Mate Marks: Pulse
by Kate Hill
From Changeling Press
Long ago a Roman soldier fell in love with a Kushite noblewoman and changed sides to serve her. Bound by an ancient magic to protect her, Marc Claudius failed in his duty and was cursed with immortality, awaiting the rebirth of his lover and a second chance to fulfill their burning passion.
In the modern world, Amina has always felt strong ties to the past. Teaching a night class in history, she is enraptured by a handsome foreign student. When looking into Marc's intense, dark eyes, she can't control her desire. This man arouses yet haunts her, but when he reveals their timeless bond, will she accept his confession or deny a love that has burned for over two thousand years?
Amina hated being late for class, especially on the first night, but tonight it couldn't be avoided. Her car had broken down halfway to the local high school where she was teaching an adult education history course. The tow truck driver had dropped her off at the school before taking her car to her cousin's auto repair shop.
She hadn't yet thought about how she'd get home after class, but now her main concern was getting started. Glancing at her watch, she noticed she still had about five minutes before her class was scheduled to start. It was a good thing she had left her house so early. She'd wanted to settle in and relax before the students arrived. Now she'd have to dive right in with scarcely a chance to collect her thoughts.
Adjusting her pile of books more comfortably in her arms, she hurried up two flights of stairs and pushed open the door to her classroom with a little more force than she'd intended.
Most of the students had already arrived and they glanced in her direction.
She smiled and exchanged greetings with them while placing her books on the desk and dropping her favorite canvas bag on the floor. It wasn't an attractive accessory but roomy and durable. She was the kind of person who liked to be prepared for anything, so when she went to work she carried everything except the kitchen sink in that bag.
"Just give me a few minutes and we'll get started," she told her class. "I had a little car trouble. . ."
Her voice faded as the strangest sensation overtook her, as if she was standing inside a giant, beating heart. The throbbing grew stronger and her own heartbeat seemed to match its rhythm.
The door opened and the most stunning man Amina had ever seen stepped into the classroom. He was tall and lean with broad shoulders and incredibly long legs. Exuding laid-back elegance, he wore a white shirt, unbuttoned at the throat, and black trousers. His matching black jacket was slung casually over his shoulder.
His face was classically handsome, except for his longish nose, but that particular feature only added to his masculine charm.
Lord, she'd never met a man this fine. Dreamed about them, yes, but never seen one in the flesh. He looked like he just stepped out of a photo shoot for a men's fashion magazine.
He carried himself with an uncommon air of dignity that she found incredibly sexy.
His intense, dark eyes fixed on her and Amina almost stopped breathing. What was it about this guy that made her react like this?
Strangest of all was the feeling that she'd seen him before.
Clearing her throat, she said, "All right let's begin."
Her newest arrival took an empty seat toward the back of the room. He sat, one long leg stretched out so that his pant leg tightened around his chiseled thigh.
Amina's pulse quickened and she thanked heaven she'd worn a bra with a lining, otherwise her stiff nipples might just poke right through her tan silk blouse.
She began with roll call, eager to connect a name to her most compelling student. It didn't take long since his last name was toward the beginning of the alphabet.
"Marc Claudian," she said.
Lord, even the sound of his soft yet husky voice speaking that one word sent a lustful shiver down her spine.
"Well you have the perfect name for a class in Roman history." She smiled, then finished with the roll call.
Amina began with an open discussion about what the students hoped to achieve from the class, then she presented the syllabus and dove into her lecture.
Amina had always been a natural teacher. She felt a strong connection to ancient history and enjoyed sharing knowledge. Usually she was in total control when she stood in front of a class, but tonight she wasn't at her best. Oh, she looked confident, but inside she felt strangely vulnerable, especially with Marc Claudian's black eyes following her every move like she was an exotic dancer instead of a history teacher. His gaze lingered on her mouth when she spoke and drifted to her breasts when she fell silent to listen students' questions. Yet he didn't look like a drooling lecher, more like an art connoisseur admiring an irresistible painting.