Monday, July 15, 2019

Magical Encounters

by Jean Roberta

Anthropomorphic animals in fantasy stories allow human readers to imagine inter-species romances that aren’t exactly bestiality, since animals who behave and speak like humans are not part of the real world.

My new collection of stories, Spring Fever and Other Sapphic Encounters, includes several new and reprinted fantasy stories. My story “Madame Blanche” is a version of “The White Cat” by Countess d’Aulnoy (originally written in French in the 1600s), and it first appeared in Rumpledsilksheets: Lesbian Fairy Tales from Ravenous Romance press. Both main characters feel they are under evil spells. Madame Blanche, the lady of a mysterious castle, must live in the form of a cat, along with all her courtiers.

“Prince Val,” as she calls herself, was born female but believes she was meant to be a man. Can each of them morph into her (or his) true form? As you could probably guess, love is the key.

Note that this story is romance, not erotica. It doesn’t get more explicit than this:

"Blanche had large eyes as green as emeralds, which she would fix on her guest whenever she spoke. The gaze of the little cat made Val feel as though her very thoughts were heard and accepted. She hoped Lady Blanche could not guess what lay under her manly attire.

After luncheon, all the cats and their human visitor mounted wooden horses in the stable yard, and galloped to a place where rats were as numerous as stars in the night sky. What a hunt it was! Val had brought her bow and arrows with her, and she fired at the prey while her feline companions leapt from their mounts to attack the biggest rats with teeth and claws. Some of the rats fought fiercely enough to injure their attackers, and then the wounded cat-courtiers jumped back onto their wooden horses to return to the castle where a cat-physician awaited.

And so Val spent many days in the delightful company of Lady Blanche and her companions, who grew accustomed to the human in their midst. During court balls, Val danced with the little cat in her arms to compensate for the great difference in their heights.

When Lady Blanche needed rest, as she often did during the day, she sought out Val and curled up on her lap. Val learned that her furry companion welcomed Val’s touch. Blanche often bumped Val’s hand to show that she wished to have her ears rubbed or to be scratched under the chin, and when Val stroked her back, she shivered in ecstasy. As the lady cat's eyes closed and she purred contentedly, the warmth of her little body would permeate Val’s trousers and awaken her hidden womanhood, including the button of flesh that so longed to be touched.

In short, Val fell in love in a way she found more surprising than anything she could imagine. "Lady," she told her hostess one day, "I don't know how this could be, but I love you so much that I wish I could marry you. Alas! If you cannot become a woman or tell me how to change your form, could you not ask the one who bewitched you to change me into a handsome tom-cat?"

The answer was like an arrow piercing Val’s heart. 'No, my love.'

That night, she could not sleep comfortably, even on a bed of goose-feather mattresses. Emerging from her bedchamber in the dark, she heard the quiet click of little claws on marble floors. Val followed stealthily, following the sound of cat-paws to a small chamber at the top of a tower where moonlight poured through a round, uncovered window. The little cat’s white fur gleamed in the watery light as she jumped from a table to an armoire to an old chair. She wore no clothes and seemed possessed by restless spirits. When she flung herself to the floor and crept along on her belly, singing in her own language, the Princess understood her condition. Lady Blanche was in heat. "

Another fantasy story, new to Spring Fever and Other Sapphic Encounters, also takes place in a castle. In this case, a visiting wizard named Sir Theobald has come to help Lady Elinor withstand a siege by sex-demons in the absence of the lady’s husband. The story is told by Lady Elinor’s companion, Margaret, who notices that the wizard has brought along his own manservant or apprentice, Robin, a man with goodly thighs. Two more servants, Joan the Cook and young Stephen, make up a group of half a dozen who are determined to raise sexual energy to resist intruders.

Lady Elinor says she will only mate with her own wedded lord, and the wizard tells her how to make this happen.

"When the door to the chamber was locked, Sir Theobald created a large circle on the uncovered floor with salt that he carried in a bag under his robe. 'This will have to do,' he told us, 'to control any spirits who may join us. My lady, a frosty window must serve as a scrying-glass. Stand as high as you can on a chair, and look into the frost on a window-pane. It is a world in miniature, and you must study it until you see your lord walking toward you through a crystal garden.'

Lady Elinor did as she was told. “I see him!” she exclaimed. 'He approaches!'

'Then we must all gather within the circle,' said the wizard, 'and you, my lady, must not let your lord’s image fade from your mind until each of us can see him as clearly as you do yourself.'

My lady lifted her skirt to step over the line of salt, and we all enjoyed the sight of her slender legs. 'Ah,' remarked Sir Theobald. 'No clothes are allowed within our circle of truth. We must all be skyclad.'

Joan began unlacing her gown, showing a deep valley between her large, rolling breasts. She paused, as though for modesty, but then I perceived that she was revealing herself in phases that resembled the acts of a play. After the debut of her breasts, she removed her cap and undid her golden hair, releasing it in waves down her back.

