Publicly virtuous and privately scandalous, Lucilla returns for a third adventure, this time in Ancient Egypt. As a respected member of The Roman Delegation, she visits the Royal Court of Cleopatra, where she meets a colorful array of characters, including the legendary Queen herself. As Lucilla becomes unwittingly embroiled in court politics, she is torn between doing the right thing and indulging in her newfound taste for the exotic. Can she satisfy both her conscience and her sexual appetite, or will she just end up a victim of Cleopatra's machinations?
From the moment the African coast appeared on the skyline, everything about Alexandria had left Lucilla awed. And as a cultured, Roman noblewoman, she wasn’t easily impressed. Fortunate enough to approach by sea, her first sight of this great city had been a magnificent, towering lighthouse. Prodigious, stunning, stupendous—Lucilla had tried in vain to put its beauty into words, ready for the benefit of her highborn friends back home, but she simply could not think of enough superlatives to do it justice. Four hundred and forty feet high and considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World, it had dominated her journey into the harbor.
Upon disembarking her ship, the sights, sounds, and smells, which engulfed her senses, had given her a taste for the exotic. The city appeared to be an intriguing fusion of Africa and Europe.
Her friend, Flavius, had insisted that her first excursion should be to the famous Alexandrian library. Lucilla had gazed in wonder at the white marble and stone architecture, the huge steps and beautifully constructed colonnades, which gave the whole complex a classical, majestic feel. Its sheer scope was overwhelming.
Now inside this theatre of learning, she remained dazzled by her cultural adventure. It wasn’t so much the countless manuscripts and delectable architecture that fascinated her, though, but her companion and guide.
Sophocles, the curator of the library, had been personally appointed to show Lucilla, honored member of the Roman delegation, around the building.
Tall, of strong stature, and clearly a man of great learning, he oozed masculinity, in all of its most attractive forms. His light brown skin suggested a mixed heritage—possibly Greek and North African. Prominent, well-formed features gave his face warmth and character, whilst his black, braided hair reached halfway down his back, and seemed to enhance his already powerful aura.
He wore a lightweight, white, cotton tunic, which complimented both his dark skin and brown eyes. It also left his arms and legs, below the knees at least, naked, allowing Lucilla to marvel at their exquisite muscular definition.
Yes, he clearly had both brains and brawn. What was more, he was flirting with her!
This was entirely understandable. Slightly above average height and far above average beauty, Lucilla’s slender, toned body exuded femininity and elegance. Her long, brown hair was fashionably tied up, with ornate curls dropping down onto her neck and framing her face, which epitomized the female, Roman nobility. High cheekbones; small, sensuous lips; large, brown eyes and not a wrinkle in sight; she belied her forty years. What was more, as part of Senator Flavius’s delegation; she was well connected.
The flirtations had started the moment they met, earlier that day. Each was attracted to the other and both were aware the feeling was mutual. They had ogled and teased one another with an ever-increasing fervor. Lucilla would have considered Sophocles’s flowery language and extravagant compliments corny, perhaps even irritating, had they been uttered by almost anybody else, but coming from this educated Adonis, they made her purr with delight. As the sexual tension between them rose, Lucilla was ready to roll over and have her tummy tickled.
“The library is almost two hundred and fifty years old,” Sophocles explained, leading Lucilla into yet another great hall. “It was dedicated to the nine goddesses of the arts, from whom you must surely be descended. Its contents have been described as more precious than beaten gold, a description which perfectly befits you, my precocious princess,” he added with a warm, sensual smile.
Lucilla giggled with delight. She noted his fine, expensive tunic fitted him to perfection. Although in no way too small, it hugged his figure closely enough to suggest a pair of broad, muscular shoulders and a prominent chest. She licked her lips.
“The library now boasts almost seven hundred thousand books and parchment scrolls,” continued her enchanting guide.
Lucilla gave a gasp to emphasize how enthused she was, but deep down knew her reaction was simply designed to impress her companion further.
He continued to lead the way down the hall, which was lined with a myriad of manuscripts, before stopping outside a small, inconspicuous door, tucked away in a corner of that section.
“Please, my delightful deity, come into this room. It has been reserved for a very select group of scholars, like you, and contains something incredibly special.”
Sophocles beamed with delight, whilst Lucilla smiled slyly, like a cat that knew she was about to receive cream.
The curator led Lucilla inside and made his way over to a simple table. The room itself was unremarkable and contained nothing but the table and two chairs. They were alone and appeared insulated from any sort of sound coming from the rest of the building.
Sophocles gestured for her to join him at the table. He had some parchments in his hand. Lucilla obeyed, making sure she lightly brushed her hand against his bottom as she passed. It was firm and round. Sophocles rested his own hand respectfully but tantalizingly on Lucilla’s back, and they both stared down at the papers.
“These parchments came from Aristotle’s own private library,” he whispered in awe, gently moving his hand down Lucilla’s back. “They contain some of the most important knowledge handed down from the great Hellenic peoples.”
Lucilla bent over the table, pretending to examine these priceless words of wisdom, but in reality stared straight through them. Her mind was on other things. She muttered a few words of approval and looked back, with her best doe eyes, toward the guide.