by Eva Scott
I’ve often wondered how I would fare if I were suddenly transported back in time to Ancient Rome. I like to think of myself as an independent sort of woman, and I’m sure you think of yourself the same way. But women in Rome were not independent, not in the slightest. A woman “belonged” to her father even after she married. The only way a woman could gain her independence was by having children. Once she’d had four living children she was entitled to a modicum of financial independence. Of course she had to survive childbirth which was no mean feat!
Interestingly my heroines are not Roman. They are from other parts of the ancient world – Sarmatia and the great nation of the Hun. Both these cultures gave women the right to fight alongside their men and to a certain level of equality Roman women did not enjoy. Not that Sarmatian and Hun women were equal in status to their men, not at all, but they did have more freedom and opportunity than Roman women. I think I like to see how these independent women tackle patriarchal Rome and I wonder if I’d do the same.
Klara, the heroine in Barbarian Bride, is the daughter of a Hun chief. Accustomed to riding on the grass plains and wielding a weapon she is unprepared to fall in love with a Roman – even if he is unconventional – and living in a city and being a dutiful Roman-style wife is just not on her agenda. Nor is fighting for her life in the Coliseum although her upbringing does give her the skills and the desire to win her freedom, or die trying.
If you read The Last Gladiatrix (the first book in the Romancing The Romans series) you may remember Klara. We meet her briefly when she befriends Xanthe and gives her some valuable advice about surviving the Romans. Barbarian Bride is Klara’s story; how she came to Rome and how she fares once there. If you like your heroine’s brave, feisty and funny and your hero bad-boy then this book is for you!
About Barbarian Bride
On the bloody ground of the Colosseum, she fights to save her life. In the treacherous boxes above, he fights to save their love.
Though Klara didn’t love the man who was to be her husband, she didn’t want him murdered, and she vows to track down the man who committed the crime. Sickened that she’d been attracted to the mysterious Roman, Klara tracks Lucius Aurelius to the fringes of the Roman Empire, only to find that they’ve both been trapped in a clever plot to overthrow Klara’s father, the Chief of the Huns.
Klara is separated from Lucius, captured by slavers and sold to a gladiator school. She is the only one who can save herself, by fighting for her freedom. Lucius can ensure her battle is easier, but only by sacrificing himself. How much is he willing to give up for the fiery woman he’s come to love?
Settling back, Klara surveyed the room for the candidate most likely to know Lucius Aurelius. With so many unwashed, bearded rascals to choose from it was hard to pick. Finally her gaze alighted on a burly old man whose eyes reminded her of Lucius. Abandoning the revolting beer she made her way cautiously to where the man sat alone. He was intent on a dish of stew and didn’t notice her approach. Klara stood before him, awkward in her uncertainty of what to do next.
She cleared her throat. The man shovelled another spoonful of stew in his mouth and did not look up. She tried again, a little louder this time, and still the man ignored her. Sliding her knife from its sheath Klara slammed the point down into the table where it quivered menacingly. The spoon stopped half way to the old man’s mouth. He looked up under busy eyebrows and regarded her for a long moment before the spoon continued its journey. Chewing slowly he simply sat and looked at her.
Klara put her hands on her hips. Now she had the man’s attention starting a conversation about Lucius seemed even harder than she thought it would be. The man lowered his gaze, scooping up another spoonful of stew, and she found herself dismissed.
“Hey!” she slammed both her hand down on the table. “I want to talk to you.”
“So talk.” The fact he didn’t bother to look up infuriated Klara. The man has no manners— and they call Hun barbarians.
“I’m looking for a man.”
He looked up then. “Really?” Pushing the bowl away he leaned back in his chair, letting his eyes roam over the curves of her body. “I’d be happy to oblige.”
Klara swept the empty bowl off the table with the back of her hand. It clattered on the floor and rolled under the table. Her chest heaved with suppressed anger.
“Might I suggest you would do better with men if you tempered your aggression? So unattractive in a woman.”
Klara wrenched the knife out of the table and held it towards the man. “Do you know a man named Lucius Aurelius?” she hissed.
The old man’s bushy eyebrows shot up and disappeared into his hairline. “Lucius? How on earth do you know Lucius?” He narrowed his blue eyes and leaned forward, his hand shot out grabbing her wrist. “Who are you?”
She tried to reclaim her hand but the man was too strong. Cleverly he’d grabbed her hand holding the knife so there was very little point struggling. She raised her chin and said, “I am Klara…”
About the Author
Eva lives on the Sunshine Coast, in Queensland Australia in the town which brought the world the Bee Gees. When she’s not writing romance you can find her out on the water kayaking, fishing or swimming. When on dry land it’s all about the shoes and the coffee (and old Bee Gees records).