Trained as a mercenary soldier, Darius was a man of decisive action. He was also a man of compassion. Seeing a young slave woman about to become the spoils of war, he claimed her for his own. Marrying her before God and king, he made her a free and respectable soldier's wife.
Brice was born a slave. Abused and beaten, she learned quickly to avoid being noticed and to stay away from men. When her master's walls fell to enemy forces, she ran, but not fast enough. In Darius' offer she found deliverance, but experience had taught her to fear power such as his. Could she trust in his protection, or had she traded one form of slavery for another?
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He did not look cruel. Brice came to this conclusion in spite of the minor scars marring the smoothness of his face. Maybe it was because his eyes were so expressive. She was wondering how the largest and deepest of his scars affected his smile. It started near his temple and made an almost smooth path to about an inch above his jaw line. It was old and had long healed to the darkness of damaged skin. Then he turned from his scrutiny of the building and looked at her. All thoughts of his face immediately vanished from her mind.
“We are going back in.” He must have seen the surprise and fear that crossed her mind for he continued. “Stay with me and you will be safe. The men will not bother you now I have claimed you as mine.”
“Will you have to…” she had forgotten the words he had used. She looked away. It was hard to think with those eyes watching.
“Convince them,” he said for her. She looked up to find his eyes laughing again. The laughter did not reach his the rest of his face though.
“Will you?” She asked.
“For your sake, let us hope not.” He stepped away and offered her his hand. “Come, now is our best chance.” Hesitant, but uncertain she had any alternative; Brice took it. Immediately his large warm hand gripped hers and he headed to the entrance opposite the way from the men had taken.
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