Read an Excerpt
The carriage arrived at sunset. The driver did not dismount; he did not even glance at her as she walked down the front steps of the Villa. The hems of her cloak and dress rustled against the flagstones in a secret whisper of cloth, defying the pious stillness of twilight when all virtuous women are closing their windows and doors against the dangers of the night. Laura managed to step up into the carriage without assistance. She had barely settled her skirt around her when the horses bolted, eager to be on their way again, and she felt the motion directly in her chest where her heart was beating so fast she literally feared for her life. She was still clad in mourning black, but her somber dress was only a facade for beneath it she was wearing nothing at all. Her personal maid had remained discreetly silent as she tightened her mistress' bodice directly against her naked skin and breasts. Christina had been with her for years, and it was she who would inform the staff the Signora had received an urgent message to visit a sick cousin outside the city. Why she had taken no servants and luggage with her would be an entertaining topic of speculation for her servants Laura sincerely hoped would not spread to neighboring households.
Where she was going had not been revealed to her, in fact, nothing had. She was exercising more faith in her late husband's good intentions than she ever had in God. But ever since she received his letter from beyond the grave she was able to taste life again, and if the acidity of fear was mixed in with the intoxicating warmth of returning sensation, then so be it. Having had her life mapped out for her since the moment she was born, not knowing what wasgoing to happen to her was as refreshing and exciting as it was terrifying. Relentlessly schooled in virtue, what her body suspected lay in store for her senses was inconceivable to her mentally. Such images as she had allowed herself to paint in her mind during the long three days and nights since Sandro's visit seemed impossible and therefore unreal, like the medieval fresco of hell adorning a small alcove in her villa's private chapel. She wondered why Vittorio never had it painted over, until she examined the faces of the eternally suffering sinners and realized they were all smiling. Looking closely at the nature of their punishments, she had been shocked by the suspicion they were enjoying them.
When the carriage abruptly came to a stop her heart followed suit for a breathless instant. The door on the other side of the cushioned seat opened, and a tall man entered the small space with her. His gloves, his cloak, his boots and his hair, all were black, as was the mask that revealed only sinuous lips and dark-blue eyes. They regarded her steadily for a moment before he leaned intimately towards her and covered her own eyes with a soft red cloth, robbing her of sight as he tied it securely behind her head.
Laura bit her lip to stop herself from whimpering like a frightened child. If she lost her courage before anything even happened she would only be serving to prove women were indeed inferior, and worse, that they could not be trusted to keep their word. When the nameless man forcibly gripped one of her arms, it was harder for her not to make a helpless sound, but she somehow managed to sustain a dignified silence as he bound her wrists together in her lap.
As the carriage continued on its way again she found herself praying he would speak to her, that he would say her name, at least, reassuring her he was a friend of Sandro's, but he remained silent and she experienced the curious sensation of questions crowding her throat until it felt hot with the urge to weep and beg to be taken home. Sitting perfectly still and silent with her hands clasped tensely in her lap took all the willpower she possessed, and it filled her with despair how quickly she had squandered her strength. She wondered if the last thing she would ever see was a man's sinisterly masked face. She sensed him looking at her, yet of course she could not be sure she wasn't merely imagining his intent regard, his invisible presence mysteriously growing in warmth and dangerous power the longer he remained silent.
The carriage came to a stop a second time. Laura clenched her hands even more tightly as she heard a door open and felt her companion step out of the carriage. Then the door beside her also opened and a hand possessively grasped her arm. She clutched the combined folds of her cloak and skirt, lifting them to avoid tripping as she turned in the seat and searched blindly with on of her high-heels for the steps leading down out of the compartment. The hand bracing her offered her no other assistance, and she was proud when she made it to the ground without stumbling. Immediately a second hand grasped her free arm, and suddenly it did not seem so important she could not see were she was going. Her blindness was a weakness, but a curiously pleasant one as her steps were confidently directed. All she had to do was trust the strong presences surrounding her. She felt both protected by them and at their mercy, a combination her feminine soul found perilously intoxicating.
"There are nine steps before you,' a man announced quietly.
