When I started writing Surrender to the Roman, the setting defined the historical characters involved in the story, the locations, and the events the characters would experience. I had a great time doing the research, which included fabulous 3D renderings of ancient Rome, from the Forum to the typical home. Here's an excerpt from early in the story that sets the street scene:
Out of breath, Ademeni slowed her steps near the entrance to the place Flora called the Forum. The scent of robust wine and farm animals mingled with the masses on an early morning breeze, doing little to settle her uneasy stomach.
She’d never seen so much humanity crammed into one small area. A solid line of buildings defined the space. Hulking stone structures, temples, offices and baths shaded one side of the Forum. The lane stretched in a never-ending row of shops and apartments, braced by too many vendors’ carts to count.
The colors of the avenue stole Ademeni’s breath. Even the scandalous graffiti scrawled on the walls seemed to pulse with life. Regal columns dotted the thoroughfare, rising to the heavens on vivid streaks of red, blue and gold.
Winding queues of street vendors bartered with the mob, their chatter a constant buzz. The crowd moved like ocean waves, giving and taking as the citizens directed themselves toward separate goals. A solider held an occasional post along the route, and others weaved through the patrons to quell disputes before they started.
The colors of Rome have long faded, but discovering what brilliant and vibrant hues used to paint the city made my imagination spin. Rome suddenly wasn't an old place, but a real city, with real people who, in my story, found real love when they least expected it. Here's another excerpt:
Her eyes held all of her bitterness in shallow pools of tears. “Why have you told me these things? There are more convenient and pleasurable ways for you to break my spirit.”
Her accusation sparked anger, and he tightened his fingers around her wrists. “You mistake me for my sister’s husband.”
She leveraged her body and closed her thighs against his rigid response. Hunger shot through his veins, along with a subtle warning. The line should not be crossed, yet the desire to do so threatened to drown him.
Her bottom lip quivered before she spoke. “Do you not take pleasure in telling me such things?”
“No,” he rasped. This conversation did not excite him. She excited him, from the lyrical way she spoke to the way she tilted her head.
Ademeni leaned near enough for him to study the pale freckles across the bridge of her nose and feel the warmth of her breath against his cheek. Her perfume made him sluggish and drunk and thoughtless.
Her eyelids drooped, and a pink flush crept up her neck, settling into her cheeks. Perhaps she could read his thoughts as if written on her wax tablet. When she next looked at him, she parted her lips but said nothing.
In a moment of weakness, he bent his head and captured her mouth. Her body tightened then surged closer. She pressed against him, warm, pliable, wanting. Urgency swept through him, and he deepened the kiss, greedy to taste her, to feel more of her response to him.
Marcus released her arms, threading his fingers through her hair. It was softer than in his imagination. She tasted like honey and felt like home in his embrace. She clutched his tunic, a moan escaping the back of her throat.
If you're interested in winning a free e-copy of Surrender to the Roman, simply leave a comment on the post and I'll pick a random winner at the end of Blog-a-Thon. Maybe two winners if there are a lot of comments!
You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and my personal website.
Find Surrender to the Roman at Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Audible.