Read Carnal Punishment Online

Authors: Mia Crawford

Carnal Punishment

Carnal Punishment
Mia Crawford

Archaeology grad student Tessa McAdams is supposed to be investigating the secrets of a pharaoh’s tomb, but the real mystery is how to handle her unbridled lust for excavation leader Dr. Brody Jackson. No other man has had such a visceral effect on her before. But she’s too afraid to make a move—until an accident traps her with an ancient spirit intent on punishing her in the most wicked ways. Will this carnal encounter help Tessa unleash her inner vixen with Brody?

Chapter One

“McAdams, what are you still doing here?”

Tessa jumped as her name was called, dropping the pottery shard she held.

Dr. Brody Jackson strode toward her, his dark black hair gleaming under the hot Egyptian sun.

Tessa bent down to retrieve the shard, hoping he hadn’t noticed her clumsiness. As the excavations leader, Brody was very exacting about the handling of archaeological materials. Each tiny artifact they retrieved from the earth was another clue in the mystery surrounding King Sekhemkhet’s tomb. As the most senior doctoral student, Tessa was practically Brody’s equal on the dig. The only problem was she seemed to fall to pieces whenever he was around. His six-foot-two frame and piercing eyes had a habit of flustering her, and archaeological facts and theories she’d been studying for years slipped her mind when he was near.

“Y-yes, I’m still here,” she stuttered as he approached. There was something about his scent—warm and spicy with a hint of sweat from working all day in the broiling desert heat—that made her heart rate accelerate. “I’m just finishing up with the survey of this section.”

“And dropping valuable artifacts,” he noted dryly.

“Sorry,” she mumbled. “You startled me. I thought everyone else had left.” This wasn’t quite true; she had watched the rest of the crew pack up and head back to the hotel for cold showers and colder beers, but she had stayed on because she could see Brody by the western quadrant, still examining the artifacts they had discovered that day. She was determined to prove to him that she was a good worker, and she was damned if she’d leave the site before him. The fact that she got an unobstructed view of his nice ass as he bent to look over the finds was just a bonus.

Forget the whereabouts of the pharaoh’s tomb; since arriving at Saqqara, south of Cairo, the real mystery for Tessa was where this unbridled lust for Brody came from. No other man had ever had such a visceral effect on her. Whenever she saw Brody all she could picture were his calloused hands touching the delicate skin of her breasts, his strong tongue running down the soft rise of her tummy, his sweaty, hard body pressed against hers. She couldn’t keep her stratigraphy straight when she found herself staring into his deep brown eyes and the only projectile point she could think of when he loomed over her was the one in his pants.

Before she had arrived in Saqqara, she had never thought of herself as a particularly sexual person. She had spent her twenties poring over dry and dusty archaeology textbooks in a quest for her doctorate. It was only since she’d hit her thirties that she had started to wonder if she had missed out on something by confining her sex life to a few brief and unsatisfactory flings, usually with nerdy fellow students. Those questions were answered the instant she had set foot on the hot sands of the Western Desert and seen the even hotter bod of Dr. Brody Jackson.

Suddenly archaeology took a backseat to her libido. Instead of hypothesizing about the whereabouts of Sekhemkhet’s tomb, she found herself fantasizing about Brody. She imagined that they were alone one night at the dig. The stars were out above them, hard and crystalline in the inky blackness of the night sky. Brody would come to her and tell her that he wanted her. She imagined herself stripping for him, yanking her white tank top over her head to expose her small, proud breasts. She’d meet and hold his gaze while she slowly undid her belt buckle and slid her dusty shorts down over her slim hips to land in a heap at her feet. She’d see the unbridled lust in his eyes and watch the bulge grow in his pants as he drank in her nakedness. Then she’d approach, always holding his gaze, and push him down onto the hot sand. She’d straddle him and pull out his hard, heavy cock. She’d stroke him up and down, until he was ready and begging for her. Then she’d shift her hips, the gritty sand digging into her knees, and slide his cock deep inside her wet pussy. She’d ride him right there at the dig site until she reached sweet oblivion.

What was that? Brody was talking to her and she wasn’t paying any attention. She tuned back in to his words.