Stephen struggled to remove his clothes without taking his eyes off our lady or Joan. I placed my shoes near the door, then stood as close to the fire as I dared while pulling off layers of cloth and folding them into piles. I was sure my buttocks were reddening from the enchanting heat of the fire. I hoped that we would all kindle enough warmth of our own not to mind when the fire died down.

Stephen stared openly at my sturdy arms and hips, and I noted his strong preference for female flesh.

We six were soon an oddly–assorted group, as naked as lunatics or honest beasts.

'Hold hands,' commanded Sir Theobald, 'and don’t break the circle!' I clutched young Stephen’s hot, dewy palm with one hand, and my lady’s small, cool fingers with the other. The light from the windows declined like a receding tide.
'Hocus pocus penis maximus,' chanted the wiseman under his breath. 'Futuere amare vivere.'

Sir Lionel appeared in the center of our circle, and his expression showed bewilderment. His hair and beard were untrimmed and unwashed, and his skin shone with sweat beneath its coating of dust. He looked thinner than before and wore only a ragged linen shirt that showed his bare legs and his cock, which stood out proudly from its nest of greasy brown hair. The man smelled of woodsmoke and of earthier things.

'Wench?' he asked, looking at each of us until he came to his wife.

'Lionel, my love!' she screamed, as though in answer. She leaped into his arms and wrapped her legs about his waist. Without more ado, he guided his eager cock into her weeping cunt while she squirmed forward to accept it.
I felt as though we five were witnesses to a wedding night, but it was not a perfect union. The lord grunted as he thrust into her again and again. 'Ah-h-h.'

My lady leaned forward to rub her small breasts against her lord’s hairy chest as they galloped together. She looked into his eyes as though seeking something.

Sir Theobald’s cock looked full enough to burst, and I saw that Robin and Stephen were in the same state of readiness. Joan and I shifted from foot to foot, rubbing our thighs together.

The wizard moved behind Sir Lionel, and tore the shirt from his back; the cloth parted like a spiderweb when pierced by a knife. Then Sir Theobald licked one finger, and slid it slowly into our lord’s nether hole in time to his thrusts. 'My lord,' murmured Sir Theobald into his ear, 'where are you?'

I could see our lord’s strong buttocks clenching from the stimulation he was receiving, both fore and aft. He seemed unable to speak. He clutched his lady’s bottom with both hands, and pulled her tight against him in an agony of pleasure. He groaned and trembled, and it seemed clear that he was discharging inside her. Sir Theobald withdrew his finger, and backed away.

Tears spilled from Lady Elinor’s eyes and poured down her delicate face, now reddened with sorrow. She seemed unable to recognize the rutting plowman who held her, although she would not have parted from him.

'My lady,' admonished the wizard, 'calm yourself.'

'Lionel,' she whispered. 'do you not know me?'

'A fine house,' declared the lord, who seemed unaware that the house was his own. He gently pried his lady’s thighs from his hips, and set her on her bare feet.

Sir Theobald stood before our lord, took his shrinking cock in his hand, and squeezed it unmercifully. 'My lord!' he shouted.

'Ye gods of old!' shouted Sir Lionel. 'Am I dreaming?'

At last, I could catch a breath. Our lord seemed to be back in his own body, and present in every sense.
'If you were,' retorted Sir Theobald, 'you would not feel this.' He released the cock in his hand, stepped behind our lord, and smacked him smartly on the backside.

'Such unkindness,' groaned Sir Lionel, although he could not banish the smile from his face. 'Elinor, my love, you were not to venture into dangerous lands to find me.'

'The visitors’ parlor?' she retorted. 'How dare you?' she continued. Her still-unsatisfied arousal seemed transformed, by some alchemy, into rage. 'How dare you tell me how to behave as a proper wife?' She stared him in the face, and smacked his cheek with her little hand. He flinched, although probably not from pain.

He wrapped his strong arms about her. 'Please forgive me, Elinor. A wife is happier if she never sees her husband away from home.'

She leaned down and bit one of the arms that held her. He grunted, and let her go. 'You are in our house, Sir Fool, trapped in the circle of truth. I will be happier if you tell me what you truly desire, and all you have done since I saw you last.'

The lady stood like a straight white lily, and glowed like a torch. She appeared to grow taller as her lord bent his head in submission to her.

'That is a not a tale for delicate ears,' he warned her. 'My angel, I have no wish to lose your love.'

Glancing about me, I saw Robin’s thick red cock in Sir Theobald’s fist. There, at least, no love seemed likely to be lost on either side. As I watched, I saw some clear substance coating the hard cock and easing its movements as our wiseman stroked it faster and faster.

