Sequel to Destiny’s End
During the War to End All Wars, Roddy Sayer survived his trip down the Ruzizi with his beloved, Charlie Pearson. He survived the sinking of the Konigin Marie Christine he and Charlie engineered. But now it’s 1922, his beloved is dead after working on a dig in Egypt to unearth royal tombs, and Roddy is alone, with odd, erotic dreams of an Egyptian prince ensnared by the machinations of a high priest. Is he losing his mind?
Thomas Fortescue-Smythe, who flirted with Roddy and made advances toward him before, finds him again. Tommy persuades Roddy to come to his family home in England, and eventually, to share his bed and his body.
But when Roddy sees an Egyptian man and knows it is the same man who was the high priest in his dreams, can he keep himself and Tommy safe?
We met up with Howard Carter and Edward Cramdon, a young expert in translating hieroglyphics, in Cairo.
"Lord Carnarvon isn't here?" Charlie asked. He'd told me the earl was backing the project.
"No. He's remained behind in the Valley of the Kings."
Mr Carter shrugged. "Mostly it's to keep an eye on the men. There have been some rumours ..."
"Oh, you wouldn't believe what those heathens are willing to accept as truth," Cramdon said with a supercilious smirk. "The earl's presence keeps them in line."
"That will do, Cramdon. Charlie, I have a list of supplies we need to stock up on. Would you mind getting them? Cramdon and I have some paperwork we need to fill out with the Egyptian authorities."
"Sure." Charlie took the list from Mr Carter, glanced over it, and handed it to me. "It won't take us long to fill this order."
"Us? Oh, yes, your young friend. Well, get hopping." Mr Carter and Cramdon left.
"Doesn't Mr Carter know we're married?" I ran my thumb over the circle of my wedding ring.
"No. Our kind aren't looked on too kindly."
I was aware of that, and while I resented it -- why should it matter to anyone who I loved? -- there wasn't much I could do about it.
"And ..." He avoided meeting my gaze. "I think it might be a good idea for us to sleep in separate tents."
I wheeled to face him at that. "But why?" In our almost eight years together, we'd never slept apart. Not to be beside him, even if we couldn't have intercourse ... that hurt worst of all.
"The men we'll be working with aren't enlightened. They'd look on us sharing one tent with suspicion, and I'd fear for your safety. It's better this way, trust me.
"Humour me, Roddy?"
I sighed and agreed, and dropped the subject.
The two of us began to scour the city for mules and camels, ropes and timbers, shovels and pickaxes, and more men to work the dig.
After supper that evening, Mr Carter pointed us in the direction of the hotel we'd stay at. I thought since Charlie's friend and the young expert were staying with friends of Mr Carter, Charlie and I would have the opportunity to spend the night in a single bed.
"I'm wiped out, little Rev."
"We don't have to do anything," I hurried to assure him.
"You're too tempting. I wouldn't be able to keep my hands off you." He touched my cheek, then opened the door to my room, which was adjacent to his, handed me the key, and waited until I entered to say, "Lock your door and put a chair under the doorknob."
"Yes, Charlie." I didn't bother protesting he'd taught me to do that years ago.
"Sleep well, little Rev."
"You, too." I offered him a smile, but I didn't shut the door until he entered his own room.
I closed my door and did as my love had instructed, then stripped off my clothes and climbed into bed.
And sometime during the night I began to dream ...