Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Available now from Phaze!

Yay! My short story, The Gladiator's Woman, is available now from Phaze (http://www.phaze.com/index2.html).

Enjoy the excerpt below.

Collina Flavia leaned on the balustrade that ran around the
central courtyard of the gladiator school and watched silently as
the men went through their paces under the fierce guidance of their
trainers.
It was three days since the lanista-Brutus Aemilius had asked
her to be the doctor for his ludus, and she'd been too busy moving
in and purchasing supplies to pay much more than a glancing
attention to the gladiators who might soon require her services. But
the tall Aethiop with skin the color of night, a man of her mother's
own race, had caught her eye. He wore nothing but a loincloth and
she noted how his muscles rippled and bunched as he performed
his maneuvers. After practice, a masseur would attend to the men.
Collina found herself wishing it was her hands that would glide
over the Aethiop's oiled skin, loosening his tired muscles until he
was as pliable as dough. Then, if he had no objection, she would
massage him elsewhere bringing on the hardness she'd banished
from the rest of his body. She'd find out if what they said about tall
men with long hands was true. With luck, he'd feel obliged to
return massage for massage. The thought sent a finger of fire
snaking upwards from between her legs.
In front of her, the Aethiop executed a particularly complex
maneuver and then sank to his knees, chest heaving, exhausted.
Catching sight of her for the first time, he raised his wooden sword
in a mock salute, grinning as if he knew what she'd been thinking.
Collina Flavia nodded primly at him and hurried away. They had
not spoken two words since she'd moved to the ludus-she didn't
even know his name. Still, she couldn't get the gladiator out of her
mind as she sat in her treatment room that afternoon, pounding her
newly purchased supplies into powders and salves and measuring
them into their individual bottles. She must at least find out his
name, she decided. Maybe even strike up a conversation. How
difficult could that be?
In her mind's eye she saw again his naked, finely-built torso,
the muscles twisting in his arms and back, the look of
concentration on his face as he put himself through his moves.
He'd looked like some onyx statue carved by a master and brought
to life by the breath of Jupiter. She had to meet him.
Her opportunity to talk to the Aethiop came earlier than she'd
hoped. That same night, he came to sit beside her at one of the long
kitchen tables where the gladiators and those who worked with
them ate.
"I never saw you watch us train before," he said, bringing a
heaping spoon of meat stew to his mouth.
Collina paused before answering. She wanted to make sure her
voice didn't shake.
"I've been busy getting the treatment room to my liking," she
said, congratulating herself on the smoothness of her delivery.
"Ah, yes. I think if Tiberius hadn't conveniently died, Brutus
would have fired him. He wasn't all that good. I hope you're
better."
Collina decided not to take offence. "I hope so, too," she said
lightly.
"She's certainly easier on the eye," interrupted the squat, blond
gladiator sitting opposite her.
The Aethiop looked her over, his heavy-lidded eyes sweeping
from the top of her head to what he could see of her legs, while
Collina did her best not to look as uncomfortable as she felt.
"Much easier," he agreed, chuckling.


Tula Neal
The Gladiator's Woman, Available Now from Phaze
http://tulaneal.blogspot.com/

2 comments:

vickiwe said...

Tula,

This is very different from what I'm use to reading. I like it! Although I'll probably need history lesson on the time period! LOL I'm definitely gonna check this out!

Victoria

Ruvian Marie said...

Congrats on you being published, I'm sure it feels like a sweet accomplishment :) I looked in your profile and notice you said you like anything by Anais Nin. I got curious and bought a book by her, Little Birds, and I have to say I love it. So thanks for introducing me to her :)