“I knew an Amazon once.” His words filtered through the crowd’s screams and the helmet to reach her ears. They pushed at each other, fighting for the title of victor. He pulled back, swung low, and she easily hopped over his blade. Their blades hit again. “Your mother was a good woman.”
His words caught her off guard. He smashed the hilt low on her hip and Larina landed on her ass. She rolled to her side, the blade landing where her torso had been, but the man wielding it seemed to be growing slower. Was he just prolonging the fight for the crowd’s entertainment?
“My mother is gone from this world,” Larina said after flipping to her feet. They circled each other, their words quiet.
“I know. I was but a boy when the day of her death was upon her. She tried to save my sister and me from the Romans.”
“The fuckers you currently fight for.” Larina swung, but she only gave half her energy into it. This fierce gladiator seemed to be toying with her.
“But for the moment.”
Larina could see his small grin in the darkness of his helmet before he swung. She easily blocked the strike and used her hilt to hit him in the shoulder. He fell back slightly. “Now we are even.”
“We must prolong the battle.” He swung low but inched his shield down.
Was it on purpose? Larina blocked the weapon and used her fist, as her shield had been destroyed by the previous fight, to smack the man in the face. It was openhanded, and he looked more annoyed than hurt when he fell back.
“Give reason for your delay?” She kicked at the shield and sent him back another step before swinging her sword wide and slashing at his shield.
“Do you long for death then?”
Larina snorted and began a dance she’d created long ago. Two slashes upward, a strike to the gut, a spin and then a slash at the enemy’s head. She gave the man credit as he spun out of the way and avoided her blade by inches. It wouldn’t have killed him but sure as hell would have left a scar. She was growing tired though. The roar of the crowd was deafening as they screamed for her death. “I do not care for games. Speak of your plans or I shall end this.”
The man gave two hard swings and she blocked them both. “Your false death to appease the crowd.” He swung and she spun from aim. “My victory and when they take you to the pit you fight your way free and swim down the trough to freedom.” He ended with a series of swings. Each blow landed heavy against her sword and made her arms tense from his sheer strength.
“And how do I know you do not speak with false tongue?” Larina landed a few blows of her own, the crowd booing at her attempt to gain the upper hand.
“You do not.” He growled and swung.
Larina blocked the first strike, counting and controlling her breath as the second clash of blades rattled her arm. As he moved for the third she took the biggest risk of her life and loosened her grip. The power of his blade knocked the sword easily from her hand. The brute then slammed his shoulder into her and she landed ungracefully on her butt. The crowd cheered, getting to its feet in a chorus of “kill.” It made Larina despise the Romans that much more. He brought his sword high and she fought the urge to roll away. Either this was a new ally or her executioner. Neither sat well with her. The blade came down swift and true to aim. It sliced some of her skin to spray blood but most of the sharp point impacted the dirt.
Larina gave her best death throes and fell back. She tried her best not to move as her side ached from the cut, and she slowed her breathing gradually to appear deceased.
Cheers rang out of the crowd. They called their champion’s name with vigor. “Brennus! Brennus!”
The man who saved her life lifted his hand into the air, revving up the crowd so that they all stood at once and began stomping their feet. The sound was incredible as two slaves grabbed her wrists and began tugging her from the arena. She kept her eyes closed, her breath held as she was dragged slowly toward freedom. If this worked, if she really got away, she made a promise right there to return and break him out. Why did he save her? Surely, her mother’s failed attempt at his freedom was not worth possible execution.
The crowd began to quiet as the sand scratched at her back. Larina was almost free! The word was like honey on her tongue.
“Hold.” The magistrate’s voice echoed and the slaves stopped.
Larina ground her teeth and peered through barely opened eyes.
“For the blood this…legendary queen spilt…we will take her head and use it to further our gift to the Gods. May her blood bring an end to the rains that flood our crops and streets!” A wave of cheers rang out.
Fucking cocksucker. The plan was blown.