'Silence,' growled Sir Theobald, and Robin clenched his teeth as he strove to comply. It was not clear to me that the comely young man was the only one of us required to control himself. Joan openly cupped the golden curls below her belly, and I guessed that she hoped to insert a finger or three without attracting notice.

In a moment, I thought, we will all descend to our hands and knees like four-legged beasts, and reconfigure the circle by entering each other’s mouths, cunts, and back passages with fingers, cocks and whatever else would serve (half-melted candles?). The image in my mind aroused me so much that I could have reached a paroxysm without touching myself at all, but in the spirit of mutual consideration, I refrained. My cunt felt very wet.

In due course, Lady Elinor gets a chance to punish her lord for his debauchery with female sex-demons while he was away from her, but Sir Theobald reminds her that wise queens must not be hypocrites, and Sir Lionel has a right to know how Lady Elinor has amused herself with Margaret during the long winter months. Margaret realizes that Joan has admired her for a long time, while Stephen just wants to lose his virginity. In a land of enchantment, dreams can come true.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

"The Palace of Revenge" An other worldly story . . . .


 "It’s absolutely vexing the way men make us wait for them," said Lady Senju-no-mae, "As if we are their riding horses and have nothing else to do.

"You've been a hobby horse well enough, for that penniless scholar Otai," said Lady Sotsu -no-suke.  "And all the time that rich son of Daimyo Nobunaga keeps swooning around here, sniffing for you like a hound."

"A man of education is more interesting," said Lady Senju.

 "If only they made men who were interesting and rich both," said Lady Dainagon-no-suke, as she mixed ink from an ink stone in a green dish. 

"Or two inches taller," said Lady Sotsu.  "The Lady Senju’s scholar is too short.”

Lady Dainagon looked up from her ink stone.  "If I could add two inches to a man, it wouldn’t be to his height."

The women giggled and fell pensive over their afternoon tea, thinking.  The Lady Senju had been looking in a hand mirror, adjusting her hair. "Shinobu-chan.”

Hai.”said Lady Dainagon.

            “Tell us the story I ask of you."

Lady Dainagon put down her ink stone.  "A story challenge?"

"Three things!" said Lady Senju.  “It must have three things.  First a clever demon."

"Oh! Oh!,” cried Lady Sotsu, "and a pair of unfortunate lovers!"

Lady Dainagon’s eyes became far away.  "And what is the third thing?"

"And then this, a mirror.”  Lady Senju held up her hand mirror.  “There must be mirrors somehow."

"What is there about a mirror, that makes the room less cozy," said Lady Dainagon, drawing out the moment for effect, but already the story was formed in her imagination.  She closed her eyes.  She held up her right forefinger for silence.

"Mukashi . . . ima wa mukashi . . . "

Once upon a time.  .  .  .

Once upon a time the Emperor Go-Shirakawa and the Empress gave birth to a daughter named Hime Miko.  They knew the moment she came into this hard world that this beautiful child was destined to be loved by everyone who met her, and handsome young men most of all.  At almost the same time Hime Miko arrived, the Daimyo Matsunaga’s mistress produced a noble birth and named her son TanzoTanzo was a handsome baby with a thick head of shining black hair and a smile and a laugh that charmed everyone.  

As the Daimyo lived on the imperial grounds of the Toba Mansion, and was a cousin of the emperor, the two children grew up together in innocence but growing intimacy and the proud parents could barely wait for the day when their children would come of age and be wed to each other.  As Tanzo journeyed towards manhood he only became more handsome and kind and wise.  

As Hime Miko grew her beauty increased and the sweetness of her disposition deepened to perfection like the ripening of a peach.  They were children who knew no guile or evil and the mother of Tanzo was sure her son had a great destiny.

            On Tanzo’s 12th birthday, as homing geese winged high in the gray sky crying sadly, his mother took him to see a famous and fearsome Mudang, whose prophecies of the future were never wrong.  "Great Lady," said the Mudang, "I cannot tell you what catastrophes lay ahead for this boy, but his happiness is darkened by the wing of a great karma which will not be driven away.  But I will make a charm for him that his goodness may yet be the goddess Kwannon’s gift to the world." and so she made a small silver dagger.  

"You must keep this by you always,” said the Mudang to Tanzo, “Each day and night for all your life and no devil or harm may approach you.  So long as you have this dagger you will be protected from the evils your past karma has in store for you."

            Tanzo’s mother returned quickly and told only the Empress of the meaning of the silver dagger.  Tanzo told Hime Miko of the Mudang's prophecy but she was much more upset about Tanzo’s absence from her for so many days which she found unbearable and had left her burning with longing for him
.            One day Tanzo was hunting with a long bow in the imperial forest.  He sighted a red fox and was about to draw his weapon for a shot when the animal spoke to him in a woman's voice.  "Don't kill me, great Prince.  I am already dying of love for you." In a burst of fire the fox changed into a young woman, a beautiful Kitsune Tsuki demon in black silk robes that sparkled in the sun with gold.  

