I’m happy to welcome the fabulous Ashe Barker today – it seems she has a thing for spanking and castles. 😉 Over to you, Ashe!
Hi Amy, and thank you so much for inviting me over here today to chat about my latest release. This time I’m in brilliant company because my story, The Widow Is Mine, is part of a medieval spanking box set. The Conquered Brides Collection features stories by five erotic and spanking authors – Renee Rose, Dinah McLeod, Sue Lyndon, Korey Mae Johnson, and myself.
The action starts in central Europe, in the Middle Ages. The castle of Hohenzollern falls to an enemy army and the defeated Queen is forced to surrender. However she does so on condition that any women taken by force from the fallen castle be taken as wives. The collection follows the fortunes of five reluctant brides, and the stern knights who are determined to assert their authority, on their brides’ bare bottoms if need be. If you love the whole abduction/seduction scenario, this one’s for you.
I was invited to join the collection last summer, and I was delighted. It was a dream come true in one sense, my guilty pleasure come to life. I’ve always been a sucker for a conquering, stern lord with a soft centre. Throw in the feisty maiden and a dose of erotic spanking and I’m in my element. And to be snuggled up with a bunch of writers I admire, and whose stories I love, just put the icing on the cake for me.
Being a Brit, and a Brit who loves history, I wasn’t short of inspiration. The countryside in the UK is littered with ruined castles, and I bet I’ve been to most of them over the years. I can’t drive past a pile of crumbling stones, as my family would describe my passion, without stopping off for a poke around. Still, they’ve learned to tolerate it and both my husband and daughter have cultivated a liking for gift shops and tea rooms. I always know where to find them.
Not all castles are in ruins. This is one of my favourites, Warwick Castle, originally built by William the Conqueror in 1068 but added to over the centuries. These days it’s a major tourist attraction, but they still do the medieval jousting thing. And they serve a glorious cream tea.
I doubt Stefan, Duke of Richtenholst would have countenanced such frivolity, which sort of brings me to a question which is often on my mind as I poke around some wind-swept battlement and gaze across the miles of English countryside which these place were constructed to protect in a bye-gone age. What would their original inhabitants make of us now? Would they approve of the historical re-enactments, the excavations, the reconstructions? I like to think they would. They were practical folk back then, survival was everything.
And a great many castles have survived. Warwick Castle is as secure now as it was when the first stones were laid a thousand years ago. Quite some achievement.
Here’s the blurb …
When the castle they called home is besieged and ultimately falls, five women are captured and carried off as wives by their foes. Will they be treated as no more than the spoils of war, or can their new lords prove themselves worthy of the love and submission of their conquered brides?
The Conquered Brides is a five-book collection featuring brand-new titles from five top erotic romance authors. This collection includes:
Commanding the Princess, by Korey Mae Johnson
As the ruler of Hohenzollern Castle in name only, Susanna has watched helplessly for years as her power-hungry uncle made one enemy after another for her. One enemy stands out, and the moment she catches sight of him, Princess Susanna is certain that it will be Gerhard of Bavaria who brings her world down around her. As his army smashes through her gates, Susanna makes the only choice she has left. She surrenders herself to Gerhard, hoping to win mercy for her people, though she fears it will come at the cost of her life. But she soon learns that Gerhard has other plans for her, plans which may end with her surrendering much more than just her castle to him.
The Knight’s Seduction, by Renee Rose
Avowed to never again yield to a man’s ill-treatment, Lady Daisy stands ready to fight to the death when her castle is sacked. The imposing knight Sir Barrett has other ideas, however, and to her dismay, Daisy soon finds herself not only disarmed, but soundly spanked as well. Sir Barrett takes her as his captive bride, but when she shows real terror at the prospect of consummating their marriage, he offers her a bargain. She will offer her body to him and accept the pleasurable torments he inflicts, but he will not claim her fully until she aches for it so badly she begs him. Certain she will do no such thing, Daisy agrees, but can she resist the knight’s seduction?
The Widow Is Mine, by Ashe Barker
Since her husband’s untimely passing, Lady Natalia has resigned herself to a quiet life as a young widow and perhaps one day as a nun. But when her adopted home is conquered by the enemy, her world is turned upside down. After he rescues her from the chaos of Hohenzollern’s fall, Duke Stefan of Richtenholst cannot imagine allowing Natalia to languish behind the walls of a convent. The duke takes Natalia home as his wife, and he quickly proves himself ready to compel her obedience when it is necessary, but can he ever truly make her his own?
Conquering Lady Claire, by Sue Lyndon
As Hohenzollern Castle falls, mayhem unfolds around Lady Claire, and her only aim is to lead as many women and children of the castle to safety as possible. In an odd turn of fortune, her courageous efforts ultimately lead to her capture by none other than Lord Galien of Minrova, the very man that her brother, a powerful duke, recently commanded to find her and claim her as his wife. Claire’s defiance is quickly overcome by means of a firm hand applied to her bare bottom, but Galien is not content merely going through the motions of a political marriage. His skilled lovemaking soon leaves his new bride begging for more, but can he conquer her heart as well?
Kidnapped and Claimed, by Dinah McLeod
When her husband’s repeated infidelities and drunken insults become too much to bear, Lady Cecily flees to her childhood home at Hohenzollern, but things quickly go from bad to worse and she is kidnapped from the castle stables only moments after her arrival. Cecily ignores her abductor’s warnings of ruin about to befall Hohenzollern and his claim that he took her from the castle only to keep her safe. She resists him every step of the way, until at last he spanks her long and hard. Despite his firm chastisement, it soon becomes clear to Cecily that her captor cares for her in a way her husband never did. But can she forgive him for stealing her from her home?