“It’s the weekend,” he said. He was wearing his usual outfit of cargo shorts and a short-sleeved shirt, but she noticed that sweat had made the hair at the nape of his neck curl. She had to physically restrain herself from reaching out and touching the little curls; she found them sexy as hell, but also kind of sweet. He was still talking. “You should have left early with the others. Get out and enjoy yourself.”

Tessa blinked. This was as close to a personal conversation as she’d ever had with Brody. “Thanks,” she said. “I’ll just finish up my section.” She pointed to the staked-off quadrant she had spent the past month excavating.

“You’ve done a good job,” Brody said, gesturing to the carefully excavated plot in front of him. “You’ve had some decent finds here. I think we’re getting close to the tomb entrance.”

Tessa’s mind whirled. He was complimenting her! She should capitalize on it, ask him if he wanted to share a drink back at the hotel. Location digs were notorious for all the people who hooked up. They were often in exotic locales far away from home, and people tended to let go of many of their inhibitions. This was her chance. She should ask him out. She should make the move. “Thanks,” she said. “I try.” That was it? That was the best she could do? What about telling him that she wanted to cover him in caramel and slowly lick it off? That she wanted to tie him to the bedposts and tease him with a feather until he begged for mercy?

Brody seemed uninterested in her insipid answer because he turned away. “I’m headed back to the hotel now if you want a lift.”

She’d love the chance to sit next to him in his Jeep, their thighs brushing with every bump in the road. Who was she kidding, though? With curly hair that tended to frizz and a skinny body with few womanly curves, she looked more like Marge Simpson than Jessica Rabbit. Brody would never be into her. She shook her head. “I’ve nearly finished documenting this trench, and I should get it done before the weekend.”

“Okay,” Brody said. “Maybe another time.”

Was it her overheated imagination or did he give her the once-over before striding off? She could have sworn he had stolen a lingering look at her breasts, but it had to be wishful thinking.

Tessa paused, enjoying the view of Brody’s long legs as he walked away from her. She sighed. She was insane to even entertain the fantasy of being with him. He had a brilliant archaeological mind and the sexiest body this side of the First Dynasty. She was just a short, pale nonentity. The only way he would ever notice her was for the excellence of her work. With that depressing thought, she turned back to the trench and picked up her tools with renewed determination.

As she carefully brushed away each layer of earth, her mind wandered back to Brody. Tessa was idly pondering the curve of his mouth when her trowel clinked against something. She paused. The winds in this part of Egypt had sifted the sands of the Sahara into fine particles and the desert held few rocks. When something “clinked” it usually meant a find. She noted where she had uncovered the item in her chart of the trench and then started sweeping away the sand. Her excitement mounted as she realized this was no mere pottery shard, but something metallic. It gleamed in the rays of the setting sun as she brushed more and more sand out of the way. It was some kind of knob or lever that jutted out of the earth by about a foot. It was a yellow metal, possibly gold.

She couldn’t resist running her hand along its smooth outline, awed at the thought that it might have been millennia since a human hand last touched it. The metal was warm from its long sleep under the hot desert. Her archaeological training had always taught her to note the context of any artifact, to carefully measure and record its surroundings and to painstakingly remove it from the earth with the utmost of care. As she touched the lever she trembled. A feeling overwhelmed her, surging up from the deepest depths of her being. This sensation was much stronger than her years of study. Something was urging Tessa forward and in defiance of her training, she pulled down on the lever.

With a deep groan, the sands opened beneath her and she plummeted through the earth. She fell about six feet, landing with a thud on the hard ground. Her breath was knocked out of her, and she rested for a moment before gingerly coming to her feet. Miraculously, she did not seem to be hurt.

This was so typical of her luck. The one time she flouted the conventions of her profession, she was punished. Brody was going to kill her when he realized that she had messed up his dig site. That is, if she could even get out of there. She stared up at the small opening above her. Light filtered down weakly through the hole; if she could find a stone or something to stand on, she should be able to pull herself out fairly easily.

Her escape plans were forgotten when she looked around more carefully. She wasn’t in some kind of underground cave, but a man-made chamber. There was a diffuse light in the place, whose source she could not immediately locate. Through the dimness she could make out writing on the walls. They were hieroglyphs. Her heart pounding, she stumbled to the wall to look more carefully. Yes, there was the name of the third-dynasty king whose tomb the team had been searching for.
Next to that was a common warning against grave robbers:
Beware Ye Who Enter.
The next line was odd, however. The usual threat in tombs was the curse of Osiris, which promised that “death comes on wings to those who enter the tomb of the pharaoh.” The hieroglyphs were different here, though. Tessa bent forward, studying the wall intently. It read
Carnal punishments await those who flout these warnings.
She frowned. Obviously her understanding of hieroglyphics wasn’t nearly as good as she thought it was because
carnal punishments
didn’t make any sense.

