Given to the Berserkers

 

Prologue

 

“Muriel,” someone was calling my name and tugging on my arm. I opened my eyes, squinting against my throbbing headache. “Wake up,” my sister said in a trembling whisper.

“What is it, Fleur?” I groaned. “Did the fire go out? Where’s Sabine?”

“She disappeared, remember? We have not seen her for a day and a night.” Fleur was speaking, but I barely heard her as I sat up and stared through the bars of a cage. Where I expected the walls of our home and the stone hearth, there was only forest.

“What is this?” I whispered. We sat in the center of a wooden cage made of branches as tall as a man and twice as long, lined with fur pelts. Beyond the bars, figures moved around a bonfire. A few men accompanied by giant dogs.

Fleur huddled closer to me. “They came in the night,” she whispered. “Do you remember? They burst into the hut and grabbed us.”

“I remember.” My head ached but I recalled the dark shapes looming over us. I’d leapt to my feet, wielding a small knife my older sister Sabine made me carry. One of the warriors had caught the blade in his hand.

“Careful,” he had laughed, wrenching the weapon from me even as blood dripped from his palm, “this one is a fighter. She has a little tooth.”

“Get away from me,” I’d shrieked. My defiance lasted as long as it took for one of the huge warriors to catch and force me down. I struggled on the floor, craning my neck to look back at Fleur. My twin sister was often sick, and weaker than I was. She’d shrunk back on the bed when three warriors converged on her. “Leave us alone!”

“Be quiet, and we won’t hurt you.” The warrior binding my wrists had covered my head with a sack and hefted me up. We were moving, moving, out of the hut and into the night. I’d screamed and struggled with all my might. The warrior carrying me slung me down, and—

Blackness. I remembered nothing more.

“What happened?” I asked my sister without taking my eyes off the men in the clearing. The huge warriors were cutting down more trees and adding logs to the fire.

“I don’t remember much after they came in and took us. I must have hit my head.”

“The man struck you so you slept,” Fleur said. “But I stayed awake the whole time. They carried us here, faster than any man can run. I know you won’t believe me…”

 Fleur often had visions and dreams during the day, fantastical things she shared only with me. Often she saw things that weren’t real, and asked me about them. With my help, she didn’t speak of things that no one else saw. Otherwise, the villagers might call her fey, and kill her for it.

“I believe you,” I said, holding her tighter. “This is real. This is happening.” The men at the bonfire were more frightening when they stepped into the light than when they stood in shadow. Massive and muscular, they wore the garb of warriors and carried great weapons, from axes and bows, to daggers and swords.  Though larger than any man I’d ever seen, they moved like predators, with smooth, quick grace. One of our captors walked out of the woods wearing only a loincloth, and carrying a giant log over his shoulder as if it weighed no more than a stick. He shrugged it off onto a growing pile, and joined a group that stood studying us in the cage. Amid the men roamed a few giant beasts that I thought were dogs, but for their size and the intelligence in their bright gold eyes.

Fleur and I huddled together amid this nightmare.

“Who are they?” I asked in despair. My teeth chattered, more with fear than cold.

“Wolves.” Fleur pointed out two of the warriors standing guard. Not more than a minute passed without them glancing back at us. I noticed they seemed particularly interested in Fleur, and I  squeezed her tighter. “See those two? They took turns carrying me. They told me a witch cursed them with great strength and speed, but with the curse came the rage of a ravening beast. I didn’t understand until I saw one of them, that third one, there, turn from man into a wolf.” The beast she pointed out was massive, bigger than any dog or wolf I’d ever seen. With its midnight fur and eyes shining in the firelight, it seemed a demon creature.

It hadn’t stopped staring at Fleur.

“What do they want with us?”

“The warriors told me they have no women. They took us because they need mates.”

I forced my disbelieving gaze from the giant beasts and warriors, to stare into Fleur’s pale eyes. My normally pale sister looked even more wan and tired, with great circles under her eyes. But I knew she was telling the truth.

“How is this possible?”

“A prophecy foretold of a race of women they could mate with. Muriel… they have Sabine.”

“She’s here? Alive?” Our older sister had disappeared a few nights before. I sagged back onto the pelts, overcome with the first good news I’d had all night.

Fleur nodded and lay down with me. “They took her first. She’s to mate with the two Alphas.”

My forehead wrinkled. “Two of them?”

“They sometimes mate with women in pairs.”

I closed my eyes. My head hurt again, and not because of the tender bump on my skull.

“Do you think she’s all right?” I’d often been at odds with my older sister, but she’d always looked after us since our mother died. We had another sister, Brenna, older than all of us, but she, too, had disappeared.

“I think Sabine is fighting them. But they laughed about it and said that one way or another, the Alphas will tame her. And then…” Fleur’s voice died away, but she didn’t have to finish the sentence.

After Sabine was mated, it would be our turn.

Dawn came, and despite fear churning in my stomach and a raw feeling in my gullet, I dozed.

When I woke, the crowd of warriors had thinned. There were only three warriors left—the men who had carried Fleur, and their companion in wolf form.

Someone had left a skin of water just outside the bars. I waited as long as I could, but finally threaded my arm through the bars and took it. I sniffed it carefully but smelled no taint or poison. If these warriors had any reason to kill us, they could simply snap our necks. With that bleak reasoning, I didn’t hesitate to drink from the skin.

The wind shifted and the smoke blew into our cage. Fleur started coughing in her sleep. I moved to block the foul breeze, but she kept coughing. Her lungs had never been very strong.

Would that Sabine were here. She was smart and brave, and had a little magic. She would demand our captor bring her what she needed to make Fleur medicine, and would not stop standing up to them until we were all free. 

I’d wrapped my arms around my legs and pressed my head to my knees., when a voice hissed close to my ear.

I raised my head and looked straight into golden eyes. A reddish wolf, so red I would’ve thought it was a fox if it hadn’t been so large, sat panting not five handspans from where I sat within the cage.

I watched in wonder as a ripple of magic split the air. The beast’s form shimmered, and then in place of the wolf crouched a man, naked but for a loincloth.

If Fleur had not explained the night before, I would’ve thought I was crazed or still dreaming, but the man looked real enough. He was young and sturdy, with a pale muscled chest and legs. The only resemblance to the wolf was his tousled red hair.

He grinned at me, and placed a finger to his lips, gesturing for me to stay silent. I glanced back at the warriors guarding us, and they all were focused on the fire. The smoke still blew in our direction. Turning my back on them, I nodded to the red-haired warrior. For some reason he didn’t want to be seen, and his secret was safe with me.

His grin widened, displaying sharp incisors. He beckoned me closer.

For some reason, I obeyed, sliding on the pelts to tuck myself against the side of the wooden prison.

“Muriel?” His low voice was rough, but I recognized my name when he repeated, “Are ye Muriel?”

Gaping at him, I nodded.

“Are ye sure, lass?” he asked. “I have a message for Muriel, and I dinnae want to tell it wrong.”

Licking my lips, I found my voice. “I am Muriel. Who are you? What’s going on?”

“You’ve been taken by Berserkers, warriors cursed to live as beasts. Ye were stolen by the Lowland Pack. I am Fergus of the Highland Pack. My pack and this pack dinnae get along.”

That explained his secrecy.

“You have a message for me?”

“Aye. My Alphas promise ye that ye will not be harmed. Soon ye will be free.” He crept closer, crouching next to the bars. If I put my hand out, I could touch him.

“‘Tis not wise for me to come out of hiding, but ye looked so sad. I wanted to reassure ye.” He had a splash of light freckles across his nose.

“Thank you. That’s very kind.”

“I cannae stay long. I’m only here because the wind shifted. They willnae scent me as long as I’m downwind.”

“Please, will you let us out?”

“I cannot. Not until I know ye are safe. Do ye know why you’re in a cage?”  

I glanced back at the fire, but our guards were still distracted. “To keep us from getting out?”

“No, to keep the monsters from getting in.”

I wanted to close my eyes, lie down and go to sleep, and forget all this as a dream. Instead I studied Fergus. With his freckles and teasing manner, he could be a youth from my village, except for his rugged, handsome looks, and the magic that made him a wolf.

“Why did they take us? Why are we here?”

“They need brides.”

Fleur had relayed the truth. I gripped the bars harder, and clenched my jaw to fight the tears.

Fergus looked stricken. “Now, lass, don’t cry,” the warrior crooned. “”Twill be all right.”

“I don’t know how…I don’t know what to do.”

“Help is on the way. I swear on my life, I will get ye out. Dinnae worry your wee head.”

After a shuddering breath, I nodded.   

“The wind is shifting. If they scent me, I’ll be caught.”

“Don’t go,” I begged.

He tilted his head. His shoulders were also dusted with freckles. “Ye aren’t afraid of me, wee one?”

I didn’t know what to say to that. “Please.”

“I won’t stray far. I’ll make sure ye dinnae come to harm. This pack is dangerous, but the more unstable wolves have orders to stay away from ye.”

He changed before my eyes, the masculine features distorting into the maw of a reddish wolf. I jerked back, but he was already gone, only the tremor of a leaf on a low-hanging branch evidence of where he had been.

I clutched at Fleur, but she was asleep, her cheeks wan and pale, her body shaking with coughs. Tears streamed out of my eyes–from the smoky air, I told myself. Not because I was afraid.

A warrior walked into the clearing. Pale and blond, he stood a head taller than the others, and towered over them when they bowed their heads.

“Arne, Erik,” he greeted the men, and then the wolf. “Gunnr.” He had a strange accent but spoke in a level, cultured voice. I’d almost think him a lord from some far off court, but he tilted his head and sniffed the wind, and I saw the predator in him.

“Alpha,” the warriors greeted him, and his head jerked towards our cage.

Inspiration for Fergus: actor Sam Heughan

“What is this?” the blond Alpha asked his men. “I smell a wolf. And not one of our pack.”

“I smell it too.” The warrior named Arne growled.

Fear flashed through me. They would track Fergus, and all would be lost.

I moved to the far side of the cage, opposite where I had sat with Fergus.

“Hey,” I cried out. “You there.” Gripping the branch bars, I tried to shake them. Fleur coughed again in her sleep, the perfect distraction.

The warriors’ attention swung to me. My body was numb with fear, with cold, and now with anger.

“My sister is sick. She may be dying, if I cannot get her the herbs she needs.”

The tall blond approached. Crouching he ducked his head to meet my gaze. His eyes were bright gold.

I waited for him to speak but he only cocked his head to the side.

“Did you hear me?” Fury supplied my words. “You captured both of us—and soon one will die. If she goes…I will make you pay.” I did not know how. My cheeks were frozen from my old tears, or were they new?

“Threats for your captors?” the Alpha murmured. “I wonder what makes you so bold?”

“It’s the enemy, Ragnvald,” answered one of the guards—Erik. The second and third, in wolf form, stood at the forest edge, whining and pawing the earth where Fergus had been.

They paced along one side of the cage, and shivers worked up my spine.

“He was here. One of the Highland Pack. If we go now, we can track him.”

I stared up into the leader’s face, silently pleading.

