The Sleeping Beauty Trilogyby Anne Rice
In 1983, Anne Rice, writing as A.N. Roquelaure, began the first installment of a series that is now considered a forerunner of erotic literature. This boxed set, containing the books The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty’s Punishment, and Beauty’s Release is a testament to Anne Rice’s irresistible talent. Now in a repackaged edition, Rice’s charged eroticism and magical style is back, connecting old and new readers alike.
Read an Excerpt
The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty
Table of Contents
THE CLAIMING OF SLEEPING BEAUTY
THE JOURNEY AND THE PUNISHMENT AT THE INN
THE CASTLE AND THE GREAT HALL
THE PRINCE’S BED CHAMBER
PRINCE ALEXI AND FELIX
THE SLAVES’ HALL
THE TRAINING HALL
THE HALL OF PUNISHMENTS
DUTIES IN THE PRINCES CHAMBER
THE BRIDLE PATH
THE QUEEN’S CHAMBER
LADY JULIANA IN THE QUEEN’S CHAMBER
WITH PRINCE ALEXI
PRINCE ALEXI TELLS OF HIS CAPTURE AND ENSLAVEMENT
PRINCE ALEXI’S EDUCATION CONTINUES
THE EROTIC NOVELS OF ANNE RICE WRITING AS A. N. ROQUELAURE
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty
Since 1983, A. N. Roquelaure has envisioned (for the uninhibited reader) a hypnotic and seductive adult fairy tale in the Sleeping Beauty novels. Now, the author of this exquisite erotic trilogy reveals her true identity—beckoning the reader into a sensuous world of forbidden dreams and dark-edged desires ... a world in which traditional ideas of submission and dominance and gender preference are thrown to the winds ... a world made irresistibly inviting by the adventurous spirit and imagination of the unrivaled Anne Rice.
erotic novel of
tenderness and cruelty
for the enjoyment
of men and
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Putnam Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Books Ltd, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ, England
Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia
Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2
Penguin Books (N.Z.) Ltd, 182-190 Wairau Road,
Auckland 10, New Zealand
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England
Published by Plume, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc.
Previously published in a Dutton edition.
First Plume Printing, November, 1990
First Plume Printing, This Edition, May, 1999
All rights reserved
REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA
Roquelaure, A. N.
The claiming of Sleeping Beauty
Cover design: Zoe Norvell
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this
publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval
system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission
of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the
product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance
to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales Is entirely coincidental.
S. T. Roquelaure
I’ve always loved the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, and found something erotic at its core. The Prince awakens Beauty with a kiss. And I thought, all right, what if he brought a kind of liberation, an induction into a world of bizarre yet irresistible delights? It has to be remembered that within the frame of a sadomasochistic fantasy like the Beauty trilogy, the readers are invited to identify with and enjoy the predicament of the slaves. The books aren’t about literal cruelty; they’re about surrender, the fun of imagining you have no choice but to enjoy sex. Beauty’s slavery is delicious, sensuous, abandoned, and ultimately liberating. This is all part of the framework. And it seemed to work exquisitely with the old fairy tale. And of course the fairy tale removes us from everyday life; it removes us from the intrusion of garish headlines, literal violence, and all the ugliness of crime. We go into a gilded dream here, luscious and engulfing, in which we’re free to imagine all sorts of things—a fairy-tale world indeed.
As Anne Rice, I’m known for certain kinds of novels; the Roquelaure books retain the name Roquelaure (even with my name added) to indicate that this is something “different.” If Anne Rice is one kind of savory dish, well this is another entirely. And some might find it far too spicy for their taste. I don’t like the idea of confusing or disappointing readers, so the pen name helps with that. Of course, there are many people who have read all my work, including the Roquelaure novels, and they see me as a multifaceted writer. But the Roquelaure material is erotica, without reservation, and it needs that pen name on the label, so to speak. The pen name says: Anne Rice is doing something very different here.
I felt I needed the anonymity of the pen name to write freely, to pursue an authentic erotica without being inhibited or self-conscious. And it worked wonders to imagine myself “cloaked” by the name Roquelaure, which is a kind of French cloak—named after the Frenchman who popularized it. My father was still living then and I didn’t want him to know about the books either. In fact, there were lots of friends and relatives whom I didn’t want to worry about as I developed the writing. There was quite a bit of exposure involved in writing such graphic sexual fantasies. It was frightening now and then, and it was thrilling. Eventually, I told my father about the books, asking him not to read them, and I did put my name on them. I adjusted completely to people knowing I’d written them. But only after I’d finished with the trilogy—as I recall.
A pen name enables you not only to cloak what you are doing from friends and family; it gives you a new freedom to do something you would not do as yourself. I have thought of writing some new erotica, and I must confess I imagined using a new pen name for it. I don’t know whether I’ll pursue it, but I do find the freedom of the pen name attractive.
When the Sleeping Beauty Trilogy books were first published, they were underground books. They had the backing of a major mainstream publisher, yes, but the publication, though dignified and beautiful, was relatively quiet. But different readers embraced the books almost at once. They clearly appealed to young people, and older married people, to gays and straights. And they’ve sold steadily ever since they first appeared. Women come up to me at signings with babies in strollers and giggle and laugh and say, “We love your dirty books.” People of all ages, actually, present the books to be signed.
Why do I think these particular books have been popular? Two reasons. First, I think it is because they involve no harsh, garish violence at all. They involve game playing, really. No one is burned or cut or hurt. Certainly no one is killed. Indeed the whole sadomasochistic predicament is presented as a glorified game played out in luxurious rooms and with very attractive people, and involving very attractive slaves. There are endless motifs offered for dominance and submission, for surrender and love. It’s like a theme park of dominance and submission, a place to go to enjoy the fantasy of being overpowered by a beautiful man or woman and delightfully compelled to surrender and feel keening pleasure, without the slightest serious harm. I think it’s authentic to the way many who share this kind of fantasy really feel. I think what makes it work for people is the combination of the very graphic and unsparing sexual details mixed with the elegant fairy-tale world.
Unfortunately a lot of hackwork pornography is written by those who don’t share the fantasy, and they slip into hideous violence and ugliness, thinking the market wants all that, when the market never really did. Second, this is shamelessly erotic. It pulls no punches at being what it is. It’s excessive and it is erotica. Before these books, a lot of women read what were called “women’s romances” where they had to mark the few “hot pages” in the book. I said, well, look, try this. Maybe this is what you really want, and you don’t have to mark the hot pages because every page is hot. Every page is about sexual fulfillment. Every page is meant to give you pleasure. There are no boring parts. Yet it’s very “romantic.” And well, I think this worked.
Lots of people enjoy imagining themselves passive, in the hands of a beautiful lover, male or female, who will force them to enjoy themselves. It’s a common idea, and it cuts across gender and class. Men love these sorts of fantasies as much as women. And these books offer all kinds of gender combinations; women dominating men and women; men dominating men and women. The books offer ornate and seductive variations on the themes; and all of it is interwoven in stories with real characters, and again, the emphasis is on a lush, sensuous realm in which all this happens. There are very detailed descriptions of physical interaction and response; but the fairy-tale spell is sustained.
I also went all the way with exploring the mind-set of sadomasochism as I saw it, letting the fantasy characters talk in depth about what they felt and what they enjoyed and what thrilled them as they were humiliated and overwhelmed. I suspect that for some readers, this kind of deep exploration of the mentality of the participants was entirely new.
Is this why they appealed to so many, because people want this very combination of elements? Perhaps.
I certainly never found the combination of elements I wanted in anyone else’s erotica. So I offered what I could not find; a light touch; elegance; preciseness; a dreamlike kingdom; a dream in which people explore their need to be passive and to “pretend” that someone gorgeous and irresistible is “making” them do it.
Psychiatrists have written volumes on the nature of the sadomasochistic fantasy, but when I wrote the trilogy I didn’t know of any fiction that really enabled you to slide in it and “play” the way I wanted to play. So I wrote the books I couldn’t find.
I never thought a book as eccentric as Interview with the Vampire would have mass appeal. I only knew that I wanted to “be with the vampire” in the story, tell it from his point of view. I wanted to be inside his head and heart and reveal his voice and his pain. Now as it turned out, other people were exploring this same kind of thing—the backstory of the villain, the monster, or the comic book hero and heroine who’d always been described from a distance or in brittle form. People wanted to explore all kinds of super characters and hear their intimate musings. And I began to see more and more of this—movies made in which Superman could bear his soul, and Lois Lane could really talk about what it meant to love him. The demand for such romantic fantasies grew and grew. But did I have any idea that would happen? No. I wrote what I wanted to read. Well, the same thing is true with the Beauty books.
I didn’t know whether that many other people had the fantasies. After all, we didn’t talk much about them. Only a small elite knew about the mysterious Story of O. But I knew I had these fantasies, and I wanted to share them, and I felt an overwhelming desire to do them “right.” I didn’t want to compromise, water them down, or shrink from the most humiliating detail. I wanted to really delve into intense sensuous pleasure but put a gilded frame around a safe place for the reader from which he or she could go and come with ease.
Of course these books have from time to time been banned. I never expected a library to stock the Beauty trilogy. I know that many libraries respond to community standards, and I just never thought about it much at all. I did notice and I couldn’t help notice that the books sold well and steadily, and that at every signing I gave, people brought them to be signed. Recently, I’ve signed as many copies of the Beauty books as I have of any other book I’ve written. So I don’t worry too much about being banned. I’ve always shocked people. Years ago, I published a novel about the eighteenth-century castrati opera singers, titled Cry to Heaven. Someone brought a copy back to a bookstore in Stockton, California, and demanded his money back. “This is pornography,” he said. There are always some people objecting to what I do. I’m grateful the Beauty books have been embraced and sustained over the years.
As a feminist, I’m very much supportive of equal rights for women in all walks of life. And that includes for me the right of every woman to write out her sexual fantasies and to read books filled with sexual fantasies that she enjoys. Men have always enjoyed all kinds of pornography. How can it be wrong for women to have the same right? We’re sexual beings! And fantasy is where we can do the things we can’t do in ordinary life. A woman has a right to imagine herself carried away by a handsome prince, and to choose for herself as she writes, the color of his hair and eyes, and imagine his silky voice. She has a right to make him as tall as she wants and as strong as he wants. Why not? Men have always allowed themselves such fantasies.
Famous madams have told us for decades that powerful men love to be dominated and come to them for role playing that allows the male client to be passive. In fact, some madams have said that men who enjoy playing the passive role are often men who are very powerful in real life. Well, women today are more powerful than ever. They’re Supreme Court judges, senators, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, executives, soldiers, cops. They can excel in all walks of life. And why shouldn’t they be able to go home from the courtroom, the university, or the office and kick back and “pretend” they’re being swept away to the Queen’s sadomasochistic kingdom where all the fairy-tale court will watch them being ravaged by the handsome Prince?
The literary world today is wide open for all kinds of creative endeavors. We are in a new golden age in which fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction, historical drama, horror, gothic, and supernatural romance are all mainstream. Well, the same holds true now obviously for erotica. People in general are “out of the closet” as enjoyers of erotic books. The novel 50 Shades of Grey has proved this. And I am discovering that the Beauty books in spite of all their playful excess—are for the first time going mainstream.
But I wouldn’t continue Beauty’s story. I felt that ended just the way I wanted. But I might write some more. I don’t think I did all I could do in these books, within the fantasy itself, in admitting how much the slaves enjoyed it—how they loved it. I’d deepen that aspect, and still keep the tension, if I did them today.
People are much more comfortable today admitting and talking about what they enjoy in fiction and film. Much more. People are “out of the closet” about sexuality, period. The whole world knows women are sensual human beings as well as men. It’s no secret anymore that women want to read sexy fiction just as men do, and there’s a new frankness about the varieties of fantasies one might enjoy. So many clichés have been broken and abandoned. And this is a wonderful thing.
THE CLAIMING OF SLEEPING BEAUTY
THE PRINCE had all his young life known the story of Sleeping Beauty, cursed to sleep for a hundred years, with her parents, the King and Queen, and all of the Court, after pricking her finger on a spindle.
But he did not believe it until he was inside the castle.
Even the bodies of those other Princes caught in the thorns of the rose vines that covered the walls had not made him believe it. They had come believing it, true enough, but he must see for himself inside the castle.
Careless with grief for the death of his father, and too powerful under his mother’s rule for his own good, he cut these awesome vines at their roots, and immediately prevented them from ensnaring him. It was not his desire to die so much as to conquer.
And picking his way through the bones of those who had failed to solve the mystery, he stepped alone into the great banquet hall.
The sun was high in the sky and those vines had fallen away, so the light fell in dusty shafts from the lofty windows.
And all along the banquet table, the Prince saw the men and women of the old Court, sleeping under layers of dust, their ruddy and slack faces spun over with spider webs.
He gasped to see the servants dozing against the walls, their clothing rotted to tatters.
But it was true, this old tale. And, fearless as before, he went in search of the Sleeping Beauty who must be at the core of it.
In the topmost bedchamber of the house he found her. He had stepped over sleeping chambermaids and valets, and, breathing the dust and damp of the place, he finally stood in the door of her sanctuary.
