Series: Dominus-Book 2
Author: JP Kenwood
Release Date: November 21, 2015
GMR 5 STAR REVIEW-PAUL
Every moment since Allerix’s violent capture has tested the young prince’s fortitude and cunning. If he can kill the triumphant emperor who decimated his Dacian nation, revenge and immortality will be his glorious, everlasting rewards. But to realize his scheme for vengeance, he must deceive the Roman master whose body he lusts, the handsome, arrogant man whom he has grown to adore and admire. Can two former enemies—the conqueror and the conquered—find trust and true love, or are the consequences of war destined to tear them apart? Can Gaius and Allerix survive the perilous games of Rome?
Dominus is a plot-packed erotic m/m fantasy set in ancient Rome during the reign of Emperor Trajan (AD 98-117). Games of Rome is the second book in this alternative history saga—a tumultuous journey of forbidden love, humor, sex, friendship, political intrigue, deception, and murder.
In the second instalment, Rome's heroic general, Gaius Rufus finds his life on and off the battlefields in a tug-of-war with his emotions and his ambitions. He must make a very important and possibly life altering decision to either return to Rome for his well-deserved accolades or stay with his beloved slave, Prince Allerix. Another tragedy occurs and makes his decision even more difficult. What will Gaius do? Can he save and protect his precious Allerix?
Gaius the beautiful, powerful, strong commander and ex-lover of Lucius. Lucius murder becomes the center point in this instalment and Gaius is completely shocked by his former lovers death and it sends him on a road of grief and revenge. Gaius marriage comes into the story a bit more and of course the act of sex with men which is common in this time even though it is not in the history books. As long as men did not have gay sex with men of their social stature as it has to be with men who are lower than their social standing as this way it's not looked at having a relationship but more of just pure sex.
I thought it would be impossible to top Dominus but apparently no as the author has another huge hit on her hands with Games of Rome. The character of Gaius keeps getting more intense and we learn more about him. I love this guy and he's such an interesting character to read about. The authors knowledge of the Romans is completely remarkable and how she makes you feel like you're actually in this time goes to her brilliant writing. The great twist in the series is that the author writes these books in both past and present Rome and it was so unique that I really love this kind of format.
I love how Gaius treats sex and he looks at it more of a sport to display his beautiful and powerful attributes. That is until his slave, Allerix actually gets into Gaius heart. The relationship comes with many troubles that need to be handled or both men have so much to lose. I hope they can weather what's coming their way and not sacrifice each other. Gaius is a man you don't want to cross and no one is his complete match but Allerix comes very close. Will these men find their HEA with each other? If you ever wanted to know what life was for a gay Roman then you MUST read Games of Rome as I couldn't highly recommended it enough and if I could give it more than five stars trust me I would!
Stretched out under a blanket on one of the couches, Allerix rubbed his eyes and yawned, his body and mind refreshed from a deep, restful sleep. The first rays of the sunrise peered over the edge of the cliffs, coloring the ocean’s surface with an entrancing, yellow-rose hue. He sat up and surveyed the dimly lit cave, only to discover he was unshackled and alone.
After drinking a cup of cool water and relieving himself in the silver chamber pot, Alle scanned the isolated cove as he strolled to the water’s edge. Gaius’s red tunic lay crumpled on the white sand, discarded close to a smoldering fire pit. Underneath the cloth Alle discovered a folded blanket and an opened travel satchel; the edges of papyrus scrolls peeped out from between the worn leather flaps. Nearby, sat a pile of kindling and a jug of crimson wine.
A pair of footsteps in the sand led to the water.
Shielding his eyes, Allerix stared at the ocean’s expanse until Gaius emerged naked from beneath the gentle surf. His skin glistened in the sunlight like the bronze of a divine statue. Poseidon himself had come alive before Alle’s eyes.
Memories of the previous night’s delicious lovemaking feast flooded Alle’s heart. After they’d finished the rest of the dinner courses, Gaius drizzled a mixture of honey and cream over Alle’s cock and balls and teasingly sucked off every sweet sticky drop. Afterwards, he rolled him over and poured more honey balm over his arse. Once Gaius had licked his cheeks and crack clean, he turned him over once more, wrapping Allerix’s long legs around his waist, and impaled him. Gaius smothered his mouth with his lips until they both surrendered to eruptions of exquisite pleasure.
No one had ever kissed Alle in that manner; no one had ever cherished him so completely and selflessly. His confused heart fell deeper into a toxic swirl of love and resentment. Damn the gorgeous bastard!
Allerix waved from the beach as Gaius trudged through the waves towards the shore. Sopping wet, he kissed Alle’s mouth and took the garment from his outstretched hand.
“Greetings, căţel. How did you sleep?” Gaius asked as he wiped his face and patted his dripping copper curls.
“Extremely well, Dominus. Have you been awake long?”