“No,” he said finally. “Let him go. If plans hold, the Highland Pack will not be our enemies for much longer.”

I held the leader’s gaze for a moment longer, then a sharp pain flashed in my head and I dropped my eyes. Power rolled through the clearing, beyond my mortal understanding, and the hair on my arms stood on end.

Fleur coughed again, breaking the spell.

“Please, my lord,” I said. “My sister truly is ill.”

“Do you know what will save her?” Erik asked in a harsh, almost guttural voice. He stalked towards the cage, eyes on Fleur’s limp body. I shrank back, but the warrior stopped when his leader lifted a hand. Every muscle in Erik’s body was taut, ready, as if at a word he would jump forward and rip apart the wooden structure.

“Yes,” I gulped. “I can find the herbs to make medicine, if you let me out.”

Fleur coughed and one of the wolves whined again.

“Alpha, please,” Erik asked in a quiet voice. Sweat beaded on his forehead as he waited for his leader to give the order.

“Very well.”

Erik reached out and sliced the bindings on one branch, so the side of the cage swung open.

“Take Gunnr and track our red intruder,” Ragnvald continued. “When you catch him, do him no harm. Tell him I wish to meet under a branch of truce, to negotiate peace with his pack.”

I did not breathe until the tense warrior was gone.

“Be at peace, Muriel,” the Alpha said. “Your sister has told me of you and your bravery. It seems even Fleur has charmed my men in less than half a day.”

The bare blue sky called to me from beyond the wooden frame, yet still I hesitated. The Alpha beckoned. “Come forth, little sister. I am Ragnvald, Alpha of the Lowland Pack. I swear I will not hurt you.”

“I am not your sister,” I said.

“No,” Ragnvald said, amused. “But when Sabine accepts her place at my side, you will be.”

Heart beating fast, I ducked through the opening. The Alpha of the Lowland Pack swept out his hand, ushering me into my new life.

***

Nine moons later…

I saw the wolf through the branches of the berry bush. Large and reddish with a white splash on his tail, he sat with his tongue lolling out, watching me.

With a smile, I turned back to the waiting branch and picked another handful of berries for my lunch.  

A subtle wind lifted my skirts and brought a fresh, open scent–like the earth after spring rain. Leaves crunched under someone’s foot–the sound too slight to notice unless I was waiting to hear it.

A pair of large, rough hands covered my eyes.

“Guess who,” the Scottish brogue tickled my ear.

“Fergus,” I whirled with a grin, and took in the young warrior, his handsome face and broad, muscled shoulders making my mouth water.

He stood bare-chested and unashamed, wearing nothing but a loincloth around his nethers. The pink in his cheeks was the only sign that he was affected by the slight chill.

I cleared my throat, ducking my head to hide my blush. “You should not be here…and I cannot see you like this.”

“I cannae carry clothes wherever I go. My wolf likes to run unencumbered.” His voice dropped to a seductive rumble, “Look at me, Muriel.”

I did as he bid, raising my gaze to meet his clear blue ones. I watched in fascination as the magic within him took hold and turned his eye color to bright gold.

“I’ve missed ye, lass.”

“And I’ve missed you,” I whispered.  Much had changed since we’d first met, exchanging names through the bars of the cage. My sisters and I lived with the Berserkers, less as captives and more as prized guests. Tensions between the packs had died down, but there were still treaties and negotiations. Fergus acted often as a go-between, and so even though I was with the Lowland Pack, I saw him often—but always in the presence of the Alphas or a few guards. Never alone, in a secret meeting, like this.

“Ye look well.”

My skin tingled as his gaze swept up and down my form, hungry.

Clearing my throat, I sought for a change in subject. We had little chance to converse beyond a look, a small touch, a carefully worded greeting. The entire pack watched over my sister and me, for we were their hope for the future. But of all the giant, forbidding warriors, only Fergus could make me laugh with his antics, and the sly, silly comments that were innocent enough, but I knew were meant for me.

“I hoped you would find me today.”

“Yes?” He took a step forward, eyes lit.

“Yes,” I backed away, blushing. “I know I am not to speak to any of the warriors because I am unmated, but I wanted to speak to you.”

“Well, then, lass.” He kept moving forward, and I kept backing away. “What did ye want to say?”

No matter how much distance I put between us, he stalked me slowly. At last he cornered me against the berry bush.  My heart beat faster, fluttering like a bird taking flight.

He raised his hand and offered me a white flower.

Warmth rushed through me. Smiling, I took hold of it by the stem. “I knew it was you.” Lately, I’d found the little white flowers everywhere. A small token that could’ve been carried by a bird, or fallen from a tree, but when I found it on a stump in the clearing near our new home, or a rock in the stream where Sabine and I washed our clothes, I’d guessed it was a gift from the red wolf. “Thank you. It’s beautiful. But I need to tell you…I wanted to warn you. You should not come so close to me. It’s not safe.”

He tilted his head, as if touched at my worry. “I dinnae care about my safety.”

“I do. Please, Fergus. I don’t want the others to find you here.”

“They willnae catch me. I am small, yes, but I am fast when I’m the wolf.”

I started to protest and he held a finger up, almost brushing my lips. “Do ye want to spend our time arguing?”

“No.”

“Then let us speak of other things.”

There was so much I wanted to ask him, so much I wanted to know. I often imagined him while I lay awake at night on my pallet, pressing the white flowers he left for me to my lips.

“Does it hurt to Change?”

“Not into the wolf. The beast, our Berserker form, is brought on by extreme emotion. That can be painful, if only because of the desire to fight and rip apart the very earth. But we shall speak no more of becoming monsters.” His voice was light, but I knew he worried about the beast taking over his mind. All Berserkers were once men who were cursed with the magic of the Change. They could control the shift from man to wolf, but after decades of fighting, they eventually lost control of their monstrous third form: the beast.

To me, though, Fergus was no monster. The red-headed warrior could’ve been a boy from my village, grown up into a man I could love. I’d always imagined such a suitor courting me. We’d have a country wedding, and a sweet, simple life with each other and our children.

My life had changed but I held onto my small, sunny dream. Whenever I was with Fergus, I felt it could still come true.

I swung off my cloak and wrapped him in it.

“Walk with me?” I invited. We weren’t supposed to be near each other. War could break out if we were found together, but the pull between us couldn’t be denied.

As we ambled along the woodland path in silence, his hand clamped on my wrist over my long sleeve. I let him lead me deeper into the forest. My heart thumped, eager to find a secret place where we could strip our souls bare and be with each other, without any threat of being found hanging over our head.

“You’ve grown a little these past few moons,” he said in his beautiful, lilting voice.

“Gotten fat?” I asked with a coy look.

“No. More’s the pity. I like a wee bit of meat on my woman’s bones.”

I shook my head.

“I jest, Muriel. You’re beautiful.” His fingers brushed my cheek.

Blushing, I arched away from his caress. I’d spent nights longing to feel his fingers on my skin, pressing the white flowers to my lips. But I’d been warned not to let a Berserker touch my skin. Fergus knew this as well. In the spell of the dark, quiet forest, and each other’s presence, it was easy to forget the rules.

“Where are we going?”

His hand dropped to take hold of my wrist again. “Not much farther.”

Finally, we reached a place where little light broke between the thick branches of the towering pines. A stream ran through the heart of a grove of ferns, and here Fergus stopped. Hands spanning my small waist, he lifted me and set me on a broad, flat stone splitting the rush of water, and stepped onto it with me. Before I lost my balance, he tugged me closer, holding me in his arms like we were a couple dancing at a midsummer fair.

“Fergus,” I kept my eyes on the hard ridge of his muscle along the center of his chest. Lean and wiry, he was the smallest of his Berserker pack, but still two heads taller than me and much, much stronger. Stronger than any human in existence. “We shouldn’t be together like this. It is forbidden.”

“Muriel,” the way he breathed my name sounded like a song, a prayer. “Look at me.”

“I cannot,” I kept my gaze averted. “Sabine says I must not look any members of the pack in the eye, or risk giving great offense.”

“Any other warrior in the pack, aye. But not me. Never me. Look at me, wee one,” He gave a command and tipped my chin up with a finger.

He had eyes of a storm far off over the ocean. When the beast was upon him, they turned gold with an otherworldly light.

“I have things to say to ye, but I cannae say them yet. I haven’t the right.”

Now my cheeks were turning pink as heat poured through me in response to his touch. “Can you not say a few of them?”

“I would that I could. Some day, soon, I will. I’ll tell ye all ye want to hear, and more.” His promise sent warmth through my body. We had an ocean of difference between us–he was a Berserker of the Highland pack, and I was a captive and ward of their enemies; he was a werewolf, I was not–but in that moment we shared the same breath, the same heart.

Bowing his head, his forehead brushed mine, and his voice dropped to a deep rumble that spread tingles through me. “If I had my way, I’d show ye my thoughts as well as tell ye. Ye ken?”

I opened my mouth, and his head jerked.

“Do ye hear that, lass?”

“No.”

“Your sister calls for ye.” His tone held regret.  

“I have to go.” I whispered.

“I know.”

I pulled free a ribbon from my dress  Head bowed, I wrapped the green cloth around his bicep.  

When I stepped away, he caught my hand, pulled me back. I leaned into him, my eyes closed, and his lips brushed mine.

I smiled the rest of the walk home.

*

For the past two moons, I’d lived with Sabine in the great lodge her Alpha mates—Ragnvald and Maddox—had built for her. I wasn’t surprised when I ran to the doors and they opened before me. A dark-haired warrior, clad only in leather breeches and the tattoos that covered his bare chest, waited inside.

“Muriel,” he greeted me. “I’m glad you’ve returned. Your sister Sabine was worried you’d lost your way.”

“I did for a moment,” I told the bland truth; Fergus had led me off the path I knew. Wolves can smell a lie. “Where is my sister?”

“I was about to leave to look for you.” My older sister stood over a great table spread with drying herbs. “Where is your cloak, Muriel?”

“I must have left it in the woods.” Another half truth. Sabine frowned, and I dug in my pouch for the herb that had been my excuse to leave that morning. “Here is more feverfew. I followed the stream until I found a whole patch.”

“Ah, so your path crossed a stream. No wonder Ragnvald couldn’t track you.”

“I would’ve eventually,” Sabine’s second mate, Ragnvald, entered the lodge behind me. “I just wanted to be sure I found her before the other wolf did.”  

“There was another wolf out there? Berserker?” Sabine asked.

“I smell him on you, Muriel. You must have come close to him.”

I kept my head down and washed my hands. If I said anything, they’d scent a falsehood, and I could not give Fergus up.

“Too much coming and going between ours and the Highland Pack,” Ragnvald muttered.

“Wolves come about to catch a peek of the women who can mate with Berserkers. I know I would risk my life for a glimpse,” Maddox said to Sabine, and he tugged a lock of her honey gold hair. She slapped at him, and he laughed.

Ragnvald stayed serious. “ No more excursions out of the lodge alone,” he told me.

“I understand,” I said in a docile tone. Throughout my life I’d found I could quietly go my own way if I acted sweet and obedient.

