And it’s an extra LONG snippet at nearly 2000 words. \o/
From the current WIP, here’s the first drafty scene from sizzling Chapter 10 of Book 3. I’d posted a poll in our Facebook group, Dominus Playroom, and the majority of readers voted for two alternating points of view for this steamy chapter. First up? Allerix. Enjoy. 😀
Gaius Fabius’s mansion on the Caelian Hill, Rome
The steady downpour spilled over the terracotta tile rooftops and gushed out from the drain spouts, soaking the streets, silencing the cacophony of the bustling city. Gods, he loved the soothing music of a heavy rainfall. Allerix pushed aside one of the woolen curtains blocking off the chamber’s balcony and extended his right arm out into the early evening air. Frigid drops danced off his fingertips as a puddle collected in his cupped palm. Gaius had been right; autumn was fading to winter. Back home, the first snows must have already blanketed the rocky crags of his beloved Carpathians. Did it ever snow in Rome, or did these foreign skies shed only cold tears all winter long?
By the time he and Gorgas and Varius, still dressed in his comical German bodyguard costume, reached the first summit of the paved path leading to Gaius’s estate, the sun had disappeared behind a wall of menacing, blue-grey clouds. When they finally arrived at the mansion, moments before the first raindrops fell, Bryaxis gave Alle permission to help Gorgas settle into a small but cozy room down the corridor from the household slaves’ common dining room.
Allerix fetched his skittish friend a chamber pot and a pitcher of water and babbled on and on like an idiot. He assured Gorgas he wouldn’t be harmed. He pretended all of this was somehow normal. But Alle hadn’t told him the truth. He hadn’t said a word about Aspasia, how underneath that coating of cosmetics and that monstrous wig, the ugly hag was actually the feared and completely fucking despised red-haired butcher. Gorgas would find out soon enough. Best to have him enjoy a long night’s sleep before the truth damaged… everything.
And no matter how much he wanted to explain his submissive behavior and his apparent surrender, Allerix couldn’t share his plans for revenge. Gorgas was in enough danger as it was. Every dusty lap he drove around the circus could end in a gruesome death. The odds and the Roman gods were against him on the racing track. Better to have Gorgas ignorant of Alle’s scheme, better to have him see Allerix as a conquered, smitten sex slave. The butcher’s powerless catamite. He had to keep his destiny a secret. Perhaps Gorgas would learn his true, noble reasons after the Roman king was dead.
After Alle was dead.
Perhaps then Gorgas would understand, and beseech the great god to grant Allerix immortality. But would almighty Zalmoxis judge Alle’s traitorous obedience to his Roman master a worthy price to pay for vengeance?
A cold gust blew in, causing the lamps to flicker as it sent shivers down Alle’s bare legs. When he dragged the heavy curtain over and hooked it back onto the column shaft, all the flames stilled. Gaius’s master chamber was filled with all sorts of lamps, clay and metal, each one a different form. There—a roaring lion, over there—a strange bird. On either side of the bed hung two silver lamps shaped like erect penises with wings. And plump balls.
Alle wiped his wet hand on his tunic before rubbing his face. Despite a quick wash, he swore there were still bits of circus dust scratching his eyeballs. In the chilly room, the bed looked warm and inviting though, all smothered in layers of furs and plush blankets.
When would Gaius return? How long did it take to transfer ownership of a slave? What if Gorgas’s master didn’t want to sell him?
Alle chuckled as he pulled his tunic over his head. Goosebumps danced up the backs of his arms.
No bloody chance of that.
Gaius took what he fucking wanted, didn’t he?
The general would be back soon.
“Wait for me on my bed. Naked.”
Alle climbed onto the mattress and remained up on his hands and knees, offering his arse to the closed door. Uncomfortable not to mention humiliating. After squatting on all fours for a while longer, Allerix collapsed flat on the mattress, burying his face in the soft bedcovers. With a frustrated grunt, he rolled over on his back, fluffed the pillows, and tried out a few other appealing but still graceless poses until he settled on one that didn’t feel completely ridiculous: leaning back against the cushions, he cradled his head in his right hand. Then closed his eyes halfway and spread his straight legs apart, resting his left hand on his stomach. A deep, calming breath as his body sunk deeper into the covers. He gnawed his lips until they warmed red and inviting. The perfect picture of an eager pleasure slave on display for his generous owner. Now all he had to do was wait. And not fucking fall asleep.
But there was little time to doze off. Without warning, Gaius barged into the room, barking orders at the three domestic slaves carrying trays as they jogged after him. Gone were the garish cosmetics, the flouncy dress, and that silly wig.
Gaius was Gaius again.
Behind Gaius’s back, two of the slaves glanced over at Allerix lying there naked and sprawled across the mattress. The older one sneered. Alle sat upright, hugging his knee to his chest with his right arm while covering his groin with his hand.
“Greetings, căţel.” Gaius paused and smiled as his eyes drank in Alle’s pathetic attempt at modesty. “My apologies. I’d promised I wouldn’t call you căţel any longer. Greetings, Alle.”
“Greeting, Dominus,” Alle replied, fumbling with the blankets to cover as much of himself as he could. To hide his shame from the slaves’ spying, judgmental eyes.
Rubbing his hands together, Gaius chuckled. “There’s a chill in here.” He directed two of the slaves to put their laden trays on the serving table while another lit the braziers in the corners of the master chamber.
As the flames rose high, Gaius asked, “Are you warmer now, Alle?”
