About The Scantlebury Demon
by Tracey Shellito
Sworn to protect her lover, Englishwoman Josephine, Egyptian Kheper must pose as a manservant to do her job. Called in to investigate the ghost of a prominent British family, medium Josephine is suspicious, and Kheper is desperate to keep her love safe.
When a séance threatens to go horribly wrong, Josephine and Kheper must use all of their skill at deception and their knowledge of the paranormal world to stay one step ahead of the demon who would destroy them. Will Kheper be able to make the ultimate choice in time to keep them all alive?
"Get off me, heathen savage!"
Hands pulled me away from the drunken lord. I fought against the restraint, snarling. I must have looked every inch the savage he called me.
Called to heel by my mistress, I relaxed. And received a fist full of brass knuckles in the stomach. I folded over with an exhalation of breath at the blinding pain. My captors let go of me, transferring their grip to my attacker. Soft hands found my face as she interposed herself between me and my aggressor. The danger past, I stood upright with an effort. Brass knuckles are a cowardly invention of the weak.
A lawn handkerchief mopped a rill of blood from the cut on my head before it could reach my eye.
"You don't have to prove yourself to me, Kheper."
"He laid hands upon what he could neither aspire to, nor was worthy of." I told her in my native tongue. Few enough understood Egyptian that we could speak it freely in company and know ourselves safe. It had also become our language of love, something my musical parent tongue was well suited to.
Her hands lingered at the pulse in my throat. She looked into my eyes. I made her blush with the thoughts she surely saw reflected there. She glanced away so hurriedly I could not tell if my desire found a mirror in her own.
She straightened my starched collar and checked my appearance critically. It was important to preserve the illusion of being a proper gentleman. Already they questioned my dusky skin and smooth-shaven face at a time when most adult males were pale and wore dapper beards or mustaches.
We had learned to carry razor, brush and soap and leave them damp in the bathroom when we traveled to avert suspicion. Her peers must think me a protector set in place by her non-existent husband if I were to continue to follow her into these situations. Maids and companions were not of sufficiently high status, and no one would have accepted the truth.