Guest Blog: A Brand Spanking New Boxed Set with Ashe Barker

I’m happy to welcome the fabulous Ashe Barker today – it seems she has a thing for spanking and castles. 😉 Over to you, Ashe!


 

conqueredbrides_fullHi 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 …

Warwick CastleI 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.

Buy Links:

If you enjoyed this brief snippet you can get your hands on The Conquered Brides Collection right now from Amazon.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

Author Bio:

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…

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Guest Post – Succumbing to the Tropes with Aurelia T. Evans

Bloodbound banner 1

Everything in fiction is a trope. Everything. We’ve got the formulas mapped out to a science. Just like we have a scant twenty-six letters in the alphabet to work with (unless you borrow a few from other languages), there are only so many plots, arcs, archetypes, and character traits.

When it comes to the choice of combinations, however…the sky’s the limit.

There are some common fiction tropes that I promised myself I would never use, either because they’re overused in my genre and I can’t stand them anymore or because the usage of them feels too easy and cheap. Or I just don’t like them because they don’t connect with my interests.

This is, of course, a personal opinion. Many of these tropes are common because other people like them so much. And I’m well within my prerogative to choose the tropes I prefer and avoid the ones that aren’t right for me. I’m pretty sure some of the ones I use on a regular basis drive other people up the wall too. The main love interest selecting a girl out of a group of choices (and often the choice is made for atypical reasons), multiple partners, fluid sexuality, age disparity, extreme power imbalance and fighting for dominance in spite of it, apocalypses, gothic melodramatics…I can’t get enough of them.

But there are other tropes that I told myself never to touch, the ones I’m not crazy about in most other people’s stories (not all—some people manage to overcome my inherent dislike if they do it right). It’s a good thing I have an appetite for words, because I’ve had to eat quite a few of them.

I promised myself I would never get any of my characters pregnant. In the third Sanctuary novel (WIP), Britt wants a baby.

I promised myself I wouldn’t do any of that ‘all-powerful’ crap. In the second Sanctuary novel, Kelly’s pretty darn powerful—albeit beyond her ability to completely control it. And the demonic circus owner, Bell, in the Arcanium novels (coming out in April) might as well be omnipotent, though he gives himself limitations because it makes things more interesting for him.

I promised myself after writing Wolf Girl (which will be coming out at the end of the year) that I wouldn’t write another main character with memory loss.

Then I had a vision of a scarily skinny, bruised woman in white clothes, stained with blood, no clue whose or how it got there. And from that vision, Bloodbound was born.

Go figure.

There is a certain amount of attraction to this trope. It’s an easy form of wiping the character slate clean, creating the Ignorant who needs to be introduced to whatever world she finds herself in, the excuse for explanations. But it’s not as easy as it looks.

The hardest part of dealing with memory loss is walking the line between how much of your character’s traits are learned or innate. In the case of Wolf Girl, that slate was truly wiped clean, little more than cloudy residue of memory and personality left behind. The main character becomes an essentially different person.

In Bloodbound, Julia is introduced at the start of her fugue state. It can take days, months, or years to bounce back from a fugue state, but the old memories aren’t truly lost. They aren’t damaged from physical trauma, although they can manifest from psychological trauma—in that way, it’s kind of like dissociative identity disorder, fracturing intended to protect the prime personality.

At the start of Bloodbound, we’re introduced to a woman who doesn’t even know her own name and has to depend on a receipt to know what to call herself, since she doesn’t have any other form of ID. In that way, she was lucky. Not everyone who experiences fugue state figures out who they are after they wander away, lost in more ways than one.

Bits and pieces of the puzzle, each more disturbing than the last, begin to emerge. There are hints that this fugue state isn’t a persistent one—old habits die hard and burst out at bewildering times, reactions that she doesn’t understand. Her mind won’t protect itself forever—mainly because she doesn’t need protecting forever. Just long enough.

Did I say that the hardest part is walking the memory line? No, the hardest part is the pronouns, especially when there’s another woman hanging around with your main character, and neither of them know each other’s name.

Tired trope or not, it was a challenge, and one that I enjoyed and that felt right to me at the time. I hope it feels right to my readers as well. If you’d like to give it a try, Blood Lost, the first book in the Bloodbound serial, will be completely free when it comes out February 14. Valentine’s Day. A coincidence, I assure you. And each subsequent book will be released every two weeks, concluding mid-April.