Sabine was too stubborn to be submissive. “That’s ridiculous,” she frowned at  Ragnvald, hands on her hips. “Spring is here. You cannot keep us cooped up.”

“Just for a little while. Muriel will be leaving us, soon.”

“I thought she was to stay with us, and Fleur with our sister Brenna.” Part of the truce meant that the four of us were split evenly among the packs. Brenna was mated to the Highland pack’s Alphas, Sabine to the Lowland Pack’s. Soon, Fleur and I would have to take mates. No one had spoken of this to me, but I understood it all the same. We were still captives, even though we were treated with respect and care.

“We need to talk. Muriel, will you come here?” Ragnvald pointed to a place before him on the raised stone hearth. I went and sat with my hands in my lap. The very picture of meekness. The blond Alpha hadn’t questioned me about the strange wolf he’d scented in the woods, and I was eager to keep from raising suspicion. One slip of my tongue, and my secret meeting would be revealed. I would get in trouble and might be disciplined, but Fergus would face the Berserker’s wrath. His punishment might be death. The packs were very strict when it came to preserving their few potential mates.

I kept quiet as Ragnvald studied me.

“What’s going on? What is this about?” Sabine set down her mortar and pestle. Maddox hovered close to her, and she gave him a sharp look.  

Ragnvald spoke directly to me. “As you know, all Berserkers met at the Gathering last week.”

I nodded.

“Many things were decided there, so we might keep the peace between our packs. Two nights hence there will be a great competition.  It will be a great contest of force, battle readiness and strength. Muriel, you watch the Games. Sabine and all the Alphas will all be there to oversee them, but you will be the guest of honor.” He paused as if waiting for a response.

“I see,” I said, even though I didn’t. “I am happy to go where the treaty decrees. As always, my sister’s and I are grateful for your hospitality and protection.” Never mind that I was little more than a captive, my marriageability making me a useful pawn in the negotiations between the warring packs. If I kept quiet and remained obedient, I might be awarded more freedom. Perhaps I would see Fergus at these Games, and we could find another chance to slip away together to talk.

“The competition will decide who is the greatest Berserker among all the packs. There is a prize for the winner.”

I thought I understood. “You wish me to attend these Games so I may award the prize?”

The two Alpha’s exchanged glances.  Ragnvald came to where I sat on the hearth and crouched in front of me.

“Muriel,” he said gently, “you are the prize. You’ll be given to the winner of the Games, and he will claim you as his mate.”

For a moment the world spun. The fire burned too hot; my body flushed as if with fever. Ragnvald was still speaking, but I heard only a buzzing noise. Fergus’ voice floated through my head, a whispered promise.

Sabine’s sharp voice cut through the ringing in my ears.

“So she’s to be given away like a trophy? Bound for life to a man who wins her in a contest? You could not give her a choice?”

“We would if we could. This is what was agreed after many nights of debate,” Ragnvald explained. “The man who wins her will be the most powerful warrior in the pack. He will be worthy of a bride.”

“Bride. Such pretty words for ‘chattel’. You may as well be auctioning off a piece of meat,” Sabine raged.

“Sabine,” Maddox started.

Sabine whirled on him. “And if she refuses?”

“She cannot refuse. There is no escaping this. You knew this was coming. We all did,” Ragnvald continued in his patient, level tone.

“She might disappear in the night. Stranger things have happened.”

“We will be keeping close watch over her. Both packs have sent emissaries to guard her.”

“We’ll be watching you, also, Sabine. So you will not help her run.”

Sabine snorted in disgust. Pushing away from the table, she kicked the chair so it clattered to the floor.

Maddox followed Sabine around the room, shadowing her as she paced in a temper.

“We leave tomorrow to reach the place where the Games will be held,” Ragnvald told me.

“If she hates the warrior, can she refuse him?” Sabine asked.

Ragnvald hesitated.

“She can’t can she? She could be given to the most awful, brutish wolf in the pack, and  can do nothing to escape him. Bound for life.” Sabine spoke bitterly.

My tongue still lay heavy in my mouth, unable to move. My heart hurt. Had Fergus known what was decided for my fate? He must have had some idea. Perhaps his intent was to win the Games.

“Sabine,” Maddox came behind his mate and slid his arms around her. She twisted to face him.

“It’s not fair.”

“It is as fair as we can make it.”

“It’s fair for every warrior in the pack. But not for her.”

“Perhaps Muriel will decide that.”

Sabine shook her head. With one final look at me, she ran from the room, Maddox following close behind. I heard them murmuring in their chambers at the far end of the lodge.

I still hadn’t moved, though my hands were white where my fingers threaded tightly together.

“Muriel? Do you have anything to say?”

“My sister is very angry.”

“She wishes her life was not directed by forces outside of her control. She is a force, like a great raging river. Sometimes she moves the rocks from her path. Other times, she must eddy around them. One day she will be powerful enough that nothing will stay in her way.” Ragnvald’s handsome face held a thoughtful look.

My sister had magic. A witch’s prophecy foretold of a special race of women that carried a strain of magic to make them prime Berserker mates. So far, Sabine and Brenna have proved the prophecy true, and they expected Fleur and I to have the same ability. That was why they were so eager for us to marry within the pack.

“I always knew I must mate a Berserker,” I ventured. Ragnvald seemed to listen, he sat with a half smile, as if imagining his fiery mate. “I was hoping I would at least like whoever was chosen for my mate.”

“Little sister, know that I would’ve made things easier for you, if I could. But the Games will satisfy the warriors in both packs. Otherwise there would be war between us.” My sisters were happily mated to the Alphas of the their pack. Sabine, for all her arguing loved Maddox and Ragnvald, and Brenna had borne her two Alpha mates sons. War would threaten the love and new life, so fragile and dear to us all. “Already there are arguments and infighting over who will be awarded a Berserker bride. It’s only a matter of time that a warrior challenges another for you and they fight until they destroy each other. We are doing all we can to avoid that.”

“They are fighting…over me?”

A smile played around his mouth at my innocence. “You must understand what hope you give these men, Muriel. You and your sisters are the only women we’ve found to temper the curse. All the gold, all the bounty these warriors have fought for in the past century, nothing compares to the chance to win your hand in marriage. Believe me when I say these warriors will count it an honor to fight and bleed for you.”

I couldn’t think of what to say to that, so I stared at my hands, wishing I were braver, or stronger, or more clever tongued like Sabine.

“So whoever wins these Games I must take as a mate…like a husband?”

“In werewolf packs, a mate is more than a husband or a wife. The bond runs closer. This man, whoever he may be, will pledge himself to you and your care. He will be a devoted partner, protector, and leader, and will do everything within his power to keep you safe from all harm. Even die for you.”

I swallowed hard. Berserkers lived like warriors, fierce mercenaries always ready for battle. I’d watched them training in their camps. They fought constantly, practicing, readying themselves for war. They were rough and brutal, given to violence at any moment. It was their nature.

I would be given to such a man.

“All right,” I said finally. “I understand. Thank you.”

“Of course, little sister. We will be watching over you, and will do all we can to help you.” Ragnvald rose, and I knew he was eager to get to the bed chamber, and Sabine. The arguing had subsided, and given way to…other sounds. “Know this. Whatever wolf wins you, we can promise, he will treat you well. If he does not,  he won’t just answer to us. The Alphas would sit in judgment upon him, and he’d be lucky if we kill him ourselves, rather than give him over to the pack for them to tear him apart.”

*

Later that night, I woke to harsh voices arguing. Sabine and her two mates slept on the far side of the lodge. Try as I might to keep a blanket muffling my ears, I often overheard their lovemaking.

Tonight there was more anger than love.

“You don’t understand,” Sabine was saying. “The twins are not like Brenna and me. They were coddled, sheltered. We kept them safe at all costs.”

“We will do the same.” Ragnvald sounded amused. “You think a Berserker  cannot shield his mate from all harm? Muriel will be safer with a warrior from the pack than with any other creature on this island.”

“I fear the Berserker rage more than any other force.”

“You fear nothing, little witch,” That was Maddox. “Much to our dismay. We wish you feared us. It would be easier to make you obey.”

I imagined her swatting him away.

“You do your sister a disservice, thinking her so weak. She is stronger than you know.”

“Her strength may break her. She will obey you, and at what cost? To spend the rest of her life shackled to some brute–”

“We will make sure she is well treated by whoever wins the games.  We need her to do her duty.”

“Duty? She’s an eighteen year old girl-”

“Who has the power to bring balance and stability to the pack. These warriors have gone so long without hope of living a normal life. Living as men. The Games gives them a chance to compete for what they desire above all,” Maddox said.

“And when they see the strongest of them rewarded with a bride, they will accept his right over them,” Ragnvald continued, “otherwise, I fear they will tear each other apart challenging for Muriel’s hand. The Games will be violent, but not deadly.”

“We hope.”

“It is not right. Muriel should be able to choose. Perhaps we could wait, and see if she is like Brenna and me. Muriel may not have the magic that allows her to bond with a mate.”

“You don’t know that.”

“She’s never come into heat, as I did,” Sabine insisted.

“You were a ripe fruit ready for us to pluck. Maddox stalked you for several moons, enjoying your scent.”

“Tortured by it,” Maddox muttered.

“My point is,” Sabine sounded aggrieved. “Muriel may not be able to form a mating bond, as Brenna and I were able to. We should wait and see if her abilities grow.”

A long pause, as if the Alphas were considering it.

“No,” Ragnvald answered, finally. “There is no time.”

“All will be well, Sabine.”

“It’s not fair,” there was defeat in my sister’s voice, “She should be mated to someone she can love.”

“Perhaps, in time, she will come to love the one to whom she is given. After all, stranger things have happened. I recall a certain young woman who liked to stray from her home at night, who was taken by two Berserker warriors. She fell madly in love with them.”

“You wish, wolf,” Sabine said, but her tone was warm. A pause followed, filled with soft, passionate sounds I tried not to hear. When a low moan rose, I rolled over and clamped my blanket over my ears. Despite my worry, I smiled into the darkness.

*

“Muriel, will you help me sort these herbs?” Sabine called me from my place staring into the fire. My own small bag was full and ready for our journey.

“I don’t know what to bring,” my sister fussed over her great table. Since our talk at the hearth, she’d been in a testy mood, as if she was going to be given to the Berserkers instead of me. After a heated argument, Sabine ordered her Alphas out of the lodge, and refused to let them back in. To my surprise, they obeyed, murmuring that they’d be back when it was time to leave for the Games.

The Games….I’d spent two days trying not to think of my fate, yet my thoughts swirled endlessly, reliving the conversation with Ragnvald and imagining what the Games would be like.  Which warrior would win? In my dreams, I only saw Fergus’ face, his red hair and sparkling eyes as he came to claim me as his prize…

“What are you thinking?” Sabine asked.

I shrugged and leaned on her table, toying with a few stems of dried angelica. Sabine covered my hand with hers.

“Muriel, my powers are still growing, but if you wish to leave now,” she lowered her voice further, “I can call the witch Yseult. Her powers are greater than mine. She could help you escape.”