Her flaxen hair lay long and straight over the deep green velvet of her bed, and her dress in loose folds revealed the rounded breasts and limbs of a young woman.
He opened the shuttered windows. The sunlight flooded down on her. And approaching her, he gave a soft gasp as he touched her cheek, and her teeth through her parted lips, and then her tender rounded eyelids.
Her face was perfect to him, and her embroidered gown had fallen deep into the crease between her legs so that he could see the shape of her sex beneath it.
He drew out his sword, with which he had cut back all the vines outside, and gently slipping the blade between her breasts, let it rip easily through the old fabric.
Her dress was laid open to the hem, and he folded it back and looked at her. Her nipples were a rosy pink as were her lips, and the hair between her legs was darkly yellow and curlier than the long straight hair of her head which covered her arms almost down to her hips on either side of her.
He cut the sleeves away, lifting her ever so gently to free the cloth, and the weight of her hair seemed to pull her head down over his arms, and her mouth opened just a little bit wider.
He put his sword to one side. He removed his heavy armor. And then he lifted her again, his left arm under her shoulders, his right hand between her legs, his thumb on top of her pubis.
She made no sound; but if a person could moan silently, then she made such a moan with her whole attitude. Her head fell towards him, and he felt the hot moisture against his right hand, and laying her down again, he cupped both of her breasts, and sucked gently on one and then the other.
They were plump and firm, these breasts. She’d been fifteen when the curse struck her. And he bit at her nipples, moving the breasts almost roughly so as to feel their weight, and then lightly he slapped them back and forth, delighting in this.
His desire had been hard and almost painful to him when he had come into the room, and now it was urging him almost mercilessly.
He mounted her, parting her legs, giving the white inner flesh of her thighs a soft, deep pinch, and, clasping her right breast in his left hand, he thrust his sex into her.
He was holding her up as he did this, to gather her mouth to him, and as he broke through her innocence, he opened her mouth with his tongue and pinched her breast sharply.
He sucked on her lips, he drew the life out of her into himself, and feeling his seed explode within her, heard her cry out.
And then her blue eyes opened.
“Beauty!” he whispered to her.
She closed her eyes, her golden eyebrows brought together in a little frown and the sun gleaming on her broad white forehead.
He lifted her chin, kissed her throat, and drawing his organ out of her tight sex, heard her moan beneath him.
She was stunned. He lifted her until she sat naked, one knee crooked on the ruin of her velvet gown on the bed which was as flat and hard as a table.
“I’ve awakened you, my dear,” he said to her. “For a hundred years you’ve slept and so have all those who loved you. Listen. Listen! You’ll hear this castle come alive as no one before you has ever heard it.”
Already a shriek had come from the passage outside. The serving girl was standing there with her hands to her lips.
And the Prince went to the door to speak to her.
“Go to your master, the King. Tell him the Prince has come who was foretold to remove the curse on this household. Tell him I shall be closeted now with his daughter.”
He shut the door, bolting it, and turned to look at Beauty.
Beauty was covering her breasts with her hands, and her long straight golden hair, heavy and full of a great silky density, flared down to the bed around her.
She bowed her head so that the hair covered her.
But she looked at the Prince and her eyes struck him as devoid of fear or cunning. She was like those tender animals of the wood just before he slew them in the hunt: eyes wide, expressionless.
Her bosom heaved with anxious breath. And now he laughed, drawing near, and lifting her hair back from her right shoulder. She looked up at him steadily, her cheeks suffused with a raw blush, and again he kissed her.
He opened her mouth with his lips, and taking her hands in his left hand he laid them down on her naked lap so that he might lift her breasts now and better examine them.
“Innocent beauty,” he whispered.
He knew what she was seeing as she looked at him. He was only three years older than she had been. Eighteen, newly a man, but afraid of nothing and no one. He was tall, black haired; he had a lean build which made him agile. He liked to think of himself as a sword—light, straight, and very deft, and utterly dangerous.
And he had left behind him many who would concur with this.
He had not so much pride in himself now as immense satisfaction. He had gotten to the core of the accursed castle.
There were knocks at the door, cries.
He didn’t bother to answer them. He laid Beauty down again.
“I’m your Prince,” he said, “and that is how you will address me, and that is why you will obey me.”
He parted her legs again. He saw the blood of her innocence on the cloth and this made him laugh softly to himself as again he gently entered her.
She gave a soft series of moans that were like kisses to his ear.
“Answer me properly,” he whispered.
“My Prince,” she said.
“Ah,” he sighed, “that is lovely.”
When he opened the door, the room was almost dark. He told the servants he would have his supper now, and he would receive the King immediately.
Beauty he ordered to dine with him, and to remain with him, and he told her firmly that she was to wear no clothing.
“It’s my wish to have you naked and always ready for me,” he said.
He might have told her she was incomparably lovely, with only her golden hair to clothe her, and the blushes on her cheeks to cover her, and her hands trying so vainly to shield her sex and her breasts, but he didn’t say this aloud.
Rather he took her little wrists and held them behind her back as the table was brought in, and then he ordered her to sit opposite.
The table was not so wide that he couldn’t reach her easily, touch her, caress her breasts if he liked. And reaching out he lifted her chin so that he could inspect her by the light of the servants’ candles.
The table was laid with roast pork and fowl, fruit in big glistening silver bowls, and immediately the King stood in the door, dressed in his heavy ceremonial robes, a gold crown atop his head as he bowed to the Prince and waited for the command to enter.
“Your Kingdom has been neglected for a hundred years,” said the Prince as he lifted his wine goblet. “Your vassals have many of them fled to other lords; good land lies fallow. But you have your wealth, your Court, your soldiers. So much lies ahead of you.”
“I am in your debt, Prince,” the King answered. “But will you tell me your name, the name of your family?”
“My mother, Queen Eleanor, lives on the other side of the forest,” said the Prince. “In your time, it was my great-grandfather’s kingdom; he was King Heinrick, your powerful ally.”
The Prince saw the King’s immediate surprise and then his look of confusion. The Prince understood it perfectly. And when a blush came to the King’s face, the Prince said:
“And in those times you served your time in my great-grandfather’s castle, did you not, and perhaps your queen also?”
The King pressed his lips together in resignation and slowly nodded. “You are the son of a powerful monarch,” he whispered. And the Prince could see that the King would not raise his eyes to see his naked daughter, Beauty.
“I will take Beauty to serve,” said the Prince. “She is mine now.” He took out his long silver knife and, cutting the hot, succulent pork, he laid several pieces on his own plate. The servants all about him vied with one another to place other dishes near him.
Beauty sat with her hands over her breasts again; her cheeks were moist with tears, and she was trembling slightly.
“As you wish,” said the King. “I am in your debt.”
“You have your life and your Kingdom now,” said the Prince. “And I have your daughter. I will spend the night here. And tomorrow set out to make her my Princess across the mountains.”
He had placed some fruit on his plate, and other hot morsels of cooked food, and now he snapped his fingers gently and in a whisper told Beauty to come around the table to him.
He could see her shame before the servants.
But he brushed her hand away from her sex.
“Never cover yourself like that again,” he said. He spoke these words almost tenderly, as he lifted her hair back from her face.
“Yes, my Prince,” she whispered. She had a lovely little voice. “But it’s so difficult.”
“Of course it is,” he smiled. “But for me you’ll do it.”
And now he took her and placed her on his lap, cradling her in his left arm. “Kiss me,” he said, and feeling her warm mouth on his again, he felt his desire rising too soon for his taste, but he decided he could savor this slight torment.
“You may go,” he said to the King. “Tell your servants to have my horse ready in the morning. I won’t need a horse for Beauty. My soldiers you’ve found, no doubt, at your gates,” and the Prince laughed. “They were afraid to come in with me. Tell them to be ready at dawn, and then you can say goodbye to your daughter, Beauty.”
The King glanced up very quickly to accept the Prince’s commands and with unfailing courtesy he backed out of the doorway.
The Prince turned his full attention to Beauty.
Lifting a napkin he wiped at her tears. She kept her hands obediently on her thighs, exposing her sex, and he observed that she did not try to hide her stiff little pink nipples with her arms and he approved of this.
“Now don’t be frightened,” he said to her softly, feeding a little on her trembling mouth again, and then slapping her breasts so they shivered lightly. “I could be old and ugly.”
“Ah, but then I could feel sorry for you,” she said in a sweet, tremulous voice.
He laughed. “I’m going to punish you for that,” he said to her tenderly. “But now and then just a little very ladylike impertinence is amusing.”
She blushed darkly, biting her lip.
“Are you hungry, beautiful one?” he asked.
He could see she was afraid to answer.
“When I ask you will say, ‘Only if it pleases you, my Prince,’ and I shall know the answer is yes. Or, ‘Not unless it should please you, my Prince,’ and I shall know the answer is no. Do you understand me?”
“Yes, my Prince,” she answered. “I’m hungry only if it pleases you.”
“Very good, very good,” he said to her with genuine feeling. He lifted a small cluster of glistening purple grapes and fed them to her one by one, taking the seeds out of her mouth and casting them aside.
And he watched with obvious pleasure as she drank deeply from the wine cup he held to her lips. Then he wiped her mouth and kissed her.
Her eyes were glistening. But she had stopped crying. He felt the smooth flesh of her back, and her breasts again.
“Superb,” he whispered. “And were you terribly spoilt before and given everything that you wished?”
She was confused, blushing again, and then full of shame she nodded.
“Yes, my Prince, I think perhaps ...”
“Don’t be afraid to answer me with many words,” he coaxed, “as long as they are respectful. And never speak unless I speak to you first, and in all these things, be careful to note what pleases me. You were very spoilt, given everything, but were you willful?”
“No, my Prince, I don’t think I was that,” she said. “I tried to be a joy to my parents.”
“And you’ll be a joy to me, my dear,” he said lovingly.
Still holding her firmly in his left arm, he turned to his supper.
He ate heartily, pork, roast fowl, some fruit, and several cups of wine. Then he told the servants to take it all away and leave them.
New sheets and coverlets had been laid on the bed; there were fresh down pillows, and roses in a vase nearby, and several candelabra.
“Now,” he said as he rose and set her before him. “We must get to bed as we have a long journey before us tomorrow. And I have still to punish you for your earlier impertinence.”
Immediately the tears stood in her eyes; she looked up at him imploring. She almost reached to cover her breasts and her sex, and then remembering herself she made her hands into two little helpless fists at her sides.
“I won’t punish you very much,” he said gently, lifting her chin. “It was just a little offense, and your first after all. But Beauty, to confess the truth, I shall love punishing you.”
She was biting her lip, and he could see she wanted to speak, and the effort to control her tongue and her hands was almost too much for her.
“All right, lovely one, what do you want to say?” he asked.
“Please, my Prince,” she begged. “I’m so afraid of you.”
“You’ll find me more reasonable than you expect,” he said.
He removed his long cloak, tossing it over a chair, and bolted the door. Then he snuffed all but a few candles.
He would sleep in his clothes as he did most nights, in the forest, or in the country inns, or in the houses of those humble peasants at which he sometimes stopped, and that was no great inconvenience to him.
And as he drew near her now, he thought he must be merciful and make her punishment quick. And seating himself on the side of the bed, he reached out for her, and pulling her wrists into his left hand he brought her naked body down over his lap so that her legs dangled over the floor helplessly.
“Very, very lovely,” he said, his right hand moving languidly over her rounded buttocks, forcing them ever so slightly apart.
Beauty was crying aloud, but muffling her cries into the bed, her hands held out in front of her by his long left arm.
And now with his right hand he spanked her buttocks hard and heard her cries grow louder. It wasn’t really much of a slap.
But it left a red mark on her. And he spanked her hard again, and he felt her writhing against him, the heat and moisture of her sex against his leg, and again he spanked her.
“I think you are sobbing more from the humiliation than the pain,” he scolded her in a soft voice.
She was struggling not to make her cries too loud.
He flattened out his right hand, and feeling the heat of her reddened buttocks drew it up and delivered another series of hard, loud slaps, smiling as he watched her struggle.
He could have spanked her much harder, for his own pleasure, and without really hurting her. But he thought the better of it. He had so many nights ahead of him for these delights.
He lifted her up now so that she was standing in front of him.
“Toss your hair back,” he commanded. Her tear-stained face was unspeakably beautiful, her lips trembling, her blue eyes gleaming with the dampness of the tears. She obeyed immediately.
“I don’t think you were so very spoilt,” he said. “I find you very obedient and eager to please, and this makes me very happy.”
He could see her relief.
“Clasp your hands behind your neck,” he said, “under your hair. That’s it. Very good.” He lifted her chin again. “And you have a lovely modest habit of looking down. But now I want you to look directly at me.”
She obeyed shyly, miserably. It seemed she felt her nakedness and her helplessness more fully now as she looked at him. Her lashes were matted and dark, and her blue eyes larger than he had thought.
“Do you find me handsome?” he asked her. “Ah, but before you answer, I should like to know the truth from you, not what you think I should like to hear, or what would be best for you to say, you understand me?”
“Yes, my Prince,” she whispered. She seemed calmer.
