An ambitious Roman commander captures a fiery maid of Britannia and forces her to his will. A story of conquest and love set in the glory days of empire, their struggle to meet each other’s needs and expectations exposes the underbelly of Rome’s legal system, its dependence on slavery, and sexual secrets from Marcellus’ past. Can young Caerwin survive unexpected challenges to her womanhood?
The story began:
The man she had seen on the white horse paused in the opening. His stare fastened on her and sent chills down her spine. He stood taller than the other men, his body of a stature more like her own people than these rat men of Rome. His layered metal vest had been removed as had his helmet and other outer garments, so that he wore only loose breeches that ended at his knees. She swallowed, casting her eyes away after her first long frozen moment.
“Do you like what you see?” he asked quietly.
The words shocked her, spoken fluently in familiar language. She turned to face him. Words rose to her lips but remained unspoken. He examined her, openly casting his gaze up and down her body as if he owned her. The terrible realization struck her—he did own her. She had been caught up at his command and now stood captive to his whim.
She spat in his direction and turned her face away. Tugging against the tight leather bonds, she succeeded only in chafing her wrists. Her nerves heightened to brittle pitch as she sensed him approaching. She knew what he would do, what such men did to captured women.
He placed himself in front of her, so close she could not look away without seeing his chest. His scent stung her nose, sharp and edged with the copper hint of blood. Stains marked his arms and face, sweat-encrusted dirt and smears of blood. His voice startled her, so close and so quiet.
“What is this trinket?” he asked, fingering the torque.
She glared at him. “Shall you steal it from me like you have stolen our lives and our land?”
“I wish only to converse with you, to ease this friendship we’ve started.”
She snorted and strained at the bonds holding her. “I wish only to kill you. I would leave your body for the crows.”
He grabbed her face and held her still while his mouth tasted her. His lips moved against her lips. His tongue sought the seam and when she refused to spread her jaw, he bit her lower lip. Her shocked cry gave him entry, and his tongue invaded her mouth, probing and pushing.
Hate rose in her chest, blinding her. She clamped her teeth down on his tongue, savoring a brief taste of blood as he jerked back.
“Vipera!” He wiped his hand over his mouth. “You won’t win this battle, but if you wish a contest…” His big hand closed over the neck of her garment and ripped it down the front of her body. The beautiful woolen dress she had so carefully woven hung off her shoulders.
“I will have you,” he said in a hoarse voice. “Whether you wish it or not. Let the others portion out the gold and silver, whatever meager wealth your tribe held. I have wealth enough in coin. You with your hair like copper,” he added, fingering her long braid, “your eyes blue as sky—you are my pillage for this day.”
Now everything has changed. In Book II of Caerwin’s story, she faces even greater challenges. Marcellus plans to take her away from her home in Britannia, the familiar birdsong and wind, the seasons that have defined her life. She refuses but since when did her refusal mean anything to this infuriating overpowering man?
Journey with them across the English Channel, across Gaul and the Gulf of Lions and arrive at the outskirts of Rome where for the first time Caerwin witnesses first hand the stunning glory of marble temples, vast markets, and the simmering tides of humanity greater than anyone could have imagined.
Meticulously researched, Caerwin & Marcellus explores the realities of a male-dominated society where women and lesser men were seen as objects of ownership, sexual exploitation, and desire. The plot weaves through the intricacies of Rome’s fledgling legal system which still serves as the foundations of modern law. Overall, the story offers romance, eroticism, intrigue, history, and characters whose lives sweep along with inexorable drama.