In 4th-century North Africa,
peasant girl Leona
falls in love with a Roman aristocrat – the future Saint
Augustine. Their story unfolds against the backdrop of Rome’s
fall and Christianity’s rise. Drawn from
THE SAINT'S MISTRESS
breathes life into the previously untold story of his beloved
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I sat and dipped my injured foot into the basin, wincing as
I began to clean the damaged toe.
Aurelius knelt. “Here, let me.”
I stared at him as if he were mad: a man of the aristocratic
class offering to wash the feet of a peasant girl? But I was too tired
to object. Now that I was safe, I was trembling from the terror and
I watched mesmerized as he took my small foot in
his hands and wiped it with the soft cloth. He was awkward, but careful,
gentle and surprisingly thorough. He rubbed one spot at a time, in
little circles, until my foot was warmed by a tingling feeling that
began to travel up my leg.
“You know, in the Christian Bible, it says that Christ did this: washed his disciples’ feet,” he
said, watching his own hands at work. Everything was a lesson with him, always.
I didn’t respond. He was washing my ankle now, his strong hands circling it and moving up and down from
my calf to my heel. I shivered, although the room was warm.
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