Hatshepsut sat upon the throne beside her father, Tuthmose I, Pharaoh of Upper and Lower Egypt. The great hall of the palace was more crowded than usual, she noted. People of all shapes, color and dress provided great interest to the young girl. She had always been encouraged by her father, to pay strict attention to the affairs of state. Perhaps, she thought, she might become Pharaoh when her father passed into the afterworld. Such things were possible, she believed. Although, she was acutely aware that her stepbrother and husband, Tuthmose II would likely succeed to the throne. Then there was her tiresome young stepson and nephew, Tuthmose III. She immediately erased the latter from her list of successors. He was but a boy. No, she mused, when my father leaves this world for the next, I shall become Pharaoh. As it is written, so shall it be.
Hatshepsut looked out over the assembled crowd and focused upon the young man who now approached the throne. He was taller than most of the other Egyptians present, and very muscular. His coloring suggested that of one who was accustomed to working in the sun, yet he did not have the look of a common laborer. His carriage was that of a nobleman. His eyes, she noticed immediately, were the color of the rich earth of Kem and were not almond shaped as were her own. He was, she admitted, the most beautiful man she had ever beheld.
His name was Senmut. He was a gifted artist and the most celebrated architect of his time. He would become her chief architect. He would build her parents' tomb and her temple and tomb. Senmut would become her most trusted advisor. Senmut would become her lover, tutor to her daughter, Neferure. All this Hatshepsut envisioned as she looked into the strange eyes of the young man who now stood, his head bowed in tribute, before the throne of Pharaoh.
Aiden MacAllister recognized her, the instant he saw her standing in the great hall of the Metropolitan Museum. It was the same beautiful face that had haunted his dreams since the first moment the old woman had placed the golden cartouche of Senmut, Royal architect and advisor to Pharaoh Hatshepsut, around his neck in Cairo, nearly eighteen years earlier. The trip had been a birthday gift from his parents and that event had changed his life profoundly.
For an instant, when their eyes met across the room, Aiden felt an intense electrical charge run through his body. It was she. The same oval face, large slanted eyes, fringed with thick ebony lashes, and long raven colored hair. There could be no mistake. It was she. After three thousand years, he had found her again.
Alexa Kendall Scott had come to the Metropolitan Museum in New York City with the hope of discovering the mystery behind the ancient Winged Scarab brooch she had found among the old Art Deco jewelry she had recently purchased from a soon-to-be-demolished antique shop in Manhattan. Out of curiosity, she had joined a small group of visitors in the great exhibition hall this morning, where a strikingly handsome man was giving a very animated lecture on the life and times of Ancient Egypt.
The moment their eyes met, Alexa experienced a physical bolt of electricity run through her body, almost knocking her backward. "Whoa!" she said, under her breath, that is, when she was able to breathe again.
As if he was aware of the effect he was having upon her, Aiden smiled knowingly, nodding in her direction before continuing with his lecture to the enraptured group who seemed to hang on his every word. Why did he seem familiar to her, she wondered. She most certainly would have remembered him, had they met before. Then, like a thunderbolt, it hit her. The dream! He was the Egyptian in her erotic dream. "Oh, my!" she screamed inside her mind. It could not be the same person. Alexa shut her eyes tightly, trying to remember the dream. And, when she remembered, she blushed with embarrassment, stepping behind the nearest column, hoping the object of her embarrassment hadn't noticed her reaction. He had noticed.
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