Anubis

Chris Evans

 

Anubis copyright c.2015 T.A. Chase

Part Five-

“Jamil,” Sandy yelled from the base of the stairs. “There’s some guy here to see you.”

Grimacing, Jamil bowed slightly to the young Jordanian woman who’d been helping him. “I’ll be back.”

She smiled. “Of course.”

He stood and took a few steps away before he brushed the dirt off his jeans as best he could. When she laughed at him, he shrugged. “I guess I should know better. Nothing is going to get these clean except for being washed a thousand times.”

“Then you’ll still find sand in them,” she pointed out.

“True.”

“Jamil, did you hear me?” Sandy shouted again and he winced.

“Yes. I’ll be right there,” he called back.

He wound his way past the open pits where different members of his dig team were occupied, clearing away the dirt from different objects buried beneath a layer of sand.

Jamil had been shocked when they came across the first artifacts. When he’d been given permission to dig in a part of the main building that hadn’t been open to any one outside of Jordanian academia, he hadn’t really expected to find anything. He figured most of the important stuff had already been discovered.

Yet the first test shovel brought up some interesting particles that convinced him there might be more here than he thought. When they discovered the two intact canopic jars, he almost burst out in an undignified Cabbage Patch dance. The Jordanian government was very gracious about allowing Jamil access to them after he informed them about it.

“Who is it,” Jamil asked Sandy as he approached her.

She shrugged then pointed to where a tall man stood at the top of the front steps, staring out at the canyon carved out of the rock. There was something in the set of his shoulders that spoke of loss and a deep-seated pain. He shook his head. Now he was just being foolish. There was no way he could even guess what the stranger was feeling.

“Thanks, Sandy. You can get back to whatever you were doing,” he told his assistant.

He turned his attention back to the stranger who now faced him. Jamil inhaled sharply when his gaze met the man’s dark eyes. There was sadness in them, but as he watched, it disappeared behind a bland expression.

“You’re Jamil Ahlid?” The man’s eyebrows shot up when Jamil nodded.

“Not what you were expecting, huh?” He smiled as the guy shrugged and agreed.

“Not really.” The stranger stepped closer, holding out his hand. “I’m Ahmed Al Hazzan. I’m a consultant with UNESCO, dealing with their World Heritage sites.”

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Al Hazzan. No one informed me you were coming.” Jamil shook Ahmed’s hand, ignoring the jolt of electricity racing through his body.

“It was a spur of the moment kind of thing. I was traveling in Jordan, and when they heard about your discoveries, they asked if I’d come and look them over.”

Jamil wanted to protest, but he knew he couldn’t. The government had approved his papers and dig permit with the caveat that they could send whoever they wanted to inspect the site and anything he found while there. Also UNESCO had even more right to come in and go through anything and everything. He wasn’t about to say no and have his permit pulled.

“They aren’t here,” he informed Ahmed.

Ahmed sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. Jamil tried to ignore how gorgeous Ahmed was. Ahmed wore a pair of jeans and a long sleeved flannel shirt, both of which emphasized the breadth of his shoulders and the narrowness of his waist. At least he showed up dressed for the situation. There had been times at other digs where people had shown up in dress shoes and suits, obviously not thinking about all the dirt and grime that attached itself to clothes and skin.

“I know that, but I was curious about Petra. It’s been a very long time since I last visited. I guess I needed to see how it has changed.” Ahmed glanced around them.

Jamil chuckled. “Petra doesn’t change. It’s been here for centuries and will be for centuries after we’re gone. The only thing left of us in this place will be the memories of our heartache and our joys.”

“All there is in this place is heartache,” Ahmed muttered.

“There is an aura that hangs around here,” Jamil admitted. “Staying here late at night is unnerving to say the least.”

Ahmed nodded. “Yes, it is. It has always been that way.” He shot a look in the direction of the amphitheater. “Will you show me around your site? I don’t want to bother anything you have in progress.”

