Because everyone deserves a little romance… Not the most exciting tag line but one I really believe in. My stories are about gay, straight and bisexual characters. I write romance because I want everyone to have a happy ending, even if it’s just for now. Why should gender matter when a person fills the gaps in your soul?
Most of my stories are about guys who love guys. I’d only dabbled with a little girl on girl until Delilah Devlin’s call for Girls Who Bite.
I’ve known Delilah for a whole lotta years. More than we care to air in public. She’s been both cheerleader and harshest critic. The chance to be part of her first anthology was just too good to pass up. I was thrilled my story was chosen. I’m honored to be in such fabulous company with so many amazing stories!
The call for submissions suggested writers explore vampire myths from around the world. Toss in a trip to an exhibit on ancient Egypt at a local museum and a vague memory of Egyptian mythology, a grain of an idea started twisting through my brain. A little research and the story developed quicker than I expected.
The legend of Sekhmet, a drinker of blood, and her alter-ego, Hathor, turned into Beloved.
World of the Pharaohs Exhibit
The warrior goddess Sekhmet was known as the Eye of Ra, reigning death and destructionon Ra’s enemies. Sekhmet is often depicted with the head of a lioness, the fiercest of desert creatures.
However, Sekhmet’s blood lust was so great, it didn’t dissipate after the battle was won. With mankind in danger of extinction, Ra tricked Sekhmet by turning the Nile red. Except the liquid was not water but beer colored with pomegranate juice. Sekhmet slacked her thirst with the potent liquid. When she aroused from her stupor, she was the gentle goddess Hathor.
Hathor personified love, motherhood and joy and was usually depicted with the horns of a cow framing a sun disk. Some legends show the two as a single goddess or aspects of the same one; others have them as separate entities. However, all indicate their destinies were intertwined.
Sekhmet laughed aloud at the plaque explaining the relationship between her and the stupid cow. Irritation at the legends only added to her increasingly foul mood. She whirled around then stalked away.
The thirst grew ever sharper with each step, adding to her aggravation. Parched like the deserts of her youth, her throat ached with need for the soothing caress of rich, warm liquid.
The air was thick with delectable scents. Choices, choices… She could almost taste the sweet copper-tinged blood. And the fear that accompanied it. But something… A hint of something familiar lingered in the air. A scent, a feeling. Too vague for clear thoughts or words.
Sekhmet paused and let her eyelids droop almost closed. She gave in to the ancient call and raised her head to sniff the air like the predator she once was. The short series of snuffles shook the thick bush of braids on her head, rustling with the memory of a lion’s mane.
Something gold shimmered in the strategic lighting of the exhibit, reminding her of her nemesis’ skin. So far, she thought she’d escaped the bitch’s notice.
She hoped the cow wouldn’t find her in a backwater state like Arkansas, even if the capital city were hosting an Egyptian exhibit. The irony of stalking prey among the ruins of antiquity wasn’t an accident. Sekhmet rarely did anything by accident.
The familiar hint of myrrh and cinnamon wafted toward her sensitive nose. A flash of skin appeared in the corner of her eye. The teasing trill of a familiar laugh caught her hearing.
“How in the name of Ra…” Sekhmet twisted toward the vision but it was gone. She was gone. “Or maybe I’m finally losing my mind.”
Others had. Lost their minds…their will to live. Most of the old gods were gone. Wisps in the wind, ending like a sandstorm in the deep desert. No witnesses, no one believing enough to mourn. Not even the Pharaohs survived in spite of her role of protector.
For more about Shayla and her books, visit www.shaylakersten.com.