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The Centurion & The Queen
The Centurion & The Queen
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BOOK DETAILS

Minnette gives an overview of the book:

    Marius has been stationed on 60 AD Britannia for sixteen years. Once a celebrated hero and a famous Praetorian Guard, he still clings to the old traditions as a fair but tough leader to his men, despite the shame that drove him from Rome.       Delia is sister to an uncaring Corieltauvi tribal king. Powerless, she watches as hundreds of Bretons succumb to their suicidal pride and throw themselves against the unstoppable Roman machine. The last thing Delia expects is to find her body craving the touch of her enemy. The sudden intensity of their desire will change the history of a nation.      Separated by fate, they are thrown into the clash between 80,000 angry Bretons and a clever Roman general with only 10,000 soldiers. Marius and Delia find themselves on opposing sides, in love, and unable to stop the future. The revolution that sparked their desire...could...
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    Marius has been stationed on 60 AD Britannia for sixteen years. Once a celebrated hero and a famous Praetorian Guard, he still clings to the old traditions as a fair but tough leader to his men, despite the shame that drove him from Rome.

      Delia is sister to an uncaring Corieltauvi tribal king. Powerless, she watches as hundreds of Bretons succumb to their suicidal pride and throw themselves against the unstoppable Roman machine. The last thing Delia expects is to find her body craving the touch of her enemy.
The sudden intensity of their desire will change the history of a nation.

     Separated by fate, they are thrown into the clash between 80,000 angry Bretons and a clever Roman general with only 10,000 soldiers. Marius and Delia find themselves on opposing sides, in love, and unable to stop the future. The revolution that sparked their desire...could now destroy them both. 

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The Centurion & The Queen A historical romance COMING APRIL 2008 http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/

Delia was suddenly terrified.

It had snuck up her back unexpectedly as he was speaking; watching his stormy dark eyes, his lined rugged face, and the way he held himself on the back of the horse. The fear did not come from his words, his manner, or his stance. It came from a deep, overwhelming desire stirring within those smoky eyes. She never felt anything with such intensity before, and despite her valiant effort to control it, she trembled. Delia found herself infatuated with this Roman, and the thought sent a shiver of disgust through her.

"No," she said aloud.

The centurion blinked at her and the faintest trace of a smile appeared. The only other movement on his face was the nostrils that flared.

"No?" he whispered. The soldiers edged their mounts away from him.

"Perhaps, sir, we should invite the lady..." Aelius said quickly.

A single glance from the centurion silenced the man. Marius leaned down against the neck of his horse as it again tried to bite her. Delia stepped back irritably and glowered at the animal.

"Perhaps I did not make myself clear."

"No one could accuse you of not being precise, Centurion," Delia answered sardonically, then quickly lowered her head and took a deep breath.

"I... I came here in good faith," she stammered, trying hard to force down the unwanted feelings, to make her voice sound contrite. Instead, it came out harsh, and she had to bite her lip to control it. "I wish to discuss the release of my men."

He sat up with an air of self-assured satisfaction and looked down at her, apparently intending to press his authority and his advantage. It was obvious this was something the centurion was used to; obedience, supplication-control.

But all at once, Marius stopped. For several heartbeats, his eyes softened and Delia could feel a ripple of excitement run through her when the shade of a smile touched his lips.
The centurion quickly cleared his throat and took a deep breath.

"Very well," he said, the coolness returning to his face. "You and the girl will come with us, so we can see to your injuries and then we will discuss your men. It is nearing the evening meal. If you will dine with me, we can pursue it. Is that acceptable?" He reached down to take her hand.

Delia appeared outwardly calm, but inside she was a raging chaos of conflicting emotions. Her heart told her to take his hand, enjoy his warmth, his touch, to melt into his arms and surrender to those amazing eyes. The scent of the horseflesh, leather, the soldiers, and the forest mingled, making her head swim. She could hear a voice inside screaming vehemently to run in the opposite direction. Her heritage was appalled that Delia would even consider it-she could hear her father's voice swearing behind her ears. But it was her duty, in the end, that won out. She had a responsibility to her people.

The centurion smiled, and she found herself wanting to yield to it. Delia bit her lip to keep it from trembling.

"Please," he said awkwardly as if it was a word he seldom used.

With a soft nod, she took his hand-the heat of it shot lightning down her arms and legs-and allowed him to pull her up behind him.

The animal reared, and she threw her arms around his waist to keep from being thrown. When she hit her chest against the metal armor at his back, she could feel the cold through to her breasts and took an audible gasp. The thrill of the movement and the feel of the segmented metal against her took her breath away. Delia could feel the arrogant authority in the stiffness of the centurion's back and it stirred warmth deep in her center. A sudden clarity of sensations made Delia's heart pound against her eardrums. His buttocks tightening against her thighs as he turned the horse, the flash of muscles peeking from beneath the crimson wool, the musk of his smell, and the glint of his large eyes when he turned his head, all merged into her awareness. Fear nagged at her stomach when an overwhelming desire rose to pull her body closer to his. Delia resisted the urge. She yanked her arms from around his waist and rested them on the sides of the armor instead, feeling awkward and self-conscious. She tilted her head.Did his face just light with a satisfied smirk?

