Stella of Akrotiri: Diana
An Ancient Greek Tale of Immortals Book 3
by Linda Rae Sande
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Romance
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.
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Her short sword held to the side and her feet positioned for an attack, Diana regarded her opponent with a grin. “You are winded, old man.”
Darius of Agremon furrowed both brows and dropped his sword to his side. “Old man?” he repeated, incredulous. “Why, I think you are in need of...” He didn’t have a chance to finish the response when Diana took advantage of his relaxed stance and came at him with a perfectly aimed attack.
Although he was able to recover and stop the swing of her blade just before it would have connected with his forearm, Darius was left off-balance. Before he could reposition his feet, her follow-up thrust caught the fabric of his exomie and sliced it. The short sword continued downward, allowing him the fraction of a second he needed to step to the side and raise his own sword in defense.
Diana grinned again. “A lesson?” she teased, thinking that’s what Darius was about to claim she needed.
He narrowed his eyes as he caught his breath and nodded. “A lesson, indeed. A lesson in how to respect your elders.” He started an attack then, bringing his sword down in an arc that Diana had to deflect from an awkward angle. He continued the attack, impressed at how the warrior-in-training seemed to guess correctly at his every move.
He was also surprised at how her loyal dog remained beyond the circle. The black Molossian, a huge and muscled canine, could have easily decided Diana was in need of protection and made a run at him. Instead, Takoda was sound asleep under a plane tree, apparently unaware his mistress was under attack.
Except she wasn’t just then. Diana had just countered his latest move and then swung her sword in an unexpected arc to the side. Darius paused, as if uncertain of what to do.
The pause was his undoing.
The arc of Diana’s sword changed, the flat of the blade striking him hard against the side of his hip. With her momentum carrying her in the same direction, she dropped and rolled, one leg kicking out to pull one of his from beneath him. Darius went down—hard—and let out a curse in a language Diana hadn’t heard before at the very same moment she returned to a battle stance.
Stella of Akrotiri: Deminon
An Ancient Greek Tale of Immortals Book 2
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.
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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.
But why would 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 she had been 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
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.
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