And here’s an excerpt …
I know by the sound of chains clanking and metal grating that the gate has been lowered, allowing them to enter unimpeded. I turn to view the scene within the castle walls now. I am mesmerised, frozen in place as I watch our people flee in terror from the advancing army.
A movement catches my eye, in the turret on the opposite corner of the bailey. As I watch, an arrow is loosed from the narrow window to score a direct hit in the breastplate of a burly knight in the melee below. Too little, too late I fear. The knight appears unharmed, but even so by his scowl and angry shout I judge him to be less than best pleased by this assault. He heads for the entrance to the turret and I fear that last, lone archer may not survive this day either.
It’s all over. I can do no more. I am sorely tempted to curl up and hide where I am, in the hope that I can remain unnoticed. Even as that forlorn thought flutters through my head, one of the imperial guardsmen looks up and catches sight of me. He grins, a toothless leer, and nudges the ruffian beside him. I back away from the edge as they laugh and point at me. One of them makes an obscene gesture with his hand, confirmation if it were needed of what they plan for me. My courage deserts me; I turn and flee along the battlements.
I reach the first flight of stairs and hesitate. Whether to run down into the mayhem that is unfolding and hope to lose myself there, or seek to scramble back inside the keep and perhaps find a place to hide. That second option evaporates as the door from the castle bursts open and men start to pour through. Cornered, I choose the stairs. Perhaps even now I can elude the worst of this.
The two guardsmen are waiting for me at the bottom. One of them grabs me by the arm and slams me face-first against the hard stone wall.
“I saw ‘er first. You can ‘ave what’s left when I’m done.” His companion seems intent upon staking his claim.
“Bollocks. I caught ‘er. She’s mine an’ ye can wait yer turn.” A meaty hand seizes the back of my neck, the grip vicious. The soldier squeezes and I go still, rigid with fear.
“Maybe we could fuck ‘er together, ye can have the front an’ I’ll take the back. I like a nice bit of arse.”
The two soldiers discuss their vile intentions as though I was unable to hear them, as though I was just a piece of insensible meat. I do not doubt that is all I am to them. My face is flattened against the cold stone but I scream, my throat burning with the effort. My cries for help are drowned in the din all around me. Who would come to my aid in any case? I struggle as best I can but, despite desperation lending me a strength I did not know I possess, I am unable to break free of the vise-like grip on my arm or neck. Fighting by pure instinct alone I use all weapons at my disposal, though they do not amount to much. My feet, my head, my elbows. With an angry growl the ruffian spins me around and I succeed only in earning myself a vicious backhand across my face. I slam into the wall behind me before crumpling to the earth at my feet. I curl into a foetal position, waiting for the inevitable.
“What the fuck is this? Did you not hear your orders regarding the treatment of women in the castle? Mayhap I should have you nailed by your dicks to yonder door. Would that improve your hearing, I wonder?”
The harsh, stern voice rings across the bailey. Maybe rescue is at hand after all, though I don’t dare raise my eyes to look. Heavy footfalls draw near, several men by the sound of it. There is shuffling as my assailants seek to back off, to slink away.
“Find some stocks for these vermin. I’ll deal with them later.” There are sounds of a scuffle, plaintive wailing as the men who would have raped me are dragged away. A few seconds pass, then, “Get up, my lady.” The same voice, perhaps a little gentler now but still a tone that resonates with authority.
Even so, I prefer not to obey. I remain where I am.
“Can you hear me? I said, get to your feet. Now.”
I shake my head and tighten the grip of my arms around my knees. My protector has done his Christian duty, now surely he’ll have other matters to attend to. Surely he’ll move on and leave me alone. I open my eyes a crack to behold two solid feet encased in iron-plated boots, topped by muscular legs clad in fine quality leather breeches. I do not raise my eyes any further than his knees.
“My lady, look at me.” It seems he is not in any undue hurry to be off. A hand in my hair draws my head back, tipping up my chin. He’s not rough exactly, but his touch is firm. I do not resist.
“Open your eyes.”
The tone has gentled still further. I begin to think this man may not mean me harm. If he simply intended to claim me for himself by right of rank he would have no need to talk to me, much less to reassure. I hold my breath as I lift my eyelids and look at him.
If you enjoyed this brief snippet you can get your hands on The Conquered Brides Collection right now from Amazon.
I’ve been an avid reader of fiction for many years, erotic and other genres. I still love reading, the hotter the better. But now I have a good excuse for my guilty pleasure – research.
I tend to draw on my own experience to lend colour, detail and realism to my plots and characters. An incident here, a chance remark there, a bizarre event or quirky character, any of these can spark a story idea.
When not writing – which is not very often these days – my time is divided between my role as resident taxi driver for my teenage daughter, and caring for a menagerie of dogs, rabbits, tortoises. And a very grumpy cockatiel.
All my books feature BDSM or spanking. I write explicit stories, always hot, but they offer far more than just sizzling sex. I like to read about complex characters, and compelling plots, so that’s what I write too. Strong, demanding alpha males are a given, often paired with women who have a lot to learn.
I love to keep in touch with readers. Here’s where you can catch up with me…