From Book 3, unedited and subject to change. Allerix, Marcia, and Gaius. Allerix’s POV.
This is the last chapter set in Rome before we head off to a distant land for the last adventure of Book 3. Who is ready for December’s release? \o/
He turned the sculpted bronze door handle and found it unlocked. With a stiff shove of his shoulder, the heavy wooden door creaked open. Blinding sunlight forced him to squint and shield his face. Once his eyes adjusted, Allerix stood dazzled by an entire wall pierced by views of the verdant landscape in the distance. The spectacular vistas pulled him across the narrow, curious space. Except for a chair and a lampstand, the odd room had no furniture or fabrics. And yet the cramped chamber was calm and inviting, like a private hillside cave perched above the lush greenery outside.
When he reached one of the arched windows, he realized the airy room looked down onto Gaius’s ornamental garden. Scarlet, yellow, and pink blossoms on the rose bushes and flowering trees dotted the geometric design of plantings.
And then he saw him.
Paddling back and forth in the pool, his auburn curls soaked to a dark, sopping mop that fell past his shoulders. Alle assumed Gaius had slipped out of bed for an early appointment. The man often rose before dawn. A quick delicious fuck, a leisurely bath, and he would be off to wherever it was he went. But today he’d gone for swim in his garden.
Stark naked, of course.
Resting his elbow on the marble sill, Allerix nibbled on his thumbnail as he spied the sublime vision of Gaius’s glistening, muscular body slicing through the water. Long, confident strokes pulling him forward. His powerful thighs and sculpted calves driving him from one end of the rectangular pool to the other. A marine god, like that Triton statue in his wife’s fancy fountain.
“Good morning, Alexandros.”
He didn’t mean to yelp like a startled puppy, but he did.
“Good morning, Domina,” Alle gulped and fumbled with his hands until he decided to clasp them in front of his crotch to hide his shrinking arousal.
“I see you’ve found Gaius’s secret chamber,” she said before approaching him. In one arm, she cradled a large bouquet of colorful flowers wrapped in fern leafs.
“Secret chamber, Domina?”
“This cupboard of a room. Our mercurial Dominus hides in here when he needs a quiet spot to think or brood or escape from the ghosts of his ancestors. He doesn’t know I know about his special secluded nook with its stunning views of the Appian suburbs, but I do. And now you know as well.” Her playful hazel eyes sparkled as she smiled. After she drew up close beside him, she pointed to a spot beyond the walls of Gaius’s estate. “You can see the ancient tomb of Avia’s family from here. If you follow the line of that wide road heading south, you can see the grand marble memorial of the Cornelii Scipiones.”
He must have look dumbfounded because she quickly clarified, “His grandmother’s family. You’ve met Memmia Cornelia—that old, batty matron with an unnatural appetite for shellfish and sweets.”