Friday, October 31, 2008

Excerpt: Altar of Anubis

Altar of Anubis
by Ann Vremont
Cover art by Bryan Keller
ISBN (13): 978-1-60521-104-6
Genre(s): Paranormal
Theme(s): Interracial, Ménage, Bisexual and More
Length: Novella


Interrupting a burglary, antiquities expert Rene Walker discovers sometimes you have to die to find true love. But a gorgeous male pledging his eternal devotion isn’t all that awaits her on the other side. To enjoy eternity, Rene will have to thwart an ancient enemy who has waited millennia to destroy her and come to terms with an inflexible custom of free love in an immortal society where men outnumber the women ten to one.


This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

Rene Walker had consulted on at least two dozen movie sets since completing her master’s degree in classical studies, but this was the first one to be dressed with genuine antiquities. Getting a museum’s board of directors and an insurance company to agree at the same time was impossible. But Datura’s marketing director had somehow worked a deal with a private collector, and most of the items borrowed would be part of a fifteen-city tour when the film opened.
There would be security guards then, and velvet ropes. For most of the items, tonight’s only protection was a double padlocked door and sealed crates. But it wasn’t the cat statues and gold scarabs making her hands sweat.
That honor went to the room’s centerpiece -- the Altar of Anubis. Made from polished black basalt, it was almost seven feet long and three feet wide.
And she’d bet her degree it was a fake.
Stopping in front of the altar, she eased the bag onto the floor. The heat had turned her hair into a frizzy mass of copper strands, and she pulled a rubber band from her pants pocket. She secured her hair in a ponytail, then bent down and unzipped the bag. Inside were a small hand drill and bits, a voice recorder, empty glass vials, a laser level and rangefinder and, on loan from the local university, a portable spectrometer. She hooked the voice recorder to her ear and switched it on.
She stood back up and placed her hands palm down on the altar’s cold surface. It certainly felt time-worn, the stone having an almost sensual smoothness to it. Slowly, she ran her hands over it, leaning in and closing her eyes. She wanted to believe it was the real thing, to imagine the hundreds who had been sacrificed or embalmed on it. But the properties were off. For starters, the shipping weight was too heavy, suggesting a density four times what it should have been. And the owner had never allowed its inspection.
“Magnificent, isn’t it, Ms. Walker? It’s the one thing in my collection I’m keeping.”
Rene spun around to find Michael Tajnoor watching her with a sharp smile. Behind him another man carried a black suitcase. Both men were dressed in black all the way down to crepe-soled shoes.
“How’d you get in?” She glanced down at Tajnoor’s hand, wished she hadn’t when she realized he was clutching a black ski mask.
Tajnoor jerked his head in the stranger’s direction. “Mr. Tomsin is a man of many talents -- locks, cameras, aging lot guards.” Casually, Tajnoor tossed the mask at her face, ruthlessly grabbing her by the hair when she made the mistake of trying to catch it.
“I’m sorry, Ms. Walker.” His smile deepened, and Rene heard the snick of a knife opening. “But I have a schedule to follow and you’re fucking it up.”
The stab was quick and sure, delivered dispassionately but with a force that buried the blade. She tried to lift her hands, to grab at his arm and the handle sticking out of her chest. Tajnoor shushed her efforts, pushed her backwards until she was falling onto the altar.
Taking the voice recorder from Rene’s ear, he pocketed it, his gaze never leaving her face. Vision fading, she saw him gesture at Tomsin. “Those linens, bring them to me.”
Tajnoor sounded like he was ordering lunch service. Sightless, she heard the blade withdraw with a wet, sluicing noise, followed by the snap of cloth and the push of air against her face. As the sheet settled over her, she thought about Beth, her intern, and how the woman should have cut the cloth into strips already.
The last sound to reach her was Tajnoor, his words framed on each side by a deep chuckle. “There, let them think it’s one of her props. We’ll have our money before anyone knows she’s dead.”

No comments:

Post a Comment