He gestured for Ahmed to follow him. “Since you’ve been here before, I won’t do the whole tour. We’re digging in an area toward the back of the temple. No one’s been allowed in there to do this extensive a dig. I’m not even sure anyone’s been in there since people left here.”

Silence greeted him and he took a quick look behind him to make sure Ahmed was still there. It was obvious the man wasn’t listening to Jamil, even though his gaze was focused on Jamil’s back as though he didn’t want to see ghosts in the shadows.

“The place isn’t really haunted. No matter what you’ve heard,” he reassured Ahmed.

Snorting, Ahmed gave him a disgusted look. “Of course, it’s haunted. People died in this complex. Hell, they lost their lives in the very room you’re digging in. There are spirits all over and they will make themselves known before you get too much further in your expedition.”

“You don’t strike me as a superstitious man.” Jamil shrugged. “If they’re here, then I welcome the chance to meet them. I’ve always wondered whether there was an afterlife.”

“In Ancient Egypt, they believed in the afterlife. Why do you think they went to the lengths they did when they buried their dead? I wouldn’t doubt there are sites across the Middle East where the dead haunt the living. Across the world in fact.” Ahmed clenched his hands then relaxed them.

New Covers…

Happy Friday, everyone. I hope you’re all doing well. :) I’m feeling much better and hoping to get back on track with my writing. All of it…lol

I thought I’d share two new covers I received for two of my upcoming March releases. First up is Cead Mile Milte, which is a St. Patrick’s Day story that’ll be out at MLR Press on March 13th. It’s about Finn and Sawyer, who meet at a 5k race and hit it off. It’s a short story. :)

 

CeadMileMilte_432

 

Next up is Trailing Air, the long anticipated book 4 in my Preternatural series. This is Rover’s story and it will also close the over all arc that’s been going on in the first three books. It won’t be the last book in the series though. I plan on giving Jess/Pavel, Gianni/Roman and Ba’el/Raze their own stories. :) (Hopefully a little quicker than I did Rover…lol) Trailing Air will be out March 15th at Amber Allure, so you’ll get two books in a row from me. (Oh also, Love’s Baggage and Trailing Air will be coming out together in a print book in April some time…so you can have all four Preternatural books in print.)

 

TrailingAir

 

I love both of these covers. As soon as I get the cover for Shuffle of Angel’s Feet, I’ll share it with you. Shuffle will be out at the end of March from Amber Allure.

That’s all I have to share right now. I hope you all have a great weekend.

Better…but

I’m feeling better, but real life decided it needed to interrupt me for most of the day yesterday. So again, I’m sorry for not getting an installment up for you today. :(

I’m going to share some new covers with you tomorrow. And I promise to start again next Monday…lol.

Hope you have a great day.

Sick…

Sorry, everyone. I’ve been sick the last couple of days, so I haven’t been able to do much writing. I’m hoping I’ll feel better and be able to get the next installment of Anubis up by Thursday. :)

I hope you’re all doing well.

Anubis

Anubis

 

Anubis copyright c. 2015 T.A. Chase

Part Four-

“Hey, asshole. I was eating that,” Amun complained but let Anubis take it. “And no, I didn’t throw a load in the washer. You were right. It was Kellan.”

“Then why did you act insulted when I thought it was him in the first place?” He shook his head. “Why do we always have chocolate? Why can’t we get some other flavor like Moose Tracks or Rocky Road?”

Amun lifted his eyebrows at Anubis’s rather bitchy tone. “I do believe there is a grocery list taped to the refrigerator that we can write on. If you want something other than chocolate, put it down and whoever goes shopping will get it for you. Gods, you’re in a mood tonight.”

Sighing, he took a spoonful of ice cream then shoved it back toward Amun. “I know and I’m sorry. It’s just going back to Petra is making me crazy.”

His brother nodded. “I get that, but you had to have known that at some point, you would go back there. The gods want us to face our past and learn from it. Anubis doesn’t want his warrior to hide his head in the sand. He needs you to be unhampered by the memories. As do all of our patrons.”

