The Conquered Brides Collection – Five sizzling stories of medieval abduction and seduction
Hi Mary, and thank you so much for inviting me over to your blog today. I understand you have a few questions you’d like to fire at me, about The Conquered Brides…
Mary : Hi Ashe, and welcome. Thanks for dropping by. So, first things first – how did you get involved with The Conquered Brides project?
Ashe : I had an email from Renee Rose, quite out of the blue. I was surprised, and delighted. I adore Renee so I took no persuading to join the group of authors who would be pooling their efforts to write this collection. It was a first for me, to be collaborating with a bunch of others in this way so I was nervous about how it would all go, especially being the only Brit in the group. Everyone made me welcome though and it’s been a dream to work on.
Mary : So, tell us a little bit about The Conquered Brides
Ashe: Each of the five books in the set follow the story of a different lady of the Hohenzollern court. The castle, located in mediaeval Germany, is defeated after a gruelling siege. The women are abducted amidst the ensuing terror and chaos. They are taken as wives though rather than merely being the spoils of war, but whether that will be any better fate remains to be seen. You’d have to read the stories to know how it all pans out for them. Suffice it to say the lords who claim these reluctant brides are determined to compel their obedience, and if this involves applying a lot of bare bottom spanking so be it.
The stories can all be read as stand alones, but there is cross over between the books and they complement each other. They will be more enjoyable if read as a set.
Mary : So, what was the most challenging thing about writing for this collection. For you.
Ashe : The opening scenes were written by Korey Mae Johnson, and the rest of us selected a lady whose story we would tell, all going forward from those same events but in very different directions. Korey set the bar high. Her opening scenes are wonderful, and I was nervous about doing justice to the scenario she had created. I’m really happy with the way The Widow Is Mine, Lady Natalia and Stefan’s story turned out though.
Mary : What can you tell us about the other stories in the set?
Ashe : I’ve been lucky enough to read all the others, and they are wonderful. Hot, atmospheric, powerful stories with plenty of sizzle. It’s a privilege to work with such a talented group of erotic authors and I think the final result is stunning.
Mary : Is The Widow Is Mine your first novel to be published with Stormy Night?
Ashe : Yes and no. This was a new venture, with a new publisher. All very scary. And exciting. A steep learning curve as lots of processes would be new to me. I even had to worry about the IRS – I expect a lot of people do, but not usually on my side of the Atlantic. I’ve since released a separate book with Stormy Night though and that went really well so I feel like I’ve been here forever now.
Mary : Do you usually write historical erotica?
Ashe : I’ve written one historical before, a pirate story. I usually write contemporary stories with a strong BDSM twist, so this was a new departure in that respect too. However I studied history in the past, including English history of the Middle Ages. I’ve visited most of the medieval castles which still act as landmarks across the UK countryside, and several further afield too. I’m fascinated by this period so it was no hardship to do plenty of research to make sure details were accurate, for example around food, clothing, architecture, the geography of the period. I think it works.
Mary : Right. That’s the serious bit. Now tell us about the smut.
Ashe : Smut is serious too, at least to those of us who make what we like to think of as a living writing it. All five stories in The Conquered Brides offer all you could wish for in the way of spankings, both erotic and disciplinary. There’s plenty of ouch, and a lot of oooh as well.
In my own story, The Widow Is Mine, Lady Natalia has been married twice already and has no wish to take a third husband. She intends to become a nun, and is looking forward to a quiet life until events outside her control turn her world upside down. She is horrified when the duke of Richtenholst announces he has other plans for her. She’s to be his duchess, whether she likes it or not. Even while she is terrified of him, Natalia has to admit that the duke is the most exciting, charismatic man she has ever met. He’s kind too, and arouses her in ways she can barely understand – when he’s not punishing her bare bottom. But can she trust him with her most precious secret?
He spanks her, he fucks her, then he starts all over again. And despite her initial fears Natalia is astonished to find she loves all of it. Her new husband delivers a serious spanking and he’s a demon with a switch, but he has other ways to make her scream too. She soon learns that life as the duchess of Richtenholst has its compensations as well as its surprises.
Mary : Wow! Well, thanks for sharing that. You have a suitably hot excerpt for us I believe…?
Ashe : I do. And the blurb for the collection
Mary: Thank you for visiting my blog. The excerpt sounds hot!
Excerpt from The Widow Is Mine
“You have your five minutes. Use them well. And my lady, you are shortly to endure a hard spanking, my hand on your bare bottom. If you so much as think about repeating your escapade of yesterday I will take a switch to your arse. You really do not want that. Not on the first day of your married life.” He tips me a polite nod from the doorway, then ducks through the opening to leave me to my toilet.
I stare after him for a few moments, resenting the implied further threats. I have given my word, he had no need to reiterate the details of my predicament. Sulking will avail me nothing however. I shove back the blankets and leap into action. Or rather, I hobble. I extricate myself from the snug furs and perch on the side of the bed shivering. The December morning is chilly, despite the still warm stones making up the stove in the centre of this tent. I wonder, did the duke replenish them during the night? Or perhaps it was his servant, Karl. The servant I know I must face this morning too.