I gave her a sad smile. “Where would I go?”

“Anywhere, far from here. The witch could hide you for a time.”

For a moment I toyed with idea of running away with Fergus. We could build a small cabin in a forgotten corner of the island, perhaps by the sea.

My foolish dream lived only a second. There was no corner of the earth where I could hide from these warriors. When they went to hunt, they tore great stags apart with their bare hands; if I ran, I’d be much easier prey. Besides, I would never put Fergus at harm. They’d take delight in destroying him.

No one could stop these Berserkers from taking what they wanted. And they wanted me.

I shook my head. “I cannot betray the truce. I’ll be all right, Sabine. They will not mistreat me.” I offered a fervent prayer to the goddess that this would be so. “I can do my duty. It is what the pack requires.”

“Damn the pack! I wish the goddess would throw all the Berserkers in the sea.”

“No, you don’t. You’d miss them too much. At least two of them.”

“I don’t want you to sacrifice your life.”

“You did. Would you change your fate?”

“No.” Sabine gnawed her lip. “But, Muriel, remember that your fate is more than duty. You deserve to have a husband you love. I promised you once I would help you marry well, remember?”

“I remember,” I couldn’t keep the unhappiness out of my voice. I knew I was being selfish.  My sisters Sabine and Brenna had been taken against their will to become Berserker mates, and had grown to love them. But was I strong enough to do the same?

*

The next day Berserker warriors came to escort me to the place where the Games would be held. These were men from the Highland pack. I looked for Fergus, but he was not among them. Ragnvald and Maddox were coming to represent the Lowland Pack, and wherever they went, their mate went with them, so Sabine was coming too. After the Games she would take time to visit with Brenna and her new family, and relieve Fleur of some of the baby-watching duties.

I supposed I could help, too, if my new mate would allow it. My thoughts slid to Fergus. Did he like children? Would he raise them if I died birthing them? My sister had survived a difficult birth, but Sabine had told me Brenna had magic helping her. I had no magic. Would this make me an inferior mate? Would the Berserker who won me be disappointed and cast me aside? Would this threaten the peace?

My stomach churned and my foot caught my hem, making me stumble.

“Careful,” one of the Berserkers held his hand out as if to break my fall, but did not touch me.

“Are you all right?” Sabine and her mates glanced back.

I hitched my dress up so it would not snag my boots. “Fine,” I answered, and managed a smile. After a brief pause, Ragnvald gave the order and we marched on.

Walking in shadow between twin columns of the large warriors, I decided not to think about my life after the Games. I’d take this journey one step at a time.

We were headed to the Place of Stones, halfway between the Lowland and Highland Pack’s home. The journey would’ve been quicker with horses, but the animals could not abide being near a Berserker. It would also be faster for the Berserkers to carry Sabine and I, as they have great strength and speed. But they could not because I was unmated and it would offend my future mate for the men to touch me, or so Ragnvald explained to me.  

The day was fine and we made good time, so when Sabine requested we stop for lunch, her Alphas agreed. The three of them slipped off together leaving me standing stiffly with my honor guard. As the warriors handed out strips of meat, I drifted closer to a nearby stream. These men were on their best behavior, but I still kept a distance between myself and them while we waited for Sabine to finish with her lovers. I was used to the three of them disappearing like this, and did not fault them. Ragnvald and Maddox had nearly gone mad waiting for their true mate, the one who would balance the raging beast within and bring them peace. They needed connection with Sabine like food and air, and my sister was happy to comply. When she complained of their possessiveness,  she did so with a smile.

My sisters were well matched with Berserkers, and happy. Perhaps I would be so lucky.  

I found a rock near the pool and sat down, studying my reflection. Skin not dark or pale, but tan with faint freckles. Long hair neither very blonde or very dark, but a dun brown. I wasn’t short like Sabine, or tall like Brenna. There was nothing extraordinary about my looks or my person. Sabine had smarts and Brenna had courage, but I was lacking in both.

My hand dashed my reflection. At least one red-headed warrior had thought me beautiful. He was well built and strong, and he wanted me.

“Fergus,” I whispered, touching my hair where I’d threaded the white flower. “If there was any magic in me, I would use it to find a way to bind us now.”

“Does our company weary you so much that you’d speak to your own reflection?” A warrior with blond hair loomed over me. I’d noticed him before—he had fine looks but an unhandsome sneer on his face, and watched me in a way that made me uneasy.

“I know. Let us have some entertainment. A small tournament. Any man here can challenge me.”

I rose and scooted away from the warrior, under the pretense of going to a berry bush to pick fruit for my lunch. If I was lucky, I would not attract any unwelcome attention.

 The blond warrior faced the rest of the troop. I noted that none met his eyes—a sign that this bully was dominant in the pack. “Well, come on? Will no one challenge me? Winner gets a kiss from the prize.”

At that, I stiffened. I might be no more than a prize to these men, but my kisses were mine to give. This warrior had no right to claim them.  

“The winner will get nothing from me,” I blurted. “I am not a bawd, earning my keep in your beds.”

The blond warrior whirled and stalked back towards me, and I knew I’d made a mistake. He stalked closer, intent on tormenting me.

“No? Pity. It might be better for the pack if you were. Perhaps I will suggest it at the Gathering. We could pass you around and enjoy your charms. Why should one man claim what we all could share?”

I tensed as he bent over me, but stood my ground. “My fate has been decided.”

“Such a shame. We could have had fun.” He stepped closer, too close. Every instinct in me told me to run. I clenched my fists at my sides and forced myself not to look up at him, or strike out, goading him further.

I  couldn’t stop my sharp tongue. “I doubt I would enjoy it.”

His voice dropped an octave lower, but the seductive purr only made my skin crawl. “It will be my pleasure to prove you wrong.”

“Not unless you win the Games.” Inwardly I shuddered at the thought of being shackled to such a bully.

When I started to move away, he caught my sleeve with a growl.

“Siebold,” a deep voice rang out before I could lash out. “Take two wolves and patrol ahead.”

The bully froze. “But–”

“Now.” Even I felt the push of compulsion in the order. Berserkers were wolves who followed an Alpha, and a more dominant wolf had power over a weaker one. Whoever this Siebold was, he held sway over most of the warriors—but not all of them.

The blond left and my savior approached. Without thinking, I looked up…and looked up further. This man was enormous. Tall and broad, his heavily muscled form towered over me, enough to block out the sun. His legs were like tree trunks; his arms and shoulders stretching the leather jerkin he wore. He wasn’t handsome—a scar slashed over his blunt features, and his grey stubble on his chin matched that of his shaved head—but he was striking, powerful. A force to be reckoned with.  

At the last moment, I dropped my gaze.

“The rest of you, spread out. Form a perimeter,” the giant ordered, and the rest of my escort obeyed. He remained, my sole protector.

Slowly, my body relaxed. I picked some fruit off the berry bush while the great warrior hovered at my side.

“You would do well to eat more than berries, little one.” He offered me a strip of dried meat.

“Thank you, sir.”  I accepted, careful not to touch his fingers. I’d had little appetite lately, but I found it had returned. When I finished the meat, I unhooked a horn I wore at my belt, and filled it with water from the stream. The giant warrior stayed at my side, watching over me. I offered him the horn, first. He paused before he took it.

“Careful, Muriel. Sharing a drink with a warrior means more to him than it might to you.” At my puzzled look, he explained. “Long ago, when a woman approached a man with a horn, it meant she had chosen him for the night. We remember some of these rules from the years when we were men.”

Inspiration for Wulfgar: actor Russell Crowe

“I’ll take more care, sir.” I didn’t raise my eyes beyond the dip in the center of his chest. Pack rules didn’t allow weaker members to look stronger ones in the eye. To do so was a challenge that could result in a fight to the death. In many packs, females that could not fight were punished for rising above their place. As a human female, I was weaker than any other, and this man was twice as tall and thrice as broad as me, the most powerful Berserker I’d ever seen. He could crush me with a single blow, yet I felt safe in his shadow, unlike with Siebold or most of the others.

“Look at me, little one,” he rumbled. Nervous, I obeyed almost as soon as he gave the command. The scar gave his face a brutal look, but his grey eyes were kind.

“I thought…” I licked my lips and found my voice, “I was told I’m not supposed to look any wolf in the eye,” I told him.

“It is wise to follow that rule carefully, but not with me. Never with me. My wolf doesn’t see you as a threat.”

I felt like he’d told me something important.

“Thank you, sir,” I said, trying to be polite.

Grey eyes smiled.

“So brave. You did well, standing up to Siebold.”

I pursed my lips. “He’s a bully.”

“He is. A dangerous one. You need to take care not to bait him, unless you’re around me.”

“I’ve never been good at holding my tongue.”

“So I’ve heard. You were very brave when the Berserkers first took you, calling out to save your sister’s life, making demands of the Lowland Pack even when you were their captive.”

I blinked. “You hea
rd of that?”


“Every wolf has heard of it.” Reaching out, he tucked a strand of hair behind my ears. I jerked back, my heart tripping faster. This warrior dwarfed me in every way. His hands could span the width of my waist, but when his blunt fingers caught a handful of my long, brown tresses, his thumb stroked the shining lock of hair with surprising gentleness.

“My lord–” I protested, tugging the lock from his grip. Heat suffused my body as if he had touched my skin, and again my gaze fell to the chiseled muscles of his chest. Cheeks hot, I couldn’t bear to look him in the eye.

“Wulfgar,” he supplied, amusement in his tone.

“My lord Wulfgar, you should not touch me. It does dishonor to the man who will win my hand.”

One side of his mouth creased in a half smile. “Is that so, little one? Then I had better win.”

OUT NOW…CLICK TO START READING

Captured to be a prize in the brutal Berserker Games…

 

My life changed forever when the Berserkers took me. These fearsome warriors must find women to keep their lethal rage at bay…and I am an ideal mate.

 

The Alphas decree that all warriors must compete in a series of Highland Games for my hand. Of all the giant warriors, two have caught my eye, but I have no choice. When the final match is over, I will belong to the ruthless victors. They will possess me fully. I can only hope they will be the two I could come to love…   

 

Given to the Berserkers is a standalone, full-length MFM ménage romance starring two huge, dominant warriors who make it all about the woman. Read the whole best-selling Berserker saga to see what readers are raving about…

*

The Berserker Saga

Sold to the Berserkers

Mated to the Berserkers

Bred by the Berserkers (FREE novella)

Taken by the Berserkers

Given to the Berserkers

Claimed by the Berserkers – coming early 2017

Help me choose a narrator for the Berserker Saga…

Which narrator should I choose? Vote in the comments below! Or email me: silverwoodpress@gmail.com 😀

Option 1:

 

Option 2

A very merry Berserker holiday

Hello, Spankos! Hope your holiday is as merry and bright as your favorite heroine’s bum. Here’s some naughty menage punishment from my latest release <3

***

 

***

Maddox pounced. I found myself face down over his lap with my gunna around my waist. I kicked wildly. “What are you doing?”
“Showing you how you will be punished.” He smoothed a hand over my bottom and squeezed each cheek.