“You’ll learn I rarely sleep more than four or five hours at most. But I’ve found there’s no better way to start a new day than with a good book and a vigorous swim. By Neptune’s shriveled balls, that water’s damn cold. Come sit with me. I’ll relight the fire, and we’ll watch the sunrise.”
After he’d pulled on his tunic, Gaius threw a handful of twigs and two larger pieces of wood onto the embers. The blaze grew quickly, its flames twirling up into the breezy morning air. They settled down on the blanket when Gaius grabbed the wine jug and enjoyed a long, satisfying gulp. Wiping his mouth, he said, “Swimming in the ocean is a source of immense comfort. She soothes my soul because she’s in my blood. My family has always owned seaside property; my great-grandfather, Servius Cornelius Scipio, spent much of his life in ships traversing her waters.”
“He was a sailor?”
“An admiral in the navy.”
Allerix snickered. “Of course—an admiral. I take it that’s an important job.”
Gaius merely smiled and guzzled down another swallow of wine.
“This cove is wonderfully serene, Dominus. May we stay here for the rest of the day?”
“Sadly, no. The boat to bring us back to the villa should arrive soon. I need to check on Bryaxis’ progress, and you need to saddle that damn stallion.”
Allerix pulled in his legs, resting his cheek on his knees, chewing on his thumbnail. It was time, perhaps his only chance to address the key to all his plans. He had to know.
“Am I your favorite, Rufus?”
Gaius narrowed his eyes at Alle’s audacity. “My favorite?”
“Nic explained how it works, the hierarchy and special privileges and all.”
“Did he, then? Gods, I despise the daft gossip that flitters about the stable house. Listen, I adore all of my boys. Some nights I prefer to fuck one lad more than I do the others. Other times, I want to play with my girls. And then there are those wicked evenings when I enjoy all of my pets at the same time. You do remember the enormous bed in the playroom?” Gaius laughed and waggled his eyebrows.
Blushing, Allerix confessed, “Yes, I remember.”
“Don’t listen to Nicomedes. I suspect our dear lamb is worried I won’t take him to any more dinner parties in Neapolis, the insecure prat.”
“I suppose that’s possible, sir. But Nic’s a good sort.”
“Yes, he is.” Gaius rubbed his face and exhaled. “So you want to be the favorite, whatever the fuck that means? Well, you can’t be the favorite because only slaves can be promoted to that mythical status. But you claim you’re not a slave, Alle. You’ve declared on several occasions that you consider yourself a prisoner of war, yes?”
Lifting his head, Alle glared defiantly. “I am a prisoner.”
Gaius leaned over and kissed Allerix’s nose. “Let me know when you’ve come to your senses and finally accept the wars are over.”
A girly nerd who loves to research and write stories about men, love, and lust, especially tales set in the distant past. And I love to cook and laugh and drink wine.
2-What was it that made you want to write about gay characters and MM novels in the Roman setting?
Like so many other readers and writers, I discovered the world of m/m fiction through slash fanfic. Fan fiction is a fantastic way to cut one’s writing teeth, but I wanted to craft my own story filled with original characters and insane story arcs set in a quasi-realistic historical timeframe. Historical fiction often gets a bad rap for being boring or complicated or arcane in terms of dialogue and description. To me, ancient Romans were familiar and fascinating people. Like most humans, they loved, lied, swore, and dreamed.
Rome’s dominion over most of Europe and the Mediterranean lasted roughly a thousand years. I set my saga in the early second century AD because that was the “Golden Age,” a relatively peaceful time of transition when lad-loving emperors such as Trajan and Hadrian ruled a prosperous and powerful empire. It’s also fun because it’s an overlooked period in Roman historical fiction, and the reliable sources for events are meager. There’s lots of room to play.
3-How do you come up with such interesting Roman gay storylines and hot characters such as in the Dominus Saga?
As is the case with most folks who dabble in alternate history, I’m a tad obsessed with the “What if…” scenario. What if the Roman emperor Trajan had been the guardian of two boys rather than just one? What if his successor, Hadrian, had had a rival for the imperial throne? What if a Roman general had fallen in love with his Dacian slave? Of course, none of this is true (as far as I know), but that’s the fantasy element I’m playing with in this tale. I try to insert memorable fictional characters into a bizarre but disturbingly familiar historical setting.
For Hadrian’s fictional ‘ward’ brother, I dreamt up an arrogant but charming red-haired soldier named Gaius Fabius Rufus. Unlike Trajan and Hadrian, Gaius Fabius is a patrician; he’s one of a handful of blue-blooded Roman aristocrats still alive in 107 AD, and he can trace his roots back to the earliest days of Rome. While he’s a pompous prick about his illustrious ancestry, he’s also fiercely devoted to his extended family, including his slaves, as well as his friends. The Lion of the Lucky Fourth Legion has adopted a hard, often ugly shell to protect his soft, damaged heart. Gaius believes in the traditional Roman values of duty and honor and justice, but he doesn’t always follow the law. Members of the imperial family like Gaius often acted with little regard to the rules governing most of Roman society.
