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The Centurion's Prize

Taming the Centurions: Book 1

Author(s): Harper Bennett

To save their way of life, enemies must become allies.

In the final days of the Roman Empire, the Celtic princess Nara, daughter of a tribal king, has discovered a secret that will shatter the lives of the people and tribes she holds most dear. Once a sworn enemy of the Centurion Corvinus Aelius Martialis, she must now look to him for help. The Roman’s very presence ignites a powerful and consuming passion within her, one that Nara knows is dangerous and could cost them both their lives…but is she strong enough to resist the Centurion’s all-consuming kiss?

Never one to trust a Celt, let alone a woman, Corvin is taken aback by the bold princess’s bargain. He knows her father is the puppeteer of a very dangerous game involving a rogue band of Rome’s sworn enemies, and he can’t be certain—did the apple fall far from the ambitious, traitorous tree? Or will he claim the fiery princess, body and soul, for his very own?

Set against ancient druidic forests amidst political intrigue and violent betrayal, The Centurion’s Prize is a tale of a love that could save two worlds—or destroy everything in its path.


EXCERPT:

“You are not in danger as long as you are under my protection,” he said when they were clear of the gate. “Do not fear my soldiers.”

“I’ll keep that in mind the next time I am rendered unconscious,” she whispered.

Her hand was soft and warm in his. Try as he might to concentrate on the short journey to the magistrate’s home, Corvin’s thoughts centered on the skin-to-skin contact between them. Nara’s hand was not limp. It was not passive. Corvin could not help but notice she grasped his hand with a strong grip and held tight.

The walk was short—too short. Soon, the dark sky that melded with the darkness of the trees and the cover of branches gave way to paths lined with braziers leading Cadeyrn’s palace. In the distance, he could see the Celtic soldiers patrolling the front entrance.

“How did you manage to get past four guards?”

“There are nine, actually,” Nara corrected him. “Three additional circle the grounds and two more travel in the opposite direction that you did not notice.”

Corvin gave Nara an incredulous look.

Who was this girl?

She was no mere princess, that much was certain. A coddled, sheltered normal female would not have made it three paces out of her own bed chamber without being spooked back inside…and Nara managed to get herself all the way to the garrison’s gate before being detected.

The moon had moved in the sky, out from the barrier of the foliage canopy to shine on Nara’s face as she looked up at him from beneath her hood. She smiled.

“The guards are fools and think only of wine and women,” she said. “And the forest guides me.”

Corvin frowned, confused by the cryptic statement but let it pass, as his mind was also focused solely on women—one woman in particular. Slowly, he reached for her cheek, hoping Nara would not flinch at his touch. When she closed her eyes in response, he quickly moved forward and kissed her.

Foolish, yes, but when her mouth opened against his, his primal, male instincts took over and he swept his tongue past her teeth, exploring the sweet taste of her. Nara moaned softly.

His other hand grasped her waist, and he continued the gentle, probing kiss. He was in no hurry, and he did not want to frighten her. God above, but she tasted good, and as she pushed back into him, urging him on, it took every last ounce of discipline and willpower in his body to break the kiss.

“I will see you again soon, Celt,” he said with a half-smile.

“If you are lucky, Roman,” Nara said. She trotted off into the night and Corvin watched as she disappeared into the shadows. She moved toward the back of the structure until she was out of view.

Corvin stood motionless for a few moments, the taste of this enigmatic Celtic princess still on his tongue. His Celtic princess.
 


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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 9781937325039
Genre: Historical
Date Published: 07/18/2011
Publisher: Beachwalk Press

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