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About the Author
Mitzi Szereto is an author and anthology editor of erotic and multi-genre fiction and nonfiction. She has her own blog Errant Ramblings: Mitzi Szereto's Weblog (mitziszereto.com/blog), and a web TV channel Mitzi TV (mitziszereto.com/tv), which covers the quirky side of London. Her books include The Wilde Passions of Dorian Grey, Wicked: Sexy Tales of Legendary Lovers, Dying For It: Tales of Sex and Death, Red Velvet and Absinthe, Thrones of Desire, Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts, and Normal for Norfolk: The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles. She divides her time between Atlanta and London.
Read an Excerpt
In The Kingdom of Roz
I am the daughter of a king who has twelve daughters and twice as many sons, born to him by five wives. I am the only daughter of his fifth wife, Queen Shalilah. While I am not the most, oom, important daughter of a king, my mother tells me she is his favorite and certainly she is his youngest. She was married on her Woman-Day because the King of Roz wanted her. Today I am finally a woman, too, but no king has claimed me so it is not my wedding day but the day when my husband will be chosen. My name is Asha.
In the Kingdom of Roz we do not have slaves; instead we have servants who stay with us forever, whether they wish to or not. When a child of nobility is born the baby is gifted with the babies of servants. I was gifted with six girl babies when I was born but my favorite is Matinna. She is the one I like to night-play and sleep with. She is sleeping now, while I am awake, my dreams dismissed in favor of the deliciousness of real life. I pinch her plump cheeks until, with a groan, her lids flutter open to reveal bleary pale blue eyes. I giggle when her grumpy moan abruptly ends as she remembers the importance of the day. Her eyes goggle. She thrashes at the heavy coverlet to escape its confines and throw her arms around me.
“Happy Woman-Day, Princess Asha,” she whispers.
Our lips meet in a gentle kiss that quickly becomes more amorous than playful. We have been girl playing since puberty. That’s the way things are done in the Kingdom of Roz.
“Draw my bath!” I toss my head imperiously. Honey-colored hair cascades down my back. By the time the doors to our walled kingdom are thrown wide and I ride through them, naked as a babe, only this hair (and the ornaments my servants weave into it) will afford me a minimal veil of modesty.
“Yes, Princess,” she says. She curtseys, pretending to hold out the sides of an imaginary skirt. Like me, she sleeps naked. If she is sad that this is the end of our nights together, she shows no sign. She’s a good servant as well as a marvelous playmate. Her role will be different after today, but she will still be mine until the day I die. Only then will Matinna be free.
Chaos! What a flurry of activity circles me after my bath. I am descended upon by a buzzing cloud of servants; like bees they hover and yes, occasionally, sting. I do nothing but sit or stand or turn this way or that as they polish every inch of me until I am iridescent and my hair gleams, sparkles, and miraculously extends all the way to my knees.
We aren’t early but we are not late, so when my mother arrives for a quick council before I am smuggled out of the palace so that I may re-enter astride my mare, she is pleased. I know this because she allows the smallest of smiles to cross her lips while she shoos my girls away.
As she speaks she expertly weaves into my hair some of the long, strange feathers that began to arrive, one at a time, starting at the moment of my birth and continuing to do so on each of The Day of Festivities that celebrates that glorious moment. Every time, at the end of The Day, my mother shows me the new long, thin, vibrantly hued feather and then spirits it away, always with a finger to her lips to remind me that this is our secret.
“Keep your back straight. Do not appear coy or embarrassed. You must stay serene, no matter what. Do not respond to any calls from the crowd. Keep your eyes forward, focused only on the palace.”
She pauses to present me with my newest secret gift. This time the feather is particularly exquisite. It is scarlet, darker in some spots than others. When I touch the feather the dark spots are wet. Wet like the eyes of the Queen when I look at her, the unspoken question hovering between us. When she takes the feather back, her hand trembles briefly, then she is all business again as she nimbly braids it in with the others.
“If a nipple should show, care not, but correct the situation as soon as possible. Watch for us. Your father and I will be seated on the dais before the palace doors. There will be an empty throne between us. When you arrive, allow a groomsman to offer his hand, if you need it, to help you dismount. Better if you don’t require it, but much better to accept his assistance than to appear ungainly or, Gods-no-shadow-upon-us, fall.
