Mark of the Gladiator - Heidi Belleau,  Violetta Vane "Anazâr would take this offering, take Felix, seize this moment even if he died on the cross for it later. He was tired of worrying about later. He’d live like he did in the arena, one passionate horrible glorious moment at a time."Amazing! Fantastic! Totally and absolutely loved it! Why have I not read more from this genre??????? (and I mean ancient-historical one LOL)The storyAfter an incident in the arena, Anazâr is contracted by the nobleman Marianus to be the trainer of his female gladiators.After the horrible treatment he endured with his master, the change in Marianus' dealings with slaves leaves him in gratitude toward his new dominus, even affection. Marianus uses him sexually, and even though he knows he shouldn't, Anazâr is attracted to him, and can't help wanting him.The gladiatrices are tough to train because they don't trust each other, nor do they trust Anazâr. But, in time, he does manage to convince them to fight for their lives, even though they have little chance surviving the arena anyway.After an attempt on Felix, Marianus' brother, things get very complicated in Anazâr's life, mainly because he realises he is attracted to Felix as well, and it brings in question his loyalty.Will he choose the side with his dominus, the man who can make him free, or will he side with Felix, a man who can make him feel?“For once, I’m not acting the fool. I have information for you. I’ll tell you everything. And then, once you’ve heard, you can decide . . . you can decide whether I’m worth risking your life for.”The story - I absolutely loved it! It was dynamic, full of plots and intrigues, and I honestly didn't know in which direction the story or characters would take, in any point of the book!I was glued to it, read it in one sitting! Some parts had me gasping in shock and some swooning when it was emotional, the action was intense, the battles in the arena, and the final showdown - OMG!!!The writing - AMAZING! The whole world was depicted in such a way that I saw it all in my head, just wonderful! I thought it would be tough to jump in a historical set in Ancient Rome, but boy it really wasn't hard :) Everything was explained gradually, and there wasn't anything I didn't understand (although the various plots did have my brain working overtime, but that's just my brain's fault :D)"One kiss turned into another, and another again, hungry starving relief and thankfulness, and best of all he knew Felix felt it too, that perfect clarity and harmony between them that reached beyond everything, everything, even the words of the poets. Beyond joy and sadness, or perhaps encompassing both, allowing Anazâr to consider the most brutal of facts in the light of compassion."The romance - OMG that part was so unpredictable! Well, it was for me because I didn't remember anything about the book when I started reading it, so I didn't know who was the other guy, but as the story went on, I was rooting for Felix all the way! I just loved them together and boy, the sexy times were H.O.T.!!!!!!The characters - There were A LOT of them. Honestly, I couldn't remember the names of some gladiatrices even if it killed me. Still don't know them :D But that's just because of the ancient names and all, too difficult to remember (for my poor small brain). I do wish the "bad guys" were a bit moredimensional :D But that's the thing when you've got a shorter book, you can't really dedicate enough time for everyone, and in this book, Anazâr was in the center stage (and I love that)"A spell, yes. More powerful than anything you could buy at a temple, more powerful than anything you could conjure up even with baths of blood. It transformed them both.And it was terrifying."Anazâr and MarianusWell I have to admit, I was rooting for these two in the beginning of the book :) Marianus was this extra gorgeus guy, he's Anazâr's new dominus, and treats him way better than the last one.He uses him sexually, and I know that's because Anazâr is a slave, but it just wasn't right for me. Especially the first BJ scene :D Just something off. But then, there wasn't any romance between them at that time.Anyway, the thing I noticed about Anazâr and what broke my heart, was the fact that he's gotten used to being a slave so much, he feels gratitude to Marianus for treating him better, ultimately making Marianus a better person than he really is. Because, he's still his master. He still has slaves, and Anazâr is one of them. He still uses him in all ways. That's what broke my heart with Anazâr :( He saw himself as nothing more than a slave, and everyone else just by the way they treated him, even though none of them are so much better.UGH I don't know if I explained it well, but I hope you get what I mean :D "Felix could see him as both slave and man, and with that sight, finally free him. Maybe not in the eyes of Roman law, but what did the law matter, really, compared to everything else that made him a slave?"Anazâr and FelixFelix... He was pretty annoying in the beginning :D He drank too much and made a fool of himself all the time. He doesn't get along with Marianus, and creates trouble all the way :)BUT! Bit by bit, the guy just crawled into my heart and I fell in love with him! It came to the point where I wanted more and more scenes with him and Anazâr, and I just wanted them TOGETHER!!!! I could just go on and on and on, but it would be revealing too much!Oh and one scene was so sweet OMG