Authors: Jenesi Ash,Elliot Mabeuse,Lilli Feisty,Charlotte Featherstone,Cathryn Fox,Portia Da Costa,Megan Hart,Saskia Walker
We said very little last night. Our bodies spoke for us. But this morning, I have to confirm not just my hopes and fears but my beloved's.
I know he probably wants what I want, but will his ancestral notions of duty and honor stop him from taking it? He might
feel he has to set aside his needs for what he thinks is best for me.
Time to persuade him that he can't live without me.
Lifting the sheet that covers him, I feast my eyes on his magnificent body for a few moments, loving his tousled hair and the faintly sweaty early-morning aroma of his skin. His patrician face looks younger in repose, and his long, lush eyelashes are two dark fans against his cheekbones.
I wonder whether to bend down and take his cock in my mouth. It's already thickening, as if it's awake even if Christian himself isn't quite yet.
But instead, I try something different. Lying down against him I press my bottom against his thighs, and then draw his sleeping hand against its rounded shape, hoping he'll respond.
, I think as his fingers automatically curve and cup me.
Yours until the end of time, to spank and play with at your leisure
“You do know what you're asking for, doing that, don't you?”
His voice is sleepy, yet still full of masculine power. He squeezes my cheeks briskly, already waking and ready for his treat.
“Umâ¦yes, I think so.”
“You know, there isn't really time, my love.” There's regret there, but it's tempered with typical British stoicism. As if he's bracing himself already for what he dreads. “Isn't your taxi coming at eight? Shouldn't you be packing?”
I can't speak. Now that I have to tell him about my decision, I'm scared. I know I've read him right, and I know he cares, but stillâ¦.
“I'm not going.”
There's a long silence. His hands are still upon me, but they're quiescent.
And then he laughs. And squeezes again.
“You're a very silly girl. You know that, don't you?”
“Yeah, I do know itâ¦but it doesn't change things.” I press
myself back into his hold. “I've decided that I like rain, and I want to hang around here, stay on the team and see what this old heap looks like when the renovation is finished.”
“Is that all?” I hear the smile in his voice as he rolls me onto my front, still palpating my bottom in a way that's utterly sensual and full of delicate, delicious menace. “I do hate it when someone I care about keeps things from me.” He lifts his hand, and that's more menacing than ever. “Now, tell me the whole truthâ¦or I shall be forced to punish you.”
“You might think I'm a bit forward.”
“I'll be the judge of that, Rose. Now tell me.”
I hesitate again. Deliberately.
He makes a soft tutting sound, and though I can't see him, I imagine him shaking his head, and his gorgeous black hair rippling.
A little tap lands on my right buttock. It's light, barely a smack at all, but my sex ripples in luscious excitement. He barely has to touch me and I'm soaring toward pleasure already.
Another tap lands and I swirl my hips, rubbing my mound against the mattress, trying to stimulate my clit.
“Keep still. Don't be naughty.”
He's fighting not to laugh, and his voice is so warm, so affectionate that I begin to melt in an entirely different way. My spirits sing as I work my crotch, happily defying him.
He smacks again and again, a little harder, warming up my hind parts to match the glow in my sex and in my heart.
“Tell meâ¦tell me everything.” He smoothes his free hand down my back and my flank, the other still softly slapping at my bottom.
It's hard to answer now because I'm so turned on I can't think straight to form words, and it's also getting difficult to keep my hips still against the sheets.
I grab at the pillows, clutching the linen of the pillowcase hard in an effort to concentrate.
“Iâ¦I've decided that I'd quite like to find out what it's like to be a marchioness!”
There's a pause, during which I hold my breath, then I feel a kiss settle on the small of my back like a butterfly.
“Well, I can tell you what that will be like.” His breath is hot against my skin, wafting over my bottom, which is already even hotter. “You'll never have any money. You'll spend your life enslaved to a great monster of a house that'll never ever stop needing attention.” He kisses me just one more time, and then straightens up again. “And you'll probably get your bottom smacked at least once a day, if not considerably more often!”
Spanks begin to rain down. Hard, loving, rhythmical and stirring. I surge against the mattress, my clit pulsating and my heart thudding and leaping with the purest love.
