His Lover. His God.
By Darragha Foster
To paraphrase Poe: They loved with a love that was more than love. Hadrian, Emperor of Rome, loved Antinous in life, and after his lover's death, worshipped him as his god. This is a romantic, fictionalized account of one of history's greatest love stories. Antinous refuses reincarnation until he can be fully reunited with Hadrian. Almost two thousand years pass before he returns to modern Egypt to profess his undying love to Hadrian's restored soul. Can Antinous, a god, on the 1892nd anniversary of his passing and ascent, convince an ex-pat tour guide that they belong together...again?
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After I died, but before I rose as a god, the last thing I recall of my life was Hadrian’s kiss. His embrace. His loving touch upon my cold, drowned, dead face. I no longer felt pain or anguish. Or fear. When he wrapped me in his arms, two things were apparent. There was no escaping his love. And I never wanted to escape. Here he was, Caesar…king…ruler of the Roman Empire by divine right, and I was nothing but a man born to run wild with bow and spear. Before his kiss, I would have spent my life hunting and fishing. I relished the outdoors and shunned polite society. My mother would have seen me wed. My father would have preferred me become a praetor. I was happier sleeping in a homemade shelter deep in the hills than wearing linen robes or on the arm of a mentor or woman ready to be made wife.
I chose not to be mentored. It was customary. I could learn much as an apprentice, and perhaps even more in an erastes/eromenos relationship. I did not want to hang on to the arm of an older politician with cold hands and a limp constitution, no matter what he had to offer. Nor did I crave the bed of a woman. When I met Hadrian—all that changed. He was magnificent. Strong. Dark and hairy as a bear. Though he was the most powerful man in the world, the sight of him did not frighten me. He made me hard. He made me desirous of his body inside mine. I wanted to do nothing more than open the flap of fabric covering his manhood and discover what pleasures lay therein.
Never had I been more overjoyed than when he took me to his bed. I was his cupbearer, and thank all the gods, I became more. I was his constant companion. At night—in the dim glow of the oil lamps in his tent—he took me as if I were his wife. Over and over. He showered me with lavish attention, and from his lips, I drew sweet words of love. There was no embarrassment in him over our relationship. He did not give concern to any who knew of our love.
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About the Author:
Darragha Foster enjoys the twisted and unusual. She finds inspiration all around her. Even in the cold case at the grocer. Where she is no longer welcome. But that's another story...