"Come with me and be my husband and I'll make your days long and filled with the pleasure of woman.  I have watched you grow into manhood since you were born.  I am powerful and can give you all the world for your kingdom."

            "If you knew me as well as you say," said Tanzo, "you would know that I only can love Hime Miko."

            The beautiful Kitsune Tsuki scowled with fury and wept and sighed.  After a while she became calm again.  She waved her hand and the field was filled with flowers.  "Your faithful love defeats me,” said the Kitsune Tsuki.  “Bring these flowers to Hime Miko with all my blessings.  Be sure to take many plum blossoms for good fortune." and she vanished.   
           Tanzo laid aside his bow and drew his silver dagger to cut flowers for his love.  Soon he had so many he could hardly carry them.  A plum tree blossomed suddenly before his eyes.  But as he tried to cut a small branch his silver dagger stuck in the wood and with all his strength he could not pull it free.

            "I must get someone to help me," he thought, but the instant he turned away the flowers in his arms transformed into a chariot drawn by two fierce dragons.  A great wind blew him into the chariot and off he flew into the heavens leaving his dagger behind.

            Hime Miko was in a panic when her Tanzo  did not return that night and in her frenzy of desire for him ran into the woods alone.  The dragon drawn chariot rolled down from the sky and scooped her up and flew away to the demoness' kingdom.  

            Tanzo awoke in a room in a palace made of precious jewels and sea shells.  As soon as he sat up and rubbed his eyes twelve tiny nymphs riding honey bees flew into his room and circled around.  Suddenly the nymphs turned into twelve beautiful women who fell to their knees and surrounded him.  "We are your slaves,” they said with one plaintive voice.  "Please use us in any way for your pleasure or even beat us as you wish."

But Tanzo waved them away.  "All I want is to be returned to my beloved Hime Miko. Bring me to her, That is my order for you."

            “We cannot" the women wailed.  Tanzo was chaste and not tempted.  Though they were beautiful he would not touch them.  

            Meanwhile Hime Miko had been dropped into a dark forest where she wandered for days eating wild fruit and calling her lover’s name.  She sat on a log and wept and wished there were someone to hear her story when the cherry tree next to her sighed and shook its branches.  

"We are as unhappy as you, little Princess." said the tree.  Suddenly all the trees in the grove sighed where there was no wind and shook their branches. 

"We were all princes at one time.  The Kitsune Tsuki had eyes only for Prince Watanabe who you see next to me.  She arranged an archery tournament so that he could show his prowess and fall in love with her beauty.  But I was stupid and unfortunate to enough have won the contest and Prince Watanabe did not have eyes for her, for the demoness is cruel.  To bring him into her power, she made a hall full of mirrors and any of us who saw her reflection the mirrors forgot our beloveds and fell madly and slavishly in love with her.  

“When the great prince saw the enchantment she forced on us he was enraged and smashed the mirrors because they had made us forget our true loves. And so the demoness changed us all into trees and abandoned us.  Now where ever a mirror is broken anywhere, it means someone has been unfaithful to their lover.”

            As the cherry tree finished its story, suddenly a beautiful man, naked but for a small loincloth, clean of skin and rippling with noble muscle appeared before Hime Miko.  He said "Your lover is well and calling for you and in a few days you will be brought together."

            The Princess fell to her knees and kissed the man’s feet with happiness at the good news.

            But above in the clouds Tanzo and the Kitsune Tsuki waited in the dragon chariot where Tanzo could see the princess but not hear.  He only saw the princess crawl on her face and the kiss the beautiful man's feet shamelessly.  "So you see, best beloved," said the demoness "His love making prowess has utterly subdued her.  She is a slave of her lust for him and him alone.  She has forgotten you."

            But Tanzo said "All that matters is her happiness.  Let it be so, if he treats her well.  But I will never marry, nor ever love another.  I will always belong to Hime Miko."

            The demoness was deeply moved.  She knew she was at last defeated, but she would have her revenge.  "Let all of your wishes be fulfilled as you desire," she said coldly.

            The demoness built a palace of purest crystal by the sea, filled with food and luxury, but not another soul and placed Tanzo and the princess there.  They had all they could wish for, and each other most of all, but the palace was their enchanted prison as well, for around the palace grounds and gardens there was a great wall of stone rising to the clouds and they could never leave each other’s company for an instant.  Soon they grew jaded and tired of looking at each other and their love faded away.  And so the Kitsune Tsuki was avenged.

    The two women looked at her aghast. 
     "What a terrible story!" said Lady Sotsu.

            "And is that justice?" said Lady Senju.  "What a good man he was.  I want a man like that!  Why shouldn’t they be happy?"

