To Burn

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Book one in a 6 book series.

The Romans had taken Britain and made it their own, but when the Roman Empire collapses on itself, the Roman legions leave the fringes of the Empire and draw back toward the center, to Rome. Leaving Britannia defenseless against the Saxon barbarians.

She was a Roman Briton and...
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Overview

Book one in a 6 book series.

The Romans had taken Britain and made it their own, but when the Roman Empire collapses on itself, the Roman legions leave the fringes of the Empire and draw back toward the center, to Rome. Leaving Britannia defenseless against the Saxon barbarians.

She was a Roman Briton and she embodied all that Rome stood for. He hated her on sight. She, proudly Roman, fought him with every breath. He burned his way into her life, destroying the world as she knew it, and she vowed to fight him to the death, either hers or his.

He was a Saxon warrior and stood for everything she loathed and feared. He was a beast, an animal...a barbarian. He destroyed her villa by fire and then stayed to torment her, finding joy in her despair, playing out his revenge upon her until he grew bored with his game and decided to kill her.

The hate they felt for each other burned with a fiery blaze, yet when he touched her, she trembled. They felt only hatred burning in their souls...or was it respect, admiration, and even love?

Bookseller's Best Award Finalist
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Claudia Dain turns up the heat with To Burn. Hatred is the first thing to flare between Melania, a noble Roman lady, and Wulfred, the Saxon warrior who has captured her father's villa on the outskirts of the Roman Empire. At first Wulfred thinks of her only as a captive, a slave, for he's never known a woman worthy to be called an enemy. But Melania's spirited defense soon wins his respect, even as her fiery beauty fans the flames of the passion between them into an irresistible inferno. As the sun sets on the Roman Empire she reveres, Melania's only hope for preserving the remnants of that glorious civilization is to tame the handsome barbarian who has claimed all she possesses. And if scholarly logic alone fails to persuade him -- she is prepared to use other means.
Publishers Weekly
With its wealth of rapid-fire repartee and smoldering sex scenes, Claudia Dane's To Burn lives up to its title, spinning a red-hot, medieval-era romance between Wulfred, a vengeful Saxon conqueror intent on bending Rome and its people to his will, and Melania, Wulfred's proud and plucky Roman prisoner. As Wulfred and Melania engage in a delightful battle of wills he deems she should live and suffer as his slave, so she tries every method to kill herself and thwart him the romantic tension between the pair mounts, but their old enmities may be too great to overcome. An overwrought but seductive romance by one of the genre's fastest rising stars, Dane's newest (after The Marriage Bed) brims with beguiling characters and historical richness. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
www.ananymous.com - No Name
With it's wealth of rapid-fire repartee and smoldering sex scenes, Claudia Dain's To Burn lives up to its title, spinning red-hot medieval-era romance between Wulfred, a vengeful Saxon conqueror intent on bending Rome and its people to his will, and Melania, Wulfred's proud and plucky Roman prisoner...brims with beguiling characters and historical richness.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780843949858
  • Publisher: Dorchester Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2002
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 6.82 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

Claudia Dain was first published in romance in 2000. She is a two-time Rita finalist and a USA Today Bestselling author. A native of Los Angeles, she now lives in North Carolina. She writes Women's Fiction as Claudia Welch.
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Read an Excerpt



To Burn



By Claudia Dain


Dorchester Publishing


Copyright © 2002

Claudia Dain

All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8439-4985-6



Chapter One


Attack, loot, and kill; that was their method. Never did they
stay. Never. But this time they did. This time, because there
was a Roman who had eluded them. She had hidden herself away,
knowing that they would not linger after their victory. She
had been so sure of what they would do.

But a Saxon would never do what was expected, not when a Roman
had been counting on that expectation.

Wulfred did not bother to stay and watch the building up of
the fire in the furnace, though most of his men and all of the
slaves of the villa remained to watch in smothered horror. Oh,
he could feel it; not from his own people, but from those who
dwelled here. They had thought her protected. Wulfred smiled
coldly, fondling his blade. There was no protection for Rome
from Saxon fury, and there would be no protection for her from
the fire. She would die in the blast of scorching heat or she
would beg for release from her tomb and find death in the
blade he carried. But she would die. She was Roman.

He would not have long to wait for her bleating wails. He
would not have long to wait for total victory in this place
that smelled of Rome.

* * *

Melania heard the crackle of fire before she felt the heat of
it on the soles of her bare feet. She knew immediately what
was happening.Somehow they had found her out. Somehow they
thought to force her from her pinched cocoon. They had blocked
her escape with the very fire that now warmed her, and so they
must expect her to call for help, or release, or mercy.
Melania smiled coldly in the growing heat.

As if she would ask mercy of a Saxon.

If she stayed, the heat of the fire would kill her eventually
and the hypocaust vent where she had gone for reluctant safety
would become her tomb. Melania sighed as deeply as the walls
of the vent would allow.

There were worse tombs.

At least she would die untouched by their foul hands, and they
would not have the satisfaction they so obviously wanted of
finding her and killing her in some bloody Saxon way. So she
would die.

She would die.

All that was left to her now was the means and the method, and
she far preferred to die inviolate than to have a Saxon lay
his hands upon her, even if it was only to hold her throat
ready for the knife.

Melania crept forward, digging her nails into the clay of the
hypocaust, toward the library vent. Yes, she would die, but
there was light coming from the vent, and for all her bravery,
she did not want to die in the dark.

* * *

Wulfred paced in front of the vent, his impatience growing at
a pace with the heat in the room.

"More wood! Now! Build it till it blasts her out of her hole!"