Glad of the warning, and inordinately grateful for the sound of his voice, she managed to ascend calmly between them. So far her regal behavior was worthy of her husband's faith in her. It was not until the brisk night air gave way to the closer warmth of a candlelit interior that anxiety began flickering its painfully hot flame so deep inside her no reassuring thoughts could quench it.
"There are now thirteen steps before you.'
She raised a high-heel and felt herself falling into a void. Her two guides steadied her without comment as she realized the stairwell lead downwards. The air grew noticeably colder as they descended and she heard again Sandro's voice in her head saying, 'The society's cellars are very deep, Laura...'
At the bottom of the steps her arms were released and she was left standing alone at the center of nothingness, yet the inner darkness imposed by the blindfold was illuminated by brilliantly colorful memories ... Her husband's body lying stiffly across a cold stone bed deep in the family crypt, his rich clothing defying the dull lace of ancient cobwebs embracing the naked bones of his ancestors ... Sandro's intensely handsome face and the look in his eyes when he raised her hand to his lips ... She stood poised at the dark heart of the experience that for three long days and nights she had both dreaded and desired ... at the symbolic instant of death when she would find out if her soul truly could rise above whatever happened to her flesh...
Her wrists were untied so swiftly she barely had time to appreciate their freedom before a pair of strong arms swept her up against a hard chest, and then spread her gently back across a soft surface. It was amazingly easy to cross a forbidden threshold--the death of her old life happened in the few seconds it took the man to cradle her in his arms and lay her down again. Warm, ungloved hands slipped up her skirt, lifting it out of their way while other hands impatiently opened her cloak and still more hands carelessly ripped open her bodice. Her arms were forced up over her head, her shoes were removed, and a loud ripping sound satisfied her desire to cry out as the heavy black dress she had worn for nine months was in that many seconds destroyed, exposing all the soft, pale flesh buried beneath it.
In a desperate effort to stop herself from being afraid, Laura concentrated on trying to determine how many men were present. She distinctly felt two masculine hands sharing her breasts, yet she could not be sure those were not the lips of a third man, and the tongue of a fourth, savoring her nipples. She quickly gave up; there were too many hands stroking her legs to make sense of, especially when her thoughts slipped strangely out of her grasp as her legs were spread. Fingertips massaged a slick, warm oil across her labial lips before insinuating themselves into her clinging, resistant sex, yet so much more was happening to her body at the same time she was stunned into a silence that seemed shamefully to scream her willingness to be so used. A cry of protest perched on the tip of her tongue, yet it never took flight in defense of her virtue as she writhed shamelessly against the divan in response to a man's big strong hand opening her up. Then suddenly a thumb was thrust into her mouth and the rising guilt urging her to cry out for mercy was effortlessly crushed. She found herself sucking fervently on the man's slightly salty hardness, grateful he had saved her from the tense temptation to resist being relentlessly penetrated at both ends as fingers slid swiftly in and out of her pussy while a second thumb thrust into her mouth, demanding her tongue evenly divide its attentions.
The hand between her legs fucked her until her back arched in response, then it slipped away and another set of breathtakingly skilled fingers slipped deep inside her. She could feel they belonged to a different man; there were subtle but vital differences in the way they forced her open and stroked her, and the more sensations she was aware of, the more they all came together inside her as one overwhelming pleasure. Two other thumbs insinuated themselves between her lips, coaxing her tongue to beg for them, and the more wantonly she opened her mouth to hungrily suck and lick, the more her innermost flesh yielded to the thrust of fingers exploring the shape and texture and tightness of her sex; roughly pointing out how wet and deep and ready she was for much more. Hands clutching her wrists held her arms up over her head while two other hands gripped her ankles and kept her legs spread. She did not need to see in order to sense--to suffer the knowledge--that she was surrounded by men. The darkness behind her eyelids had assumed the exhilarating form of beautiful masked noblemen, one of whom she knew (she fervently hoped) was Sandro. But none of them spoke; not one offered her the slightest clue to his identity. She would never look at a man's thumbs the same way again. They were everywhere, and the way they worked on her forced the men stationed at her feet to hold her ankles more tightly as she struggled to close her legs against the painfully sharp delight cutting up through her body. The thumbs dancing with her tongue were breathtakingly allied to the one brushing the top of her mound and to the ones rubbing her nipples until they were so hard they hurt. Smoldering in response to the relentless stimulation, her clitoris radiated a rapturous blaze of feeling up her body into the burning peaks of her breasts, her twirling tongue stirring her senses up into a frenzy of impressions deliciously possessing her. She could not see, but she could taste and feel and hear and smell everything intensely ... the uniquely desirable flavor of male flesh ... every imaginable quality of touch, gentle and rough, squeezing and caressing ... the embarrassingly distinct sound of her juicing sex parting around two, three, and even four thrusting fingers ... the delicate yet heady perfume of her arousal scenting the air mingling with the mysterious musk of men's growing lust ... robbed of sight, her remaining senses were sharpened almost unbearably, so that it came as a shock and yet as no surprise when she climaxed.