“Whatever. Our patrons got what they wanted when we were killed, and they were able to work their magic to give us the powers we have. I don’t think they really care—one way or the other—about us getting closure.” He turned to toss his spoon at the sink, grinning like an idiot when it sailed right in. “Where are you and the others going?”

“Isis hasn’t told us yet. I’m assuming he’ll wait until after you leave in the morning to spring it on us.” Anum stared in the ice cream as though it held the secrets to the universe. “I must admit I’m getting tired of all this. It never seems to end. There is always an emergency somewhere in the world that needs our help. Not just when artifacts appear that should remain hidden, but the things humans do to each other. It weighs my heart down.”

He leaned back in his chair and studied Amun. It was the first time he’d heard the man confess to being tired of their lives and the mission the gods set for them. They hadn’t taken Sekhmet seriously at first when he complained as well, then slowly disappeared from their company. Now the oldest of the Earth Warriors spent most of his time alone, wandering the world—or Anubis assumed he wandered. If he didn’t, no one, except maybe Isis, knew where he went

“Sekhmet was here,” he spoke aloud.

Amun looked up. “Really? I don’t think anyone saw him.”

“I don’t know if he actually came inside or not. He was in his lion form and tried to make me feel better about going back to Petra.”

“Did it work?”

He shook his head. “Not really. I appreciate that he tried. Means he cares about us, even if he can’t bring himself to spend any time with us.”

“Now come on, Anubis. You know some of us aren’t meant for this.” Amun waved his hand in a vague motion to encompass the kitchen, or more than likely, their entire world in general. “After a while, living forever takes a toll on your emotions and ability to even cope with all the shit that goes on day after day. Especially when it never seems to get better.”

::I think you need to talk to Amun. He’s not sounding rational.:: Anubis sent a quick thought to Isis, who had become their de-facto leader when Sekhmet disappeared on them. He was also their priest to hear their confessions and sometimes their psychologist when they needed to deal with trauma or loss.

::I’ll sit with him after you leave. Don’t worry about him. He’s just feeling his age.::

::Who listens to you when you need to vent about us? I know we drive you crazy at times.:: He couldn’t help wondering. Who supported Isis when he needed it? It wasn’t like he talked to any of the rest of them.

::Don’t worry about me. I’m fine.::

Rolling his eyes, Anubis didn’t respond, considering he thought Isis was full of shit. He turned his attention back to Amun. Of the seven Earth Warriors, he and Amun were the closest in age and personality, though he wasn’t as depressed about the world as Amun seemed to be. Anubis just didn’t like being around people except for the men he considered his brothers.

He accepted the fact he was slowly closing himself off from interaction with other people, and that his family was worried about him, but it didn’t change how he felt about things. It was easier not to trust because his death was an example of how people would betray you in a heartbeat if it suited them.

::It wasn’t like that, Anubis. You know that. The prince thought he could save his people by giving you to them. I’m sure it broke his heart as much as it did yours.::

::I’m not rehashing this with you, Sekhmet. Go bother Isis.::

“I should probably go pack and brush up on my UNESCO catch phrases to make the archaeologist believe I know what I’m talking about.” Anubis pushed to his feet. “Thanks for the ice cream. Try not to eat that whole carton though.”

Amun wiggled his spoon at him, but didn’t say anything as Anubis strolled out of the kitchen, making his way to his room upstairs. He packed his luggage then pulled up the information he needed on the World Heritage Sites, making sure he hadn’t missed any new regulations.

He typed in Petra and images of his old home appeared. Anubis took a deep breath. It was going to be hard. Whoever said ‘You can’t go home again’ might have been right. But he really thought the saying should be, ‘Don’t go home again.’

“Nothing good is going to come from me returning there,” he muttered as he shut his laptop, then got ready for bed. He’d have to leave early in the morning to get to the closest airport.

Anubis

Anubis

 

Anubis copyright c.2015 T.A. Chase

Part Three-

A scent caught his nose and he sneezed as Sekhmet came closer. His jackal worried the lion would take it, but Anubis knew Sekhmet wasn’t interested in the rabbit, so he continued eating.