“Approach the throne with deference. Your father will drape the white fur cloak around you and seat you between us. After that, you need only sit prettily while your suitors present themselves. There will be many in the first round, which will pass quickly. We, the three of us, shall choose six and from those six your prince shall be selected. By sunset, you will be engaged to be married. Married, Asha!”
At this, she opens her arms wide in a mock embrace. She kisses the air around me but touches me not. I am exquisitely prepared for my entrance to the kingdom and even the Queen dares not chance marring my perfection with a caress.
It is a shock to see that she has begun to weep. I yearn to do the same, I know not why. But I cannot allow the tears that film my gray eyes to spill. Although my face appears unadorned I have been dusted and sparkled and delicately rouged and glossed. Tears, my tears, are not allowed.
My mother laughs and the weeping ceases.
“I fear I become a crone,” she mutters as she dusts her cheeks with my powder. In a moment her face is once again the mask of perfection I am used to.
She leads me through the secret tunnel from my room to the back of the palace and out, ever so briefly, into the bright blue morning. There sits a carriage that will take me from the palace to the place where my mount, as polished and decorated as I, awaits. The ceremony begins at high sun.
I tremble as the carriage driver throws open the door to the plain carriage that is, according to ceremony, to spirit me undetected away from the castle. Normally he would help me but today it is my mother who stands by in case I need assistance. If she sees the subtle shaking of my knees she doesn’t comment. I enter the carriage gracefully without her help and am rewarded with an almost imperceptible nod of her head.
I’m thrilled to see it. I have always known my mother loves me but today I know Queen Shalilah is proud of Princess Asha. My heart hammers with joy.
From my velvet cushion I can peek out one corner of the curtained carriage window as we pass down the road that is already decorated for my arrival. The crowd will not be allowed to assemble until the great doors shut behind us. Until then, the kingdom must pretend there is nothing special about today and may not pay attention to the simple carriage that passes down the road on The Day of Festivities. Such a wonderful game we are playing! The people of the Kingdom of Roz know their duty and fulfill it admirably. Even the children, who will shortly be shrieking with delight, are hushed. I notice one little girl who must hide her rosy cheeks in her mother’s skirts to keep her face from betraying delight. I feel love for her, love for the people, love for my soon-to-be-prince. I am full to overflowing with it, so much so that when we have passed through the heavy, open doors to the kingdom and arrive at the meeting spot outside the palace walls, my velvet cushion is damp.
Oh I am so ready to be married!
I must wait inside the carriage, its door open, while the kingdom completes the preparation for my arrival. I can hear the cacophony as the crowd surges forward, jostling for position alongside the road. I wriggle on the velvet cushion, wetting it further. Carefully, I reach between my legs, lift my bum and flip the cushion over. None too soon, as a moment later the carriage driver appears, signaling that the time has come.
I alight, again unaided, and wait while my mare is brought to me. I almost gasp with delight at her silky white coat and gaily decorated mane and tail, but remember, just in time, that I am a woman princess now and not a girl who exposes every fleeting thought to those who serve her. Instead, the same almost imperceptible nod I have observed (and practiced) as my mother’s lets them know I am pleased.
Gilded reins lay limp across my horse’s back. There is a soft suede patch that is placed so that my private parts will be protected whilst it will appear that I ride entirely bareback. We are an athletic people and I will ride astride her, not sidesaddle, as some silly princesses in other kingdoms must. There will be no bloody sheets waved to the crowd the morning after my wedding night either. Most of the princesses of the Kingdom of Roz, though each must of course be a virgin on her wedding day, do not bleed upon first penetration. There have been too many hunts and games (to say nothing of the girl play we are encouraged to engage in) for such foolishness. A princess of Roz is not required to prove anything. It is her prince who must prove he is strong and healthy and rich and worthy of her hand. Hah!
I place my foot in the palm of the groomsman and mount my horse. She tosses her head. Bells tinkle. Oh she is vain, my pretty mare! It’s a surprise to see that among her ornaments are the rest of my strange, secret feathers. I stroke her mane gently, careful not to dislodge any trinkets, hers or mine. I arrange my hair so that my nipples are covered while my firm white mounds remain visible. Great Gods of Roz, this is going to be fun! I nod. The driver and groomsman jump up on the carriage. A moment later, the heavy doors to the Kingdom of Roz, made of whole trees and solid bolts of iron, begin to close behind them. The roar of the crowd, all pretense at normalcy vanished as the empty carriage bounces toward the palace, assaults my ears before the great doors swing closed again and all sounds from inside are muted.
