Stella of Akrotiri: Diana
An Ancient Greek Tale of Immortals Book 3 by Linda Rae Sande Genre: Epic Fantasy, Romance
Print Length: 295 pages
Publisher: Twisted Teacup Publishing Publication Date: December 25, 2019
Born an orphan, raised as a warrior princess, desired by men. Can an Immortal claim her heart?
The first adopted daughter of Stella and Darius, Diana has been raised as if she were one of the fabled Amazon princesses. Her mornings are spent training with Darius at the agōgē, her skills as a warrior matched only by a few of the Deminon army recruits. Her afternoons are spent with Stella as she learns the art of diplomacy and the importance of service to others.
Never does Diana wonder why her parents are so devoted to one another, or why they seem to speak of the past as if they lived in it.
The curious stares aimed in her direction by the agōgē’s doctor, Antony—even when she’s not in the circle of battle—has Diana on edge. Learning she has a much older adopted brother—one who seems to youthen as he ages—has her questioning her origins.
So the arrival of Augustus of Assyria seems fortuitous. Her father’s oldest friend is welcomed with open arms even as he is followed by a threat to the future of Deminon. With his intimate knowledge of her parents, perhaps he’ll have the answers Diana seeks. Or will the Roman senator’s revelation about her only complicate matters? For his attentions are far more intense than those of Antony—and far more arousing.
Although it had been a long time since they had last made love—more than eighteen years—she remembered almost too late that Marcus would not be able to hold himself up much longer. His body, drained of strength, would fall on her at any moment. Despite her own impending drowsiness, she lifted her arms to his shoulders and slowly guided him down to rest atop her body.
“Apologies,” he whispered between labored breaths.
Stella frowned. “Whatever for, when you have brought me such pleasure?” Even now, tingles darted beneath her skin and set off shivers of delight throughout her entire body.
Marcus swallowed. “I have not done it like that before.”
“I did not mind,” she whispered, a grin teasing the corners of her lips.
“I had to see you. All of you.” The words were said in a whisper. “It has been too long.”
“Then I hope I did not disappoint,” she replied. Spread out on the bed as she had been, her arms above her head and naked, she had been completely exposed to him. And yet she had not felt vulnerable. Nor had she felt frightened. “You certainly did not.”
Marcus shook his head. “You could never disappoint me, my lady. Your beauty is the same as when we last met. Your body... it is like that of a goddess.”
“And yours is that of a god.”
His eyes widening at hearing the compliment, Marcus lifted one of his arms and stared at it as if seeing it for the first time. He stretched out the fingers of the hand and turned it over to regard first the back of it and then the palm.
Stella took hold of his hand and brought the palm to her lips. She kissed it and then settled it over her left breast. “It is no different from how it was when you first touched me,” she assured him.
“Your regard for me is... unexpected.”
“But, why?” she whispered.
“You love another.”
Allowing a nod, the motion nearly lost in the pillow beneath her head, Stella sighed. “I could not love him if I did not love you as well,” she countered.
Marcus stared at her for a long time before his lips lowered to hers. He kissed her, slowly and completely, something he had never done before—unless she initiated it.
When he finally pulled away, tiredness overwhelmed him. “You honor me, my lady.”
Stella furrowed a brow as she regarded him. “It is the same with you.” Seeing his exhaustion, she pulled his head down to her chest and kissed the top of it. She nearly allowed sleep to overtake her when she remembered Marcus had a reason for returning on this night. “Now will you tell me why it is you have returned to me?” she asked in a whisper.
His eyes closed, Marcus mumbled something incoherent and then lifted his head once more. “There is another like us, my lady,” he whispered. “Like me, before I killed your Darius. Before... before he killed me.” His head fell back to her chest, and his body went limp.
Stella held her breath a moment, stunned by the words.
Another Immortal in Deminon?
Like me, before I killed Darius.
Her mind in a whirl, Stella remembered Darius saying Marcus had also died that day in the arena. Died and came back to life with Darius’ Essence firmly in place alongside Marcus’ Essence.