::We’ve all run away from the memories we don’t wish to relive. The Gods must have decided it’s time for you to face yours.::

He snorted again. ::As much as I would love to say I’m too busy to go and have you send someone else in my place, I know better. You and Isis would badger me until I gave in. I’d rather avoid all that hassle.::

Sekhmet chuffed softly from where he sat, just beyond the edge of the moonlight. ::We badger you because we care. The people who hurt you are gone from this world, Anubis, and you are not. You have to get beyond the betrayal.::

After licking his fur clean, he snarled as he stood. ::Get beyond it? The man I loved and the people I considered my family turned me over to our enemies. They allowed me to be killed because they thought it would keep them safe.::

He wanted to run away, but knew Sekhmet would follow him. For some reason, the oldest of the Earth Warriors had a point to make that night and he wouldn’t leave Anubis alone until he drove it home.

::Humans are fine tuned to survive and will do what they must to save the lives of the majority.::

Shifting to his human form, Anubis paced around the bushes he’d eaten by. While they’d seemed like trees to his jackal, he could see they weren’t that big. He was glad they didn’t have any neighbors for miles around since he was sure they’d have issue with a naked man wandering around at night. Then again, they might just brush it off. The Scots seemed like a rather blasé group of people for the most part. They’d probably assumed he’d had too much to drink.

::So it’s okay to kill one to save thousands?::

::It’s an explanation, Anubis. I didn’t say it was right—or wrong for that matter. It’s simply something that happens.::

He could hear the shrug in his friend’s words. Whirling around, he searched for Sekhmet in the shadows, but for being such a large animal, he blended into the darkness quite perfectly. ::Maybe I wouldn’t be so bitter, if they had asked me for my sacrifice—or if any of them had survived after I died. The others broke their oath and killed them anyway.::

And maybe that was the problem he had with the whole thing. If they had asked him to make the decision for himself, he would’ve been more than willing to give himself over to their enemies. But they hadn’t. His lover had gone behind his back and offered him as the scapegoat—or sacrificial lamb—whichever way he wanted to think of it.

He closed his eyes as he began to remember that night, then he jerked himself out of those memories. He refused to relive them while he was awake. Anubis had no control of returning there while asleep.

::Your bravery in the face of such betrayal by love and family is why Anubis chose you as his representative in our group. That and your ability to fight like a demon when you have to.::

::I’m good at ushering souls to the afterlife.:: He admitted, which had made him one of the prince’s best warriors and was why their enemies wanted him to die.

Sekhmet’s chuff was a laugh and Anubis was happy to know that he’d made the man laugh. He didn’t know the last time he’d heard that. He wished Sekhmet would come back to them, but he spent more time alone now then he did with the brothers.

::It’s not your place to worry about me. Now go run. You’ll be leaving for Jordan tomorrow. Try not to allow your unhappiness cloud your judgment when you get there. I have the feeling those artifacts and the archaeologist aren’t what we’re led to believe.::

::Do you think the archaeologist is someone I should be worried about?::

Again he could almost see Sekhmet shrug. ::I’m not sure. My instinct is telling me we must be careful with how we approach this. Danger hangs like a cloud over everything that has to do with this mission.::

Anubis and his brothers had learned not to discount Sekhmet’s premonitions. He would do as Sekhmet said and kept his eyes open to make sure he didn’t miss something. While they had gotten rid of Sterling after the billionaire had tried to torture Kellan for information on the Earth Warriors, there were still a lot of other cults and people who wanted their powers. No matter what the items were, he had to bring them back to Scotland and their vault where they’d been hidden from the world.

::There are things the world should never know, and immortality is one of them.:: Sekhmet agreed. ::Now go.::

Shifting again, Anubis dashed away from the spot, running up and down the hills and splashing through streams. His jackal loved the freedom of the air blowing through his fur. He loved being able to hear the night sounds so clearly and smell all the scents drifting on the breeze.