A while later, I've been spanked and I've been fondled and I've been comprehensively fuckedâ¦and I've been brought to climax again and again and again. And with each smack, each stroke, each thrust and each orgasm, I've been told that I'm cherished and adored.
Christian's gone back to sleep now, and I'm lying here savoring the peace and the closeness of his beloved body. Pretty soon I'll have to start making phone calls and explaining a lot of things to a lot of very astonished people. But for now, I'm just listening to my darling's breathing and the sound of a new, teeming downpour outside.
British weather? It's not so badâ¦in fact, I love it! Almost as much as I love the man who's at my side.
THE SUN WAS SETTING SLOWLY BEHIND THE
hills to the west, and long gray shadows were beginning to crawl along the dusty yellow streets of Thebes. The heat still lingered in the avenues and mud-brick walls of the shops and houses, but with evening came the breeze that lifted at last off the Nile and brought a welcome coolness to Tia's young face. She stood drinking in that coolness, standing in the shadow of her doorway, waiting for her brother the priest.
This was the sun as she loved him best, as Aton, old and mellow, his day's journey almost done. Soon he would sink under the edge of the west to engage in his night of struggles and tribulations with what lay in the darkness below, but Tia had perfect faith in her gods, and knew that he would emerge victorious as ever. She wished she could say the same for herself.
But already here was Kheneb, her elder brother, striding across from the shade of the other side of the street with his priestly staff in his hand, his white robe adorned with a turquoise cloth across his shoulders. He was arrayed in a fine panoply of jewelry, which explained the four armed temple servants who accompanied him a respectful three paces behind. There were always thieves about, and a priest at night was no safer than a pharaoh's tomb.
“Good evening to you, my little sister. You are all ready, then?” he asked. His eyes glowed with affection, but he only allowed himself the faintest smile. Kheneb was a powerful priest at the temple of Hathor, and he knew how to maintain a suitably grave and pious face in public.
Tia nodded her head in a small, polite bow, then smoothed her black hair back from her face. “As my elder brother wishes.”
He smiled at her formal greeting and looked her over criticallyâher spotless white gown, the string of turquoise around her neck, the bracelets on her arms. She was pleased that he approved of how she looked, though it did little to allay the growing nervousness in her stomach. She was not really frightened, just a bit anxious about what lay ahead.
The town was coming alive in the cool of the evening, some shops closing for the day while others were just opening. The tavern owners were raising the reed shades that kept out the daytime flies and heat, sweeping the sand and dust from their establishments, setting out their signs and banners. Two boys herded a flock of geese into the shade across the road while a third led two mud-spattered oxen back from the fields by the river, giving the priest and his party a wide berth. This was a favorite time to shop and socialize, in the cool of the evening before full darkness fell, and already people were emerging from their houses, dressed in their fine linen skirts and gowns.
Out came the fine ladies of the evening, too, perfumed and oiled so that their skin gleamed, their mascara perfect, and Tia watched them as she always did, seeking to learn the secrets of their grace and charm. Tia knew how men loved beauty, and these women had that beauty that went deeper than just appearance. They moved with the grace of the river, the mysteries of the gods in them, and Tia envied them deeply.
Tonight she looked fine, as well. Her black hair had been dressed in the Hathor manner: parted in the middle and
brushed out with a bit of sweet oil until it positively gleamed. The hairdressers had seen to her makeup, too, lining her large, dark eyes with powdered malachite, also sacred to the goddess, and coloring her lips with the juice of the pomegranate. Her robe was new, of the finest linen, and so were the sandals on her feet. Kheneb had even purchased jewelry for her, the first she had ever owned, and she was sinfully proud of the necklace, bracelets and earrings of turquoise and gold, colors also favored by Hathor. As the daughter of a powerful and well-placed priest, Tia had never been poor, but tonight she was dressed as beautifully as the wealthiest lady in Thebes, and for the first time her brother had to treat her as a woman and not a child. It amused her to see him struggle with this change in her, but he had no choice. The foreign goddess would only accept women as priestesses; she had no interest in flighty little girls.
It was not far from here that Tia had first known the pleasure of a man's embrace with a handsome young captain from Pharaoh's guard. Pharaoh had come down to the river to bless the Nile at harvest, and the celebration had been grand. There'd been musicians and dancing and the gods had been paraded. Beer was consumed in wild abandon and even Mother Nile had her fill. Pharaoh was magnificent and so were his guards, and Tia had been swept up in the excitement, literally, and had found herself then in Setka's chariot, held between his strong arms, racing through the streets as he lashed his horses.
