So, I wrote this novella called The City War. It’s an exciting tale of history and sex!
Riptide Press is publishing it as both an ebook and paperback (as a paperback it comes combined with another novella in the Warriors Of Rome series); the ebook comes out November 19th, but you can preorder it any time. As part of the promotional lead-up to the opening sale day, I’ll be posting excerpts from the novella all week.
These pick up where the excerpt on the sales page leaves off, and over the course of the week will compose an entire scene from the story. A SEXY SCENE.
To my dear brother, Marcus Brutus,
I send you all the best greetings and salutations and hope you are well. This letter travels with my husband to the Villa Rustica Bruti, and with it my apologies I could not join him. The house is in a state right now with renovations to the north wing requiring the presence of Domina, so I am bound to stay.
My lord Cassius has news for you and many matters of state to discuss, I know and somewhat fear. I also know that you have fought bravely together in the past and were stronger for the close bonds you formed then. This is not war, but I fear it may be soon. Listen to him, I urge you, no matter what you may think when he first speaks.
I would not interfere, my brother, with the bond you keep with my husband. In all sisterly duty and love, I know now is the time to share him with you, and hope Rome will be the better for it. Look after him at the villa, and for the love of sacred things, look after yourself.
I know how you enjoy his company.
I remain your affectionate sister,
Brutus, if he subscribed to any philosophy, was a Platonist, not a Stoic by any means, though more stoic than Cassius by a good deal. Cassius was a strong soldier and an honorable politician, but he loved a rich life more than Brutus, and it showed in his idea of an evening meal among friends. He must have been at the villa rustica at least two days for his cook to prepare a meal so large, and for his servants to round up so much entertainment. It wasn’t unusual, but there seemed to be a sort of fever behind it, and combined with Junia’s cryptic letter, it made Brutus wary.
In the country, there were no comedians or great wits to invite, few musicians and no street entertainers to hire. But Cassius had found (or, more likely, sent servants to find) local girls and boys to dance for them, some with obvious hopes of winning the patronage, however temporary, of a senator come to the country to enjoy himself.
The servants brought in trays of apricots in sweet sauce and lentils imported from Egypt, roasted thrushes, goose livers in garum and oysters in cumin sauce. The men ate while the entertainers danced or sang. There was one young boy with an especially sweet voice, and two of the girls had hips that drew even Brutus’s attention. The guards watched covertly through the doorways.
Cassius occasionally licked sweet apricot sauce off his thumb, glancing at Brutus with lowered eyelids to see if he noticed. Brutus saw that Aristus did, and the older man drank more wine than usual. Brutus just busied himself counteracting the heat of the cumin with bites of honey-soaked melon, and ignored them both as children. He was getting tired of Cassius’s air of mystery.
To be continued…