I don’t think I’ll write another story about a main character with memory loss.

Probably.

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Blurb for Blood Lost (Bloodbound Book 1)

BloodBound_TitleAuthoronlyBloodstains on her clothing and bloodlust between the sheets, she’s never been more lost…and that’s why he chooses her.

As if wandering the streets in bloody clothes after losing her memory isn’t bad enough, Julia’s been kidnapped by vampires and presented to Nathan, high priest of Dominion.

Nathan’s not interested in a bleeder, perfectly content with fellow priest Lucas as his companion, lover, and willing servant. However, when Lucas offers her to him, Julia’s endearing confusion and lack of fear intrigue him.

With nowhere else to go without her memories, Julia accepts his proposition and embarks on a sensual but deadly journey into the world of Dominion and its arrogant, esoteric elite…as well as the darkness of her own desires and the mystery of her past.

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Bloodbound Release Schedule

Blood Lost (Book 1) – February 14 (FREE!)

Bleeder’s Ball (Book 2) – February 28

Blood Pool (Book 3) – March 14

Blood on the Moon (Book 4) – March 28

Bleeding Heart (Book 5) – April 11

Bloodbound, the Complete Serial Novel – May 9

 ***

Excerpt from Blood Lost (Bloodbound Book 1)

Julia tightened her grip on his shoulders as he maneuvered her to the edge of the bed. She stiffened her legs when they pressed against the drawn sheets.

“Now is not the time for fear, my broken angel,” Nathan said.

“I’m not afraid.” She just wasn’t ready, didn’t know enough of what to expect, didn’t know what was to come. The future was as empty to her as the past.

“After you taste my blood and as I taste yours, the rest will fall into place,” Nathan said. Against her hips, claws dented and pricked the flesh. “Our lack of clothing will make sense to you then. You won’t be afraid anymore.”

“I’m not afraid.” Julia didn’t know why he kept saying that.

“Show me.” Nathan took a short step back and brought his hands between them, exposing a beautiful, vein-tinged wrist. With his eyes fixed upon hers, he drew one claw in a shallow cut across the vein threads. The blood rose red, stark against the pale flesh, dimensional across the exquisite plain, but threatening to drip down the terrain of his palm. “Drink. When you do, you promise yourself to me. You can never turn back. You are mine. Drink.”

Julia took his forearm to guide the bleeding wrist to just short of her lips. Then she lowered her head and closed her mouth over the wound, running her tongue along the line to drink.

Nathan released a groan like a sigh, but Julia barely noticed. The second she swallowed, she understood why he’d told her the rest would handle itself. She also understood why they were naked.

Julia latched onto his wrist, sucking the blood out to coat her tongue with its indescribable taste, savory yet sweet yet heady all at once. The lust that had been a mild distraction before—her body’s whisper among the more pressing turmoil in her mind—suddenly flared up within her like a fireplace with too much kindling. She twisted her mouth over him to coax more blood out, biting when it couldn’t go down her throat fast enough.

Fingers fisted in her hair and yanked her away from his wrist. Unbeknownst to her while in the thrall of his blood, he had reclined against the pillows on the bed, and she had straddled him again, her clit pressed against the base of his cock. With her access to his blood denied, she was gasping and whimpering like a hungry dog, his blood dripping down her chin, her cunt desperate, trapped on the keen edge of orgasm.

Nathan laughed at her, at her desperation, at her need. He encircled her waist with his bloody arm and, still firmly grasping her hair with his fist, he leaned in and licked the blood before it could slide down her neck. He followed it to her mouth, where he gave her something else to consume, something else to lose herself in, because she suddenly wanted nothing more than his mouth where it was—tasting his blood on her tongue.

***

Bio

Aurelia T. Evans is an up-and-coming erotica author with a penchant for horror and the supernatural.

She’s the twisted mind behind the werewolf/shifter Sanctuary trilogy, demonic circus series Arcanium (publication starts April 2015), and spiritual gothic/urban fantasy series Meridian (publication TBD). She’s also had short stories featured in various erotic anthologies.

Aurelia presently lives in Dallas, Texas (although she doesn’t ride horses or wear hats). She loves cats and enjoys baking as much as she dislikes cooking. She’s a walker, not a runner, and she writes outside as often as possible.

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Links

Bloodbound serial novel page ~ Amazon Author Page ~ Blog ~ Facebook