            "That is not the natural world we are born into,” said Lady Dainagon.  “Without suffering we would never know the sting of pleasure.  Or love without the sting of loneliness which, more than love, has the power to make our hearts deep.  We must miss our lovers or even lose them sometimes to appreciate how fleeting and precious like the cherry blossoms that wither and fall our love is"

            "Pooh!" said Lady Senju.  

            At that moment a servant girl pushed aside the paper door frame.  "There is a gentleman caller for the Lady Senju, the son of Daimyo Nobunaga."  As Lady Senju rose from her knees, her foot stepped on the hand mirror and shattered it.  The women looked at her as she put her hand to her mouth and stared down at the shattered glass under her small foot.

            "And who are you being unfaithful to, Lady Senju?" said Lady Sotsu, rapping the woman’s knee smartly with her folding fan.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Pirates and Dragons and Airplanes, Oh My!

Sacchi Green

Here I go again, still promoting my collection Wild Rides with teaser excerpts from each story, or, in this case, two connected stories with the same characters. “The Dragon Descending” is both sequel and prequel to “The Pirate from the Sky.”  Both are appropriate for our current theme, since both concern dragons, and what could be more representative of traditional fantasy? Only in “The Dragon Descending,” though, do you find explicit hot dragon sex, while "The Pirate from the Sky," in the midst of a great deal of adventure and danger with a fair bit of history thrown in, has the kinds of sex that best suit long voyages on shipboard combined with the tensions of battle.    

The pirate story begins like this.

The Pirate from the Sky
Sacchi Green

 In Seok-Teng’s dream a great pale dragon twined through a labyrinth of shifting clouds. Opaline scales shimmered through intervals of sunlight, slipped into invisibility, then flashed out again in dazzling beauty. Its long, elegant head swung from side to side, tongue flickering like sensuous lightning.
A distant hum arose, a subtle, tantalizing vibration that teased at Seok-Teng’s mind and flesh. A song? A warning? A summons? In all her dreams of dragons, never had she been aware of sound. She strained to hear, to understand. But the hum became steadily louder, swelling to a growl, tearing her from sleep into darkness and sudden, stark awareness. If the roof of the captain’s cabin had been higher she would have bolted upright.
Still the sound grew. This was no dragon, nor yet thunder, nor storm winds. The sea spoke to Seok-Teng through the ship’s movements as it had to her forbears for generations beyond counting; tonight it gave no cause for alarm. Japanese patrol boats? When she had taken her crew so far out of the usual shipping channels to avoid such pursuit? No, she had come to know that sound all too well. This one was different--yet not entirely unknown.
The cabin’s entrance showed scarcely lighter than its interior. Now it darkened. Han Duan, the ship’s Number One, squatted to look within.
“An aircraft,” Seok-Teng called, before the other could speak.
Han Duan grunted in agreement. “Not a large one, but low, and coming close. Who would fly so far from any land?”
“It is nothing to do with us.” Seok-Teng wished to resume the dream. She wished also to avoid resuming discussion of why a pirate ship would sail so far from any land, when it was accustomed by tradition to plying the coasts along the South China Sea.
“The Japanese have many planes,” Han Duan said.
“And better uses for them than pursuing us this far. We are very small fish indeed.” That was a tactical error, Seok-Teng realized at once. Evading a Japanese navy angered by the plundering of several small merchant ships off Mindanao had been her stated excuse for sailing so far to the east.
The small islands and atolls of the Marianas and Marshall groups were technically under Japanese control, but surely the eye of Nippon was bent too fiercely on the conquest of China to pay much attention to every far-flung spit of sand. On some of those islets distant relatives from Seok-Teng’s many-branched heritage still lived, and on others there were no permanent habitations at all. Good places for her crew to find or build a refuge while the world at large descended into war and madness—if a refuge was what they truly wanted.
She herself was torn by the desire to take part in the battle, to join forces with China’s defenders as pirates in the past had often done. In her small packet of private belongings was a small photograph, cut from a newspaper, of Soong Mai-ling, the beautiful wife of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and a leader in her own right. Seok-Teng longed to serve her in some fashion, but the way was not clear. The old pirate practices might suffice for the harrying of merchant ships, but the modern military craft of the Japanese were another matter.
Han Duan grunted again and stood, with just enough of a stoop to clear the low roof. The plane was nearly overhead now. Seok-Teng slid a hand under her pillow, ran a finger delicately along the undulating blade of her kris, then gripped its hilt. Both blade and hilt were warm. The dream, then, had been no accident, but a promise—or a warning. Seok-Teng would have spoken to the dagger if her Number One had not been present. Instead, she rolled from her bed into a crouch, pressed her brow to the weapon in mute homage to the ancestors from whom it had come, and, still stooping, emerged onto the deck of the She-Dragon.
Han Duan’s head tilted back as she stared upward. Seok-Teng straightened and stepped to the rail. Along the eastern horizon lay just the faintest hint that day might come, but overhead a low, sullen cloud cover obscured the stars. The airplane, now directly above them, could not be seen, though its roar seemed so tangible that Seok-Teng raised her hand, whether to grasp or fend it off she did not know. She had even forgotten that she held the kris, which now pointed into the sky.
“Would your demon blade lead us now even into the heavens? Let it fly then by itself!” Han Duan raised her voice to be heard over the noise of the plane. Her scarred face seemed demonic in the light of a single swaying lantern.