And then she knew not what happened. His lips were on the back of her neck as he drove and his hands were on her breasts and she felt the hardness of his groin pressing against her. She, Tianefhet, had aroused this handsome captain of Amenhotep's guard, and he pressed her against him and his lips found hers, his hand went between her legsâand who was she to refuse him on this joyous day? His chariot left the proces
sion and turned off into the high reeds that grew along the Nile, and even as she heard the brass trumpets sounding Pharaoh's return to the great Double House, Setka's lips were on her breasts and all around her was the green of the reeds and she was swooning under his touch.
His chest was broad and his belly hard as marble as Tia sank to her knees and worshipped him like a god, taking him into her mouth and sucking him like a starving child. Setka groaned and guided her, filling his hands with her hair and thrusting his lean hips with selfish urgency until Tia felt faint with desire to know him this way. But Setka was determined to have her as a man has a woman, and he made them a hurried bed of his soldier's cloak and quickly stripped her naked of her simple linen gown. How his eyes had glowed when he looked at her lying there in the reeds, open and waiting for him! He hurt her when he entered her, but only for a moment, and then she closed about him and held him tight with legs and arms as Setka used his strength to take her. He rode her as he rode his chariot, high and proud and fierce in his desire, his strong arms planted on either side of her shoulders, his loins slapping against her with such force that Tia cried out as if lashed with a golden whip. She'd never known such joy and it was indeed as if she were his vehicle of pleasure, taking him exactly where he wanted to go, higher and higher and faster and faster until the very earth fell away and it was just she and Setka and the green fire of the sun in the reeds. Then suddenly he had rolled them over and Tia was on top of him, on top of her magnificent lover, and it was as if she were a woman possessed, as if the horse had taken control of the chariot.
Even now she blushed to remember it, how she couldn't control her hips or the sounds that spilled from her open mouth. She'd spread her hands wide on the broad muscles of his chest and began to move with a hunger she didn't know she possessed, fucking him with a savagery that shocked them
both. Setka raised his head and looked down to where his cock disappeared into her. He put his hands on her thighs and began to work her up and back, sliding her on his thick flesh, moving her like a child's toy, and Tia groaned, falling down over him and seeking blindly for his mouth, for the comfort of his kiss. It was madness divine, as if the gods themselves touched her. It picked her up and shook her to the core so that she wasn't herself and that was all she could think of, that she wasn't herself, but someone else.
The next thing she knew, she was on her back again and Setka was slamming into her, sweat dripping from his body onto her breasts as he pulled her to him. Tia could hardly breathe. She was digging her nails into the muscles of his ass and her pleasure was breaking over her in a blinding wave like Ra breaking through the morning mists, and she burned with the holy fire of the gods. She cried out and clung to him as his full body went rigid, and then he was moaning and growling, emptying himself into her, and she knew then something of what the gods must surely know, and Tia the girl became Tia the woman once and for all time.
The captain had been good to her and gentle, but she saw in the way he quickly gathered himself up to go that she'd surprised him, shocked him even. He left her alone and lonely, though by no means sorry for what she'd done. And she'd been curious ever since, certain that the gods were involved in this kind of love between a man and a woman, but not sure just how, and aching to find out. She didn't dare ask her brotherâhe'd never understandâbut Tia knew the gods had touched her that day and she wanted to know more. She burned to know more.
Kheneb took her arm and they began walking down the street, the bodyguards falling in behind them. She could tell her brother had been cautious in choosing the number of his retinue. This was a delicate mission, and he obviously wanted to be impressive but not intimidating. He had mentioned taking
sedan chairsâhence the four guardsâbut decided against it. Walking was more egalitarian, and they didn't have far to go.
“Stand erect, child. Don't slump like a sack of barley,” he said, stopping to push on her shoulders. “Straighten your back. You want pride, little sister. You're a lovely girl, Tianefhet, and you must learn to be proud of yourself, especially tonight. This is truly a remarkable offer.”
“Yes, my brother.” She drew herself up and stood erect, and Kheneb looked away uneasily as her breasts came into prominence.