Cynric hurried out of the room to relay his message, just in
case they hadn't heard him outside, which was unlikely.
Wulfred had rarely been in such a rage. Leave it to a Roman to
be so obstinate, so imbecilic, so perverse. Safety, cool
safety, awaited her if she would just call out for help. The
vent grille was set in tile and plaster; it would come free
easily at a blow. He would have her out in moments, if she
would just open her arrogant Roman mouth and scream in terror
as any normal Roman would.

* * *

Gyrating her hips, she edged closer to the vent. It was cooler
there and the light brighter. Mostly it was brighter. The heat
came in dry, crackling waves that sucked the moisture from the
air she was forced to breathe. It flowered over her in a
caress that scorched and blistered. Her eyes were dry and it
hurt to blink. Not much longer now. Not much longer before the
burning air would char her lungs.

She would die soon-an honorable death, eluding an enemy's
grasp. She would die untouched by Saxon hands. Her body would
not be mutilated by a Saxon seax. Her eyes would never behold
the filthy barbarian who had murdered her. She would be as
inviolate as a murdered woman could be.

It was inevitable that she would die; each searing wave told
her that, but she wanted her death to be as painless and
private as possible, and dying here would accomplish that. But
more than anything, she wanted to deny him the victory of her
death. Here he would never know. Never be sure. Here she would
win.

* * *

Wulfred could not remember having endured such heat; it coiled
about him like a viper and tightened, squeezing out all
memories of ever being cool. Snatching his cloak off his back,
he flung it to the floor and stood, naked to the waist,
watching the vent with glittering eyes.

How could she stand it? Was she dead already? Dead, without a
whimper for release? Impossible.

Striding to the wall sconce, he ripped it from its base and
carried it to the vent, wanting to see what his senses told
him was there. Dropping to one knee, he thrust the flickering
light down toward the floor. From the deeply shadowed darkness
of the hypocaust, hate-filled eyes sliced into his with
unblinking hostility.

No tears, no hysteria, no pleading. Impossible. Perhaps the
hidden one was not a woman. And certainly not a woman of a
defeated race.

Wulfred scowled into those eyes even as he gestured for her to
come out. Not even a blink in response to his encouraging
beckoning.

The heat was so terrible that he was light-headed; how much
longer could she survive? It was a small hole she had wedged
herself into; perhaps she was trapped. Yes, trapped and unable
to escape, for certainly a creature of Rome would run toward
any escape. She could not move forward and would certainly
have no desire to move backward toward the blasting heat. He
would help her achieve her destiny and her most certain
desire; he would help her find her escape. He grabbed the bars
and pulled. The plaster crumbled easily and the opening was
clear. No excuse now. She had to come forth. She would die by
his hand and she would do so now.

Still, she remained embedded in the earth. Demented woman,
could she not understand the escape he had given her? The
Romans were a perverse people, but this went beyond the
normal. Perhaps she was a true imbecile.

Wulfred reached into the small dark hole to pull her out, his
patience burned up by the heat of the furnace blast, and was
bitten on the hand for his pains. He grunted an oath.
Definitely an imbecile. But imbecile or not, she would come
out.

"Hand," he called in Latin as he held his hand out to her.
Could she understand even such a simple word, such a simple
concept?

"Ass," was the response. He knew the word and understood the
insult; even if he had not, he could have read the meaning in
her eyes. Ass? She had called him an ass?

With a strangled and throaty roar, Wulfred attacked the floor,
his seax a gleam of moving metal. He had waited. He had
coaxed. He had been insulted. Now he would take her by force.
Oh, he would not kill her where she lay, half-buried in the
dirt. No, he wanted her at his feet and begging. She was brave
when protected by the hypocaust; he would see a different side
of her when she lay exposed and vulnerable at his feet. She
would beg and cry and he would laugh, as they had laughed.

The floor was a mass of broken tile and powdery plaster. He
pulled her free easily and dumped her on the rubble-strewn
floor. Now doubt now: she was very much a woman, though slight
of build. Her hair was dark and long and straight, covered in
dirt and a dead leaf or two. She was too small to have stoked
such a fire of anger in him; the heat of his anger rivaled the
overwhelming heat of the room. She did not beg or cringe at
the sight of his battle seax or heave her shoulders in racking
sobs. No, the little imbecile glared at him out of
light-colored eyes with undiluted hate; not the look of a
beaten foe, but more the look of a warrior plotting his next
assault, even with the knife at his heart. He was looking at a
woman who would have chosen to die by fire rather than call
for mercy. But he did not admire her for it, of course not;
here lay the woman who even now thwarted his dearest desire by
not pleading for mercy. Even now, when he had her in his
grasp, he had never been so angry. It pulsed through him like
the heat waves that washed over him, consuming his reason,
firing his passion.

(Continues...)





Excerpted from To Burn
by Claudia Dain
Copyright © 2002 by Claudia Dain.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Hooked

    To Burn is the first book I've read that takes place such an ancient setting. I know nothing about the time period, but I was hooked from the very beginning and couldn't go to bed until I finished the book. The battle of wills between Melania and Wulfred was something to watch and revel in. This pair was well-matched from the beginning and I loved Melania's strength of spirit from the beginning until the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2003

    Not the Dain I expected

    Having read some of Claudia Dain's earlier works, I bought this book as soon as it hit the shelf. I am dissappointed to say that I was unable to finish reading this book. The idea of someone falling in love with the man that murdered her family and enslaved her is not very believable or appealing to me.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Sterile read

    Seems too technically perfect. Odd how the "barbarian" Saxon thought and spoke. Seemed way too sophisicated- even more so than the cultured Roman lady he tried to smoke out. Cliched and stereotyped characterization and story. Passing on this.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted May 4, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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