Amber Schamel, Biblical fiction, book excerpt from The Swaddling Clothes, Catherine Castle's Christmas Reads blog sereis, Christmas fiction, free book offer, Inspirational fiction, The Swaddling Clothes
Today’s guest on Catherine Castle’s Christmas Reads is Amber Schamel, a fellow author from the Stitches Thru Time Blog that I contribute to. Amber will be offering her Christmas Book The Swaddling Clothes free December 15-18 at http://www.amazon.come/dp/B018BBQVCA
To whet your appetite, here’s an excerpt from The Swaddling Clothes by Amber Schamel.
Circa 980 B.C.
King David drummed his fingers on the arm of his throne. The merchant’s monotone voice had been echoing off the cedar walls of the judgment hall for more than an hour. If he whined the words unfair taxes one more time…
“So you see, your highness, these taxes are relatively unfair when considering—”
“Enough!” David’s irritation boiled over.
The merchant stumbled backward. His scalded pride evidenced by the scarlet flushing of his round face.
Something squeezed in David’s chest. The merchant wasn’t the sole reason for his foul mood, and didn’t deserve to bear the worst of it. “I’m sorry.”
He wiped his forehead. Being the king of Israel was not what he’d hoped. He should be leading his army against the Philistines. Instead here he was, in his luxurious palace, listening to the endless and petty complaints. 
Ahithophel clapped his hands. “The king has heard enough of your whining for today. Come back later.”
David stood and ran his hand through his hair. Loose curls twisted around his fingers. He paced for a few moments before looking up. Amnon, his oldest son, glared over his shoulder as the aide shooed him out of the hall.
“Ahithophel, it’s all right. I can…”
“My lord, their prattle is irritating me as well. It can wait until the morrow.”
David ducked out the side exit, into the corridor to the private part of the palace. He stopped, inhaling the comforting scent of cedar, and waited for his aide.
Ahithophel slipped through the door and closed it quietly. His expression was tentative when he faced David.
“I am sorry, Ahithophel, but I am not cut of this pattern. I am the type of king who leads armies into battle, who destroys enemies, a king with a sword constantly by my side.” He motioned to the warrior’s blade hanging from his belt. “I love my people, but I cannot bear sitting here listening to their petty arguments while my army marches.”
“My king, you know we can no longer risk you getting killed in some skirmish. Your sons are still young, and you have not yet determined a successor for your throne. If you were to fall in battle, Israel would be left in disarray.”
David stepped closer to him and whispered through clenched teeth. “I can’t do this. It’s hard enough to stay here cooped up like a child, but listening to their trivial prattle day after day is more than I can stand.”
Ahithophel gave him a sympathetic smile and laid a hand on his shoulder. “Take the remainder of the day to rest. Walk the gardens with your new wife, eat a good meal, refresh yourself. You’ll feel better tomorrow.” He smiled again and disappeared down the hall.
Taking a deep breath, David wandered into the garden and wove through the trees and flowerbeds until he neared the fountain surrounded by pomegranate trees. The rich red fruit contrasted with the soft green of the olive leaves. The trickle of the water fountain and the sweet sound of turtledoves cooing soothed his soul. He should have brought his harp, for a psalm was bubbling up within him.
Standing in the midst of all this beauty was one not to be compared to it. With her emerald eyes set in a complexion of pearl, and ringlets of ruby cascading down her back. Bathsheba. He had loved her since the moment he saw her. His heart had sinned for her, bringing the wrath of his righteous God upon them. But although God had taken their baby, He had not denied him Bathsheba. 
Stepping beside her, David slid his hand into hers and gave it a tight squeeze.
“A rough day for my king?”
David groaned. “I am tired of being king. Can’t I be something else for today?”
Bathsheba turned around. Her green eyes met his, and a smile curved her lips. She lifted his hands and placed them on her belly. “Then be Abba today.”
The breath caught in his throat. “You’re…”
Her giggle and nod assured him it was so. Wrapping her in a tight embrace, he lifted her off her feet and whirled around in a circle. Finally setting her down, he placed his hands on either side of her face. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel who has chosen in His great mercy to bless us. The child will be a son, and he will inherit my throne and reign over the house of Israel in peace and prosperity. There will be no one like him in all the world.”
His wife’s eyes sparkled in the light streaming through the trees. “Yes, our son will be a special child.”
“When he is born, I will hold a feast a month long. The armies will rest from fighting to celebrate the birth of the prince of the house of David.”
A frown contorted his wife’s face. “But, if we announce at his birth that he will be your successor, won’t it put him in danger?”
David’s hands fell to his sides. He hadn’t considered that. “You may be right. There must be another way.” How could they appoint this child as the successor without endangering him? He could wait to announce it until later, but what if something happened to him in the meantime? No, wouldn’t do. They had to come up with some sort of symbol. Something that wouldn’t reveal the secret until the proper time. Something almost prophetic.
An idea ignited in his mind. Grasping Bathsheba’s hand, he tugged her toward the palace. “Come. We have lots of work to do.”
“David, what are you talking about?”
“My son will not be wrapped in ordinary swaddling cloth. No, this prince is unlike any other child and must be treated as such. We will have cloth woven for him on the looms of Egypt, Sheba, Assyria, and every nation on the earth. At his birth, we will wrap him in swaddling clothes so magnificent no one will be able to deny his royalty. At my death, I shall decree that the son who possesses that certain cloth will be my heir. It will evade the danger, yet make it clear who I desire my heir to be. Quickly. We must find Ahithophel and have him gather merchants from every corner of the city.”
Maacah pressed her back against an olive trunk. Had she really heard right? All expected this new, young wife of David’s would soon be with child, but how could the child of a commoner—a wife acquired through murder and iniquity—possibly be named the successor to the throne above her own son? Absalom was a beautiful child, beloved of all who knew him, third born, and of royal blood. What disgrace and insolence for David to consider this woman’s son over Absalom. No, this could never be.
She peeked out from behind the tree as David led Bathsheba toward the palace. “Something must be done. That woman’s son will never reign over Absalom.”
Her thoughts raced like wild stallions as she darted toward her son’s chambers. She didn’t know how, but she would blight this plan to usurp Absalom’s throne. Starting with the swaddling clothes.
About the Author:
Author of over half a dozen books, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call “historical fiction at its finest”. She lives in Colorado and spends half her time volunteering in the Ozarks. Visit her online at www.AmberSchamel.com/ and download a FREE story by subscribing to her Newsletter!
Twitter – @AmberSchamel https://twitter.com/AmberSchamel
Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/AmberDSchamel/
 2 Sam 11:1
 2 Sam 11-12