He reached out, massaged her right breast lightly, and then stroked her downy underarms, feeling the little curve of the muscle there beneath the tiny wisp of golden hair, and then he stroked that full, moist hair between her legs so that she sighed and trembled.
“Now,” he said, “answer my question, and describe what you see. Describe me as if you had only just met me and were confiding in your chambermaid.”
Again she bit her lip, which he dearly loved, and then, her voice a little diminished by uncertainty, she said:
“You are very handsome, my Prince, no one could deny that. And for one ... for one ...”
“Go on,” he said. He drew her just a little closer so that her sex was against his knee, and putting his right arm about her, he cradled her breast in his left hand and let his lips touch her cheek.
“And for one so young to be so commanding,” she said, “it’s not what one might expect.”
“And tell me how does that show itself in me, other than my actions?”
“Your manner, my Prince,” she said, her voice gaining a little strength. “The look of your eyes, such dark eyes ... your face. There are none of the doubts of youth in it.”
He smiled and kissed her ear. He wondered why the wet little cleft between her legs was so very hot. His fingers could not keep from touching it. Twice already he’d had her today, and he would have her again, but he was thinking he should go about it more slowly.
“Would you like it if I were older?” he whispered.
“I had thought,” she said, “that it would be easier. To be commanded by one so very young,” she said, “is to feel one’s helplessness.”
It seemed the tears had welled up and were spilling out of her eyes, so he pushed her gently back so he might see them.
“My darling, I have awakened you from a century’s sleep, and restored you father’s Kingdom. You’re mine. And you won’t find me such a hard master. Only a very thorough master. When you think night and day and every moment only of pleasing me, things will be very easy for you.”
And as she struggled not to look away, he could see again the relief in her face, and that she was in complete awe of him.
“Now,” he said, pushing his left fingers between her legs, and drawing her close again so that she let out a little gasp before she could stop herself, “I want more of you than I’ve had before. Do you know what I mean, my Sleeping Beauty?”
She shook her head; for this moment she was in terror.
He lifted her up onto the bed and laid her down.
The candles threw a warm, almost rosy light over her. Her hair fell down on either side of the bed, and she seemed on the verge of crying out, her hands struggling to keep still at her sides.
“My darling, you have a dignity about you that shields you from me, much like your lovely golden hair shrouds you and shields you. Now I want you to surrender to me. You’ll see, and you’ll be very surprised that you wept when I first suggested it.”
The Prince bent over her. He parted her legs. He could see the battle she fought not to cover herself or turn away from him. He stroked her thighs. Then with his finger and thumb, he reached into the silky damp hair itself and felt those tender little lips and forced them very wide open.
Beauty gave a terrible shudder. With his left hand he covered her mouth, and behind his hand she cried softly. It seemed easier for her with him covering her mouth and that was all right for now, he thought. She shall be taught everything in time.
And with his right fingers, he found that tiny nodule of flesh between her tender nether lips and he worked it back and forth until she raised her hips, arching her back, in spite of herself. Her little face under his hand was the picture of distress. He smiled to himself.
But even as he smiled, he felt the hot fluid between her legs for the first time, the real fluid which had not come before with her innocent blood. “That’s it, that’s it, my darling,” he said. “And you mustn’t resist your Lord and master, hmmmm?”
Now he opened his clothing and took out his hard, eager sex, and mounting her he let it rest against her thigh as he continued to stroke her and work her.
She was twisting from one side to the other, her hands gathering up the soft sheets at her sides into knots, and it seemed her whole body grew pink, and the nipples of her breasts looked as hard as if they were tiny stones. He could not resist them.
He bit at them with his teeth, playfully, not hurting her. He licked them with his tongue, and then he licked her sex, too, and as she struggled, and blushed and moaned beneath him, he mounted her, slowly.
Again she arched her back. Her breasts were suffused with red. And as he drove his organ into her, he felt her shudder violently with unwilling pleasure.
An awful cry was muffled by the hand over her mouth; she was shuddering so violently it seemed she all but lifted him on top of her.
And then she lay still, moist, pink, with her eyes closed, breathing deeply as the tears flowed silently.
“That was lovely, my darling,” he said. “Open your eyes.”
She did it timidly.
But then she lay looking up at him.
“This has been so hard for you,” he whispered. “You could not even imagine these things happening to you. And you are red with shame, and shaking with fear, and you believe perhaps it’s one of the dreams you dreamed in your hundred years. But it’s real, Beauty,” he said. “And it is only the beginning! You think I’ve made you my Princess. But I’ve only started. The day will come when you can see nothing but me as if I were the sun and the moon, when I mean all to you, food, drink, the air you breathe. Then you will truly be mine, and these first lessons ... and pleasures ...” he smiled, “will seem like nothing.”
He bent over her. She lay so very still, gazing up at him.
“Now kiss me,” he commanded. “And I mean, really ... kiss me.”
THE JOURNEY AND THE PUNISHMENT AT THE INN
THE NEXT morning all the Court was gathered in the Great Hall to see the Prince off, and all of the Court, including the grateful King and Queen, stood with their eyes down, bowing from the waist as the Prince came down the steps with the naked Beauty walking behind him. He had commanded her to clasp her hands on the back of her neck beneath her hair, and to walk just a little to his right so that he might see her in the corner of his eye. And she obeyed, her bare feet making not the slightest sound on the worn stone steps as she followed him.
“Dear Prince,” said the Queen, when he reached the great front door and saw that his soldiers stood mounted on the drawbridge, “we are in your eternal debt, but she is our only daughter.”
The Prince turned to look at her. She was yet beautiful, though more than twice Beauty’s age, and he wondered if she too had served his great-grandfather.
“How can you question me?” the Prince asked patiently. “I have restored your Kingdom, and you know full well if you remember anything of the ways of my land, that Beauty will be much enhanced by her service there.”
Then the telltale blush came to the Queen as it had to the King before, and she bowed her head in acceptance.
“But surely you will allow Beauty some clothing,” she whispered, “at least until she reaches the border of your Kingdom.”
“All those towns between here and my Kingdom have owed their allegiance to us for a century. And in each I will proclaim your restoration and new dominion. Can you ask for more than that? The spring is warm already; Beauty shall suffer no ill effects from serving me immediately.”
“Forgive us, your Highness,” the King hastened to say. “But is it the same in this age? Beauty’s servitude will not be forever?”
“It is the same now as it was always. Beauty will be returned in time. And she shall be greatly enhanced in wisdom and beauty. Now, tell her to obey as your parents commanded you to obey when you were sent to us.”
“The Prince speaks the truth, Beauty,” the King said in a low voice, still unwilling to look at his daughter. “Obey him. Obey the Queen. And though you find your servitude surprising and difficult at times, be confident you will return, as he says, greatly changed for the better.”
The Prince smiled.
The horses were restless on the drawbridge. The Prince’s charger, a black stallion, was particularly hard to restrain, so the Prince, bidding them all farewell again, turned and picked up Beauty.
He heaved her easily over his right shoulder, clasping her ankles to his waist, and heard her cry out softly as she fell over his back. He could see her long hair sweep the ground just before he mounted the stallion.
All the soldiers fell into place behind him.
He rode into the forest.
The sun spilled down in glorious rays through the heavy green leaves, the sky now brilliant and blue overhead only to vanish in a shifting green-tinted light as the Prince rode on at the head of his soldiers, humming to himself, and now and then singing.
Beauty’s lithe, warm body swayed slightly over his shoulder. He could feel her trembling, and he understood her agitation. Her naked buttocks were still red from the spanking he had given her, and he could well imagine the succulent vision she was to the men who rode after him.
As he walked his horse through a dense glade where the fallen leaves were thick and red and brown beneath him, the Prince tied the rein on his saddle, and with his left hand felt the soft hairy little pelt between Beauty’s legs, and leaned his face against her warm hip, kissing it gently.
After a while, he pulled her down into his lap, turning her as before so she rested against his left arm, and he kissed her red face and brushed the long golden strands of her hair away from it, and then he suckled her breasts almost idly as though taking little drinks from them.
“Put your head on my shoulder,” he said. And she inclined to him obediently at once.
But when he went to sling her over his shoulder again, she gave a little desperate whimper. He did not allow this to stop him. And having her firmly in place, her ankles clasped to his hip, he scolded her lovingly, and gave her several hard spanks with his left hand until he heard her crying.
“You must never protest,” he repeated. “Not with sound, not with gesture. Only your tears may show your Prince what you feel, and never think that he does not wish to know what you feel. Now, respectfully, answer me.”
“Yes, my Prince,” Beauty whimpered softly.
He thrilled at the sound of it.
When they came to the small town in the middle of the forest, there was great excitement, as everyone had already heard of the enchantment being broken.
And as the Prince rode into the crooked little street with its high half-timbered houses blocking out the sky, people ran to the narrow windows and doorways. They crowded into the cobblestone alleyways.
Behind him, the Prince could hear his men in hushed voices telling the townspeople who he was, that it was their Lord who had broken the enchantment. The girl he carried with him was the Sleeping Beauty.
Beauty was sobbing softly, her body struggling with these sobs, but the Prince held her firmly.
Finally with a great crowd following him, he arrived at the Inn, and his horse, with loud clops, entered the courtyard.
His page quickly helped him down.
“We’ll stop only for food and drink,” said the Prince. “We can go miles before sundown.”
He stood Beauty on her feet and watched with admiration as her hair fell down around her. And he turned her around twice, pleased to see she kept her hands clasped behind her neck and her eyes down as he looked at her.
He kissed her devotedly.
“Do you see how they all look at you?” he said. “Do you feel how they admire your beauty? They are adoring you,” he said. And opening her lips again, he sucked another kiss out of her, his hand squeezing her sore buttocks.
It seemed her lips clung to his as if she were afraid to let him go, and then he kissed her eyelids.
“Now everyone is going to want to have a look at Beauty,” the Prince said to the Captain of his Guard. “Bind her hands over her head by a rope from the sign over the Inn gate, and let the people have their fill of her. But no one is to touch her. They can look all they like, but you stand guard and see that no one touches her. I’ll have your food sent out to you.”
“Yes, my Lord,” said the Captain of the Guard.
But as the Prince gently gave Beauty over to him, she leaned forward, her lips out to the Prince, and he received her kiss gratefully. “You’re very sweet, my darling,” he said. “Now be modest and very very good. I should be very disappointed if all this adulation made my Beauty vain.” He kissed her again, and let the Captain have her.
Then going inside and ordering his meat and ale, the Prince watched through the diamond-paned windows.
The Captain of the Guard did not dare touch Beauty, except to put the rope about her wrists. He led her by this to the open gate of the courtyard, and throwing the rope up over the iron rod that held the sign of the Inn, he quickly secured her hands above her head, so that she was almost on tiptoe.
Then he motioned for the people to move back, and he stood against the wall with his arms folded as they pressed to look at her.
There were buxom women with stained aprons, and coarse men in breeches and heavy leather shoes, and the young well-to-do men of the town in their velvet cloaks with their hands on their hips as they eyed Beauty from a distance, unwilling to elbow in the crowd. And several young women, their elaborate white headdresses freshly done up, who had come out lifting their hems fastidiously as they looked at her.
At first everyone was whispering, but now people began to speak more freely.
Beauty had turned her face into her arm and let her hair shield her face, but then a soldier came out from the Prince and said:
“His Majesty said to turn her and lift her chin so they might have a better look at her.”
An approving murmur went up from the crowd. “Very very lovely,” said one of the young men.
“And this is what so many died for,” said an old Cobbler.
The Captain of the Guard lifted Beauty’s chin, and holding the rope above her, said gently:
“You must turn around, Princess.”
“O, please, Captain,” she whispered.
“Don’t make a sound, Princess, I beg you. Our Lord is very strict,” he said. “And it’s his wish that everyone admire you.”
Beauty, her cheeks flaming, obeyed, turning so the crowd could see her reddened buttocks and then again to show her breasts and her sex as the Captain kept his finger under her chin lightly.
It seemed she breathed deeply as though trying to remain very calm. The young men were calling her beautiful and saying her breasts were magnificent.
“But such buttocks,” whispered an old woman nearby. “You can see that she’s been spanked. I doubt the poor Princess did anything much to deserve it.”
“Not much,” said a young man near her. “Except have the most beautiful and pertly shaped buttocks imaginable.”
Beauty was trembling.
Finally the Prince himself came out, ready to leave, and seeing the crowd as attentive as before, he himself took the rope down, and holding it like a short leash above Beauty’s head, he turned her. He seemed amused by the crowd’s grateful nods, and thanks, and bows to him; and very gracious in his generosity.
“Lift your chin, Beauty, I shouldn’t have to lift it,” he reproved her with a little deliberate frown of disappointment.
Beauty obeyed, her face so red that her eyebrows and eyelashes gleamed golden in the sun, and the Prince kissed her.
“Come here, old man,” the Prince said to the old Cobbler. “Have you ever seen such loveliness?”
“No, your Majesty,” said the old man. His sleeves were rolled to the elbows, and his legs were slightly bowed. His hair was gray but his green eyes gleamed with a special almost wistful pleasure. “She is truly a magnificent Princess, your Majesty, worth all the deaths of those who tried to claim her.”
“Yes, I suppose so, and worth all the bravery of the Prince who did claim her,” smiled the Prince.