The thumbs slipped out of her mouth as if their owners wished to relish her cries as countless hands continued caressing and pinning her down until she completely relaxed against the velvet divan, then they all slipped away at once. She was left alone again, but this time she did not feel poised at the center of nothingness--her body was the heart of tantalizing possibilities. Whatever happened now, her willingness had been established beyond a shadow of a doubt. The searing ecstasy she was capable of experiencing was a light in the darkness showing her the path she had to take for the rest of the night, or for however long her initiation might last. Her body grasped the key before her mind did--that she must submit absolutely. She was utterly naked, a condition she suddenly felt applied not just to her flesh but to her very soul. No gold rings claimed her fingers, no heavy gemstones weighed down her earlobes, and no necklaces burdened her heart with their precious weight. She was purely herself clad only in the gifts God had wrapped her spirit in when she was born--lustrous black hair flowing down to her waist and flesh so smooth and cool to the touch on the outside yet so warm and wet on the inside.
When two hands firmly grasped hers, Laura sensed they belonged to one man as she obeyed their silent command to sit up. But that was not enough; apparently, he wanted her on her feet, so she slipped her legs off the edge of the divan and stood up, grateful for his bracing grip. Then it slipped away and once more two hands grasped her upper arms, guiding her forward between them. She walked tentatively in her bare feet across the cold stone floor, increasingly afraid of bumping into something sinister, and how large the space was where she found herself blind and lost began making her nervous again. Finally her escorts stopped and raised her arms over her head, spreading them open as they had her legs. The unmistakable feel of supple leather embraced both her wrists, and she suppressed a whimper of terror hearing the cold clink of chains hanging above her. A moment later, her ankles suffered the same fate as her legs were forced open as far as possible while still enabling her to stand. She had suppressed all sounds of weakness until then, but she could not stop herself from gasping when her blindfold was yanked off. Blinking against the light that seemed bright after so much darkness, after a moment she was able to make out torches burning in sconces on dark stone walls. She closed her eyes again for an instant, returning to the safety of not knowing how many masked strangers her loving husband had willed her to.
Before her stood three men, and turning her head from side-to-side she glimpsed four more men flanking her even as she sensed even more men standing behind her. Yet all that truly mattered was the fact that Sandro was one of the tall figures her erect nipples were pointing towards with shocking eagerness. Like his companions he was dressed entirely in black, but his mask was slightly different, rimmed in a glimmering thread flashing a deep violet in the torchlight. She was so profoundly relieved to see him it was a moment before she noticed he was holding something. Once, when she was a little girl, she had witnessed a man being flogged in public, and she had never forgotten the sight of his bare back ravaged by vividly bleeding welts. She could not believe her husband's friends meant to hurt her in such a terrible way, leaving her permanently scarred, yet it was definitely a flogger she saw resting menacingly in Sandro's gloved hand. She would have said something then--she would have begged for his mercy as a surge of visceral panic broke the sophisticated damn of her control--but a tightly wound cloth was suddenly forced between her lips, gagging her and making it impossible for her to speak. What she experienced then had to be dread, but the feeling had a disturbingly similar affect on her as the pleasure which only moments ago had blinded her; her heart began beating so fast her knees weakened as if they were actually running to keep up.