The other story, “The Dragon Descending” about a shapeshifting dragon goddess in Ha Long Bay, begins in the aftermath of the wild adventures and rescue of a most unusual avaitrix, when a question from Han Duan leads Seok-Teng to share a story from her past.

The Dragon Descending
Sacchi Green

“My first woman? As well ask if I recall my first dragon.” Seok-Teng scarcely realized she spoke aloud, still afloat in the ebbtide of the fierce coupling that followed battles won and prizes taken.
Han Duan lay intensely still beside her. When she spoke again, her tone was a study in idle curiosity. “Your first dragon, then. Surely not old Mountain of Wealth?”
“Blasphemy!” Seok-Teng managed a chuckle. “With a tentacle in every profitable pot, Madame Lai Choi San should be called Old Octopus rather than the Dragon Lady of Bias Bay.” Best to pursue this much safer line of conversation. “And you know well that I was no more a virgin than you when we met as her bodyguards.”
“Yet even I,” Han Duan admitted, “learned much from her beyond the management of pirate ships.”
“Is that how you formed your knack for domination of our young crewmembers?” Seok-Teng relaxed, confident that the dangerous topic had been circumvented. Han Duan held firmly to disbelief in her captain’s visions of dragons, yet as second in command she followed with complete trust wherever Seok-Teng led. Seok-Teng, and her kris, the short, undulating blade passed down through generations of her family until a woman was the only heir. A demon blade, Han Duan would say, in a tone that meant she did not believe in such things; but demon or no, the kris had bonded with its inheritor according to the old traditions. Always, after Seok-Teng’s dragon dreams, the kris would point the way the ship must sail, where they would find women skilled in the ways of the sea, or captives on their way to slavery, who would gladly join such a pirate crew.
Seok-Teng did not wish to speak now of dragons. “Those sleek young pearl divers we rescued were certainly eager for your domination.” Dalisay and Amihan should be good distractions.
But Han Duan would not be distracted. Not this time. “What color were their dragons, in your dream?”
For once, Seok-Teng would be open.  Han Duan deserved that of her, and more. “They were the blue-green of shallow southern seas, twined about each other in a wheel like the yin and yang, spinning through the sky.”
Han Duan nodded, but pulled Seok-Teng closer against her lean body and murmured into her ear, “And what of your first dragon?”
A shuddering sigh swept Seok-Teng. Whatever the cost, she would be open at last with the comrade and lover who had been her lifeline for so many years.
“My first dragon was my first woman as well. Not a dream, nor yet a vision, unless visions leave scars. ”
“Ah! These?” They knew each other’s bodies as well as they knew each inch of their ship. Han Duan moved so that her fingers could trace the line of short pale ridges along Seok-Teng’s sides from armpit to hip. “Truly a dragon of a woman!”
“A woman who was truly a dragon,” Seok Teng said flatly. “But take it as merely a tale, if you wish. A tale worth hearing.”

And, to reward any reader who has persevered this far, a few snippets from that tale.