Everyone laughed politely. But they couldn’t conceal their awe of him. They were staring at his armor, at his sword, and above all at his young face and dark black hair that fell to his shoulders.
The Prince drew the Cobbler closer. “Here,” he said, “I give you permission if you like just to feel her treasures.”
The old man smiled at the Prince gratefully and almost innocently. He reached out, and hesitating a moment, felt Beauty’s breasts. Beauty shivered, and tried obviously to repress a little cry.
The old man touched her sex.
Then the Prince drew up her little leash so she was standing on tiptoe; her body stiffened and seemed to grow more tense and at the same time more lovely, breasts and buttocks high, her calf muscles lifted, her chin and throat a perfect line down to her swaying bosom.
“That’s all. You must all go now,” said the Prince.
Obediently they backed away, but they continued to watch, as the Prince mounted his horse, and instructing Beauty to clasp her hands behind her neck, he ordered her to walk before him.
Beauty led the way out of the Inn yard, the Prince walking his horse behind her.
The people made way for her. They couldn’t take their eyes off her lovely vulnerable body, and they squeezed against the narrow walls of the town to follow the spectacle to the edge of the forest.
When they had left the town behind, the Prince told Beauty to come to him. He gathered her up and seated her before him again, and kissed her again, and scolded her:
“You found that so hard,” he crooned. “Why were you so proud? Did you think yourself too good to be shown to the people?”
“I’m sorry, my Prince,” she whispered.
“Don’t you see, if you think only of pleasing me, and pleasing those to whom I show you, it will be simple for you.” He kissed her ear, holding her tight to his chest. “You should have been proud of your breasts and your shapely hips. You should have asked yourself, ‘Am I pleasing my Prince? Do the people find me pleasing?’ ”
“Yes, my Prince,” Beauty said meekly.
“You are mine, Beauty,” the Prince said a little more sternly. “And there is no command that you must shrink from obeying ever. If I tell you to please the lowliest vassal in the field, you will strain to obey me perfectly. He is your Lord then because I have said so. All those to whom I offer you are your Lords.”
“Yes, my Prince,” she said, but she was in great distress. He stroked her breasts, pinching them firmly now and then, and kissed her until he could feel her body struggling against him, and feel her nipples growing hard. It seemed she wanted to speak.
“What is it, Beauty?”
“Pleasing you, my Prince, pleasing you ...” she whispered, as though her thoughts had spread into a delirium.
“Yes, pleasing me, that is your life now. How many of those in the world know such clarity, such simplicity? You please me and I shall always tell you exactly how to please me,”
“Yes, my Prince,” she sighed. But she was crying again.
“I will treasure you all the more for it. The girl I found in the castle room was nothing to me such as you are now, my devoted Princess.”
But the Prince was not entirely satisfied with the way in which he was instructing Beauty. He told her when they reached another town at nightfall that he was going to strip a little more dignity away from her to make it easier for her.
And while the townspeople pressed their faces to the leaded glass windows of the Inn, the Prince had Beauty wait on his table.
On her hands and knees she hurried across the rough boards of the Inn floor to fetch his plate from the kitchen. And though she was allowed to walk back with it, she was again on all fours to fetch his flagon. The soldiers devoured their supper, throwing silent glances at her by the light of the fire.
She wiped the table for the Prince and when a morsel of food spilled from his plate to the floor, he commanded Beauty to eat it. With tears spilling from her eyes, Beauty obeyed, and then he gathered her, still on her knees, into his arms and rewarded her with dozens of wet and loving kisses. Obediently she put her arms around his neck.
But this little morsel spilling had given him an idea. He ordered her to quickly fetch a plate from the kitchen again, and then told her to lay it on the floor at his feet.
He put food for her there from his plate, and told her to lift her heavy hair behind her shoulders and eat it only with her mouth.
“You are my kitten,” he laughed gaily. “And I would forbid you all those tears if they weren’t so beautiful. Do you want to please me?”
“Yes, my Prince,” she said.
With his foot he pushed her plate several paces away and told her to turn her buttocks to him as she continued her meal. He admired it, realizing the red marks from her spanking had almost healed. With the toe of his leather boot, he nudged at the silken hair he could see between her legs, felt the moist plump lips beneath the hair, and sighed, thinking her so very beautiful.
When she had finished her meal, with her lips she pushed the plate back to his chair as he ordered her to do it, and then he wiped her lips himself and fed her some wine from his cup.
He watched her long beautiful throat as she swallowed, and kissed her eyelids.
“Now listen to me, I want you to learn from this,” he said. “Everyone here can see you, all your charms, you’re aware of it. But I want you to be very aware of it. Behind you, the townspeople at the windows are admiring you as they did when I brought you through the town. This should make you proud of yourself, not vain, but proud, proud that you have pleased me, and caught their admiration.”
“Yes, my Prince,” she said when he paused.
“Now think, you are very naked and very helpless, and you are mine completely.”
“Yes, my Prince,” she cried softly.
“That is your life now, and you are to think of nothing else, and regret nothing else. I want that dignity peeled away from you as if it were so many skins of the onion. I don’t mean that you should ever be graceless. I mean that you should surrender to me.”
“Yes, my Prince,” she said.
The Prince looked up at the Innkeeper who stood at the kitchen door with his wife and his daughter. They came to attention at once. But the Prince looked only at the daughter. She was a young woman, very pretty in her own way, though nothing compared to Beauty. She had black hair and round cheeks, and a very tiny waist, and she dressed as many peasant women did, in a low-cut ruffled shirtwaist, and a short broad skirt that revealed her smart little ankles. She had an innocent face. She was watching Beauty in wonder, her big brown eyes moving anxiously to the Prince and then shyly back to Beauty who knelt at the Prince’s feet in the firelight.
“Now, as I told you,” the Prince said softly to Beauty, “all here admire you, and they enjoy you, the sight of you, your plump little rear, your lovely legs, those breasts which I cannot stop myself from kissing. But there is no one here, not the lowliest, who is not better than you, my Princess, if I command you to serve him.”
Beauty was frightened. She nodded quickly as she answered “Yes, my Prince,” and then very impulsively she bent and kissed the Prince’s boot, but then she appeared terrified.
“No, that is very good, my darling,” the Prince, stroking her neck, reassured her. “That is very good. If I allow you one gesture to speak your heart unbidden it is that one. You may always show me respect of your own accord in that manner.”
Again Beauty pressed her lips to the leather. But she was trembling.
“These townspeople hunger for you, hunger for more of your loveliness,” the Prince continued. “And I think they deserve a little taste of it that will delight them.”
Beauty kissed the Prince’s boot again, and let her lips rest there.
“O, don’t think I should really let them have their fill of your charms. O, no,” the Prince said thoughtfully.
“But I should use this opportunity, both to reward their devoted attention and teach you that punishment will come whenever I desire to give it. You need not be disobedient to merit it. I will punish when it pleases me. Sometimes that will be the only reason for it.”
Beauty couldn’t keep herself from whimpering.
The Prince smiled and beckoned to the Innkeeper’s daughter. But she was so frightened of him that she didn’t come forward until her father pushed her.
“My dear,” said the Prince gently. “In the kitchen, have you a flat wooden instrument, for shoveling the hot pans into the oven?”
There was a faint movement throughout the room as the soldiers glanced at one another. The people outside were pressing closer to the windows. The young girl nodded and quickly returned with a wooden paddle, very flat and smooth from years of use, with a good handle.
“Excellent,” said the Prince.
But Beauty was crying helplessly.
The Prince quickly ordered the Innkeeper’s daughter to seat herself on the edge of the high hearth which was the height of a chair, and told Beauty, on her hands and knees, to go to her.
“My dear,” he said to the Innkeeper’s daughter, “these good people deserve a little spectacle. Their life is hard and barren. My men deserve it as well. And my Princess can well use the chastisement.”
Beauty knelt crying before the girl who, seeing what she was to do, was fascinated.
“Up over her lap, Beauty,” said the Prince, “hands behind your neck, and lift your lovely hair out of the way. At once!” he said, almost sharply.
Pricked by his voice, Beauty almost scurried to obey, and all those around her saw her tear-stained face.
“Keep your chin up like that, yes, lovely. Now, my dear,” said the Prince looking at the girl who held Beauty over her lap and the wooden paddle in her other hand. “I want to see if you can wield that as hard as a man might wield it. Do you think you can do that?”
He could not keep from smiling at the girl’s delight and desire to please. She nodded murmuring a respectful reply, and when he gave her the command, she brought the paddle down hard on Beauty’s naked buttocks. Beauty couldn’t keep still. She struggled to keep quiet, but she couldn’t keep still, and finally even the whimpers and moans escaped her.
The tavern girl spanked her harder and harder, and the Prince enjoyed this, savoring it far more than the spanking he had given Beauty himself.
It was because he could see it much better, see Beauty’s breasts heaving, and the tears spilling down her face, and her little buttocks straining, as if, without moving, Beauty might somehow escape or deflect the girl’s hard blows.
Finally, when the buttocks were very red but not welted, he told the girl to stop.
He could see his soldiers enthralled and all the townspeople as well, and then he snapped his fingers and told Beauty to come to him.
“Now eat your suppers, all of you, talk amongst yourselves, do as you like,” he said quickly.
For a moment no one obeyed him. Then the soldiers turned to one another, and those outside, seeing that Beauty was retired down to kneeling at the Prince’s feet, her hair veiling her red face, her raw and stinging buttocks pressed to her ankles, were murmuring and talking at the windows.
The Prince gave Beauty another drink of wine. He was not sure he was entirely satisfied with her. He was thinking of many things.
He called the Innkeeper’s daughter to him and told her she had been very good, gave her a gold coin, and took the paddle from her.
Finally it was time to go up. And driving Beauty before him, he gave her a few gentle but brisk spanks to hurry her up the stairs to the bedchamber.
BEAUTY STOOD at the foot of the bed, her hands clasped to her neck, her buttocks throbbing with a warm pain that felt so much better now than the spanking she had lately received that it was almost pleasure.
She had for the moment stopped crying. She had only just pulled down the covers for the Prince, with her teeth, her hands clasped behind her back, and then with her teeth taken his boots to the edge of the room.
And now she waited for further commands, trying to watch him, though her eyes were cast down, without his realizing it.
He had bolted the door, and he was sitting on the side of the bed.
And his black hair, loose and curling at his shoulders gleamed in the light of the tallow candle. His face was very beautiful to her, perhaps because in spite of the size of the features, they were all rather delicately molded. She did not know for certain.
Even his hands enthralled her. The fingers were so long, so white, so delicate.
She was terribly relieved to be alone with him. The moments below in the Inn had been such an agony to her, and even though he had brought the wooden paddle with him and might spank her much harder with it than that dreadful girl, she was so glad to be alone with him that she could not be afraid of it. She was afraid, however, that she hadn’t pleased him.
She searched her mind for faults. She had obeyed all his commands, and he understood how difficult it was for her. He knew completely what it meant for her to be stripped naked and revealed to everyone, to be helpless and made public and that this surrender of which he spoke could come in acts and gestures long before it could come from her mind. But no matter how hard she tried to excuse herself, she could not help but wondering if she could have tried harder.
Did he want her to cry out more when she was spanked? She was uncertain. Just thinking of that girl spanking her in front of everyone made her cry again, and she knew that the Prince would see her tears, and he might wonder why now, when she’d been told to stand still at the foot of the bed, she was crying.
But the Prince seemed deep in thought.
This is my life, she told herself, trying to calm herself. He has awakened me and claimed me. My parents are restored, their Kingdom is theirs again, and more significantly, life is theirs again, and I belong to him. She felt a great relaxation when she thought these things and a stirring in herself that seemed to make her sore and throbbing buttocks feel suddenly warmer. The pain made her so shamefully aware of that part of her body! But then as she squeezed her eyes against these soft and slow tears, she looked down at her swelling breasts and the tiny hard nipples and felt that same awareness of herself there too, just as if he’d slapped her breasts which he hadn’t done in a great while, and she felt softly bewildered.
My life, she struggled to understand. And she remembered that in the afternoon in the warm forest when she had been walking before his horse, she had felt her own long hair on her buttocks, brushing them as she walked ahead of him, and she had wondered if she looked beautiful to him, and she had wished that he would pick her up then, and kiss her and caress her. Of course she had not dared to look back. She couldn’t imagine what he would have done had she been so foolish as to do that, but the sun had thrown their shadows ahead of them and she had seen the shadow of his profile, and felt such a pleasure that she was ashamed of it, and her legs had felt weak and there had been the oddest feeling in her, something she had never known in her earlier life, though perhaps in her dreams.
She was awakened now, at the foot of his bed, by his low but firm command.
“Come here, my darling.” He motioned for her to kneel before him.
“This shirt is to be opened down the front, and you will learn to do so with your lips and teeth, and I will be patient with you,” he said.
She had thought it would be the paddle. And, very relieved, she went almost too quickly to obey, pulling the thick tie that closed the shirt at his throat. His flesh felt warm and smooth to her. Men’s flesh. So different, she thought. And she quickly pulled loose the second tie and the third. She had a struggle with the fourth which was at his waist, but he didn’t move, and then when she was finished, she bowed her head, her hands as before on the back of her neck and waited.