Time passes. I cannot remember when I was last alone. It’s discomfiting. Remember my mother’s words: back straight, eyes forward, nipples covered. What if the one for me is not among the princes already gathered at the palace? My mother has been happy with her king. If it bothered her to be the last of five wives she never said so. She has led the pampered, protected life of a queen butwhat if that isn’t the life for me?
Goosebumps pimple my skin. No! I will not have my people see me frightened or cold or whatever it is that has caused this aberration of my flesh.
I prepare a regal expression with which to greet my people. This was all decided long before I was born or my mother was born or her mother and so on. Even the King, an old man now but still all powerful, could do nothing to change the course of events about to unfold, if he wanted to, which I have no reason to believe that he does. Yes, it is different for a prince or a king when the time comes to choose a wife but that isn’t my father’s doing or his father’s or even his father’s and so on.
This is the way things are done in the Kingdom of Roz.
My scream is stifled to a strangled “Oomph” as I am snatched from the back of my mare before my ears have even registered the noise of galloping hooves behind me. It cannot be.
I have been kidnapped!
Table of ContentsHot as a Dragon’s Blood Eric Del Carlo
Of High Renown Janine Ashbless
At the Sorcerer’s Command Kim Knox
Silver Anna Meadows
In the Kingdom of Roz Madeline Moore
Key to the Queen’s Elixir Jo Wu
Here There Be Dragons Ashley Lister
Flesh and Stone Sacchi Green
Saints and Heroes M. H. Crane
Escape Mitzi Szereto
Eyekeeper Aurelia T. Evans
The Widow’s Man Nyla Nox
Jericho Megan Arkenberg
The Last Sacrifice Zander Vyne
What People are Saying About This
"It's as good as the blurb promises and just as hot as it sounds! Thrones of Desire is every fantasy geek's wet daydream!"
For the Love of Reading
"Anytime you can throw a knight in front of a dragon for the love of a woman, you have my undivided attention!... These are fantastical stories of myths and knights, with a sexy element."
"Mitzi Szereto has done a top-notch editing job as each story seamlessly flows into the other. The stories range from lonely women tending to wounded soldiers to fierce female Dragonmeisters strutting around half-naked and generally being awesome. There are elements of magic, forbidden love, bitter sexual tension, violence, death, good versus evil, myth and folklore. Something for everyone, unless you are in anyway prudish
My favorite stories in the collection were "At the Sorcerer’s Command" by Kim Knox, "In the Kingdom of Roz" by Madeline Moore and "Eyekeeper" by Aurelia T. Evans. These three were very different stories but seemed to involve the broadest range of fantasy elements. They all flawlessly determined recognizable genre, believable characters and rich plot, which is something I always find extremely admirable about short story writers. Thrones of Desire is a fantastic collection of erotic stories that carry a severe hotness warning and definitely require recuperation intervals. Digest this collection at a slow pace or you are sure to suffer a swordplay (*wink*wink*) overload!"
Open Book Society
"It's as good as the blurb promises and just as hot as it sounds! Thrones of Desire is every fantasy geek's wet daydream!"
- For the Love of Reading
"A long day behind you, a soft bed beneath you, and a glorious book of erotic tales held out in front of you...how could you go wrong? With Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire, you are certain to get turned on before you turn the lights off."
Dr. Chelsea Holland
"It’s a book I didn’t want to put down. It’s a book that I didn’t want to take my eyes off of, and MOST important, it’s a book that, at the end of every story, I wished it would just continue on-and-on. That’s how amazing the writers are. If you like the fantasy genre and like your erotica with some heavy plots mixed in, Thrones of Desire is most-likely going to be the best erotica book you’ve ever read."
Pop My Cherry Reviews
"It's fantasy in the epic tradition, but with lots of steam! You'll find dragons and warriors, kings and queens, heroes and villains, sorcerers and secretsit's got it all!"
"Allow yourself the pleasure of being one to read this new anthology of fantasy and eroticism that brings together that world with sex. Even though these stories are basically by women and for women, as a man I really enjoyed the collection as I am sure you will."
Reviews by Amos Lassen
"Sexier than Guinevere and Sir Lancelot’s indiscretions in Arthurian mythology, hot, passionate and magical to boot."