Dipping her head to keep from getting
caught in the olive tree branches, she pushed the memory of her
first love from her mind. He couldn’t possibly still think of her.
Gregorius, the second son of Senator Tallus, had more appropriate
women to devote his time to. Her heart clenched within her chest. No
matter how hard she tried to forget, the taste of Gregorius’s kiss
lingered, even seven years on.
Her legs ached. Her spirits sank. Where was
the creek? Her eyes adjusted to the dim light, aiding her in the
escape. Would Visius come looking for her? He probably sat on his
horse trying to decide which way she ran if he wasn’t watching with
laughter on his lips.
No. She refused to be his pleasure slave
With a final burst of speed, she continued
on. The sound of running water met her ears. A melodic sound, like
plucking the strings of a lyre. The creek. Tears burned behind her
eyelids. The creek.
Her joy turned to fleeting frustration as
she tripped on something. A bare tree root? A trap?
Aspasia toppled to the
ground and the last thing she saw was the dark figure in the
distance. Please, Gods, let it
not be Visius.
“Do you see the form by the
creek?” Gregorius strode across the olive tree grove with his
brother in tow. Someone trespassed on the family property. Why
didn’t the guards notify him or his brother? Damn the symposium. A
waste of good time, spent listening to older men spin yarns of their
youth while flinging wine at an innocent
The closer he came to the collapsed figure,
the harder his heart beat. Could it be? A petite hand clenched a
chunk of moss. His gaze lingered on the delicate arm attached to the
hand. Dirt and scratches marred the pale skin of the fallen woman.
you going to take her home or kill her for trespassing?” Darius
folded his arms. “Do you know her?”
Kneeling next to her,
Gregorius’s breath clogged in his throat. He knew the birthmark on
the woman’s bare shoulder—a wobbly circle just above her right
shoulder blade. Aspasia.
Could it be true? He had found her? “I will take her home.”
Where she belonged.
His brother pointed to the gold band
encircling Aspasia’s left bicep. “She is a simple slave. Why waste
energy on a piece of property, lovely as she may be?”
“She is not property.” Gregorius bit out
his words. No one deserved to be beaten, abused as her body
“Her arm. She is a slave to someone.”
Gregorius scooped her into his arms, frightened by how little she
weighed. “She is a slave no longer.”