Ha Long, Bay of the Descending Dragons. Seok-Teng had heard of its beauty and legends, but never seen its labyrinths of vertical, time-carved islands until the day she sailed her junk-rigged boat through them in pursuit of her father’s killer. No time then to stare at its wonders, only to maneuver among them, searching always for the small motorized vessel whose lines were etched indelibly into her memory.
Once in Ha Long Bay, it should have been impossible to find one small boat hiding among the thousands of limestone islands with their caves and grottoes and thick pelts of greenery clinging to sheer walls. Impossible for a man—or even a girl with a warrior spirit—but not for the kris. It showed the way, through three days of a winding course.
On the third evening, the blade took on a glow that told Seok-Teng her prey was so close that she must approach with caution. She anchored and waited through the night. This time she would make sure her prey saw his doom coming!
At last the dawn mist began to dissipate, the islands took shape, and the sun’s first rays struck the leafy crest of the nearest island in a blaze of emerald flame.
Seok-Teng slid into the water wearing nothing beyond the kris belted to her naked hip. The boat she sought was there, just beyond the island, perhaps fifty feet away. When she reached its side, she listened for several minutes until she heard the man stirring, moving slowly about, then standing on the lee side and, by the sound, relieving himself into the sea. The perfect moment!
      She was up over the side, kris unsheathed and raised, before he could turn; yet even at such a time he had kept a dagger in his hand, and parried the longer blade. Seok-Teng spun and struck again, knocking his weapon this time from his grip; he grasped her knife-wrist so tightly with his other hand that it took all her effort to keep from dropping the kris. Or almost all. Her knee tensed, began its upward strike toward his groin—but he fell back before it connected. She had only a fleeting glimpse of his eyes, widened in horror as he looked at something beyond her, his face as contorted as though her blade had pierced his belly.
Seok-Teng stumbled, unbalanced, and still managed to slice the kris across his throat before he toppled backward into the sea.
She swung around and saw what he had seen. A golden eye gazed down at her from the island’s greenery, and then two eyes, in a long, elegant, emerald-scaled head that lifted to regard her full-on.
“I had him! He was mine!” Seok-Tengs’s blood-madness ran still so hot that she felt no fear, no amazement that a dragon such as she had seen only on painted screens or the prows of festive longboats was here before her in the flesh. If indeed dragons were made of such. “I needed no help!”
The dragon seemed to laugh, though what difference there might be between a dragon’s laugh and its snarl Seok-Teng did not know. Indeed, as her blood slowed, she scarcely knew whether she herself dreamed, or imagined, or even lived. She held the kris upright, flat between her breasts, as talisman rather than weapon; it quivered, but gave off no heat.
Heat of another sort did warm Seok-Teng’s flesh as the dragon’s gaze moved slowly along her body. Did dragons lust after human women? She had never heard such tales, but after all, she herself lusted after women, though so far only in her dreams.
“Why not?” The voice was not her own, yet unmistakably female—and it spoke from inside her head. “Who can know so well how to please a woman as another woman?”
A dream, then. That sort of dream. Already Seok-Teng’s loins stirred with longing. Her bedroll would be damp and tangled when she woke. If only this dream would take her far enough for relief!
The boat she stood upon had floated nearer to the island. Seok-Teng looked full into the golden eyes, not flinching when the dragon’s green coils, their scales textured to resemble leaves, loosened from the rough limestone enough that its neck could arch outward above her and descend. Even when a flickering forked tongue, impossibly long, darted across her belly, Seok-Teng held her ground, though she could not suppress gasps and jerks at the tantalizing sensations it aroused.
“Set aside your noble blade,” the voice said, “if you would taste of more tender delights.”
She sheathed the kris but kept it belted at her hip. This time the dragon’s laughter echoed inside her head, drowned out soon by Seok-Teng’s own cries as the deep-coral tongue lapped at the paler coral tips of her high breasts, teasing and tweaking at them until they hardened and darkened and sent bolts of pleasure close to pain down through her belly into her cunt.
“How brave are you, girl? Enough to follow me?” The voice seemed uneven now, almost breathless. The long tongue reached down between her thighs and slick lips to find the jewel of pleasure there, and a low, rough moan was wrenched from deep in Seok-Teng’s throat, followed by a keen wail as the stimulation ceased.
“Come, if you dare!” The dragon launched suddenly from the rock, leaving it nearly bare, and dove into the water. Seok-Teng followed so swiftly that the wake of the great long tail swept her briefly off course. Attuned from birth to all the motions and secrets of the sea, she was back on course in a moment, and when the waters stilled beside an island much larger than the first, she dove unerringly through an underwater passage to come up in a pool within a grotto infused with green light.
On its far side stalactites hung nearly to the floor, chiming like bells as the dragon’s emerald scales brushed them. Nearer, an arc of sandy beach edged the water.
The voice came again. “One more challenge, if you are truly brave.” But this time it felt more like a plea than a dare. “Your blade…will you trust me with your blade?”

And then things get…interesting.


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

In the Realm of Gods and Monsters and Billionaires

Most of us might not consider this – especially if we’re in the camp that is sick to death of billionaire stories, but billionaires have been with us in their more archetypal forms since the time of telling stories in the cave around the fire. 
The truth is that power and control, in all their guises have a facet of raw, primal lust, and few things are more darkly and secretly fascinating than the idea of being forced to give up control and finding that we like it. Being possessed, being under someone else’s thrall, being taken to the realms of ecstasy, whether it’s on Mount Olympus, in Dracula’s dungeon lair or in a penthouse apartment, is a part of that dark fantasy that makes up, not only the mythological seductions, but every vampire story, every monster story, and yes … every billionaire romance. 

Why is that? What makes that dark fantasy such a powerful one. Well, I have a theory, and I’ve been toying with it ever since I penned my first PNR story. I think that no matter how appalled we are by the thought, no matter how stubborn and independent we are, we want to know what it’s like to be with and to be taken by a force so much greater than us that we have no control. What’s it like to be bitten and seduced by a vampire? What’s it like to make love to a monster? What’s it like to be seduced by a god? What’s it like to be the object of lust for a billionaire? And ultimately what price are we willing to pay for entrance into Club Billionaire, Club Olympus, Club Undead? 

