12 July 2009

Guest Author: Minnette Meador

This week on unusual historicals, we're featuring Resplendence author Minnette Meador and her roman-set romance, THE CENTURION AND THE QUEEN. Here's the blurb:

Marius has been stationed on the island of 60AD Britannia for sixteen years, since his demotion from the famous Praetorian Guard after his suspected involvement in the assassination of Caligula. When Delia enters his life, she challenges everything he believes, effortlessly strips away years of Roman conditioning, and angers him to the point of betraying his training, and his oaths. He simply cannot resist her.

Delia is sister to an indolent Celtic king, but that role has turned to nothing more than another surrender. All she can do now is help her people survive the gradual conquest by Rome and their suicidal pride as so many throw themselves against the unstoppable Roman machine. The last thing she expected was to find herself craving the touch of an enemy.
***

The trunk lid cracked opened a half hour later, two eyes peered from the minuscule opening. Delia was grateful the hinges did not squeak when she lifted it the rest of the way.

She carefully extracted herself from the cramped space, careful not to make a sound. It took her several minutes to get the feeling back into her legs and arms. She studied the slit she had cut into the leather tent wall with the sharp Roman knife. It was barely discernible.

While Delia huddled, she watched the shadow rise and fall from the high bed. She could barely make out his rugged face, the ruffled mane of salt and pepper hair in what little light spilled from the entrance.

The wait and the cool air had taken the edge off her resolve, but her head was still spiraling with feelings her rationale was having a hard time grappling with. She did not even consider being caught; the madness making her fearless.

The unreasoning fury that dominated every sense was mysterious and frightening. It had become almost an entity in itself, fueled by crushed desires, fear, and exhaustion. The delirium seemed to consume every thought, every feeling, every emotion until it left her empty inside. It had not grown from the confusion that left her sick and disoriented; it was not from the thrill, the longing, the fear—the contempt that this man had touched her. It was not even from the disgust that a Roman had tried to violate her, not once, but twice in as many days. None of those things mattered. Delia rose and crossed in a daze to the bed, lifting the knife to grimace at it, as if the dagger were a friend and yet a stranger. The dichotomy sent her head spinning.

The fury inside her came from knowing that she loved him, had completely surrendered her life to his touch, and would do so again—in a pounding heartbeat. That was what she could not forgive. That was what her enraged mind clung to when she raised the knife, and saw not only Marius' face, but that of her brother, both of them intertwined in the Gods' sick, twisted joke. They were the same...were they not?

Marius had to die. It was the only way to justify what she had done...what she had allowed.

As the rage took over her mind, Delia's felt her face tilt a little to the right and she lifted the long dagger above her head. Whether she meant it to or not, a small moan escaped her lips and she brought the knife down.

***

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY: "I was engrossed by The Centurion and the Queen, and didn't put it down."

SIMPLY ROMANCE REVIEW: "Historical novels especially historical Romance tend to fall within fairly set parameters and usually tend to be a bit cliché this story breaks out of those parameters and destroys the clichés with a truly refreshing story of love in ancient Britannia."

NIGHTOWL ROMANCE: "I encourage you to try out Minnette's work and see how enmeshed you will become in her wonderful settings. ...this book pulled me in and I read it in two sittings..."

LONG & SHORT REVIEW's Book of the Week: "It's a fast-mover, one gripping scene after the next, with a powerful love story plaited throughout. In the last part of the book, Delia's people face off with Marius's Romans in a battle that will resonate throughout history. Some books keep you turning pages until the end then leaves you cold on the last page. Not this one. The end was so satisfying that it justified the entire exciting story. Now I want to go out and buy the paperback version. I highly recommend this memorable tale."

***

If you'd like to have a shot at winning a free copy of THE CENTURION AND THE QUEEN, leave a question or comment for Minnette! We'll draw a winner next Sunday. Good luck!

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