Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Roman's Quest by Anne Baxter Campbell

Centurion Julius has eyes for a young Jewish woman, but a Roman is not what her father intends for her. Miriam is a pious Jewish girl, determined to do the right thing by her God and her parents, and she bows to her father’s wishes to promise her to a Jewish fisherman, James ben Zebedee. Her heart yearns for the Roman, but their love is impossible. Miriam’s mother lies close to death, and her last wish is to see her daughter wed. The marriage has to take place before it’s too late.

Book Excerpt

Chapter 1
In the thirteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, in the month of Marcius

Julius Saturnius stood in the mid-morning heat, droplets of sweat trickling from the kinks of his hair onto his forehead and down the back of his neck, watching and waiting. He’d been stationed in Jericho for a year. In that time, a young woman had stopped some young boys from tormenting a dog, comforted a little girl who had fallen, and given a loaf of bread to a beggar, but none of that is what had captured his attention. Her wide expressive eyes and the supple grace with which she moved had drawn him to watch for her daily.
Strange, but she reminded him a little of his mother, who had also been a rescuer. Their spacious dwelling in Rome had always been filled with orphans and pups.
The young woman had taken to walking to this spring with her friends almost every morning. She never ventured here alone any more to this place where the residents got their drinking water. An incident had occurred here with a soldier named Brutus. To avoid what he’d saved her from, the women were smart to come in groups. Still he found reason to be in this vicinity most days, wishing she might set aside her fear and come alone so that he might speak to her.
As if wishful thinking had made her appear, Julius straightened as the girl and her companions made their way toward the spring.
Julius watched the young woman walking toward the well. He wondered if she were married and whether she would smile on him even if she were not. He heaved a sigh. She was a Jew; he was a Roman, and Jews hated Romans. With good cause, sometimes. Brutus spent a month cleaning latrines for what he had tried to do to this beautiful one. Did she know he had pulled Brutus off her?
All his supplications and sacrifices to Venus, the goddess of love, had gone unanswered. He chuckled to himself. He would ask Mars, but he didn’t want to go to war with the beautiful young woman. He let out his breath. Even Venus could never match this Jewess’ beauty and grace.
As though she heard his thoughts, she glanced up and met his gaze. She lowered long dark lashes over golden brown eyes, blushing and frowning.
Heat rose from his throat to his face.
She looked angry, and it wasn’t hard to understand why. He’d been staring like one of his mother’s hungry pups when she took out scraps from the table.
Why did he have to serve in Jericho and be tormented by this woman-child? He almost wished he could be transferred somewhere else.
But then he wouldn’t see her again, never watch that delicious female walk, never hear that bubbling laugh, never see those red, ripe lips smile as she walked with her friends.
No, that would be worse.
Maybe tomorrow there would be a chance to speak to her, though about what, he didn’t know. He wanted to tell her…hmm…just what, exactly? He couldn’t tell her what he thought: that he would like to make good use of those inviting lips.
And how could he tell her anything with forty other women always around her?
He prayed to his gods, but he doubted any of them approved of her. The Jews claimed his gods didn’t exist. The Jewish God—invisible, so they said. How could they talk to a God they couldn’t see? Did this God hear their thoughts?

Hmm. Would He hear a plea from Julius? God of the Jews, if You exist, would You show me a way to meet her?

About Anne:

Anne Baxter Campbell is a Christian, wife, a mother, and a grandmother who loves to write.

To buy Anne's book:

Anne Baxter Campbell is giving away a copy of The Roman's Quest. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)

Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart


Anonymous said...

It sounds like a good book! I have not read any of this author yet!

Jackie McNutt said...

Enjoyed the excerpt from The Roman's Quest. Thank you

sm said...

Interesting plot with a Roman soldier and a Jewess. Love to read this. sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

squiresj said...

Would love to win, read, and review.
jrs362 at Hotmail dot com

JackieW said...

Hope your New Year is a happy one with lots of rewards.

Patricia Bradley said...

Intriguing excerpt. Would love to win the book! pat at ptbradley dot com

Boos Mum said...

This sounds intriguing with a love story between a Roman centurion and a pious Jewish girls. Please enter me. Thanks.

sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

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