27 November 2014

Excerpt Thursday: THE HEIRS OF FORTUNE by Heather Domin

This week we’re pleased to welcome our own Heather Domin to present her upcoming release, THE HEIRS OF FORTUNE. Join us on Sunday for an author interview with more details about the story behind the story. One lucky visitor will get a free copy of The Heirs of Fortune upon its release, in your choice of format. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments of today’s post or Sunday’s interview for a chance to win. Heres the blurb:

The Heirs of Fortune is the second book in the Valerian’s Legion series following 2009’s The Soldier of Raetia. It continues the story of Cassius Valerian, general of the 24th Legion, and his adjutant and heir Manilus Dardanus. Six months after the events of Soldier of Raetia, the 24th is invited on campaign with Rome’s most famous general: Drusus Germanicus, the dashing stepson of Augustus who will stop at nothing to subjugate the north. Dardanus and Valerian, after spending an idyllic winter isolated from the outside world, now find themselves facing the realities of their relationship. While Valerian wrestles with reconciling public duty and personal feelings, Dardanus struggles with his multiple roles and his admiration for two very different leaders. Drusus’ ambitions will call everything Dardanus and Valerian have chosen into question, until both begin to wonder if love is worth the risks it brings — and what price they will have to pay.

**An Excerpt From THE HEIRS OF FORTUNE**

“Ah!” cried Atellus. “I believe our guest of honor has arrived.”

He snapped his fingers at the slaves, who rushed to attend. The hubbub continued for half a minute or so before a page emerged from the vestibule and announced: “Sirs, the most honorable Consul of Rome, General Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus, praetor of the western armies, stepson of the Princeps Caesar Augustus.”

“That’s a mouthful,” Pertinax muttered, and Felix turned a snicker into a cough.

Consul Drusus walked into the room, and from that moment on it belonged to him. Dardanus had met powerful men, important men, renowned men, but at that moment he came face to face with his first celebrity.

He was neither excessively tall nor intimidatingly large, but he filled the room as if he were, permeating every corner like incense that lingers long after you leave its presence. He wore a general’s tunic and baldrics with a purple sash beneath his belts; with every step his body sang with medallions and buckles and brooches, silver scabbards swinging against his hips and silver-tipped straps bouncing against his thighs. He was as handsome as everyone said, clear-skinned with refined features and high cheekbones, an elegant sort of beauty tempered by a disarming smile and mischief in his dark blue eyes. He wore his black hair a bit longer than military style, thick and curling on his brow, adding to his youthful air. With a sudden chill, Dardanus thought: He could be Elerius’ brother. Quickly he pushed that thought away. Elerius had wielded his beauty like one of his deadly blades, but the Consul held his aloft like a banner, announcing himself to the world with a much more amiable kind of superiority. He strode across the room at a pace too swift to be a swagger, but not by much, smiling as if he were the welcoming host rather than the tardy guest of honor. When he saw Valerian his smile grew even brighter, a brilliant display of charisma and teeth.

“Cassius! You made excellent time.” Without hesitation he grasped Valerian by the shoulders and embraced him in a crushing, back-slapping hug.

Valerian allowed himself to be manhandled, then gave a respectful nod. “Consul.”

“Chatty as ever, I see. You know when I was a boy, this man was the most frightening of my stepfather’s Praetorians — never spoke a word on duty, just stood there like a statue glaring at everyone and everything. My brother and I used to call him Stone Face when he couldn’t hear us.”

“When you thought I couldn’t hear you,” Valerian said.

Drusus laughed. “It’s good to see you, my friend. Life in the north suits you. Something certainly does.”

“That’s what I keep telling him,” Pertinax said.

Valerian cleared his throat. “I believe you’ve met my prefect, Tertius Pertinax.”

“Yes, of course! What’s it been, Tertius, two years?”

“About that, I think.”

“And this is—”

“Ah yes, your new heir! And the son of our host. He’s told me all about it.”

Dardanus cringed. His father told Drusus about him? Before he could conjure up a response, Drusus clapped a friendly hand on his shoulder and said, “On your way up in the world, eh, Manilus? You couldn’t have a better example than Cassius here. I know your family is very proud of you.”

Smugly Atellus began, “Yes, well, I think that—”

“I want to hear the story over dinner,” Drusus told Dardanus. “If you’re going to be a man of war, you need to learn how to tell tales about it. With practice, you can even make yourself sound humble.”

The Heirs of Fortune is currently scheduled for December release. To learn more about the Valerian’s Legion series, visit the SoR homepage at heatherdomin.com.

More About this Author:
Meet Our Contributors - Heather Domin