The other MC is Allerix, a Dacian prince turned captive sex slave. He’s an intriguing and elusive lad. I’m still wrestling in some ways with his layers. The Dacian people (also known as the Getae) aren’t generally well known today; they ruled territories now part of modern Romania and Moldova from the first century BC to the early second century AD. The kingdom of Dacian was essentially wiped out by Roman legions during two wars from 101-102 and 105-106 AD. Prior to his capture, Allerix had fled the Roman invasion with a few thousand of his countrymen to the more rugged areas of the Carpathian Mountains. These Dacians were free but displaced from their homeland and their livelihoods. As a result of Roman conquest, Dacian culture, history, and the Dacian language were eventually eliminated and for the most part forgotten. Rome settled veteran Roman soldiers in newly built cities in Dacia, and Dacians gradually adopted Roman culture. What’s left of this once prominent and wealthy independent kingdom are basically archaeological remains, images of Dacians and scenes of the Dacian wars in art, and references in Latin and Greek texts. Basically, it’s a Roman boy meets a Dacian boy story. J
4-Your fans love your characters so much, what do these characters mean to you? How close to your heart do you keep them?
Dominus has a large cast of male and female characters, and each one is unique and close to my heart. One secondary character very dear to me is Lucius Petronius: Gaius’s occasional lover, his former schoolmate and fuck buddy, and his best friend among his Roman peers. Luc’s an ambitious plebian who rose to senatorial rank because of his brains and legal talents; he’s a lawyer who writes poetry and doodles in his scrolls, but mostly he laughs and drinks and fucks. He tolerates his wife and loves his Caledonian slave, Bryaxis. Events at the end of Dominus involving Lucius’s fate propel the story forward in Games of Rome.
5-What genre of writing would you classify yourself with?
Um, erotic m/m historical fantasy with layers of love, cruelty, humor, mystery, and supernatural. And gobs of swearing. Is that a genre?
6-What do your readers mean to you and how interactive are you with them?
Like any author, I’m thrilled that people read my stories. Feedback from the fans of the Dominus saga helps me through those shitty days when the words are tough to wrangle. I connect with readers on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. My favorite sites, however, are my Wordpress author blog, LiveJournal, and Archive of Our Own. I post draft chapters of a significant portion of each book on the latter two sites prior to final publication, and discussions are always lively and fun. Who would have expected that two secondary characters, Lucius and Bryaxis, would garner such a devoted following? And Maximus has his own passionate fans. Don’t worry about Max; I’ll take good care of him. (Sshhh… I don’t think they believe me, Paul).
7-Do you have a Philosophy by which you live?
16. Be kind to everyone, try not to sweat the small stuff, and remember that fortune favors the bold.
8-What is your favourite curse word?
Assflap. Comes in handy when driving.
9-What was the last book you read and your thoughts on it?
I haven’t finished it yet, but Brandon Shire’s The Love of Wicked Men (Vol. 1) has me hooked at the moment. I’ve been a huge Shire fan since I read The Value of Rain. Beautiful, visceral writing and punch-in-the-gut imagery.
10-Lastly, any hints on your next book that you might be working on?
I’m currently penning another free short story for the Dominus Calendar Series. This bit focuses on the Saturnalia festival held in December, and features Lucius and Bryaxis. Then I’m on to Book 3. Oh, the insane romp I have planned for the next full-length novel in this series. Gaius and the gang travel from Rome to Dacia. More tears, more tragedies, and more clues are revealed. *rubs hands together* There will be five books total in the Dominus series, and I know exactly how the story ends. Just thinking about the last scene makes me smile like a loon wiping away a bittersweet tear.
My current five book series, Dominus, is an m/m alternative history fantasy series set in ancient Rome during the reign of the Emperor Trajan (AD 98-117). What if Trajan had been the custodian of two boys instead of only one? What if Hadrian had been privy to secrets that could damage the political authority of his older and more successful fellow imperial ward, Gaius Fabius? What if a Roman general had fallen in love with his captive Dacian slave? Could a powerful Roman aristocrat of noble ancestry have been deliberately erased from history?
Gaius Fabius, a lusty, ambitious Roman general and potential heir to the imperial throne, acquires a new pleasure slave—a recently-captured, feisty Dacian prince named Allerix Dominus is the slow-buring saga of two sworn enemies who both take risks and make sacrifices—it is about the unforeseen consequences of seeking vengeance, earning trust and falling in love.
While most details are historically accurate and tied to major historical events and prevailing cultural attitudes, the tale is entirely fictional and the dialogue is deliberately modern in flavor. There is very little Latin and there are no gratuitous gladiators.
The complete first two books of the series are now available on Smashwords, Amazon and B&N. Visit my Smashwords Author Page to download a FREE Dominus mini-story written back when I was working on the characterization of Gaius's lover, Lucius Petronius. A second FREE short story will be published in December 2015/
Archive of Our Own: http://archiveofourown.org/users/JPKenwood