Okay, maybe the unveiling is not so grand... This gorgeous piece of Anne Cain brilliance has been up on the Samhain site for a couple weeks now. So, in moves to make recompense for my tardy posting, I am giving you the 'official excerpt, too:
He was Egyptian, in the traditional pose and garb of a pharaoh or god. One hand held a staff, while the other was extended as though beckoning the faithful to his feet.
Who in the gods’ name is this?
My heart, which refused to pick up a steady rhythm since the first contact with the statue, pounded in my chest. My mind whirred.
Egyptology was my favorite subject years ago in school. I had studied the myths and legends, gods and goddesses and I watched television specials, read every magazine article. But I’ve never seen this man. I picked up the ivory statuette, turning it in my hands, stroking the man’s form and looking for a cartouche or indicating mark to tell me whose representation I held.
No name, no dynasty. Not one single indicating mark on the statue.
“Who are you?”
He did not answer, and I didn’t expect him to—mystical happenings were just that, mystical, and the supernatural was something I had yet to experience in this lifetime. I shrugged and then dumped the remaining packaging material into the garbage. I wrapped the idol in my fingers, and the ivory warmed to my touch. Cradling my newly arrived treasure to my chest, I climbed the stairs to my bedroom.
A pile of discarded shoes cluttered the floor beside the door jamb. I skirted it and instead picked up a T-shirt dangling from the lid of my hamper in the bathroom, and stuffed it back in. Shoes were a necessity, crumpled laundry was not.
A breeze billowed my sheer linen curtains. Moonlight lay on the patchwork quilt, and left the rest of the room to shadows. The air was fragrant with lavender and cool as the breeze caressed my skin, just the way I like it. My radio, however, heralded doom. The little Sony sat on the nightstand and blasphemed about a coming heat wave, and the sweltering grip it would take on the city.
I hate hot weather.
I silenced the electronic harbinger, switched the setting to Alarm and shoved the clock radio back to make room for my Egyptian statue.
The statue was a mystery, but he made an excellent addition to my already Egyptianesque décor. His ivory blended well with my eggshell walls, the aged look made him appear all the warmer and more appealing. He stood, plinth slightly at an angle so that he was facing my bed. The staff he held now pointed directly into the moon outside my window, and his hand pointed at the center of my bed. Satisfied with his placement, I stripped off clothes as I walked through the room and into the adjacent bath. Then showered and in my nightgown, I climbed into bed beneath the gaze of the newcomer to my life.
A sigh escaped me and my eyes slipped closed.
“See you in my dreams.”
Somehow, I knew I was dreaming.
My eyes opened, and I was not in my bed, not in my own time.
I sat up, and was immediately in awe of my dreamscape. Golden statues of the creator god Ptah flanked the entrance, and in each corner stood life-sized versions of the statue on my nightstand. Pillars of white limestone stood in a line of silent sentinels along each wall, and draped between them hung translucent sheets of fabric. Incense drifted through the air, seducing me with patchouli, musk and spice. Torches blazed every few feet, and a balefire burned in the center of the westernmost side.
It was a temple dedicated, by looks, to the mystery man standing on my nightstand and the god Ptah, a creator deity from the ancient city of Memphis. But this temple was plusher and more inviting than any secret sanctuary. It was more like a sacred bedchamber.
A sense of wonder pulled at me, and I slipped from the raised bed upon which I sat. I stood in silent awe before the visage of the god Ptah who stepped from Chaos, and by thought and speech created all else according to early Egyptian mythology. His intent held great power.
Then, I drifted the length of one wall, my fingertips trailing across the pillars, the curtains. Every tactile sensation was heightened. The pillars were smooth as glass, the fabric as light as air and the balefire, when I reached it, was intense, its heat pierced me to the core.
The curtains parted in the farthest right corner, and a man stepped through. His presence thrilled every nerve, danced in the blood of every vein. He was devastatingly handsome, with warm olive skin and dark hair dusting his shoulders. Brown eyes smoldered above a prominent nose underpinned by a well-trimmed moustache and beard. His lips were soft and full, and my heart beat with a wicked tattoo.
He was bare-chested, a linen wrap girded his hips, riding low. Armbands of gold cinched his biceps and a wide, beaded collar circled his neck. My soul resonated with his presence, my eyes widened as the heat of desire built within.
Something about him was familiar…
The realization was a shock, but I knew without a doubt, coming towards me was the incredibly sexy, human version of my mystery statue. I opened my mouth to speak but shock held those words captive.
Who are you? Why are we in this temple?
He walked to me, placed a hand on my shoulder but did not speak. I pursed my lips around a question burning my tongue, a question he silenced when he wrapped his arms around me and pressed his lips to mine.
Oh my god!
A fleeting thought of pulling away and arguing with him passed through my mind, followed swiftly by the thought that this was just a really hot dream. Besides, he was too damned gorgeous to turn down.
No amount of hesitation or concern could squelch the lust his touch ignited in me. My body betrayed my need to maintain a cool distance. With my resistance sacrificed, everything felt right in his arms—the heat, the passion and the way my heart pounded. I wrapped my arms around him, and his desert heat caressed my skin. Clutched against his chest, and victim to the sacred oils scenting his skin, I swooned. He scooped my knees up with his arm and, with his other arm he supported my back as he lifted me.