It’s more than lust. It’s more than love. In fact it’s all a little mercenary really. We want, we long for, a chance to take into ourselves all that we’re not. We want to know their secrets. We want those divine, powerful, filthy rich, forbidden lovers to reveal to us their inner workings just as much as they want to possess us. The ultimate question then becomes can we pay the price and survive to tell the tale? Can we achieve our HEA and find some sense of balance in a world to which we are the interloper?  Oooh! It’s always so much fun to find out. And what I am discovering as I delve deeper and deeper into Magda/Medusa’s world and that of her Consortium, is that the answer is … complicated. Sometimes the Happy Ever After looks more like “what the f*ck is this then?” Sometimes the true adventure only begins just when the HEA is lost in a constantly changing landscape in which we’re strangers. Sometimes there are far greater things at stake. 

Being whisked away into the arms of a demon or a vampire, or even a gorgon also means while there may not be a need to wear a condom, there is quite literally no such thing as safe sex. You never know what will happen if you sleep with the monsters, and once that decision is made, in a world where rules don’t apply, we can’t help but be affected. The question then becomes, will we survive the change? 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

What a Way to Go!

By Tim Smith

For this month’s promo, I’m digging through my extensive backlist once again to highlight one of my early romantic comedies, “The Sweet Distraction” (2010).

“George Sullivan’s life is a disaster in progress. His last few books haven’t sold well, he drinks too much, he sleeps around, he’s on the hook for a gambling debt he can’t repay, and he’d probably trade his last friend for a best seller. His love life isn’t faring much better, due to a bad break-up that still haunts him. When his agent arranges for him to write the memoir of notorious mob boss Vito Pasquale, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime and the chance to make all his dreams come true. What George doesn’t count on is falling for the Don’s beautiful but spoiled daughter, Cookie. It’s lust at first sight for both of them, but George resists her blatant seduction attempts because he fears how her father might react. When Cookie begins a relentless campaign to snare him it’s only a matter of time before George caves in, but what if things don’t work out between them? Will he end up in the middle of Lake Erie wearing a cement overcoat for dallying with the Don’s daughter? Will Vito insist on a shotgun wedding to preserve Cookie’s honor? Worse yet, when George finally achieves the success he’s always wanted, will it be a hollow victory if Cookie isn’t there to share it with him?”

This was a fun story to write because I went for laughs and satire. It’s also a sizzling hot romance, with some of the most erotic scenes I’ve ever penned. Part of the plot stems from personal experience. I had recently signed with a new publisher and was trying to get established as a romance writer, so I could relate to the hero’s frustrations. I also used my longtime fascination with crime stories to satirize the whole mob tell-all thing. The interplay between George and Cookie was especially fun to write, since she’s hell-bent on getting him into her bed, even though he’s reluctant to get involved with her. See for yourself:

George left Pasquale’s residence and put on a pair of sunglasses. He hadn’t seen Cookie yet, which was a disappointment. He was almost to his car when a voice stopped him.

“Hey, bachelor, what’s your hurry?”

He looked toward the in-ground pool and smiled at the sight of Cookie resting on a lounge. He casually strolled over and let his eyes devour her lithe frame adorned in a black string bikini.

“I was hoping to see you,” she said. “You said you’d call.”

“But I didn’t say when. You’re looking very yummy this early in the day.”

Cookie slowly licked her lips. “Thank you. How goes the book?”

“Not bad. How goes the catering business?”

“Slow. I decided not to waste such a beautiful day hanging around the office. I’ve been thinking about what you said yesterday, about not rushing into something. I figured that meant you needed to see if you really like me first.” She moved her leg slightly to the side to give George a full view of her tanned body. “So do you like me?”

“Oh, I definitely like you, especially when you’re dressed like that.”

“You should see me in my teddy. It’s black lace with a matching thong.”

George swallowed hard then cleared his throat. “I should probably get going. I have work to do.”

“You know what they say about all work and no play.”

“I always make time to play.”

“Hmm. What do you like to play?”

“Poker, Blackjack, the ponies once in a while.”

“Are you good at picking the winners?”

“I like to see them run first, but it usually depends on who’s holding the riding crop.”

“Ooh, is that a freaky side coming out of hiding?”

George winked. “I’ll never tell.”

“I like to play, too.”

“What games do you like to play, little girl?”

“Pass-out, strip dominoes, escaped convict and the warden’s wife…”

“Those are a little out of my league.”

“Maybe you should move up from Little League to the Majors. That’s where they play night games.”

“Is this where you ask me if I know how to whistle, then tell me I just put my lips together and blow?”

She raised her sunglasses and gave him a sly look. “I can think of a much better use for your lips.”

You can read a longer excerpt at the link below. Happy reading!