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About the author:
Amy Hearst is a former journalist and college professor. She has loved historical fiction and romance since she read Gone With the Wind at the age of ten. She waited a long time, but The Gladiator’s Girl is her first work of fiction.
What inspired you to write your book?
I love books, films and TV programs about gladiators. I wanted to write my own story.
Here is a short sample from the book:
“Sit,” he said, motioning to a small stool next to the table.
Rue sat down, twisting her long, dark brown hair between two fingers.
“Are you mute as well as blind?” asked Ducius. “I notice you didn’t respond when I waved to you twice from the practice floor. Why did you walk away? Do I not please you?”
“That is not it,” said Rue. “I didn’t want to be punished for distracting a gladiator while he is at practice. There are few women around the ludus, and it doesn’t bode well for them if the gladiators neglect their work.”
“Well, it doesn’t appear as though I am guilty of that, at least for the time being,” said Ducius. “My victory was decisive. But I did request you, as a matter of fact. The lanista knew who I wanted when I described the raven-haired beauty with large eyes and soft lips.” He smiled. “Eat something.”
Rue picked up a pear. “If I please you, I must ask a favor of you,” she ventured, looking into his large brown eyes.
“A favor? If I can, I will it to you,” said Ducius.
“Please do not mark me,” said Rue. “If you like inflicting pain, there are ways of doing that without leaving a mark. I hope I have not angered you.”
Ducius burst out laughing. “Mark you? With my sword? As though I might injure you, as I have those in the arena? Why would I do such a thing? You are a beauty, with your blue eyes and bountiful breasts, and deserve more careful handling. But I detect fear in your eyes. Why is it there? Is this to be your first time with a man?”
“No,” Rue replied, captivated by the yearning in his eyes. “It’s just that others―other gladiators―injured me and left marks upon my body.” She blanched, remembering Horus’ attack. “My mistress sees that as evidence that I have angered them. In Cornelia’s eyes, all the gladiators are perfect. And perfectly behaved. So, if I am injured, it must be my fault.”
Ducius’ eyes lit up in reproach. “Well, if the other gladiators are beasts in the arena, we can only assume they would be beasts in bed, as well. But you have nothing to fear from me. The arena is a blood match. This is a match of body and spirit. What do I call you?” he asked.
“My name is Rue.”
“Well, my little bird Rue, I want to make sure you have eaten and drunk your fill before I approach you. Here,” he said, pushing the plate of mutton toward her. “Eat some more. We may have a busy night ahead.” He smiled again, turning his brown eyes on Rue’s own, as her heart hammered in her chest. “Eat and drink.”
Rue chewed on a fingernail, then relented and ate some mutton. The wine helped calm her. Perhaps this wouldn’t be so bad. She couldn’t deny Ducius’ attractiveness, with his broad chest and muscled arms and legs. His face looked a bit like that of a little boy, hungering for her approval, as he fed her sweetmeats and fruit. And those eyes. Once again, Rue felt a fluttering in her stomach, as he looked straight into her soul. Rue experienced a strange warm tingle in her chest, emanating up to her shoulders. She almost felt safe.