Who doesn’t love a fairy tale, with it’s ‘Once upon a time…’ and ‘…happily ever after’? (Yes, obviously there are some people that don’t – but actually that was a rhetorical question.) These age-old stories seem to stick in the collective consciousness, filling us all with fond memories of hiding under the covers as we suffered Little Red Riding Hood being eaten by the wolf and Snow White being poisoned by the apple. Many of them are terribly dark and a lot of them carry a deep sexual subtext. Even if we were too young to understand it, I think we somehow knew that the wolf wanted to ravage Little Red and that in Snow White, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty everything hinged on an older woman’s jealousy of her younger competitor’s ripe and ready beauty.
So it makes sense, doesn’t it, to rewrite them for grown ups? To make explicit the dark sexual undercurrents that we all know are lurking there? Kristina Wright’s beautiful new anthology, A Princess Bound, does this and more – exploring the ‘Once upon a time…’ of BDSM. Enter a fairy kingdom in which princesses beg to be bound and princes demand complete submission. What could be more thrilling than an encounter in the blackberry patch with the Thorn King? In Jane Gilbert’s story of the same name, the sharp barbs bring both pain and pleasure. In Kristina’s own tale, The Last Duchess, Esmerelda begs to be bound, tied and held down… While in Rose de Fer’s Out of the Waves, the Little Mermaid is bound and whipped as she experiences pleasures she could never have imagined.
It is indeed a very grown-up collection of fairy tales – and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Why is it that Goldilocks climbed into so many beds? Face it, fairy tales have always been kinky—from beautiful queens tied up in knots to the wolf that makes Red Riding Hood blush. In this distinctive collection of racy romances, Kristina Wright seduces us with tales that are playful, supernaturally sensual and very, very naughty. The beauty in “The Seven Ravens,” by Ariel Graham, uses a series of magic keys to finally unlock the door to her secret wish. A lonely maiden sneaks into the Winter Ball in Valerie Alexander’s “Mine Until Dawn,” and binds her new love in a devastatingly erotic story of dominance. A brawny beast of a man sweeps an aristocrat off her feet and right into his bed in “Black of Knight,” by Victoria Blisse. Submit to the spell of A Princess Bound.
From “Your Wish” by L. C. Spoering
“Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong.” I can’t decide if he’s talking to me, or musing to himself, and so I stand still, measuring my breaths, the hair on the back of my neck stiff and sensitive.
“Maybe it’s time to let you go.” That is the feared answer, another thing I don’t understand. I’ve been released before, over and over, but it’s not in the way that is imagined. It’s back in the bottle and off to the next, to bend to his will and serve, for many eternities.
I bite my lip and drag my gaze from his hands, wide and powerful. “And if I don’t want to go?”
He looks surprised. He has dark, thick eyebrows, and they raise along his forehead, creating great furrows and deep lines between his eyes. “Why would you want to stay?”
That, I can answer, and I find myself smiling before I can stop the expression. “You.” It’s as simple as that, and his face grows more baffled, and, like it’s a joke, he looks down at himself, as though the answer is in his sloppy morning dress, his bare feet, the slight paunch of his belly.
“Me,” he says, looking up at me, doubtful. Surely he’s thinking of the women he’s brought home, the one from the night before who said please over and over until it stopped sounding like a real word.
I nod. “That’s enough, isn’t it?”
He doesn’t reply, but his eyes go to the bottle on the mantle, long-necked and worn smooth, brass and shining silver, the handle seemingly delicate enough to snap. I follow his gaze, and we stand there for a long, silent moment.
“There’s one wish left,” he points out, and I shrug.
“That one’s always the undoing,” I say, gently. “Fairy tales get that one right.”
He laughs, just a little, and I glow. He puts aside his coffee cup and crosses to the bottle, lifts it from the surface; the motion makes me feel seasick, and the taste of blood invades the back of my throat as he turns it in his hands.
“What if I make a wish for you, instead of me,” he muses, and I shake my head. He expects that and gives me a heartbreaking smile.
“All right. What if I wish, for me, you.”
I feel a tingle at the back of my neck, down my spine, along my sex. “Then that would be your command,” I say, though, truly, I can never quite predict what might come of a wish. Like most, he wished for success first, and a company bore fruit around him. He wished for riches, and found himself waking in a vast apartment, driving down the canyon to his office in a luxury car. There was nothing unexpected, but, of course, isn’t that when the guard is let down?
His thumb moves rings on the warm curved surface, and I press the crest of my thighs together in longing.
“Maybe I wish for you to stay forever.”
I consider this and shrug delicately once more. “Then I’d have to stay.” Would I be freed of my duties? Would the bottle shatter?
He sets it back down and my stomach clenches. “Or maybe I just never make that wish at all,” he says, and holds out his hand.
“I could make you,” I point out, but already I’m moving, already I’m smiling.
“You wouldn’t,” he predicts, and I shake my head, and mymouth opens easily under the warm pressure of his.
What is different about him that makes me cling to him now, fingers curling at his shoulders, toes clenching at the wool rug on the floor? I’ve been had by most of them, these men, but rarely have they had me. Truly, who can have an idea, a wish—who can possess a desire?
He does, he does, and the shackles he cannot see but I can feel, there around my wrists and ankles, they dissolve as he paces me back from the bottle, back from the room. I am feeling my way in expectation, heels lifted for the slick board that divides the doorway of his room from the hall, but he steers me, instead, past the long kitchen counter, out the open door.
The patio wraps around the house and, there, in the morning, the hills look parched and sparkling, as though the stars landed there for their daytime slumber. I can open my eyes and see the traffic stuck along the snaking roads, but he catches my chin before I can, thumb and forefinger, before his pinky rests at my windpipe. I’m held suspended in that position, and each breath pushes my throat against his finger, against that tiny pain, and I shiver, focusing my eyes on him.
“Say it,” he commands, and my mouth parts again, the skin around my lips now burning from the roughness of his stubble.
“Say it,” he repeats, and whatever sweet nothing might have been in his voice before is gone with the second demand; I feel weak, shaken, and my thighs slip against each other of their own accord.
“I’m yours,” I say, without drawing my breath; it makes my chest hurt, a sort of dying exhalation—I wonder if that is what this might be, release from one world into another.
“Say it again.” His hand moves from my chin, down my throat and over my bare chest. He parts the delicate buttons of my shift, and the fabric slides off me without protest.
“I’m yours.” My head feels like, a balloon bobbing in the hot breeze. I can feel the same stir in the air at my ass and cunt, just before his hands, sliding over my hips and thighs to part my legs, spread my cheeks wide.
His finger toys with my asshole, and I let out a whimper.
“I’m yours.” My voice is high and strained, and I must lean against him in order to keep myself upright.
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