Sandro stepped forward. She prayed he would speak to her, that he would have the good grace to offer a civilized explanation for why he was about to brutalize her, but a faint whistling sound immediately followed by a resounding smack was all she heard before the silent scream of her flesh. She discovered a flogger was like a brood of serpents all biting her at once, and it amazed her how much of the perversely invigorating venom of pain she could absorb without fainting. The elegance of Sandro's movements mesmerized her as he walked slowly around her, making sure to strike every inch of her body from her breasts all the way down to her thighs. She was not bleeding; the wide leather bands did not break her skin. How much she suffered beneath each lash was excruciatingly real, but it appeared she would not be scarred. She reminded herself she was not a condemned prisoner being publicly humiliated. She was a beautiful woman being privately initiated ... a beautiful woman being challenged and aroused by a group of noblemen mysteriously instructing her in the dark, secret ways of her flesh thrilling to the brutal kiss of leather with an even deeper excitement than to a tender caress. Her pussy became so wet she was mortified to feel its juices trickling down the insides of her legs ... making her think of tears shed by the mother of Christ witnessing what no moral woman could possibly desire much less enjoy. Then the tips of the flogger deliberately bit one of her nipples and real tears filled her eyes as she turned her head to gaze beseechingly at her tormenter. He ignored her silent plea and stepped behind her, where he devoted himself to lashing her back and buttocks until her sex felt hot enough to light another torch with.
She had ceased to believe the ordeal would ever end when three things suddenly happened at once. A man knelt and placed a dark-red pillow at her feet as the sodden gag was wrenched from between her lips and a grinding sound told her the chains attached to her wrists were being lowered so they would continue holding her up as she sank to her knees. In a haunting way the flogging had rendered her even more naked than she already was. Men surrounded her, but she had eyes only for the darkly desirable space of Sandro's crotch looming directly in front of her face. She watched with a ravenous, blasphemous reverence as he opened his leggings, pulled out his cock, and slipped it between her lips. It was impossible to explain why being beaten exquisitely enhanced her senses, and she had no wish to; all she wanted was to worship his erection and to suffer his head blessing her throat with its profoundly selfish caress. She moaned in despair when he stepped back and another man's rigid penis filled her mouth. It was a true test of her oral skills that she was allowed to use only her lips and tongue and throat to stimulate one man after another, and it proved a revelation to her how different they all felt and tasted; she was able to distinguish subtle yet vital nuances in all their pulsing presences.
At long last her mouth was emptied and, vaguely, Laura realized her wrists were being freed as someone pulled her roughly to her feet. A moment later she found herself on her knees again, only this time she was bent forward, her wrists and neck resting in leather-cushioned slots, then the top half of the stock was brought down again, pinning her in place. Her breasts and belly, and especially her ass and thighs, burning from the relentless flogging had made her pussy deeply jealous, and while her mouth received all the thrusting attention it craved her feminine wound had become even more desperately hungry for attention. She had never been more ready for a cock in her life as she was then with her head separated from her body.
She got what she longed for--what she needed more than anything--when an erection surged into her sex, gloriously filling her belly. She could not see around the black curtain of her hair, but she did not really care who the man was penetrating her as he gripped her hips and made her accept his full length from beginning to end over and over again. Then strong fingers wove themselves through her hair and lifted her head. What she had earlier experienced with hands and thumbs was nothing to how she felt a moment later with a man driving himself deeper and deeper between her thighs while another man pumped his hips in a gentler rhythm riding her face.
When the stranger fucking her from behind pulled out of her pussy and rubbed his threateningly thick head against her other, much tighter hole, the man stroking himself with her throat emptied her mouth and let her head fall. Strangely enough it was more of a strain on her neck when his fingers weren't threaded possessively through her hair. She wanted another man to hold her heavy skull up as he used one of the three vulnerable orifices God had blessed her with ... that was truly how she felt then, that her woman's body was a supreme blessing, not an inferior curse. She was being possessed by countless men, and by the sense of what a perfect vessel her body was for her soul, which was more fearlessly passionate than she had ever been allowed to realize.