Beautiful eighteen-year-old Elizabeth Ashton joins her guardian, Sir Roger Stanley, in a trading post on the feared Gold Coast of Africa. There, Sir Roger teaches the girl the darker pleasures of restraint and physical discipline before introducing her to the dominating widow, Helen Birencourt.
But plotting to be rid of Elizabeth and claim her inheritance, Sir Roger then sells her to Lord Kemal, the chief slaver on the coast, and despite being cruelly used by Kemal she escapes - although her adventures are only just beginning.
Shipwrecked and alone she is captured by native warriors, and her prized blonde hair and blue eyes ensure that she is sent to join King Mamaweyo's harem. Then a surprise attack on the palace gives Elizabeth a chance of escape - but fate has a final cruel twist in store...
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|Age Range:||18 Years|
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Elizabeth Ashton, standing stiffly to attention in front of the wooden desk, was trying, unsuccessfully, to control the delicious trembling in her limbs.
The large, airy room was quiet, although the muted drone of insects and faint sounds from the market filtered through the woven blinds. Despite the tiled floor and white painted walls, the heat of the West African sun made the atmosphere heavy and sticky, even this late in the afternoon. She didn't move because Sir Roger had forbidden it and she knew better than to disobey.
Keeping her eyes firmly on the wall behind the desk, Elizabeth was only too aware of the other people in the room. As usual, Leila and Mebele were standing quietly by the tall double doors leading back into the main courtyard of the villa. She shivered again as she remembered the maidservants' clever fingers working on her body, only too aware of the thrilling combination of pain and pleasure that the two expert tormentors would be wringing from her body in a few short minutes.
Sir Roger looked up and smiled grimly. 'Well, my dear, quite a catalogue of errors it seems. Lateness, rudeness, your abrupt and noisy departure from the governor's reception last night... what explanation do you wish to offer me this time?' He stared across the desk at the slim, fair-haired young woman standing before him. His eyes feasted on the golden skin of her bare shoulders, before moving to dwell on the proud upper swell of her breasts.
The low-cut gown Elizabeth was wearing revealed her upper body boldly to his gaze. Her long blonde hair was swept back from her face with a jewelled clasp before cascading straight down her back, almost to her waist.
The rest of Elizabeth's well-formed figure was decently concealed from his gaze by the white, floor-length gown. Beneath its soft folds, he could just see the toes of her silk shoes peeping out.
Sir Roger Stanley brushed his tongue over suddenly dry lips. Only two days ago he had been studying his young ward... but in very different circumstances. On that occasion, as so often in the past three months, she had been naked and bent, spread-legged, over a polished mahogany bar, writhing and moaning in ecstasy as he lashed her buttocks with a thin, whippy cane. Sir Roger could feel his erection hardening within the tight confines of his britches as images of those sessions pounded in his imagination.
'I'm sorry if I have offended you, sir.'
'I am afraid that sorrow is not enough, my dear. I fear you will have to atone for your transgressions in the usual way.' Sir Roger stood, a hot, cruel excitement thickening his voice. 'You know only too well what awaits you. Do you have anything further to say to me?' Elizabeth watched his tongue slowly moistening his lips once again as their shared excitement grew.
'Have mercy, sir, have mercy! I did not mean to offend you again.' The plea was not even half-hearted, but Elizabeth felt compelled to play the charade out to its inevitable conclusion.
After a number of less than discreet affairs, and glad to flee the stifling constraints of 1830s London, Elizabeth had revelled in the hazards of sea travel and the grand adventure of travelling to join her guardian's household in this remote trading centre of the so-called 'Gold Coast', some six months before. Elizabeth knew nothing of Africa, or the dark trade in human lives that had establish the settlements along the hot, fever-ridden coast. All she knew was that the crowded and damp streets of London had been replaced by the smells and sounds of a wonderful and strange land. For the first month she was prostrate with the heat and effects of the strange food.
But gradually she learned the gentler, easier rhythms of colonial life. The midday rest, numerous silent servants to fetch and carry at a whim, the sounds, colours and smells of the teeming noisy streets outside the walls of Sir Roger's villa, soon became routine. Elizabeth Ashton began to enjoy her new life as a lady of ease and leisure.
