Here’s a teaser from Book two Zenobia – Challenging a Legend, which will be released later this year. The scene takes place with Zenobia and Longinus. Cassius Dionysius Longinus is known in history as a living encyclopedia. Besides Zenobia, Longinus is another historical figure that intrigued Russ when he was writing Zenobia’s life story.Wallace added, “I have Longinus instructing Zenobia’s favorite class, Critical Thinking, in book one, but this may not have actually happened. What is certain is that he became her top advisor when she became queen and de facto ruler of Tadmor. He joined her campaign to overthrow Rome, lending his formidable analytical powers to her political and strategic skills. Most readers will enjoy the intellectual interplay between them, which really takes off in book two. He is intrigued by the toughness and brilliance of his beautiful pupil, while at the same time he fears her reckless daring puts her at risk. After Zenobia herself, Longinus was my favorite character to develop and work with.”
The two horses pounded along the trail. Saturn wanted to overtake Bethy, but Longinus held him back. He watched intently the girl in front of him. He detected the subtle shifts of her body as her mare flew up and down the hills and around the curves. She could have been born on a horse, he told himself. What a beautiful rider! And somewhere deep inside he realized that he meant it in more ways than one, but he did not allow himself to dwell on that. After a while, he gave Saturn his head and the big stallion overtook the mare.
Zenobia knew that her instructor had studied her ride, and she responded. He sat tall in his saddle, and he was a proficient rider. She could tell, however, that he was not a natural at it like Salim or
Cam. He had evidently learned
intellectually, and for some reason that disappointed her a bit.
They arrived at the connected rise and dune, but Zenobia noted that the formations had changed in the last few weeks. She explained how some of the riders and grooms had shadowed her that day, and how she had circled the dune twice to sneak up on them.
“Hmm. A bit provocative. What happened next?” he queried.
“One of them told me they did not like girls ‘invading’ their territory. I asked, ‘Do I look like I care?’ So he bumped Bethy with his stallion.”
“That was a mistake.”
“I warned him, but he did it again. So I cut his reins and swatted his stallion on the rump. The groom was hanging on to the mane as they sped over the rise.” She smiled at the memory.
“No one can believe you are so deadly,” he observed, “because you are too pretty.”
Zenobia felt her face grow warm as she tried unsuccessfully to hold back the blush. “You did that deliberately,” she accused.
“Of course,” he admitted readily, “and it was gratifying to see the response I had anticipated. A vain woman would not have blushed.” She looked displeased, so he shrugged his shoulders and added, “I am merely gathering facts, as I told you I would.”
“Very well,” she acquiesced. “You can tell me about yourself as we head back. First, though, I would like to switch mounts.”
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