“Owned By Rome” came out last Friday and I’ve already received lots of good and very constructive feedback. Yes, there are Latin words used in “Owned By Rome” but they are simple nouns and adjectives and once they are read in context the meaning is clear. The good news… I’ll never use this much Latin ever again! I promise! Lol So here’s another excerpt from “Owned By Rome”. In this scene Atellus has foolishly decided it would be romantic to camp alone in the forest and live out a few of his favorite boyhood fantasies with his newest acquisition the Celtic slave-girl, Rutila. He sadly discovers how very uncooperative she is with his plan. A “torques” is a bronze slave collar, which Atellus has proudly put on Rutila. She gets caught trying to remove the collar. Atellus is very much in love with Rutila and has been struggling to get her to speak openly to him all day. He plans to win her over with kindness, a bon-fire and ermine bed-furs but his evening of seduction goes awry.
….He saw how bothered she was. “Rutila.” His gaze burned possessively. “Be sensible. The torques is to prevent ownership disputes. You belong to me now and I will tolerate no claims from others.” He had heard of unethical venalicius reselling the same servus numerous times to multiple unwitting owners. He would have none of that. She was his to keep, forever. Her pettish irritation over having to wear the torques made no sense to him. “I want you to understand the torques is a sign of my esteem. I do not want to lose you.” He spoke firmly. “Eat.”
“No.” She snapped at him. Her eyes flitted about the castra. “I eat with a pugio.” She was clearly disappointed no sharp objects had emerged from the packs.
He slowly shook his head no. “You also fight with a pugio. I deliberately provided finger foods and that’s how we will eat until we know and trust each other better. Now please eat something.” He grew impatient with her stubbornness. “You have eaten almost nothing today.”
She glared at him, broke free of his grip and scrambled to her feet. She dashed toward the hobbled pack mules, taking long, fast strides.
He was on his feet in a flash and chasing after her.
Rutila’s long legs were incredibly fast. She almost out ran him.
He caught up to her and grabbed her seconds before she reached the pack mules. He threw his arms around her and dragged her back to the fire. “That was a mistake.” He panted as he struggled to hold on to her writhing, leaping body. “I’m not a monster.” He breathlessly lugged her resisting body back to the castra. “I just want you to eat something.” He thought she was so beautiful just the way she was. He could even imagine her a little plumper. He certainly did not intend to see his beautiful ancilla waste away on the journey.
He picked up a leather tether from one of the packs and deftly tied his wrist to hers, so she could not bolt away. “Sit!” he ordered her in a booming voice. “Eat.”
She sat only because he pulled her down, but she did not eat. She scowled resentfully at the tether that linked them and scooted as far away as the short length of braided leather would allow.
He smiled, feeling victorious. He was hungry, so he ate. He poured himself a cup of wine with his free hand and watched her carefully from the corner of his eye, thinking her to be a very unpleasant dining companion.
She continually glared at him or frowned resentfully at the tether. Every time he refilled his wine cup, she smirked as if she enjoyed some private amusement he was not aware of. He tore the dried venison into narrow strips and chewed it up with his square white teeth and washed the venison down with a generous amount of wine.
She looked disgusted as he grew a bit tipsy.
The tether connecting their wrists was short. If he raised his cup to his lips or reached for a fig, her hand was forced to follow his motions. She was strung to him as if she were a resentful puppet, yet she refused to move any closer to him to lengthen the slack on the tether. Her lips turned downward. Clearly she hated the situation she was in.
He patted the ground beside him. “You could move closer.” He chuckled at her self-imposed predicament. “Who here is starving and refuses to eat out of sheer stubbornness? Let’s see a show of hands.” He smiled at her and raised his arm high above his head.
Of course Rutila’s hand went up involuntarily, though she struggled to pull downward on the tether. Her limp hand hovered high in the air.
He grinned at the sight of her raised hand. “I see you’re ready to admit you’re hungry.” His eyes gleamed from wine. He tossed a dried fig in her lap. “Eat it.”
She stared hatefully at the wrinkled fig, refusing to touch it.
His eyes sparkled with amusement. “Who here has the mind of a mule?” Again he raised his arm and her hand went up too, but this time he had to actually lift her weight off the ground, she heartily fought his actions. He laughed at her dour expression. The wine made his speech a bit sloppy. “By Jupiter, Rutila, you’re humorless!” He wished her attitude would warm just a little. He so longed for some contact or connection with her. “Am I the most formosus and virilis dominor you could wish for? You know that I am.” He burst into laughter. “So let’s see a show of hands.”
This time she was prepared for what was coming. She wrapped her fingers tightly around the tether before he could fully raise his arm and swiftly yanked the tether downward.
He was caught off guard and lurched forward onto his face, spilling his cup of wine onto the ground. He landed chin first in a puddle of wine. He looked up at her with an expression of smoldering disappointment.
Rutila tensed, as if waiting for him to lash out at her, threaten or strike her with his fist, but he didn’t. As dominor he knew he had to be above such petty provocations even if she wasn’t. He had to set an example. He recovered himself from the ground, sat straight and silently wiped his chin on his sleeve, but his heart silently burned with the dread of betrayal.
She seemed worried about what he might be thinking and he wasn’t ready to put her at ease. He wanted her to reconsider her actions. They sat in silence for some time before he decided to pack the food away and add more wood to the fire…
(These two do end up on the ermine bed-furs and much is revealed.)
If you haven’t seen the gorgeous book trailer my husband made for me please drop by my website http://www.katalinaleon.com/ and click “Owned By Rome”
XXOO Kat “Owned By Rome” available now from Ellora’s Cave Legend Line.