Friday, October 21, 2011

Rough, Tough and Tumble: When In Rome by Kate Hill

Rough, Tough and Tumble: When in Rome

by Kate Hill
Cover art: Zuri
ISBN: 978-1-60521-491-7
Genre(s): Paranormal, Action Adventure/ Suspense
Theme(s): Ménage, Shapeshifters
Series: Rough, Tough and Tumble
Length: Novella
Page Count: 41

Shapeshifters Zandra, Sefu and Tiago find themselves in ancient Rome where a gladiator and his lover are desperate to escape the brutal games and her cruel husband.
The trio's lust burns hotter than ever, stoked by the knowledge that this time they might not return to their world. Using their powers, they must impersonate Roman nobles to deceive a twisted emperor and save a gladiator from death in the arena while coming to terms with their love for each other.
Rough, Tough and Tumble: When in Rome
Kate Hill
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2011 Kate Hill

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Zandra stood between her lovers, Sefu and Tiago, in the time machine that had already taken them to the old west and 1686 Romania. Wherever -- or whenever -- they landed next would be their final trip before returning to their age. Already they had risked their lives several times. Tiago had been shot in the old west and Zandra had been abducted by wannabe vampires in Romania. On their last journey, Sefu had nearly missed boarding the time machine before takeoff.
She glanced from tall, powerfully-built Sefu to the slighter, though no less attractive Tiago and thought how much they meant to her. Sefu with his short blond hair and honest blue eyes treated her like a lady though she had lived her life as anything but. Dark-haired Tiago with his seductive brown eyes shared a similar past to hers. They understood each other in a world that had often left them feeling alone.
Though she hadn't known these men long, she had already fallen in love with them. They had been through so much together. They had risked their lives for each other, made love and confessed painful secrets. Now Zandra couldn't imagine a life without them.
If they could get through this final journey...
Then what? Return to their time and collect the payment Apriyn had promised? Like her companions, she doubted the doctor's integrity. And his partner... Pane was the poster boy for creep.
At the moment she couldn't think about the doctors.
The pink time field encompassing their machine faded, leaving them in a meadow filled with olive trees. In the distance stood a large concrete building.
"When are we?" Tiago's deep voice broke the silence.
"Ancient Rome," Sefu replied, without even looking at the pendant around his neck that told him the year. Dr. Apriyn had given Tiago and Zandra similar pendants so they would always know the time they had been sent to. A quick glance at her pendant told Zandra he was correct.
"It's a villa," Sefu said, pointing to the building. "It's pretty big and probably has mosaic floors and a great garden. Obviously a wealthy owner. He probably exports olive oil and look in the distance. See the vineyard?" Tiago and Zandra exchanged surprised glances.
"How do you know?" Tiago asked.
"While observing carnivorous animals on Earth so I can change into them for fights in the arena, I did an intense study of Roman gladiators. Considering they had no shapeshifting ability, they were amazing warriors. They were the celebrities of their time."
"So you know enough about this time and place for us to blend in?" Zandra asked.
Sefu shrugged his broad shoulders. "I guess so. I know how they dress, what they eat -- Hey, did you know mice were a specialty."
Curling her lip, Zandra said, "I think I'm going to be sick."
"I can tell you the basics of life in a country villa like this or in the city, but if you want to know about gladiatorial life, I can give you details big time. The major fighting schools were the Ludus Magnus, the Ludus Matutinus -- that's where they trained the Bestiarii, gladiators who fought animals --"
"Damn, Sefu," Tiago interrupted, looking rather surprised. "The next time I call you a dumb gladiator, you have permission to kick my ass."
"Just not too hard." Zandra grinned. She slid her arms around Sefu's neck and brushed his lips with a kiss. "I'm impressed. Didn't know you were a historian."
"Only when it comes to fighting and stuff like that. In the old west and Romania I didn't know shit."
"Night's falling," Tiago said, glancing skyward. "We need to find a place to relax out of sight until our pendants signal it's time for the machine to take off."
Sefu narrowed his gorgeous blue eyes. "So I'm guessing you want to try lying low again? You don't want to mingle with the people?"
"Actually, I'm starting to think we're better off jumping in and introducing ourselves," Tiago said, folding his arms across his chest. "It seems the more we try to avoid mixing, the more we're drawn in to people's lives."
"We could approach the villa and see if they'll put us up for the night?" Zandra suggested.
"I don't know if that's a good idea," Sefu said. "Ancient Rome had huge class distinctions. If we don't play this game perfectly, we'll end up in trouble. I don't want some rich Roman to accuse us of being runaway slaves or something."
"Wow. This is a change," Tiago said. "Usually I'm the one arguing on the side of common sense."
"Is that another crack at my intelligence?" Sefu demanded. "Because no more than a minute ago you gave me permission to kick your ass for that."
"No crack, big guy, except the one in my ass and it's all yours whenever you want it."
Sefu grinned and slapped Tiago's bottom. "Mmm, I like the sound of that."
"Do you guys see that clump of bushes over there?" Zandra asked. "That should give us enough shelter if the night stays warm like this. We can make love, then shift into... what kind of animals do they have in ancient Rome, Sefu?"
"Wolves, dogs, horses. In the arena they had lions and tigers and stuff, but they wouldn't be roaming the countryside."
"We'll figure it out." Zandra ran her hand over Sefu's crotch. Like Tiago, he had shifted into black trousers, a T-shirt and boots while Zandra had shapeshifted into a red sundress. The attire was probably completely wrong for this time and place, but they'd deal with wardrobe later. She brushed past Tiago, caressing his chest on the way, and headed toward the bushes. "Right now let's enjoy the night, and who knows, maybe this time the machine will take off before we run into trouble."
"I'm all for enjoying the night." Sefu grinned, shifting out of his pants and stroking his magnificent cock.
She smiled at him. She didn't doubt it. Sefu's sexual appetite could at times challenge even an experienced pleasure shifter like Zandra...

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