Klara stepped into the room, darker than the one she left. As her eyes struggled to adjust she made out the figure of his man with his back turned to her. Should she speak? Or wait to be spoken to like Sirom said? Unsure, she shifted her weight from one foot to the other.
The man turned at the sound of her stirring. His hair was cut short in the Roman fashion and his face was clean shaven. She didn’t recognise him until he spoke her name. "Klara."
"Lucius!" she cried, as relief and joy flooded through her in equal measure.
"Shh," he hissed yet with laughter dancing in his voice. "We don’t know who is listening." He stepped forward and opened his arms. She flew to him pressing herself against his chest, his heart beat confirming he was real. "I thought I’d lost you," he said into her hair. "You were there one minute and gone the next."
She pulled back and stared up into his sky-blue eyes. "I’m here now and so are you."
"Don’t ever disappear on me again. Where I go, you go. Got it?" He held her face gently in his callused hands and kissed her with a soft tenderness which meant more than passion.
Tears welled in Klara’s eyes at the rough affection in his tone. Life had been so very harsh for such a long time she had forgotten what it was to receive kindness. "You’ll know where I am for the time being," she said to cover up her awkwardness.
"Yes, about that. Of all the things that could have happened to you. You’re a gladiatrix!" Lucius held her at arm’s length, taking in her appearance. "Getting you out of this mess is going to be tricky."
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Barbarian Bride by Eva Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Barbarian Bride be Eva Scott is a 2014 Escape publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
On the day of her wedding, Klara takes a stroll to get away for a little time alone after being surrounded by drunken wedding guest. She encounters a Roman named Lucius and they tussle over some beads. In order for Klara to get the beads away from him she must kiss him. The silly little kiss turns into a very serious kiss. After the wedding vows are exchanged Klara's new husband passes out cold. She finds him murdered in his sleep and gets a slight glimpse of the killer. She recognizes the coat the man was wearing and is positive it was the Roman she had kissed. Now there is is a price on Lucius's head and Klara aims to kill him before anyone else can do it.
Klara soon finds that Lucius was not guilty of killing her husband. Now she can explore the feelings she had towards him when they kissed. But, things don't turn out like she planned. Before long, the two of them are running away together, then get separated and Klara winds up being sold to a gladiator school. Lucius and his sister scheme to find a way to free Klara, but the more they scheme the worse matters become. Will Lucius and Klara ever find a way to be together?
I really enjoyed this book because of the different historical setting. Rome is not often a location historical romances are set in. This locale opens up a plethora of possibilities. Ambition, pride, politics, manipulation and the laws of the country all work against Lucius and Klara. Klara is one tough lady inside and out. She must survive the tense coliseum competition in order to hopefully win her freedom. If she loses , she dies. That's one heck of a choice. Needless to say the tension mounts higher and higher as we hope against hope that Lucius will find a way to free Klara without having to bend to his father's will. Lucius finds his back up against a wall with very little wiggle room. His love for Klara is so great he is willing to sacrifice his chance at happiness and living the life he wishes to in order to free her from slavery. What a guy!
There are plot twist and shocking secrets, action, suspense, romance and terrific ending! Overall this one is an A or 4 stars.