He moved beside her, an arm’s length away, and sat down. The moon glowed down on them along with the dark sky and the twinkle of stars. “Did you not enjoy my touch?”
“I enjoy many things, yet none has to do with a man’s touch.”
“Ah, but I am not just a man.” He leaned closer. “I am a gladiator.” He slipped his hand behind her neck and pulled her in closer. “I am the one that makes your pulse race and your nipples harden.”
Larina wanted to punch the appendage she’d threatened but he was right. She would rather enjoy it. For the third time this night, she was struck by how bad of an idea this was. His breath rushed across her cheek and she closed her eyes as his lips fell upon hers.
He was not a ravenous beast or a man seeking only his own pleasure. His touch was gentle, caressing her lips until they parted, and then their tongues collided in a display to make Aphrodite herself blush.
His hand on the back of her neck kept her movements restricted as he took control of the kiss. It was a strange feeling to be dominated by a man, especially one of his strength and size. He made her feel delicate despite her muscle and height. His hand eased and he pulled away. Their eyes locked together and he seemed to draw her toward him with the simple power of his gaze.
However, Larina would not let him dominate her for long. She swung her leg around so she could straddle his lap. Her breasts were now exposed and he growled before taking one pointed bud in his mouth. The pleasure was instant. The men in her tribe were used for menial chores and to impregnate women to continue lineage. She was never given pleasure such as this. Her eyes closed as he suckled further. His big hands were on her hips, moving her closer. She wanted to sink into his flesh and live in his pleasure forever.
Larina opened her eyes. The thought disturbed her. This whole situation was fucking disturbing. What the hell was she doing, sitting atop a champion of Rome?
His mouth found her other nipple, nipping gently before he sucked it into his mouth.
Oh, right. That felt amazing. A little voice in the back of her head screamed to stop this, but she squished it repeatedly until it lay forever silent. She needed this. After the events recently, defeating death made her long for true life, for love. The word was foreign to her tongue.
“Stop your mind from roaming!” Brennus whispered. “I shall sway it myself then.” He lifted Larina to her feet and ripped off the remainder of her cloth. Her body was exposed to him, her inner core spread and awaiting any pleasure he would deal. Brennus slid both his hands up her thighs and Larina stood there awkwardly. Give her three enemies and she’d kill them with her bare hands. Give her a handsome man willing to please her and she was as lost as a mortal in Mount Olympus.
Brennus caressed her mound, cupping it, his fingers sliding over the sensitive flesh. Her body tensed as he parted the wet folds of her desire. One of his big fingers pushed into her hole and sank deep. The groan was unmistakable and so long that she ran out of breath. Two fingers invaded her and her legs lost some of their stability. He pushed those digits in and out of her body. The rough skin only added to her pleasure. His other hand moved under the water and she looked down to watch the water ripple with his movements.
Then Brennus leaned upward and his lips pecked at her thighs. Quick, light kisses that formed a path toward her center. The anticipation made her breath quicken. His tongue slid between her wet lips and pierced her hole along with his fingers.
Larina nearly came undone. She cried out. Her hands rushed for an anchor and gripped onto his shoulders. He lapped at her wetness and then his tongue slithered higher to her sweet spot. Brennus suckled at her clit. Larina closed her eyes then opened them. She wanted to see him, needed to see his face between her legs. He kept sucking, his tongue a wicked whip against her sensitive flesh. Her teeth ground together. Larina’s nails dug into the flesh at his shoulders. She was going to combust from the pressure in her body.
Then she gasped and the bliss overwhelmed her very soul. Her eyes closed involuntarily. Larina’s head fell back and she let out a roar of total abandon. The slivers of pleasure were beginning to fade when her legs gave out. She fell, caught quickly by Brennus. His skilled hands guided her over his lap and she felt the head of his desire at her entrance.
“You burn like a thousand suns.”
Larina snorted, opening her heavy lids to look at him. “I but match the man before me.”