“Open my breeches,” he said to her.
Her cheeks flamed; she could feel it. But again she didn’t hesitate. She pulled the fabric forward over the hook until the hook slipped out and let it go. And now she could see his sex, bulging there, painfully twisted. She wanted suddenly to kiss it, but she didn’t dare and was shocked at her impulse.
He had lifted it free. It was hard. She thought of it between her legs, filling her, rough and too big for her virginal opening, and of that terrible pleasure which had suffused her and wasted her the night before, and she knew she was blushing furiously.
“Now go to the stand in the corner,” he said, “and bring back the basin with water in it.”
She almost scurried across the floor. Several times in the Inn he had told her to move fast, and though she had hated it at first, she now did it instinctively. She brought the basin in both hands and set it down. There was a cloth in the water.
“Wring out the cloth tightly,” he said, “and bathe me quickly.”
She did as she was told at once, staring in amazement at his sex, its length, its hardness, and the tip of it with its tiny opening. She had been so sore from it yesterday, yet that pleasure had paralyzed her. Never had she guessed at such a secret.
“Now, do you know what I want of you?” the Prince said gently. His hand lovingly stroked her cheek, lifting her hair back. She ached to look at him. She wished so much he would command her to look into his eyes. It terrified her, but after the first instant it was so wondrous to her, his expression, that handsome and almost delicate face, and those black eyes that seemed to accept no compromise.
“No, my Prince, but whatever it is ...” she started.
“Yes, darling ... you are being very good. I want you to take it in your mouth, stroke it with your tongue and your lips.”
She was shocked. She had never thought of this. She thought suddenly, cruelly of who she had been, a Princess, and she thought of all her young life before she had fallen asleep, and she almost gave a little whimper. But this was her Prince who was commanding her, not some dreadful person she was being given to as a wife who might have demanded this of her. She closed her eyes and took it into her mouth, feeling its huge size, its hardness.
It nudged at the back of her throat, and she pushed up and down on it as the Prince guided her.
The taste of it was almost delicious; and it seemed a salty liquid in tiny droplets came out into her mouth, and then she stopped because he had said it was enough.
She opened her eyes.
“Very good, Beauty, very good,” said the Prince.
And she could tell he was in pain with his need suddenly. It made her feel proud, and there was in her, even in her helplessness, a sense of power.
But he had risen and was guiding her to her feet. And she realized as she straightened her legs that that debilitating pleasure had caught hold of her. She felt for a moment that she couldn’t stand, but to disobey him was unthinkable. Quickly she stood straight, hands behind her neck, and she struggled to keep her hips from going into some slight humiliating movement. Could he see it? She bit her lip again and felt its soreness.
“You’ve done marvelously well today, you’ve learned so very much,” he said tenderly. His voice could be so soft and yet so firm at the same time. It made her feel almost drowsy; that pleasure was melting inside of her.
But then she saw that he was reaching for the paddle behind him. She let out a little gasp before she could stop herself, and she felt his hand on her arm, taking her hands away from the back of her neck, and turning her around. She wanted to cry out, “What have I done?”
But his voice came low, crooning in her ear.
“And I’ve learned a very important lesson myself, that pain softens you, makes it easier for you. You are infinitely more malleable from the spanking given you in the Inn than you were before it.”
She wanted to shake her head, but she didn’t dare. The thought of all those who had seen her spanked tormented her. She had been turned so those at the windows could see her buttocks and between her legs, and the soldiers could see her face, and it had been excruciating. Well, it would only be her Prince now. If only she could tell him, for him anything, but those others were such punishment ...
She knew this was wrong. It was not what he wanted her to think, what he was trying to teach her. But now she couldn’t think.
He was at her side. He held her chin in his left hand, and he had told her to fold her arms behind her back which was difficult for her. It was worse than clasping her hands behind her neck. This position arched her body, forced her breasts out, and made her breasts and face feel painfully naked. She moaned slightly as he lifted her hair and folded the great mane of it over her right shoulder, away from him.
It covered her arm, but he pushed it away from her nipples and pinched both of them hard between his finger and thumb, lifting her breasts and letting them fall naturally as he did so.
Her face was positively smarting. But she knew what was to come would be worse.
“Spread your legs ever so slightly. You must be firmly planted on the ground,” he said, “so that you can withstand the blows of the paddle.”
She wanted to cry out, and through her tightly pressed lips her sobs sounded very loud to her.
“Beauty, Beauty,” he crooned. “Do you want to please me?”
“Yes, my Prince,” she cried, her lip trembling uncontrollably.
“Then why are you crying so when you haven’t even felt the paddle yet? And your buttocks are only a little sore. Why, the Innkeeper’s daughter had little strength.”
She cried almost bitterly, as if to say in her soft wordless way that it was all true but it was so difficult.
He held her chin firmly now, bracing her whole body. And then she felt the first crack of the paddle.
It was an explosion of stinging pain on the hot surface of her flesh, and the second spank came much more swiftly than she had thought possible and then there was the third and the fourth, and in spite of herself she was crying aloud.
He stopped and gently kissed her all over her face. “Beauty, Beauty,” he said. “Now, I give you permission to speak ... tell what it is you would have me know...”
“I want to please you, my Prince,” she struggled, “but it hurts so, and I’ve tried so hard to please you.”
“But, my darling, you please me by bearing this pain. I explained to you earlier that punishment would not always be for a transgression. Sometimes it would be for my pleasure only.”
“Yes, my Prince,” she cried.
“I shall tell you a little secret about the pain. You are as a tight bowstring. And the pain loosens you, makes you soft as I want you to be. It is worth a thousand little orders and scoldings, and you must not think of resisting it. Do you know what I am saying? You must give yourself over to it. With each crack of the paddle you must think of the next and the next and that it is your Prince doing it to you, giving you this pain.”
“Yes, my Prince,” she said softly.
He lifted her chin again without further ado and spanked her hard again and again on the buttocks. She felt her buttocks growing hotter and hotter with pain, and the cracks of the paddle sounded loud and somehow shattering to her, as if the sound itself were as dreadful as the pain. She could not understand it.
When he stopped again, she was breathless and almost frantic in her tears, as if the torrent of blows had so humiliated her it was far worse than even a greater pain would have been.
But the Prince folded her in his arms. And feeling his rough clothing against her, and his hard naked chest, and the strength of his shoulders, she felt such a soothing pleasure that her sobs grew soft and open mouthed and languid against him.
His rough breeches were against her sex, and she found herself pressing against him only to have him guide her gently back as if silently reproving her.
“Kiss me,” he said, and such a shock of pleasure went through her at the closing of his open mouth over hers that she was almost unable to stand, letting her weight fall against him.
He turned her toward the bed.
“That’s enough for tonight,” he said softly. “We have a hard journey tomorrow.”
And he told her to lie down.
It occurred to her suddenly that he was not going to take her. She heard him moving to the door, and this pleasure between her legs became suddenly an agony. But all she could do was cry softly into the pillow. She tried to keep her sex from touching the sheets because she feared that if it did she could not resist some undulating movement. And she felt sure he was watching her. Of course he’d meant her to feel pleasure. But without his permission?
She lay rigid, afraid, crying.
A moment later she heard voices behind her.
“Bathe her and put a soothing ointment on her buttocks,” the Prince was saying, “and you may talk to the Princess if you like, and she to you. You are to treat her with the utmost respect,” said the Prince and then she heard his steps dying away.
She lay too afraid to look behind her. The door was closed again. She heard steps. She heard the cloth in the basin of water.
“It’s me, dearest Princess,” said a woman’s voice, and she realized it was a young woman, a woman her own age, and could only be the Innkeeper’s daughter.
She buried her face in the pillow. “This is unbearable,” she thought, and suddenly with all her heart she hated the Prince, but she was far too humiliated to think of it. She felt the girl’s weight on the bed beside her, and just the rough cloth of her apron brushing against Beauty’s buttocks caused the sore and stinging flesh to ache more keenly.
She felt as if her buttocks must be enormous, though she knew they were not, or giving off some terrible light with their redness. The girl would feel their heat; this girl, of all girls, who had tried so hard to please the Prince by spanking her far harder than the Prince had realized.
The wet cloth stroked her shoulders, her arms, her neck. It stroked her back and then her thighs and legs and feet, the girl carefully avoiding her sex and the soreness.
But then after the girl had wrung out the cloth, she touched the buttocks lightly.
“O, I know it hurts, dearest Princess,” she confided. “I’m so sorry, but what could I do when the Prince commanded me?” The rag was rough on the soreness, and Beauty realized this time that the Prince had left her with a score of welts. She moaned, and though she loathed this girl with a violent feeling she’d never had for anyone else in her brief life, the cloth nevertheless felt good to her.
The moist cloth was cooling her; it was like the gentle massaging of an itch. And Beauty grew quiet as the girl continued to bathe her in a gentle circular motion.
“Dearest Princess,” the girl said, “I know how you suffer but he is so very handsome, and he will have his way, there’s nothing to be done about it. Please talk to me, please tell me that you don’t despise me.”
“I don’t despise you,” Beauty said in a small spiritless voice. “How could I blame you or despise you?”
“I had to do it. And what a spectacle it was. Princess, I must tell you something. You may be angry with me, but maybe it will be a consolation to you.”
Beauty closed her eyes and pressed her cheek into the pillow. She did not want to hear it. But she liked the girl’s voice, its respect and gentleness. The girl did not mean to hurt her. She could feel that awe in the girl, that humility Beauty had known in all her servants all her life. It was no different, not even with this one who had held her over her knee in a tavern and spanked her in the presence of crude men and villagers. Beauty pictured her as she remembered her from the kitchen door: her dark curly hair in ringlets about her little round face, and those big eyes full of apprehension. How fierce the Prince must have seemed to her! Why she must have been terrified that at any moment, the Prince would order her stripped and humiliated! Beauty smiled to herself, thinking of it. She felt a tenderness for the girl, and for her gentle hands which were now bathing the hot, aching flesh so carefully.
“All right,” Beauty said, “what is it you want to tell me?”
“Only that you were so lovely, dearest Princess, that you have such beauty. Even as you were there, why, how many who seem beautiful could have kept their beauty in such a trial, and you were so beautiful, Princess.” Over and over she said this word, beautiful, clearly reaching for other words, better words she did not know. “You were so ... so graceful, Princess,” she said. “You bore it so well, with such obedience to his Highness, the Prince.”
Beauty said nothing. She was thinking of it again, of how it must have seemed to the girl. But it gave Beauty such a frightful sense of herself that she stopped thinking of it. This girl had seen her so closely, had seen the redness of her flesh as it was punished, and had felt her writhing uncontrollably.
Beauty would have cried again, but she didn’t want to.
For the first time, through a film of ointment, she felt the girl’s naked fingers on her. They massaged the welts.
“Oooh!” the Princess gasped.
“I’m sorry,” said the girl. “I am trying so to be gentle.”
“No, you must go on. Rub it in well,” sighed Beauty, “it feels good, actually. Maybe it’s that moment when you take your fingers away.” How try to explain it, her buttocks flooded with this pain, itching with it, the welts little hard pebblelike bits of pain, and those fingers pinching them and then releasing them.
“Everyone adores you, Princess,” the girl whispered. “Everyone has seen your beauty, with nothing to disguise it or hide your defects, and you have no defects. And they are swooning over you, Princess.”
“Is that really so? Or do you say it to console me?” asked Beauty.
“O, it is so,” said the girl. “O, you should have heard the rich women out in the Inn yard tonight, all of them pretending they weren’t envious, but all of them knew that stripped they couldn’t hold a candle to you, Princess. And of course the Prince was so beautiful, so handsome and so ...”
“Ah, yes,” sighed Beauty.
The girl had coated the buttocks now and was putting even more ointment into the flesh. And she worked some of it into Beauty’s thighs, her fingers stopping just before the hair between Beauty’s legs, and again, with fierce annoyance and shame, Beauty felt that pleasure coming back. And with this girl!
“O, if the Prince were to know it,” she thought suddenly. She couldn’t imagine him being pleased, and it suddenly occurred to her that he might punish her any time she felt this pleasure without his giving it to her. She tried to put it out of her mind. She wished she knew where he was now.
“Tomorrow,” the girl said, “when you go on to the Prince’s castle, the road all along the way will be lined with those who want to see you. Word is spreading all through the Kingdom ...”
Beauty gave a little start at these words. “Are you sure of it?” she said fearfully. It was too much to think of suddenly. She remembered that peaceful moment in the afternoon forest. She had been alone ahead of the Prince and had some how managed to forget the soldiers following him. And suddenly to think of people all along the road waiting to see her! She remembered the crowded village streets, those inevitable moments when her naked thighs or breasts even had been brushed by an arm or the fabric of a skirt—she felt her breath halt.
“But he wants this of me,” she thought. “Not just that he see me but that all see me.”
“It gives the people such pleasure to see you,” he had said tonight as they entered this little town. He had prodded her on up ahead of him, and she had been crying so fiercely as she saw all about her those shoes and boots from which she dared not look up.
