Love Can Never Die
Love’s Curse arrives February 2nd as part of the My Bloody Valentine collection with this beautiful cover.
Love can never die.
Emma intends to spend another Valentine’s day with the dead Egyptian princess she’s studying, but her world of museums and mummies is hurled into chaos by the arrival of a man, someone who looks like if sex was a librarian.
Tarek is fascinated with Emma’s research into the famous heartbroken princess mummy…and she wishes he’d be fascinated with her too. When her hand touches his, a curse millennia in the making unfolds, and the heartbroken princess rises from her tomb.
In this heart-racing story of love, betrayal and death, two people find themselves trying to defy history and come together…with the help of a goddess of love. Can their love defy death itself?
“Let’s all thank Dr. McKenna, kids. Then we can go see the dinosaurs.”
Their forced chorus of “thank you” was stunted at the promise of dinosaurs. Wide-eyed, the horde made a beeline for the next exhibit and its massive stegosaurus skeleton. A sad chuckle rose in Emma’s throat, her attention turning back to the mummy.
She didn’t expect to hear her laugh’s echo but in bass. When she turned, a man walked up beside her. “In my day, mummies held far more sway than some dusty old bones.”
That rich voice hurled her back to her grad school days. Not the ones spent sweating in the sands, fearing dehydration or worse, but the cool, electric nights in the clubs as the hottest locals tried to suss out the newest American arrivals. Though he didn’t dress like the typical twenty-something douchebag of either here or Egypt. Instead of saggy jeans and a button-up tossed over a T-shirt, he looked like a man late for a Fortune 500 meeting. The pinstripe suit was so sharp Emma could have cut herself on it. A cane with a flat disc of gold at the top rested at his side, holding none of his weight.
Her eyes darted to his shoes to note the style of laces, then up to his buttons and cufflinks out of habit. The curse of getting her minor in historical fashion, with an advisor forcing her to emphasize on the Merovingians. It also helped her to avoid staring directly into his eyes while all her gray matter pooled into her spinal column.
There’s handsome, and there’s so handsome he hits beautiful then rounds back to rugged. That jawline was a hundred-percent bounty-hunter outlaw, ready to light a match for a stick of dynamite with a flick. It wouldn’t look out of place under a strategically dipped nineteen-forties fedora. But the nose was more delicate than lace. It reminded her of an elf’s. Yet his eyes were the most dangerous feature on his face. Emma feared if she stared too long into his deep brown wells, she wasn’t coming back.
And he’d said something to her. Something…funny? “I suppose if the Egyptian pharaohs had been twenty-stories tall with razor sharp claws, the kids might care.”
The man snickered, his full lips ticking up. A flush burned over Emma’s cheeks and she absently tugged on her lab coat, wishing its boxy shape didn’t hide her. Thank god for the round of reporters that had swept through for an interview and B-roll footage or she’d probably be in a ratty anime T-shirt under the coat. It’s a shame the turtleneck sweater isn’t a v-neck instead, that I can fill out. Emma tried to cross one leg in front of the other. That’s supposed to make a woman look coy and interesting.
Instead, it caused her to lose her balance and smack her elbow right on the edge of the banister. Sonnofa… The dashing stranger was too busy gazing at the banners they’d put up for the holiday and not the female archeologist wishing there was a tomb she could leap into.
“I am surprised at all the hoopla for a pile of dusty bones and New Kingdom pottery.”
New Kingdom? Emma’s ears burned at him dating the mass of pots and vases in the room. And he’s still looking at you. “Valentine’s Day,” she squeaked. “Love and…other stuff related to thereabouts. That’s today, so…” Turning, Emma flared her hands at the Heartbroken Mummy display as if that would explain everything. “Got to get the word out. Spend your day of romance staring at the corpse of a woman whose skin was preserved in a pack of salt.”
Oh god, what are you doing?
To her shock, the man laughed. “Then visit a restaurant and have the same done to your fish entrée. Forgive me, I have not introduced myself.” He brushed a hand to his chest and gave a slight bow. “Tarek.”
“Emma.” She found herself mimicking him and the flush stampeded into a full-on fire. The cursed flames reached to her toes, leaving her gawping in awe at the stranger. This is work, remember. “McKenna. Emma McKenna. Dr. McKenna. Emma.”
This is why your last ten dates were with dead people!
Tarek snickered, his lush eyelashes lowering while his cheekbones stretched into the stratosphere from the smile. “Emma McKenna,” he repeated, his accent turning her stupid name into lyrics.
“It’s as bad as it sounds. I don’t know what my parents were thinking. If they were thinking, or even cared and…” Taking a calming breath, she focused on the man. “Tarek…?”
“Ibrahim.” He laid a hand flush to his shirt, which was the exact hue of linen bandages. Wow, do not say that one aloud. “Also, a doctor, if you care.” In tugging away from his lapel, he caused a flower to tumble to the floor.
Without a second’s pause, Emma bent over and picked it up. The cheap carnation twisted in her fingers and she held it before the ruggedly beautiful man. On Valentine’s Day. Oh god. Heat in her face told her that her cheeks had turned redder than the flower, and she pushed it to him.
Tarek was kind enough to smile and he returned the carnation to his lapel. “An entrepreneurial child was selling them outside the museum, and it seemed impossible to refuse.” He gestured to the other guests all twiddling the long stems of their dyed carnations while walking about the room.
“Part of a fundraiser,” Emma said, absently scratching at her neck.
“Shame they weren’t roses,” Tarek responded, his nose nearly pressing to the ruffled petals of the carnation. His deep eyes darted up to her and Emma found herself melting.