She leaned forward, slipping her arms around him and pulling him down with her. Finding his mouth, she pressed her lips to his in a way that had nothing to do with protection or security, and everything to do with need. With hunger.


He returned the kiss.

His touch was everything she’d dreamed. She felt the sweet fire of his tongue sliding over her mouth and delving deep within. The strength of his body seemed to seep into her, and she held him close, melding with him as his mouth made love to hers.

Then he drew away, breathless.

Again he said, “You don’t have to…”

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“Oh, my God, does this feel like have to?”

“Lord, I’ve wanted—”

“I thought you were gorgeous,” she broke in, “but…stupid.”


“Arrogant, a jerk!” The taste of his mouth was like an aphrodisiac and his body so tightly against hers made her feel…combustible.

“Tinker Bell,” he whispered around a kiss.

“Tinker Bell!”

“She’s a beautiful little fairy,” he said, reaching for the hem of her nightshirt.

As she struggled out of it she looked at him and laughed. He smiled, too, and then his eyes were on her body and she molded herself against his chest. She had no idea what time it was; she didn’t care. He’d returned to the hotel a while before he’d awakened her because he was in his night garb as well, men’s long pajama pants. His chest was naked and solid against her own. His lips fell to her collarbone and then below. Entangled, they slid back into the bed. Under the soft cotton fabric of his pajama bottoms she could feel the rise of his erection, and that alone seemed to escalate an almost frantic desire in her. Yet she suddenly felt a sense of panic, and she stopped, tugging at the thick sleek darkness of his hair so that he looked up at her. “I’m so thoughtless,” she said. “Is this wrong? Is there someone in your life?”

“Not now. Not in a long time,” he told her. And the way his mouth curved, almost wistfully, made her wonder if his life had been like hers, if those who had loved him hadn’t been able to love him enough. Or if a greater tragedy had changed his life. She would ask later, because she had to know, but not now.

“I should ask the same, except I’m guessing that since you—”

“There’s no one,” she said.

He began to kiss her again, and she writhed beneath his touch, euphoric at the feel of his hair, the rippling muscles in his back. Then, just as he had made her nearly delirious with a series of very liquid kisses along her breasts, he pulled back. “Wait. I wasn’t planning… I’m not prepared—”

“I am,” she said and laughed softly. “Ever hopeful,” she murmured, meeting his eyes as she marveled at a lock of his hair.

He smiled and moved back against her. She felt the tip of his tongue graze her nipple and his mouth form around it and she seemed to melt into the softness of the bed.

Nightmares were dispelled in the excitement of being alive.

She remembered the first time she’d seen him, how instantly he had drawn her attention and curiosity. Now she could touch him, explore the length and contours of his body, and she did. She felt his every kiss, his every caress, so keenly. She moved against him in turn, fascinated by the way his body seemed to tremble beneath hers. Her kisses covered his abdomen, teased his sex, and then she rose again to meet his eyes. He held her there, studying her eyes as if in equal wonder. She knew that sex was instinct, and yet she knew equally that this was somehow different. Tonight was like breathing. She found herself laughing, feeling his fingertips on her skin, his kisses growing more demanding and intimate. It seemed as if the world would explode except that he rose, shimmying up her body again, the pressure of his flesh and heat so ecstatic it was nearly agony. Then he lifted himself above her, and she was so eager for him that he seemed part of her, a fit that was custom-made, exquisite. Slowly he sank into her, deeper and deeper, and she felt as though the world itself stood still. They both moved as if there’d never be enough time, as if they had to fulfill the yearning, desperate to reach a climax, desperate to prolong it. Every fantasy she’d ever had about lovemaking occurred. Heaven seemed real, above her and around her, in the touch and feel of him, the beating of his heart….

For long moments they lay panting, damp, their breathing ragged, their pulses still racing. He stroked her hair and drew her against him. He didn’t speak, and neither did she.

Eventually, he said, “We should sleep.”

“Yes, we should.”

But they didn’t. Not then. They were a modern wonder of the world to each other, and there was simply no way they could restrain that feeling so easily.

They made love again.

And when Kat finally slept it was deeply, and if she dreamed or was plagued by any nightmares, she didn’t know it.