Accra vied with Lagos, some three hundred miles along the coast on the Niger delta as the centre of the gold and slave trade. From there white men could travel inland, using the great rivers to make trading links with the vast unexplored lands of the interior. Jewels, gold and ivory provided rich pickings for those willing to brave the heat, disease and the every present threat of tribal violence. The human trade flourished too, one aspect of Sir Roger's business that he carefully concealed from his ward's inquisitive gaze.
Cosseted in the luxury of their wealth and power, beneath the rigid social round of the colonists ran another darker strand of sexual intrigue and perverse pleasures. Aware of Elizabeth's passionate nature, her guardian had wasted no time in drawing her carefully and delicately into that darker world, a world that Sir Roger and his friends enjoyed in secret behind their oh-so-respectable façade.
Firm discipline and insistence on physical punishment for even the most minor offences was very much what Elizabeth expected. A wilful child, she was well used to being beaten for her various lapses, particularly sexual, when her parents had been alive. But it was the way in which Sir Roger used the combination of punishment and sexual stimulation that had acted like a drug on her body. Each time, he and his friends had drawn her deeper into their web, each time she ended up welcoming the experiences they forced upon her.
The small, mixed European community kept within their own area of the expanding settlement. When Arab merchants and slavers had been driven out in a short and bloody struggle some years before, one or two bolder spirits, such as Sir Roger, had taken over the ancient stone buildings that had been part of their old slaving quarter. Here, all the houses and villas were walled and fortified against possible native unrest, each one looking inward and offering only blank walls to the narrow maze of streets. Inside, the closed courtyards and airy rooms were copied from the Moorish houses of North Africa. Safe and powerful within their small community and with an abundant supply of young native girls to add to the limited numbers of white women, Sir Roger and his friends enjoyed the pleasures of the flesh to the full.
Elizabeth shivered, goose bumps prickling her arms, remembering the useless struggles when he and his friends had first involved other women in those punishment sessions. Restrained, and under the fiery attentions of a bamboo cane, she learned quickly about the peaks of pleasure one woman could arouse in another. She knew, with a further shiver of delicious anticipation, that both Leila and Mebele would once again take their part in whatever Sir Roger planned for her on this occasion.
Elizabeth's reverie was broken as Sir Roger lifted his hand, holding her chin still as he looked into her clear, blue eyes. 'This is not the place for what must soon befall you,' he said softly, lifting her head. 'Leila and Mebele will prepare you...'
He beckoned the two maidservants forward. Mebele was local, tall and muscular, her black skin polished and gleaming against her thin cotton robes. Leila was an Arab, brought up in the household of a Portuguese trader; she had joined Sir Roger's staff only a few months ago. Dark-haired with a smooth, olive skin, her figure was full and voluptuous. To visitors they seemed demure and shy, the perfect servants. But Elizabeth knew the truth behind those modest robes and lowered eyes. Naked beneath their thin cotton robes, both would be wet and eager with anticipation already. 'Take her to the Punishment Room and prepare her,' he ordered quietly. 'Use the bar... but do not begin until I arrive.'
Elizabeth stumbled slightly as the two maids gripped her arms from behind, hurrying to carry out their master's bidding. She was about to add something when Sir Roger raised his hand, able to stop her speaking with a gesture. 'Silence now, go with them as I have ordered.'
The two maids led her, unresisting, along the tiled hallway, across the paved courtyard with its heavy scents of lemon and sweet herbs and down a short flight of marble stairs. At the end of the corridor, beyond another pair of slatted double doors, lay the Punishment Room. In the doorway Leila lifted one hand, delicately stroking Elizabeth's shoulder, before running her fingers downwards across the swell of her left breast. Mebele smiled, watching Elizabeth shiver and turn away from the deliberately intimate caress.
The room was quite plain. White walls, large grilled openings high up along two sides and a floor of polished wood. To one side sat the squat, black whipping frame, with its curved leather top and footrests, laced with a network of straps and buckles. Long ropes dangled from the beamed roof, most now held back against the wall, but each one ending in its own padded cuff.
Elizabeth's eyes were drawn to the centre of the room. Her heart began racing as she took in the familiar sight of the strong, adjustable uprights bridged by the three-foot long, polished mahogany bar. She winced as she felt the strong fingers of the two maids digging into her arms, forcing her further into the room...