Nardine desires two things: her freedom and a baby, in that order. When she discovers she is pregnant to a gladiator recently killed in the arena, she decides to run away, but she needs help. Enter Abedi, an African gladiator who flirts with her almost from the start. But Abedi is injured, so she looks first at other gladiators to help her in her escape plan. Abedi discovers this, and is there to support her when the master of the ludus finds her out. Together, they plot to get away so the two of them and the baby can find a life of freedom.
Rue, a slave girl in an ancient Roman ludus, has been searching for love all her life. Her mistress often gives her to victorious gladiators for pleasure at their school as a reward for competence in the arena.But Rue has only experienced cruelty in the bedroom until she meets Ducius,a muscled and handsome gladiator who relishes their couplings and,more important, Rue’s wilting spirit. He treats her gently and nurtures her.But the shadow of death haunts them whenever Ducius sets foot upon the sands of the arena, and Rue is certain she will never escape the bonds of slavery. Can they find happiness together?