“Stop it!”

My struggles only resulted in him pinning my legs under one of his and securing my hands in the small of my back. My feet fluttered as he caressed my bottom and then brought his hand down, hard.

My outrage echoed through the cavern. I tried twisting and Maddox held me further.

“That’s one,” he said, and smacked me again, harder. This time it stung.

“That’s enough!”

“No, that’s two.”

Ragnvald laughed. I cursed at him, and gasped when Maddox let fly a flurry of smacks that had me dancing on my belly. The sting wasn’t unbearable, but the humiliation of being pinned and punished like a naughty child was.

“I will kill you, wolf.”

Maddox responded by slapping the tops of my thighs. The pain on my sensitive flesh brought tears to my eyes, and I found it wise to say silent.

“Think she’s learned her lesson?”

“I will ask her,” Maddox said. “Will you obey us, Sabine? You may not speak, only nod.”

“I–”

A fresh volley on my bare bottom had me gritting my teeth,.

“Let’s try that again. Will you obey? You do not have permission to speak.”

I jerked my head, once.

“Good girl.”

***

Taken by the Berserkers: an MFM menage shifter romance

My mother warned me not to go alone to the grove. But when the moon is full, heat stirs my blood…and it calls to them.

The Berserkers came in the night and took me. I woke chained outside the monsters’ cave.

They were warriors, cursed by a witch to become ravening beasts. They tell me I’m their mate. The prophecy says I am the only one who can heal them. But can I tame the beast that haunts their mind…before it’s too late?

***  Sign up to my mailing list for a FREE Berserker book! ***

Taken by the Berserkers

***

“Do you know how long it’s been?” Maddox’s rough voice rumbled in my ear. I could’ve cried at the raw need in his voice. “Do you know how long we’ve waited for you?”

His grip tightened, made my breasts throb, and I understood their delicious intent. These warriors would possess me tonight, every inch.

“Do you know how long I watched and desired you?” Maddox’s lips touched my ear. “Every night.”

Ragnvald went on with his perfect torment, tasting me, swirling and flicking his tongue, dancing closer, drawing further away; never satisfying, but licking the fire in me hotter and flames higher and higher. He tasted every crevice, secret place, as his hands cupped my bottom.

“How long should we make you wait? How long should we torture you as you tortured us?” Maddox kept the sinister whisper as his clever fingers caged my breasts, gripped them, twisted the nipples until I writhed pressing further into his hands. Begging mindlessly for something, anything, and helpless to do anything but accept what they wanted to give.

Between the Sheets: An Interview with Measha Stone

 meashaebookupdated
Between the Sheets is back with an interview with author Measha Stone, who opens up about her real life BDSM adventures…
 
Which came first–writing about spanking or living it?     Living it.  I was writing Historical Romance when I first starting writing, and even though my favorite books included a spanking, I didn’t know there were actually spanking stories/books out there. That it was an actual thing. When I found Bethany’s woodshed, my stories got a little naughtier- the laird was itching to spank his Lady. And then I found my submissive side and they got way naughtier- in the best possible way!
 
How is writing a spanking story different than living it?  Writing a spanking story is fantasy. I can make the Dom say all the Domly things that make me turn into a gooey puddle. I can make him mean in a sexy way that I might not find all that sexy in real life.
 
What is your literary pet peeve? Something you read about in erotica that’s totally different from real life? Maybe even dangerous or incorrect.   First time anal sex scenes. Anal sex isn’t completely painfree- Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good discomfort, and not dangerous when done correctly.  It’s when I see scenes where the woman has never had so much as a finger in her backside, the hero simply announces that he’s going to take her there and plunges in that makes me cringe. First of all, the number one rule for anal sex is LUBE LUBE LUBE. Rubbing his member along her folds to gather her wetness isn’t enough- especially for the first time.  I don’t think it takes away from the sex scene to write the anal sex a bit more realistically. It not only shows that the author knows what they’re talking about, but shows the hero to be the loving and caring Dominant he is.
 securedheart
 
Tell us about some of your favorite experiences. (And where can we read about them?) Every year my husband and I try to attend at least one event. We either attend Kinky Kollege here in Chicago, or we will venture out into the woods for a Twisted Tryst weekend. Twisted Tryst is my favorite because it’s complete immersion into the kinky side of life. We don’t have to change into “street” clothes at any time during our time there, and we can play anywhere and with any equipment any time of day. Sex in the woods? Yes, please!
 
Here is a blog post I did about our Kinky Kollege weekend in 2014 https://meashawrites.com/2014/10/20/kinky-kollege/
And here’s one for the Twisted Tryst event from this year, not our best weekend but still fun. https://meashawrites.com/2016/08/15/twisted-tryst-north/
 
What’s your favorite implement? What is your least favorite?   My favorite implement is the flogger- the heavier the better.  I love thuddy and my husband is a bit of a sadist, so he likes the sharp sensations. The flogger can deliver both. The fastest way to send me to subspace with a heavy flogging.  But when he’s feeling his inner sadist come out, the tips of the flogger deliver that sharp sting that makes me yell out the way he likes.   Least favorite is the Dragon Tail. It’s wicked. It can be a very sharp sensation, and just jolts me right out of my head. Fastest way to pull me out of subspace is the Dragon tail.  Usually, if it’s being used, it’s because my husband is in the mood for it- and taking that for him strokes my subby heart, too.
 
indebtedheart3
 Let’s check out an excerpt from your latest book…Indebted Heart:
 

“I’m going to spank you with my hand,” he announced and gave her two more hard swats to her backside, leaving a warm tingle behind. “Then I’m going to whip you with my belt. I’m going to show you how a good girl gets the belt.”

His left hand, the one holding the belt, snaked around the front of her belly and gripped her waist, effectively holding her in place as his right hand went to work spreading a warm glow through her entire ass. She moaned from the heat his hand brought, but found the sensation calming, a steady volley of swats, enough to tease her but not enough to satisfy her as he went along. “Such a good girl.” He whispered into her ear before pulling away and stepping back from her.

Mmmmm, the Dom in Indebted Heart is yummy! Buy Now

What advice do you have for someone who wants to convince their partner to spank them?

To be open and honest about your needs and desires. The best way I’ve heard it described is ‘Love Language’.  Everyone has a different love language. One woman feel loved when their partner sends them flowers. Another might feel loved when their partner turns her over his knee for a solid spanking. It’s about needs.  “I feel most loved when ……..”   And be patient. If you’re partners never even considered it before, it’s going to be a lot to sink in. Let them think, feel, and be open to hearing their thoughts and needs as well.

 
Any pointers for a newbie to the spanking scene? As much as you want to jump in to the deep end, don’t. Start off in the zero depth part of the pool and walk in slowly.  Try something new and talk about how it went, what you liked what you didn’t, then repeat. Open communication will help both of you figure out what your limits are, and what you do and don’t want to try again.
 

How did you find your Dom? How does a real life Dom differ from the fantasy? 

I was married for about year before I told him exactly what I wanted when it came to spanking/ D/s.  We dated in high school, and we did play with spanking then and he was good with that. But then I discovered more about myself and what I really wanted, so I brought up D/s to him.  Real life was nothing like fantasy I had built up in my head! In real life, things get in the way. Kids, work, extended family. So, there’s no walking around naked ready to service his every need happening around here. (Much to his dismay) In fantasy, there are no money issues, there are no physical limitations, so everything is possible.  In fantasy the Dom always says exactly the right thing at the right time and in the right tone. In reality the Dom worked all day, had to shuttle a kid to hockey practice, and by the time he helps his submissive wife get the kids settled in bed, he’s as tired as she is.  In reality, it’s a lot more work on both the Dom and the sub’s part than in fantasy. But totally worth it!
 
 
What’s your advice to readers who want to explore their fantasies beyond a spanking story? Read up on your desires, attend a few munches in your area to meet other people in the community. These are great because they are usually in a public setting, and you can be as open or as reserved as you are comfortable with while getting to know the group and yourself. Almost everyone I’ve met in the lifestyle has been willing to answer questions, and help out new people. Because, we’ve all started somewhere.
 
How do you integrate kinky play into your busy life?  It’s not easy.  I have a full time job besides my writing, and we have three young kids at home, so time is hard to find time. For longer play sessions, we usually have to wait until the kids take an overnight trip to the grandparents house.  But if he’s feeling in the mood to be mean (in the best of ways) sometimes he’ll just take me into our closet and do whatever he has planned. Some of these short interludes hit the spot just as much as the longer ones. Other times we wait until the kids are sound asleep and then have some play time- trying to be as quiet as possible.
 
Was your husband a Dom when you met him? What transformed him? We were 16 when we met, so neither of us had any idea about any of this- well that’s not entirely true. I did, but I had no words for it.  He did make comments here and there that sparked my submissive side, though I had no idea what that was really at the time. It was only after we were married for a year that I found out about D/s, Domestic Discipline and BDSM. And what an eye opener that was!  Shortly after that, I brought it to him and things sort of evolved from there. I of course wanted everything that second!  Which was never going to happen, and I don’t suggest anyone jump into the deep-end like that. It almost ruined everything for us. Once I got it in my head to take our time, let things happen more naturally, they started working.  The more I submitted, the more he dominated. Whereas at the beginning I thought it would be the other way around. I think that helped him the most. My not fighting him for control. When he felt my submission, his dominance became more natural for him.  It will never be as deeply rooted in him as it is me, but it’s there. It’s part of us, and we both agree that our marriage, our relationship would not work without our dynamic.
 
What advice do you have for a beginner who wants to check out an event? Where should they start? DO IT!  You can start by going to FetLife.com and finding events in your area or try to find a dungeon in your area- they will have events weekly or monthly. Some might be play eventi_heart_fetlife_200_400x400s, education events, or munches.  Munches generally happen in a public setting, like a restaurant or bar, and there’s no play. Just socializing. These are a great way to meet people in your area that are in the lifestyle, and to get information.  I have yet to meet someone that wasn’t willing to answer questions of those with sincere interest.
 
The larger events always have an orientation to lay out the rules and such. Be sure to attend that.  My first event ever was Twisted Tryst, the four day camping retreat. When I asked my husband if we could go, I thought for sure he’d say no. He’s an introvert and it’s hard getting him to meet people. But he surprised me by saying yes and helping me plan the weekend. So we went from never having seen anything BDSM or D/s related in real life outside of our own play, to full immersion into the kink world.  A bit of a shock at first glance, but after a few hours, we felt at home. The thing to keep in mind is that everyone’s dynamic and play is different. Yours isn’t less than theirs. There will always be those that play more extreme and those that play less intense than you, and that’s fine. All parts of the spectrum can be seen at these events, which leads to great discussions and learning.
 
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The gauntlet: which do you prefer and why:
 
Spanking or whipping?  Spanking!  I don’t like stingy, at least not without a long warm-up prior. Once I’m floating nicely then the sting of a whip is a nice contrast. But overall, Spanking.
 
Handbrush or wooden spoon? Hairbrush.  Again it’s the thud.  Spoons are a little more stingy than the brush.
 