I get to my feet and try an experimental step forward. My ankle throbs, but it is bearable. My ribs trouble me hardly at all. I manage to make my way to the bucket closest to me and use it to do what is necessary. I would take it to empty outside but the duke ordered me to remain unclothed.
I comb my fingers through my hair, but with no looking glass available to me I cannot properly braid it. I draw it back into a loose, rough plait, but by now I feel sure my allotted time must be almost up. Modesty propels me to scramble back into bed and I curl up under the covers to wait.
The duke does not keep me waiting long. He re-enters the tent, halting just inside the doorway to regard me. His features bear an odd expression, somewhere between amusement and regret. But I detect no sign of a reprieve.
“Are you all right, my lady?”
Again I nod, but not so fast this time. I know this is going to happen. There is no merit in drawing it out. But even so…
The duke strides over to the table and pulls out one of the chairs. He turns it to face the bed and seats himself upon it. His bare torso is glistening, droplets of water clearly visible on his skin, and his hair is darkened by the remaining damp. He must have completed his ablutions whilst outside.
“Stop cowering among the furs, Natalia, and get yourself over to me. Now.” His tone has hardened, and the temperature in the tent seems to me to drop.
I know better than to delay any longer. This is inevitable, and it is happening now. I slip from the bed and stand beside it, my weight balanced on my left leg. I cannot resist the urge to cross my arms in front of my chest.
The duke frowns. “You said you were able to walk.”
“Yes, my lord. A little.”
Despite my reply he stands and comes toward me. At his advance my courage fails me and I step back with a small, frightened squeak. I turn to face the wall, cowering, ready to plead for whatever mercy he might see fit to grant me.
He does not speak to me. Instead he places his hands on my shoulders and turns me to face him, then gathers my shivering form against his chest. He enfolds me in his arms, murmuring into my hair.
“Be still, little one, calm down. I mean you no harm.” His hand works large, soothing circles across my back, between my shoulder blades, then reaching lower, to my waist, my soon-to-be spanked bottom.
“My lord, please, I am sorry. Truly.” I am sobbing now, my tears moistening his chest.
He tightens his arms around me, pressing me against him. “Trust me, Natalia. I will take care of you. I would never injure you. This will soon be over.”
“But, I am so scared.”
“I know that, and I know you regret what you did.” He pauses, but continues the calming massage. After a few moments he continues. “I promise you I will be a firm husband to you, but a fair and loving one also. If you cannot bring yourself to accept your punishment now then we will leave it. I will not drag you, weeping and screaming across my knee. But I do want you to accept the discipline you have earned, and to learn from it. If not now, then soon. Can you do that, my lady?”
He does not press for my answer. He just holds me, and he waits.
At last, gulping, I succeed in mustering some semblance of control. And courage. And, incredibly, trust. His words have affected me, in particular his promise not to force his discipline upon me. He is asking me to willingly accept my fault and the consequences of it. I think, now, that I can.
“Very well, my lord. I am ready.”
He uses one hand to tip my chin up, meeting my gaze. He smiles at me, then dips his head to lay a soft kiss across my lips. He releases me from his solid embrace, then turns. He wraps his arm around me, taking my weight.
“I can see that your ankle pains you. Let me help.”
With his aid I make my way to the chair, where he retakes his seat.
“You will lay yourself across my lap, with your hands and feet on the floor.”
I gulp, brush the remaining tears from my face, and chew on my lip for a moment. Then I shuffle to his side. I adopt the position he has instructed, determined to quash my sense of humiliation that he has placed me in such an undignified posture. Sweet Jesu’, let this soon be done.
“That’s good, but could you lift your bottom up a little higher for me please?”
So polite. I have no option but to shift around until I am poised just as he wishes, my bottom raised for him to spank.
“That is fine. I will spank you until I feel you have had enough and I will decide when your punishment is complete. You can make as much noise as you like. I fully expect you to be somewhat vocal. But you are not to move until I tell you to. You will not lift your hands to try to protect your bottom, nor will you kick. You will remain in this position, quite still, until I am finished. Is that clear?”
“Yes, my lord.” I clench my buttocks, anticipating the first spank.
“Do you have any questions about why I am punishing you?”
He seems to be in no hurry to start. I whisper my response, desperate for this to be over. “No, my lord. I know it is because I disobeyed you.”
“Yes, that. And also because of the danger you put yourself in. I left you here to ensure you were safe. By leaving the security of my tent you placed yourself in peril. As your husband it is my responsibility to protect you, to ensure your safety. I will not permit you to compromise that, now or in the future. Do you understand?”
“Yes, sir. I think so.”
“We will see. But for now…”
When the castle they called home is besieged and ultimately falls, five women are captured and carried off as wives by their foes. Will they be treated as no more than the spoils of war, or can their new lords prove themselves worthy of the love and submission of their conquered brides?