It was just after midnight when he returned to the castle and shifted before walking inside. There was a pair of sweats, thick socks and a long sleeve shirt where his clothes had been. So one of the guys must have decided to do some laundry and was nice enough to grab his stuff too. It must have been Kellan.

“What makes you think it was Kellan,” Amun asked as Anubis walked into the kitchen to find his brother sitting at the table.

“It seemed like something he’d do. Why? Did you put a load in the washer?” He dug out a spoon and joined Amun, pulling the carton of ice cream Amun’d been eating away from him.

New Memories…

DeservesToBeAdored

 

I know today is supposed to be about my older books, but I had a new one come out over the weekend, and I’d like to share it with you. Deserves to be Adored is available now at Amber Allure. It has witches in it. :) It’s on sale now, along with the other four books in the Something’s Coming PAX. Here’s the link for it.

I’m also doing a blog tour for Borderline, so if you’d like to know where I’ll be at for the next four days, check out this list. :) The first stop is Nautical Star Books. Click here to go and visit. There is a giveaway as well. Yay!

 

TAChase_Borderline_BlogTour_BlogDates_final

 

 

I hope you get a chance to catch me at one of these places. :) Stay warm and safe today.

Borderline available now…

borderline_800

 

Borderline is now available at all 3rd party sellers. Yay! It’s a re-release, so there’s no new content, but an awesome new cover. Snap Decision and Cold Truth, the other two books in the trilogy, will be brand new. Snap is done and all set with the publisher. It’ll be out in April. I’m working on Cold Truth now and it’ll be out in June. :)

Also, Deserves to be Adored will be available at Amber Allure on Sunday. I’ll put up the links on Monday, but you can put a reminder on your computer or phone…lol. :)

DeservesToBeAdored

I hope you enjoy both of them. :)

Have a great weekend.

Anubis

Anubis

 

Anubis copyright c. 2015 T.A. Chase

Part Two-

He rubbed his sweaty palms over his thighs, grimacing at how even the thought of Petra made him nervous. He shouldn’t be upset about going back. Nothing could touch him now. All the truly evil people who betrayed and killed him were long dead themselves while he still lived.

“Anubis, I’m going to have to send you there alone to begin with. I have smaller jobs for the others to do before they can come help you.” Isis tapped his fingers on his chin while he eyed Anubis. “The name of the archaeologist is in the file. You’ll be using your usual cover as a consultant for UNESCO on their World Heritage sites. We need to find out what artifacts they found and if they’re important to our mission.”

He nodded. “Of course.”

“Wait. Are you an consultant for UNESCO?” Kellan spoke up. “It wouldn’t be good to go in impersonating someone like that.”

They all looked at Kellan and he ducked his head, but Bastet caressed his neck.

“Yes, he really is a consultant for them. We all have jobs as covers for what we really do. Sometimes we don’t have any emergencies or bad guys to fight, so we work at other stuff.” Bastet chuckled. “You’ll start going with me when I visit museums and universities since you’re almost as knowledge of ancient Egyptian cults as I am.”

Kellan’s eyes lit up and Anubis lowered his head to hide his smile. The guy wanted to be useful beyond organizing their library. While they still had enemies out there, Anubis knew Bastet had been teaching Kellan how to protect himself. It was time to let him off the leash.

“Is that all you need me for right now?” He asked Isis.

Narrowing his dark brown eyes, Isis studied him for a second, then nodded. “Yes. Plan on leaving tomorrow in the morning. I’ll meet you before you go to over a few other things with you.”

“Good. I’m going for a run.” He glanced at the others. “You’re welcome to come with me if you wish.”

None of them took him up on his offer, which made him happy. He liked his brothers, but there were times when he wanted to run the moors alone. It wasn’t the same as running the deserts of Egypt and Jordan, yet he’d take what he could get.

He wandered to the back of the house to the small mudroom off the kitchen. After stripping his clothes off, Anubis hung them up neatly before stepping just outside the back door.

Taking a deep breath, he allowed his shift to overtake him. When it was done, he stood on four paws, was covered with fur and had a tail. He wagged it a few times to get used to it being there, then he took off.