Paddle or belt?  Belt
 
Over the knee or over the bed?  Completely depends on the situation. If I’m craving intimacy then OTK all the way, but if we’re just going for play time sometimes being tied down to the bed or over a bench is too hot to miss out on.
 

Vanilla or chocolate? Vanilla- but with chocolate or caramel sauce.

Beer or wine? Wine
 
Batman or Superman? Batman. He’s alpha with or without his uniform!
 
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Thanks so much for the honesty and advice, Measha!!! Looking forward to reading your latest release! <3
 

Sold to the Berserkers

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When Brenna’s father sells her to a band of passing warriors, her only thought is to survive. She doesn’t expect to be claimed by the two fearsome warriors who lead the Berserker clan. Kept in captivity, she is coddled and cared for, treated more like a savior than a slave. Can captivity lead to love? And when she discovers the truth behind the myth of the fearsome warriors, can she accept her place as the Berserkers’ true mate?

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Excerpt:

The day my stepfather sold me to the Berserkers, I woke at dawn with him leering over me. “Get up.” He made to kick me and I scrambled out of my sleep stupor to my feet.

“I need your help with a delivery.”

I nodded and glanced at my sleeping mother and siblings. I didn’t trust my stepfather around my three younger sisters, but if I was gone with him all day, they’d be safe. I’d taken to carrying a dirk myself. I did not dare kill him; we needed him for food and shelter, but if he attacked me again, I would fight.

My mother’s second husband hated me, ever since the last time he’d tried to take me and I had fought back. My mother was gone to market, and when he tried to grab me, something in me snapped. I would not let him touch me again. I fought, kicking and scratching, and finally grabbing an iron pot and scalding him with heated water.

He bellowed and looked as if he wanted to hurt me, but kept his distance. When my mother returned he pretended like nothing was wrong, but his eyes followed me with hatred and cunning.

Out loud he called me ugly and mocking the scar that marred my neck since a wild dog attacked me when I was young. I ignored this and kept my distance. I’d heard the taunts about my hideous face since the wounds had healed into scars, a mass of silver tissue at my neck.

That morning, I wrapped a scarf over my hair and scarred neck and followed my stepfather, carrying his wares down the old road. At first I thought we were headed to the great market, but when we reached the fork in the road and he went an unfamiliar way, I hesitated. Something wasn’t right.

“This way, cur.” He’d taken to calling me “dog”. He’d taunted me, saying the only sounds I could make were grunts like a beast, so I might as well be one. He was right. The attack had taken my voice by damaging my throat.

If I followed him into the forest and he tried to kill me, I wouldn’t even be able to cry out.

“There’s a rich man who asked for his wares delivered to his door.” He marched on without a backward glance and I followed.

I had lived all my life in the kingdom of Alba, but when my father died and my mother remarried, we moved to my stepfather’s village in the highlands, at the foot of the great, forbidding mountains. There were stories of evil that lived in the dark crevices of the heights, but I’d never believed them.

I knew enough monsters living in plain sight.

The longer we walked, the lower the sun sank in the sky, the more I knew my stepfather was trying to trick me, that there was no rich man waiting for these wares.

When the path curved, and my stepfather stepped out from behind a boulder to surprise me, I was half ready, but before I could reach for my dirk he struck me so hard I fell.

I woke tied to a tree.

The light was lower, heralding dusk. I struggled silently, frantic gasps escaping from my scarred throat. My stepfather stepped into view and I felt a second of relief at a familiar face, before remembering the evil this man had wrought on my body. Whatever he was planning, it would bode ill for me, and my younger sisters. If I didn’t survive, they would eventually share the same fate as mine.  

“You’re awake,” he said. “Just in time for the sale.”

I strained but my bonds held fast. As my stepfather approached, I realized that the scarf that I wrapped around my neck to hide my scars had fallen, exposing them. Out of habit, I twitched my head to the side, tucking my bad side towards my shoulder.

My stepfather smirked.

“So ugly,” he sneered. “I could never find a husband for you, but I found someone to take you. A group of warriors passing through who saw you, and want to slake their lust on your sweet body. Who knows, if you please them, they may let you live. But I doubt you’ll survive these men. They’re foreigners, mercenaries, come to fight for the king. Berserkers. If you’re lucky your death will be swift when they tear you apart.”

I’d heard the tales of berserker warriors, fearsome warriors of old. Ageless, timeless, they’d sailed over the seas to the land, plundering, killing, taking slaves, they fought for our kings, and their own. Nothing could stand in their path when they went into a killing rage.

I fought to keep my fear off my face. Berserker’s were a myth, so my stepfather had probably sold me to a band of passing soldiers who would take their pleasure from my flesh before leaving me for dead, or selling me on.  

“I could’ve sold you long ago, if I stripped you bare and put a bag over you head to hide those scars.”

His hands pawed at me, and I shied away from his disgusting breath. He slapped me, then tore at my braid, letting my hair spill over my face and shoulders.

Bound as I was, I  still could glare at him. I could do nothing to stop the sale, but I hoped my fierce expression told him I’d fight to the death if he tried to force himself on me.

His hand started to wander down towards my breast when a shadow moved on the edge of the clearing. It caught my eye and I startled. My stepfather stepped back as the warriors poured from the trees.

My first thought was that they were not men, but beasts. They prowled forward, dark shapes almost one with the shadows. A few wore animal pelts and held back, lurking on the edge of the woods. Two came forward, wearing the garb of warriors, bristling with weapons. One had dark hair, and the other long, dirty blond with a beard to match.

Their eyes glowed with a terrifying light.

As they approached, the smell of raw meat and blood wafted over us, and my stomach twisted. I was glad my stepfather hadn’t fed me all day, or I would’ve emptied my guts on the ground.

My stepfather’s face and tone took on the wheedling expression I’d seen when he was selling in the market.

“Good evening, sirs,” he cringed before the largest, the blond with hair streaming down his chest.

They were perfectly silent, but the blond approached, fixing me with strange golden eyes.  

Their faces were fair enough, but their hulking forms and the quick, light way they moved made me catch my breath. I had never seen such massive men. Beside them, my stepfather looked like an ugly dwarf.

“This is the one you wanted,” my stepfather continued. “She’s healthy and strong. She will be a good slave for you.”

My body would’ve shaken with terror, if I were not bound so tightly.

A dark haired warrior stepped up beside the blond and the two exchanged a look.

“You asked for the one with scars.” My stepfather took my hair and jerked my head back, exposing the horrible, silvery mass. I shut my eyes, tears squeezing out at the sudden pain and humiliation.

The next thing I knew, my stepfather’s grip loosened. A grunt, and I opened my eyes to see the dark haired warrior standing at my side. My stepfather sprawled on the ground as if he’d been pushed.  

The blond leader prodded a boot into my stepfather’s side.

“Get up,” the blond said, in a voice that was more a growl than a human sound. It curdled my blood. My stepfather scrambled to his feet.

The black haired man cut away the last of my bonds, and I sagged forward. I would’ve fallen but he caught me easily and set me on my feet, keeping his arms around me. I was not the smallest woman, but he was a giant. Muscles bulged in his arms and chest, but he held me carefully. I stared at him, taking in his raven dark hair and strange gold eyes.

He tucked me closer to his muscled body.

Meanwhile, my stepfather whined. “I just wanted to show you the scars—”

Again that frightening growl from the blond. “You don’t touch what is ours.”

“I don’t want to touch her.” My stepfather spat.

Despite myself, I cowered against the man who held me. A stranger I had never met, he was still a safer haven than my stepfather.

“I only wish to make sure you are satisfied, milords. Do you want to sample her?” my stepfather asked in an evil tone. He wanted to see me torn apart.

A growl rumbled under my ear and I lifted my head. Who were these men, these great warriors who had bought and paid for me? The arms around my body were strong and solid, inescapable, but the gold eyes looking down at me were kind. The warrior ran his thumb across the pad of my lips, and his fingers were gentle for such a large, violent looking warrior. Under the scent of blood, he smelled of snow and sharp cold, a clean scent.

He pressed his face against my head, breathing in a deep breath.

The blond was looking at us.

“It’s her,” the black haired man growled, his voice so guttural. “This is the one.”

One of his hands came to cover the side of my face and throat, holding my face to his chest in a protective gesture.

I closed my eyes, relaxing in the solid warmth of the warrior’s body.

A clink of gold, and the deed was done. I’d been sold.

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Get Smarts: an Interview with Spanko and Author Amelia Smarts

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Amelia Smarts is a #1 bestselling author whose naughty heroines get what’s coming to them–a lotta loving and a spanked bottom! Learn what inspires Amelia…and what turns her cheeks red…

Which came first–writing about spanking or living it?

Living it. I’m a lifelong spanko. I’ve always fantasized about it and have experimented with it in real life. I’ve also loved to write ever since I could pick up a pencil and have pursued technical and creative writing as a career for more than ten years. One day, I decided to combine my love of writing with my love of spanking, and voila! Now I write spanking romance. It’s a blast.

 

How is writing a spanking story different from living it?

I currently write historical westerns, which take place in a time period when it was considered acceptable for a man to discipline his wife. To me, reading and writing about a naughty woman who has no choice but to suffer punishment in the form of a stern spanking from her man—well, that turns me on. However, I certainly wouldn’t want to be in a position where I didn’t have a choice. Consent in real life is very important, and I’m glad things are not the same for women as they were back then.

Loosely equivalent in modern real life are couples who practice DD or D/s and have prearranged consent. For instance, the wife gives her husband the authority to punish, so even if in the future she doesn’t want to be punished, she has already consented. Even then, I think a safe word is a wise idea, but I would never put a safe word in one of my westerns. That would ruin it for me, so that’s one area where the disconnect between fantasy and real life comes into play.

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New Release! Callie finds love and discipline on the route West

What’s something you read about in spanking romance that’s totally different from real life? Maybe even dangerous or incorrect.

I cringe when I read spankings that are way over the top—hundreds of licks with a belt, cane, paddle, etc. I think to myself, that poor woman would be dead! I personally don’t like reading these kinds of punishments, with some exceptions. Some authors write the scenes so well that I forget to cringe. Outlandish, fantastical punishments have a strong readership, so more power to these authors and the readers who enjoy them. This is fantasy, after all, so I don’t consider it a pet peeve. It’s more of a personal preference.

 

Tell us about a real-life spanking experience. (And where can we read about it?)

I’m fairly recently married (two years), and I didn’t share my spanking kink with my husband right away. I blogged about our rather awkward beginning and the first “real” spanking I had from him here: https://ameliasmarts.com/2016/02/21/my-husband-spanked-me/

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What’s your favorite implement? What is your least favorite?

My favorite is the good old-fashioned hand. I know some people say it’s not very effective for punishment, but I beg to differ. A determined palm is nothing to sneeze at (or maybe I’m just a wimp). My least favorite is the cane. It scares me.

 

What advice do you have for someone who wants to convince their partner to spank them?

