Filed under: New Release Jun 28, 2016
In Service to His Master by Lizzie Ashworth is now available!
In Ancient Rome, as Saturnalia dawns and Rome prepares for the celebration, slave Antius has set in motion a disaster involving his master, Marcellus. The Roman governor over all Britannia, Ostorius Scapula, will soon arrive at the remote fortress. Marcellus must welcome the ruler with full Roman hospitality, which means handing over a captured Cornovii woman. This same woman holds Marcellus’ affections, however misplaced Antius believes they might be.
Antius suffers his beloved master’s wrath when he tells the governor of the Cornovii woman. Heartbroken, Antius looks for his beautiful, young slave Quintus. For months he has waited to deepen their relationship, savoring each moment of the youth’s company. Is the time to do so now? Can he set aside his long-held feelings for Marcellus and carve out a new future for himself and Quintus?
“I require your audience,” Marcellus said, closing the door to Antius’ room and standing by the desk.
Antius scooted the brazier closer to the desk and poked the hot coals before settling into his chair. “Do you need a document?”
“No document, Antius. Only answers.” Marcellus folded his arms.
Antius silently acknowledged the validity of his earlier prediction. The day did not go well. He knew this look, this dark stare of his master. “Whatever you require, sir.”
“What information have you conveyed to the governor?”
In spite of the cold, a flash of perspiration wreathed Antius’ chest. “Only what was required, sir. Records of our encounters with the natives, deaths and injuries,wages dispersed, requisitions of food, clothing, weapons. Slaves taken …”
“That,” Marcellus interrupted. He pounded the desk top with his index finger. “What have you said of the woman? Does he know of her?”
The gods. Silverus must have said something. “Mar … sir, I fulfilled my duties as best I knew how.”
“What does that mean, damn you?” Marcellus leaned over the desk. Anger seamed his face. “Does he know or not?”
“In the new inventory, I listed her as a slave retained in your possession. The governor requested …”
“By the gods, Antiuis, quit with the deflection. I know what the governor requested. You could have listed the slaves kept from local tribes as a number. There was no requirement that you itemize. Jupiter’s stones, I should have you whipped.”
Antius drew breath. “Sir! There was no ill intent.”
“No ill intent?” Marcellus whirled away. He ripped the wolf’s pelt off his shoulders and slammed it to the floor. “If no ill intent, how did Silverus become privvy to this savory bit of information? Had he not urged you to bring her to the governor’s attention?”
“He … might have mentioned that the governor would want to know,” Antius said in a low voice. His eyes closed in dread. He’d never seen Marcellus this angry.
“Might have.” Marcellus snorted. “You heard his threat that night. I passed it off, trusting your allegiance. Instead you have colluded with him to harm me in the most insidious manner.” He grabbed the front of Antius’ tunic and dragged him from the chair.
Marcellus slammed Antius against the wall and held him there, his forearm crushed against Antius’ chest. His fist hovered in the air. Antius dared not open his mouth.
After a long shattering moment, Marcellus released him. Antius stood there, afraid to move. “Hurt me if you wish, sir. I’m deeply sorry if I’ve offended you. But let me say, on behalf of myself and, I might add, even for Silverus, there remains a sincere concern for your reputation among the men. Silverus says there is grumbling and ridicule, that he had a duty …”
“Silverus says.” Marcellus’ mouth twisted. “Is there a clue in that? Are you his slave as well as mine?”
“I’m s-sorry. Truly.”
“You’re not sorry, you degenerate Greek. You’re proud of what you’ve done. Did Silverus suck your cock after you granted his wish?”
Antius’ face burned. “My body belongs to you only,” he said, shifting his eyes away from Marcellus. That he had taken a lover in Quintus did not matter. That he had yielded to Silverus’ demand for coupling might be an embarrassment but Antius didn’t see it as a betrayal of Marcellus. He’d been swept up in the man’s intense energy and the thrill of the moment. Silverus remained a masterful lover even in the brief angry fucking as they’d enjoyed that night.
Besides, in the months since Marcellus had begun his infatuation with this Cornovii bitch, Antius had suffered increasing depression. The state of his emotions had left him vulnerable to Silverus, and the man knew how to force his demands. Thank the gods for Quintus.
“Your face gives away your secret,” Marcellus said. “No wonder he smiled. I should have broken his mouth. You betray my trust and he watches and waits. Now his reward arrives this very day, and I am made helpless by your act.”