I thought for the Flirt this week, I'd post a snippet from my upcoming short story, Love Remembers. It's a historical set in Ancient Greece and well, since I love the Ancients especially when they are behaving badly... here's a taste!
If he wants to keep Aspasia once he finds her, Gregorius will need to prove that his Love Remembers.
A veteran of the war in Koroneia, Gregorius wants only one woman for his bed. She made his heart sing the moment he first saw her in the markets, and for the past seven years he’s hunted far and wide for her. Once he finds her, he’ll prove his love never forgot her.
Aspasia isn’t the mirthful girl from the markets any longer. Circumstances beyond her control forced her into service to Gregorius’ bitterest enemy. When she at last finds herself in Gregorius’ arms, can she let go of the past in order to have the future she deserves? Only if love remembers...
Reader Advisory: This book contains a hero bent on finding his first love and a heroine determined to let him have his wicked way...in the garden, on the benches, in the olive grove...
“I will have you chained to my bed for the rest of your days!”
Revulsion and disgust surged through her veins. Aspasia bit back the nasty response on her tongue. No need to provoke her master.
A shout resonated from another chamber in the sprawling home.
“I will be back for you in a moment.” The master gestured to the guard with the flip of his hand. “You may play with her until I return.”
Aspasia locked gazes with her guard, Atticus. He folded his thick, muscle-corded arms. His expression remained blank. When the master’s footsteps no longer echoed on the stone floor, Atticus moved into action and wrapped his meaty fingers around her arm. “Get into the hallway.”
Frightened by his brusque tone, Aspasia complied. She gathered her torn chiton and covered her nudity. Never one to act against wishes, she prayed to whichever God listened to make the sexual encounter quick and painless. Being with Visius humiliated her to her core, but, as a slave, her complicity was demanded or she risked the whip…again.
“Come on. Before he returns.” Atticus’ gruff voice sent chills down her spine. “He deserves the wrath of Zeus for his actions.”
Her heart hammered within her chest. Atticus rarely spoke. Could he be acting against orders? Ice slid through her veins. Did he want her as his own slave? She bit back a sob. Too many times the people she trusted used her kindness as leverage to gain favour with Visius. Though not conventionally handsome—with hooded eyes, a square jaw, and a body honed for battle—she liked Atticus. Had they met outside Visius’ gate, she might have loved him.
At the end of the corridor, Atticus opened a small wooden door. Moonlight streamed across the tiled floor. “Go.”
For the first time in months, she found her voice. “Where? I have nowhere to go.”
A sparkle twinkled in his dark eyes for a moment. The corner of his mouth kinked into a faint smile. “Head west until you see a creek. Do not stop. Just run. You will be safe.”
Knowing she had no alternative, she kissed his massive hand then surged through the doorway. The cool night air prickled her skin, but she refused to stop. At the entry gates, she pushed any thoughts of her captor and his strict rules from her mind. Gravel crunched under her bare feet, but she ignored the pain. Freedom numbed the pricks and stabs from the sharp rocks.
Would she see Atticus again?
Would she find Gregorius?
Dipping her head to keep from getting caught in the olive tree branches, she pushed the memory of her first love from her mind. He couldn’t possibly still think of her. Gregorius, the second son of Senator Tallus, had more appropriate women to devote his time to. Her heart clenched within her chest. No matter how hard she tried to forget, the taste of Gregorius’ kiss lingered, even seven years on.
Her legs ached. Her spirits sank. Where was the creek? Her eyes had adjusted to the dim light, aiding her in the escape. Would Visius come looking for her? He was probably sitting on his horse trying to decide which way she had run…if he wasn’t watching with laughter on his lips…
No. She refused to be his pleasure slave any longer.
With a burst of speed, she continued on. The sound of running water met her ears—a melodic sound, like plucking the strings of a lyre. The creek. Tears burned behind her eyelids. The creek.
Her joy turned to fleeting frustration as she tripped on something. A bare tree root? A trap?
Aspasia toppled to the ground and the last thing she saw was the dark figure in the distance. Please, Gods, let it not be Visius.