What am I doing?

The echo in her head made her lip twitch. Delia had spent her life learning to control, command, and successfully live in a world ruled by men. The respect she garnered from her people came with years of dedication, manipulation, and diplomacy.

In the presence of this man, none of that mattered. Her earlier ambitions to mediate the release of her men crumbled into doubt; the handsome centurion did not seem like a man who negotiated. She would have to think of another way.

The jangle of the horse tack and a distant boom of thunder set her shattered nerves on edge. Delia clamped her teeth together and allowed him to take her away from her world. She was certain she was going to regret it.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

EXCERPT #2

The trunk lid cracked opened a half hour later, two eyes peered from the miniscule opening. Delia was grateful the hinges did not squeak when she lifted it the rest of the way.
            She carefully extracted herself from the cramped space, careful not to make a sound. It took her several minutes to get the feeling back into her legs and arms. She studied the slit she had cut into the leather tent wall with the sharp Roman knife. It was barely discernable.
           While Delia huddled, she watched the shadow rise and fall from the high bed. She could barely make out his rugged face, the ruffled mane of salt and pepper hair in what little light spilled from the entrance.
           The wait and the cool air had taken the edge off her resolve, but her head was still spiraling with feelings her rationale was having a hard time grappling with. She did not even consider being caught; the madness making her fearless.
           The unreasoning fury that dominated every sense was mysterious and frightening. It had become almost an entity in itself, fueled by crushed desires, fear, and exhaustion. The delirium seemed to consume every thought, every feeling, every emotion until it left her empty inside. It had not grown from the confusion that left her sick and disoriented; it was not from the thrill, the longing, the fear-the contempt that this man had touched her. It was not even from the disgust that a Roman had tried to violate her, not once, but twice in as many days. None of those things mattered. Delia rose and crossed in a daze to the bed, lifting the knife to grimace at it, as if the dagger were a friend and yet a stranger. The dichotomy sent her head spinning.
           The fury inside her came from knowing that she loved him, had completely surrendered her life to his touch, and would do so again-in a pounding heartbeat. That was what she could not forgive. That was what her enraged mind clung to when she raised the knife, and saw not only Marius' face, but that of her brother, both of them intertwined in the Gods' sick, twisted joke. They were the same...were they not?
            Marius had to die. It was the only way to justify what she had done...what she had allowed.
            As the rage took over her mind, Delia's felt her face tilt a little to the right and she lifted the long dagger above her head. Whether she meant it to or not, a small moan escaped her lips and she brought the knife down.
            That sound saved Marius' life.
           
           His eyes flashed open instantly, years of training taking over, and he saw first the blade, then the woman. He caught her wrists in both hands, the blade less than an inch from his nose. He was amazed by her strength. A sound, a whisper, escaped her lips. Delia's eyes widened, struggling to push the blade into his head.
            Marius twisted his hands once, making Delia groan in pain when her wrists bent backwards. The blade went flying across the ground. He pulled hard on her arms and threw her sideways. She flew off her feet and landed on her back next to him in the bed. In a heartbeat, he straddled her hips and pulled her hands above her head, pinning her effectively to the soft cushion.
           Delia's face changed, the angry light seeming to fade into confusion. She glanced up at the hands above her head, then swiftly around the tent. When she was finally able to focus on his face, his eyes-her expression smoothed and there was the faintest touch of a smile. The look he saw in her eyes was unmistakable.
            Tentatively, carefully, he touched her cheek. Delia closed her eyes in pleasure, rolled her face against his hand, touching the palm with her lips. Marius could feel her tremble beneath him and it sparked his desire. He certainly did not trust her-she had tried to kill him-so he held her tight.
            He grabbed her chin with the same hand and her eyes opened. The madness was gone, replaced by a languid green longing, a sparkling ardor. Delia opened her lips slightly, begging for his kiss.
           "Will you behave yourself?" he whispered to her.
            She smiled, and it was the most glorious thing he had ever seen. Delia finally shone from those tragic eyes and the sight was breathtaking.
           "No, Marius," she whispered, her voice deep with hunger and mirth. "Do you want me to?"
           His lips curled into a grin, and he released her face and hands. "Absolutely not."

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Note from the author coming soon...

About Minnette

Somewhere between thirty and dust...red hair, blue eyes...six kids, one slightly used husband, and any number of pets from time to time... wanttabe hippy... wanttheirmoney yuppie... pro musician and actress for 20 years...native Oregonian... lover of music, beauty and all...

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