To the winner goes the spoils – the spoils of war that is. The Conquered Brides Collection releases on Tuesday. Five sexy stories from some of my favourite authors – Renee Rose, Sue Lyndon, Dinah McLeod, Korey Mae Johnson. And then there’s me. I’m in such good company!
The collection follows the fortunes of five women taken by force from their home after the castle falls in battle, and the conquering knights ready to do what’s necessary to subdue their reluctant brides – including administering a good spanking.
Look out for the set appearing on Amazon, and other sites from 3 March
Meanwhile, here’s an excerpt from my story in the collection, The Widow Is Mine.
I open my eyes, my brow furrowing at the sudden onslaught of bright wintry sunlight. I am momentarily perplexed. Where am I? This is not my chamber at Hohenzollern. This place is too—warm.
The source of heat shifts, and I become aware of the living, breathing male presence beside me. The events of yesterday come clamouring back into my mind.
The castle is taken, conquered. The royal family are captured, imprisoned, or have fled. Or, as in my case, been claimed as brides. My husband-to-be is sleeping at my side, his huge, naked form both warm and vibrant, and utterly terrifying.
I am also nude, and as the events of yesterday rush back at me I recall why this is. I attempted to escape, believing I might make my way back into the castle by way of one of the underground passages. I had planned to return to Sophia, to be assured of her safety. Instead, I almost lost my life. I owe my very survival to the duke of Richtenholst, the powerful presence slumbering beside me.
I really should not be snuggled up to him in this manner. Even were we properly wed, it would not be quite seemly. Certainly I never shared a bed nor any other such intimacy in either of my previous marriages.
I shift, intending to ease myself away from his solid body. At my first movement he tightens his arm around me, holding me secure against him.
“Where are you thinking of making off to now, my lady?”
His voice is rich and deep. I sense the vibrations in his chest as he chuckles.
“I was, I mean, I thought… I am sorry, my lord. I did not intend to wake you.” I do not usually stammer, but he seems to bring out such nervousness in me I find it hard to string two sensible words together.
“I don’t doubt that. But since we are both now awake, shall we get on? We have much to accomplish this day. Starting with your spanking.”
I stiffen, press my lips together. I knew, of course I knew this was coming. I remember full well his words of last night. But I had wondered in some optimistic corner of my brain if he might forget. Or relent. It would seem not.
I am not above begging if that might help my plight. “My lord, please. This is not necessary. I am truly sorry for what I did yesterday and for all the trouble I caused you. Such will never occur again, I swear that.”
“It pleases me to hear this. I accept your apology, and your promise.”
“So now we have only to deal with the matter of your suitable chastisement, then it will be done with.”
Oh. Oh, no.
He continues. “Unless of course you remain too fragile following your exertions of yesterday. You took quite a battering. How are your ribs this morning?”
My lord the duke eases himself up into a sitting position, his back propped against the headboard. I peer up at him from my safe haven among the blankets and furs. Despite my dire circumstances, I have to confess he makes a magnificent sight.
I had little opportunity to study his features yesterday, but as I view him now in the clear morning light, I confess the duke is an uncommonly handsome man, though his features possess a certain severity. I suppose that comes with his station, and his profession as a soldier. His dark blond hair reaches his shoulders, and is both thick and wavy. It looks soft too, and I suppress an unaccountable urge to run my fingers through those tawny locks. His eyes are blue, a piercing, deep shade that puts me in mind of the kingfishers that inhabit the banks of the river flowing along the borders of Hohenzollern. His azure gaze is now locked on mine. His lips are full, and they curl in a friendly enough smile. Despite his intent, his demeanour toward me seems pleasant.
His chest is broad, the muscles there clearly defined. They ripple under his tanned skin, reminding me that his power over me is physical as well as legal. If he intends to spank me, he will. His arms are solid, the strength there plain to see. He said he would hurt me. I have no doubt of it.
“My lady, your ribs?”
I draw a deep breath to expand my lungs, and find the effort neither too taxing, nor painful. I test the area of bruising with my fingertips and find it to be tender but not sore. I consider laying claim to a greater fragility than would be accurate, but decide against that. The best I might achieve is a delay, and throughout the period of waiting I would be tense, afraid of what was to come. Better to get this done with now.
“I, I am fine, my lord.”
“I see. And your head? Any remaining dizziness or headache?”
I shake the head in question. He nods his.
“Your ankle will not be affected by what I intend for you, but I shall ask anyway. Can you stand? Can you walk?”
“I believe I shall be able to do so, my lord. After a fashion.”
“That is good. But you are shaking, my lady.” He lifts one eyebrow, whilst also reaching to caress my cheek. “You are afraid of your first punishment at my hands, I understand that. Be assured that you will come to no harm from me.”
I work to regain some semblance of control, though in truth he is right. Despite my determination to see this matter concluded, I am terrified. I contemplate even now attempting to make a run for it, but the dull throbbing in my ankle convinces me this would be futile. Counter-productive even. I have no wish to provoke him further.
Except that he does not have the appearance of an angry man. He seems calm, amused almost. And in no particular hurry to lay into me.
“If you need a private moment to relieve yourself first, that will be fine with me. Or perhaps you are hungry. Your spanking can wait until you have broken your fast, though I will insist that you remain naked.”