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About the author:
I live in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. I wrote for many years as a journalist. These days I am concentrating on fiction. I have no pets or children, but love kids and cats. (I’m allergic so can’t get a kitten.)
What inspired you to write your book?
The Gladiator’s Goddess is the second book in the Gladiators’ Gifts series. Like the first book, The Gladiator’s Girl, it’s a novella based in a ludus, or gladiatorial school, in ancient Rome. The main relationship is multicultural – Nardine is white and Abedi is African. I was inspired by the many races which inhabited ancient Rome. It was the center of the ancient universe, much like New York City might be considered today.
Here is a short sample from the book:
The following day, Nardine worked in the infirmary. Abedi hobbled around on his cane and bothered her as she fulfilled all the duties the physician gave her.
She couldn’t say why, but something about Abedi put her on guard. She had to admit his chest was broad and his legs like trees. But something more than that attracted her. Perhaps his steely dark gaze drew her to him. His eyes looked like limpid pools full of tan leaves.
And he treated her like a queen. His gaze caused a tingling in her, one that began low in her belly and spread throughout her midsection and her breasts. She could barely believe her attraction to Abedi so soon after Gaius’ death.
“My beautiful tranquil little flower,” said Abedi. “Where are you going on this fine morning?”
“I’m staying here all day, Abedi. You’ll have your fill of me before the day is through. The physician said it’s time to put the cane down.” Nardine suspected he stayed in the infirmary specifically to follow her around.
“Can you help me?” asked Abedi, laying his cane by a pallet. “I need your support.” He smiled at her.
“Abedi! You don’t need support from me, a big strong gladiator like you! I should be leaning on you for support!” She smiled, allowing him to put his arm around her shoulders, and they hobbled down the corridor together.
Nardine couldn’t believe what happened next. Abedi pushed her into a tiny closet and up against a wall. “My beautiful goddess. At last we are alone.” He smiled again, and Nardine couldn’t help noticing his eyes, lit up by the light from a small window in the closet. She should push him away, but for some reason, she didn’t.
“Abedi. We’re not alone. There are other patients just down the hall…”
Abedi silenced her with a long, expansive kiss that radiated throughout Nardine’s body. No one had ever kissed her like this before. She vaguely wondered why she felt so comfortable. If one of the other gladiators had tried this she would have screamed and pushed him away. And yet this kiss went on. Abedi explored her mouth with his tongue and then drew away.
“My lily flower. You taste as good as you look. I was not wrong.” Those dark eyes flashed, and another smile spread slowly across his face.
Nardine gently extricated herself. “Abedi, we can’t be seen like this. I would be severely punished by the mistress.”
“But my dear, you won’t be punished after I win my next match and request you in my bed.”
Nardine shied away at that. “You have to win first. And in order to win, you have to be able to walk. Let us return to the infirmary. As they walked slowly down the hall, Nardine remembered how the kiss made her feel—as though the stars in the sky raced around and around as she ran beneath them. The dizziness hadn’t left her, even now. No, she wouldn’t forget Abedi.