“An underwater propulsion device,” Will said. “A diver propulsion device.” He was speaking to the group at the breakfast table. “I believe that our mystery diver, the person who killed Brady Laurie and has been looking for something ever since Brady’s calculations found the Jerry McGuen, has what is basically an underwater motorcycle,” he said, looking at each person in turn.

“Like James Bond,” Jane murmured.

Will smiled. “I have some friends up on the northeast coast who have them—they’re great for going after lobster. Yes, you’ve seen them in movies, but they are real. I think they were developed for the military, but they can be bought easily enough, although not quite as easily as a regulator or a dive tank. Even with that kind of motorized help, you have to watch your pressure, but as long as you take the proper steps descending and ascending, it can get you somewhere quickly and allow a fair amount of bottom time.” He glanced at them all. “Someone could have a boat anchored a good distance away, and still be able to get to the site, spend time there, then return to the boat.”

“Why didn’t we think of that before?” Logan asked blankly.

“Because we don’t see a lot of people using them,” Kat suggested. “Considering the temperature of the water at depth, and the speed, it would be one cold ride. Not all that pleasurable. A lobsterman does it for the lobster. He isn’t thinking, ‘Oh, boy, let me go freeze my buns off!’”

“In other words, even with that security boat at the site,” Logan said, “we have no real idea how many times someone might have been down there.”

Will nodded. “What we need is Brady Laurie’s computer. The police went through it, but I don’t think they’d have known what to look for. And we need to find out who he was communicating with about the Jerry McGuen.”

“I’ll get hold of his computer,” Logan told them.

“I’ll start research on motorized diving mechanisms and vehicles—and who might have one,” Kelsey said.

“And I’ll work with the pictures and reference books,” Jane put in.

“Kat and Will, you need to get going for the dive. The big guns are coming out today, right?” Logan asked.

“Some of them, yes. They’re bringing the larger research vessel with the crane,” Will replied.

When Kat and Will rose to head out to the dive site, Tyler and Sean rose, too.

Sean grinned at them both. “Safety in numbers,” he said.

“I’m all for it,” Will muttered.

The four of them piled into his rental car, stuffing their scuba gear in the trunk. It was a tight fit, even with Kat, the smallest, in the cramped backseat.

“This is good. One of us needs to keep an eye on Kat while the others are watching Amanda and the salvage efforts,” Will said. He felt a pinch; she’d gotten him from the backseat. He was startled and caught her eyes in the rearview mirror.

But Tyler turned to her. “You’re daydreaming in the water?” he asked.

“I’m fine,” she insisted.

“You’ll be fine as long as one of us is with you,” Sean told her firmly.

“Hey, I’m not arguing,” Kat said. “It’s just that…I’m a good diver, so once we’re past the salon and down in the hold, don’t worry about me.”

When they got to the dock, they discovered that they were all going out on the Glory, the Preservation Center’s main exploration and recovery vessel. It was outfitted with the cranes and wenches and chains they’d need to bring up larger objects.

Again, Amanda was taking the lead. “I can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure the crates are properly secured. We’re going back more than three thousand years to the New Kingdom and the time of Ramses II. One of those crates contains the sarcophagi, inner and outer, of Amun Mopat, and it’s possible—just possible—that we could safely bring up the mummy. That would be extraordinary. We’ll make news across the entire world. You can’t imagine what an amazing feat that will be. So you have to understand that the filming doesn’t matter,” she said, looking at the crew, “and that protecting us because someone drowned earlier doesn’t matter.” She paused again and looked at the agents. Then she stared at Captain Bob and Jimmy, who’d been hired on for the day, Captain Bob to watch the boat and Jimmy to keep an eye on the divers.

There were also two interns from the Preservation Center, two twentysomethings, Ted and Carlo. They were gazing at Amanda wide-eyed.

“You are all working for me on this,” she announced.

“Actually,” Alan King said, “I believe we’re all working under the jurisdiction of the State of Illinois and that I’m still financing what’s going on. But we appreciate your expertise, Dr. Channel, and we will be excruciatingly careful in all endeavors.”

“Yes, that’s it. You have to understand the value of what we’re doing. And if you don’t, we should let it go to someone else!”

When they turned away, Will heard Jon warning Amanda, “Hey, ease up. The film guys could get pissed off and pull out.”

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