The University of Pittsburgh campus is anything but quiet the summer Jamie, a hunky college sophomore, feeling brokenhearted after being dumped by his first boyfriend, decides to audit a summer class on Egyptology taught by the magnetic Dr. Danilo. Several of the university’s star athletes are then found murdered, their bodies completely desiccated, but Jamie has other things on his mind, as Danilo’s attention turns decidedly unprofessorial. Soon, he is swept up in a passionate affair with his teacher. When Danilo invites Jamie to travel with him, first to Paris and then to Egypt, the young man leaps at the chance, but in Paris, events turn sinister. At the Louvre, an exhibit of Egyptian artifacts includes a relief of a pharaoh kissing his son and successor, who bears more than a slight resemblance to Danilo. Taken alone, this means little, but a murder identical to those in Pittsburgh occurs, and Jamie begins to have uneasy suspicions. In Egypt, Jamie questions Danilo and learns of an ancient cult of kings connected by a single bloodline extending through centuries. Danilo is on a quest to invigorate this line of kings by initiating them and training them to use their power. Those who had been denied their own birthright died so that Danilo might live. Now Jamie must choose whether to return to the world he has known, or to join his lover and mentor in a life of passion, power and blood.
The love of my life.
And the even greater love of my death. Or my life-in-death.
Gone, now. And yet still with me, there in my blood...
There was a mummy on display in a glass case. I inspected it, got as close as I could. The eyes were closed, the lips drawn back, exposing the teeth, which were rotten. The bandages were dirty and frayed. There was a layer of dust on the glass and I brushed it off with my hand. The card said his name was Sekhem-wa-Set.
“He died 3,200 years ago. He was your age.”
The voice startled me and I jumped. A man was standing in the shadows a few feet behind me. He stepped closer. I could see that he was quite striking, tall, handsome, in almost a movie star kind of way. His eyes were the deepest green I had ever seen, they showed brightly even in the dim light, and his hair was jet black. His lips were startlingly full and sensual. Pale skin, high cheekbones, he might almost have been an older relative of Tim. He was wearing jeans, sneakers and a plaid shirt.
“I thought you heard me come in. Sorry to have startled you.” He smiled.
“I’m Professor Semenkaru. I curate the collection here.” He spoke with a slight accent, I wasn’t quite sure what kind. He took a step toward me. He was lean and graceful, almost catlike when he moved. Even through his loose clothes I could tell how muscular his body was. I decided he must have been an athlete when he was younger, maybe a gymnast. Maybe he still was. He was about 40 or so, I thought.
“I’m Jamie Dunn.”
“Freshman?” He smiled and opened a panel in the wall to turn the lights on. Soft atmospheric lighting bathed everything, including us. He was even more handsome than I had first thought.
I was a bit abashed. “Yes.” I had never felt an attraction to an older man before, I had never thought it was quite right, but…
“I don’t suppose you’re actually interested in Egyptology? The department needs students.”
“I’m a music major. Piano.”
“I’d like to hear you play sometime.” I didn’t want to let myself be flattered; it was only polite conversation.
“I’m not really good enough to play in public yet. I mean, student recitals, sure, but…”
“You will be.” He smiled again. “Do you know anything at all about ancient Egypt?”
“Only what I’ve seen in The Ten Commandments.” I fluttered my eyelashes and did my best Anne Baxter impression. “‘Oh, Moses, you stubborn, splendid, adorable fool!’”
Semenkaru laughed. “My colleagues would be scandalized to hear me say it, but I’ve always loved that film. Have you ever noticed how the Egyptian villains stay young and beautiful while the heroes all age pretty horribly?”
It had never occurred to me, but he was right.
“Why don’t you let me show you around for a few minutes? If you have the time, I mean.”
His eyes were so green, his skin so pale, lips so full. I could eat anytime; Justin and our teammates could do without me. “I’d like that, yes.”