Centurion's Vow

Book two in the Imperial Desires series.

Having suffered through a loveless marriage once, Nivea Tibernius is determined her second marriage shall be full of love, passion and children. With her marriage approaching in two months, she overhears Gaius Ovidius and some of his comrades discussing her upcoming marriage. Gaius doesn't believe she'll be able to please her new husband; a man he knows has dark sexual desires. Thinking about what she heard, Nivea decides she needs "lessons" to prepare her for her new husband's bed. She decides Gaius, the handsome centurion, will make the perfect teacher since he shares some of the same desires.

Shocked by Nivea's request for "lessons", Gaius plans to turn down her request but he can't say no when she offers him a sizeable fee and her beautiful body in exchange for the lessons. How hard can it be to take a beautiful and lonely widow to bed? What should have been a simple business transaction and mutually pleasing but brief affair becomes much more when Nivea steals his heart.

Now just days before her wedding Nivea has to make a choice - a life of security with her intended or a life of happiness with Gaius..a man who can only offer her his love.

Centurion's Vow by Nadia Aidan is the second book in the Imperial Desires series. It's a hot and fairly fast paced story set in Siga, a province in the Dahomey, a country in West Africa during its Roman occupation. This story takes place roughly several years after the events of Centurion's Honor, the first book in the series, with Gaius Ovidius, a secondary character becoming the focus of this story.

Nivea Tibernius is an interesting character; a young rich widow who should be content with her vast holdings is lonely and wants what she should have had in her first marriage, love and children. When Flavius Cicero, a retired Roman general, requests her hand in marriage, Nivea accepts his proposal believing she'll finally be able to have what her heart desires. She didn't become aware of his darker sexual needs until she accidentally overheard a conversation discussing their upcoming wedding and her intended's dark sexual habits. Wanting this marriage to succeed, and being a somewhat liberated woman, Nivea decides to learn what will please her future husband in bed, prior to their wedding. She decides she wants Gaius Ovidius, one of the Roman centurions she overheard, to give her lessons since it appears he seems to share some of her intended's preferences. I really liked how Ms. Aidan developed Nivea's character, while she could have been content with being a widow; she's actively pursuing what she wants - children and a loving relationship. She's also different because she's not just content to let her servants or the other men in her life take care of everything, she's very hands on and has no problems doing the everyday tasks that need to get done.

Gaius Ovidius was an interesting character in his own right; the second son of a wealthy and influential Roman landowner, he's determined to become a landowner without help from his father. He's good looking, in great shape and intelligent. Having been hurt by a woman he loved in the past, he's determined to guard his heart and is afraid of falling in love again. He's also attracted to men and has had a male lover for the last couple of years, though he's never given him his heart - something he's been honest about from the start. Gaius knows his attraction will never turn to love - he's unable to love a man and refuses to give any woman power over his heart. However, Nivea makes him an offer he can't refuse; the money she pays him will enable him to purchase his own estate. Gaius didn't plan on becoming involved with her for more than a brief sexual association or on having to face the issues from his past.

The scenes between Nivea and Gaius are hot and steamy. They have great physical chemistry and can't resist being together. Gaius is deeply affected by Nivea's passionate nature and willingness to learn. As their relationship deepens, Gaius realizes he wants Nivea for his own but the damage from a previous relationship stands in the way of him giving her his heart. While Gaius is willing to make Nivea an offer for marriage, he's not willing to offer her his full heart, something she'll have to refuse.

There are only a couple of secondary characters but they are important for the story. We meet Leviticus, Gaius lover for the last two years, who realizes their relationship will never be more than physical and pushes Gaius to accept Nivea's offer. We meet Claudius Ovidius, Gaius father, whose difficult relationship with his son is at the center of his issues with love. We also meet, Flavius Cicero, Nivea's intended, who turns out to be the exact opposite of what she was really looking for. He's the antagonist in the story and very easy to dislike.

The end of the story is an emotional showdown between Nivea and Gaius. Will Gaius finally take a chance and surrender his pride and his heart to get the woman he loves? You'll have to read Centurion's Vow to find out.

Book Blurb for Centurion's Vow

Nivea has suffered once through a loveless, passionless marriage and refuses to do so again. Set to wed in two months time, she overhears Gaius Ovidius joking with his comrades how she shall never please her intended, who is well known for possessing unique desires. Nivea forms an idea… If Gaius knows so much about the pleasures to be had in her marriage bed, then she shall have the handsome centurion instruct her accordingly.

Initially set against her plan, Gaius eventually agrees. After all, how difficult could this be? Nivea has offered him a substantial sum in exchange for his lessons, and she is quite comely. Not an arduous task to bed a beautiful, lonely widow. It should have been a simple business transaction, a mutually pleasing but brief affair. Yet Gaius never wagered Nivea would steal his heart.

Now just days before her wedding, Nivea will be forced to choose—abandon a life of security with her intended for a lifetime of happiness with Gaius…a man who can offer her nothing except his love.

Reader Advisory: This book contains a hot m/m love scene prior to the hero finding the woman he yearns for. 

Night Owl Reviews Aug, 2011 3.50