She did feel proud, but along with the pride was fear, even a mild dread. She knew and loved the gods of her Egypt, but this strange goddess was no one she knew, and she had the vague feeling of betraying her people. It didn't help that Kheneb was uncharacteristically nervous, as well. It was very much unlike him.
They turned a corner and came out into a plaza of food sellers. The yeasty smell of beer and the aroma of grilled fish was in the air, mingled with the earthy smell of the river carried in on the warm and fitful breeze.
“Now tell me once again,” Kheneb said, deftly plucking a fresh fig from a fruit vendor's table as they walked past. The vendor looked up in reproach, but seeing that Kheneb was a priest, he lowered his eyes and said nothing. “What is the goddess's name?”
“Now, now. Answer me, little sister. We want no mistakes, no slips of the tongue.”
Tia sighed. They walked in the middle of the street now, and she was aware of the stares of both men and women, some who knew her, others who didn't, but all wondering what this special occasion might be that a fine lady walked in the street with a high priest and an armed escort.
“Her name is Astarte, my brother, though her worshippers often just call her the Great Lady.”
“And who is she?”
“She is a goddess of the Mitanni, the hairy people of the east,” Tia said, remembering to keep her back erect as they walked. “She is a goddess of love and war, and some would call her Isis, but she is not Isis.”
“Just leave Isis out of this,” Kheneb said testily. “This goddess is the same as Hathor. Anyone can see that. That's what this is all aboutâto show that this Astarte is Hathor, the Mistress of Joy, the Golden One.”
“Yes, my brother,” Tia said gravely. She knew how he felt about competing goddesses and had said it partly to tease him and distract him from his nervousness. “But how one goddess can embody both love and the violence of war, I'm afraid I won't ever understand.”
“Understanding will come with time, once you're accepted into the temple,” Kheneb said. “And that's what we must concentrate on now. I do hope you will keep in mind what an honor this is, Tia, and how important it is to us, and to all of Egypt. I've worked very hard to get you this appointment. It's almost certain now that Great Pharaoh will have Prince Nekhet marry the Mitanni princess to cement the two lands' alliance, and so Pharaoh has set his mind on making a home for this princess in Egypt, and that means a home for her gods as well, though I hear the funds for her new temple are not quite flowing as freely as could be wished, what with all the other building he is doing. In any case, it's very important that you be accepted into this temple, and that we establish once and for all that this foreign goddessâthis Astarteâis our Hathor, not Isis. You know how I feel about Isis.”
“I mean, I have nothing against her. Nothing at all. But she is not Hathor, and I will not have anyone confusing the two, least of all my little sister. How would that look?”
Tia didn't understand this rivalry between the gods, but then
she took a much simpler view of their religion than did her learned brother. In her mind, Hathor was the goddess of joy and fulfillment, the goddess of happiness, just as Kheneb had always taught her. Isis embodied something completely different, a more troubling mixture of love and loss, altogether more human. Whereas Hathor was joy and beauty, Isis was grace and mercy. Both goddesses were ancient, and, of course, as a priest Kheneb honored them both, but Tia knew that he always thought of Isis as being something of an upstart.
“Now,” Kheneb said, clearing his throat and drawing himself up. “As for the role of
or sacred prostitute, we shall most certainly have to make some arrangements about that. Such barbarian practices are foreign to us Egyptians, we who dwell in the Happy Land. It's quite unacceptable. And I won't have you doing anything you don't want to do, or anything that will bring shame upon our family.”
Tia felt a little surge of excitement in her stomach. In truth, this was the crux of the entire matter and what made her so nervous and yet strangely excited. Sacred prostitution was the rule with the goddess Astarte; Tia had known this since she was a girl, and that was already long after the time when soldiers from the army of Thutmose the Third had brought back tales of the practice. She and her friends used to tease and scandalize each other with the idea of giving oneself away to a strange man for a night. And in the name of what was holy, too! But that had been in the days before the foreign goddess had been brought to Egypt itself, back when her worshippers were still strangers far away in a faraway land. Now that she might serve as a temple prostitute herself, Tia wasn't sure if there wasn't something wonderfully exciting about it in a wicked sort of way. On the one hand she was horrified, but on the otherâ¦to be the conduit of a goddess, to feel her power and beauty in your own bodyâthat was something she was frankly quite curious about. She didn't reject it out of hand as Kheneb thought she did.