“But you are so lovely, Princess, and they will be telling their grandchildren about it,” said the tavern girl. “They cannot wait to feast their eyes upon you, and you will not disappoint them, no matter what they have heard. Imagine that, never disappointing anyone ...” The girl’s voice trailed off as though she were in thought. “O, I wish I could follow you to see it.”
“But you don’t understand,” Beauty whispered, unable suddenly to contain herself. “You don’t realize ...”
“Yes, I do,” said the girl. “Of course I do ... I’ve seen the Princesses when they come through in their magnificent gowns covered with jewels, and I know how it must feel to be opened to the world as if you were a flower, all of their eyes like fingers prying at you, but you are so ... so splendid finally, Princess, and so rare. And you are his Princess, and he has claimed you and all know you are in his power and must do as he commands you. It is no shame to you, Princess. How could it be, with such a great Prince to command you? O, do you think that there aren’t women who would give up everything to take your place, if only they had your beauty?”
Beauty was startled by this. She thought about it. Women giving up everything, taking her place. It had not occurred to her. She remembered that moment in the forest.
But then she remembered being spanked in the Inn, and all of those others watching. She remembered sobbing helplessly, and hating her buttocks propped up in the air, and her legs open, and that paddle coming down again and again. Finally the pain was the least of it.
She thought of the crowds on the road. She tried to picture it. It would happen to her tomorrow.
She would feel this drenching humiliation, this pain, but all those people would be there to witness her humiliation, to amplify it.
The door had opened.
The Prince had come into the room. And the little tavern girl jumped up and was bowing to him.
“Your Highness,” the girl said breathlessly.
“You’ve done your work very well,” said the Prince.
“It was a great honor, your Highness,” said the girl.
The Prince came to the bed, and clasping Beauty’s right wrist, he drew her up out of the bed and stood her beside it. Obediently, Beauty looked down, and not knowing what to do with her hands, quickly brought them to the back of the neck.
She could almost feel the Prince’s satisfaction.
“Excellent, my darling,” he said. “Isn’t she lovely, your Princess?” he said to the tavern girl.
“O, yes, your Highness.”
“Did you talk to her and console her as you were bathing her?”
“O, yes, your Highness, I told her how much everyone admired her and how much they wanted to ...”
“Yes, to see her,” the Prince said.
There was a pause. Beauty wondered if they were both looking at her, and suddenly she felt herself naked in the sight of both of them. It seemed one or the other she could bear, but both of them staring at her breasts and sex was too much for her.
But the Prince embraced her as if seeing that she needed embracing, and gently squeezing her sore flesh, sent another soft shock of shameful pleasure through her. She knew her face was red again. She had always blushed so easily. And were there other ways in which he could tell what his hands did to her? She would cry again if she could not conceal this mounting pleasure.
“Down on your knees, my darling,” said the Prince with a little snap of his fingers.
In a shock Beauty obeyed, seeing the rough floor-boards before her. She could see the Prince’s black boots, and then the crude leather shoes of the serving girl.
“Now, approach your servant and kiss her shoes. Show her how grateful you are for her devotion to you.”
Beauty didn’t stop to think of it. But she felt her tears come again as she obeyed, depositing each kiss on the worn leather of the girl’s shoes as gracefully as she could. Above she heard the girl’s murmured thanks to the Prince.
“Your Highness,” the girl said, “it is I who want to kiss my Princess, I beg you.”
The Prince must have nodded, because the girl fell to her knees, and, stroking Beauty’s hair, kissed her upturned face with great reverence.
“Now, you see there the posts of the foot of the bed,” the Prince said to the girl. Beauty of course knew that the bed had high posts which held a coffered ceiling over it.
“Tie your mistress to those posts with her hands and legs quite wide apart so that as I lie down I can look up at her,” said the Prince. “Tie her with these satin bands so her skin won’t be injured, but tie her very firmly for she must sleep in this position and her weight must not pull her loose.”
Beauty was stunned.
She was in a delirium as she was lifted to stand at the foot of the bed. She obeyed pliantly as the girl told her to spread her legs. She felt the satin go tight around her right ankle and then it firmly bound her left ankle, and then the girl, standing before her on the bed, bound the Princess’s hands high on either side of her.
She was spread-eagled, looking down at the bed, and with terror, she realized that the Prince must see how she suffered; he must see the shame of the dampness between her legs, those fluids she could neither check or conceal, and, turning her face into her arm, she whimpered softly.
But the worst of it was that he did not mean to take her. He had tied her here out of reach of himself so that as he slept she must look down on him.
Now the girl was dismissed, secretly depositing a little kiss on Beauty’s thigh before she left. And Beauty, crying softly, realized she was alone with the Prince. She did not dare to look at him.
“My beautiful obedient one,” he sighed.
And to her horror she felt, as he drew near, the hard handle of that dreadful wooden paddle nudging her moist and secret place, so cruelly exposed by her open legs.
She struggled to pretend this was not happening. But she could feel that revealing fluid, and she knew the Prince knew of her tormenting pleasure.
“I have taught you much, and I am so very pleased with you,” he said, “and so now you know a new suffering, a new sacrifice for your Lord and master. I could soothe the burning craving between your legs but I shall let you suffer it and know the meaning of it, and that only your Prince can give you that relief you long for.”
She couldn’t control her moan, even though she muffled it against her arm. She feared that any moment she might move her hips in helpless, humiliating entreaty.
He had snuffed the candles.
The room was dark.
Beneath her feet she felt the mattress give with his weight.
She leaned her head against her arm and felt secure in the satin bonds as she let herself hang there. But this torment, this torment ... and there was nothing she could do to alleviate it.
She prayed the swelling between her legs would die away, as the throbbing in her buttocks was cooling and dying away. And then falling to sleep, she thought calmly, dreamily almost, of the crowds awaiting her on the roads to the Prince’s castle.
THE CASTLE AND THE GREAT HALL
BEAUTY WAS breathless and flushed as they left the Inn; but it was not so much on account of the crowds that lined the village streets, nor those she would see ahead following the ribbon of road as it ran through the wheat fields.
The Prince had sent couriers ahead, and as Beauty’s hair was dressed with white flowers, he told her they would reach his castle by afternoon if they were to hurry.
“We shall be in my Kingdom,” he announced proudly, “as soon as we are on the other side of the mountains.”
Beauty could not quite anatomize the feeling this aroused in her.
But the Prince, as if sensing her strange confusion, kissed her full on the mouth before mounting his horse, and said in a soft voice so that only those around them could hear:
“When you enter my Kingdom, you shall be mine more completely than ever. You will be mine beyond reprieve, and it will be easier for you to forget all that went before that time, and devote your life to me only.”
And now they left the village, the Prince walking his magnificent horse just behind Beauty as she made her way quickly over the warm cobblestones.
The sun was hotter than before, and the crowds were very great, the farmers having all come to the road, and people were pointing and staring, and standing on tiptoe all the better to see, as Beauty felt the soft gravel under her feet and now and then tufts of silken grass or wild-flower.
She walked with her head up as the Prince commanded her, but her eyes were half closed, and she felt the cool air soothing her naked limbs, and she could not stop thinking of the Prince’s castle.
Now and then a low voice from the crowd would make her suddenly and painfully aware of her nakedness, and even once or twice a hand shot out to touch her thigh before the Prince behind her cracked his whip immediately.
Finally they entered the dark wooded pass that led through the mountains, and there were only occasional clusters of peasants here and there peeping out from the thick-limbed oaks, and a mist lay upon the ground, and Beauty felt herself drowsy and soft even as she walked. Her breasts felt heavy and soft to her, and her nakedness felt oddly natural.
But her heart became a tiny hammer when the sunlight streamed ahead to reveal an ever-widening green valley.
A great cry rose from the soldiers behind her, and she realized that indeed the Prince was home, and up ahead, across the sloping green, she saw upon a great precipice overhanging the valley the Prince’s castle.
It was far greater in size than Beauty’s home, a wilderness of dark towers. It might enclose a whole world, it seemed, and its open gates yawned like a mouth before the drawbridge.
Now from everywhere the subjects of the Prince, mere specks in the distance growing ever and ever larger, ran toward the road that wound down and then up again before them.
Riders came over the drawbridge and rode toward them with a blast of trumpets, their banners streaming behind them.
The air was warmer here, as if this place were protected from the sea breeze. It was nothing as dark as the narrow villages and forests through which they had passed. And Beauty could see everywhere the peasants dressed in lighter and brighter colors.
But they were drawing ever nearer to the castle, and in the distance Beauty could see not the peasants whose admiration she had received all along the road, but a great crowd of magnificently dressed Lords and Ladies.
She must have uttered a little cry and bowed her head, because the Prince came up alongside of her. She felt his arm gather her close to the horse, and he whispered :
“Now, Beauty, you know what I expect of you.”
But they had already reached the steep approach to the bridge, and Beauty could see it was just as she feared, men and women of her own rank and all clad in white velvet trimmed in gold, or gay and festive colors. She dared not look, and felt the blush in her cheeks again and for the first time was tempted to throw herself on the mercy of the Prince and beg him to conceal her.
It was one thing to be shown to the rustics who praised her and would make a legend of her, but she could already hear the babble of haughty speech and laughter. This was unendurable to her.
But when the Prince dismounted, he ordered her down on her hands and knees and told her softly that this was how she must enter his castle.
She was petrified, her face burning, but she fell quickly to obey, glimpsing the Prince’s boots to her left as she struggled to keep up with him in crossing the drawbridge.
Through a great dim corridor she was led, not daring to raise her eyes, though she could see rich gowns and shining boots all around her. Lords and Ladies were bowing to the Prince on either side of her. There were whispers of greeting, and kisses being thrown, and she was naked, moving on her hands and knees as if she were only some poor animal.
But they had reached the mouth of the Great Hall, a room far more vast and shadowy than any in her own castle. An immense fire roared on the hearth, though the sun streamed warm through high narrow windows. It seemed the Lords and Ladies pressed past her, flowing silently along the walls and towards the long wooden tables. Plate and goblets were already set. The air was heavy with the aroma of the supper.
And then Beauty saw the Queen.
She sat at the very end upon a raised dais. Her veiled head was encircled with a gold crown, and the deep sleeves of her green gown were trimmed in pearls and gold embroidery.
Beauty was led forward by a quick snap of the Prince’s fingers. The Queen had risen, and now she embraced her son as he stood before the dais.
“Tribute, Mother, from the land over the Mountains, and the loveliest we have received in a long time if my memory serves me. My first love slave, and I am very proud to have claimed her.”
“And well you should be,” said the Queen in a voice that sounded both young and cold. Beauty dared not look up at her. But it was the Prince’s voice which frightened her most. “My first love slave.” She remembered his puzzling commiserations with her parents, the mention of their service in this same land, and she felt her pulse quicken.
“Exquisite, absolutely exquisite,” said the Queen, “but all the Court must have a look at her. Lord Gregory,” she said, and made an airy gesture.
A great murmur rose from the Court gathered around. And Beauty saw a tall gray-haired man approach, though she could not see him clearly. He wore soft leather sock boots, turned down at the knees to reveal a lining of the finest miniver.
“Display the girl ...”
“But Mother,” the Prince protested.
“Nonsense, all the common people have seen her. We shall see her,” said the Queen.
“And should she be gagged, your Highness?” asked this strange tall man with the fur-lined boots.
“No, that is not necessary. Though punish her surely if she speaks or cries out.”
“And the hair, she is shielded by all this hair,” said the man, but he was now lifting Beauty and immediately had her wrists clasped over her head. As she stood, she felt herself hopelessly revealed and could not prevent crying. She dreaded a reproof from the Prince, and she could see the Queen all the better though she did not want to see her. Black hair showed beneath the Queen’s sheer veil, hanging in ripples over her shoulders, and her eyes were black as the Prince’s eyes.
“Leave her hair as it is,” said the Prince almost jealously.
“O, he will defend me!” Beauty thought. But then she heard the Prince himself give the order. “Mount her on the table for all to see.”
The table was rectangular and stood in the center of the room. It reminded Beauty of an altar. She was forced to kneel on it facing the thrones where the Prince had taken his place beside his mother.
And quickly the gray-haired man placed a large block of smooth wood beneath her belly. She could rest her weight on it and she did, as he forced her knees wide apart and then stretched out her legs so her knees didn’t touch the table at all, her ankles bound by leather to the edges. Now her wrists were treated the same. She kept her face hidden as best as she could, weeping.
“You will be silent,” said the man icily to her, “or I shall see that you cannot be anything else. Do not misunderstand the Queen’s leniency. She does not gag you only because it amuses the Court to see your mouth as it is, and to see you struggle with your own willfulness.”
And now, to Beauty’s shame, he raised her chin and placed beneath it a long thick wooden chin rest. She could not lower her head, though she lowered her eyes. And she saw all the room about her.
She saw the Lords and Ladies rising from the banquet tables. She saw the immense fire. And then she saw this man, too, with his thin angular face, and gray eyes that were not as cold as his voice, but for the moment seemed even to evince tenderness.
A long shudder went through her as she contemplated herself—spread out, yet mounted so that all could inspect even her face if they chose, and she tried to conceal her sobs by pressing her lips together. Even her hair was no covering, for it fell evenly on either side of her face and cloaked no part of her.
