Byzantine Heartbreak

Byzantine Heartbreak by Tracy Cooper-Posey Read Free Book Online

Book: Byzantine Heartbreak by Tracy Cooper-Posey Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tracy Cooper-Posey
distracted, even at the Agency. At first he’d put it down to the jump itself. All their customers were nervous about the jump and about dealing with vampires. The long list of do’s and don’ts and the training they sometimes had to take often pushed their stress levels higher.
    Demyan usually managed to get them to relax once they’d arrived at their destination. It was what made him one of the more sought-after travellers. But Jane Alexander wasn’t relaxing. Not even the unique sights of a civilization that was the bedrock of modern human society seemed to move her.
    She fidgeted with the beads and baubles on her belt, the straps on her sandals, back to her belt...
    “Why the Palatine?” he said at last.
    She looked at him sharply. “Why not?”
    “The rich and famous locked away behind barricaded iron-clad doors and armed slaves? You will not see anything there except cobbled streets and house slaves.”
    She worried at her bottom lip with small, even teeth. “I’ll take my chances.”
    He tried a different tack. “You know, you paid much money for this tour. A once in a lifetime chance. Do you not want to make sure you see what you’ve paid to see? Tell me what you really want out of this trip and I will see that you get it.”
    She considered him for a moment.
    He smiled reassuringly at her. “You should trust me in this. I have heard it all. Once, I had a client that paid too much money just to sit in the Emperor of Russia’s bath and pleasure himself. There is nothing left in the world that could shock me.”
    “That’s right, you’re the Russian one. The fierce, ancient Khazar.”
    Before Demyan could respond to this surprising statement, she smiled at him, dimples appearing in her smooth cheeks. “My true wish is not nearly as exciting as your Emperor lover.”
    “Tell me.”
    “I want to meet Aurelia Cotta.” And she blushed.
    For a minute, Demyan’s mind free-wheeled, as he tried to encompass this unexpected request. He tried to pull at the short hairs at his chin, until he remembered he had none right now and dropped his hand. “Aurelia Cotta?” he repeated, at last. He still could not place the name.
    Jane’s face brightened and she sat up. “Yes! She was a great matron, one of the most famous and her beauty was renown. She was revered for her goodness and kindness and she wielded great influence during her lifetime. For a Roman woman, that wasn’t half-bad, you know.”
    “That, I can appreciate,” Demyan acknowledged. “But, who is she? I can’t recall the name. Who are her parents?”
    “Rutilia and Lucius Aurelius Cotta. Her father was consul in 119 B.C.”
    “The Aurelii Cottae family, hmmm?” Demyan frowned, pulling it together. His knowledge of the patrician families of Rome around the time of Julius Caesar was detailed, but that was thirty years from now.
    “Her mother Rutilia was a member of the Rutilius family. They were of consular rank.”
    “You have done your homework,” Demyan told her. “You don’t happen to have their address, too?”
    “I thought you might,” she said airily. “Or that you might know someone who could get us invited.”
    “We can’t socialize with influential contemporaries. They warned you about this at the Agency.”
    “I don’t want to be her best chum, Demyan. I just want to meet her. Smile at her. Then you can whisk me into the nearest deserted room and we can jump home.” She smiled winningly at him, her dimples deepening. “Please?” she asked sweetly. “It’s such a simple thing.”
    Demyan took a breath, intending to explain why something this simple was incredibly challenging. But her big eyes were staring at him, her defences down. She had confessed her wants as he’d asked her to. Now he had to deliver.
    If he could.
    “There’s a senior slave I know, who isn’t above bribes. He belongs to the Clodius family. I’ll see what I can do.”
    She threw herself forward, right into his arms and held him tight, while

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