I’ve been tagged by Gina Henning to post 7 paragraphs from page 7 of my WIP. This is Loved In Time, the second book in The Travelers series, the first is A Leap In Time.
Love at first sight felt indulgent, almost reserved for the gods and yet Catina was completely smitten by the handsome scholar that vied for her attention. Antonio was gentlemanly in his pursuit and yet unwavering with his feelings. Their conversations spanned every topic from social injustice in Rome to experimenting with herbs and plants for medicinal purposes. Catina found him knowledgeable, compassionate and worldly in his perspective. Her admiration and respect for him grew with each encounter and she found herself falling hopelessly in love with her childhood neighbor.
Catina remained on the bench, reminiscing when without warning, her left eye twitched uncomfortably, the nagging feeling of ignoring an unresolved issue rearing its ugly head. There was no one but herself to blame for her dilemma, arguably a self-inflected insecurity. Catina almost felt guilty complaining about any aspect in her life. For the most part, her life had unfolded in the most perfect way possible, the Universe granted her everything she ever wanted. Except in one very important area that was straining her marriage to her beloved. Catina knew that living in shared quarters with her parents during the early weeks of their marriage while looking for a house of their own, might not have been the best option but what choice did they have? Live with Lexi and Marcus? That would have been worse especially that her best friend and childhood friend, Marcus, couldn’t keep their hands off each other for more than a few minutes. No thanks! She didn’t need the constant reminder about her own inhibitions.
Its not like she didn’t desire Antonio. She did, a lot. She just felt awkward and shy and inexperienced. Antonio was her first lover. She wasn’t naïve enough to think she was his first and that thought alone made her shrink inward. What if she didn’t know how to pleasure him? What if she was boring in comparison to his previous lovers? Catina shuddered, her shoulders slumping in defeat. Catina feared that eventually Antonio would tire of her or worse, tire of her and take on a mistress. In fairness, Antonio had never once hinted at being bored of her but did any man ever confess that to his wife? She blinked back tears, not ready to face her marriage.
Too many years of rigid rules and strict societal boundaries imbedded deep into the fibers of her being hindered any form of sexual spontaneity. For most young maidens like her, unworldliness in the ways of sexual pleasure wasn’t a problem until the young well preserved virgins from pristine upbringing found themselves married without a clue about their marital duties. Catina didn’t advocate for a loose upbringing and countless sexual escapades but did the rules have to be so damn rigid for women while men ran around conquering every conquest they set their intentions on? A scroll of instruction would have been a welcome wedding gift but alas, that didn’t exist either. Ugh!
She rubbed her temple soothingly, forcing deep meditative breaths. The warm air swirled around her playfully, reminding her of how much she loved Antonio and the life they were building together and she wasn’t about to let it fall apart on the account of sex. With renewed determination, she contemplated ways to conquer her insecurities and channel an inner vixen. Giggling at the notion of turning into a temptress, she lay on the bench in the garden gazing at the blue sky above her. A brilliant idea popped into her head and she sat up with excitement, feeling hopeful for the first time in weeks. Her childhood friend Cevila’s would know what to do. Granted it had been nine years since Cevila was a newlywed but surely she would remember those early months and be able to offer advice to Catina. Besides, if Cevila could survive awkward early months of consummating, then there was hope for Catina too. Feeling content with her plan, Catina exhaled and almost immediately, her shoulders eased down in their rightful place. Was she walking around with her shoulders pushed up this entire time?
A twinge of guilt gnawed at Catina for not confiding in her best friend Lexi about her marital challenges in the bedroom. She considered it on a few occasions and then ruled it out just as fast. It’s not that Lexi wouldn’t listen or would want to help because she would, wholeheartedly. It’s that Lexi couldn’t understand because she’ll always be an outsider in ancient times regardless of how well she fit in. Lexi harbored a great secret from everyone except Catina and Marcus. If discovered, Lexi’s secret of being a time traveler from another world, a world that seized to exist during ancient times would surely doom her. Lexi’s true home was Los Angeles 2015 with Rome 61 AD being her adopted home because of her love for Marcus. Lexi’s world and the world Lexi chose as a home with Marcus couldn’t be further apart in every aspect imaginable from lifestyle to technology. At times, Catina found herself baffled by Lexi’s decision to leave modern day conveniences for a world still riddled with fatal diseases, an unjust social system and laws that favored men in every situation. Catina couldn’t begin to comprehend what Lexi’s world looked like but from everything Lexi described, it sounded splendid. The thought of men and women holding the same position in society or in politics bemused Catina’s mind. She laughed out loud imagining a woman member at the Senate. Emperor Nero would have her poisoned before she stepped one foot in the Senate House.
It was doubtful that modern day women struggled with inhibitions. Catina doubted that Lexi felt any awkwardness with Marcus during intimacy. Catina struggled with finding the balance between the temptress she was certain her husband desired and the proper woman she was expected to be.
I hope you enjoyed the sneak peak.