“Yes, sir. I’d opened the curtains earlier to see the rain, and a chilly breeze blew in. My apologies.”
After flashing Allerix a gentle grin, Gaius lifted the lid of the marble box and inspected whatever was inside before dismissing all three slaves with a quick nod. He poured a glass of wine and sauntered over to the balcony’s screen of columns. Pulling back one of the wool drapes, Gaius remarked, “Heavy rains late in the day are common in Rome this time of year. I adore the mornings after the rains—how these early winter storms cleanse the city of her grime and crimes, but I admit I detest these fucking cold downpours. Even more so on campaign.” Gaius took a sip and turned around. “The skies were clear and sunny in Dacia for much of last winter. We’d anticipated icy mud would slow our wagons, but the dirt tracks were hard-packed and easily traversed. Is it normally that dry?”
“No, sir. Usually it snows often following the last harvests.”
“Strange. Perhaps your cowardly sky gods fled before the fighting.”
Alle bit his tongue and exhaled when Gaius tossed back another gulp of wine and added, “But that’s all in the past. Do you like snow, Allerix?”
Another odd question. Alle mulled it over before answering, “Yes, I do.”
“I’d hoped you might. So do I. It rarely snows here, sadly, but I’ve received word that the season’s first flakes are falling on the mountaintops north of here. Years ago back when I was stationed on a mountain pass for part of the winter, I found the crisp, white stillness of the landscape eerily soothing.”
“You were stationed on a mountain pass? An officer of your high rank, sir?” Allerix asked.
“I was an inexperienced cub at the time, my dear Alle. On one of my more idiotic junior officer days, I insulted our prick of a tribune and was disciplined for insubordination. That blundering dog-faced fucker deserved far worse, and so did I. But Fortuna was beside me, and soon the Furies punished him with a dishonorable death while I received an unexpected reward.” After closing the curtain, Gaius lifted the thick cloak from his shoulders and tossed it over a chair. “The snow-blanketed mountains surrounding our isolated outpost were breathtaking. I relished my brief time there. Frigid and unforgiving, but magically serene. The sort of frozen silence that allows a man to think. To imagine untold possibilities.”
A rush of warmth flooded Allerix’s heart. His fingers tingled. As a boy, he’d spent many a day dreaming about untold possibilities while hiding from his tormentors in his secret snow fort. “How old were you then, sir?”
After a few moments and another sip, Gaius smiled and replied with a wistful lilt to his voice, “Twenty-one, I think. A tad younger than you are now. Green and reckless and stupid.”
While he strolled back to the serving table, Gaius asked, “Tell me, Alle. How is our young, skinny charioteer faring?”
“He’s, um… disoriented and nervous but eternally grateful, Dominus.” Alle blew out a breath. “Did you…?”
“Indeed I did. In and out of the Senate’s curia, our proconsul Senecio has always been an easily persuadable dolt. Even before we’d started negotiating the price, he offered me two of his charioteers at an absurdly reasonable cost. Now your friend Gorgas, as well as a lanky but attractive Egyptian driver, are members of my family. And to address another one of your lingering concerns, the answer is no.”
“No. Your friend Gorgas will not serve this household as my bed warmer. The lad’s pretty in an awkward sort of way, but stick thin, heathen chariot drivers have never appealed to me.”
Gods, the worry burdening Alle’s mind ever since Gaius had suggested acquiring Gorgas had been almost unbearable. The unspoken dread that he’d be forced to share Gaius’s bed with his best friend was…
“To be more clear, Allerix, he doesn’t appeal to me. Not in the slightest. You, on the other hand, appeal to me. More than I have words to describe.”
Alle sighed as the stress drained from every taut muscle out through his toes. “Thank you, sir. Thank you for saving him.”
“He’ll need a chore, and I’ve decided the obvious course is best. Gorgas will work in the stables and assist with training my horses.”
“And will he race chariots for your team as well?”
“That will be his primary job. To win.” After Gaius refilled his cup, he raised his glass of wine. “May palm-wielding Victoria crown spindly Gorgas with wreaths of glorious triumph!”
Smiling, Allerix held up an imaginary cup. “To Gorgas! To Victory!”
Gaius snickered and said, “To our beloved Reds! And to the tranquility of winter’s snow!”
Their comfortable laughter slowly faded to a series of low hums and sighs. After placing his glass on the serving table, Gaius stripped off his green tunic embellished with gold and silver threads and let the posh garment drop to the mosaic floor. Standing at the foot of the enormous bed, he cocked an eyebrow as he waved his pointer finger through the air. “I’ll admit this bashful presentation of yours—demure and shielded by blankets—is rather seductive, but it doesn’t come close to satisfying my appetites. I’ve always preferred to worship a bold, lusty faun rather than a shy nymph.”
Gaius crossed his arms. “There’s no fucking point to being naked if you hide your gorgeous body, Allerix.”
“Oh.” After Alle threw off the bedcovers, he asked, “Better?”
“Lower those long, furry legs of yours, Prince Allerix. Ah! There—that’s much better. Now I can admire all of you. Close your eyes. Do you trust me?”
Surrendering to the confusing mixture of fear and excitement gurgling in his gut, Alle lowered his eyelids, gripped the covers with both hands, and whispered, “I trust you, sir.”
“Are you ready, my beautiful boy? Are you prepared to heed your master’s commands?”
“And are you eager to obey?”
“I am.” Alle swallowed, nodding once, and added, “Dominus.”
Next up? Gaius’s point of view. *rubs hands together with delight* 😀