I think what makes this kink so complicated for non-spanko partners is that most spankees, on the surface, don’t want to be punished. It hurts. But there’s a deeper need there to feel like it’s out of our hands, to give someone control and submit. Communicating that isn’t easy, but as long as your partner is receptive, I think it’s possible.  

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Any pointers for a newbie to the spanking scene?

Be patient with yourself and your partner. Have fun! And if you want to get the juices flowing (literally and metaphorically), why not read one of my books? (Oh come on, you knew a shameless plug was gonna come eventually, didn’t you?) Find my books here: amazon.com/author/ameliasmarts

 

On that note, I think it’s time for an excerpt from your newest release, Corralling Callie:

For eighteen-year-old orphan Callie Broderick, going west as a mail-order bride seems to be the only hope she has for a decent husband. But when she sets out for the gold-mining town of Sacramento with nothing more than the clothes on her back and a stagecoach ticket, she quickly discovers that the trip will be quite a bit different than she expected.

As a former soldier and an experienced coachman, Jude Johnson is used to difficulties and dangers of all kinds during the arduous journey west, but he has never had to deal with trouble like Callie before. Not being the kind of man to kick a penniless orphan off his coach, he puts up with the sassy, disobedient girl for as long as he can, but when Callie’s antics put the lives of his passengers at risk Jude is forced to take matters into his own hands and spank her soundly.

The stern punishment leaves her thoroughly chastened and promising to behave, and Jude soon realizes that when she puts aside her foul-mouthed, defiant façade, the real Callie is as sweet and kind as she is beautiful. As the days pass, he takes it upon himself to guide her, care for her, and give her the loving discipline she so desperately needs, as often as she needs it. But when they reach their destination, will he be able to give her up?

 

*** Excerpt***

She wailed another apology. “I’m sorry. Please don’t spank me, Jude!”

He tossed up her skirt and petticoat as she squirmed. “You decided to run off like a child when you didn’t get your way, so you’ll be treated as one,” he growled. He landed a hard swat over her thin drawers, nearly covering the entirety of her bottom with his large hand. “Other people want to sit up front, and you’re going to have a good attitude about it by the time I get through with you. You’re also going to mind my words when I speak.” He punctuated his admonishment with hard swats that jerked her forward each time.

“I’ll mind you! And I’ll have a good attitude.” She squirmed frantically over his lap as his hand picked up speed and fell again and again.

“Hold still,” he said sternly, landing two sharp swats on her thighs, “or I’ll remove your drawers and blister you with my belt.”

She gasped, mortified, and stopped jerking about momentarily, but his swats were so hard that she found it nearly impossible to remain still. This punishment felt much worse than when he’d landed the belt four times over the protection of her skirts, and it sure lasted a lot longer than the first spanking. Jude grasped her waist and pulled her against his body to keep her from twisting off his lap. The smacks were loud and echoed against the walls of the barn. The horses and cow neighed and mooed along with her howls.

Jude brought his hand down with great focus, not letting up for quite some time and making sure every inch of her bottom received punishment. He lectured her as he spanked, but Callie barely heard it, being so focused on the sting, which deepened with each fall of his hand. “You will stay with the others. I’ll not have you running off, worrying me and delaying our trip.” Smack!

“I’ll stay with the others!” she promised in a wail.

“That you will, young lady.” He smacked the low curve of her bottom especially hard. “Otherwise, you’ll be spending the entire trip sitting on a smarting bottom.”

Buy Corralling Callie

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The Gauntlet: which do you prefer and why:

Spanking or whipping? Spanking, and only on the bottom, tops of thighs, and… one other place. 😉

Hand, brush, or wooden spoon? All three, depending on the circumstance.

Paddle or belt? Both! I’m a spanko, what can I say?

Over the knee or over the bed? Over the knee. It’s intimate and perfect placement for hand to butt contact.

Vanilla or chocolate? Chocolate.

Beer or wine? Both.

Batman or Superman? John Wayne. 

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This was so fun! Thanks interviewing me, Lee!

Between the Sheets: An Interview with Author Jennifer Bene

Readers, you are in for a wild ride…dark erotica author Jennifer Bene talks about her real life kink and super sexy dom!
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How is writing BDSM different than living it? You can do ANYTHING in a book! Real life BDSM is limited by space, and equipment, and time (like day jobs and family and responsibilities) but when I’m writing BDSM none of that matters. If I want my character to have a fully outfitted dungeon basement, I can just *poof* make it happen. It’s so much easier than the real world. Also, in real life it takes FOREVER to get into rope. In a book it takes a few lines of text. How I wish it were that easy when playing with rope in real life, because I love it!
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What is your literary pet peeve? Something you read about in erotica that’s totally different from real life? Maybe even dangerous or incorrect. My real literary pet peeve that will make me give a major eye roll is when a sub takes something like a spanking, by hand, and “can’t sit down the next day”. It drives me nuts! Now, I know I’m a painslut and a masochist, but I’ve taken a ton of cane strikes in a session, had a black and blue ass, and while it wasn’t comfortable sitting down, I absolutely could. I’m not talking about someone flinching or wincing when they sit down, (that’s totally normal), but being “unable” to sit down? Collapsing to the floor because they can’t sit? Come on, authors, be real!
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As far as dangerous or incorrect? I’m not a big fan of people using serious implements for the first time ever without the author even referencing an education of some sort. BDSM is risky, and I don’t like furthering the idea that anyone can just pick up something like a whip and use it properly. That kind of thing makes me more angry than anything, because your health is so important! Don’t risk it for kink!
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Your plots are often quite dark and blur the lines of consent. What role do you think consent plays in real life versus a book?  Consent is EVERYTHING in real life. My rule is I don’t judge anyone’s kink as long as everyone participating is an adult, safety is taken into consideration, and everyone is consenting. SSC = safe, sane, consensual, the motto of every good member of the BDSM community. The best part of fiction to me is that we can explore the things we could never and would never want to do in real life. For some people that’s a spanking with a hot cowboy on the western front, or taking a caning in a dungeon, or complete power exchange with a billionaire Dom, or breath play with the boy next door – to me it’s the dark, dubcon/noncon side of things. Fun to read? Yes. Real life? Never. But that’s what erotica is meant for, it lets us play with our darkest fantasies in a world where the good guys win and everything turns out alright. I do write a lot of dark, and I do a little more than just blur the lines of consent sometimes, but it’s all just a fantasy and based on the number of readers who write me saying ‘thank you’ for the Thalia series and other books like it, I’m not alone in my dark, devious little corner of the genre! lol
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What are some of your favorite experiences? (And where can we read about them?) Oooooo, I really love being tied up so it shows up in a LOT of my books. One of my favorites has to be the wax play scene in ‘Reunited‘ where Megan is tied down to a workbench and has wax dripped on her while one of the guys goes down on her. I’ve done the tied down/wax thing before (with just one Dom, *sigh*) and it was a blast. Another is probably the spanking bench scene in ‘Lethal Sin‘. It was actually inspired by my Dom’s spanking bench, because he likes to tie me down to that and use all kinds of implements. The week before I wrote that scene he’d tied me down and used a crop (and a cane and a flogger) and I was so turned on and so deep into sub-space afterwards, I knew I had to use it in a book!
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What’s your favorite implement? What is your least favorite?  (And where can we read about them?) Favorite implement? The belt. The sound of the buckle coming undone, the whisper of it leaving their pants, the sound it makes cutting through the air and the sound / feel / weight / strength of it when it impacts? Fucking heaven. It shows up randomly, definitely in the Thalia series.
 
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My least favorite implement is a dragon tail, but I despise it so much I haven’t put it in a book (sorry!). Least favorite kink is probably breath play, I cannot control my panic when I can’t breathe (still haven’t been able to work through it despite years of trying!) and there’s a few scenes of breathplay around. ‘Taken by the Enemy’ has one I really like where Emmie just tries to walk out of Lucian’s camp like it’s no big deal, and he chases her down. He actually ends up saving her from walking off a cliff (literally) but she drives him nuts and he ends up choking her because he’s so mad. In fiction? So hot. Real life? It’s one area I’m a total pansy.
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What’s your advice to readers who want to explore their fantasies beyond a BDSM novel? Join Fetlife.com and go to a munch. A “munch” is a community event that is usually not kinky (meaning normal clothes, and a lot of times they’re even in public places). Meeting other kinksters who live near you is the best way to start to A) learn about the world of BDSM, and B) make friends you can actually ask questions to. Once you know people it’s not as scary to go to private events or a club, because you have back-up and people who know you. The best part? You can do this whether you’re single or in a relationship. It lets you learn, get educated, and figure out things to try. Then, always remember to COMMUNICATE. Be honest about what you like, or don’t like, and let your partner be honest too. Doms get limits too! If anyone wants to ask more detailed questions, this is something I could talk about FOREVER, so feel free to message me on facebook or email me at jbeneauthor@gmail.com – I’m always happy to help and answer questions!
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Describe your perfect Dom. How does a real life Dom differ from the fantasy? Okay, Lee, do I get to be super fantastical with this fantasy? Because I’m about to. I like the serious alpha Doms who have that brooding/growly voice that sends shivers down your spine when they get all dominant. Can he be super hot? Yes please! At least 6 ft so I feel short (I’m 5′ 8″!). And I’d want him to be a sadist, because I need someone who will get off on making me scream and cry, because that’s what I like to do (painslut + masochist = need it). Great in bed and obsessed with making me orgasm would be a plus. And, let’s be honest, I’d also love him to be the kind of wealthy that means neither of us have to worry about going to a real-life day job, or worry about money (because money sucks). With all that dominance and aggression though, I’d still want him to be someone who respects my independence too. The kind of guy that will let me write books while we’re skiing in Vail or sailing down the French Riviera – hey, don’t look at me like that Lee, you said PERFECT.
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Now, how does that differ from real life Doms? Well, the real life part. I’ve got a kiddo, I’m a single mom, and I have a day job, and an author career to manage. I also have family, and friends, and therefore some semblance of a social life to maintain – which doesn’t leave near as much time as I’d like for kink. I see my Dom once (sometimes twice) a week, and even that stresses me to the max sometimes, even when he’s often my stress RELIEF too. The real world isn’t friendly for fantasy life, because bills have to be paid, the dishes have to be washed, clothes have to be folded, and my boss would get a little irritated if I never showed up at work, and, unfortunately, “sorry, tied to a St. Andrew’s Cross getting whipped” is not an acceptable reason to ditch the day job. Am I incredibly lucky to have the Dom I have? Yes. I joke with him that he’s a fictional fucking character (he’s from a European country, ex-military, owns his own business, 6′ 4″ and gorgeous who boxes in his free time and is a total alpha Dom who is sadistic and kinky as fuck – oh, and he hand built his own playroom. Seriously, if he didn’t take great joy in pinching/biting me, I’d still question whether or not I was awake or not.) But, we don’t get a ton of time together, and that means I miss community events way more than I want to, I miss play time with him, and there’s zero chance of running away into the sunset to be wild and carefree. Honestly? Real life sucks sometimes! That’s why I write books!
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How does your life imitate art or vice versa? I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to BDSM, and it helps that I enjoy pain, so when it’s reasonable (SSC) I usually ask the Dom to do something with me before I write it. I like to write from experience where it’s possible, and so a lot of the things I write I’ve actually done. The other way around, sometimes I’ll write a specific scene and then the Dom will read it (he likes to read my books, which is fun) and then he’ll surprise me one night by recreating it in his own way and then taunting me by saying I gave him the idea! Devious, but it’s hot as fuck. ^_^

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Now it’s time to run “The Gauntlet”: which do you prefer and why:
 
 
  • Spanking or flogging? Flogging because I always hit the most beautiful subspace with it, and a flogger can kiss like angel feathers or sting like a fucking demon’s tail. LOVE IT.
 