“Young one, little one,” said the gray-haired man under his breath. “You’re so frightened and it’s useless.” There seemed a little warmth in his voice. “What is fear, after all? It is indecision. You seek some way to resist, escape. There is none. Do not tense your limbs. It’s wasted.”
Beauty bit her lip and felt the tears sliding down her face, but she was soothed by his speaking to her. He smoothed back the hair from her forehead. His hand was light and cold as if he were testing for a fever.
“Now be still. Everyone is coming to see you.”
Beauty’s eyes glazed over, but she could still see the distant thrones where the Prince and his mother were talking to one another quite naturally. But she realized all the Court had risen and was moving towards the dais. The Lords and Ladies were bowing to the Queen and the Prince, before turning and coming towards her.
Beauty squirmed. It seemed the air itself touched her naked buttocks and the hair between her legs, and she struggled to lower her face demurely but the firm wooden chin rest would not yield and all she could do was drop her eyes again.
The first Ladies and Lords were very near and she could hear the rustle of their clothes and see the flash of their gold bracelets.
These ornaments caught the light of the fire and the distant torches, and the dim image of the Prince and the Queen appeared to flicker.
She let out a moan.
“Hush, my darling dear,” said the gray-eyed man. And suddenly it was a great comfort that he was so near to her.
“Now look up and to your left,” he said now, and she could see his lips spread into a smile. “You see?”
For one instant Beauty beheld what was surely an impossibility, but before she could look again, or clear the tears from her eyes, a great Lady came between her and this distant vision, and with a shock, she felt the Lady’s hands upon her.
She felt the cool fingers gathering her heavy breasts, and twisting them almost painfully. She trembled, trying desperately not to cry out. For others had gathered around her, and behind her she felt a pair of very slow and calm hands parting her legs even more. And now someone touched her face, and another hand pinched the calf of her leg almost cruelly.
It seemed her body was all concentrated then in its shameful and secret places. There was a throbbing in the tips of her breasts, and those hands felt cold as if she herself were burning, and now she felt fingers examining her buttocks and prodding even at that tiny and most concealed of openings.
She couldn’t help but moan, but she kept her lips tightly shut, and the tears fell down her cheeks.
And for one instant she thought of nothing but what she had glimpsed an instant ago before the procession of Lords and Ladies had intercepted her vision.
High up along the wall of the Great Hall, on a broad stone ledge, she had glimpsed a row of naked women.
It had not seemed possible, but she had seen it. They were all of them young like herself, and they stood with their hands clasped behind their necks as the Prince had taught her to do, and their eyes were down, and she could see the glow of the fire on the curl of pubic hair between each pair of legs, and the swelling, pink nipples of their bosoms.
She could not believe it. She did not want it to be so, and yet if it were so ... well ... again only confusion. Was she all the more terrified, or was she glad that she was not the only one enduring this unspeakable humiliation?
But she could not even think of this, shocking as it was, for the hands were all over her. She had uttered a sharp cry to feel them touching her very sex, and smoothing the hair there, and then to her horror, as her face burned and she shut her eyes tight, she felt a pair of long fingers gliding into her sex and widening it.
It was still sore from the Prince’s thrusts, and though the fingers were gentle, she felt that soreness again.
But the most excruciating part was being opened like this and hearing their soft voices now as they talked of her.
“Innocent, very innocent,” said one, and another that she had very lean thighs and that her skin was resilient.
That seemed to produce laughter again—that light tinkling laughter, as if all of this were but the greatest amusement, and Beauty realized suddenly that she was straining with all her might to close her legs, but it was quite impossible.
Those fingers were gone, and now someone patted her sex, and pinched shut the hidden little lips, and Beauty squirmed again, only to hear the laughter coming now from the man beside her:
“Little Princess,” he said gently in her ear, leaning over so she could feel his velvet cape against her naked arm, “you cannot hide your charms from anyone.”
She moaned as if she were trying to appeal to him, but his finger touched her lips.
“Now if I have to seal your lips, the Prince will be very angry. You must resign yourself. You must accept. It is the hardest lesson, compared to which the pain is really nothing.”
And Beauty could feel him raising his arm so that she knew the hand that touched her breast now was his. He had imprisoned her nipple and was pressing it rhythmically.
At the same time, someone stroked her thighs and her sex, and to her shame she felt, even in the midst of this degradation, that disgraceful pleasure.
“That’s it, that’s it,” he comforted her. “You must not resist, but rather take possession of your charms, that is, let your mind inhabit your body.
“You are naked, helpless, and all will enjoy you and what can you do? By the way, I should tell you that your squirming only makes you more exquisite. It is very lovely except that it is so rebellious. Now look again, did you see what I pointed out to you?”
Beauty made a soft sound of assent, and fearfully raised her eyes again. It was as she had seen before, the row of young women with their eyes down and their bodies as vulnerable in display as her own.
But what was it she felt? Why must she be subjected to so many confusing feelings? She had thought herself the only one so displayed and humiliated, a great prize for the Prince whom she could no longer see. And was she not displayed here in the very center of the hall?
But then who were these prisoners? Would she only be one of them? Was this the meaning of the odd conversation that had passed between the Prince and her father and mother? No, they could not have served like this. She felt an odd mingling of torrential jealousy and comfort.
It was a ritual, this treatment. Others had suffered it before. It was fixed and she was all the more helpless. She felt herself soften as she thought of it.
But her Lord, the gray-eyed one, was speaking: “Now, for your second lesson. You have seen the Princesses who are tributes here. Now look to your right and you shall see the Princes.”
Beauty looked to the other side of the hall as best she could through the shifting figures about her, and there, on another high ledge, in the ghastly shadow-light of the fire, stood a row of naked young men, all of them in the same position.
Their heads were bowed, their hands behind their necks, and they were all of them very handsome to look at, as beautiful each in his own way as the young women of the other side, but their great difference lay in their sex, for their organs were erect and hard to a one, and Beauty could not take her eyes off this sight, for they appeared to her even more vulnerable and subservient.
She knew she had made a little noise again, because she felt the Lord’s finger on her lips, and she sensed almost from the air itself that she was now being left by the Lords and Ladies.
Only one pair of hands remained and these she felt touching the tenderest flesh around her anus. She was so frightened by this—for almost no one else had touched her there—that involuntarily she struggled again, only to have the gray-eyed Lord stroke her face again gently.
There was a great commotion in the room. Beauty could just catch the aroma of cooking food, and dishes being brought in, and now she saw that most of the Lords and Ladies were seated at the tables, and there was much talking and lifting of cups, and somewhere a group of musicians had begun to play a low rhythmic music. It was full of horns and tambourines and the strumming of thick strings, and Beauty saw that the long file of naked men and women on either side was moving.
“But what are they?” she wanted to ask. “To what purpose?” But now she saw the first of them appear amid the crowd, carrying silver pitchers with which they filled the goblets at the table, always bowing when they passed the Queen and the Prince, and she watched them, forgetting herself for the moment, with great absorption.
The young men had softly curly hair, cut at the shoulders and neatly combed so that it framed their lean faces. And never did they raise their eyes, though some seemed to move in obvious discomfort from the hardness of their penises. How she could tell this discomfort, she was not sure; it was their manner, a manner of bearing tension and desire, with no expression for it.
And as she saw the first of the long-haired girls bending over the table with her pitcher, she wondered if she too felt this same softly agonizing pleasure. Beauty felt it now just looking at these slaves, and she felt a quiet relief that for a moment she herself was unobserved.
Or so she thought.
Because she could sense a restlessness in the room. Some were rising and walking about, perhaps even dancing to the music. She could not be sure. And others had gone to gather near the Queen, their goblets in hand, regaling the Prince it seemed with stories.
She caught a clear glimpse of him and he smiled at her. How regal he looked, his black hair glossy and full, his long, shining white boots stretched out on the blue carpet before him. He was nodding and smiling to those who addressed him, but now and then his eyes moved to Beauty.
But there was so much to see, and now she felt someone was very near her, and touching her again, and she realized that a line of dancers was just forming to one side of her.
There was a reckless air to things. Much wine was being poured. There were great eruptions of laughter.
And then, quite suddenly, she saw far to her left a young naked boy drop his pitcher of wine, and the red liquid run out on the floor as others hastened to clean it.
At once the Lord at Beauty’s side clapped his hands, and Beauty saw three exquisitely dressed Pages, no older than the naked boys themselves, rush forward and seize the boy and hold him up quickly by his ankles.
This brought a loud round of applause from those Lords and Ladies nearest the boy, and at once a paddle was produced, a very beautiful piece of gold enameling and white tracery, and the offender was smartly spanked while all looked on with the greatest fascination.
Beauty felt a fluttering in her heart. If she were to be humiliated like that, punished so immediately and ignominiously for clumsiness, she didn’t know how she could bear it. To be displayed was one thing; here she had some grace.
But she could not endure the thought of being held by her ankles as the boy was. She could see only his back, and the paddle flashing down again and again on his reddening buttocks. He held his hands obediently on the back of his neck, and as he was let down on his hands and knees, the young Page with the paddle drove him quickly with a series of loud blows towards the Queen, where the young culprit, his buttocks very red, bowed his head and kissed the Queen’s slipper.
The Queen had been in fast conversation with the Prince. She was a mature woman, very full blown but it was from her, obviously, that the Prince had gotten his beauty. She turned, almost indifferently, her eyes darting back to the Prince, and motioning for the young slave to rise a little, she brushed back his hair affectionately.
But then in the same indifferent manner, never withdrawing herself from the Prince, she made a motion to the Page, with a quick frown, that the boy was again to be punished.
The Lords and Ladies nearest applauded with mock scolding gestures, and then obviously enjoyed it very much as the Page put his foot on the second step of the dais before the throne, and hoisted the disobedient slave up over his knee and again, in full view of everyone, soundly spanked him.
A long row of dancers obscured the view for a moment, but again and again Beauty caught glimpses of the unfortunate boy, and she could see that as the paddle came down, he was having a more and more difficult time bearing it. He struggled just a little in spite of himself, and it was also quite obvious that the Page who delivered the paddling was very much enjoying it. His young face was flushed, and he was biting his lip slightly, and he drove the paddle down unnecessarily hard it seemed, and Beauty felt she hated him.
She could hear the Lord beside her laughing. There was a little loose crowd about her now, men and women drinking, talking idly. The dancers moved in a long chain, performing their fluid and graceful movements.
“So you see you aren’t the only helpless little creature in this world,” said the gray-eyed Lord, “and does it soothe you to see the Tribute that belongs to your Sovereigns ? You are the first Tribute for the Prince and I think that you shall have to set a fierce example. The young slave you saw, Prince Alexi, is very much a favorite of the Queen or he wouldn’t be dealt with so lightly.”
Beauty saw that the paddling had stopped. Once again, the slave was on his hands and knees and kissing the feet of the Queen as the Page waited in attendance.
Now the slave’s buttocks were very red. “Prince Alexi,” Beauty thought. It was a lovely name, and he too was of royal blood and high birth. Why, of course, all of them were. It was a delightful thought. What if they had not been, and she were the only Princess?
She stared at his buttocks. There were obvious welts on them and little patches that seemed much redder than the rest, and as the young slave Prince kissed the Queen’s feet, Beauty could see also his scrotum between his legs, dark, hairy and mysterious.
It struck her how dreadfully vulnerable he seemed, being a boy, in ways she had never considered.
But he had been released or forgiven. He rose to his feet, and brushed his auburn curly hair out of his eyes and back from his cheek, and she saw his face stained with tears, and reddened too; yet he had about him a marvelous dignity.
He took the pitcher handed him without complaint and gracefully he moved among the standing guests, filling their goblets.
He was only a few paces from Beauty, and drawing ever closer. And she could hear how the men and women teased him.
“Another paddling and you are so wretchedly clumsy,” said a very tall blond-haired Lady in a long green gown, with diamonds on her fingers, and she pinched his red cheek, as, with his eyes down, he smiled.
His penis was hard and erect as before, rising up thick and motionless from a nest of dark curly hair between his legs. Beauty could not stop herself from looking at it.
As he came nearer, she held her breath.
“Come here, Prince Alexi,” said the Lord with the gray eyes. He snapped his fingers. And then taking a white handkerchief, he had the boy moisten it with the wine.
The boy was so near now Beauty might have touched him. And the Lord took the moistened handkerchief and pressed it to Beauty’s lips. It felt good and cool and tantalizing.
But she could not help but look up at the obedient boy Prince who stood waiting, and she saw him looking at her.
And though his face was still slightly pink, and there were tears on his cheeks, he smiled at her.
THE PRINCE’S BED CHAMBER
BEAUTY AWOKE to new terror.
It was getting dusk; the Feast was over. The Lords and Ladies who remained were very loud and swept up in the fever of the afternoon, but she was being unbound and she did not know what would now happen to her.
Several other slaves had been soundly spanked during the course of the banquet, and it seemed finally that no offense was required, merely the decision of a Lord or Lady. The request was then granted by the Queen—and the unlucky one was thrust up over the Page’s knee, his head bowed, his feet dangling off the ground, and down came the golden paddle.
Twice it had been young women.