Before he killed me.
Which meant this other Immortal hadn’t yet died for the first time.
He wasn’t referring to Augustus of Assyria.
Almost of a mind to awaken the man who lay sprawled atop her, Stella realized discussing the revelation could wait until the morning. He probably didn’t even know the identity of the Immortal, or else, wouldn’t he have mentioned a name?
Stella of Akrotiri: Deminon
An Ancient Greek Tale of Immortals Book 2
Print Length: 328 pages
Publisher: Twisted Teacup Publishing Publication Date: December 25, 2018
Love can last a thousand lifetimes when you’re an Immortal... or so they thought.
What’s become of the Immortal Darius? His wife, Stella, worries about his fate as she rules over their city-state of Deminon, especially when she learns he’s been the victim of treachery. She’ll do anything to get him back.
Enslaved as a traitor to Rome, Darius is forced to fight gladiators as part of the funeral rites of powerful Romans. His years of experience on the battlefield serve him well in the arena—until he’s forced to fight Marcus—a younger, stronger gladiator who is unaware of his own immortality.
Sure he’s about to suffer a defeat by the hand of Marcus, Darius is forced to make a decision that will change his future and Stella’s—preserve his essence by allowing his body to die so that he can live on in Marcus. His two-thousand years of memories and life experiences should be powerful enough to overcome the essence of the untested Immortal. Allow him to return to Stella and resume their life together, even if she won’t immediately recognize him.
But Marcus isn’t giving up so easily. Especially when he meets Stella.
Will Marcus help Darius take revenge on the one whose deceit led to his arrest on charges of treason? Or will Darius’ essence slowly be subsumed, the memories of his nearly two-thousand-year lifespan—and of Stella—fading away in the mind of Marcus?
These Immortals once had all the time in the world. Now it’s suddenly of the essence.
Stella regarded Marcus Ortelius from where she stood just outside her chambers. Candlelight cast the silhouette of her body in the opening left by the secret door, the shape made eerie by the filmy dressing gown that still hung from her shoulders. If she hadn’t been so angry with the gladiator, she would have simply closed the door, barred it, and allowed him to find out the hard way that, short of falling to his death on the rocks below, there was no easy escape from where he stood. But she wanted a word with the thick man. Wanted to be sure he understood his only chance at freedom wasn't going to come from Augustus of Assyria. And besides all of that, he was Darius. Although why the older Immortal hadn’t seen to stopping the younger Immortal from learning first-hand she couldn’t die, Stella didn't know. Perhaps it was time she find out. She was about to demand an explanation, but another possibility entered her mind. Had his attempt on her life been done as a means of proof? The younger Immortal had vanquished Darius in the arena. Perhaps he didn’t believe in immortality for that very reason. By allowing Marcus to kill her, Darius was merely teaching his host a lesson. At her expense. She lifted a hand to her throat. Although it no longer hurt, the memory of how his weight had crushed it was hard to shake. Especially as he stared at her in disbelief and then slowly dropped to his knees. Had he a sword in hand, she was sure he would have fallen on it. Stella moved to stand before him, a hand reaching out to touch the top of his head. The gold ring wrapped around her fourth finger glittered in the dim light as her fingers splayed through his hair. Marcus was so unlike Darius!
“I have lived for over fourteen-hundred years,” she said in a hoarse whisper. “As I told you earlier, I am an Immortal.” Marcus raised his face then, a tear escaping from the corner of one eye. “I only wanted my freedom, my queen,” he murmured. “Perhaps I may have that in death.” Stella dropped to her knees and gave her head a shake. “Not in death,” she replied. “For you, too, are an Immortal.” She watched as a myriad of emotions crossed the young man’s face. Watched as he considered her words against what he had paid witness to that day in the arena. Watched as disbelief turned to anger and then to despair. “No,” he said finally. “I cannot live as a slave forever—”
“You will not,” she countered.
“I must do his bidding,” he argued.