His long legs drove him over the moors as his lungs took in the fragrance of heather. It was strange how his animal equated that scent with home now, instead of the dusty smell of sand and heat. A rare surge of homesickness swept through him and Anubis found himself almost looking forward to returning to Jordan and Petra.

No matter what terrible things had been done to him there, for decades it had been the one place he called home. It was where his family had lived until their enemies killed them as well.

Sadness swept through him and Anubis stopped at the top of a hill to lift his muzzle to the sky and sing. Oh, he didn’t howl. Not like Isis could when he was in wolf form, but he yipped and barked, letting his sorrow drift from him on the night air.

An answer came out of the darkness, though it wasn’t from a canine. No, it was the roar of a lion and Anubis jumped to his feet. All of his jackal’s instincts screamed for him to run, but he controlled the creature inside him.

In the wild, lions could—and did—kill jackals, and Anubis had spent more than a few hours racing away from them when he was in Africa. But in Scotland, there was only one lion out on the moors that he knew of, and it wasn’t going to kill him.

At least not yet. Sekhmet rarely showed his face to the others any more. Only Isis spent any time with him, and it worried Anubis that the oldest of his brothers was withdrawing more and more every day. Would there come a time when Sekhment didn’t even come to visit Isis? Would he bury himself in a cave somewhere in the wilds of the Amazon or the deserts of Africa?

::Don’t fear for my mind yet, brother. I’m still around and keeping an eye on all of you.::

Anubis didn’t react to the voice in his head as he dashed down the hill in pursuit of a rabbit he’d seen trying to sneak from its burrow. He let his jackal take over while he answered Sekhmet. ::Does Isis know you’re around?::

::That’s none of your concern, Anubis. Petra holds as many fond memories for you as it does bad, but it’s up to you how you deal with them when you get there.::

He sent a mental image of him exposing his throat to show his submission to Sekhmet. The one topic none of the brother spoke about was the relationship—or whatever they wanted to call it—between Isis and Sekhmet. Anubis knew there was something more than them just being very old friends. He could see it in Isis’s eyes and hear it when he spoke about Sekhmet. But again, it wasn’t his place to give advice or worry about it.

::I ran away from there when I was given over to Anubis for this mission of ours. I vowed I’d never return.::

Pouncing on the rabbit, he killed it with one quick bite to the back of the neck. He settled down by some scrubby trees to eat his dinner.

Anubis

Anubis

 

Anubis copyright c. 2015 T.A. Chase

Part One-

Anubis winced when the door slammed shut as he entered the library, but he didn’t apologize. He stalked through the shelves and piles of books, searching for his missing brother.

“Bastet, you better not be fucking Kellan in here, or I’m going to knock over the closest bookshelf that he’s finally organized,” he yelled as he wound his way through the rooms.

“What the fuck is your problem,” Bastet asked when he walked out of one of the chambers off the main room.

Kellan trailed behind him, looking a little ruffled and Anubis knew he’d interrupted some afternoon delight—or actually early evening delight considering what time it was.

“Isis and the others are waiting for you, so we can go over what Horus and Thoth found out about that last report out of Egypt.” He propped his hands on his hips. “I don’t appreciate you ignoring the mind calls and making me come all the way down here to get you.”

“Christ! Anubis, what’s gotten into you? It’s not like you had to hike twenty miles through a snow storm to find me.” Bastet glared at him.

He sighed, shoving his hand through his hair and giving it a little tug at the ends. “I’m getting stir crazy. After our meeting, I think I’ll go out for a run.”

“Why didn’t you go with Horus and Thoth?” Kellan spoke up, which he didn’t always do around Anubis.

“I had to finish up some business in Russia and couldn’t get back before they left,” he answered, feeling a little guilty that he seemed to make Kellan uncomfortable. Yet he didn’t know how to change it. “There wasn’t any point in following after them.”

Whirling around, he lead the way out of the library to the stairs heading up to the main floor. Anubis stuck his hands on his pockets as they climbed and decided to make an effort.

