Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Ingénue - excerpt

Best Bondage Erotica 2011 is on sale now!

Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, the anthology contains 20 sizzling stories of restraint and BDSM. My contribution is a story called The Ingénue. It's a bit of an oddball for this collection - for a start it's a historical, set in decadent fin-de-siècle France. And the dynamic between the two protagonists is not straightforward. There's a man, who's tied up and helpless on a cross in a rich woman's garden. There's a young woman who is shocked and appalled and excited by this discovery, and who finds in herself an undreamed-of appetite for inflicting pain. But to describe him as submissive and her as dominant...? No, not quite.

Anyway, here's an excerpt:

“Come closer,” he repeated, lowering his voice. “Let me see my inquisitor.”

She shuffled forward from cover, reluctantly. His dark half-smile was discomforting. Everything about him made her feel wrong within herself, as if her skin no longer fit.

“That’s better.” He did not bother to hide his scrutiny of her, from the pale blue hair ribbon to the matching toes of her satin boots – and all the territory in between. Judging her, no doubt, she thought. Such a well dressed young lady as she was must rouse the particular derision of a political radical. She found herself annoyed at the thought: annoyed that he should be finding her so amusing. Everyone always looked down upon her: the orphaned niece; the naive girl; the pretty, inconsequential young woman. But he had no right, she thought; not tied up as he was, so pathetically helpless, so undignified in his déshabillé. What had he to feel superior about, with his bare feet planted in the rose bed among crumbs of horse-manure?

She drew up her chin and met his gaze.

“You’re pretty,” he observed. “Small, yet you look strong. Your lovers must be fighting one another for your favor.”

Blood flared in her cheeks but she set her jaw. “What are you suggesting, monsieur? I have no suitors yet; I have been most gently raised.”

“You must be cruel to them, Zephine.”

“What?” she said, forgetting her manners in her surprise.

“Cruel. So that they will love you. Spurn them; mock them; hurt them. They will worship you.”

“That’s a terrible thing to say!”

“It is human nature.” The man drew his upper lip through his teeth. “We love those that beat and break us. Men love the lamia, women love the brute. When you fall in love, little Zephine, it will be with a man who ignores you most of the time, whose eyes turn constantly to other women, and who, when he makes carnal use of you, will do so roughly and with savage appetite, not sparing your tender body as he takes animal possession of it.”

His crude words sent a wave of heat through her skin. “You’re quite wrong! I am determined that I will marry a kindly man.”

“I don’t doubt it. Yet afterwards you will fall in love with one who will take your tranquil heart and cast it in the flames of Hell. As I said, it is human nature.”

“We yearn to be unhappy, you think?” she scoffed.

“If you like. Rather, we yearn to be mastered.”

Her voice was a little unsteady now. “That’s a strange thing for an anarchist to say, isn’t it? I thought your kind claimed that we all strive to be free?”

“Am I an anarchist, then?”

“Are you not? You’ve just damned all of civilisation.”

 A slight lowering of his eyelids admitted she had a point. “I am a man,” he answered, “who recognises the dark beast within himself. And lest it make me the lickspittle slave of a society whose rotten soul I see only too clearly...I let the beast feed here.”


“In this garden. At the pleasure of Madame de Villiers.”

Zephine could not answer. She stood with her lower lip thrust out, glaring.

“Come closer,” he said for the third time, his voice dropping again, soft and dark as soot. “Touch me.”


“Because you want to.”

The anger twisted in her entrails once more. “You presume a great deal.”

“Have you ever touched a man’s bare flesh before?” There was a glitter in his eye. “I thought not. So naturally you wish to know what it is like.”

She wanted to slap him for his rudeness.

“After all,” he added, jerking his wrists to demonstrate his constraint; “it’s not as if I can hurt you.”

Buy at Amazon US : Pre-order at Amazon UK (out January)
And it gets a great review over at Erotica Revealed!


Jo said...

Oh. Um. Story looks great... too captivated by last picture to comment further... jesus...

Kat said...

God damn it you're good.

Justine Elyot said...

*sigh* God, just gorgeous.

Janine Ashbless said...


I've just had a story rejected (from a horror anthology, not erotica), and I was gutted, so you've no idea how much I appreciate your comments, guys!

Madeline Moore said...

Ah lovely beginning. How she will punish him, and then him her, and likely a third will join in and punish everyone. Love and Lust in Janine's world - ouch.

Janine Ashbless said...

Not nearly as Ouch as Felix's World, surely, Madeline? ;-)

Emerald said...

Hi Janine,

I read your story in full, and I love it so much. I found it positively mesmerizing—incredible pacing, irresistibly sexy, and there was not a single time I felt "pulled out" of the story, or indeed less than entranced.

Utterly beautifully done! Thanks for sharing an excerpt here.

Janine Ashbless said...

Emerald, thank you!

I'm planning to read the whole book this week - a pre-Xmas treat - and I shall start with yours!