Author: Joan Kayse
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: March 17, 2013
*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
Born a son of Rome’s Equestrian class, Damon Pontus’ life should have been one of wealth and privilege. Instead, his father sold him to settle a gambling debt stripping Damon of his birthright, his freedom and the family he loved. Emancipated by a master turned friend, he sets aside his own life to reunite his family, agreeing once more to indenture himself to a Senator as a spy to free his sister.
Julia Manulus, daughter of a progressive, respected Roman Senator, understands the eccentric and indulgent life of Rome’s patrician society which is why she avoids it. Still, as head of her father’s house, a duty she inherited at the death of her mother, she must maintain the dignity of her family while her unconventional father pursues other interests. When her father goes missing, she faces her biggest challenge when the powerful Prefect of Rome pressures her to marry.
Lured into a conspiracy set by his duplicitous employer and sentenced to die, Damon finds himself saved by a woman too beautiful to be anything less than a goddess. But his gratitude is tempered by the bitter truth that his life is the price he pays to be a pawn in a patrician game. A simple matter to play the role of husband to the noble Julia until he starts to see how human his goddess is, caring for her family and others. When the attraction and desire he feels is reciprocated, Damon dares to dream again only to have it threatened by the intrigue of powerful men who would see them both destroyed. Can the clash of social class and greed be overcome or will Damon pay the ultimate price to protect the woman he loves?
Julia Manulus has concocted quite the crazy scheme to ensure that she is not forced into marriage after her father's disappearance. Her solution lies in the form of a Damon Pontus - who she thinks is a prisoner she has rescued from being crucified. He turns out to be so so much more than she ever anticipated. Damon is certain his life will be over in a matter of minutes, until the Goddess shows up and saves him. His Goddess turns out to be the daughter of a Senator looking for a husband!
Damon agrees to help Julia, but as their ruse plays out he discovers that she is caught up in the very same conspiracy that would have killed him. Damon has also discovered that Julia is not ordinary Roman noble - she's actually a decent person that has begun to care about him - the same way he is beginning to care about her. When their scheme puts both their lives in danger, Damon must use all his considerable skills to try and bring down the conspiracy before it kills them him and the woman he has grown to love.
This was a fast-paced romp through the seedy underbelly of Roman nobility. Full of intrigue and reward, as well as a love that was so much fun to watch grow. It was an interesting look at the class system and the lines drawn between the various levels that almost kept our stars apart.