“Which is impossible, since I cannot die. Do you not see? The owner of your ludus has sent you on an impossible mission. One he knew you could not complete because he also knows that I cannot die.” She stopped then, suddenly curious as why Augustus would send him with such a mission. Surely the senator knew Marcus was an Immortal. It was probably why he had sent this particular gladiator to kill her. To kill her and bring her body back to Veii. Butwhywould he do such a thing? He had sent Trevius and Antony on such a mission, and later, Aurelius. Why, when he knew she couldn’t be killed? Or did he think that because Darius’ body was dead by the hand of Marcus, she might be vulnerable, too? But that’s not why he chose Marcus, she reminded herself.I asked that he be sent. I begged he be sent, even with another who might ensure Marcus would be returned to the ludus. She had even gone to the temple and spoken to Athena. Perhaps she had been thinking of this all wrong. Augustus hadn’t mentioned knowing Marcus was an Immortal. In fact, he seemed oblivious to the possibility. And yet Darius knew. He had always been able to sense other Immortals. Even if they hadn’t yet died for the first time. Darius was older, though—much older than any of them. An Ancient. A god, perhaps? Not for the first time, Stella wondered if her husband was indeed a god. If so, who had fathered him? Zeus? Or one of the younger gods? Ares, perhaps. It would certainly explain his penchant for war. For his need to participate in every battle in which he thought he could make a difference. Then who had given birth to him? Athena, of course. He was always his best when he was at war. His days of peace never lasted long before he sought another war in which to fight. He was rarely the aggressor, though. Always the defender. Darius had called her an Ancient once, and she hadn’t even lived a thousand years at the time. Am I a goddess? Perhaps shehadbeen looking at this all wrong. She thought of the others who had been sent to Deminon over the years. Trevius, Antony, Aurelius, and now Marcus and Leonidis. All sent on a mission they could not accomplish, by an Immortal who had said he would take her to wife if he wasn’t wed to another. Oh, Augustus. What have you been plotting?
Stella of Akrotiri: Origins An Ancient Greek Tale of Immortals Book 1
Print Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Twisted Teacup Publishing Publication Date: June 28, 2019
Immortality can be a lonely existence, especially when the world is about to implode.
For over six hundred years, Darius of Agremon has fought wars on behalf of those who needed his skills in combat. As a lechagos on Strongili, he spends his days commanding the Minoan coastguardsmen against pirates and marauders. His nights are spent alone, for despite having had wives in the past, he has watched them all grow old and die, childless, as he continues to live.
So when he senses immortality in an olive farmer’s young daughter, Darius bargains to take her to wife when she is old enough to marry.
A foundling, Stella works in her adoptive father’s orchard above Akrotiri, climbing the ancient trees to prune and to harvest the strings of pearls from their branches. She fears invaders when she watches flaming arrows arc in the sky, a sign the island is under attack. She worries about how the ground quakes beneath her feet and steam erupts from cracks in the ground. She wonders at the odd tingling she experiences whenever Darius of Agremon is near, a sensation not unlike the one she feels when spending time in the oldest trees.
Unaware of the arrangement her father has made with the lechagos, Stella thinks she has been sold into slavery when Darius comes for her. Her youth has been spent admiring the man who helped her father’s business thrive. Now she has only contempt for him and his hard-headed manner, despite the pleasures he incites whenever he claims her body.
While the earth trembles and a volcano threatens to destroy the island of Strongili, these two will have to forge a relationship that will last far longer than a lifetime—one that must endure an eternity and the disaster that’s about to wipe out the only home Stella has ever known.
A self-described nerd and lover of science, Linda Rae spent many years as a published technical writer specializing in 3D graphics workstations, software and 3D animation (her movie credits include SHREK and SHREK 2). An interest in genealogy led to years of research on the Regency era and a desire to write fiction based in that time.
A fan of action-adventure movies, she can frequently be found at the local cinema. Although she no longer has any fish, she follows the San Jose Sharks. She is a member of Novelists, Inc. (NINC) and makes her home in Cody, Wyoming.