't give her up no matter what the cost. It's such an exciting love story, I loved telling it.

Enjoy a sneak peek from Helen: The Wine Dark Sea

by Phoebe Conn

Sparta, The Bronze Age The Palace of King Tyndareus

Leda pulled an ivory comb through the tangled ends of Helen’s long curly hair. “Be still child. You cannot ride with your brothers looking like a wild creature from the woods.”

Helen giggled. “I am a wild creature!”

“No, you are a lovely princess who must learn to behave as one. Today, you may ride with Castor and Pollux, but afterwards you must bathe and dress in finer clothes. You must be a fine lady tonight when we dine together.”

Helen skipped away the instant Leda laid her comb aside. “Yes, Mother.”

Leda went to the window and waited for her youngest daughter to ride by with her brothers. Helen sat a horse better than either of the boys, and when she was old enough to race, she was sure to beat them. Leda hated to put any limits on her high-spirited daughter and waved as Helen and her brothers rode by heading toward the open fields surrounding the palace. They were such handsome boys, but Helen possessed an awe-inspiring beauty. When she became of an age to wed, suitors would come from near and far to vie for her, but not today while she was still a carefree child.

Helen’s roan pony trotted along behind her brothers’ showy white mounts, but she soon tired of their dust and took a trail angling toward the almond grove. The trees were filled with fragrant pink blossoms and offered welcoming shade. The boys were supposed to look after her, but they never did, and she did not care a whit. She loved making up adventures as she rode along, pretending to be a goddess riding to her shrine, or the queen she would one day be returning home to palace splendor.

When she saw someone ahead, she pulled back on the reins, but her pony trotted on toward him. He was quite the most beautiful man she had ever seen. He was tall and well muscled with golden hair and eyes of the same unusual bright green as her own. His fine clothing and refined bearing made it impossible for her to mistake him for a field hand.

“Who are you and what are you doing in my father’s grove?” she called to him.

Zeus caught her pony’s bridle. “I came to see you.” He handed her a red, ripe pomegranate. “Do you use the seeds for dye?”

He was friendly and his tone too reassuring to cause Helen any fear, and she accepted the fruit and weighed it between her hands. “Thank you. I would rather eat them, but I do love their deep red for cloth. Now why have you come to see me?”

He smiled and scratched her pony’s neck. “I’m a dear friend of your mother’s, but you mustn’t tell her we’ve met, or she’ll be insulted I didn’t tarry to see her. Are you good at keeping secrets?”

A bright twinkle lit his gaze and made her laugh. “Maybe, maybe not. How did you come here, have you no horse or chariot?”

“I have them, but today felt like a walk. You’re a very smart little girl, are you not?”

“My father fears I’m too smart. Do you know him too?”

“Tyndareus? I know who he is, and he knows me. You must not tell him you have seen me either.”

“How can I tell him? You’ve not given me your name?” She turned in her saddle. “I hear my brothers calling. They seldom notice when I’ve gone astray. Do you wish to speak to them too?”

Zeus moved close and brushed her cheek with a tender kiss. “I came to see you, dear child. Now go before they reach us and remember not to tell.”

She lifted her hand to shade her eyes and raised up to gauge how far away the boys were. When she turned back, the fine-looking stranger had vanished. She pressed the pomegranate to her breast and vowed never to ever tell a single soul they’d met.

End of Excerpt

Copyright © by Phoebe Conn

Learn more by visiting the author's website. HELEN: THE WINE DARK SEA released in 2016.

Phoebe Conn is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 40 novels plus nearly a dozen novellas. Her adventure packed stories have won numerous Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice awards and a nomination for Story Teller of the Year. She also writes futuristic romances as Cinnamon Burke. For her latest historical romance, she worked with an archaeologist the London Times describes as the “Real Indiana Jones,” to bring Helen of Troy to life in HELEN, The Wine Dark Sea.

A former kindergarten teacher and bilingual coordinator, she joined NINC soon after it was founded. She loves attending NINC conferences to see dear friends and make new ones while soaking up priceless career advice.

Visit Phobe Conn's Website

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Helen: The Wine Dark Sea by Phoebe Conn

Genre: Historical Romance

Type: Novel

Heat Level: 4

Language Level: 1

Violence Level: 3

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