A Pastry Princess
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by Jan Irving
Category: Erotica/Menage Erotica/Fantasy
Description: Genre: Futuristic Multicultural Menage
Serafina Blair was the joke of the court -- the pastry princess -- a chubby mouse with an unfashionable interest in shopkeeping.
But despite that, she triumphs, opening a second franchise to her successful pastry store. Queen Helena 'rewards' her by giving her two virile warriors as her servants: Ismet, with long gilt hair and golden eyes, and dark and moody Tahir, a desert chieftain. This mating-of-convenience is to ensure Seri's line continues -- as if she cares about that!
Soon innocent Seri wonders if it is she who will ultimately belong to her two men, masters in the art of pleasures. Watching them together in love-play, more and more she wants to touch them, to be with them. And just when they've begun to conquer the challenges of Seri's innocence, the three must test their unlikely alliance against a common enemy, returning to a primitive world where Seri's courage -- and Ismet and Tahir's love for their lady -- will be tested.
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: anal play/intercourse, male/male sexual practices, menage (m/m/f).
eBook Publisher: Loose Id, LLC, 2011
eBookwise Release Date: October 2011
18 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [232 KB]
Reading time: 143-200 min.
Serafina Blair stepped off the glide gracefully despite the tall glasomite shoes she'd been unable to resist last time she strolled through the marketplace. The shoes gleamed smoky crystal, tall stilettos clicking with a satisfying sound as she waved a thank-you to her regular bus driver. He smiled at her, and the hover vehicle took off with a whoosh that lifted Seri's filmy black skirt.
She picked up her regular coffee with burned caramel, enjoying the morning ritual of heading into work. High above, the huge dome over the capital city sparkled iridescent colors, muting the harsh blue sky of the outer world and protecting Zephyr's pampered inhabitants.
Her steps slowed as she saw the feminine little sign swaying back and forth just ahead. Pastry Princess. She'd chosen pink and blue, inspired by the colors of her signature macaroons--delicate cookies made in pastel shades. As she thought of them, her mouth watered. She gave her reflection an ironic look, taking in the neat black suit fitted to her plump curves, her hair done up in a neat coronet, her cocoa skin setting off the startling violet eyes that she'd inherited from her servant father. She'd also inherited from him a love of baking. Good thing she had such a busy morning, or she'd be eating one or more of those cookies. Mmmmm.
The door to the bakery read and identified her and then slid open, allowing the warm breath of the kitchens to embrace her. Home... She was home after a longer than usual business trip to Echo--another domed city located on the far side of the planet. She took in the rose quartz and stainless-steel slabs where men and women worked studding muffins with jewel fruit and honey sap or cutting cold pastry fresh from the cool room to make tarts. It was a far cry from the way the place used to look when it was a dark, cobbled partition of the palace kitchens. Seri had changed all that.
"So...?" Mericle Daymate raised her arms to urge Seri to share her news, then seeing her white palms, wiped away the flour onto her neat apron. She'd been making croissants.
Seri grinned. "The franchise is going through! Soon our first branch will open in Echo," she said.
"Wheeeee!" Mericle exclaimed, running over to Seri to embrace her in the scent of warm pastry and rose water. She pulled away to stroke a finger over her upper lip. "What are we going to call it? Queen of Dumplings?"
Seri laughed. "I hadn't thought that far ahead. But...maybe a better name than that one." She squeezed her friend and employee's hand. This woman had found her when she was a terrified sixteen-year-old and put her to work in the kitchens.
Like a switch being flipped, Mericle's mood changed, and she frowned. "Seri..."
Recognizing the tension in her friend's voice, Seri faltered. "What is it?" Her voice had hardened, chilled. "The count again?"
Mericle's lips tightened as she nodded. "Count Armando took advantage of your absence from court to make some mischief, and, um, I don't know what to do with the result." She looked over her shoulder toward the neat honeycomb tile that lined the back wall, the white brightening the space. Below neat shelves holding baking supplies were two young men, chained to a heavy ring that looked crude and completely incongruous with her feminine decor.
"What in...?" Seri stared, and one of them, the dark-haired one, stared back at her in challenge, his black gaze insolent as it ran over her freely. Tension knotted in Seri's belly, but she stubbornly held the stranger's look as she headed toward the two huddled forms.
When she reached them, she touched the hefty chain, staring at the primitive links in disbelief.
"But this is barbaric, Mericle. We don't chain people to the walls on Zephyr."
"We do if they're slaves, Your Highness," Mericle recited, reminding Seri of her status of eighteenth in line to the throne--not that Seri ever bothered herself about it very much. She had to make a living, same as anyone else.
"They haven't said a word. Well, the dark one growls when we come near them," Mericle said. "I don't know what got into Queen Helena. She's usually so sensible, but when the count brought up your desire to franchise the bakery, pointing out that old law about only married women being allowed to run a business..."
