While I know the rest of the known world introduces their main characters, this is Sparta and we do everything differently here. So I’d like you to meet a secondary character named Ictis. Ictis lives with Andreas and is Andreas’ primary companion. He’s also a ferret.
Surprised? No one living in Sparta would have been.
You see Andreas wasn’t feeling particularly imaginative the day he named his new pet. In ancient Greek, Ictis more or less means… Ferret!
Dogs, caged birds, goats, tortoises, ducks, quail, weasels, mice, polecats/ferrets, and grasshoppers were all popular pets in ancient Greece. Ferrets were useful for keeping rodent populations down and as such served a double function.
Ictis has a third duty. He gives Andreas someone to talk to. Too bad he’s not much of a conversationalist. But he does try. It’s not his fault if Andreas doesn’t always understand him.
In fact, Andreas should have paid more attention to his warnings about that warrior lurking around their home. Didn’t Andreas realize just how dangerous the man could be? Ictis couldn’t have made it any clearer if he had jumped up and down and stolen the rabbit Andreas was preparing to feed to the Spartan warrior. Invite the kryptes into his home? Whatever was his human doing?
As a helot and a member of an enslaved people, Andreas should know better than draw the attention of one of the warriors responsible for Sparta’s reign of terror. Kryptes kept the helots from revolting by killing any of the slaves likely to lead a revolt.
Ictis had tried explaining all this, but unable to take his eyes from the warrior, Andreas hadn’t listened. Now Andreas was risking death. And what for? Conversation with a human was overrated.
Leaping up, Andreas strode to the wood pile. Stop thinking like that! He grabbed a few branches. Setting the wood near the outdoor hearth, he crouched and stared at the flames.
He shouldn’t keep thinking about the entrancing man like this, but he couldn’t seem to stop. The warrior would probably kill him if he’d any suspicion of the thoughts he provoked in Andreas.
“Friendship! I just want someone to call my friend,” he explained to Ictis as if saying it would make it so. The ferret stood back, hunched and tail fluffed in surprise, at the vehemence of his outburst. Andreas needed to remember his place and not risk longing for anything beyond his grasp.
Poking the fire down, he pushed the covered dish into the edge of the blaze. As the coals built up, he would bank them around the sides. But for now, the pottery vessel and bread stone could warm until they reached a slow burn like he had.
Andreas peeled and crushed the garlic, tossing it into the boiling pot along with the lentils. Mouthwatering steam rose up as the cloves hit the hot water. He couldn’t wait for dinner. He hoped his warrior appreciated all of his hard work. But no matter, the thought of spoiling the young man appealed to him.
Ictis finished his meal and stole one of the cucumbers, rolling it out of Andreas’ reach and “killing” the vegetable as if it were his prey. Requiring much jumping in and out of range, the final death blow left Ictis triumphantly straddling his spoils.
Shaking his head, Andreas let the victorious beast keep his prize. “I can’t very well use that one, now can I?”
The ferret sampled his prey and shook his head vigorously, flinging bits of the cucumber everywhere.
Andreas snorted out a laugh. “Not what you thought it would be? At least now I don’t have to protect the last one from you.”
He opened another amphora and the sweet, rich smell of the barley flour filled the air. The small storage vessel was nearly empty. He would have to grind more soon. Mixing the flour with some water and a dash of oil, Andreas worked the mass into small balls. When the stone was hot enough, he would flatten them and cook them on its surface.
Adding a couple more logs to the blaze, he rearranged the cooking pots and glanced at the sun. He needed to bring in the goats before dark, and by then the bread should be ready to bake.
“In you go, Ictis! Guard the house while I’m gone.”
Alone, Andreas toils on a remote farmstead for a Spartan overlord. When a kryptes enters his world, Andreas fears for his life. The dread warriors stalk and kill helots—like Andreas’ father—as part of their training.
Andreas sees only one way to save himself: he must tame the fearsome warrior.
But what began as self-preservation develops into attraction. Yearning for the company of someone other than his ferret Ictis, Andreas decides to trust the Spartan warrior and risk the fate that claimed his father.
Born to rule by the sword, Theron sees the world as his and acts accordingly, taking everything Andreas offers and reaching for more. However, love between men in Sparta is considered shameful and requires either exile or suicide to redeem Sparta’s honor. Now, only the gods can save them from the terrible price Sparta extracts from men who desire other men.
Kayla Jameth grew up on the family farm in Ohio. An unrepentant tomboy, she baled hay, raised cattle, and her father taught her to weld before she graduated from high school.
She attended Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University and later, Texas A&M University in her pursuit of veterinary medicine, taking her far away from her rural roots.
But it wasn’t all hard work for her, her sojourn as the princess of the Celestial Kingdom left her with the title “Sir” and a costume closet the envy of many knights, lords, and ladies.
After declaring for years that she was not an author, Kayla now finds herself writing m/m erotic romance outside of Houston, Texas. While you can take the girl out of the country, you can’t turn her into a city slicker. Kayla would still rather be outside getting down and dirty with the boys.
She shares a full house with her favorite animals: a cat, two guinea pigs, a gerbil, three guppies, as well as her husband, son, and daughter.