I have received e-mails, texts, and phone calls from many of you asking “When is the next Cartaphilus book coming out?”
There were a couple of issues that were beyond my control. But – the book is now available in all e-book formats at your favorite retailer.
October 29, 2016 was the release date of the e-book format of “The Cartaphilus Saga: book #2 Passionis.”
If you pre-ordered it, the next time you log onto your favorite retailer it will automatically download.
If you haven’t ordered it yet, I have a special surprise for you. Retailers give you the first 20% of the book as a sample for you to download for free. I have set up two samples after the half-way point in the book. The first sample you can here any time after 29 October 2016. The second sample you can read here after 5 November 2016. These two samples are not available anywhere else.
Sample # 001.
Mark glanced at his watch. “I’m sure you noticed that we worked through lunch—are you ready for a fine dinner? I have reservations for us at the Signature Room in the John Hancock building. Have you ever been there before?”
David shook his head.
“They have great food and the best view of Chicago anywhere.”
“I certainly am.”
With their jackets on, they left Mark’s room and headed for the elevators. From the street entrance of the Talbott they walked to the John Hancock building then approached the attendant in the lobby. Mark gave his name, and the attendant stepped back to let them pass. Smiling, Mark gestured for David to step ahead of him into the express elevator, and they got off on the 95th floor. The maître d’ seated them at a table by the window which provided—as Mark had promised—an amazing view of the Chicago skyline and the lake. Over the duration of their meal, the two men sat in silence, enjoying each course, but their thoughts were on Pompeii.
As soon as dessert was served, David broke the silence. “She was not a Roman citizen.”
“No, she was not.”
“But you were.”
“Yes, I am.”
“And she got to you?”
“Yes, she did.”
“But she was beneath you, less than you since she was non-Roman. Wasn’t that the way Romans looked at non-Romans?”
He nodded. “That was the Roman attitude towards non-Roman citizens, yes.”
“Why her? You admit you did not stop having relations with women after your wife died, and I know you saw beautiful women passengers over your twenty-five years at sea. Some of those female passengers would have been available and willing, I’m sure. And of course we haven’t mentioned the women since then, the ones we have not even gotten to yet.” He hesitated. “But this one … she’s still with you. I can hear it in your voice even after all that time. You still have feelings for her. Why?”
Mark wondered the same thing. “I didn’t have feelings for her when she first took me to her home. At first I just thought she’d brought me there because she enjoyed her work, since I had known other lupas who did. To be honest, I wasn’t thinking of her. I was being hunted, and I trusted no one—including her. I was thinking of my situation and wondering how to get out of it, but over time I did notice something different about her.”
“She … saw me.”
“She saw you? I don’t understand. I mean, I know she saw you, and it sounds like she liked what she saw, physically, but that’s not what you’re talking about, is it?”
He shook his head. “She looked at me like no one had before. Not since …”
As memories hit, Mark shut down. He stared at the view of Lake Michigan, but he saw nothing except the people in his life he had loved. It was a few seconds before he could speak again. When he did, his eyes stung with tears.
“Not since Caria. You need to always remember something, David. No matter what happens to you, it is the people in your life who matter. The people.”
Men fell in and out of love all the time, he knew. Over two thousand years, he had seen it over and over again. After all this time, Mark understood how precious love was, how incredible it was to love and be loved in return, to experience the joy one gets from putting another person and that person’s happiness ahead of his own.
“Were there many others who touched you so strongly?”
The question hung in the air, and David looked away. Mark knew he was sorry for asking it. It was awkward in its wording and intrusive in its effect, yet Mark had a feeling there was more to the question that what he’d said—and the unasked question might be even more invasive. The rest of the evening fell into a melancholy silence, and though he sensed David was at a loss for how to break the mood, Mark was disinclined to help.