And one of them had broken into silent sobs. But there was in her manner something that made Beauty a little suspicious. After she was spanked, she scurried all too fast to the Queen’s feet, and Beauty hoped she would be spanked again until her sobs were real, and all her scurrying was real, and she found herself vaguely delighted when the Queen ordered it.
Now, as Beauty was awakened, she thought dreamily of all this, and felt sharp fear, and also some sense of drama.
Would she be sent away to some place with all these slaves? Or would the Prince take her?
She was stunned with confusion, when she realized the Prince had risen and given an order to the gray-eyed Lord to bring Beauty after him.
She was untied; she was very stiff. But the Lord now had one of those gold paddles in his hand which he tested loudly upon his palm, and giving her no time to stretch her aching muscles, he ordered her down on her knees and forward.
When she hesitated, his command came very sharp again, but he did not strike her.
She rushed to catch up with the Prince who had just reached the stairway.
And soon she was following him up and down a long corridor.
“Beauty,” he stood back. “Open the doors!”
And kneeling up, she quickly opened them and forced them apart and then followed the Prince into a bed chamber.
The fire was already a great blaze on the hearth and the windows were curtained, and the bed had been turned back, and Beauty was quivering with excitement.
“My Prince, shall I begin her training at once?” asked the gray-eyed Lord.
“No, my Lord, I shall attend to it myself the first few days, possibly longer,” said the Prince, “though you may of course, whenever the occasion arises, instruct her, teach her manners, the general rules that pertain to all the slaves, and so forth. She does not drop her eyes as she should, as you can see; she is so very inquisitive.” And at this he smiled, though Beauty at once looked down, much as she wanted to see it.
She knelt obediently, glad her hair concealed her. And then she checked herself in this thought. She was not learning much if that was what she wanted.
She wondered if Prince Alexi had been ashamed of his nakedness. He had had large brown eyes and such a beautiful mouth, but he was much too lean to be cherubic. She wondered where he was now, and was he being punished more for his clumsiness?
“Very well, your Highness,” said the Lord, “but I think you realize that firmness in the beginning is a mercy to the slave, especially when the slave is such a proud and spoilt Princess.”
Beauty blushed to hear this.
The Prince gave a low, gentle laugh.
“My Beauty is very like an unstamped coin,” said the Prince, “and I wish to draw in the full character. I shall take delight in training her. I wonder if you yourself are as attentive to her faults as I am.”
“Your Highness?” the Lord seemed to stiffen slightly.
“You were not yourself so very strict with her in the Great Hall that you prevented her from feasting her eyes on young Prince Alexi. I rather think she enjoyed his punishment as much as her masters and mistresses.”
Beauty flushed hotly. She had never dreamed that the Prince had observed her in this.
“Your Highness, she was only learning what will be expected of her, or so I thought...” the Lord answered very humbly. “It was I who drew her attention to the other slaves so she might profit from their obedient example.”
“Ah, well,” said the Prince wearily and agreeably, “perhaps I am only too enamored of her. After all, she wasn’t sent to me as a Tribute, I won her and claimed her myself, and I am too jealous, it seems. Perhaps I seek for some reason to punish her. You’re dismissed. Come for her in the morning, if you will, and we shall see.”
The Lord, obviously worried that he had failed, left the room quickly.
Beauty was now alone with the Prince, and the Prince was sitting quietly by the fire looking at her. She was in a great state of agitation; she knew she was blushing as always, and that her breasts were heaving slightly. She rushed forward quite suddenly and pressed her lips to the Prince’s boot, and it seemed to move as if it welcomed her kiss, rising slightly as over and over again she kissed it.
She was moaning. O, if only he’d give her permission to speak, and when she thought of her fascination with the punished Prince, she blushed all the more.
But her Prince had risen. He took her wrist and lifted her and drawing her hands behind her back so that he held them firmly, he spanked both her breasts hard until she cried out, feeling the heavy flesh sway and the sting of his hands on her nipples.
“Am I angry with you? Or am I not?” he asked softly.
She groaned, imploring him. And he placed her over his knee as she had seen the young Prince over the Page’s knee, and with his bare hand he gave her a smart torrent of blows that had her crying aloud in an instant.
“To whom do you belong?” he demanded in a low, but angry voice.
“To you, my Prince, completely!” she cried out. It was dreadful, and then, suddenly unable to control herself she said, “Please, please, my Prince, not in anger, no ...”
But instantly his left hand clamped over her mouth, and she felt another terrible torrent of hot spanks until her flesh was stinging and she couldn’t control her crying.
She could feel the Prince’s fingers against her lips. But he would hardly be satisfied with this. He had her on her feet now and by her wrists he led her to a corner of the room between the blazing fire and the curtained window. There was a high stool there made of carved wood, and on this he sat while he stood her beside him. She was crying softly, but she dared not beg again, no matter what happened. He was angry, fiercely angry, and though she could endure any pain for his pleasure, this was unbearable for her. She must please him, must make him loving again, and then any pain at all would not be too much.
He turned her and she stood facing him as he sat inspecting her. She dared not look him in the face, and then he drew back his cloak, and laying his hand on the golden buckle of his belt said, “Unfasten this.”
At once she went to obey with her teeth without being told that was how she might do it. She hoped and prayed he would be pleased. She pulled on the leather, her breath soft and fast, and then pulled the strap back so that the belt came loose.
“Now pull it off,” said the Prince, “and give it to me.”
She obeyed at once, even though she knew what would follow. It was a thick, wide leather belt. Maybe it would be no worse than a paddle.
Now he told her to raise her hands and her eyes, and she saw above a metal hook just over her head hanging from a chain on the ceiling.
“You see here we are not without provisions for disobedient little slaves,” he said in his usual gentle voice. “Now clasp that hook, though it will put you on tiptoe, and you will not dream of letting go of it, do you understand me?”
“Yes, my Prince,” she cried softly.
She had hold of it, and it seemed to stretch her out, and the Prince moved back the stool on which he sat and appeared to make himself comfortable. He had ample room in which to swing the strap which he had made into a loop, and he was silent for a moment.
Beauty cursed herself for ever admiring young Prince Alexi. Yet she was ashamed that his very name had formed in her mind, and when she felt the first hard smack of the belt on her thighs, she let out a frightened little cry but was glad of it.
She deserved this, and she would never again make such a terrible mistake, no matter how beautiful or enticing were the slaves, and her boldness to look at them had been unforgivable.
The wide heavy leather belt struck her with a loud, frightening sound, and the flesh of her thighs, more tender perhaps than her buttocks, even sore as they were, seemed to ignite under it. Her mouth was open, she could not keep herself quiet, and suddenly the Prince ordered her to lift her knees and march in place.
“Quickly, quickly, yes, in rhythm!” he said angrily, and Beauty, astonished, struggled to obey, marching fast, her breasts moving with the effort, her heart pounding.
“Higher, faster,” the Prince commanded.
She marched as he commanded, her feet slapping the stone floor, her knees coming up very high, her breasts a terrible aching weight as they swayed, and again came the belt smacking her and stinging her.
The Prince seemed in a fury.
The blows came faster and faster, as fast as she was moving her legs, and very soon, Beauty was writhing and struggling to get away from them. She was crying aloud unable to stop herself but the worst of it, the worst of it, was his anger. If only this were for his delight, if only he were pleased with her. She was crying and burying her face in her arm and the balls of her feet were burning, and her thighs felt swollen and blotched with pain as now again he took out his temper upon her buttocks.
The smacks came so quickly, she had no sense of how many there were, only that it was a great deal more than he’d ever given her before, and it seemed he only grew more agitated, his left hand now thrusting her chin up and closing her mouth so she couldn’t cry, all the while he commanded her to march faster and lift her legs higher.
“You belong to me!” he said without ever stopping the loud spanking belt. “And you will learn to please me in all things, and you will never please me with your eyes upon the male slaves of my mother. Is this clear to you? Do you understand?”
“Yes, my Prince,” she struggled to say.
Meet the Author
Anne Rice is the author of many bestselling books, and is perhaps best known for her incredibly successful Vampire Chronicles.
- Rancho Mirage, California
- Date of Birth:
- October 4, 1941
- Place of Birth:
- Rancho Mirage, California
- B.A., San Francisco State University, 1964; M.A., 1971
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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i have no idea why folks would recommend these books to people who loved 50 shades of grey... these books are hard core BDSM... 50 shades is a vanilla pale farce of the BDSM lifestyle... a fairytale for women who long to "rescue" a poor, tortured handsome soul and have him fall head over heals in love and "omg can you believe it" .... puh-lease. These books are about personal growth... learning what you can endure and come out better on the other side... learning compassion through shared experience... if you enjoy TRUE bdsm then these ARE the books for you... personally i would HIGHLY recommend them... they are everything 50 shades had the promise to be but fell flat...
quite literally. As far as erotica goes it just doesnt get any better than this, Anne Rice explores in depth sexual desires and emotional states in a way that no one else can. It is beautifully written and just like any novel deeply moving you feel the characters pleasure and pain. She pushes all the boundaries of sexual expression and brings to light your darkest desires. However a thousand praises aside this book is not your average womans sex novella. And is not for the close minded or "Sexualy traditional" for lack of a better term. It deeply explores Bondage, S+M, Power exchange, Sexual servitude, humilation homosexuality in parts. All things that can be highly offensive to the wrong person or the wrong mindset. All of that said this series is still a personal favorite of mine and i Believe it to be an orgasmic reading experiance it to anyone male or female with an open mind and an interest in the sexual themes mentioned
I didn't know what I was expecting when I bought these books. However, when reading all the positive reviews about them, I thought why not and give it a read. I got through half of the first book, and had to stop. These series of books did not fulfill my needs of fantasy, but made me feel sad. Everyone has there own likings, but these books were not for me. In some parts, I can understand why people enjoyed it, but most of the time it made me sick. Being in a fantasy, people should enjoy what they are getting into, and it seemed that Sleeping Beauty was not having fun but feeling worthless and degraded. I thought some point in the story it would get better, but it didn't.
I love this arousing collection! Based on the fairytale of Sleeping Beauty Anne Rice takes the reader on a thrilling joy ride that explores the most sensual aspects of bondage and discipline love. A true erotic winner.
I absoulty loved this series. Anne Rice dose a great job with everything in these books. I loved the characters and could picture them clearly and I couldn't help but fall in love with Beauty in all her vulnerablity.I couldn't put them down and read the seies twice. If you're looking to get sweeped off your feet into a fanciful world of exciting non-stop sexual adventures, this is the book for you.
all I can do is beg for more...my jaw was dropped to the floor by the end of the first few pages and yet I COULD NOT put it down! Let's hope she branches back out into this kind of writing again someday..soon!
I wish she'd write more like them!! They SIZZLE!
These books were well done, and for that I felt compelled to give five stars. That said, it wasn't really what I was looking for. When I read D/s or BDSM, I expect something a bit more active. If you want literary, go with these, if you want something more exciting, I'd suggest A Dose of Slavery or Amy's New Owner.
This trilogy is sure to open your eyes and your mind. I've read the entire story at least 3 times. It is definitely a page turner. I do not recommend this book for anyone that is not comfortable with his or her own sexuality, but if you are...purchase and enjoy multiple...er...readings.
Sleeping Beauty written in this style is better than the G-rated version. I wonder what Anne Rice's alternative story would be for Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs?? This is an excellent read if you are bored on a Saturday night. Anne Rice has a quite an imagination. Go get it!
I read the series based on the recommendation that it was good for anyone who liked the 50 Shades of Grey series. I would say that is not accurate. This series is a hardcore look into the BDSM lifestyle that does not allow the submissive the choice of entering the lifestyle. To tolerate the repeated raping and beating, it was necessary to suspend all concepts of reality. I felt that the finale was rushed to try and create a "romance" in an otherwise brutal series. If you are into the hardcore lifestyle this series is for you. If you enjoy a romantic novel with dom/sub aspects, this series is not for you.
I wish I could give a negative star rating but they don't have that option! I love Ann Rice Vampire stories but this was horrible. When I read that if you like 50 Shades of Grey you'll love these books I had to get them. If I hadn't spent so much to get the triolgy I would have stopped reading it. Hated all the books. I've told all my friends who were thinking or getting the books save your money!!!!!
I wish the overviw would have had more of a hint to the true nature of this book (or these books). I found them deeply disturbing with no real story line. As an Anne Rice fan, I was deeply disappointed.
It was an amazing set... although I recomend have a significant other while reading these books
Not for the faintest, but for the strong willed and the hungrest of pleasure seekers
Love the book
Love Theses Book's
Only one word comes to mind after reading this trilogy STEAMY!!!
Makes 50 Shades of Grey read like a fairytale!! These are listed as erotica, so if that is not what you want, don't buy it, but don't bash it either. It is an exceptionally graphic fairytale, which tells a tale of love, torture, pain, arousal, joy, humiliation, exhuberance, retaliation, compassion, respect, and innocence lost. It's not just about sex, or it is all about sex - take what you want from it, but let me say this is not a book or books you will soon forget. Anne Rice, as with many of her novels, makes the reader feel as if they were characters in the story or definitely wish they were. My husband was a very happy man while I read these books! LOVED them and highly recommend them, especially if you want a little more than 50 Shades!