Friday, May 23, 2014

First Fight Friday: The Roman by Caroline Storer

Goats solve their differences head-on. They don’t give the silent treatment or yell, they butt heads, and then it’s over.

Cowboy Marvin has learned humans resolve issues differently especially those romantically involved. His curiosity sparked, he has invited authors to stop by on Fridays and share the first fight out of their latest book.

Fellow Harper Impulse author 

  Caroline Storer      

        is here for ...

First Fight Friday 

with a scene from 

  The Roman
     ROME AD 79 

Marsallas and Justina were young, beautiful and desperately in love once, until a tragic betrayal tore them apart. 

Six years have passed since that day and the last thing he expects is to see her again. But beneath the hurt, an attraction so intense still burns between the two…

Unbidden, he came slowly into the room, smiling a wolf’s smile, and Justina blushed at having been caught staring at him again. He lifted his arms in a gesture of supplication, the action faintly mocking, as his blue gaze fixed on hers with such intensity that it caused Justina’s stomach to clench partly in fear, and partly in response to the sheer masculinity he exuded.

"So here I am. What was so important that you had to travel to Rome to see me?”

Justina swallowed, her nerves on edge, as he came further into the room, his muscular presence instantly shrinking the room. She felt her breath catch as he came closer, standing no more that three feet away from her. The harsh lines of his face had been carved out by his life in the Circus. But he was also ruggedly handsome, and just looking at him caused her heart to beat erratically even after all the years away from him.

She had the urge to move away, to put some distance between them, but didn’t want to appear a coward, so instead she lifted her chin and looked him squarely in the eyes. Her fear dissipated somewhat, when she saw with some surprise, that he looked ill. His skin was a sallow yellow colour, his eyes bloodshot, and she could see sweat beading on his forehead and upper lip. Concern overcame fear, and she ignored his question. Instead she asked, “Are you ill?”

She saw him raise an eyebrow, and a small smile appeared at the corner of his mouth.

"Your concern is touching, Justina. No, I am not ill, just recovering from the excesses of last night, if you know what I mean. Life as one of Rome’s great charioteers, is just one long endless party.”

Justina blushed at the sarcastic tone of his voice, and she turned away, annoyed with herself for showing concern for him. She should have realised that he would turn it against her.

After a tense silence had fallen in the room, she turned back to him and saw him watching her through narrowed eyes. He was obviously still waiting for an answer as to why she had come to see him, so taking a deep breath she said in a measured tone, “Your uncle is dying. I’ve come to Rome to ask you to return to Herculaneum. To… to come home.”

Another long silence descended in the room until Marsallas barked, “Home! Since when has that mausoleum ever been a home? No, I don’t think so Justina. You can tell my uncle that I am far too busy here in Rome!”

Justina said nothing. She didn’t argue with him, or try to persuade him as she knew it would be futile. She had, at least, carried out the order she had been given, and could now return to Herculaneum knowing that she had spoken with him. If she was honest with herself, she agreed with Marsallas. In all the years she had lived in the vast villa, she had never felt comfortable living there, and she had prayed every day for the opportunity to be presented to her so she could leave the cold austere place.

“Tell me one thing though, Justina.” Marsallas asked, breaking into her thoughts, “Did my uncle ask, or order you to come here?”

Justina looked up at him, guilt stealing over her, as hot colour stained her cheeks at his question. The unspoken reaction was answer enough for Marsallas, and he laughed, the sound harsh and guttural in the silence of the room. “Just as I thought,” he said, his mouth twisting in derision. “No, I will not come back to Herculaneum, Justina. My life there is over, you can tell my uncle that. It was over the day he bedded you!”

She stiffened at the harshness of his words, but said nothing, watching as he walked back towards the door, and back out of her life once more. But then he stopped abruptly, as if he had suddenly remembered something, before he turned and walked back to where she stood. She had to resist the urge to flee when she saw the intense look on his face as he came towards her. But she stood her ground, willing her body to remain calm. But when he came to within touching distance of her she was potently aware of his raw sexuality. Her skin prickled in awareness, and she swallowed hard, her throat suddenly dry. She could well imagine the women of Rome wanting him in their beds.

“I almost forgot,” he murmured softly, lifting up her chin with firm fingers, and Justina not having any choice, looked up into his face. She felt her eyelashes flutter slightly as her eyes clashed with his. His fingers were rough, calloused, with the hard work of his life. Then she felt his thumb skim over the fullness of her bottom lip, and she had to fight the urge to taste his skin with her tongue. She could see resistance in his eyes as he touched her, as if he were fighting his own internal battles as far as she was concerned. Then his eyes darken with suppressed passion, and before she could think, or react, he leaned forward and took her in his arms and kissed her - deeply – his lips firm and unyielding, his tongue demanding, and gaining access to the softness within.

Justina gripped his strong bare forearms, wanting to break away from the kiss, but unable to do so as a surge of desire flowed through her. She closed her eyes, caught up in the headiness of his mouth on hers. Eventually he pulled away, and Justina felt bereft that the kiss had ended so soon. But then the enormity of what had just happened hit her, and her eyes flew open.

For a heartbeat neither of them moved, but then Marsallas broke the spell between them, his lip twisting in derision. He cocked his head and clicked his tongue, in what was obviously a false gesture of regret, before asking in a mocking tone, “Tell me, do I kiss better than Quintus?”

Justina gasped in horror at his words, and before she could think, she slapped him across the face. Hard.

For a moment she couldn’t believe she’d hit him, and she stood open mouthed with shock at her audacity. She watched as a large red mark appeared on his cheek, before stepping backwards in an involuntary movement when she saw his eyes narrow in anger.

“Witch,” Marsallas hissed, a nerve ticking furiously along his clenched jaw line. For a moment Justina thought he might retaliate, but he didn't. Instead, he turned and strode out of the room without a backward glance, the door slamming shut behind him.

Copyright © Caroline Storer


The Roman by Caroline Storer 

ROME AD 79 - The one woman he ever loved was the one woman who betrayed him. And now, the Roman will have his revenge… 

Marsallas and Justina were young, beautiful and desperately in love once, until a tragic betrayal tore them apart. Six years have passed since that day and Marsallas has since thrown himself into the deadly world of chariot racing, gaining fortune, fame, and a salacious reputation throughout Rome. His bed could be kept warm by a different woman each night if he chooses, but his heart remains iced over as the memory of Justina’s betrayal continues to haunts him. The last thing he expects is to see her again, but when she steps back into his life he sees a chance to avenge his broken heart. But beneath the hurt, an attraction so intense still burns between the two, and as their fates begin to intertwine once more, their determination to resist one another starts to falter…

The Roman 
is available on 
Amazon  Amazon UK  Google Play  Itunes  Sainsbury's  
Nook  Barnes and Noble  Kobo

About Caroline:
Being a poor sleeper, I’ve been making up stories for years now to try and exhaust my mind, and get some much needed sleep. It doesn’t always work as the stories then demand to be written! I write mainly Historical romances, but I’ve also written Contemporary romances, Romantic Intrigue and I’ve also tried my hand at Futuristic and Time Slip romances.

I live on the beautiful island of Anglesey in North Wales, with my wonderful husband, Colin. By day I’m an Environmental Health Officer, where I get to meet lots of interesting people – all grist to the writer’s mill.

Follow Caroline Storer online

Thanks for sharing Caroline!

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