"Wait, I..." Seri let the links drop, and again her gaze was snared by the dark-eyed one. He had olive-toned skin and brown shaggy hair that snaked over one nipple. He was lean but muscular. A scar bisected one shoulder. His gaze dropped from hers and focused lower. For a moment Seri wasn't sure what he was looking at until she realized he was staring deliberately between her legs.
She growled to herself before turning her attention to the other one.
He was light to the darkness sitting curled possessively around him, a beautiful man with silvery blond hair and golden eyes. His skin was paler than the other man's but he was freckled, as if he'd spent some time in real sunlight. He was smaller than his companion, but his torso rippled with taut, toned skin, also bearing small scars that were strange to someone who had grown up on Zephyr. He was completely naked, she noticed belatedly. Both men had been sitting with their legs crossed, so she hadn't--
She looked away, but not before she'd seen that the blond had one attribute out of proportion to the rest of his body. Very.
"The dark one spits if you try to speak to him," Mericle warned, glaring at the man. "But he's called Tahir, and the beautiful one is called Ismet. Their names are on their collars. See?"
Now she noticed the only thing both men wore other than the chains that cuffed one ankle were sleek obedience collars with interlac script, detailing their names, health, their rating as sexual partners. The dark one had a garnet stone, denoting him a passionate but dangerous bed mate, while the blond sported a purple stone, representing the highest level of skill in a courtesan.
Seri studied both men as she tried to pull her head out of her recent business trip to coming home...to this. She was aware of the loaded silence in her bakery. Something had happened, something bad, and she felt the sympathy of her staff. Her heart thudded in her ears as she swallowed around a dry throat.
The way the men looked at her, assessing, as if it was she who was chained to the wall, she who was their captive...
The older woman put an arm around her shoulders, leading her out of earshot of the two slaves and Seri's interested workers. At the window, Seri looked out at the street, remembering how she'd come in with so much energy, so much optimism. She rubbed her forehead.
"The count has been making noises that you're almost beyond marriageable age at thirty years."
"That old nonsense," Seri scoffed. "I have no interest in marriage. Everyone knows that."
Mericle raised her hand. "You're a favorite of the queen, Seri. That is a good thing. It's meant you own your bakery, the franchises. But it also means that she's concerned about your line."
"My line?" Seri blinked. "I don't have one."
"That's the problem," Mericle said grimly. "Fortunately Helena wasn't sold on giving you in marriage to Count Armando Trevail; although you never officially reported what happened, there are rumors."
Terror shot through Seri, and she wrapped her arms around herself. She remembered the count's breath on her face, panting, urgent, the things he said to her, calling her his fat little hen, the pain when his fingers penetrated her...
"Seri!" Mericle's face was stern as she shook her employer. "That was years ago. You can handle him. Didn't I teach you?"
Her expression a chilly mask, Seri gave a stiff nod, but deep down she heard the voice of the girl she'd been. I'm scared! I hurt...
"Yes, I can handle him," she repeated woodenly. "So if I'm not to be gifted to the count, what has Helena ordered?"
"Those two men were captured by the count on one of the primitive worlds he oversees. He brought them to court, and Helena hit on the idea they could serve another purpose. They're to be your lovers, Seri. They're to make you pregnant so you can continue your line."
Seri hadn't had the time to absorb her mentor's words when she heard the clatter of high heels and noticed her staff had abandoned their work and were now bowing to a newly arrived personage. It could only be one person: Helena, her cousin, her queen.
Pushing her tangled feeling deep inside from long practice, Seri dropped a deep curtsy, looking up to meet frosty blue eyes set in a face with creamy golden skin. Helena was taller than she was and forty standard years of age. She had one husband and two concubines and seven children. She liked children.
Seri's lips turned down at the thought. Children were all right, she supposed, but she'd never expected to have any of her own. She had so far spent her life happily pouring her energy into her bakery.
"Did your trip go well?" Helena asked in her soft, pleasant voice.
"Yes, Your Majesty," Seri answered, struggling to hold her tongue. She couldn't tell her monarch stop interfering in her life; it would only make Helena more determined, she knew from experience. "There will be another bakery in Echo."
"Excellent! Although I wish you'd let me smooth the way for you, Seri." The queen cupped her cheek, giving her an affectionate kiss. Seri reminded herself that this woman was her friend, whatever her outdated ideas.
"Your Highness, about your, uh, gift..." Seri began.
Helena grinned. "Yes, I believe the count wasn't happy when I took two of his prettiest men to gift to you."
Helena's calm expression tightened. "No, Seri," she said, raising her hand so Seri was reminded of all the power this woman wielded, the many planets in her kingdom. "I know you think I'm being old-fashioned, but this is about balance."
"Balance," Seri repeated.