  • Whipping or caning? Caning! Any day of the week. It hurts like a bitch, but so does a whip, and for some reason the cane eventually dumps me into painslut subspace (Livia Grant writes about that beautifully in her Passion series, which is actually how we became friends! Me fangirling all over her). There’s just something about the meter of a caning that is so much more enjoyable (in a twisted way) than a whipping.
 
  • Bondage or crawling? Bondage. Oh hell, I just love being tied up. Instant, full blown submission. Then the Dom can do whatever he wants with me, AND I get to really struggle! Yum!
 
  • Oral or anal? Oral. I love to give blow jobs, seriously. Every guy I’ve ever been with has found it hilarious eventually that I actually whine if they don’t let me finish because they want to fuck me instead. I just have so much fun with it, there’s a thousand different things you can do to elicit a thousand different reactions, and I love to swallow. It just turns me on! And while anal is fun in a submission way, there’s nothing quite like being on your knees in front of a Dom with his hand in your hair.
 
  • Vanilla or chocolate? Chocolate. Vanilla stuff is always overly sweet to me, and chocolate can have depth. I’m not a big sweets person though! Give me a mountain of french fries any day!
  • Beer or wine? Lee, did you really need to ask me this? I probably talk about wine more often than I do my own books. Sheesh! *bathes in red wine*
 
  • Batman or Superman? BATMAN. Seriously, I am such a geek about this, but Batman is the perfect superhero. He’s damaged, he’s made mistakes, but he wants to protect people, he wants to do GOOD and he’s completely HUMAN. One of my absolute favorite story lines in the Justice League is (just hang on as I nerd out) is the one where all of the superheroes start getting attacked and taken out. Superman is shot with a kryptonite bullet in that one, and all the other Justice League members are taken out one by one. Bruce Wayne realizes it’s HIS PLANS being used because someone hacked him, and he goes around and saves everyone. At the end of the story line everyone is up in the Watchtower (space station) and they’re all yelling at Bruce, and he’s sitting there stone cold, listening, and then he stands up and basically tells them to shut up and then talks over them in his sexy low voice. He says something along the lines of, “I am the only human here. None of you are human, you are not a part of the human race. Every one of you has the capacity to kill us, to destroy us, and if one day you went crazy – you would be glad that I was there to stop you.” Then he walks the fuck out like a gangster, gets in his Bat-spaceship and fucking leaves. No apologies whatsoever. Superman is totally speechless, the rest of the Justice League are like “oh snap!”… and it’s just EPIC. How can you NOT LOVE THAT GUY?!

 

***

Any last words about living your kink? Yeah, I have one more thing. I think I’ve always known what I wanted, even before I didn’t have the language for it. I’m bisexual, I’m not monogamous (Dom and I have an open relationship), and I’m not someone who loves in the traditional way people think of it (although I do like writing and reading about love)! I like to play rough, I love submission, and BDSM is my happy little niche in the world.

But there was a time where I tried to “be normal” and “play vanilla” to save a relationship and it made me so. incredibly. unhappy. I didn’t just dislike the relationship, I disliked my life, him, the world, and myself – and it was miserable. There was an article I saw on Facebook a few days ago about the moment when you realize that you’re not in the right place. They called it the “NOT THIS” moment. You may not know what you want instead (a new job, a new relationship, etc) but you know what you want is NOT THIS. Whatever that “not this” is, if you’re feeling it, I encourage you to act on it. Ending that relationship was messy, and it was not easy, but I finally felt like myself again after I got out. I’m foul-mouthed, kinky, way too honest, love sex, and I’m probably a little off in the head – but I am me, and I finally love me again, and I wish that for everyone else too. ❤

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Thanks for reading Between The Sheets! I think it’s time to fan girl over Jennifer Bene. For more of her incredibly kinky self, check out her amazing books!

Between the Sheets: An interview with Author Morganna Williams

13940941_687973088031879_1548229933_nMorganna Williams has a smoking hot new release out tomorrow, and as a special treat for us, she’s talking about her real life kink, and how this week she ended up “properly punished” like her naughty heroines…

 

You’re pretty open about being an author who also lives the BDSM lifestyle. How much does your kink influence your writing? Greatly…I’m not sure I’d right kink if I didn’t feel it.
morganna
How is writing BDSM different than living it?

When I first started writing spanking stories in 1998 I had not been spanked as an adult, though I was born a spanko. Once I’d been spanked I think it added a depth and richness to those scenes. I think submission and D/s are the same. Aggressive oral and anal punishment scenes always turned me on, but my writing grew and again took on more depth when I began to experience these things in real life. Granted I hope my writing always grows as I do…I never want to become stagnant.

What is your literary pet peeve? Something you read about in erotica that’s totally different from real life?

 Hmmm…I think it’s when the Dom is a complete asshole and doesn’t care about the needs of his sub. I think it happens in real life but I don’t find it sexy at all…I need the nurturing caring part in my reading material and real life.

the commanders mate
What are some of your favorite experiences?
I love when he takes my mouth hard…it melts me completely…I feel so submissive. My favorite thing I want to experience is a good girl spanking…unfortunately I misbehave to often to earn one. 😉
My short stories have mirrored sessions but are also sometimes complete fantasy I’ll let you decide which are which. I post a weekly free story on my blog. (www.morgannawilliams.com)

 

What’s your favorite implement? What is your least favorite?  
I love the hand…the connection…the feel of skin on skin…unfortunately this too travels into good girl area. Correction has to be pretty firm or it just turns me on which negates the hand.  I hate wooden paddles and I’m down right afraid of the cane.

Have you ever been punished like one of your heroines?

Actually, just recently I got in trouble for some time with BOB (my Battery Operated Boyfriend). Let’s just say today my ass hurts as if someone paddled it hard then fucked it vigorously. And a certain part of my anatomy-my very favorite part-got spanked with a wooden spoon and then further punished by BOB coated in Vicks vapor rub. Owie. I wrote a story loosely based on the experience! Read it here: www.morgannawilliams.com

What’s your advice to readers who want to explore their fantasies beyond a BDSM novel?
Do it safely. This is where I got my fear of the cane. In my search for getting my wants and needs full filled, I made a very risky decision that followed no safety rules. The man hit me with many implements. The cane I remember and it really hurt me. I could barely move for three days, I actually bled in several places and was completely black from the top of my hips almost to my knees. I was lucky…I could have been raped or dead and I wasn’t.  Be careful…have safety measures in place…people should always know where you are and give them info on who you’re meeting. Don’t play the first time you meet. Talk and get to know someone as well as possible before meeting. I know it’s hard, especially when it feels like you’re finally going to get a taste of what you’ve wanted and needed for so long but you have to protect yourself.  Remember the real deal Dom or spanko will understand and encourage safety.
morganawilliams
How did you find your Dom? How does a real life Dom differ from the fantasy?
Spanking personals. I can’t turn him off. <laughs> If a real Dom gives a rule or a limit he expects it to be followed.

 

The Gauntlet: Which do you prefer and why:
  • Spanking or flogging? Spanking
  • Whipping or caning? Neither, both scare me…
  • Bondage or crawling? Bondage
  • Oral or anal? Both…delightful
  • Vanilla or chocolate? Pistachio
  • Beer or wine? Sadly, I’m allergic to both
  • Batman or Superman? Superman…Batman has too much angst…I’d have to slap him!

Any more thoughts on writing your kink?

I guess just that I’m growing more comfortable with who I am as a submissive and kinkster. It took a long time to get to that point. Writing has helped me a lot to learn to accept that it’s okay to be me. Kinky as hell.

Rocky Mountain Ride: a bath

RockyMountainRide_big

 

New Release! Sebastian will do anything to save a beautiful widow’s ranch. All he desires in return: her complete submission.

***

Francesca had set up a tub in an alcove off the kitchen. Once Sebastian reached it, he shrugged her down and held her back to his front, his cock poking her bottom while his hand took liberties. He was larger and stronger and though she struggled, he easily held her.

“Mmm, a lovely water nymph. All for me.” His hand cupped her breast.

“You are a fool.”

“That’s not very nice.” He squeezed her breast a little harder and his other hand roamed until the wet dress got in the way. He stopped and peeled it off, then grabbed her again, his hands roving up and down her now naked body while his head bent and mouth did what it wanted to do the moment he first saw her in the garden: lick and suck on the sensitive skin of her neck. He stroked her until she was wet and purring under him, then set her away. “I suppose I should clean up before the bath gets cold.”

“Sebastian,” she pouted.

Now she was hot for him. Well, too bad. He’d decided she needed a lesson in who was boss. It was going to be a long night for her. He climbed into the tub.

“Come now, Francesca. You promised to help get me clean.”

Naked, her chest heaving and nipples tightly ruched with desire, she stared at him, frustrated, as if trying to decide whether to hit him or pounce on his cock. Finally, she obeyed. He sat in the bath scrubbing off the rest of the grime while his wife poured the warm water over him, serving him like a pretty Roman slave. After a few minutes, he couldn’t resist pulling her in with him, cradling her on his lap and rubbing the washcloth into all her delicious crevices until she panted for him.

“You want some pleasure, darling?” He rose, water sluicing off him, getting it all over the stone floor, though neither of them cared. “Perhaps you could see to this?” His tool pointed straight at her face. With a nod, she reached for it. “No hands,” he ordered, and her eyes dropped to half mast as she circled his cock with her ripe, red lips. Her pupils were deep and dark with submission. Sebastian noted her trance-like obedience, arousal overtaking her will. Or maybe a part of her found pleasure in serving him. Whether she loved or hated it, a part of her needed him to be in control. It was up to him to find the balance that brought her the most intense pleasure, without breaking her will. As she worked up and down his length, he wondered how far he could go.

The sight of her on her knees, dark head bobbing, slavish mouth sucking, brought him to the brink in no time, and he raised her up.

“I don’t want to spill in your mouth.”

They left a wet trail all the way to the bedroom.

***

Lord James Sebastian Chivington is a bored English lord come to the Wild West for adventure when he meets the beautiful and passionate Francesca. Newly widowed, Francesca is trying to save her late husband’s ranch from his enemies and avenge his death. A gallant rescue by the witty Englishman is just what she needs. At first, she resists and he convinces her to accept his help—birching her bottom until she agrees. By day, he helps her run her ranch, but their nights are filled with passion as they fight the growing attraction between them.

As her enemies close in, will Sebastian be able to convince Francesca that he is the man she needs and more?

Read more!

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