“The library is looking good. Are you figuring out your way through the clutter?” He glanced over his shoulder at Kellan.

Kellan blinked in surprise, then nodded. “Thanks, and yes, I’ve figured out that none of you had any system. You just tossed whatever book you found on top of the pile of other books and shut the door. It’s amazing I haven’t been squashed under a tumbling slide of them.”

He snorted. “I had nothing to do with that. I might have found them, but I just turned them over to Isis or Amun. They’re the ones who put them away.”

“How often have you been in the library?”

Anubis shrugged. “Counting just a minute ago…about five times since we moved here.”

“Anubis isn’t really into books and maps,” Bastet joked, poking him in the side when he passed by on the way to the study where the others were waiting.

“You don’t read?” The horror in Kellan’s voice and on his face caused Anubis to burst into laughter.

“Of course, I read, but not those stuffy historical tomes. That’s more Isis’ and Sekhmet’s area of expertise than mine. I like fictional books—action adventures or horror.” Anubis wasn’t ashamed to admit he liked stories that other people might think weren’t highbrow enough. “So I’m not into those kinds of books, and I can read maps just fine.”

He nudged Bastet in the back and the bastard laughed.

“It’s about time you got your ass in here,” Horus complained as they entered the study.

Anubis waved at Bastet and Kellan. “Not my fault, guys. He was downstairs molesting the librarian again.”

“He’s never going to get his work done, if you don’t leave him alone,” Amun pointed out from where he sat on the couch, flipping through some papers.

“Shove it, all of you. Just because I’m getting some regularly doesn’t mean you need to talk about it.” Bastet encircled Kellan’s waist and pulled him close.

Kellan blushed, but he didn’t look like he wanted to run away. Which was a big step up from when he first arrived in Scotland with them. He must be getting used to us.

“Oh we can all get some if we want, but it’s more fun to tease you about it.” Thoth grinned.

“All right, gentlemen.” Isis stood from behind the desk then walked around it to prop his hip against it. “Take a seat. We need to go over the new information.”

It took a little pushing and shoving, but they finally settled on the furniture except for Anubis who stood with his back against the wall and the entire room in front of him. Isis lifted an eyebrow when their gazes met. Anubis shrugged, not willing to explain why he felt the need to keep his back against something solid while knowing where all the exits in the room were.

“Why did you send them to Egypt?” Kellan leaned forward, obviously eager to know what was happening.

“They went to do some reconnaissance for us. Amum had been hearing some chatter on different forums about some items discovered at one of the major Egyptian archaeological sites.” Isis frowned.

Thoth gestured to the files Amum was reading. “We couldn’t find anything about what the items were, but we found the site and the archaeologist in charge.”

“What site is it?” Anubis had spent many years wandering the deserts of Egypt and had come across a lot of burial sites and temples that haven’t even been discovered yet in modern times.

“They were wrong. It’s not in Egypt, but Jordan.” Horus shot Anubis a quick glance.

“Petra,” Anubis said, his voice low.

Thoth nodded. Anubis saw Kellan look from Bastet to him, then at each of the other men before looking back to Anubis. It was obvious he could tell something was going on.

“Why does it seem like that’s not a good thing?” Kellan wiggled with excitement. “I can’t wait to go. I’ve wanted to see Petra all my life.”

“First of all, you’re not going,” Bastet told him.

Kellan huffed and folded his arms as he flopped back. Anubis was pretty sure the man was going to do all he could to convince Bastet to change his mind.

“You’re not going because you don’t know how to take care of yourself yet, Kellan. We’re teaching you as we have the time, but this isn’t going to be a vacation,” Amum explained.

“But I might know something that you don’t.” He stopped when everyone looked at him. “Fine,” he muttered.

“Second of all, Petra is where Anubis died,” Isis announced. “It has no good memories for him, yet he’s the one who knows it the best. So unfortunately, he’ll have to go back.”

And that made Anubis’ jackal howl inside him.