She continued examining the hieroglyphs. There was more writing. It said that intruders would face the displeasure of Geb, the earth god who was Sekhemkhet’s sworn protector. Tessa was really puzzled now. Khnum was the pharaoh’s chosen god, or at least that’s what scholars thought. Geb was the god of earth. He was linked to earthly pleasures. Indeed, she noticed that the hieroglyph depicted Geb as ithyphallic—that is, in a state of constant arousal. She couldn’t help smiling. Geb would be a great spokesperson for Viagra.

Still, it was strange. As far as she knew, Geb had no link to Pharaoh Sekhemkhet. Why was he said to be protecting his tomb? This find was going to turn Egyptology on its head.

Tessa looked around more carefully now, eager to impress this room on her memory in order to bring back a detailed report to Brody. The chamber was small, and appeared to be empty except for two sconces on the walls that must have once held torches. She stared above her. Beautiful blue flowers with spiky petals were etched in the walls. They were water lilies, but that didn’t make any sense either. Water lilies were another symbol of sexuality and procreation. They weren’t commonly used to decorate tombs. None of this was logical.

Wait, what was that? An object lay in the chamber’s far corner, and Tessa retrieved it. It was a small doll, only about two inches long. She picked it up, examining it carefully. It was a female figure with a small head and torso and an enormous pelvic area. Tessa had read about these. It was a paddle doll, a common symbol of sexuality and fertility. They were often placed in tombs to bring pleasure in the afterlife. She rubbed the treasure with her thumb. It was magnificent.

There was a noise behind her and she whirled around. The sconces on the wall now held torches that were somehow lit. Their flickering light seemed to actually deepen the gloom in the chamber rather than the reverse. Her throat tightened with fear. “Who’s there?” she called.

There was the faintest scuffling sound and she turned away from the torches toward the noise. Someone was down here with her, but where? She could hardly see anything through the gloom. She backed away, moving toward the opening she had fallen through. She could have sworn it was nearby, but staring up at the ceiling, she realized it had disappeared.

Tessa paused. Was she going crazy? There now seemed to be a scent in the chamber. Tessa could distinguish the odor of safflower mingled with almond oil. It was warm, masculine and exotic. It seemed to envelop her, and despite the strangeness of everything, the smell was calming.

She felt a pressure on her arm, and she turned, thinking she almost glimpsed a figure in the half light. Nothing. The pressure again now, like a hand stroking her hair ever so lightly. It was actually a pleasant sensation, oddly reassuring. She couldn’t see anyone.

“Who are you?” she called, her voice shaky. There was no answer, but the hand moved down the side of her neck. Fingers brushed the little bones of her clavicle before languorously moving to the hollow of her throat. They stopped there, lightly tracing her skin just above the small swell of her breasts. The touch was slow and careful, sending liquid shivers down her spine. Although the figure must have been right in front of her, she could see nothing. She was entirely at its mercy. “Show yourself,” she whispered.

A voice spoke, the sound seeming to come from all around her. “You dare to command me? You who disturb the inner sanctum of my pharaoh, the great Sekhemkhet, ruler of the sand and tamer of the river?” The voice was rich and unalterably masculine. Tessa quaked. He spoke English, or at least she understood his words as English.

Tessa’s rational side told her that she had somehow fallen down a hole with a quick-moving lunatic who was well-versed in Egyptology. Another, more primal part of her recognized the speaker’s words as sincere. Something otherworldly was happening. “I’m sorry,” she found herself replying. She turned around, unable to see the figure. “I’m happy to leave, but I don’t know how.”

Again she felt his touch; this time those fingers trailed up her neck to gently caress the sensitive flesh right behind her earlobes. Tessa had always found that spot incredibly erotic and she shuddered now as his fingers massaged the area. She could hear the rhythmic intake of his breathing, and his warm exhalations tickled her neck. She felt a quickening deep within her core. She was getting incredibly turned on.

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