"Yours," Helena said. "You live like a virgin priestess. I know that..." The queen swallowed. "I know you have your reasons, but you're such an attractive and vibrant woman. You shouldn't detach yourself from the pleasures of life."
"Pleasures," she repeated blankly. "Helena, please, I don't want..." Her throat tightened.
"Seri, remember when Gleeda had that heart attack brought on by eating too many sweets? The usual medical therapy wouldn't work. Time and again, she found a way around it, endangering her health." The queen shook her head. "I just had to take matters into my own hands. For Gleeda's own good, of course."
Seri's lips tightened. As if she could forget. The queen's sister had been banished to a planet with only bread and water and meat on a strict diet, driven to take exercise by unrelenting droids. She'd soon slimmed down, and her health had improved. Now poor Gleeda carefully watched what she ate; she didn't want to return to those harsh conditions, even though they had saved her life. Although the queen's solution had worked, it had been a difficult one.
"You're forcing me to do what you think is right for me? But Helena..." Her glance skittered toward the two male slaves and then away.
Helena also looked, smiling rather fondly. "They're from Bayhaven. Do you know my concubines come from the same place? Mmmm. They're wonderful lovers and men of honor. You'll learn."
"Please, Your Majesty...!"
"No, much as I don't always care for the count, he does understand duty. You are not a young girl anymore. You are the head of your family, and I expect you to act like it."
That stung Seri's pride. Hadn't she just closed the new franchise deal on her own?
"I don't mean your business, Seri." Helena's voice softened. "I'm proud of what you've done there, but a noblewoman must marry or take concubines to continue her line. These men will be yours. You have a year to produce an heir. If not, as much as I regret it, the Pastry Princess will revert to being the palace kitchens again."
"No!" Helena glared at Seri, and Seri closed her mouth, recognizing the familiar ruthlessness gleaming in the other woman's eyes. She hadn't given Seri to Armando; she hadn't forced her to become a wife. Probably she thought she was doing her some kind of bizarre favor, gifting her men whom she would own.
But looking over at her two slaves, Seri found herself wondering who would own whom. She'd heard of the men of Bayhaven. They were reputed to be the most gifted of lovers, but many came from warrior stock, and several had been imprisoned for being "untrainable" as compliant slaves.
"Take off your suit, Seri," Helena demanded. "And let's get on with it. Enough of this nonsense."
Seri felt a slap of shock. Nudity was commonplace on a planet known for its pleasures, and in the baths all over the city, the genders shared the waters. But Seri very rarely attended, preferring her privacy.
Mericle's hand went to the attachments at the back of Seri's suit, and she helped Seri disrobe briskly, giving Seri's cold hand a squeeze as she took the flirty black cloth and Seri's red undergarments. Seri stood there wearing only her sandals, her favorite ankle bracelet with fiery crimson stones, and the three-dimensional tattoo of a butterfly on her left shoulder. As she breathed, the butterfly's wings seemed to open and close flirtatiously.
Seri was aware of her staff staring at her. Her eyes stung.
"You're strong, intelligent, a wonderful pastry maker, but you're also a lovely woman, cousin," Helena chided. She pointed to the two slaves, and Seri took a deep breath, forcing herself to calm even as her heart pounded in fear. She walked toward them a second time, but this time she was even more conscious of how she was a woman, of their studying her bare breasts and the thatch of untamed black hair between her legs.
Both men had come to their feet with the soft sound of clinking chains, so when she was closer, the dark one snagged her wrist.
Seri instinctively locked her legs, resisting for half a second before she surrendered, letting him tug her to him. They fitted her against them so blond Ismet was behind her, looping an arm around her tense stomach while the dark one deliberately cupped her breast in one possessive hand.
Seri saw satisfaction in Tahir's expression. He didn't care how she felt, how this wasn't her choice. Do they really belong to me? Because it feels like I belong to them. "Mericle?" Helena gestured, and Seri's friend handed the queen a delicate collar, silver filigree fitted with one stone in the center. With dread, Seri recognized it: the pleasure collar of a woman who wanted to breed children. The stone would change color, revealing her desire and the most appropriate times for her to mate with her two slaves.
She couldn't help a tiny flinch as the queen snapped it closed around her neck. Seri struggled to keep her face impassive, calm. It was the only dignity she had left. Her gaze collided with Ismet's. The fierce gold eyes narrowed on her face. She sensed he knew how she felt, and unlike his companion, he seemed to feel some trace of empathy.
"Do you happen to have an exercise plot on your estate?" Helena asked.
Seri shook her head, thinking that the queen would be startled to know that Seri's estate was a small condo in the bad part of town. Almost all her income had been fed back into her pastry business.
"One thing about the men of Bayhaven, they are warriors, so they will need a place to exercise."
Seri thought of the graffiti-scrawled ball court in her neighborhood. Her lips twisted. Well, her new slaves might have the power to touch and take her, but they wouldn't exactly be living in luxury--as they would soon find out.