By Lauren HawkeyeBeware the RED Avon label and the Red refers to RED HOT Sex! Who knew Avon had an erotic line? I certainly didn’t but if you are interested in erotica mixed in with historical – circa Ancient Rome, this novel continues the Avon tradition of a great read.

Alba, the domina under the pater familia of her husband, Lucius, is neglected by her husband whose attentions are divided between his gladiatorial school, his main slave Justinus and female slaves ready to do his bidding . From the balcony, Alba watches finely tuned near naked specimens of manhood train and her desires are awakened. In a moment of fallible lust, Alba commands one of the champions, Marcus to relieve her carnal desire. Far from being brutal, the slave administers to her every whim, despite the forbidden rule that the gladiators should not spill their seed less it deplete their strength.

More a possession than a loved partner, Alba becomes part of a commercial bargain and she must mate with a gladiator to secure an heir to Lucius’ line. Initially, a fearful, shocking command, Alba finds tenderness and pleasure in the arms of, not just one supremely, well defined, dark haired athlete but also a blonde mountain of muscle, as well.

Two champion athletes who face death daily in the arena, risk their lives to ensure Alba, not only produces a child but she has intense pleasure in the task. There are many erotic interludes throughout the story. Rome was the centre of all that was decadent and not all readers will be interested in the variety of sexual episodes, tender love scenes between the two gladiators, nor the scenes verging on sadomasochism but in true Avon tradition the story is well written with an interesting story line and dramatic ending. Better money spent here than on another current best seller which falls well below par in its writing.

Marie M