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Love can last a thousand lifetimes when you’re an Immortal… or so they thought.
What’s become of the Immortal Darius? His wife, Stella, worries about his
fate as she rules over their city-state of Deminon, especially when
she learns he’s been the victim of treachery. She’ll do anything
to get him back.
Enslaved as a traitor to Rome, Darius is forced to fight gladiators as part of
the funeral rites of powerful Romans. His years of experience on the
battlefield serve him well in the arena—until he’s forced to
fight Marcus—a younger, stronger gladiator who is unaware of his
Sure he’s about to suffer a defeat by the hand of Marcus, Darius is
forced to make a decision that will change his future and
Stella’s—preserve his essence by allowing his body to die so that
he can live on in Marcus. His two-thousand years of memories and life
experiences should be powerful enough to overcome the essence of the
untested Immortal. Allow him to return to Stella and resume their
life together, even if she won’t immediately recognize him.
But Marcus isn’t giving up so easily. Especially when he meets Stella.
Will Marcus help Darius take revenge on the one whose deceit led to his
arrest on charges of treason? Or will Darius’ essence slowly be
subsumed, the memories of his nearly two-thousand-year lifespan—and
of Stella—fading away in the mind of Marcus?
These Immortals once had all the time in the world.
Now it’s suddenly of the essence.
“I do not,” Darius countered. “We both know there is treachery on both sides. Besides, it could be worse. I could have ended up in Capua or Cumae. At least you are not a stranger to me.”
Augustus allowed a sound of disbelief. “How can you be so calm? You were going to be tried on charges of treason and… and crucified,” he whispered hoarsely.
Darius allowed a shrug, wishing his Roman citizenship hadn’t ended over two-hundred years ago, or that he could have been granted the privilege based on his service to the Roman Army for the past four years.
Citizens were never sold into slavery.
He finally pushed himself away from the wall. “But now I am not,” he replied, referring to the possibility that he could be crucified for what had happened at Apulia. “How much did you have to pay for me?” In all his two-thousand years of existence, Darius had taken on many guises, held any number of positions having to do with war, and outlived nearly everyone he knew, but never before had he been a slave.
“Only two-thousand didrachm,” Augustus replied with a shrug.
Frowning at the amount—he wasn’t sure whether to be impressed or offended—Darius allowed a snort. He had commanded centurions who were paid four-thousand per annum. “I will have to arrange for you to be reimbursed for the coin you have spent. There is a trunk at my domus in—”
“You no longer have a domus in Rome,” Augustus interrupted.
Darius stilled himself, his back going rigid. “My possessions?” he asked, fairly sure he knew what his oldest friend was about to say.
“I was a guest at Rome’s invitation—”
“And now they believe you to be a traitor,” Augustus argued. “What is worse, though, is that I am to present you as one of the gladiators in a munus scheduled for the day after tomorrow.”
A sly grin touched Darius’ lips. Although he had been a warrior his entire life, Darius had never fought as a gladiator. “Ah. A chance for you to earn back some of what you have spent on my behalf, then. I shall do my best.” The thought of wielding a sword against another—one-on-one—seemed appealing just then. He could work out the frustration he felt upon learning that someone from his former country had framed him for what had happened in the losing battle against Hannibal.
Augustus rolled his eyes. “If you die—”
“I cannot die,” Darius interrupted.
“If you die, there may be a way I can get you out,” Augustus hinted, obviously annoyed his friend didn’t seem more bothered by his circumstance.
Darius stared at the other Immortal for a moment and finally shook his head. “I will not die in a munus,” he replied. That such spectacles were staged as part of funerals for wealthy Roman citizens—the men, at least—was a practice he found barbaric, but then he had never had the stomach for slavery, either.
A self-described nerd and lover of science, Linda Rae spent many years
as a published technical writer specializing in 3D graphics
workstations, software and 3D animation (her movie credits include
SHREK and SHREK 2). An interest in genealogy led to years of research
on the Regency era and a desire to write fiction based in that time.
A fan of action-adventure movies, she can frequently be found at the
local cinema. Although she no longer has any fish, she follows the
San Jose Sharks. She is a member of Novelists, Inc. (NINC) and makes
her home in Cody, Wyoming.
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